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Acoustic Startles in Horror Films

A Neurofilmological Approach

Valerio Sbravatti

The acoustic blast is one of the most recurrent sound devices in horror cinema. It is designed to elicit the startle response from the audience, and thus gives them a “jump scare.” It can occur both in the form of a diegetic bang and in the form of a nondiegetic stinger (i.e., a musical blare provided by the score). In this article, I will advance the hypothesis that silence plays a crucial role in contemporary horror films, both perceptually, since it leaves the sound field free for the acoustic blast, and cognitively, since it posits the audience in an aversive anticipatory state that makes the startle more intense. I will analyze the acoustic startle using a neurofilmological approach, which takes into account findings from experimental sciences in order to better understand the relationship between physiological and psychological factors that make such an effect possible during the filmic experience.

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Values at Work

Ambivalent Situations and Human Resource Embarrassment

Jakob Krause-Jensen

The Manchester School brought with it a fundamental methodological heritage that continues to be generally relevant today and may be particularly pertinent to the study of business organizations, a field often described by narrow instrumentalism and an implicitly management-centric perspective. In this article, through an ethnography of the Human Resource Department of the Danish firm Bang & Olufsen, I argue that the legacy of the Manchester School can be used as an analytical vantage point to open up a rich field of inquiry. I further suggest that we need to move beyond both managerialism and Manchester in order to analyze adequately the pervasive ambiguity in the experience of consultants working as middlemen in value-based corporations.

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Family Squabbles

Beyond the Conflict-Consensus Divide

Henrik P. Bang

This article examines the consensus-conflict divide within contemporary democratic theory as manifested in the works of Jürgen Habermas, Chantal Mouffe, Jacques Rancière, and John Rawls. It relates the democratic crisis diagnosis to the presence of this conceptual divide and suggests overcoming it by focusing on the work of Michel Foucault, especially his concept of the “rectangle of the good parrhesia.” Foucault's analysis goes beyond conflict-consensus through its positive and creative reconceptualization of political authority featuring a transformative capacity linked to the idea of telling the truth.

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Timothy Marjoribanks, Ricardo Febrino Mendonça, Wilson Gomes, Henrik Paul Bang and John Keane

John Keane, Democracy and Media Decadence (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 261 pp. ISBN: 9781107614574

A Framework for Analysing a New Form of Democracy Timothy Marjoribanks

Democracy in Times of Media Abundance Ricardo Fabrino Mendonça and Wilson Gomes

John Keane: Communicative Abundance and Hybrid Politics Henrik Paul Bang

The Communications Revolution of Our Time: Author's Reply to Comments on Democracy and Media Decadence John Keane

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What is “Political” Participation

Beyond Explicit Motivations and Oppositional Actions

Sadiya Akram and David Marsh

Wood and Flinders re-center political participation on the idea of “nexus politics.” The effort is laudable because it contributes to other ongoing efforts at broadening our understanding of the nature of ‘political’ participation. Unfortunately, in our view, the authors misspecify new forms of political participation that have emerged by: (1) failing to take Henrik Bang’s work seriously; (2) focusing exclusively on motivation/intention, so that an action is “political,” only if the person acting sees it as “political”; (3) seeing all political participation as necessarily oppositional.

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Allison Macleod

As I enter the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) in Glasgow for the opening night of the Scottish Queer International Film Festival (SQIFF), two giant pink poodles (actually festival volunteers dressed as characters from the festival’s opening film, Dyke Hard [Bitte Andersson, 2014]), greet me enthusiastically. They gesture me toward the CCA Theatre where a sold-out crowd has assembled for the festival’s opening screening of the Swedish lesbian fiction film Dyke Hard. The plastic chairs we sit on are closely packed together to maximize audience space, and yet even as I bang elbows with those on either side of me and feel my knees pressed up against the seat in front of me, the excited and jovial mood of the surrounding crowd overcomes immediate feelings of physical discomfort.

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Efraim Inbar and Ian S. Lustick

A Debate between Efraim Inbar and Ian S. Lustick

Time is on Israel's Side Efraim Inbar

From a realpolitik perspective, the balance of power between Israel and its neighbors is the critical variable in the quest for survival in a bad neighborhood. If Israel’s position is improving over time and the power differential between the Jewish State and its foes is growing, then its capacity to overcome regional security challenges is assured. Moreover, under such circumstances there is less need to make concessions to weaker parties that are in no position to exact a high price from Israel for holding on to important security and national assets such as the Golan Heights, the settlement blocs close to the “Green Line,” the Jordan Rift, and particularly Jerusalem.

With a Bang or a Whimper, Time Is Running Out Ian S. Lustick

Israel’s existence in the Middle East is fundamentally precarious. Twentieth- century Zionism and Israeli statehood is but a brief moment in Jewish history. There is nothing more regular in Jewish history and myth than Jews “returning” to the Land of Israel to build a collective life—nothing more regular, that is, except, for Jews leaving the country and abandoning the project. Abraham came from Mesopotamia, then left for Egypt. Jacob left for Hauran, then returned, then left with his sons for Egypt. The Israelites subsequently left Egypt with Moses and Joshua, and “returned” to the Land. Upper class Jews who did not leave with the Assyrians left with Jeremiah for Babylon, then returned with Ezra and Nehemiah.

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Peter Brooker

‘And how should I begin?’ Naturally, or post-naturally enough, at the end. We have been hearing for some time recently of the end of things and this paradoxically, is where we must start. Book titles have warned us of the End of the Nation and Nation State, the End of Print, the End of Architecture, The End of Work, the End of Man, the End of Economic Man, the End of Time, the End of the Future, the End of History and yes, the End of the World. It doesn’t take a salaried cultural critic to see here the symptom of an encroaching mood, the expression on the part of marooned journalists and intellectuals of what Raymond Williams termed a ‘structure of feeling’. It expresses not so much conviction – though these scenarios of the end could not in one way be more final – as the waning of common beliefs and values. Hence the appearance world-wide of millennial sects, outcrops of New Age mysticism, the thrill of out of body experiences and the paranormal; even if, thanks to postmodernism, these tend to be more normal than para, and to come at you via the X Files or the Virgin multiplex than anywhere more distant. New media combine oddly with the new mysticism, advanced technologies with advancing teleologies. This is the way then that we are seeing in the fin de siècle, the beckoning end of century when Bakhtinian carnival will at last take to the streets, fleeing its confinement in works of cultural theory, and we shall all go belly up and dance our heads off. Or when half the world will fall into poverty, disease, and starvation and the other half wear itself out in vainglorious in-fighting, leaving a sybaritic residue to enter upon a computer-aided decadence of virtual existence. Or when we shall go up in smoke in a bang and whimper all at once.

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Eirini Kasioumi, Anna Plyushteva, Talya Zemach-Bersin, Kathleen F. Oswald, Molly Sauter, Alexandra Ganser, Mustafa Ahmed Khan, Natasha Raheja, Harry Oosterhuis and Benjamin Fraser

Max Hirsh, Airport Urbanism: Infrastructure and Mobility in Asia (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016), 216 pp., 80 black-and-white illustrations, 20 color plates, $25 (paperback), $87.50 (hardback)

Laura Bang Lindegaard, Congestion: Rationalising Automobility in the Face of Climate Change (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2015), 214 pp., $54.95 (hardback)

Neriko Musha Doerr and Hannah Davis Taïeb, eds., The Romance of Crossing Borders: Studying and Volunteering Abroad (New York: Berghahn Books, 2017), 302 pp., $90 (hardback)

Ehren Helmut Pflugfelder, Communicating Mobility and Technology: A Material Rhetoric for Persuasive Transportation (London: Routledge, 2017), 178 pp., 19 illustrations, $149.95 (hardback), $54.95 (ebook)

Christo Sims, Disruptive Fixation: School Reform and the Pitfalls of Techno- Idealism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017), 232 pp., $27.95 (paperback), $80 (hardback)

Charlotte Mathieson, ed., Sea Narratives: Cultural Responses to the Sea, 1600– Present (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), 281 pp., 5 illustrations, €93.59 (hardback), €74.96 (ebook)

Till Mostowlansky, Azan on the Moon: Entangling Modernity along Tajikistan’s Pamir Highway (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017), 240 pp., 25 black-and-white illustrations, $26.95 (paperback)

Steff en Köhn, Mediating Mobility: Visual Anthropology in the Age of Migration (New York: Columbia University Press, 2016), 208 pp., $30 (paperback)

Margaret Guroff, The Mechanical Horse: How the Bicycle Reshaped American Life (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2016), 295 pp., 10 black-and-white photographs, 5 black-and-white illustrations, $17.95 (paperback)

Melody L. Hoffmann, Bike Lanes Are White Lanes: Bicycle Advocacy and Urban Planning (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2016), 210 pp., $40 (paperback)

Alexander Braun, ed., Winsor McCay: The Airship Adventures of Little Nemo (Cologne: Taschen, 2017), 288 pp., $15 (hardback)