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Finding a Place to Sit

How Qatari Women Combine Cultural and Kinship Capital in the Home Majlis

Rehenuma Asmi

As Qatari women attend and graduate from institutions of higher education and many enter the work force, their mobility and visibility increasingly juxtaposes their roles in the family and tribe with their new roles as partners in the creation of a nation. I utilise ethnographic data from fieldwork in two Qatari home majâles (sitting rooms) to understand how Qatari women negotiate their new roles in society. Qatari women have increasing forms of cultural capital in one arena but also have recourse to kinship capital, where gender segregation and family name protect women’s social status. I argue that Qatari women combine the different forms of capital available to them in order to ‘find a place to sit’ in the new Qatari nation.

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Keeping the recipe

Norwegian folk costumes and cultural capital

Thomas Hylland Eriksen

Enlisting culture in the service of commercial or political interests inevitably leads to a simplification and standardization of form. This article addresses the tensions between these standardizing processes and discourses of cultural authenticity, raising questions concerning copyright to cultural products and, more widely, the economics of cultural tradition. Empirically, the article is a study of the Norwegian bunad, a folk dress which exists in numerous regional varieties and carries a profound symbolic significance as a marker of regional and national identity. However, the authenticity of particular bunads or other folk costumes is often hotly contested. At the same time, entrepreneurs have begun to produce bunads in low-cost countries, thereby violating a principle considered by many as sacred, that bunads should be sewn by local women. The article reveals what is at stake for the various actors involved, and suggests some comparisons.

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Christophe Charle

Thanks to a comparison of social and educational characteristics of elites in France, Germany and UK at the end of the nineteenth century, this contribution shows the specificities of the French case: a mixture of persistent traditional elites, akin to British and German ones, and the growing domination of a more recent economic and meritocratic bourgeoisie pushing for liberalism and democracy. Nevertheless, evolutions in the same direction as France are also perceptible in the two monarchies and give birth to a new divergence when after WWI the democratization of elites go faster in UK and Germany than in France where the law bourgeoisie remain dominant and blocks the reforms asked by more popular or petit bourgeois groups present in the political parties on the left.

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Encountering Anthropology

An Exploratory Study of Degree Choice

David Bennett

Social anthropology in the U.K. is largely absent from the pre-university curriculum, contributing to the discipline's marginal status within higher education. My paper reports a small-scale empirical study of the transition to undergraduate anthropology as a socializing process that begins with the choice of discipline, continues as a learning experience and enables students to acquire elements of the discipline's 'culture'. The study identified 'chance' factors, serendipity and opportunism as important influences on choice of degree. These factors reflected the availability to applicants of cultural and economic capital. Students demonstrated varying degrees of socialization in identifying with anthropology's epistemological and social norms and values. My findings justify current attempts to increase the visibility of anthropology among pre-university students. They also support teaching initiatives that promote deep learning at undergraduate level. Both developments are necessary to sustain anthropology as a university discipline.

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(Dis-)Embedding Museums

On the Creation of New Urban Museumscapes in Hong Kong and Seoul

Birgit Mersmann

Driven by global economic and cultural competition, Asian megacities seek future-oriented local and global self-representation using cutting-edge museums of contemporary art. This article analyzes the embedding of two vanguard museum projects, the “Museum+” in Hong Kong, China, and the new Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, South Korea, into long-term urban planning strategies and concepts. In order to understand the intended purpose and process of how the new museums of contemporary art are devised as public spaces of cultural selfrepresentation and urban identity building, the study monitors the complete design process from the city government’s urban and institutional planning strategies over architectural design to the museum’s mission statement and collection strategy. By comparatively tracing the museum projects in Hong Kong and Seoul, the evidence shows that, although they share a common global cities agenda, their pathways of urban place-making and community-building vary greatly. These variations depend on the historical role and current geopolitical repositioning of each city.

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Authentically socialist

Czech heritage management at the former Liechtenstein estate of Lednice-Valtice

Veronica E. Aplenc

The Lednice-Valtice area, Southern Moravia, represents over 220 square kilometers of vast architectural and landscape heritage. As the former Liechtenstein ducal seat nationalized in 1945 and a major tourist attraction throughout the twentieth century, this site embodies the complex issues of heritage and authenticity. Post-war Czech preservationists incorporated pre-socialist legislative systems and beliefs into their socialist-era professional praxis, in a striking use of Habsburg-era, modernist cultural capital. Central to this borrowing was preservationists' casting themselves as state-legislated experts in heritage management, using an almost exclusively aesthetics-focused presentation in messy ideological situations.

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Scott Gunther

“Bobo” is short for “bohemian bourgeois.” David Brooks coined the term in his book, Bobos in Paradise (2000), where he defined bobos as upper-middle class individuals who espouse liberal politics and who eschew conspicuous consumption. This article examines why use of the term has become widespread in France and has almost disappeared in the United States, despite its American origins. Analysis of representations of bobos in popular media and in interviews with Parisians living in “Boboland” indicates that the relative success of the term in France can be attributed to the fact that the bourgeois part of the definition is more important than the bohemian part, the fact that the term “bourgeois” is more readily understood in France than in the United States, and especially, the inaptness of Bourdieusian notions of cultural capital in the United States and their centrality to the definition of Bobo.

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Eleni Sideri

The Caucasus was a zone of encounters for centuries, generating images of regional cosmopolitanism in the past. This vision creates expectations for the present, when it is included in the wider discussion about the meanings of cosmopolitanism today, its relation to modern geopolitics, and issues of social and political co-existence and recognition. This essay focuses on two different photographs that belong to different Greek families in Georgia. These photographs represent two different historical experiences of migration and pinpoint different understandings of cosmopolitanism. However, they both seem to stem from specific discourses about diasporas and their cosmopolitan character. The role of language in the construction of these discourses is fundamental. The essay compares photographic representations of the 'Greek Diaspora' in order to trace the perceptions of cosmopolitanism they generate, the cultural capital they carry, and its outcome in relation to Greek diaspora politics.

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'One of the few books that doesn't stink'

The Intellectuals, the Masses and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Faye Hammill

Anita Loos's tribute to Aldous Huxley appeared in a memorial volume compiled by Julian Huxley in 1966. Among the contributors were Lord David Cecil, Stephen Spender, T.S. Eliot, Osbert Sitwell, Leonard Woolf and Isaiah Berlin. Loos was on eof Aldous Huxley's most famous friends: she was a successful and well connected screenwriter, and the astonishing sales of her novel Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1925) made her a millionaire and a celebrity. The novel also significantly increased her cultural capital, since it was admired by eminent writers and thinkers including James Joyce, Edith Wharton, H.L. Mencken, William Faulkner, Sherwood Anderson, William Empson, George Santayana and Rose Macaulay. For many years, Loos was one of the best known women in the United States, and 1966 was the year she published her autobiographical volume A Girl Like I, which received enthusiastic reviews and led to retrospectives of her films. And yet, if Anita Loos today stands out from the list of Julian Huxley's contributors, it is because the other names are still so familiar, while hers has become obscure.