The homology between the fragmented body politic and its suffering physical bodies in Titus Andronicus seems to suggest that Shakespeare represents physical disability negatively: as corruption, disorder, incapacity. By relying upon a corporeal metaphor of fragmentation to characterise the political state of Rome, Shakespeare makes the traumatised or dismembered body bear a negative ideological burden; political inefficacy seems to be equated with the violated body. Inversely, and to the same effect, Titus and Lavinia's violated bodies seem to render their access to political and social agency difficult, if not impossible. However, at both the metaphorical and material level, Shakespeare endows the dis-abled body with the capacity to heal or adapt itself under the most extenuating circumstances. Overcoming physical barriers to communication and action, Titus and Lavinia enable themselves to enact revenge. This essay argues that the adaptability of the political and physical body in Titus suggests a potentially affirmative way of reconceptualising the physically incomplete body - not as a disabled entity but as a body that can suffer partial losses and still survive, succeed even, if its constituent parts form their own internally coherent body.
Action Anthropology against Michigan's Company Town Culture
The article describes my efforts as a public anthropologist/journalist in addressing the official culture of silence in Michigan's colleges, universities and towns regarding Dow Chemical's extensive environmental health pollution and corruption. These sites include Midland, Michigan, home of Dow's international headquarters, and my own residence of East Lansing, site of Michigan State University, the state's largest higher education institution. Both are beneficiaries of Dow largess or philanthropy. This relative silence - which extends to nearly all state media and universities - is remarkable considering the fact that, unlike turn of the century company towns, Dow Chemical operates in a civic culture where thousands of highly educated professionals work in education, government and communications. Democracy is degraded by processes of accumulation, ideology, fear, suppression, conformity, specialization and, importantly, the self-censorship of professionals and academics. With Eriksen (2006) and Hale (2008) I argue for an engaged anthropology where anthropologists step out of their academic cocoons to embrace the local public. This is 'not just a matter of … reaching broader publics with a message from social science … it is a way of doing social science' (Hale 2008: xvii). This case study illustrates how an anthropologist engaged contradictions in order to show how Michigan universities are becoming veritable knowledge factories in service to Eisenhower's feared military-industrial-academic complex.
Gijs Mom and Nanny Kim
How topsy-turvy can the world of mobility become? Th e London cab has recently been revived by a Chinese automotive group,1 General Motors had to be rescued by the American taxpayer, and BMW is converting its cars to electricity. In Delhi, after a rape and murder of a woman in a bus, rickshaw pullers introduced “safe for women” rickshaws.2 In Brazil riots against corruption and poverty started in a bus, out of outrage at increased ticket prices.3 In Rio de Janeiro there are three bus accidents per day, in part caused by drivers racing against each other.4 How can we understand the plethora of confusing messages from a world of mobility that seems to spin out of control, more so with every new decade? New Mobility Studies tries to make sense of this turbulence and as editors of Transfers we seek fresh approaches that are not afraid of transgressing boundaries. Th is issue, in which we present scholarship beyond the immediate reach of Western mainstream mobility studies, is an example of such boundary crossing.
Trillions of dollars move through the world’s markets illegally, and millions of people work in extra-state activities. They move everything from the dangerous (narcotics, toxic wastes, arms) through the luxurious (diamonds and art) to the necessary and the mundane (food, clothing, and electronics). Not only are fortunes made on these profits—empires are built. Empires that are, for various reasons, largely invisible. Illegal transactions are generally embedded in networks that span the globe. The most successful of these networks control finances and resources larger than many of the world’s countries. They can quite literally develop or cripple national emergent economies. These networks are not states, nor are they competing to become states. They thrive precisely because they constitute a different order of politics and economics than formal legal states (Nordstrom 2001). Illegal networks continuously intersect with states as they launder money into legality, move goods across the borders of il/legality, and turn corruption into politics by another name. But it is the tension between state and extra-state that gives both their power.
Gawad Kalinga in the Philippines
Alex B. Brillantes and Maricel T. Fernandez
This article discusses how the Gawad Kalinga movement in the Philippines has operationalized good governance among its communities. This movement has not only provided opportunities for collaboration and cooperation between and among the three major governance actors, governments, business, and civil society, but more important, provided a framework for active citizen engagement in the process of improving their quality of life. Citizen participation is central not only in the theory of social quality but also in good governance. The paper argues argues that in order for reforms to be successful and sustainable, institutional reforms and active citizen engagement are necessary. These reforms are key to addressing some basic problems facing nations today, an alarming decline in trust in institutions and corruption. This paper is divided into three parts. The first part discusses good governance approaches and reform of public administration in relation to social quality theory. The second part discusses the tenets of citizenship and civil organization leadership within the context of good governance. The third part focuses on an emerging citizens’ movement in the Philippines—the Gawad Kalinga movement, which highlights the aspects of citizen engagement. The last part contains some concluding remarks drawn from the Gawad Kalinga experience as applied governance reform, and its implications for enhancing social quality.
Complicating the Medieval Leper through Gender and Social Status
Christina Welch and Rohan Brown
This article explores the socio-religious construction of the medieval “ideal” leper; a male pedagogical symbol of social and moral status and a figure in a physical and spiritual state of liminality, where their physical decay was a sign of their moral corruption. It argues that within vernacular literature, and theology, the medieval male leper was typically perceived as an outcast experiencing social death before succumbing to the slow degeneration of the disease. Typically conceived, and represented as lusty and carnal, the “ideal” male leper wore his own sin as physical deformity as a result of the close theological interpretation of the body and the soul. However, once his spiritual and physical contagion was contained within a leprosaria (a leper hospital), he could be perceived as a semi-holy figure, living out his purgatorial punishment on earth. Living out his purgation and segregated from his former communities, the article contests that the once frightening and sinful medieval male leper could transform his social status, becoming “especially beloved by God.”
English higher education, like other parts of the public sector and higher education in other countries, is currently undergoing considerable change as it is being restructured as if it were a market in which universities, departments and academics compete against one another. This restructuring is producing new processes of subjectivity that discipline those who work and study in higher education institutions. Feminist poststructuralists have suggested that this restructuring is enabled partly through new forms of accountability that seemingly offer the 'carrot' of self-realisation alongside the 'stick' of greater management surveillance of the burgeoning number of tasks that academics, amongst others, must perform. This paper, located in the context of these changes, builds on Judith Butler's insight that processes of subjection to the dominant order through which the self is produced entail both mastery and subjection. That is, submission requires mastery of the underlying assumptions of the dominant order, In this paper I adopt an auto/biographical method and a critique of abstract social theories to explore how the neoliberal restructuring of universities interacts with the gender order. Many universities are being remoulded as businesses for other businesses, with profound effects on internal relations, the subjectivities of academics and students, and practices of education and scholarship. Yet I doubt if we can understand this, nor resist the deep corruption, through grasping neoliberalism's dynamics alone. A longer memory and a more concrete analysis are needed. Today's intense individualisation impacts on pre-existing social relations, which inflect it unpredictably. From my own experience, I evoke the baseline of an older academy, gender-segregated, explicitly patriarchal and privileged in class and ethnic terms. I stress the feminist and democratic gains of the 1960s and 1970s. I sketch the (neoliberal) strategies that undermine or redirect them. I write this, hoping that the next episode can be written differently.