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Vytis Čiubrinskas

The Centre of Social Anthropology (CSA) at Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) in Kaunas has coordinated projects on this, including a current project on 'Retention of Lithuanian Identity under Conditions of Europeanisation and Globalisation: Patterns of Lithuanian-ness in Response to Identity Politics in Ireland, Norway, Spain, the UK and the US'. This has been designed as a multidisciplinary project. The actual expressions of identity politics of migrant, 'diasporic' or displaced identity of Lithuanian immigrants in their respective host country are being examined alongside with the national identity politics of those countries.

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Deepa Nair

The controversy over rewriting history textbooks in India in 2000 not only revealed the divergent renditions of collective memory but also evoked decades of contention over self-representation and cultural identity. This article explores these "multiple" renderings of a "singular" past and contends the formation of "historical identities" by arguing that divergent use of reason and interpretation leads to a layered and uid Indian identity leaving it open for contestation. By situating the case of the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb within the milieu from which textbook controversies emanate, the article suggests an alternative dimension for looking at the controversy—instead of the usual binary concept of "secular" versus "communal" history. At the root of the controversy is not merely politicization but also divergent perspectives of looking at the past and the resultant rethinking and reworking of dominant notions of it.

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Karl Cordell

This paper seeks to offer an assessment of the nature of identity among Poland's German minority and to investigate why since 1950 large numbers of that minority have migrated to Germany. It does so by examining the nature of identity in the historic Polish-German borderlands, by recounting the experiences of those Germans who remained behind in Poland after the post World War Two expulsion process was completed in 1949, and by examining the continued salience of negative stereotypes of Germans and Germany among elements of Polish society. The paper highlights a number of salient factors of importance for members of the minority in deciding whether or not to stay in Poland or to migrate to Germany.

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Alienation, Ambivalence and Identity

Jhumpa Lahiri’s In Other Words

Mohammad Shafiqul Islam

Jhumpa Lahiri’s latest book, In Other Words, is an autobiographical text that highlights the author’s journey to a new land and language. She grows up in America, communicates in Bengali with her parents during her early childhood and uses English in school; a sense of ambivalence about language dawns in her at this time. Her parents insist that Bengali be a dominant language in her life, but she falls in love with English, which later becomes her own language and the medium of her literary writing. During her doctoral studies, she feels an impulse to learn Italian and desperately strives to speak and write in that language. In Other Words, originally written in Italian, is the ultimate outcome of her aspirations to learn Italian. As the author switches from one language to another, from Bengali to English, and then from English to Italian, she forms an ambivalent sense of separation and proximity. This article seeks to explore Lahiri’s love for language, her sense of alienation and belonging, loss and achievement, and her search for identity and metamorphosis.

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Nose Aesthetics

Rhinoplasty and Identity in Tehran

Sara Lenehan

Tehran currently hosts one of the largest rhinoplasty markets in the world, and rhinoplasty is the most sought after cosmetic surgery in the country. This article examines whether the rhinoplasty trend reflects a shift in Iranians' attitudes towards their ethnic and cultural identity. It is argued that fashion and beauty norms in Tehran are certainly informed by globalised images, but these are mediated by Iranian moralities of prestige, image consciousness and class awareness. Thus, while many of the persons interviewed described 'Iranian noses' as aesthetically inferior to 'European noses', their statements were not necessarily coupled with a desire to negate Iranian identity.

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Michael A. Di Giovine

It has become a Structuralist truism in the social sciences to state that individuals define themselves by what they are not. It has equally become evident that travel—and particularly the voluntary, temporary, and perspectival type that we call tourism—is predicated on interaction with the Other. Travelogues are particularly salient “social facts” in this regard, for they both index such processes of identity formation, as well as contribute to them. Two edited volumes, Rolf-Hagen Schulz-Forberg's Unraveling Civilisation: European Travel and Travel Writing (2005) and John Zilcosky's Writing Travel: The Poetics and Politics of the Modern Journey (2008) provide compelling examples of how the multifarious and complementary processes of travel and travel writing not only index, but construct, European identity.

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Becoming an adult

Negotiation of identities in Markovo village (Chukotka)

Marina Hakkarainen

This article examines the attitudes of the indigenous people in Markovo, Chukotka, to their tradition and traditional knowledge as it relates to their becoming adult members in the community. Within the local cosmological system the opposition between the elders, who are considered as possessors of special knowledge, and the youngsters, who are seen as lacking it, creates certain tensions and determines the dynamics of individual development. A person who has entered her or his adulthood should accumulate special knowledge and power. In doing so, young adults begin to overcome the oppositional relationship between elders and youngsters. Markovo villagers associate such special knowledge and power with tradition. However, modern ways of life have become the dominant frame of reference, thus the position of youngsters toward tradition is not self-evident. They feel the need to negotiate their place in the community and their indigenous identity. Discussions about tradition play an important role in their attempts at attaining a local identity.

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Marilyn Strathern

Its author ever hopeful of abandoning nature-culture or nature-society, this brief sketch is an attempt to understand some part of the dyad. It fishes among materials on biological relatedness, ideas about reproduction, and configurations of kinship that might amount to a naturalist cosmology, detectable among other things in the problems it generates. There is nothing new in apprehending how much of society was already ‘in’ the nature that came to be distinguished from it. However, the anthropologist’s net has its own gauge, and thus the argument at once depends on historical niceties and disregards them. What gets caught in the mesh flung over this huge area are certain issues concerning identity and individuality. These demand a closer inquiry into the character of the relations being supposed, the matter with which the article opens.

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Articulating 'Home' from 'Away'

Cultural Identities, Belonging and Citizenship

James Oliver

This article is a discussion on cultural identity and belonging, focusing on some examples of people who are articulating or 'doing' identity in the Scottish Hebrides. In particular, it explores a re-articulation of cultural identity and belonging, not as the essential root or representation of social inclusion but as an ongoing production or creation of social relations, processes and practices, including rootedness and connectedness. In doing so, the paper underlines the need to negotiate cultural identity forwards, as open, with practical political consequences for our understanding and articulation of social inclusion, belonging and citizenship.

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Speed and Smoothness

Identity Production and Reproduction of Portuguese MEPs

Andre Novoa

This article examines identity production and reproduction of a group of Portuguese members of the European Parliament (MEPs) through a set of ethnographic vignettes. Literature on European mobility has been underpinned by an assumption that the more we move, the more European we become. But who are these movers exactly? And how do they become European? These questions guide this article, which presents a case study of three Portuguese MEPs who maintain strong relations with their country of origin whilst having to create new attachments to Brussels and Strasbourg. The MEPs have to insert themselves into a culture of speed and smoothness. They have to redesign themselves as figures of speed. The article argues that this process makes them European. They identify with Europe because they maintain a strong relation with their country of origin, which means moving more, which in turn means being a modern European citizen.