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Digitizing the Western Gaze

The End FGM Guardian Global Media Campaign

Jessica Cammaert

The increasing digitization of print media has resulted in the expansion of female genital mutilation (FGM) eradication efforts from print articles, editorials and novels, to online newspapers. The Guardian recently launched an online “End FGM Guardian Global Media Campaign,” incorporating video, film, and multimedia. This report reviews the digitization of FGM eradication efforts by comparing End FGM to past anti-female circumcision screen texts. Focusing on a film featured in the campaign, Shara Amin and Nabaz Ahmed’s 2007 documentary, A Handful of Ash, this report applies a post-colonial feminist critique of gender, sexuality and colonialism to examine how the digitization of pain and suffering is mobilized and consumed. Comparing the film to anti-circumcision screen texts, Ousmane Sembène’s Moolaadé and Sherry Hormann’s Desert Flower, this report historicizes the global media campaign and highlights its’ repackaging of past imperialist discourses on the body in new digitized ways.

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Negotiating Intimacy in the Shadow of War (France, 1914-1920s)

New Perspectives in the Cultural History of World War I

Bruno Cabanes

Over the past twenty years, the cultural and social history of the Great War has undergone a profound revitalization and given rise to new areas of research, such as the history of the body and of violence, the relationships between the front lines and the home front, the “cultures of war,“ and religious feeling. At the heart of this approach is an interest in intimacy, or the private life of soldiers and their relationships with their loved ones, an area that has been explored thanks to a new focus on personal archives: letters, diaries, photographs. Taking wartime France as its example, this article analyzes the contributions of this new history of World War I and assesses its methodological issues. The Great War can thus be seen in its full measure, not only as the first conflict conducted on a global scale, but also as a true anthropological turning point, one that caused tremendous upheaval for those who lived through it: new kinds of violence on the battlefields, new mourning rituals, unfamiliar difficulties in reconnecting with private life in the aftermath of the war.

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Guarding the Body

Private Security Work in Rio de Janeiro

Erika Robb Larkins

Drawing on 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork in the private security industry, this article focuses on the training of low-level guards, examining the centrality of the body and embodied experience to their work in hospitality settings. In a racially stratified society in which lower-class, dark-skinned bodies are oft en equated with poverty and criminality, security guards are required to perform an image of upstanding, respectable, law-abiding citizens in order to do their jobs protecting corporate property. Guards learn techniques of body management at security schools as part of their basic training. They also learn how to subdue the bodies of others, including those of white elites, who represent a constant challenge to their authority. Working from my own experiences as a student in private security schools, I argue for the relevance of an understanding of the body and its significations to private security work.

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Einat Bar-On Cohen

Training toward 'perfect timing' in karate entails deciphering small movements and interpreting them as signs of an opponent's decision to launch an attack. It includes the aptitude to perceive those signs and react to them before the attacker is aware of her own decision. It also depends on the ability of the body to perceive and move without recourse to cognition. This article considers the body in its own right as well as how it is involved in social construction. Following Sheet-Johnstone, the article contends that movement as it is performed is a tool of data collecting, sense making, and action. It attempts to show how movement organizes a social setting that enables intentionality and also opens up the possibility of violence obstructing that intentionality.

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The Significance of the Body

The Construction of Masculinity among German Students

Jurgen Budde

This article discusses strategies of constructing masculinity among German school boys and shows the close interrelation of social status, social and symbolic value, and the success or failure of playing with male gender orders. It highlights the important role of the body in these processes. Based on data from ethnographical research the article shows that the body is an actor as well as target in the subordination strategies, which often includes the feminisation of other boys

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The Body in Motion

Communism and Epistemology in Iva Pekárková's Novel Truck Stop Rainbows

Simona Fojtová

Drawing on feminist conceptualisations of the body, this essay analyses Iva Pekárková’s novel, Truck Stop Rainbows (published as Péra a Perutě [Feathers and wings] in 1989, translated into English in 1992), to show how this contemporary Czech writer challenges the metaphor of the female body as a container through which communist propaganda in Czechoslovakia offi cially sanctioned and established a normative female identity in maternal, economic and civic functions. I seek to demonstrate how Fialka, the female protagonist who lives under the Czechoslovak communist regime of the 1980s, critiques discursive and epistemic formations that conceptualised the female body as a vessel for reproduction and labour and denied the female body the authority to function as a source of knowledge. Striving to spotlight the body in its cognitive role, I argue for an understanding of the body not as an instrument of knowledge or a neutral medium that enables knowledge production but, rather, as a condition of the possibility of knowing.

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Running Wilde

Landscape, the Body, and the History of the Treadmill

Vybarr Cregan Reid

How have exercise, the body, and modes of imprisonment become so imbricated in modern societies? The treadmill started its life as the harshest form of punishment that could be meted out, short of the death penalty. It remained so for two centuries. Today, we pay membership fees equivalent to a household energy bill for the dubious privilege of being permitted to run on them. The treadmill is a high-functioning symbol of our anthropocene life that chooses to engage with self-created realities that knowingly deny our creaturely existence.

This essay aims to bring a number of genres and disciplines into conversation with one another to effect a mode of reflective but insightful cultural analysis. Through this ecological interdependence of genre, (including history, philosophy, literary analysis, sociology, psychogeography, autobiography, and biography) the essay aims to look at the ways in which our condition in modernity conspires against our psychological, physiological, geographical, and personal freedoms. Using Oscar Wilde's experiences of life on the treadmill, some of Hardy's poetry, Simone Weil, Pater, Foucault, Lacan, Sartre, Althusser, and Lukács, the essay draws attention to the ways that inauthenticity and dehumanisation have become the mainstay of life in the modern gym.

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Lazy Labor, Modernization, and Coloniality

Mobile Cultures between the Andes and the Amazon around 1900

Jaime Moreno Tejada

This article examines two distinct yet overlapping cultures of mobility in turn-of-the-century Ecuador. On the one hand, there was a modernizing culture that sought to implement utopian modes of transportation between the Andes and the Amazon. On the other hand, there were indigenous porters and pilots, who had nonhegemonic ideas about mobility and labor. This article argues that (1) indigenous labor was based on the performance of colonial habits, which I refer to as coloniality; (2) within this framework of spatial practice, native bodily rhythms could be interpreted as successful tactics of everyday resistance; and (3) the conflict between Indians and non-Indians reveals a universal, modern tension between machine and humanlike mobilities.

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Sue Frohlick, Kristin Lozanski, Amy Speier and Mimi Sheller

What mobilizes people to take up reproductive options, directions, and trajectories in ways that generate the possibilities and practices of mobilities? People’s desires for procreation or to resolve fertility challenges or partake in sperm donation, egg freezing, or surrogacy; the need for abortion services; and forced evacuation for childbirth care all involve movement. Reproductive aspirations, norms, and regulations move people’s bodies, as well as related technologies and bioproducts. At the same time, these corporeal, material, in/tangible mobilities of bodies, things, and ideas are also generative of reproductive imaginaries and practices. Reproduction is mobile and movement affects reproduction. Building from an interdisciplinary workshop on reproductive mobilities in Kelowna, Canada, this article aims to push the mobilities framework toward the edges of feminist, affect, queer, decolonizing, materialist, and nonrepresentational theories in thinking through both reproduction and movement.

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Off-grid Mobilities

Incorporating a Way of Life

Phillip: Taggart Vannini

Drawing from sensory ethnography, the present multimodal writing—accompanied by photography and digital video—documents and interprets the mobilities of off-grid living on Lasqueti Island, British Columbia, Canada. The data presentation focuses in particular on the embodied experience of off-grid inhabitation, highlighting the sensory and kinetic experiences and practices of everyday life in a community disconnected from the North American electrical grid and highway network. The mobilities of fuel and energy are presented in unison with ethnographic attention to the taskscape of everyday activities and movements in which off-grid islanders routinely engage. The analysis, based on Tim Ingold's non-representational theory on place, movement, and inhabitation, focuses on how the material and corporeal mobilities of off-grid life body forth a unique sense of place.