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“The Song They Sing Is the Song of the Road”

Motoring and the Semantics of Space in Early Twentieth-Century British Travel Writing

Martin Walter

When, in the early twentieth century, British middle-class writers went on a tour in search of their country, travel writing not only saw the re-emergence of the home tour, but also the increasing appearance of the motorcar on British roads. With the travelogue playing the role of a discursive arena in which debates about automobility were visualized, the article argues that, as they went “in search of England,” writers like Henry Vollam Morton and J. B. Priestley not only took part in the ideological framing of motoring as a social practice, but also contributed to a change in the perception of accessing a seemingly remote English countryside. By looking at a number of contemporary British travelogues, the analysis traces the strategies of how the driving subjects staged their surroundings, and follows the authors' changing attitudes toward the cultural habit of traveling: instead of highlighting the seemingly static nature of the meaning of space, the travelogues render motoring a dynamic and procedural spatial practice, thus influencing notions of nature, progress, and tradition.

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Tanja Bukovčan

In this paper I explore the link between research into contemporary alternative medical practices (CAM) and activism. It is based on my recent research (2004-2007) which dealt with the interrelatedness and coexistence of biomedical and non-biomedical systems in the city of Zagreb. The process of adoption and introduction of CAM to Western European countries started some twenty years ago and in Zagreb the process was evident after the fall of communism. My research started with patients and their attitudes towards illness, health, well-being and suffering, factors that determined their choice of therapies and healers. However, hearing stories of people's experiences of CAM propelled me into the role of therapist as listener and, through attending to the silence surrounding the use of CAM in a relatively hostile society, the role of anthropologist as activist. Through the process of understanding and interpreting sensitive cultural practices, I explore whether anthropologists are uniquely placed to actively protect the rights of people to whom they owe their science.

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Puerilities/Masculinities

Introducing a Special Issue on Boyish Temporalities

Diederik F. Janssen

Pioneering cultural historian Johan Huizinga’s short chapter on puerilism, featured in his interwar essay In the Shadow of Tomorrow, famously highlighted what he considered the mutual “contamination of play and seriousness in modern life.” “Puerilism we shall call the attitude of a community whose behaviour is more immature than the state of its intellectual and critical faculties would warrant, which instead of making the boy into the man adapts its conduct to that of the adolescent age” (Huizinga, 1935 [1936, p. 170]). The puerilist condition degrades the serious to the superficial, true and ritual play to boundless childishness. It is a dangerous and decadent symptom, a “bastardization of culture,” a semi-seriousness and appetite for the sensational and the trivial appealing to obedient masses and small minds. Modern man becomes a slave to his comforts. “In his world full of wonders man is like a child in a fairy tale. He can travel through the air, speak to another hemisphere, have a continent delivered in his home by radio. He presses a button and life comes to him. Will such a life give him maturity?”

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Gender Differences in Perceptions of School Life and Self-Concept

Considerations for Addressing Gender in Secondary School Settings

Victoria Clay

It has long been argued that gender considerations are an important factor in educational outcomes for students. The impact of social and of cultural beliefs concerning the value of education has often been implicated in gender differences in outcomes of schooling. While social constructions of masculinity warrant scrutiny both in society in general and in education, a focus on the social determinants of behaviour and attitudes does not always allow for full consideration of individual factors, such as affective or social-emotional determinants of responses to situations. This paper discusses the findings of a qualitative study of student perceptions of quality of school life and of student self-concept that was conducted in six different Australian schools. The findings of this study show that as well as gender differences, there were differences related to the school location, the socio-economic group the students belonged to, and the age of the student. These findings point towards the need to investigate gender in schools using an ecological model of gendered perceptions of school life that can take account of both individual and environmental factors.

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Social Response to Age-Gap Sex Involving Minors

Empirical, Historical, Cross-Cultural, and Cross-Species Considerations

Bruce Rind

Social response to age‐gap sex involving minors has become increasingly severe. In the US, non‐coercive acts that might have been punished with probation 30 years ago often lead to decades in prison today. Punishment also increasingly includes civil commitment up to life, as well as scarlet‐letter‐like public registries and onerous residence restrictions for released offenders. Advocates and the general public approve, believing that age‐gap sex with minors is uniquely injurious, pathological, and criminal. Critics argue that public opinion and policy have been shaped by moral panic, consisting of unfounded assumptions and invalid science being uncritically promoted by ideology, media sensationalism, and political pandering. This talk critically examines the basic assumptions and does so using a multi‐perspective approach (empirical, historical, cross‐cultural, cross‐species) to overcome the biases inherent in traditional clinical‐forensic reports. Non‐clinical empirical reviews of age‐gap sex involving minors show claims of intense, pervasive injuriousness to be highly exaggerated. Historical and cross‐cultural reviews show that adult‐adolescent sexual relations have been common and frequently socially integrated in other times and places, indicating that present‐day Western conceptualizations are socially constructed to reflect current social and economic arrangements rather than expressions of a priori truths. Analogous relations in primates are commonplace, non‐pathological, and not infrequently functional, contradicting implicit assumptions of a biologically‐based “trauma response” in humans. It is concluded that, though age‐gap sex involving minors is a significant mismatch for contemporary culture—and this talk therefore does not endorse it—attitudes and social policy concerning it have been driven by an upward‐spiraling moral panic, which itself is immoral in its excessive adverse consequences for individuals and society.

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Introduction

Doing Ritual While Thinking about It?

Emma Gobin

Focusing on the reflexive attitudes that religious specialists adopt toward their ceremonial practices, this themed section proposes to renew a line of inquiry developed around the complex and protean link that exists between ritual and reflexivity

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Scholastic Performances

Seamus Heaney and Tony Harrison (Back) at School

Kai Merten

While literature may possibly be, as Derrida claims, ‘the institution which allows one to say everything’, school most certainly is not. As an institution, it is bound up with the political system of a society and inevitably subjected to educational policy. Literature, however, is taught at school, and, as some would claim, institutionalised and canonised thereby. School education, of course, is also a topic within autobiographical poetry that conjures up the days at school or university as part of a reconstructed growth of a poet’s mind. In an unprecendented opening of the school system, the post-war period following the Education Act in 1944 witnessed the introduction of scholarships for marginalised social groups in Britain and campaigns for institutions of higher education in the colonies. Many of the now well-established and internationally renowned poets in English went to school then. Perhaps surprisingly, their class-room poems are not so much about great opportunities and hard-won laurels as about the pressures on, and depressions of, those recently welcomed to a system that distributes social and cultural power. In concentrating on two well-known poems that were both published in the 1970s, Tony Harrison’s ‘Them & [uz]’ and Seamus Heaney’s ‘The Ministry of Fear’, I want to trace the entanglement of poetry and school education from the 1950s, the period reconstructed in the poems, until today. Although critical of the British educational system and its attitude to poetry, these poems are now taught at school. A consideration of the performative dimension of these poems will yield the criteria with which to describe their classroom career.

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Barbara Thériault

Cultural diversity has been one the most pressing challenges to present-

day Germany. Issues of diversity and, its corollary from the perspective

of the recipient society, the practice of toleration—as opposed

to the personal attitude of tolerance—are being paradigmatically

debated around the fate of Muslims. Although not new, Muslims

presence and public claims, such as the claim for legal recognition of

Islam and religious instruction in public schools, have undoubtedly

raised the issue of diversity anew. Some recent events, such as the

“Ludin case,” a German teacher of Afghan descent who fought the

federal state of Baden-Wurttemberg to wear a hijab in class, is a telling

example (see Beverly Weber’s article examining the case in this issue

of German Politics and Society). Similarly to the debate raging over

headscarves in France, this case seems to point to the “Muslim” as an

important figure of the stranger, understood as symbol of group

mediation, of the group’s inner and outer boundaries.1 But, unlike the

headscarf affair in France, where pupils are at the center stage of the

debate, the case of teachers in Germany bears witness to a different

type of stranger as outlined by Simmel in terms of spatial and symbolic

position within the group. Indeed, he/she is a stranger “from

within.”2 As such, Muslim growing and enduring presence in Germany

showcases practical problems encountered with the “management

of diversity” within some state institutions. Looking at the assessment of these dilemmas not only points to conflicting normative

models of social organization, but also puts in the hot seat those

who, to paraphrase Dubet, carry out le travail sur autrui (“work on the

other”), professionals activities, which aim at explicitly transforming

the “stranger.”

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Jens Kreinath and Refika Sariönder

to a hotel where participants of an Alevi cultural festival stayed and massacred more than 30 people—became a turning point for the formation of Alevi identity. This event triggered the religious identification of Alevi hometown associations ( köy

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Assessing Ritual Experience in Contemporary Spiritualities

The Practice of’sharing’ in a New Age Variant of Umbanda

Viola Teisenhoffer

is as crucial to the efficacy of ceremonial endeavors as the ritual action itself. In an attempt to account for the form and role of’sharing’ and reflexive attitudes in contemporary rituals aimed at self-enhancement, I will focus on the verbal