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Lost in Hanoi

Disorientation, Travel, and Urban Space

Shane Strange

Using a 2010 trip to Hanoi, Vietnam, this article looks at the ways that disorientation is used as a trope within the urban environment and to create the traveling subject. Suggesting that travel is a form of deliberate disorientation/ orientation, the article focuses on ideas of disorientation within the urban environment and the ways they have been portrayed in Western cultural forms (the flâneur; the dérive) while suggesting these forms are not sufficient to understand the dynamics of travel. Moreover, the article focuses on two forms of travel as disorientation derived from John Zilcosky—the trope of being "lost and found" and that of "the return." Finally, the article suggests that Marcus Auge's idea of non-place is not only a sufficient way of conceptualizing contemporary notions of travel, but is also an indicator of something beyond its scope—that of globalization.

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The Collectivisation of Pleasure

Normative Sexuality in Post-1966 Romania

Erin K. Biebuyck

This article examines several sex manuals from Nicolae Ceauşescu’s Romania for the ideologically-infused sex norms they contain. These manuals constructed a sexual ideal that located pleasure in the marital couple rather than in the individual, defining ‘normal sexuality’ as heterosexual and privileging its collective significance as an act for reproduction over the experience of pleasure by an individual. This collective model of pleasure was key to the construction of the communist subject as a member of a collective rather than as an autonomous individual. While this collective subject had roots in Romanian pre-communist traditions, communist sex experts rejected conventional gender roles according to which women are subordinate to men. Subsequent comparisons with contemporaneous American sex manuals reveal that the Romanian communist discourse on pleasure differed significantly from that of popular American sex advice of the same period.

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Jennifer Ang Mei Sze

Sartrean ontological intersubjectivity is often understood to be hostile and conflictive, and Sartrean dialectics is repeatedly interpreted through the lenses of the Hegelian master-slave dyad, translating into a conflictive theory of practical ensembles. Building on this, critics in the aftermath of 9/11 argued that 'terror' and 'revolutionary violence' introduced in Critique of Dialectical Reason as the anti-thesis of oppression underscored his anti-colonial writings and this gives us justification to think that Sartre might consider terrorism a form of revolutionary violence.

With this in mind, this paper does not deal with the bigger issue of Sartre's political position, but only aims to question the basis of reading Hegelian dialectics in Sartre's ontology of intersubjectivity and social ensembles. Revisiting the role of dialectics in his Search for a Method and Critique of Dialectical Reason, it reveals a Sartre who is critical of Hegelian dialectics, and establishes his intersubjectivity as more compatible with Heidegger's being-with-others rather than Hegel's being-for-others.

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Enlivening the Supra-personal Actor

Vectors at Work in a Transnational Environmentalist Federation

Caroline Gatt

Recent anthropological literature on NGOs has focused on the agency and creativity of activists. The focus on the subjects of NGOs and agency in this work is an explicit response to scholarship in which actors are eclipsed by formal and technical analyses of organizational structures. This article revisits the concept of organizational structure by attending to it through the experience of activists of a transnational federation of environmental NGOs, namely Friends of the Earth International (FoEI). On a daily basis FoEI activists encounter and engage with various institutions. In certain situations, such institutions as well as the activists' own organizations are experienced as agentive entities. This article argues that from certain positioned perspectives such entities have material effects as supra-personal actors. Informed by Ingold, Latour and Haraway, but also by the FoEI activists themselves, I present the interdependent concepts of vectors, direction of attention and 'unprotected backs'. This conceptual toolbox is presented as a shared puzzle (Marcus and Fischer 1999), and as such is activism itself, that engages in conversation with environmental activists.

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"Every time she bends over she pulls up her thong"

Teen Girls Negotiating Discourses of Competitive, Heterosexualized Aggression

Jessica Ringrose

In this paper I explore the themes of heterosexualized competition and aggression in Avril Lavigne's music video Girlfriend (2007) as representative of the violent heterosexualized politics within which girls are incited to compete in contemporary schooling and popular culture. I argue that psycho-educational discourses attempting to explain girls' aggression and bullying fail to account for the heterosexualized, classed or racialized power dynamics of social competition that organize heteronormative femininity. Then I elaborate a psychosocial approach using psychoanalytic concepts to trace how teen girls negotiate contemporary discourses of sexual aggression and competition. Drawing on findings from a study with racially and economically marginalized girls aged thirteen to fourteen attending an innercity school in South Wales, I suggest that the girls enact regulatory, classed discourses like slut to manage performances of heterosexualized aggression. However, alongside their demonstration of the impetus toward sexual regulation of one another, I show how the girls in my study are also attempting to challenge heteronormative formations of performing sexy-aggressive. Moments of critical resistance in their narratives, when they refuse to pathologize aggressive girls as mean and/or bullies, and in their fantasies, when they reject heterosexual relationships like marriage are explored.

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Being a Responsible Violent Girl?

Exploring Female Violence, Self-management, and ADHD

Hanna Bertilsdotter Rosqvist and Linda Arnell

In this article, we explore how young women in Sweden negotiate their gendered subject positions in relation to psychiatric diagnoses, particularly Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and the meanings of their own violent acts. The data consists of transcripts of face-to-face interviews with young women who have experienced using aggressive and violent acts. Given that the analysis is informed by ideas developed in discursive psychology, we identified the centrality of the concepts of responsibility and self-management. In this study responsibility is connected to gendered notions of passivity and activity. What we call the ordinary girl is neither too active nor too passive, and the extraordinary girl is either too active or too passive in the managing of herself. Similar to those of a troublesome past, the narratives of ADHD enable the understanding of an intelligible violent self, and therefore make female externalized violence what we describe as narrative-able.

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Sociality Revisited

Setting a New Agenda

Nicholas J. Long and Henrietta L. Moore

It is time for a revitalized theory of human sociality. This theory recognizes that humans are always embedded in a dynamic matrix of relations with human, non-human, and inhuman others, but combines this recognition with attention to the distinctive capacities of human subjects. It thus builds on recent theories of actor-networks and affect, whilst going beyond their limitations.

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Militant collectivity

Building solidarities in the Maoist movement in Nepal

Dan V. Hirslund

A stubborn, anticapitalist movement, Maoism has persisted in the global periphery for the many past decades despite its tainted image as a progressive alterpolitical platform. This article seeks to ponder why this is the case by looking at a recent and popular example of leftist radical politics in the MLM tradition. I argue that contemporary Nepali Maoism is offering a militant, collectivist, antiliberal model for confronting capitalist and state hegemony in an effort to forge new class solidarities. Responding to a changed political environment for continuing its program of socialist revolution, I trace how the Maoist party's efforts at building a mass movement become centered on the question of organization, and in particular the requirements of what I term an ethical organization. Through an analysis of how caste and gender equalities are institutionalized within the movement, and the various ways in which collectivity becomes linked to concrete practices, the article offers an ethnographic analysis of contested egalitarian agency within a movement undergoing rapid change.

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The tempo of wageless work

E. P. Thompson's time-sense at the edges of Rio de Janeiro

Kathleen M. Millar

This article puts E. P. Thompson's writings on time-sense in conversation with the temporality of work on a garbage dump in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At this site, several thousand urban poor (catadores) collect recyclables for a living outside relations of wage labor. The lived experience of “woven time” on the dump, which combines labor with other activities of the everyday, has fashioned what these workers call “a different rhythm of life.” Diverging from other temporalities of neoliberal capitalism, such as “ruptured time,” woven time emerges as an important dimension of a life well lived, as conceived by catadores. Attention to the micro-temporalities of wageless work reveals how precarious forms of labor in contemporary capitalism constitute processes of subject making that both parallel and diverge from the transition to wage labor that Thompson describes in his social history of capitalism.

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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.