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'0 Feet Away'

The Queer Cartography of French Gay Men's Geo-social Media Use

Dominique Pierre Batiste

Why do gay men utilise geo-social media applications such as Grindr and Scruff? Social media scholarship describes technological mediations and changes to social space and communities; however, there are theoretical gaps concerning what geo-social technology means for gay men. I suggest that gay men's ability to see other gay men, via geo-social media, reveals the queer cartography of any geographical location. This re-mapping of social space proves the public sphere less heteronormative than purported, cultivates community between gay men who may initiate face-to-face contact utilising geo-locative technology, and allows gay men to interact with one another outside of specifically gay spaces. This research is based in Toulouse, France, and adds to scholarship concerning French gay men's resistance to heteronormativity. This research also holds global significance concerning subjugated communities' uses of geo-social technology in their resistance against dominant cultures.

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Jewish Dating or Niche-making?

A Topographical Representation of Youth Culture

Alina Gromova

In this article I am approaching the topic of Jewish dating among the young Russian-speaking Jews who live in Berlin. Using the analytical concept of space and applying grounded theory, I am presenting data I collected in 2010 using the methods of ethnographic interviews and participant observation. The article is organised around three main questions. Firstly, I am interested in the motivation of my interviewees, who are generally children of inter-ethnic and inter-religious couples, to find a solely Jewish partner. Secondly, I am asking for existing strategies applied within a relatively small Jewish community of around thirty to fifty thousand in Berlin in order to find a Jewish partner. Thirdly, I am looking for the concrete spaces and places used or constructed for the purpose of finding a Jewish girlfriend or boyfriend. Beside these empirical results, I am introducing the theoretical idea of Jewish niches, which is discussed against the background of 'Jewish space' as promulgated by Diana Pinto.

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Eszter B. Gantner

The persecution, flight and murder of European Jews in the first half of the twentieth century and the profound social and political transformations that decisively affected European cities in the final decade of the 20th century have radically altered urban 'Jewish landscapes'. New stakeholders and institutions emerged with their own networks, goals and interests, and have constructed, staged and marketed 'Jewish culture' anew. The resultant Jewish spaces are being constituted in an urban space located at the intersection of ethnic representation, collective memory, and drawing on an imagined material culture, which includes architectural, physical and digital spaces (e.g. synagogues, Jewish quarters). This Europe-wide process is closely related to the delicate politics of memory and to discourses on the authenticity of cities. This article analyses how the image of 'Jewishness' plays an increasingly important role in the marketing of historical authenticity that cities and their tourism affiliates are undertaking.

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Jennifer Foster

This paper considers the transformation of two decommissioned rail lines, in Paris and New York City, into ecologically-oriented green space. Situating the restoration of these rail lines within dominant trajectories of urbanization helps to understand how ecological restoration projects may function as financial instruments that intensify experiences of social injustice. This paper considers how the design and aesthetics of New York's High Line and Paris' Sentier Nature construct ecologies that also produce environmental subjectivities, and how these spaces reflect uneven investment in nature across urban landscapes. While the two case studies are aesthetically distinct, they are both woven into existing global patterns of urban transformation, and their evolution from disused industrial space to public park shares an emotional attachment to safety that demands removal of threatening inhabitants.

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Racial or Spatial Categorisations?

A Focus on the French Setting

Magali Bessone

The hypothesis developed in the paper is that the relation between race and space, under-explored in philosophy, is a powerful theoretical instrument for understanding racial injustices and can be used to renew racial categorisation in a more critical, transformative manner. It argues that only constructivism, in its 'interactive constructionism' version (Hacking 1999), can make sense of both concepts in a relevant way for political theory, and provide a general critical frame to study the relation between both concepts, thereby replying to the powerful arguments of racial scepticism. After specifying what such a position entails for the 'race' concept, the paper argues that 'space', itself conceived in a constructionist perspective, is a core element of current referents of 'race' in our folk conceptions. It shows that France, despite its pretence of racial blindness, is not a counter-example, but rather reinforces the hypothesis. Hence, space should be more thoroughly reinvestigated at an epistemological and theoretical level in exploring our racial thinking.

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Corrective Capacities

From Unruly Politics to Democratic Capacitación

Susan Ellison

Foreign aid programmes have long targeted Bolivia for ‘capacity building’ at the level of institutional democratic channels and the state legal system. By contrast, this article examines a shift in donor priorities from reforming public institutions to workshops targeting interpersonal and social communication through capacitación or skill-set building aimed at changing individual behaviour and values. I argue that the conversatorio – or model dialogue – is the quintessential space of capacitación towards those ends. Yet, as I show, conversatorios also become a space of contestation as participants challenge not only the framing of political issues, but also the very techniques of negotiation, deliberation and political subject formation proposed in these ‘capacity building’ spaces. Conversatorios unmask competing political stakes and expectations of state–citizen relations as sceptical participants revalorize demonized capacities.

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Adjudicating Religious Intolerance

Afro-Brazilian Religions, Public Space, and the National Collective in Twenty-First-Century Brazil

Elina I. Hartikainen

Allegations of religious intolerance push courts to deliberate on questions that are constitutive of the problem space of secularism. In addition to legal opinions on the character and scope of religious freedom vis-à-vis conflicting rights, these arbitrations result in authoritative statements on what constitutes religion, how it may inhabit public space, and, ultimately, what interests and values underpin the national collective. This article analyzes three high-profile court cases alleging religious intolerance against Afro-Brazilian religions that were tried in Brazil during the first two decades of the 2000s. It demonstrates how at this time of rapid religious transformation the adjudication of such cases acted as a key site for the Brazilian legal establishment to redefine the place of religion in the broader context of rights and laws that regulate religion in public spaces.

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Sarah E. Whitney

In this article, I consider middle-grade tween literature through a Black Girl Magic framework that creates space and visibility for girls of color in postfeminist America. I read two works of fiction by middle-grade author Sherri Winston through such a lens. By locating girls’ tweenhood as a space of developmental continuity, and by claiming an aesthetic of sparkle, Black Girl Magic readings can re-situate dominant interpretations of the tween literary hero and provide exciting new methods for reading middle-grade fiction.

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Anru Lee

Mobility is a key word for understanding gender and class formation. In a recent review of feminism, gender, and mobility, historian Georgine Clarsen reminds us that movement never occurs through neutral physical space; it involves gendered bodies through gendered spaces, by means of transport technologies that are often deeply gendered. Furthermore, gendered meanings, practices, and experiences change greatly over time and location. For all these reasons, mobility is—and has to be—contextualized. This article takes inspiration from Clarsen and investigates recent literature on the issue of gender and everyday mobility in urban Asia across a number of academic disciplines.

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Richard Allen and Ira Bhaskar

This article describes how Kamal Amrohi's Pakeezah distils the idioms of the historical courtesan film, poised as they are between the glorification of courtesan culture and lamenting the debased status of the courtesan; between a nostalgic yearning for the feudal world of the kotha and a utopian desire to escape from it. The article argues that Pakeezah self-consciously defines the particular “chronotope”, or space-time, of the historical courtesan genre by showing that nothing less than a transformation of the idioms of that genre is required to liberate the courtesan from her claustrophobic milieu—whose underlying state is one of enervation and death—into the open space and lived time of modernity.