This article studies the transformation of the debate about national culture in twentieth-century Mexico by looking at the complex relationship between discourses of authenticity and mestizaje. The article firstly demonstrates how in the first half of the twentieth century, Mexican national identity was constructed out of a state-led program of mestizaje, thereby supposedly giving rise to a new and authentic identity, the mestizo (nation). Secondly, it is argued that the authentication project around mestizaje is riddled with paradoxes that require explanation. Thirdly, the article studies the political dimension of the authenticity discourse and demonstrates how the homogenizing and unifying forces that spring from the process of authentication played an important role in buttressing an authoritarian regime. Fourthly, the article looks at two recent developments: indigenous cultural politics and transnationalism. Here it is shown how discourses of difference, pluralism, and transnationalism are challenging the central tenets of Mexican post-revolutionary national culture and the boundaries of the national Self.
Debating national identity in twentieth-century Mexico
Wil G. Pansters
A Dialogue between Brazilian Social Sciences and the Anthropology of Christianity
Cecília L. Mariz and Roberta B.C. Campos
This article aims to show how the hegemonic interpretation of Pentecos- talism in Brazil has difficulty recognizing changes caused by these churches to 'local' cultures. We argue that this tendency can be explained by a widespread adherence to structuralist theories of society combined with an unwillingness to accept the reimag- ining of a national culture historically built up by Brazilian social science. We suggest that the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God has been the Pentecostal church most studied by Brazilian researchers because it provides a powerful means to indicate the strength of 'Brazilian culture'. Through our analysis of more recent studies, we point out the salience of these debates to wider questions relating to the emergent anthropology of Christianity, concluding that since neither discontinuities nor continuities can be denied in the field, the focus on one or the other dimension should be seen as a methodological choice rather than an orientation specifically arising from empirical observation.
Keïta Fodéba and the Imagining of National Culture in Guinea
Andrew W. M. Smith
This article addresses the cultural activity of Keïta Fodéba, a popular musician, poet, dramatist, and ultimately prominent member of the independent Guinean government. His experiences during the 1950s refl ect emergent trends during this period of profound negotiation, in which the terms of the “postcolonial” world were established. Fodéba was a formative figure in the emergence of Guinean national culture but also played an important role in providing Guinea’s independence movement with a renewed impetus beyond Marxist ideology and demands for political equality. Using archival material that reveals French metropolitan fears about his activities, one gains insight into the networks of anticolonial activism with which he engaged. Following Fodéba, from his triumph on Broadway to his death at Camp Boiro, gives new perspectives on his challenging work and off ers greater insight into the transfers and negotiations between metropole, colony, and beyond that characterized the decolonization process.
'National' culture, one that is linked to the daily perception of cultural artefacts and inevitably affected by the context of globalisation, can be considered through the optic of Belgian comics. And although Belgian national culture escapes easy characterisation, it can at least be explored from three different angles. Firstly, Flemish comics will be discussed in terms of the Flemish way of 'doing comics' or, more broadly, anti-Belgicism, in terms of both political subtext and language issues. Secondly, francophone Belgian comics can be approached as an example of cultural blindness, marked by 'evasion' or the playing-down of Belgian specificity in broad cultural as well as more precise linguistic terms. Drawing upon the works of Deleuze and Guattari, these examples can then be used as an outline for a framework of broader analysis regarding national cultures in peripheral situations.
Taking as its starting point the current debate over the significance of history in the National Curriculum for England, this article examines the place of the country's colonial past in its national culture of memory. In the context of debates about educational policy and the politics of memory concerning Britain's colonial heritage, the author focuses on the transmission and interpretation of this heritage via school history textbooks, which play a key role in the politics of memory. This medium offers insight into transformations of the country's colonial experience that have taken place since the end of the British Empire. School textbooks do not create and establish these transformations in isolation from other arenas of discourse about the culture of memory by reinventing the nation. Instead, they reflect, as part of the national culture of memory, the uncertainties and insecurities emerging from the end of empire and the decolonization of the British nation's historical narrative.
Toward an Explanation of Inconsistencies between Framing and Policies
Henri Bergeron, Patrick Castel and Abigail C. Saguy
The French news media has framed “obesity” largely as a product of corporate greed and social inequality. Yet, France has—like other nations including the United States—adopted policies that focus on changing individual-level behavior. This article identifies several factors—including food industry lobbying, the Ministry of Agriculture’s rivalry with the Ministry of Health and alliance with the food industry, and competition with other policy goals—that favored the development of individual-level policy approaches to obesity in France at the expense of social-structural ones. This case points to the need to more systematically document inconsistencies and consistencies between social problem framing and policies. It also shows that national culture is multivalent and internally contradictory, fueling political and social struggles over which version of national culture will prevail at any given moment.
The advent of the postcolonial era was heralded by the emergence of new nation states from the territories of the colonial powers. These new states inherited a model of nationhood that emerged in Europe in the seventeenth century, in which the nation is presented as a symbolic community creating powerful allegiances to a cultural ideal. For the culturally diverse nations that emerged with the end of colonialism, this ideal of identification between the political nation state and a ‘national culture’ has always been problematic. Increasingly, the same is true in the metropoles themselves, as the postcolonial breaking down of barriers leads them to become ever more multicultural.
Class and Gender Dynamics among EU Civil Servants in Brussels
Drawing upon ethnographic fieldwork between 2007 and 2011 in Brussels, this article shows how visual markers, class distinctions and classification of gender performances come together to create a ‘Euroclass’ among European civil servants. These markings, distinctions and classifications are denoted on bodily hexis and body performance and evoke stereotypes and essentialised representations of national cultures. However, after the enlargements of the EU in 2004 and 2007 they also reveal a postcolonial and imperial dynamic that perpetuates the division into ‘old’ and ‘new’ Europe and enables people from old member states to emerge as a different class that holds its cultural power firm in a dense political environment permeated by networks.
Sakha ethnic music business, upward mobility and friendship
The Sakha have had their own popular music since the 1970s. During the Soviet era, music culture was controlled by the state. Starting in the 1990s, new pop-music institutions and venues emerged and new entrepreneurs entered the music business as club owners, managers, producers, DJs, etc. In this article, I examine multiple social relations in the music business. Music has become a possibility for village youth to leave their villages and gain fame as artists. The Sakha music world contains various networks where criminal structures, artists, businessmen and media are interlinked. Through this linkage, music is used to gain a community's support for semi-legal business activities. At the same time, both the artists and producers present themselves to the public as the custodians of Sakha 'national' culture. The article discusses ways in which the artists' popularity is connected to their position in the music business, and how ethnic symbols are used to gain success.
Menachem Mautner, Law and the Culture of Israel Review by Gad Barzilai
Nadav G. Shelef, Evolving Nationalism: Homeland, Identity, and Religion in Israel, 1925–2005 Review by Ilan Peleg
Susan A. Glenn and Naomi B. Sokoloff, eds., Boundaries of Jewish Identity Review by Kirsten Fermaglich
Arieh Bruce Saposnik, Becoming Hebrew: The Creation of a Jewish National Culture in Ottoman Palestine Review by Nina S. Spiegel
King Abdullah II, Our Last Best Chance: The Pursuit of Peace in a Time of Peril Review by Saliba Sarsar
Leslie Stein, The Making of Modern Israel: 1948–1967 Review by Pierre M. Atlas
Joyce Dalsheim, Unsettling Gaza: Secular Liberalism, Radical Religion, and the Israeli Settlement Project Review by Myron J. Aronoff
Beverley Milton-Edwards, The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A People’s War 180 Review by Raphael Cohen-Almagor