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The Rape of the Lock

Desire between Couple(t)s – a Counselling Intervention

Dennis Brown

I want, here, to focus on this originary motive for the poem, and to suggest ways in which it informs the poet’s larger purpose – to create a social poem which negotiates tensions within the age-old battle of the sexes. The finished masterpiece, I shall argue, has relevance not only to contemporary debates about the ideology of gender3 but, in particular, to the rise of our now-ubiquitous ‘counselling’ culture. For such a discussion it is important that the ‘Offence’ occurred within a tightly knit, ‘marginal’ group, and that the poetic strategy develops a phantasmagoric ‘interpretation’ of the incident, as a proto-Freudian6 narrative in which attentive intelligence has transformed the strength of Desire into mock-heroic sweet reason.

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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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Native Marriage “Soviet” and “Russian” Style

The Political Economy of Desire and Competing Matrimonial Emotions

Vera Skvirskaja

Based on fieldwork in Nenets tundra encampments and multiethnic villages on the northern Yamal Peninsula, this article discusses people’s experiences and expectations of married life. Two types of marriage—”arranged” and “love marriage”—are used to illustrate how marriage brings to the fore the political economy of desire and local reflections on the good society. The article suggests that while Soviet ideology and post-Soviet neotraditionalist discourses have endorsed customary attitudes toward arranged Nenets marriage, love marriage including marriage with Russians often leads to a situation in which “love” or “alien romance” is tempered by “reason” rather than relying on a “modern” nuclear family ideal. It argues that tundra marriage, including arranged marriage, is commonly underwritten by subjectively understood chances of leading a good family life.

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Quality in the Balance

On the Adaptive and Mimetic Nature of Subjective Well-Being

Thierry Kochuyt

‘Quality’ and ‘well-being’ are topical issues and part of their success is based on the suggestion that we have here hard and solid notions on which one can built a new and better society. As normative standards, they anticipate an ideal state from which the actual reality of things can be evaluated as deficient. In this light poverty appears as a sore phenomenon, an infringement of what the quality of life and well-being are all about. In an attempt to qualify this quality of life, the present article focuses on western poverty and its (lacking) sense of well-being. Turning these notions into norms, one should check if ‘quality’ and ‘well-being’ are transparent i.e., referring to unambiguous evaluations that can be assessed objectively. While common and moral sense supposes so, science has to doubt this assumption. The following is based on empirical research in different fields and some theoretical reflections. Bringing these together we try to identify the subjective mechanisms that trouble the notions of quality and well-being. Indeed, there are distorting forces at work, which create and abort the subjective experiences of quality and well-being and thereby nullify their evaluative potential.

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'Your Heart Is Not Warm Unless You Steal!'

Constructions of Theft and Stealing

Ada I. Engebrigtsen

A proverb common in Romania, generally referring to gypsies, claims that 'your heart is not warm unless you steel'. During the author's fieldwork in a village in Transylvania it was, obvious, however, that the moral judgement on theft and stealing varies greatly according to context. The article discusses the social construction of theft in different empirical contexts and historical periods from wartime looting in India to theft of state property in Romania and how the definition and judgement in each case are embedded in social relations and social structures. The article's main objective is to unmask social relations of power and domination that are often hidden behind definitions and judgements concerning the acquisition of the property of others. Thus theft cannot be understood as either legal or moral; instead, it ties together the moral and the legal, the collective and the individual, objects and persons in different ways in different contexts.

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Contradictions in Tourism

The Promise and Pitfalls of Ecotourism as a Manifold Capitalist Fix

Robert Fletcher and Katja Neves

This article reviews an interdisciplinary literature exploring the relationship between tourism and capitalism focused on ecotourism in particular. One of this literature's most salient features is to highlight ecotourism's function in employing capitalist mechanisms to address problems of capitalist development itself by attempting to resolve a series of contradictions intrinsic to the accumulation process, including: economic stagnation due to overaccumulation (time/space x); growing inequality and social unrest (social x); limitations on capital accumulation resulting from ecological degradation (environmental x); a widespread sense of alienation between humans and nonhuman natures; and a loss of “enchantment“ due to capitalist rationalization. Hence, widespread advocacy of ecotourism as a “panacea“ for diverse social and environmental ills can be interpreted as an implicit endorsement of its potential as a manifold capitalist x as well. The article concludes by outlining a number of possible directions for future research suggested by this review.

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Alpha Girls and Cheerleading

Negotiating New Discourses with Old Practices

Natalie Guice Adams and Pamela J. Bettis

In Alpha Girls: Understanding the New American Girl and How She is Changing the World, psychologist Dan Kindlon (2006) claims that the new psychology of girls has produced a dramatically different kind of girl from her 1990s girl-in-crisis predecessor. He proposes that this new type of girl is a hybrid, personifying the best traits of masculinity and femininity. The Alpha Girl represents a new form of girlhood in which girls are seen as the economic, social, and cultural winners in the twenty first century because they are risk takers, competitive, and collaborative. How does cheerleading, one of the most female-identified and sexualized cultures of adolescent life, coexist with this seemingly new discourse of empowering girlhood? We argue that cheerleading provides a rich space for Girls Studies scholars to analyze how modes of femininity play out in the social practices that girls themselves deem important.

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To Dream, Perchance to Cure

Dreaming and Shamanism in a Brazilian Indigenous Society

Waud H. Kracke

Drawing on his extensive psychoanalytic ethnographic work among the Parintintin Indians of Brazil, the author discusses the place of dreaming in Parintintin shamanism. In this culture, dreams are spiritually significant, and there are traditional modes of interpreting them. While dream interpretation was formerly the province of shamans, even ordinary people are considered to have the capacity to use dreams to predict events and sense feelings directed toward them. The article deals primarily with the dreams of an informant who was not a shaman but had an intense interest in this practice. Because his birth had not been 'dreamed' by a shaman, he was not considered to be one; nevertheless, he experienced in dreams the cosmic journey of a shaman. While the informants' dreams manifest yearnings in what could be considered stereotypical forms, the author finds that they do express personal meanings and reflect intimate, unconscious wishes.

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Off the Beaten Path

Non-Metropolitan Representations of Homosexuality in Three French Films

Romain Chareyron

This article offers a reflection on the ways in which the representation of gays and lesbians in contemporary French cinema has mostly focused on specific and limiting traits. With their choice of locales (Paris and other cities) and bodily characteristics (young, fit), these films convey a restrictive view of homosexuality. Such portrayals have gained traction due to their numerous iterations in films and in the media. By focusing on the works of three directors who have adopted a radically different perspective in their portrayals of homosexuality, this article will highlight the close ties that exist between sexuality and topography. Providing a more true-to-life account of homosexuality, the films move away from cities to investigate the geographical margins. In so doing, they question the tenets of France’s republican ideals, where differences tend to be smoothed out in favor of unity and homogeneity. These films reinstate diversity and individuality at the heart of their narratives.

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Offshore Desires

Mobility, Liquidity and History in Shakespeare’s Mediterranean

Rui Carvalho Homem

This article probes the ability of Shakespearean drama to provide expressive resources for coming to terms (conceptually, discursively) with current crises. These include both the power games of global finance, and those disasters that ostensibly concern other strands of geopolitics. The article focuses on two plays, The Comedy of Errors and Pericles, the actions of which unfold in the eastern Mediterranean – an area of the world associated, in the late modern imagination, either with mobility as pleasure (mass tourism and its apparatus) or mobility as crisis (disputed territories, the plight of displaced populations). It highlights the close bonds between prevalent modes – satire and farce in The Comedy of Errors, romance in Pericles – and the plays’ distinct strategies for representing human mobility: the sense of agency proper to acquisitive urges, the victimhood of forced displacement.