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Gendering Balkanisms

Gender, Culture, and Class in Nineteenth-Century Women's Travelogues in the Balkans

Marina Matešić

This article links nineteenth-century travelogues about the Balkans written by European women travelers—Dora d'Istria, Maria Karlova, Emily Strangford, and Paulina Irby and Georgina Mackenzie—both to a broader historical discourse called Balkanism and to the socio-historical contexts of the authors themselves. It examines the ways in which these texts adopted existing hegemonic dichotomies of Balkanism concerning culture, ethnicity/religion, and gender and whether they set new paths for Balkanist discourse. Written during the time of anti-Ottoman uprisings and nation-building movements, the travelogues expressed diverse humanitarian, Christian, feminist, anti-imperial/Turkish and other agendas and discussed the crucial role of (Balkan) women in it. Through a particular focus on domestic life and the lives of women, these women travelers also spoke of their own position in society, bringing to light their struggle for equality in traveling, writing, and participating in broader political and social life, and in that way disturbed the male-centered Balkanist discourse.

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BOY

Linguistic Anthropological Notes

Diederik F. Janssen

This article proposes a linguistic anthropological approach to the notion BOY, drawing attention to diverse research methods including etymology, onomasiology, corpus analysis, semantics, discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, and comparative ethnolinguistics. As a popular and flexible lexical device, BOY may function as an operator on the received nature of manhood (by rendering it contingent on the discourse and narrative of development), but also as a possible aid in its ever-imminent bankruptcy by disengaging its stylistics from essentialist understandings of both gender and life phase. BOY, thus, lies at the heart of discussions about masculinity as it relates to performativity, language, and discourse, but, in important ways, it also exceeds and contests the confinements of gender/masculinity research.

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From Imagination to Inquiry

The Discourse of “Discovery” in Early English Writings on India

Pramod K. Nayar

This article unravels a discourse of discovery in early English writings on India, suggesting that this discourse works through three stages. The first stage constructs a fantasy of discovery about India even before the Englishman's arrival in the country. This demanded a representation of Indian wonders and the wondrous geographical-physical expansion of England into the distant reaches of the known world. In the second stage a narrative organization of the "discoveries" of Indian wealth and variety was achieved through the deployment of three dominant rhetorical modes—visuality, wonder, and danger. In the final stage the Englishman meticulously documented but also sought to explain the discoveries in the narrative form of the "inquiry." The "inquiry" shifted the discourse from that of India as a wondrous space to India as knowable and therefore manageable one. The sense of wonder modulates into a more organized negotiation, as a quest for specific information and as means of providing this information.

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Authenticity, hybridity, and difference

Debating national identity in twentieth-century Mexico

Wil G. Pansters

This article studies the transformation of the debate about national culture in twentieth-century Mexico by looking at the complex relationship between discourses of authenticity and mestizaje. The article firstly demonstrates how in the first half of the twentieth century, Mexican national identity was constructed out of a state-led program of mestizaje, thereby supposedly giving rise to a new and authentic identity, the mestizo (nation). Secondly, it is argued that the authentication project around mestizaje is riddled with paradoxes that require explanation. Thirdly, the article studies the political dimension of the authenticity discourse and demonstrates how the homogenizing and unifying forces that spring from the process of authentication played an important role in buttressing an authoritarian regime. Fourthly, the article looks at two recent developments: indigenous cultural politics and transnationalism. Here it is shown how discourses of difference, pluralism, and transnationalism are challenging the central tenets of Mexican post-revolutionary national culture and the boundaries of the national Self.

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Gabriela Kütting

This article reviews the contributions of the two main discourses that study the environment and development in global politics: the human/environmental security discourse and the critical globalization discourse. Both sub-disciplines deal with what is substantively the same subject matter from different perspectives. However, there is hardly any cross-reference between these two dialogues. This article explores the contributions of these two bodies of literature and evaluates their common ground. It argues that with the exception of the traditional environmental security school of thought there is substantial overlap in terms of research concerns. However, it also finds that the language of the critical human/ecological security school of thought hinders rather than helps its research concern.

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Jobst Conrad

The article provides a general overview of social sciences perspectives to analyze and theorize climate research, climate discourse, and climate policy. First, referring to the basic paradigm of sociology, it points out the feasible scope and necessary methodology of environmental sociology as a social science concerning the analysis of physical nature. Second, it illustrates this epistemological conception by few examples, summarizing main results of corresponding climate-related social science investigations dealing with the development dynamics of climate research, the role of scientific (climate impact) assessments in politics, varying features and changes of climate discourses, climate policy formation, and knowledge diffusion from climate science. The receptivity of climate discourse and climate policy to the results of problem-oriented climate research is strongly shaped and limited by its multifarious character as well as by their own (internal) logics. The article shows that social sciences contribute their specific (conceptual) competences to problem-oriented research by addressing climate change and corresponding adaptation and mitigation strategies.

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Mark C.J. Stoddart

This article examines several ways in which animals are brought into skiing in British Columbia, Canada. Discourse analysis, interviews with skiers, and field observation are used to analyze how skiing joins together skiers, mountain landscapes, and non-human animals. First, animals enter ski industry discourse primarily as symbols of nature, or as species that ski corporations manage through habitat stewardship. Second, environmentalists recruit animals—particularly bears and mountain caribou—into a discourse of wildlife and wilderness values that are threatened by ski industry expansion. From this standpoint, skiing landscapes transform wildlife landscapes to meet the needs of a global tourist economy. Finally, skiers' talk about their own encounters with animals illustrates how embodied animals also shape skiers' experience of mountainous nature.

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Contested boundaries

Border disputes, administrative disorder, and state representational practices in Nicaragua (1936–1956)

Jennifer Alvey

This article examines a 20-year border dispute between two adjacent southern interior municipalities in Nicaragua. The dispute acts as window into the politics of state formation and the consolidation of the dictatorship of Anastacio Somoza García (1936–1956). This conflict was waged by locally based “state actors” who contested each other's attempts to stake and extend spatially based claims to authority. Contending parties developed a shared language of contention that I call “administrative disorder”, which tracked closely with accusations of invasion and abuse of authority. Administrative disorder discourses were representational practices that contributed to the discursive construction of the state. They were also the means by which representatives of the state sought to justify or normalize their own activities. As such, these discourses concealed political tensions rooted in patronage networks, municipal formation, land privatization, and ethnic assimilation, which shaped the contours and longevity of the dispute, but remained lurking silences in administrative disorder discourses.

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Yoav Mazeh

A principal conflict in Israeli family law concerns the notion of custody. Parents and the public at large perceive custody as a primary factor in the regulation of post-divorce families. According to current Israeli law, mothers tend to receive custody of children almost automatically. The recommendation of the Schnitt Committee to abolish the term 'custody' is thus perceived by many as a threat to mothers. This article shows, however, that the Israeli discourse over the concept of custody is fueled by a fundamental misunderstanding of the ramifications of this concept. The article explains the difference between the minor effects of the notion of custody in practice and the disproportional significance that is associated with this term in the public discourse. The article also discusses the reasons why public discourse has produced this gap.

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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

The Shaping of a Community-Building Discourse among Israeli Pagans

Shai Feraro

This article charts the recent development of Modern Paganism in Israel (1999–2012) and analyzes the discourse maintained by Israeli modern-day Pagans when discussing questions of organization and of religious-political rights. As such it deals with the complexities of identifying oneself as a (Jewish-born) Pagan in Israel, the nation state of the Jewish people. I argue that although Israeli Pagans may employ a community-building discourse, they constantly fear the perceived negative consequences of public exposure. They see the bond between (Jewish) religion and the state in Israel as a main factor in the intolerance and even persecution that they expect from the government and from Haredim (“ultra-Orthodox” Jews). The result of this discourse during the first ten years or so of the presence of Modern Paganism in Israel can be seen through the metaphor of a dance, in which participants advance two steps, only to retreat one.