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Picturing Politics

Female Political Leaders in France and Norway

Anne Krogstad and Aagoth Storvik

This article explores images of high-level female politicians in France and Norway from 1980 to 2010, examining the ways in which they present themselves to the media and their subsequent reception by journalists. Women in French politics experience difficulties living up to a masculine heroic leadership ideal historically marked by drama, conquest, and seductiveness. In contrast, Norwegian female politicians have challenged the traditional leadership ethos of conspicuous modesty and low-key presentation. We argue that images of French and Norwegian politicians in the media are not only national constructions; they are also gendered. Seven images of women in politics are discussed: (1) men in skirts and ladies of stone, (2) seductresses, (3) different types of mothers, (4) heroines of the past, (5) women in red, (6) glamorous women, and (7) women using ironic femininity. The last three images-color, glamour, and irony-are identified as new strategies female politicians use to accentuate their positions of power with signs of female sensuality. It is thus possible for female politicians to show signs of feminine sensuality and still avoid negative gender stereotyping.

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Samira Alayan and Naseema Al-Khalidi

This article analyzes history, civics, and national education textbooks used between grades seven to twelve of the Palestinian and Jordanian school systems from a gender perspective. It focuses on the ways in which men and women are presented within the context of the prevalent culture, which portrays men as the more superior, capable, creative, productive, and therefore dominant, and women as weaker, inferior, dominated, and thus unable to play more than minor roles. As culture affects the perceptions, desires, and ambitions of both males and females, it becomes a key factor in changing the role of women in modern society, and is developed and transferred from one generation to another. This study also emphasizes the need to identify the approaches toward gender adopted by the curricula of Jordan and Palestine, as well as the nature of the language they use. The results from the sample used in this study indicate that although the stereotyping of men and women in both the public and the private sectors varies according to school grade and subject, there is an obvious bias in favor of men.

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Peter Anton Zoettl

In the north-east of Brazil, the last decades have seen an unfamiliar phenomenon: the rise of 'new' indigenous groups in areas that were long considered as 'acculturated' by both the state and public opinion. In their pursuit to be recognized by the authorities and by fellow non-Indian citizens, these 're-emerging' Indians have continually carried out a peculiar re-construction of their 'image' as Indians, torn between romantic ideas of Indianness and the demand to integrate fully within national society. Drawing on recent fieldwork experience with a group of Pataxó Indians in the state of Bahia, the article discusses how the visual-anthropological method of participatory video can be used as a means of reflecting on the importance of images within identity-formation processes of minority groups. By producing a video about the tourists who visit their Indian village and nature reserve, the Pataxó came to question the stereotypic use of images and the relation between the Other's notion and their own representation of 'Indianness'.

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New Narratives of Southern Manhood

Race, Masculinity and Closure in Ernest Gaines's Fiction

Suzanne W. Jones

In A Rage For Order: Black/White Relations in the American South Since Emancipation, Joel Williamson explores the conjuncture of race, manhood, and violence peculiar to the American South. He argues that for southern white men the traditional Victorian masculine role of provider and protector was directly linked with violence because of plantation society’s ‘necessity of controlling a potentially explosive black population.’ As early as the seventeenth century, a patrol system, made up of masters and overseers enforced the laws of slavery. By the nineteenth century, the duty of patrolling was extended to all white men, who had authority over all blacks (even free blacks) and over whites who conspired with blacks. Thus a system for controlling slaves became a practice ‘of all whites controlling all blacks … a matter of race.’ The martial role white men created for themselves became entrenched, particularly in the last decades before the Civil War as slavery came under attack by northerners from without and by rebellious slaves from within. Whites created a complementary stereotype of black people as ‘simple, docile, and manageable’ who if properly handled were like children, but if improperly cared for became animals. Williamson argues that this ‘Sambo’ figure was a figment of white wishful thinking, which functioned ‘to build white egos’ while masking their fears of black rebellion.

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Close to You

Karen Carpenter and the Body-Martyr in Queer Memory

Julian Binder

Abstract

There has been much thought given to role of the body as a site of political, physiological, and cultural negotiation. What place then does the beloved and astonishingly affective singer of 1970s soft-rock, Karen Carpenter, occupy in this weighty discourse? Karen's death from complications related to her eating disorder in 1983 shocked the public, eliciting a new wave of cultural consciousness about the embodied nature of mental illness. But beyond the stereotypical white suburban Carpenters fan, Karen and her story had already become a cult favorite amongst the queer avant-garde as soon as four years after death, a mysterious phenomenon that I argue is decidedly queer in its emotional trafficking of Karen's subjectivity, among other areas. This essay explores the ways in which our bodies double as cultural repositories, as hallowed sites of memory, and as icons of martyrdom with the capacity to emit a healing resonance analogous to their fabricated religious counterparts. I must admit, this paper might also be guilty of occasionally engaging in the typical essentializing tendency toward Karen's personhood. For her sake then, reader, I ask you to ponder the following question with the same aversion to neat finality that you apply to your own story as you flip the page: who really was Karen Carpenter?

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Edward Kessler

The Social Media has become an important part of our (online) lives, in an incredibly short period of time. This paper will explore to what extent it contributes to fostering interfaith dialogue. Its impact depends on the people who use it - and how they use it. The Social Media challenges traditional hierarchies (including religious hierarchies) because control moves from website owners to users which means that “everyone is a publisher and everyone is a critic.“ Although the less personal nature of online communication makes it easier for information to be distorted, there are examples of good practice to promote interfaith dialogue. The Social Media can also overcome ignorant stereotypes and combat prejudice, (although it is also (ab)used to promote prejudice). In interfaith dialogue, the Social Media needs to provide a safe space for users, to facilitate trust and to help users feel a sense of connection with the 'other'. Although this can be more easily achieved in a face-to- face encounter because the 'virtual world' will only ever be virtual, the Social Media should be integrated into interfaith dialogue so that it not only contributes to positive political change but also to furthering inter- religious understanding.

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William Dalrymple

Following the success of Edward Said's groundbreaking work Orientalism (1979), an entire school of criticism has attempted to apply Said's ideas to the whole range of colonial writings and art. Some of these applications have proved more suitable than others, and there sometimes seems to be an assumption at work in academia - especially in the US - that all writings of the colonial period exhibit exactly the same sets of prejudices. It is as if there is at work a monolithic, modern, academic Occidentalism which seems to match the monolithic stereotypes perceived in the original Orientalism uncannily. Fanny Parkes, author of Wanderings of a Pilgrim in Search of the Picturesque (1850), has not escaped this academic pigeon-holing, and has recently been the subject of two academic articles which would have her implicit in the project of gathering 'Colonial knowledge' and 'imbricated with the project of Orientalism' - in other words an unwitting outrider of colonialism, attempting to 'appropriate' Indian learning and demonstrate the superiority of Western ways by 'imagining' India as decayed and degenerate, fit only to be colonised and 'civilised'. Anyone who reads Fanny Parkes's writing with an open mind cannot but see this as a wilful misreading of the whole thrust of her text, an attempt to fit her book into a mould which it simply does not fit.

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'red-headed animal'

Race, Sexuality and Dickens's Uriah Heep

Tara MacDonald

Criticism on Dickens and Jewish characterisations most often focuses on the way that Fagin, in Dickens's Oliver Twist (1837), draws from a long history of anti-Semitic representations. No critics have offered sustained arguments that connect Uriah Heep with anti-Semitic stereotypes. By doing so, I hope to broaden our understanding of the ways that Dickens's novels interact with nineteenth-century racial discourses, as well as the ways that these racial discourses interact with economic and sexual anxieties. My reading does not simply place Uriah within historical racial discourses, but examines the impact of his characterisation within the narrative itself, with specific emphasis on David's narrative voice. Although David calls attention to Uriah's unruly body in order to mark it as different, this very difference becomes, in the process, captivating to him. David is attracted to Uriah's oozing, uncontained body, which dramatically diverges from the English masculine ideal. Uriah's body is also presented as sexually threatening, a sentiment that is most fully realised in the danger he presents to Agnes's virginity. Jews, and indeed other 'foreign' bodies, were frequently associated with deviant sexualities in Victorian England, and in David Copperfield, Uriah exemplifies the way that foreign bodies were marked as sexually aberrant.

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Kathryn Robinson

In imagining Indonesia’s future, its character as a country with the world’s largest Islamic population emerges as a critical issue. In the post-Suharto period, some commentators have seen the emergence of Islamist politics as a threat to newly attained freedoms. No sooner had women been freed from the constraints of ‘state ibuism’, i.e., the official policy promoting the role of wife and mother (ibu) of the New Order (see Suryakusuma 1996), which endorsed patriarchal familism as a cornerstone of authoritarian politics, than they faced a new kind of patriarchal authority in the demands for the enactment of shari’a as state law. For example, during her 2005 visit to Australia, Indonesian feminist commentator Julia Suryakusuma raised the specter of Islam as the greatest current threat to gender equity and to women as social actors in civic life, whose rights in the domestic sphere are now protected by the state. The growing influence of Middle Eastern Islam in Indonesia, evidenced by funding for organizations, translations of publications, and the increase in Islamist rhetoric, has caused alarm among many observers. This apprehension draws on the stereotype of the Middle East as the source of all that is ‘bad’ about Islam, taken as an undifferentiated whole. But this view of Islam fails to acknowledge debates within Islam and diversity in Islamic practice, not the least of which are the varieties of Islam that can be found throughout the Indonesian archipelago. These diverse practices have emerged as local communities and indigenous polities responded in distinctive and often unique ways during the long period of Islamic conversion, beginning from the thirteenth century.

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Report. The World Social Forum on Migrations 2012

Consolidating efforts towards an equitable society

Shirlita Africa Espinosa

From the back alleys of Madrid to the financial capital of Singapore, the migration of peoples either to flee persecution or to pursue a high-stakes transnational job is a global phenomenon. One may even say that the one permanent presence these days is a temporary migrant. The mobility of workers—and the mobility that characterizes the social world in which they live—has always had an economic interpretation manifesting in the antagonism of locals against labor migrants. The issue of migration and the attendant discourses of citizenship, social cohesion, population, resource sharing, employment, criminality, and cultural differences, to mention a few, are a common specter often raised for political maneuvering. To use the migrant subject as a scapegoat for sundry social and economic ills of the “host” society—a term that perpetuates the stereotype of the migrant as parasitical, thus, creating a fitting formula for those who hold power—is integral to the production of their subjectivity as an unwanted sector of a society. Nevertheless, the centrality of migration today in the creation of wealth in advanced economies is very much tied to the role that migrants play in the development strategies of their own nations. Through the billions of dollars transferred through remi􀄴 ances, migration is regarded as the vehicle of development for countries in the South. But if exporting cheap and temporary labor remains inexpensive as it continues to support the growth of industrialized countries both in the manufacturing and service sectors, including the domestic and affective spheres of the home, then how does migration specifically drive the development of sending countries?