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Fabienne Randaxhe

From a French perspective, the relationship between the state and religion in the United States may seem paradoxical. On the one hand, the American nation was the first one to have established, by constitutional means, a separation between religious bodies and the political realm. On the other hand, religious and political spheres in the US still seem to overlap to some extent. While French approaches tend to regard US laïcité as uncertain and incomplete, this article discusses whether laïcité is in the US incomplete or aware of tensions to be lessened among religious, political and social forces. I focus on legal regulation and consider the notion of accommodation as a particular form of legal laïcité.

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Edward C. Knox

In the last ten to fifteen years, at least twenty personal narratives and sets of essays have appeared, recounting attempts by Americans to fit in, to belong at some level in France. These texts, of which Adam Gopnik’s Paris to the Moon is probably the best known, have by now become a full-fledged genre, one that appears, moreover, to be more prominent on France than on any other country or culture, with Italy/Tuscany as the only competitor. Two became bestsellers (Gopnik and Sedaris) and a third (Kaplan) was a National Book Award finalist. Nor is this an isolated phenomenon, as Carolyn Durham demonstrates in the area of fiction elsewhere in this issue.

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Civic Integration at Issue

An Essay on the Political Condition of Migrants

José María Rosales

This article deals with the civic integration of migrants, focusing on the process immigrants undergo to become nationals of new states. Discussing some recent advances in immigration policies in European Union countries, it questions the gap that separates their normative principles from institutional practices. Many existing citizens would not meet the administrative requirements imposed on migrants to gain legal residence and nationality. Furthermore, the experience of non-nationals living in Europe suggests that integration challenges remain, well after naturalisation is achieved, as new citizens face ongoing discriminatory burdens at various levels, including the labour market and politics. Part of an ongoing study on the civic condition of migrants, the article argues that a liberal approach to immigrant integration should not cease with the granting of citizenship. It should address the urgent task of protecting new citizens from discrimination that impairs their rights in practice.

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Jeffrey D. Burson

This article considers the methodology of entangled history and its potential for nuancing or circumventing scholarly controversies over the nature and extent of the Enlightenment in eighteenth-century religious thought. After sketching the development of entangled history theory and its potential applicability to studying the Enlightenment, the rest of the article provides a case study of one way in which the insights discussed in the first parts of the article can be applied to current controversies about how historians construct the concept of Enlightenment. As will be shown, the transdiscursive entanglement of Jesuit missionary output with the debates between Voltaire and Bergier illustrates the mutability and rhetorical malleability of historical paradigms concerning the Enlightenment and religion.

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Mythili Rajiva

In this article, I examine how second generation South Asian Canadian girls negotiate their racialized position in peer culture, through various strategies of accommodation, denial and resistance. I use feminist post-structuralist theories of discourse and positioning with feminist and narrative methods to analyze my interviews with ten subjects about their racialized adolescence. I argue that girls use certain strategies of accommodation—'passing', wannabe-ism, and strategic Otherness—to fit in without abandoning their ethnicized identities. Strategies of denial surface through girls' internalizing of dominant discourses of racism; this leads them to rationalize racism or invoke assimilationist narratives that hold minorities responsible for their own experiences of exclusion. Girls also use strategies of resistance in which they identify hegemonic discourses of belonging, speak openly about racism or criticize aspects of white culture in the context of South Asian community and family norms.

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Daniel M. Knight

The consequences of prolonged fiscal austerity have left people in Trikala, central Greece, with feelings of intense temporal vertigo: confusion and anxiety about where and when they belong in overarching timelines of pasts and futures. Some people report feeling ‘thrown back in time’ to past eras of poverty and suffering, while others discuss their experiences of the current crisis situation as reliving multiple moments of the past assembled in the present. This article analyses how locals understand their complex experiences of time and temporality, and promotes the accommodation of messy narratives of time that can otherwise leave the researcher feeling sea-sick.

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Stuart Hanscomb

This article explores the relationship between existentialism and the horror genre. Noël Carroll and others have proposed that horror monsters defy established categories. Carroll also argues that the emotion they provoke - 'art-horror' - is a 'composite' of fear and disgust. I argue that the sometimes horrifying images and metaphors of Sartre's early philosophy, which correlate with nausea and anxiety, have a non-coincidental commonality with art-horror explained by existentialism's preoccupation with the interstitial nature of the self. Further, it is argued that, as with some of the more sophisticated examples of the horror genre, the way for existential protagonists like Roquentin and Gregor Samsa to meet the challenge of the horrifying involves an accommodation of these features of the existential condition within their developing identity, which results in them appearing monstrous to others. Lastly, it is claimed that the association between existentialism and art-horror can explain the (paradoxical) appeal of horror.

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Speaking Back, Striking Back

Calls for Local Agency and Good Fieldwork in Development Encounters

Eugenie Reidy

This article explores local agency in development anthropology, a prominent form of applied anthropology that has encouraged refl ection on the practice of anthropology itself (Mosse 2013). Drawing on specifi c fieldwork experiences from time the author spent working for the United Nations and international NGOs in East Africa, it discusses several complexities and moral questions that arose. In particular, it focuses on the challenges for local perspectives to be represented, given the subjective interests in which development encounters are embedded. It also looks at instances where ‘speaking back’ does occur, and where it arguably becomes ‘striking back’. In light of this, the article discusses what can be mutually exchanged between development and anthropology, with a particular focus on the accommodation of local agency and participation, and the need for fieldwork approaches based on suffi cient time, trust and positionality.

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John McLeod

More than any other novel of the last fifty years, Sam Selvon's The Lonely Londoners (1956) has emerged as the talismanic literary account of the consequences of postwar migration to Britain. These consequences are well known: Selvon's novel engages with the growing racism of London; the challenge of his characters – Moses, Galahad and others – to find work, accommodation and sustenance (both emotional and material); the defiant attempt to resist prejudice and establish a new, vibrant and cosmopolitan London culture. Yet perhaps the least discussed issue in the novel is Galahad's fatherhood; early in the novel, and only once, a reference is made to the fact that, eight-and-a-half-months after Galahad's arrival, a young woman can be spied pushing a pram through Ladbroke Grove that contains his son. The appearance of this enigmatic child - quickly forgotten by his father, Selvon's novel and its critics - exposes the disruptive and transformative effect on the family by the historical phenomenon of postwar migration.

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Liberating the Land or Absorbing a Community

Managing North African Migration and the Bidonvilles in Paris's Banlieues

Melissa K. Byrnes

In the late-1950s, the Parisian suburbs of Saint-Denis and Asnières-sur-Seine launched major urban renovation projects to eliminate the bidonvilles, shantytowns that often housed North African migrants. While Asnières viewed the bidonville occupants as obstacles to modernization, Saint-Denis billed its efforts as a humanitarian project to provide migrants with better housing and to support migrants' rights and social welfare. Officials in Asnières used their renovation plans to bring new, metropolitan French, families into the reclaimed areas and redistribute the single male workers outside their city. Dionysien officials, however, aimed at inclusion, providing new accommodation within the city for many families and a majority of workers. The renovation efforts in these two cities demonstrate the diversity of French reactions to North African migrants, suggest the existence of alternative notions of local community identity, and highlight the importance of the Algerian War in defining France's migration framework.