Nicole Landry. 2008. The Mean Girl Motive: Negotiating Power and Femininity. Halifax: Fernwood Books.
Nicole G. Power
Between Contestation and Mediation
In light of the pragmatic aspirations of ordinary language philosophy, this essay critically examines the competing grammatical strictures that are often set forth within the theoretical discourse of 'power'. It repudiates both categorically appraisive employments of 'power' and the antithetical urge to fully operationalize the concept. It offers an attenuated defense of the thesis that 'power' is an essentially contestable concept, but rejects the notion that this linguistic fact stems from conflict between antipodal ideological paradigms. Careful attention to the ordinary pragmatics of power-language evinces the prospects for integrating various context-specific aspects of power and mediating between traditionally divergent theoretical frameworks.
Searching for Security in Post–New Order Indonesia
Security concerns are creeping into new aspects of everyday life in Indonesia, resulting in new organizational forms and ways of perceiving self and society. Stressing the cultural shaping of all security discourses, this article examines how members of the Balinese minority on the island Lombok have formed a Hindu-inspired civilian security force known as Dharma Wisesa. I argue that the appeal of this movement is located in its attempts to fuse domains of power that the modern state has prised apart. Having appropriated the magic of the state, the Dharma Wisesa movement also maintains relations with a 'spirit army' that provides supernatural support. Such practices draw into question the notion of secular modernity and suggest that authority is constituted by allying oneself with different forms of power, both visible and invisible.
Opposite or Equivalent Concepts?
The aim of this work is to offer an assessment of the conceptual relations between 'power' and 'freedom'. The two concepts are normally thought of as standing in a relation of mutual exclusion, and are often defined in reciprocal terms: while being free means not being subject to someone's power, to have power is to constrain someone's freedom. In this article I propose a more detailed interpretation of their conceptual relations, distinguishing between two different cases. In the case in which power and freedom are understood as properties of two different individuals involved in a social relation, I shall argue that they are not necessarily in a relation of mutual exclusion: power can be exercised in ways which do not reduce, and which might even increase, the power-subject's freedom. In the case, by contrast, in which they are understood as properties of the same individual, I shall claim that power and freedom show a significant degree of correspondence.
Social and Emotional Experiences of the Clothed Body
Drawing on ethnographic research with a diverse group of teen girls, this article asks how play with style is understood and enacted. By positioning girls' everyday transactions with style beside their engagement with style in media, this article demonstrates that girls live with a cultural discordance between the girl power media discourse of style as choice, power, and resistance, and the reality of their own, often disempowered, experiences with style. Bound by the promise of upward social mobility, the fear of losing status, and the risk of remaining in the low income and middle class communities in which they were raised, the girls in this study feel regulated and, at times, hurt by the required performance of the clothed body.
In this article, I try to embark on an understanding of the work that the concept of freedom does, by distinguishing it from the concept of power. When we are interested in our power, we are interested in what we are able (and not able) to do; it is plausible to think that when we are interested in freedom, we are interested in something else. The article is largely concerned with looking for this 'something else'. I suggest that freedom differs from power in focusing on the constraints that we are (or are not) under. When we are interested in freedom, the importance of these constraints is not particularly that they stop us doing things, because that is covered by considering our powers. I suggest that the constraints are important - if they are important at all - because some constraints insult our dignity. This suggests an alternative approach to the current focus on freedom as a property of actions: that of freedom as a property of persons. This idea is explored and defended. In a final section on republican freedom, I argue, against Pettit, that there is no distinctive concept of republican freedom (as distinct from the standard liberal understanding of freedom); but that there is a different - and a highly attractive - political theory present in republicanism.
Marion Doull and Christabelle Sethna
Issues related to young women, power and sex are central to feminism and remain a central source of debate. This centrality underscores the need to question what power and sex mean to young women. Research that weaves together lessons from feminism and from young women's own lived experiences can advance our understanding of young women, power and sex. This article describes how a sample of young women define, understand and conceptualize their power within their heterosexual relationships. The young women's words provide insight into how current feminist understandings of girl power may need to be reconsidered and adapted to explain young women's changing realities.
Consent and Gendered Power Dynamics in Sex
Katrín Ólafsdottir and Jón Ingvar Kjaran
Sexual consent determines if sex is consensual, but the concept is under-researched globally. In this article, we focus on heterosexual young men and how they negotiate sex and consent. We draw on peer group interviews to understand how young men are constituted by the dominant discourses at play in shaping their realities. We have identified two different discourses that inform consent, the discourse of consent (based on legal, educational, and grassroots discourses), and the discourse of heterosexuality (based on the heterosexual script, porn, and gender roles) resulting in conflicting messages for boys. They are supposed to take responsibility for sex to be consensual as well as being gentle partners, but at the same time, the heterosexual discourse itself produces power imbalances in sex and dating.
Toward a New Social Settlement
This article presents proposals for a new social settlement – a framework for deciding how people live together and what they expect from government, now and for the future. The proposed settlement has three goals: social justice, environmental sustainability, and a more equal distribution of power. To achieve these goals we have identified a set of objectives too often ignored in mainstream debates: achieving prosperity without depending on economic growth; shifting investment and action upstream to prevent harm rather than coping with the consequences; strengthening the “core economy” of unpaid work, everyday wisdom, and social connections; and fostering solidarity and an understanding of how individuals depend on each other to achieve shared goals. The article draws on a report from the New Economics Foundation, which focuses on the United Kingdom but offers a framework for developing policy and practice that may be useful in other countries, especially in the developed world.
Why Should Anthropologists Care?
At a time when European integration faces many crises, the efficacy of public policies decided in Brussels, and in member state capitals, for managing the everyday lives of average Europeans demands scrutiny. Most attuned to how global uncertainties interact with local realities, anthropologists and ethnographers have paid scant attention to public policies that are created by the EU, by member state governments and by local authorities, and to the collective, organised, and individual responses they elicit in this part of the world. Our critical faculties and means to test out established relations between global–local, centre–periphery, macro–micro are crucial to see how far the EU's normative power and European integration as a governance model permeates peoples' and states' lives in Europe, broadly defined. Identifying the strengths and shortcomings in the literature, this review essay scrutinises anthropological scholarship on culture, power and policy in a post-Foucaultian Europe.