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Money Can't Buy Me Hygge

Danish Middle-Class Consumption, Egalitarianism, and the Sanctity of Inner Space

Jeppe Trolle Linnet

In this article, the style of social interaction known as hygge is analyzed as being related to cultural values that idealize the notion of 'inner space' and to other egalitarian norms of everyday life in Scandinavian societies. While commonly experienced as a pleasurable involvement in a social and spatial interior, hygge is also examined as a mode of withdrawal from alienating conditions of modernity. In spite of its egalitarian features, hygge acts as a vehicle for social control, establishes its own hierarchy of attitudes, and implies a negative stereotyping of social groups who are perceived as unable to create hygge. The idea of hygge as a trait of Scandinavian culture is developed in the course of the interpretation, and its limitations are also discussed against ethnographic evidence that comparable spatial and social dynamics unfold in other cultural contexts.

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Understanding Urban Social Movements in Cognitive Capitalism

Methodological Reflections on Participatory and Ethnographic Research

Marion Hamm

The concept of participation is currently evoked by constituencies as varied as urban planners, local governments, universities and social movements. This coincides with a revival of participatory research methods in the social and cultural sciences. This article argues that the critical potential of participatory research methods should not be taken for granted in cognitive capitalism, where participation is as much an instrument for governmental regulation from above as it is a practice for democratic self-determination from below. First, the politics of participation from the emancipatory departures of the 1970s to today's revival are being discussed. Second, based on a long-term ethnographic study on the transnational Euromayday movement of the precarious, it is demonstrated how positioning the researcher using reflexive ethnography can support a critical research attitude through a process of reflexive hybridisation. In concluding, reflexive activist scholarship is outlined as a critical research attitude which encourages participatory knowledge production in a way that responds both to the field of activism and the field of academia.

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Commercializing Hospitality

A New Concept for Residents of Viengxay, Laos

Wantanee Suntikul

Recently, small numbers of independent tourists and small groups have begun to visit the remote and poor region of Viengxay in northern Laos. This article is based on focus-group interviews and on-site observation in thirteen villages in Viengxay, intended to explore the perceptions and expectations of locals regarding their roles as hosts in this emerging tourism context. It discusses the ways in which locals are developing attitudes and practices of hospitality towards tourists. These practices are emerging under the influence of factors such as native cultural traditions, individual and communal expectations and attitudes towards tourism, as well as historical factors arising from the area's history of war and political isolation. Although locals intuitively treat tourists according to their society's 'traditional' treatment of guests, this treatment is also modified to reflect an appreciation that tourists are a specific type of guest for which the rules of hospitality may need to be reinterpreted. Locals' perceptions of tourists and behaviour in their relations with tourists are evolving as a result of growing contact between locals and tourists and the concomitantly changing expectations from and understanding of the tourism industry. This article articulates common themes for conceptualising the ways in which hospitality practices in the Viengxay villages are emerging from interaction and conflict of these various aspects.

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The Great War as Reflected in Italian Rabbinical Sermons

Rav S. Zvi Hirsch Margulies, Rav Ya'akov Bolaffio and Rav Giuseppe Levi

Joseph Levi

The article analyses the conflicting attitudes towards the First World War as reflected in the sermons of three Italian rabbis of the period, representing different rabbinical schools. Regardless of their rabbinical formation all three rabbis share a profound preoccupation with the devastating assimilation to Italian non-Jewish culture of Italian Jews after, and as a result of, the emancipation. Yet, while condemning the assimilation tendencies of the Jewish Italian population, they all remain faithful to the ideals of Italian Risorgimento emancipation values. As Italian emancipated Jews, the Rabbis identify themselves with the Italian political shift from liberal and socialist ideals towards national, patriotic war. Not without difficulty they give up prewar previous pacifist attitudes in favour of a patriotic loyalty to the new Italian state and its royal family, inviting their audience to be loyal to what seem to be the needs of their fatherland. Towards the end of the war, however, a significant part of the rabbinical leadership shifted towards a Zionist patriotism, investing their energies in constructing a new religious identity through Zionist, all-compassing, national Jewish identity. These tensions between Italian Risorgimento ideals and Jewish religious and cultural continuity on the one hand, and an Italian versus Zionist national solution to post-war crisis on the other, are analysed and exemplified by the sermons of the three rabbis in this micro-study of Italian Jewish identity before and after the First World War.

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Adolescence in Action

Screening Narratives of Girl Killers

Eva Lupold

The term girl heroine is an ambiguous signifier in discourses surrounding action-adventure cinema. Film scholars occasionally refer to adult action heroines as girls, while adolescent warriors remain largely overlooked in the literature. Research on women warriors focuses primarily on “musculinity” films of the 1980s or on more recent “action babe” movies featuring adult women. However, movies like Kick-Ass, Hanna, Violet & Daisy, Hard Candy, True Grit, and The Hunger Games demonstrate that films with adolescent action heroines are increasingly popular. This article argues that contemporary depictions of girl warriors emerge as a result of recent shifts in cultural attitudes towards girlhood sexuality and girlhood aggression. It also argues that the rise of the adolescent action heroine points to anxieties about changes in nuclear family structures, and that contemporary action films imply that young girls should be responsible for maintaining moral order. Ultimately, such films thus contain regressive as well as progressive messages.

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Political engagement of Latin Americans in the UK

Issues, strategies, and the public debate

Davide Però

This article examines the political engagement of Latin Americans in the UK in the context of a mounting neo-assimilationist and anti-multicultural offensive in the public debate on integration. Assuming that migrants should have a say about their own integration in society, the article explores the extent to which the public debate is sensitive to migrants' own collective concerns. It is from this empirically informed perspective that the article criticizes assimilationist and multi-culturalist attitudes for their disregard of the exploitation and lack of social and cultural recognition that afflicts newly arrived migrants. The article helps to rebalance the prevailing trend in policy and academic circles to treat migrants as objects of policies and ignore their political agency and active collective engagement in the improvement of their conditions. It also offers a corrective to emerging alternative approaches that tend to reduce migrants' politics to their role in sustaining long-distance diasporic communities.

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Weaving Threads between the Ethnic and the Global

African Women’s Entrepreneurial Ventures in Athens

Marina Petronoti

This article addresses hairdressing as a forum in which African women running small salons in Athens negotiate identity and raise claims to modernity. The specificity of their entrepreneurial activities lies in that they occur at a time when the incorporation of ethnic modes of adornment in Western fashion captures Greeks' interest, but prevailing policies curtail the rights of displaced populations and look down upon their traditional performances. In this sense, my analysis touches upon issues of analytical importance to the ethnography on immigration in Greece. It exemplifies how African entrepreneurs diffuse seeds of their cultural legacy in the lifestyle of otherwise dismissive hosts as well as the multiple repercussions that their involvement in a major domain of consumption have on stereotypical imageries of and attitudes towards the Other.

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Larisa Deriglazova

This article discusses the fluctuation of Russian attitudes towards Europe during the last twenty-five years. ‘Europeanness’ is connected to EU efforts of ‘Europeanisation’ and ‘normalisation’ of Russia on EU terms. At the same time, the EU has tried to monopolise the notion of ‘Europe’ and pretends to fulfil all its ideals and values. The continued expansion of the EU towards Russia’s former partners, and conflicts in contested neighbourhoods, has ushered in the feeling among Russians of being ‘different’ (‘Europeans’, yet with a desire to be great, strong and feared). Russia once again plays the role of a revisionist power, thus undermining the EU claim to represent the whole of Europe. Russia may be excluded from formal European organisations, but it cannot be excluded from an ‘imaginable’ community of Europe as a cultural phenomenon to which many Russians still attribute personal and collective meaning.

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Stefan Heiland, Silke Spielmans and Bernd Demuth

The article examines the relevance of demographic change for the development of rural landscapes, especially in Germany's shrinking regions. To date, no empirical investigations have undertaken the matter. Thus, the article is mainly based on literature analysis and the findings of expert workshops. The research indicates that demographic change does not have as strong impact on landscapes as other factors such as agricultural policy, climate change, and the promotion of renewable energies. Nonetheless, from the perspective of nature conservation, there might be some indirect effects caused by structural and institutional changes of administrations, which could lead to a decline in importance of landscape-related concerns. In addition, changes in environmental consciousness due to rising cultural diversity could lead to a different societal attitude toward landscapes and their values.

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Miley, What’s Good?

Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda, Instagram Reproductions, and Viral Memetic Violence

Aria S. Halliday

Images on popular social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter that are the most entertaining are loaded with memetic power because their value is based on cultural attitudes that already constitute our lives in the everyday. Focusing on memes appropriating the artwork from Nicki Minaj’s single, Anaconda, I explore how popular memetic culture is fueled by Black women’s creativity yet positions Black women’s bodies as the fodder for potent viral images on social media platforms and in everyday experiences; Black girlhoods, at this level of representation and in lived experiences, are rarely awarded the distinction from womanhood that many other girlhoods enjoy. Thus, Black feminist discourses of desire which speak to both girlhoods and womanhoods inform my argument that social media has become a site of reproduction and consumption—a technological auction block where Black women’s bodies, aesthetics, and experiences are vilified for viral enjoyment.