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Mette Louise Berg, Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, and Johanna Waters

To say that working on this issue of Migration and Society has been a challenge would be an understatement. For all of us, from the members of the editorial team to our guest editors, contributors, ever-important reviewers, and the publishing team, 2020 has brought significant barriers. We have feared for the safety of our loved ones; grieved unbearable losses, often from afar; faced different forms of containment; and sought to, somehow, find the time and energy to care for our loved ones, our selves, and one another while navigating unsustainable work commitments and responsibilities.

Open access

Enacting Citizenship

A Case Study of a Syrian Refugee Protest in Germany

Lucia Volk

Abstract

In June and July 2015, a group of Syrian asylum seekers and local refugee supporters organised a protest camp in Dortmund, Germany. For 53 days, about 50 protesters at a time slept under open tarps on the pavement in front of the city's main train station, demanding a quicker asylum review process and reunification with their families. This article focusses on the refugees’ interactions with different state actors on the municipal and state levels, and illustrates how the Syrian refugees were able to enact citizenship subjectivities. Through sustained and well-organised public protest, refugees claimed their place within the host community. Importantly, they became active contributors to the debate over Germany's response to the so-called ‘refugee crisis’ and proved that political activism can help promote political and legal change.

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Film as the Engine for Learning

A Model to Assess Film’s Interest Raising Potential

Winnifred Wijnker, Ed S. Tan, Arthur Bakker, Tamara A. J. M. van Gog, and Paul H. M. Drijvers

Film has been used for education ever since educators recognized its powerful potential for learning. But its educational application has been criticized throughout the decades for underuse of the distinctive potential of film: to raise interest. To understand more fully film’s potential for learning, we propose a dynamic model of viewer interest and its underlying cognitive and emotional mechanisms (film’s interest raising mechanisms or FIRM model). In addition, we present an analysis method for assessing the interestingness of films in learning contexts. Our model marries interest theories from cognitive film theory and educational psychology and captures the dynamics of interestingness across a film as depending on a balance between challenge posed and coping potential provided.

Open access

Freedom, Salvation, Redemption

Theologies of Political Asylum

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd

Abstract

The politics of religious asylum is ripe for reassessment. Even as a robust literature on secularism and religion has shown otherwise over the past two decades, much of the discussion in this field presumes that religion stands cleanly apart from law and politics. This article makes the case for a different approach to religion in the context of asylum-seeking and claiming. In the United States, it suggests, the politics of asylum is integral to the maintenance of American exceptionalism. Participants in the asylum-seeking process create a gap between Americans and others, affirming the promise of freedom, salvation, and redemption through conversion not to a particular religion or faith but to the American project itself. This hails a particular kind of subject of freedom and unencumbered choice. It is both a theological and a political process.

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Werner Reutter

The article shows that two constitutional principles govern the election of justices and the composition of the 16 German state constitutional courts: democracy and the separation of powers. The recruitment of candidates, the vote on nominees in state parliaments, and the composition of benches of the courts in question support this assumption. There is no evidence indicating that a partisan takeover of German state constitutional courts has taken place. In addition, the majorities required for an appointment of justices of state constitutional courts seem less crucial than is often assumed.

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Jonas Heering and Thane Gustafson

This article examines Germany’s current climate and energy policies. Nearly two decades on, Germany’s Energiewende—the transition to a less carbonintensive economy—is at a crossroads. While remarkable advances have been made, the technical difficulties of expanding the energy transition beyond the electricity sector, the mounting costs of the transition itself, and now the covid-19 pandemic are slowing further progress. Maintaining the momentum of the Energiewende would require collaborative action, yet the principal political players have different agendas, making it difficult to reach decisions. In this article, we consider three of those actors: the German public, the opposition parties, and the government. We find that agreements on German climate policy have been diluted in political compromises and that real progress is being blocked. These problems will only increase as Germany deals with the consequences of the pandemic and faces a transition in national leadership in 2021.

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“Girls Are Like Flowers; Boys Are Like footballs”

How Fathers Hope to Configure Their Sons’ Masculinity

Florencia Herrera

Abstract

To contribute to the discussion about how masculinity—understood as a configuration of gender practices (Connell 2000)—is reproduced, this paper analyzes fathers’ discourse about the gender of their sons and daughters. I carried out a qualitative longitudinal study in Chile during which 28 first-time fathers were interviewed before and after their child's birth or arrival (adoption). I suggest that these fathers see gender in essentialist, dichotomous, and hierarchical terms. They expect to shape their sons’ gender practices according to hegemonic masculinity (discouraging gender practices associated with femininity or homosexuality). In the study, no attempt to reformulate masculine gender practices was observed but, rather, an interest on the fathers’ part in maintaining the patriarchal gender order.

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Hegemonic Masculinity and “Badness”

How Young Women Bargain with Patriarchy “On Road”

Clare Choak

Abstract

The relationship between masculinity, crime, and violence has a long history, whereby hegemonic masculinity is utilized as a resource to create and sustain tough reputations “on road”, where everyday lives are played out on urban streets. Within the context of road culture—of which gangs are part—this is particularly significant given the hypermasculine focus. This paper considers Raewyn Connell's (1995; 1997; 2000) work on hegemonic masculinity and emphasized femininity and develops it in new directions by exploring how these hegemonic identities are inscribed on women's bodies. In the English context, the dominant discourse around young women “on road” is of that of passivity, as they are victims first and offenders second. An underexplored area is their role as perceived “honorary men” when adopting behavior associated with hegemonic masculinity, therefore how they bargain with patriarchy within these spaces is explored.

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How Many Emotions Does Film Studies Need?

A Phenomenological Proposal

Julian Hanich

A look at current emotion research in film studies, a field that has been thriving for over three decades, reveals three limitations: (1) Film scholars concentrate strongly on a restricted set of garden-variety emotions—some emotions are therefore neglected. (2) Their understanding of standard emotions is often too monolithic—some subtypes of these emotions are consequently overlooked. (3) The range of existing emotion terms does not seem fine-grained enough to cover the wide range of affective experiences viewers undergo when watching films—a number of emotions might thus be missed. Against this background, the article proposes at least four benefits of introducing a more granular emotion lexicon in film studies. As a remedy, the article suggests paying closer attention to the subjective-experience component of emotions. Here the descriptive method of phenomenology—including its particular subfield phenomenology of emotions—might have useful things to tell film scholars.

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The iAnimal Film Series

Activating Empathy Through Virtual Reality

Holly Cecil

This article explores the innovative use of virtual reality (VR) technology in nonfiction documentary film formats by animal-advocacy organizations. I examine the potential of the VR medium to communicate the living and dying environments of factory-farmed animals, and to generate viewer empathy with the animal subjects in their short, commodified lives from birth to slaughterhouse. I present a case study of the iAnimal short film series produced by Animal Equality, which made its public debut at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Employing a critical animal studies framework, I engage Kathryn Gillespie’s work on witnessing of the nonhuman condition as a method of academic research, and apply to it the embodied experience of virtual witnessing through virtual realty.