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Conjuring "the people"

The 2013 Babylution protests and desire for political transformation in postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina

Larisa Kurtović

In June 2013, a breakdown in the routine functioning of state bureaucracy sparked the largest and up to that point most significant wave of protests in postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina, named the Bosnian Babylution. The protest centered on the plight of newborn babies who, because of this particular administrative problem, could no longer be issued key documents, even to travel outside the country for life-saving medical care. These events exposed the profound nature of the representational crisis gripping this postwar, postsocialist, and postintervention state that has emerged at the intersection of ethnic hyper-representation and the lived experience of the collapse of biopolitical care. Yet, as this analysis shows, this crisis has also helped unleash new forms of political desire for revolutionary rupture and reconstitution of the postwar political.

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Uniforms

The Social Imaginary in Balzac's 'La Cousine Bette'

Sarah Maza

The first character introduced to the reader at the start of Balzac’s La Cousine Bette (1846) is Célestin Crevel, described in the opening sentence as “a fat man of average height wearing the uniform of a captain of the National Guard.”1 Exuding the smugness of commercial success and flaunting the ribbon of the Légion d’honneur, Crevel is on his way to visit a woman he has long secretly desired, Baroness Adeline Hulot d’Evry. Beautiful, middle-aged, and married, the Baroness is in financial trouble and seeks the help of the very rich Crevel to whom she is related by the marriage of her son Victorin to the widower Crevel’s only daughter, Célestine.

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Cheryl B. Welch

In considering the complex relationship between author and translator, Harvey Mansfield and Delba Winthrop observe with insight that all translators of texts—we might add readers of texts—are ultimately unable to ignore what they think they know.1 Inevitably my response to their work is shaped by what I think I know about Tocqueville—and like Professors Richter and Drescher—what I think I know about his context and intended audience. Although Mansfield and Winthrop’s hope is to remove the translator as much as possible from Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, and to give us his text in pristine form with philosophical subtleties intact, they too give us a translation that is marked by presupposition and a desire to harmonize the whole. After a brief consideration of their “literal” translation strategy, I want to turn to one particular example of how the Tocqueville of this new translation speaks to us in a voice inflected by what his translators think they know.

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Badal Marriages among the Negev Bedouin

'Urf, Shar'ia and State Law

Gideon M. Kressel and Khalil Abu-Rabi'a

The practice of men swapping daughters for wives or nieces as daughters-in-law is evident among the Bedouin. Although this pattern has its roots in ancient Arab culture and is a unique exception to theories of exchange marriage (EM), there is little reference to the circumstances of its occurrence in the anthropological literature. This article reviews the background of and suggests explanations for this practice. EM is shown to be a strategy that largely serves the desire for upward mobility of small and hence lowly graded groups of agnates. The article demonstrates how EM operates in an olden 'urfi setting, dominated by patrilineages, while shar'i courts tend to oppose it. We argue that, although it entails structural implications, this behavioural pattern does not have a structural end.

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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.

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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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“A Badly Brought Up Member of the Family“

Early Adolescence and/as Narrative Rupture in Alice Munro's Lives of Girls and Women

Katherine Bell

When we are growing up, how might the narrative practices of our family members shape our understanding of the world we are coming to know? How might narrative desires and allegiances to formal storytelling conventions affect how individuals are represented and positioned within family discourse? In this paper, I analyze the narrative practices of characters in Alice Munro's Lives of Girls and Women (1971); specifically, I turn to Del Jordan's first encounter with a family member's death and to her tentative understanding of the body's aberrations and complexities, which bumps up against, competes with, and is ultimately overwhelmed by, the narrative practices of the adults in her life. When considered in relation to the bourgeoning field of narrative ethics, Lives of Girls and Women provides a compelling avenue for a rich understanding of how narrative privilege can have an impact on adult-youth relations in general, and the female coming-of-age experience in particular.

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Young Adult Book Clubs

Feminism Online

Allie Shier

Most young females, particularly in Western contexts, are all too familiar with the traditional structure of the love story: the female protagonist embarks on a journey that ultimately leads her to fulfil her romantic goal of uniting with the male object of her desire. Throughout the history of Western society and beyond, this discourse has been prevalent in many mass media outlets, pervading the content of movies, television, and novels aimed at entertaining young adult females. In this classic narrative, women are presented as being dependent on males for their personal happiness. Whether this narrative is explicitly presented or camouflaged by an intricate storyline involving a seemingly strong and independent female character, this ubiquitous depiction of women in the mainstream media cannot be ignored.

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Sexy Shapes

Girls Negotiating Gender through Popular Music

Ann Werner

This article is based on ethnographic fieldwork done with a group of 14 to 16 year-old girls in a medium sized Swedish town. The study aimed to investigate the relationship between everyday music use and gender, ethnicity and sexuality. The question posed here is: "What negotiations take place when the girls discuss their favorite music and artists?" Research in response to this question shows that the identity work of negotiating how to be a teenage girl often relates to popular culture. The sample focuses on girls from Swedish, Bosnian, Turkish and Syrian backgrounds. In this article I report on the local ideas about gender and ethnicity claimed by the girls to influence their discussion of music, dress and behavior, as well as the desires that I argue structure such discussion. This research supports contemporary findings that mainstream popular music has cultural and social significance in young girls' lives.

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“A Room of Her Very Own”

Privacy and Leisure in the Victorian Girl's Bedroom

Sonya Sawyer Fritz

In this article I analyze various representations of the Victorian girl's experiences with the bedroom in order to illuminate how the Victorian ideal often erased for girls the distinction between public and private that the bedroom created in the home, even as this room became more and more common as a private space allocated to girls. Though it offered girls opportunities to pursue their own interests and desires, the sanctuary of the bedroom also proved to be complicated and compromised by the familial responsibilities that followed girls there. I argue that Victorian portrayals of the girl's relationship with her bedroom reflect the unique tensions between public and private that girls of the period experienced as they navigated the variety of socio-cultural expectations placed upon them.