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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.

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Self and the City

The Politics of Monuments

Karen Kipphoff

This text looks at the function of monuments and to some extent architecture in the public space. It focuses especially on those countries that have undergone sweeping historical changes, such as Romania, Germany, and Russia, while attempting to convey not only the historical and cultural information but the very personal, physical sensations of the encounter a human being might have when in the proximity of monuments and spaces. The images are 360 degree surround photography, where the photographer's location constituted the very center of the image, thus making the photographer's subjectivity the invisible monument of the seemingly documentary image.

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The Cartoon Controversy

Creating Muslims in a Danish Setting

Anja Kublitz

This article offers a situational analysis of the printing of cartoons about the Islamic Prophet in a Danish newspaper in 2005 and the ensuing demonstration by Danish Muslims. It suggests that rather than simply sparking protests, the 'cartoon controversy' created a space for possible actions and a political platform for Muslims all over the world. Based on a review of the historical development of the national Danish discourse on immigrants, the article conveys how the cartoon controversy became instrumental in transforming this discourse. As a major creative event, it not only ridiculed a dominant religious symbol but simultaneously created a space for the becoming of Muslims in Denmark and beyond.

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Recapturing the Lost

Digitalized Memories of the Rhodesian Bush War

Ane Marie Ørbø Kirkegaard

Rhodesians occupy a very specific digitalized time-space bubble at the very edges of a margin that researchers think of as “past.” In this study, I trace the memorization of the Rhodesian Bush War on YouTube, of what it was like to fight for a dream and see it crumble in an isolated and highly racialized society. Th rough narrative analysis focusing on identity formation and social networks of relationships, a militaryromantic story of racialized masculine heroism, suffering and sacrifice is pieced together, forming a globally shared Rhodesian space-time bubble of meaningfulness, making it an active part of the present as much as a remnant of the past.

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Trading places

Post-socialist container markets and the city

Caroline Humphrey and Vera Skvirskaja

This article discusses a vast, new and semi-legal marketplace of shipping containers on the outskirts of Odessa, Ukraine. It is suggested that such markets, which have sprung up at several places in post-socialist space where routes intersect, have certain features in common with mediaeval trade fairs. However, today's markets have their own specificities in relation to state and legal regimes, migration, and the cities to which they are semi-attached. The article analyzes the Seventh Kilometer Market (Sed'moi) near Odessa as a particular socio-mythical space. It affords it own kind of protection and opportunities to traders, but these structures may be unstable in a changing economic climate.