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Canon-Building and Popular Culture

Gender Trouble in Bulgarian Culture Today

Nadezhda Alexandrova

Milena Kirova, Literaturniat kanon. Predizvikatelstva (The literary canon. Challenges) (Sofia: Sofia University Press, 2009), 287 pp., 15 BGN (hb), ISBN 978-954-07-2811-7.

Milena Kirova, ed., Neslucheniat kanon. Bulgarski pisatelki ot Vuzrazhdaneto do Vtorata svetovna voina (The canon that did not happen. Bulgarian women writers from the Bulgarian national revival period to World War II) (Sofia: Altera, 2009), 430 pp., 18 BGN (pb), ISBN 978-954-975-732-3.

Milena Kirova and Kornelia Slavova, eds., Identichnosti v prehod: rod, medii i populiarna kultura v Bulgaria sled 1989 g. (Gender identities in transition: Media and popular cul- ture in Bulgaria a er 1989) (Sofia: Polis Publishers, 2010), 256 pp., 12 BGN (pb), ISBN 978-954-796-032-9.

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Myra Marx Ferree

This article traces four contested identity claims that carry gender meanings into politics and express the gendered tensions awakened along specific dimensions of institutional change across the past twenty years. The cultural definition of the German nation in the face of immigration, the integration of the German state in a transnational project of making a single Europe, the economic restructuring of unification and its effects on the resources and opportunities available on each side of the former wall, and political changes in the representation of women in state offices, by parties and in national policy-making all reflect continuing struggles over the institutionalized boundaries of inclusion and exclusion as a nation, an imagined community. All of these processes engage passionate feelings about gender relations and have implications for the ordinary lives of women and men as citizens and family members in the new Berlin Republic.

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René, Ginette, Louise et les autres

nostalgie et authenticité dans la chanson néo-réaliste

Barbara Lebrun

France's retro rock music (chanson néo-réaliste) of the 1990s and 2000s favors acoustic music and "old-fashioned" instruments such as the accordion in order to reject today's fascination with novelty and consumerism. In doing so, this music genre looks back to pre-war France and rehabilitates an all-white national culture that is problematically nostalgic, in a similar fashion to the film Amélie. This article explores the ways in which chanson néo-réaliste still manages to forge a sense of protest identity in contemporary France, while engaging in apparently reactionary tactics. The specificities of this music genre are explored through an analysis of the lyrics, music, iconography and performance of, primarily, the group Têtes Raides, while contrasting their nostalgia of "protest" with that of the more commercially successful genre of variétés.

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Nicolas Sarkozy a-t-il radicalisé la droite française?

Changements idéologiques et étiquetages politiques

Haegel Florence

This article draws on two research strategies to analyze the radicalizing effects of "Sarkozyism" in France. The first uses the computer program ALCESTE to compare systematically the presidential campaign discourses of Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy as a way to evaluate how Sarkozy has altered the ideology of the French right. This analysis shows that a radicalization of the French right has in fact taken place with regard to questions of immigration, national identity, and sécurité. The second strategy makes use of the sociology of labeling to analyze expressions of "anti-Sarkozyism" on the internet. A cartographic study of the web sheds light on the variety and dynamism of this anti-Sarkozyism, and in so doing helps us take the full measure of Sarkozyism's strong polarizing effects.

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The Battle of the Mountains

Repatriating Folly in France in the Aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars

Christine Haynes

At the beginning of the Second Restoration, Paris was swept by a mania for roller coasters, which were dubbed montagnes russes after a Russian tradition of sledding on ice hills. Situating this phenomenon in the context of the military occupation of France following the defeat of Napoleon, this article analyzes one of the many plays featuring these “mountains,” Le Combat des montagnes (“The Battle of the Mountains”), and especially two of its main characters, La Folie (Folly) and Calicot (Calico Salesman). The “battle” over the roller coasters, it argues, was really a contest over how to redefine national identity around consumer culture rather than military glory. Through the lens of the montagnes russes, the article offers a new perspective on the early Restoration as an aftermath of war.

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The Miniskirt and the Veil

Islam, Secularism, and Women's Fashion in the New Europe

Kristen Ghodsee

This article examines another European iteration of the headscarf debate, this time in postcommunist Bulgaria, the European Union member with the largest Muslim minority. Bulgaria is a country that has always been at a crossroads between East and West, and women's bodies and their fashion choices have increasingly become the symbols of the "backward Orient" or the "corrupt and decadent West" for those on either side of an ongoing national identity crisis. For the Orthodox Christian/Secular majority, the headscarf represents all that is troubling about the country's Ottoman past and Islam's presumed oppression of women. For a growing number of Bulgarian Muslims, the miniskirt has come to represent the shameless commodification of women's bodies and the moral bankruptcy of global capitalism.

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“Flattering the Little Sleeping Rooster”

The French Left, de Gaulle, and the Vietnam War in 1965

Bethany S. Keenan

This article examines conflicts concerning French policy on the American phase of the Vietnam War between the French Left and Charles de Gaulle during the 1965 elections. The Left faced a dilemma on a matter of central foreign policy as it found it difficult to differentiate its position on the war from de Gaulle's public statements on it. Through an evaluation of press commentary, I demonstrate that in its attempt to set itself apart from de Gaulle, the French Left challenged not only his interpretation of the war in Vietnam but also his understanding of France and its role in the world, proffering a softer, cooperative conception in opposition to de Gaulle's push for a militant leadership status for France in the international community. The study shows the limits political parties face as part of protest movements, while also situating French debate over the Vietnam War squarely within the ongoing dialogue over French national identity.

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Interwar Fascism and the Franchise

Women's Suffrage and the Ligues

Daniella Sarnoff

This article addresses the fascist leagues' policies and philosophies regarding the political role of women, particularly the question of female suffrage. Unlike the parliamentary Right, which did not attempt to mobilize women until 1935, the fascist leagues envisioned women as key political players as early as 1924. Often invoking female work and sacrifice during the war, as well as women's supposedly superior moral aptitude, the leagues presented themselves as the forces that truly respected women's potential and importance in the state. To the leagues the domestic identities and concerns of women were not only compatible with fascist notions of politics, but rendered women potentially better fascists and citizens. Leaders of the organizations expected women to be wives and mothers, producing more children for France, while at the same time the leagues advocated that women engage in national politics and world affairs.

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Jean-François Grégoire

In an effort towards developing a normative theory of federalism, this paper offers a critical assessment of the work of Will Kymlicka and Ferran Requejo in order to show the progress and failures of liberal nationalist authors on issues raised by the normative dimensions of federalism in Western multinational contexts. More exactly, the paper argues that both authors fail to give a complete theory of federalism because the liberal conception of self-determination as non-interference can only create superficial unity and contingent trust, especially in multinational contexts, where non-interference is to regulate relations between particular identities and conceptions of citizenship. Drawing on this critical assessment of liberal nationalism, I argue that the neo-republican ideal of non-domination, as developed by Philip Pettit (1997, 2012), provides us not only with the adequate normative heuristics to assess national rights of self-determination, but also international relations and the institutional conditions needed to create binding trust within multinational federal constellations.

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Ready for Progress?

Opinion Surveys on Women's Roles and Opportunities in Belle Epoque France

Lenard R. Berlanstein

This essay uses readers' opinion surveys in Femina, a unique, high-circulation fashion magazine that championed women's rights, to study the reception of feminist ideas. The readers were fashion-conscious and well-off provincial bourgeoises, a group that might have had conservative attitudes on gender roles. Yet, the many thousands of responses reveal a profound desire to expand women's identities beyond domesticity. About a third of the readers were even indignant that women lacked the freedoms of men. Most others looked forward to a future when society would offer women more opportunities to utilize their talents while reaffirming the satisfactions of familial roles. The surveys show that Frenchwomen were redefining femininity in a more individualistic direction though national emergencies as 1914 approached would make them hesitant about pressing their cause.