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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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The Construction of the Palestinian Girl

Voices from South Lebanon

Kathleen Fincham

This paper examines how specific femininities have been constructed in Palestinian refugee camps in south Lebanon through the intersecting discourses of gender and nation. Through these discourses, Palestinian girls and women have been positioned largely as biological reproducers, gatekeepers, metaphors, ideological reproducers and cultural transmitters of the nation. This has worked to shape Palestinian girls' upbringing in the home and in the community and presented them with limited gender scripts from which to construct their identities and imagine their futures. However, Palestinian females have also exercised agency to gain the most advantageous position available to them at any given time in Palestinian society. Although structural, legal and cultural barriers have severely limited their participation in political activism, education and paid work, Palestinian females in Lebanon have constructed their identities through Islamic feminism, and to a lesser extent, secularism. Moreover, these identities are continually being transformed through the processes of resistance, negotiation and accommodation.

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Marit Brendbekken

This essay concerns the paradoxes emerging in the dynamic space of hybridisation between vodou magic2 and the occult science of anthroposophy. These lived imaginaries and registers of interpretation are engaged within countermodernising environmental discourses and practices in the Dominican-Haitian borderlands. Here NGO-affiliated European anthroposophists, orientated by the work of Rudolf Steiner,3 are organising a biodynamic programme in co-operation with marginalised Dominican and Haitian borderlands peasants who live the consequences of radical deforestation. These peasants have for long been subjugated to the often violent dictates of post-colonial ruling élites, and their world of vodou spirits is itself the creation of ‘resistant accommodation’ to the forces of modernity/coloniality and their post-colonial transmutations.

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“Two Wheels Bad”?

The Status of Cycling in the Youth Hostels Association of England and Wales in the 1930s

Michael Cunningham

The Youth Hostels Association (YHA) was founded to provide cheap accommodation for rural holidays. It catered to both walkers and cyclists. However, many perceived the organization as one that favored walkers and considered walking to be a superior form of travel. This perception is examined through the study of four areas; the dispositions and statements of leading figures, the literature of the YHA, the press response to its formation, and the policy interventions of the YHA. Despite this, the YHA had close institutional links with cycling organizations and many cyclists among its members. This article traces the YHA’s relationship with walkers and cyclists and, despite occasional tensions, shows that the two groups could be accommodated within the organization.

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Cutting the Face

Kinship, State and Social Media Conflict in Networked Jordan

Geoffrey Fitzgibbon Hughes

The local uptake of new media in the Middle East is shaped by deep histories of imperialism, state building, resistance and accommodation. In contemporary Jordan, social media is simultaneously encouraging identification with tribes and undermining their gerontocratic power structures. Senior men stress their own importance as guarantors (‘faces’), who restore order following conflicts, promising to pay their rivals a large surety if their kin break the truce. Yet, ‘cutting the face’ (breaking truces) remains an alternative, one often facilitated by new technologies that allow people to challenge pre-existing structures of communication and authority. However, the experiences of journalists and other social media mavens suggest that the liberatory promise of the new technology may not be enough to prevent its reintegration into older patterns of social control.