This issue of Girlhood Studies focuses on particular girlhood practices—the everyday activities in which some girls engage as part of their ordinary lives. In this issue we look at these girls engaging in these practices, sometimes on their own and sometimes in small groups, how and when they engage in them and where they do so. These include the long-standing practice of girls engaging in child care as babysitters, playing with dolls (in the case of younger girls) or reading fashion magazines (in the case of older girls). These activities take place in different locations, some of which have been associated historically with girlhood, such as a girl’s bedroom or a school classroom, and others which have been more recently appropriated by girls as congenial spaces, such as shopping malls, movie theaters and the internet.
Claudia Mitchell and Jacqui Reid-Walsh
Amy Adele Hasinoff
Sexualization might seem like a sympathetic explanation for sexting because it positions girls as innocent victims of mass culture. However, there are problematic unintended consequences with understanding sexting, the practice of sharing personal sexual content via mobile phones or the internet, in this particular way. One troubling implication is that it provides a rationale for holding girls who sext criminally responsible for producing child pornography. A second is that when girls' acceptance of sexualization is positioned as a key social problem, the solution that emerges is that girls must raise their self-esteem and gain better media literacy skills. Despite the value of such skills, a focus on girls' deficiencies can divert attention from the perpetrators of gender- and sexuality-based violence. Finally, discourses about sexualization often erase girls' capacity for choice, relying instead on normative assumptions about healthy sexuality. Interrogating the pathologization of girls' apparent conformity to sexualization and mass culture highlights the complexity of agency.
Amateur Radio and the Politics of Aural Surveillance in France, 1921-1940
Derek W. Vaillant
As France wrestles over the uses and societal impact of digital media and the Internet, it is instructive to recall another era of communications innovation, namely the introduction of interwar radio to the French public, and the government's reaction to controversial applications by the citizenry. Recent scholarship has underscored the importance of interwar radio broadcasting to France and its territories. Less explored, however, is the work of amateur user/developers who shaped the radio medium as an instrument of speaking, as well as listening. Determined to manage applications of radio, the French Interior Ministry formed a Police de l'Air to monitor France's airwaves, including the activities of amateur radio users (i.e., hams), whose lawful (and sometimes unlawful) use of point-to-point and broadcast communication had begun to significantly disrupt the government's effort to dictate the future forms and uses of radio. Against a backdrop of political crisis and attempts to manage print and electronic communication and dissent, the skirmishes between the Police de l'Air and amateur radio users reveal historical aspects of contemporary debates over use, access, and qualifications to speak and be heard in mediated cultural and political settings.
During 2006, Telecom Italia—the most important of Italy’s entirely privatized
companies and one of the largest in the country in terms of market
capitalization, profit, employment, and technological wealth—ran into
political controversy. On 11 September, CEO Marco Tronchetti Provera
presented the company’s board with a strategic plan that, breaking with
the course followed the previous year, foresaw the unbundling of three
divisions: Telecom Italia (TI, landline telephone services, Internet, and
media operations), Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM, mobile telephone services),
and Telecom Italia Rete (the network operator). In the days following
the announcement, the government claimed that it had been kept
in the dark about the proposal despite a series of meetings with the TI
board. The press nevertheless revealed that one of Romano Prodi’s advisers
had sent Tronchetti an alternative plan that would have allowed the
purchase of the landline network by the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (Deposit
and Loans Fund), a holding group controlled by the Ministry of Finance.
Prodi denied any knowledge of this plan in Parliament (his adviser subsequently
With the continuing movement of social life into new types of places such as cyberspace the function and meaning of gift-exchange has emerged as being an important anthropological tool for the investigation of social relations online. In cyberspace several fascinating questions come into light, for example: what kinds of gifts are exchanged in cyberspace; how are these gifts exchanged there and what does the exchange of gifts in cyberspace signify? An analysis of the 'gift of time' is particularly pertinent when investigating friendship in virtual communities because gift exchange in cyberspace can be related to notions of reciprocity and trust. For example, my own ethnographic research in Cybertown, a virtual community on the Internet, suggests that one important concept for friendship in Cybertown is the exchange of the 'gift of time', and highlights its role in the creation of trust and reciprocity. In explaining this phenomenon, this paper examines the function and meaning of gift exchange in Cybertown in relation to contemporary theoretical notions of the gift, explains what kinds of obligations gifts engender and what role gift practices play in creating networks of friendship.
Thomas K. Hubbard
Adolescent sexuality has been at the forefront of the recent “Culture Wars,” as is clear from the many news stories and political battles over issues such as sex education, teen pregnancy and STDs, Child Sexual Abuse, enhanced legal regulation of sex offenders, pedophiles on the internet, “sexting” and child pornography. On the one hand adolescents today are more sexually mature than at most historical periods: physical puberty occurs ever earlier (Moller, 1987), while children’s capacity to access the same media as adults grows ever more sophisticated. Already in 1982, Neil Postman presciently observed that electronic media had obliterated the historical technological superiority of literate adults relative to not‐yet‐fully-literate children (Postman, 1982). At that point, he was thinking mainly of television, but his observation has become even more true in the digital age, when adolescents are often the ones teaching their parents and grandparents. 1982 had not yet grasped what would be the ubiquity of MTV or cheap, highly graphic visual pornography in many parents’ closets, or if not there, on their kids’ computer screens. Children have become the most clever at accessing media at precisely the time when popular media culture is more saturated with verbal, musical, and visual images of sexuality than ever before.
A Marxian Analysis
Richard D. Wolff
The U.S. economy’s high-tech sector (internet, computers, telecommunications, etc.) burst its classic speculative bubble in 2000. The Nasdaq stock market lost 40 per cent of its value during the year and lost another 20 per cent in the first quarter of 2001. The Nasdaq dragged down most other stock market indicators in the U.S. Trillions of dollars in U.S. wealth vanished. The wealthiest citizens turned away from the stock market as rapid losses replaced the absurdly high gains of 1999. Other U.S. citizens watched in horror as their recent expansions of securities holdings rapidly shrank in value (also confronting many with vanished savings and reduced retirement benefits since their pensions were invested in ‘history’s greatest boom’). See Appendix 5 for the details on U.S. stock ownership patterns. Industries began to scale back their investment programs as rapid growth shifted to slow growth and recession loomed. The majority of workers slowed their spending and their accumulation of debt because of falling stock prices and because they fear a recession’s impact on wages, benefits, and job security. All these negative developments are continuing into 2001.
Against State Failure or the State Itself?
Although the Czech Republic (CR) is not a favorite destination nor even a transit country for migrants through Europe, the refugee crisis has materialized into a strict state policy of rejection. The CR rejects proposals for European solutions and detains and imprisons immigrants, most of whom are inadvertently arrived there. This preliminary refusal strategy is peculiar to both the political and media spheres (and public opinion) and is described in the opening sections of this work. However, the CR, is also a country in which the tally of immigrants is less than the number of Czechs citizens traveling beyond their national borders to help refugees congregating along the “Balkan Route”, where they frequently outnumber volunteers from other countries. This paper goes on to describe the development of these grassroots Czech volunteer organizations and activities in 2015. From the beginning it was characterized by spontaneity and a lack of hierarchy, with the Internet and social media playing a vital role during mobilization and organization. The methodological section defines how this sample was analyzed and the manner in which it was dealt. Section five summarizes the most important findings of the case study: (1) the results of a questionnaire survey among volunteers, (2) the results of a qualitative content analysis of their communication in social networks. Besides basic mapping steps (features of volunteer’s participation), the analysis attempts to capture motivations for volunteer’s participation. Comparison with selected motivation typologies emphasizes the protective (later the normative) motivation, on which the hypotheses are based regarding the dispute about the national identity of volunteering as an ideological, and therefore foreseeable, dispute.
Claudia Mitchell and Jacqueline Reid-Walsh
The publishing of the articles in this issue of Girlhood Studies coincides with the global events related to the First International Day of the Girl—11 October 2012. Th is is a day formally declared by the United Nations as the one set aside to articulate the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights. The actual process of gaining official recognition through the United Nations for a specific day is no small feat. The efforts of organizations such as Plan International and even government bodies such as the Status of Women in Canada were key in making this happen in order to address the need for greater understanding of girl-specific issues. In the global context, for example, girls are three times more likely to be malnourished than boys. Of the world’s 130 million out-of-school youth, 70 percent are girls. In the Canadian context, as the Minister responsible for the Status of Women highlighted in an International Day of the Girl message, young women from the ages of fifteen to nineteen years experience nearly ten times the rate of date violence as do young men. Close to 70 percent of victims of internet intimidation are women or young girls, and girls and young women are nearly twice as likely as young men and boys to suffer certain mental health problems such as depression, and anxiety about body image and self-esteem remains prevalent among girls. Th us, while October 11 is a time for celebration, it is also a time for reflection and a reminder about how much work there is still to do.
An Experiment with Networks and Traps
Olga Lukyanova and André Mintz
exposing their triviality. Our general aim was to produce a critical reflection on the current status of the internet, observed as increasingly centralized by platformization processes dependent on the commercial interests of data processing. In particular