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Lissa Weinstein and Banu Seckin

When Craig, an oft-humiliated and unsuccessful street puppeteer, discovers a portal into the body of John Malkovich, he finds that fusion with a live “celebrity puppet” offers a solution to the dilemmas of being human— imperfection, vulnerability, and death. In this fantastical context, the filmmakers raise questions about intention, identity, authorship, and the wisdom of elevating narcissism over Eros. Although a desire to transcend the limitations of the mortal body may be ubiquitous, the unique solution offered in Being John Malkovich is the apparent triumph of this narcissistic fantasy, rather than an acceptance of reality. This article first explores the film's use of the universal imagery of narcissism and then examines how technology, which allows widespread access to a visually oriented media culture, and changes in the meaning of fame have altered the expression of narcissistic fantasies, as well as the anxieties that accompany their fulfillment.

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Melanie Kennedy and Natalie Coulter

defining her as the ideal girl, permanently held in this moment of liminality, a commodity of idealized white beauty. The repeated reoccurence of the photograph of eight-year-old Everett across news outlets and social media, and the close-up nature of the

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Amy Kallander

upon an urban location and disposable income that was class-specific, her distinction from older women was further demarcated by an idealization of romance where “love is no longer a taboo subject” and in marriage, “eighty-eight percent chose the man

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Amrita De

term, Raewyn Connell and James Messerschmidt (2005) underline that though a minority of men might enact it, it is considered to be a normative embodiment of the most culturally idealized way of being a man. In chapter 2 of Men and Boys, Connell

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The Relationship Between France and the United States

Reflections for an American Audience

Lionel Jospin

Since the relationship between France and the United States is going through a difficult period, we must find opportunities to talk things over.

It is true that it is not always easy to broach the subject of this relationship between the US and France in a balanced and reasonable way. We idealize its past and blacken its present.

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Interview

Propaganda’s Role in Liberal Democratic Societies

Jason Stanley and John B. Min

Stanley and Min discuss how propaganda works in liberal democratic societies. Stanley observes that the inability to address the crisis of liberal democracies can be partially explained by contemporary political philosophy’s penchant for idealized theorizing about norms of justice over transitions from injustice to justice. Whereas ancient and modern political philosophers took seriously propaganda and demagoguery of the elites and populists, contemporary political philosophers have tended to theorize about the idealized structures of justice. This leads to a lack of theoretical constructs and explanatory tools by which we can theorize about real-life political problems, such as mass incarceration. Starting with this premise, Stanley provides an explanation of how propaganda works and the mechanisms that enable propaganda. Stanley further theorizes the pernicious effects that elitism, populism, authoritarianism, and “post-truth” have on democratic politics.

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Bernard Faye

Abstract

Regarded as an animal of the past and supporting the eternal image of the ‘ship of the desert’, the dromedary camel is facing deep changes in its rearing system, causing significant changes in human relationships. A somewhat idealized virtuous animal among the nomad with which it shares the rough life of deserts, it becomes only one cog in the intensification process of settled production systems where it needs to better express its potential of production to avoid the risk of being marginalized, its utilitarian function becoming predominant. However, the urbanized Middle East likes to remember the virtues of the animal and its products, the dromedary returning this animal idealized for a weekend where the city dweller looking over its lost emotional proximity, rather than the economic benefits of its products.

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Some Assembly Required

Black Barbie and the Fabrication of Nicki Minaj

Jennifer Dawn Whitney

This article explores the public persona of hip hop artist Nicki Minaj, and her appropriation of the iconic Barbie doll. Minaj's image has drawn criticism from pundits and peers alike, but, nonetheless, it has inspired a creative fan following. With reference to feminist theory and recent trends in poststructuralist thought, this article suggests the ways in which Minaj and her fans pluralize how we think about Barbie, race and idealized femininity in the West.

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Mike Hulme

This article suggests that our current (fearful) preoccupation with climate change emerges from two paradoxical desires: the desire to recover some mythical benign stable state for the world's climate and the desire to assert ourselves over the world's climate by engineering our way to achieve this outcome. But by seeing climate either as something to be idealized or as something to master, we fail to see what is happening to the world's climate. It is being reinvented as a novel entity, now co-produced between human and nonhuman actors. Rather than resist and lament the results of this new creative force, we must learn to live with them.

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Unambivalent about Ambivalence in the Politics of Mourning

David McIvor’s Mourning in America and Simon Stow’s American Mourning

Greta Fowler Snyder

What does a democratically-productive form of mourning look like in America? David McIvor’s Mourning in America and Simon Stow’s American Mourning argue that it entails the embrace of ambivalence about self and other. Democratically-productive mourning pushes against the tendencies toward idealization and demonization. Embracing ambivalence enables us to move to more effective political engagement in the context of both collaboration and conflict. It allows us to understand that the process of mourning must be ongoing both to protect us from political excesses to which we are prone and to push society toward justice.