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The Ecology of Class

Revolution, Weaponized Nature, and the Making of Campesino Consciousness

Christopher R. Boyer

Mexican villagers endured three decades of dispossession during the late nineteenth-century dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz (1876–1880, 1884–1911). The transfer of most lands held by communities known as pueblos led many rural people to join the Mexican revolution of 1910–1917, and it helped to structure the postrevolutionary politics. Using E. P. Thompson's concept of “community,” this article suggests that villagers' sense of solidarity formed by their shared lives within the pueblos, and leavened by collective experiences during the Díaz dictatorship and revolution, helped them to forge a new identity as campesinos with an inherent right to land reform during the postrevolutionary era. A core component of campesino identity was opposition to hacienda owners. This opposition set up a struggle over land during the 1920s and 1930s that led some landowners to “weaponize nature” by destroying natural resources such as forests rather than turning it over to villagers through the land reform.

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Raymond Suttner

Non-racialism is examined in relation to the concepts of race, generic humanism and universalism in order to establish conditions under which non-racialism can be implemented as an emancipatory concept. Denial of the salience or even the existence of the concept 'race' and also tendencies to organise on the basis of race essentialism are examined. It is accepted that race does not exist at an ontological level, in that it is not required for the constitution of the human subject. But race does exist historically and socially. To ignore its existence in addressing the question of non-racialism would be to deny the validity of the experience of racial inequality. At the same time, organisation on the basis of race, while sometimes motivated by strategic considerations, carries the danger of slippage and a permanent racialised identity. The post-1994 period is seen as opening the road to universalism and thus removing the basis for strategic essentialism.

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"The Riots Were Where the Police Were

Deconstructing the Pendelton Riot

Bob Jeffery and Waqas Tufail

This article explores the social dynamics in the city of Salford at the time of the Pendleton riot, which took place amidst the four days of national rioting that began with the killing of Mark Duggan in Tottenham by the Metropolitan Police Service. Attempting to counter what we see as a dominant narrative of the riots as 'shopping with violence', this article explores the development of the significant disorder in Salford through a triangulation of accounts, including an extensive review of journalistic accounts, alongside interviews from a dozen people who witnessed the riots as police officers, residents and spectators. Beginning with an overview of the events of August 9th 2011, we argue that the deployment of officers in riots gear in the vicinity of Salford Precinct proved provocative, and created a focal point for the widespread antagonism felt towards the police. Furthermore, we suggest that an understanding of local contextual factors is critical both in terms of answering the question ‘why Salford?’, but also in terms of explaining the ferocity of the violence targeted towards officers of Greater Manchester Police (in contrast to the focus on looting in nearby Manchester city-centre). Interpreting the riots as a response to punitive policing policies that have accompanied state-directed policies of large-scale gentrification, we highlight the degree to which the 'contestations over space' that characterized the riot pointed to an underlying politics of resistance (despite lacking 'formal' political articulation).

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Political engagement of Latin Americans in the UK

Issues, strategies, and the public debate

Davide Però

This article examines the political engagement of Latin Americans in the UK in the context of a mounting neo-assimilationist and anti-multicultural offensive in the public debate on integration. Assuming that migrants should have a say about their own integration in society, the article explores the extent to which the public debate is sensitive to migrants' own collective concerns. It is from this empirically informed perspective that the article criticizes assimilationist and multi-culturalist attitudes for their disregard of the exploitation and lack of social and cultural recognition that afflicts newly arrived migrants. The article helps to rebalance the prevailing trend in policy and academic circles to treat migrants as objects of policies and ignore their political agency and active collective engagement in the improvement of their conditions. It also offers a corrective to emerging alternative approaches that tend to reduce migrants' politics to their role in sustaining long-distance diasporic communities.

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Delphine Letort

The controversies triggered by the Netflix adaptation of Jay Asher’s young adult novel Thirteen Reasons Why (2007) have focused on suicide and downplayed discussions of rape as a central plot device. Making use of stereotypical characters (such as the cheerleader and the jock) and archetypal setting (including the high school), 13 Reasons Why delves into the reassuring world of the suburban town; it deals ambiguously with the entwined notions of gender and power encapsulated in the teenpic genre. A detailed analysis of the series indeed reveals that its causative narrative reinforces the rape myth by putting the blame on girls for events that happen to them. In this article I explore the tensions of a TV series that endorses the rape myth through the entertaining frame of the teenpic.

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In the shade of the chinar

Dushanbe’s affective spatialities

Malika Bahovadinova

This article evaluates the ongoing reconstruction of Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, from the perspective of the affective registers it has elicited: from the despair of those who fondly remember the city’s earlier Soviet facade to those who have benefitted from the expansion of housing stock and green space across the city center. Exploring these positions and the role of statist conceptions of modernity, personal and political memories of space, and the emotions called forth by urban redevelopment, the article elaborates on the place of affect and sentimental politics in the processes of city beautification and development. It argues that the despair experienced by city residents in their protests against redevelopment projects has both enabled and constrained citizens in terms of their participation in Dushanbe’s urban development, economic redistribution, and the politics of memory.

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Champagne Liberals and the New "Dangerous Classes"

Reconfiguration of Class, Identity and Cultural Production in the Contemporary Global System

Jonathan Friedman

This is an era of millenarianism. The millennium is here, the twenty-first century is here. It has been advertised as the new globalized world, that for many we have finally achieved. This is a world that will be characterized by openness. I sit here watching the talk show, Jenny Jones, this time (10- 4-00) dealing with racism. An African American intellectual talks about openness, against other African Americans in the studio who express strong criticism toward immigrants. A man replies angrily: “you can say that flying around in your airplanes and living on top of your hotels.” Jones breaks off the discussion. The enlightened are truly higher in this world, they are the élite in a way that concretizes the metaphor of globalization. Up there, above the masses, delighting in a new found mobility, consuming the world. This is striking in the reactions to EU, to say nothing of larger international organizations. The populism of the people and the élitism of the élites are ever more marked in this era-to-be.

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Megan Sullivan

In this article I analyze fiction and non-fiction using the critical lens or methodology of Girlhood Studies. I re-examine my published writing on Irish writer Mary Beckett and Irish-American author Lucy Grealy to demonstrate how feminist scholars can read differently. I argue that in my initial readings of the aforementioned texts I neglected the girl in the story, because I was concerned about the woman the female character would become. Finally, I also argue that feminist scholars should mine their own childhood experiences for insight into the study of girls. I provide an excerpt from my memoir in progress to demonstrate how this might be accomplished.

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“A Pretty Girl of Sixteen“

Capturing the Contradictions of Female Adolescence in the Nancy Drew Series

Kate Harper

This article explores the construction of female adolescence in the first three texts of the Nancy Drew Mystery series: The Secret of the Old Clock (1930), The Hidden Staircase (1930), and The Bungalow Mystery (1930). It reviews, briefly, the development of the concept of adolescence and its gendered implications, particularly the association of female adolescent sexuality with delinquency. I argue that the Nancy Drew series rejects the construction of adolescence as a period of turmoil and emotional instability, as well as the prescription of constant adult supervision. The character of Nancy Drew also captures the contradictory messages of female adolescence in the 1930s when girls were represented as sexually attractive and aggressive but were denied sexual desire.

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Affirmative action and political economic transformations

Secondary education, indigenous people, and the state in Jharkhand, India

Rob Higham and Alpa Shah

This article proposes an anthropology of affirmative action that is embedded in analysis of the wider political economic transformations in which affirmative action policies emerge. It is argued that this historically situated approach enables analyses of the relative effects of affirmative action on processes of socio economic marginalization. The focus of the article is on the combination of preferential treatment policies and the provision of education as a state-led response to historical marginalization. These policies are explored in the context of adivasis (tribal or indigenous peoples) in Jharkhand, India. The analysis shows how, despite improvement in absolute educational outcomes among adivasis as a result of these policies, inequalities in relative outcomes are being reproduced and are widening. This is explained in part by market-led gains within the private edu cation sector for more advantaged sections of society that outweigh the predom inately state-led improvements for adivasis. The analysis demonstrates the limitations of contemporary affirmative action in affecting the relative position of socioeconomically marginalized groups in contexts where the state is losing some of its universal features and ambition.