, our contributors consider the critique of ritual from within, incorporating reflexivity into both the performance of ritual and the analysis of it. The texts published in the articles section also incorporate this critical dimension of religious
Ruy Llera Blanes, Sondra L. Hausner and Simon Coleman
This article examines the practices through which Cambridge Energy Research Associates disseminates natural gas market analysis among senior-level decision makers in the Alaska state government. Cambridge Energy is a global consulting firm that provides knowledge on the future of energy markets. The US natural gas market has recently undergone a revolutionary transformation as a consequence of changing regulation. This has led to expansion in the services of consulting firms such as Cambridge Energy, who produce analysis on the uncertainties affecting the future. In fall 2000, with a rise in energy prices and renewed interest in commercializing Arctic natural gas, Alaska Governor Tony Knowles awarded a contract to Cambridge Energy to assist with market analysis slated to lead to construction of Alaska's natural gas pipeline. Drawing on ethnographic research at key sites of decision making, I show how domestication of analyses in state and news media discourses serves to govern Arctic gas development.
There seems to be a wide consensus in the academic community that the Holocaust is gradually losing significance in the German public. This development is clearly reflected in public elite discourse on national identity, where “Holocaust-centered memory” has ceased to be hegemonic. In the literature, several interpretations and reasons have been presented to explain this development. This paper contributes to the debate by arguing that the declining presence of Holocaust-centered arguments in intellectual elite discourse on national identity is due to a new consensual idea of German nationhood. Based on an event-oriented discourse analysis of more than 800 articles in opinion-leading newspapers, journals and magazines covering a period of more than twenty years, I argue that in national identity discourse, the Holocaust has never been—as is usually assumed—a blockade to displays of national identity in general, but only to a specific interpretation of the German nation as a Volk and as an exclusionist culture nation. By contrast, the idea of nationhood that dominates in the German public sphere today, the civic nation model, has never invoked Holocaust-centered counter-arguments—not even in the Historikerstreit in the 1980s. Thus, over the past three decades, the way national identity discourse has operated might have changed less than had often been assumed. The central argument of this paper is that the Holocaust has become a “latent”—but not a less consequential—argumentative resource.
This article will explore the prospects of and obstacles to the development of a transnational workers' solidarity movement in the Baltic Sea region in order to meet the challenges posed by transnational capital. The question is examined through a situational analysis of events taking place during a few hours at the Hotel Hafen in Hamburg on 10 November 2010. The subject of the analysis, which is based on personal observation and sound recordings, is the tripartite Steering Committee meeting of the Baltic Sea Labour Network (BSLN). The meeting's primary task was to formulate a statement about transnational strategies and tactics on which the parties—politicians, representatives of the employers and workers' delegations—could agree. The analysis explores the different parties' power resources in the negotiation process, and especially the workers' delegates' ability to pursue a course based on class solidarity. At each stage, we can observe how statements are formulated in an area of tension characterized by unequal power relationships and conflicting discourses in the form of neocolonial, national, transnational (class/region), and the EU's neoliberal and consensus-governed partnership discourses.
Kim Knibbe, Brenda Bartelink, Jelle Wiering, Karin B. Neutel, Marian Burchardt and Joan Wallach Scott
responses like this one. In the acknowledgments, we read that Scott’s colleague Didier Fassin pointed out that what Scott was talking about was, in his view, “a discourse of secularism, not a fixed category of analysis” (p. xii). Like Scott herself, I
Valerie R. Friesen
In many parts of the developing world, sport is a non-traditional activity for girls, one which is being used increasingly by development organizations for the empowerment of girls and women. However, very little research has been done on the complex subjective perceptions and understandings of the participants themselves. The girls in this study were participants in an after-school program in Windhoek, Namibia, which combines academics and sport. I used discourse analysis to highlight issues of agency, power, and gender that emerge from their reflections on their sport participation. Girls' conversations often revealed acceptance and normalization of dominant gender norms but also a growing critical consciousness, and demonstrated the numerous ways girls resist, negotiate and engage with these discourses through their own perceptions of power, agency, and hope.
Early twenty-first century North American journalists often claim that social changes such as women's liberation and civil rights have had a dark side for girls. For supposedly abandoning the safety of their traditional role in the home, girls are disproportionately characterized as being at risk of victimization, while also being increasingly cast as risks to themselves and others. Using mixed-methods content analysis, this article demonstrates that the social construct of risky girls crystallized for Toronto news after the 1997 murder of Reena Virk in British Columbia through a raced, classed, and gendered moral panic over bad girls. Discourses changed from talk of youth violence before the murder to talk of risky girls after it. By conflating victimization with offending, risky girl discourses prioritize risk management over needs. This conflation results in the increased policing and incarceration of girls and youth of color, ultimately reinforcing social inequalities like racism and patriarchy.
Girls Cultivating Disruption
Crystal Leigh Endsley
There are increasing demands that scholars of girlhood studies pay attention to the ways in which girls of color challenge the powerful discourses that work to constrain them. I take up this call to action through an analysis of the spoken word poetry of black, brown, and mixed-race high school girls in New Orleans, Louisiana. I discuss varying levels of consciousness about these discourses as represented in the poems of three girls aged 14, 15, and 16 that offer nuanced entry into the ambiguous process of their developing identities. I link instances of disruption highlighted through their poetry to aspects of their day-to-day experience to present a theoretical intervention that I call cultivated disruption that points to the ways in which girls of color are already practicing poetry as pleasurable and creative survival.
Tomas Max Martin
Ugandan prison staff both criticize and welcome human rights as a reform agenda that brings about insecurity as well as tangible improvements. In practice, human rights discourse is malleable enough for prison officers to cobble together a take on human rights that enables them to embrace the concept. The analysis of the emic notion of “reasonable caning” illustrates this malleability as staff concurrently take stands against inhumane violence and continue to legitimize caning while aligning with human rights. Human rights are locally negotiated, and it is argued that human rights reform cannot simply be analyzed as a submissive or opposing reaction to the top-down export of powerful global discourses. The embrace of human rights that unfolds in Ugandan prisons is rather a productive and multifaceted effort by prison officers to get purchase on legal technologies and reconceptualizations of prison management practices that affect their lives.
Maria Ferretti and Enzo Rossi
Agonist theorists have argued against deliberative democrats that democratic institutions should not seek to establish a rational consensus, but rather allow political disagreements to be expressed in an adversarial form. But democratic agonism is not antagonism: some restriction of the plurality of admissible expressions is not incompatible with a legitimate public sphere. However, is it generally possible to grant this distinction between antagonism and agonism without accepting normative standards in public discourse that saliently resemble those advocated by (some) deliberative democrats? In this paper we provide an analysis of one important aspect of political communication, the use of slippery-slope arguments, and show that the fact of pluralism weakens the agonists' case for contestation as a sufficient ingredient for appropriately democratic public discourse. We illustrate that contention by identifying two specific kinds of what we call pluralism slippery slopes, that is, mechanisms whereby pluralism reinforces the efficacy of slippery-slope arguments.