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From Adolescent Boys to Queer Young Men

Support for and Silencing of Queer Voice in Schools, Families, and Communities

Michael Sadowski

Gilligan (1996) and other feminist relational psychologists have identified a “silencing” to which adolescent girls are vulnerable when they confront pressures to conform to patriarchal values and norms in various social contexts. As Machoian (2005) and other researchers have noted, the silencing of girls’ authentic voices at adolescence is associated with heightened risk for depression and for suicide, cutting, eating disorders, and other self-harming behaviors. This article is based on in-depth interviews that examined the ways in which lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer-identifying youth might be subject to an analogous silencing of their authentic “queer voices.” Drawing on four case studies of male youth who participated in a larger qualitative research project, the article examines how schools, families, and communities both supported and silenced the authentic expression of their voices as gay- or queer-identifying boys. Since two of the case studies are based on interviews with participants at both late adolescence and young adulthood, the article also examines the effects of supportive factors over time and how they helped contribute to a purposeful, voiced sense of queer male identity as the participants reached manhood.

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Society as Representation

Durkheim, Psychology and the 'Dualism of Human Nature'

Simonetta Falasca-Zamponi

Against readings that have emphasized Durkheim's sociological realism and reductionism, this article examines the role of individuality and psychology in his theory. In particular, Durkheim's approach to representations is the proof of the crucial importance he assigned to mental processes in the construction of social life. Durkheim showed the relation of representations to the collectivity – how ideas promote the sense of community – and in this context he emphasized their epistemological ramifications. Specifically, he pointed to a series of dualisms that remained unexplained by psychological analysis, including the one posing rational against affective logic. While arguing for the preeminence of ideas in Durkheim's view of society, the article also recognizes the limitations that marred his efforts at reconciling the individual with society. Most notably, his genetic approach and his account of the central role of affect in the creation of the social made Durkheim vulnerable to criticism. Even his late essay on the dualism of human nature, which testifies to his lifelong confrontations with psychology, left a whole set of questions unanswered about his theory's applicability to historical forms of institutionalization of the social, especially in modernity.

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Anna J. Wesselink, Wiebe E. Bijker, Huib J. de Vriend and Maarten S. Krol

This article shows how Dutch technological culture has historically dealt with and developed around vulnerability with respect to flooding and indicates recent developments in attitude towards the flood threat. The flooding of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina temporarily made the Dutch public worry about the flood defense infrastructure in the Netherlands, exemplified by the Delta Works. Could this happen in the Netherlands? After the flooding disaster of 1953, a system of large dams was built to offer safety from flooding with—in theory at least—protection levels that are much higher than in New Orleans. In the public's perception the protection offered is absolute. In practice not all flood defense structures are as secure as they are supposed to be, but their upgrading takes time and money. Katrina has served as a reminder of what is at stake: Can the Dutch afford to take another 10 years to restore the protection level of their flood defenses? Calls for pride in clever engineering are the latest in a continuing debate on the best way to continue life below sea level.

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John Hartigan Jr.

These are challenging times for people who think critically about race. The intellectual edifice upon which many scholarly interventions against racist thought and practice have developed over the last few decades is in the process of crumbling. The simple but profound assertion that race is socially constructed is being assailed in a variety of intellectual forums and may soon become untenable as a basis for effectively countering widespread racial perceptions and beliefs.1 Actually, the efficacy of the social constructionist stance, as with most ‘social’ explanations for politically charged and complex problems, has at best maintained only a tenuous hold in the public imagination.2 The challenge, then, is to find a better and more effective means of both objectifying and analyzing racial dynamics. This task begins by assessing why social construction is vulnerable in the first place, by delineating its weak points as an analytical framework, and by questioning the ways it either succeeds or fails in adequately representing and interpreting the nuance and complexity of racial relations.

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Dana-Ain Davis

Neoliberal values and ideology, which have broadly undermined social justice ideals, have been inserted into a range of public spheres both in the U.S.A. and internationally. Public higher education institutions have increasingly acquiesced to neoliberal strategies, which restrict access to public services, commodify the public sphere and challenge the legitimacy of progressive and liberal politics. This article explores some neoliberal practices at one public institution of higher education in the United States. I present three incidents that took place between 2000 and 2006 at a college that is part of a public State University system: a shift to disparagement of 'activism' in a college that had prided itself on its activist traditions; a confusion over the profitable marketability of Global Black Studies, in a context where political pressures diminished 'minority' perspectives in the interest of reasserting homogeneous 'Western civilisation'; and a partnership between this public college and a prestigious private university. In each case I explore my own response in terms of faculty governance, and how I developed new courses and pedagogies to open up these aspects of the operation of neoliberalism to critical examination by students. These incidents show how neoliberal practices create fear and feelings of vulnerability among faculty, especially faculty members of colour; they also show the importance of developing critical pedagogies to expose their assaults on social justice and equity.

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Bowing Down to Wood and Stone

One Way to be a Pilgrim

Charles Lock

Written in 1817 by Reginald Heber (1783–1826), a Shropshire vicar who would only later (in 1823) be consecrated Bishop of Calcutta, this hymn encapsulates certain Protestant prejudices, and sets up a number of significant oppositions. Before we attend to ‘wood and stone’ and the action of prostration, however, we should note the ‘prospect’ that pleases: the beauty of that exotic world where the gifts of God are so lavishly strewn, yet so erroneously received by the natives. Their ‘blindness’ is not only of a moral or spiritual order, but may stand also for the shortsightedness which prevents appreciation of God’s gifts arranged in a pleasing prospect. The antithesis is implied: on the one hand, the prospect, on the other hand, idols of wood and stone. On the one hand, distance, on the other, proximity. (Hands are quite inadequate as figures for optical antitheses.) For a prospect, as we know from landscape art, or from the novels of Heber’s contemporary, Jane Austen (1775–1817), is that which is arranged according to perspective: that which constitutes the precise position from which it can best, or properly, be seen. And that position is, of course, one of authority, mastery, possession: a prospect confers optical propriety. (The opening chapter of Christopher Hussey’s The Picturesque from 1927, ‘The Prospect,’ is still to be recommended.) In the nineteenth century it is England, or the English eye, that affords the viewpoint by which the global prospect is constituted, and the missionary obligation laid down. By contrast, to prostrate is to be vulnerable; bowing down, one surrenders distance and optical mastery in order to attain proximity to the object. To be unsighted, to have no clear object of vision, forms no small part of abjection and subservience.

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Matthew Festenstein

One of the most long-standing and potent charges against pragmatism from the point of view of political philosophy has been that of acquiescence. 1 Whatever the personal, moral or political commitments of particular pragmatists, this criticism alleges, pragmatism is vulnerable to appropriation by whatever social forces are most powerful. This criticism takes various forms (MacGilvray 2000), but its core can be fairly simply stated. On the one hand, pragmatism (at least in its Deweyan version) subsumes theoretical reasoning within practical reasoning. For the Deweyan account, inquiry is understood as a particular kind of activity. Like other activities, it is pursued in order to achieve particular goals. In its course one’s goals may change, new conceptions of what one is doing emerge and indeed who one is may emerge, etc. But inquiry should be understood as goal-directed activity, and successful inquiry as that which allows us to deal with the environment in better ways. On the other hand, Deweyan pragmatism is notoriously reticent about setting out ‘final ends’ for the sake of which this activity takes place (Richardson 1999: 122). Inquiry is then viewed as instrumental and goal-directed, but the goals to which it is or should be directed are left out of the picture of practical reasoning. Accordingly, social consensus or power rushes to fill the vacuum. The dilemma that this position presents for the pragmatist, then, is that either she abandons the aspiration to say something critical about existing social and political arrangements or she abandons the pragmatist view of inquiry: she cannot have both.

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Courtney Cook

Nazera Sadiq Wright. 2016. Black Girlhood in the Nineteenth Century. Urbana, University of Illinois Press.

Black girls have a history of resilience. Nazera Sadiq Wright, in Black Girlhood in the Nineteenth Century (2016), analyzes accounts of the experiences of black girls from what she refers to as “youthful” girlhood to the conscious or “prematurely knowing” (44) age of 18. Setting out to recover overlooked accounts of black girlhood during the nineteenth century, a tumultuous epoch of transition for the black community, Wright uses contemporaneous literary and visual texts such as black newspapers, novels, poetry, and journals to reconstruct this lost narrative. By engaging in a close reading of these texts, in which black people, emerging from slavery, communicated with each other about personal and community goals, Wright examines the ways in which the instruction of black girls operated in between the lines of literature to convey codes of conduct to the black community. She argues that with the emergence of literature written by and for black women, the role of the black girl morphed from docile homemaker to resilient heroine for herself and her people. In discussing this more complex role, Wright does not deny that black girls were vulnerable to multiple forms of violence and hurt, but does point to a more nuanced experience. Black Girlhood in the Nineteenth Century is an intervention into the African American literary canon, filling in many of the gaps in the lost history of black girlhood, making it an essential text for those “who care” (22) about black girls as they engage in the process of rewriting and redeeming the narratives of an often-forgotten population.

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Rosío Córdova and Hipólito Rodríguez

Since the 1980s, the different crises that have taken place in the south of Mexico and Central America have raised the migrant flow to the United States. In parallel, these crises have contributed to make the journey for those who want to gain access to the American market more difficult and unsafe. Although legal measures have tried to stop the flow of migrants, in the last decade migrants have faced other kinds of non-legal obstacles that make dangerous their displacement. This article explores the process that has led to conditions of insecurity and vulnerability for migrants. It is focused on the corridor of the Gulf of Mexico, one of the main routes of migration to the territory of the United States.

Spanish Desde los años ochenta del siglo pasado, diversas crisis económicas han detonado en el sur de México y en Centroamérica el incremento del flujo migratorio hacia EEUU. Colateralmente, las mismas crisis han propiciado la emergencia de circunstancias que hacen más difícil e inseguro el desplazamiento de quienes buscan acceder al mercado de trabajo de ese país. Si bien el crecimiento del flujo ha intentado ser detenido por medio de medidas legales, en la última década los migrantes han encontrado otro tipo de obstáculos no legales que han vuelto sumamente peligroso su tránsito. Este artículo explora el proceso que ha originado condiciones de inseguridad y vulnerabilidad para la población migrante y centra su atención en el corredor del Golfo de México, un territorio por el que pasa una de las principales rutas del movimiento migratorio hacia territorio estadounidense.

French Dans les années 1980, différentes crises économiques sont survenues dans le sud du Mexique et en Amérique centrale, favorisant ainsi l'essor de la migration vers les États-Unis. Par ailleurs, ces mêmes crises ont conduit à l'émergence de circonstances qui ont rendu difficiles et dangereux les déplacements des individus souhaitant accéder au marché du travail de ce pays. Alors que la tendance première des politiques avait été de restreindre l'essor des flux par des mesures légales, dans la dernière décennie, les migrants feront face à d'autres types d'obstacles non juridiques qui auront pour effet de rendre leur transit extrêmement dangereux. Cet article analyse le processus ayant conduit à l'émergence des conditions d'insécurité et de vulnérabilité chez les migrants et se concentre sur le corridor du golfe du Mexique, reconnu comme étant la principale zone de transit des flux migratoires en direction des Etats-Unis.

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Jack Hunter, Annelin Eriksen, Jon Mitchell, Mattijs van de Port, Magnus Course, Nicolás Panotto, Ruth Barcan, David M. R. Orr, Girish Daswani, Piergiorgio Di Giminiani, Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen, Sofía Ugarte, Ryan J. Cook, Bettina E. Schmidt and Mylene Mizrahi

employment opportunities for Bahamians increase the vulnerability of Haitian workers. Louis highlights the fact that children born to Haitian migrants in the Bahamas are not Bahamian citizens regardless of their parents’ migratory status, spending “a lifetime