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Trading places

Post-socialist container markets and the city

Caroline Humphrey and Vera Skvirskaja

This article discusses a vast, new and semi-legal marketplace of shipping containers on the outskirts of Odessa, Ukraine. It is suggested that such markets, which have sprung up at several places in post-socialist space where routes intersect, have certain features in common with mediaeval trade fairs. However, today's markets have their own specificities in relation to state and legal regimes, migration, and the cities to which they are semi-attached. The article analyzes the Seventh Kilometer Market (Sed'moi) near Odessa as a particular socio-mythical space. It affords it own kind of protection and opportunities to traders, but these structures may be unstable in a changing economic climate.

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Helga Druxes

Pegida plays upon the intersectionality of popular discontent in its outrage against cosmopolitan political elites, by using the internet and social media as platforms for a repudiation of traditional parliamentary mechanisms. We may regard this conceit of a virtual polis as a form of antipolitics, expressing impatience with, and contempt for institutional democracy. Far right bloggers exhort followers to violent action across a transnational field of operations as a form of “legitimate” warfare against states they believe to be corrupt. They stage their own identity as a fluid performance of rebellious discontent with government and globalization. Although they invoke an autonomous subjectivity and direct political mandate, they in fact opt for a theatrical simulation of such engagement. The internet and social media allow for the creation of multiple niche markets for reactionary discontent across the lines of age and class. Pegida supporters present a paradox in that they are anti-modern identitarians pining for a mythic Central Europe, regressively protectionist towards the German economy in their demands to close the borders to international trade, exit the Eurozone, and expel refugees, even as they orchestrate a sophisticated event-based, highly modern post-democratic “New Politics 2.0.”

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Post-socialism Meets Postcolonialism

African Migrants in the Russian Capital

Dmitri M. Bondarenko, Elena A. Googueva, Sergey N. Serov and Ekaterina V. Shakhbazyan

While Western Europe has a long history of facing and studying the issues of immigration, this phenomenon is still recent for the ex-socialist states and has not been studied sufficiently yet. At the same time, the 'closed' nature of the socialist societies and the difficulties of the 'transitional period' of the 1990s predetermine the problems in communication between the migrants and the population majority, the specific features of the forming diasporas and of their probable position in the receiving societies. The study of African migrants in Russia (particularly in Moscow) recently launched by the present authors consists of two interrelated parts: the sociocultural adaptation of migrants from Africa in Russia on the one hand, and the way they are perceived in Russia on the other. One of the key points of the study is the formation or non-formation of diasporas as network communities, as a means of both more successful adaptation and identity support.

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4. Gauging the Propagandist's Talents

William Le Queux's Dubious Place in Literary History, Part One

A. Michael Matin

Shortly after the outbreak of World War One, Charles Masterman was appointed by Prime Minister Asquith to oversee a covert literary propaganda campaign in support of the British war effort. Although William Le Queux had been one of the most prominent British anti-German writers during the prewar years, he was not recruited for this governmental endeavour that included many of the nation’s best-known writers. Nonetheless, he continued on his own to publish anti-German propaganda throughout the war. These two articles assess Le Queux’s national security-oriented writings within that broader context, and they offer a methodology for gauging the potential efficacy of such texts based on recent developments in the field of risk-perception studies. Part One provides a historical and methodological foundation for both articles and assesses a number of Le Queux’s pre-1914 works. Part Two (published in Section II of this issue) examines Le Queux’s career and writings from 1914 through to his death in 1927.

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Parasites from all Civilizations

The Croix de Feu/Parti Social Français Confronts French Jewry, 1931-1939

Samuel Kalman

Refuting claims made by several historians that the Croix de Feu/Parti social français were non-exclusionary, this article demonstrates the prevalence of anti-Semitism and xenophobia throughout the league's metropolitan and Algerian sections. CDF/PSF leadership and rank-and-file alike prioritized the notion of the enemy, and their plans for les exclus augured similar developments under the Vichy regime. Although less rabidly xenophobic than his colleagues, whose opinions variously promoted denaturalization and outright elimination, group leader Colonel Françaois de la Rocque was nonetheless prone to racist and exclusionary doctrine, arguing that foreign Jews and immigrants were the enemies of la patrie, and should necessarily be expunged from the new nation. The article describes the wide range of xenophobia present in group actions and discourse, while positioning the CDF/PSF within the broader context of French and Algerian society.

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Status Translation

Central Asian Migrants between Ethnic Discrimination and Religious Integration

Sophie Roche

For migrants coming from Central Asia to Moscow, the Cathedral Mosque functions as a central hub to organise their life in the Russian capital. The reason for this is not predominantly their faith or religion. Rather, this place of worship opens a space in which these mostly Tajik people translate their status from that of a stranger exposed to xenophobia and distrust to the respected position of a proper Muslim.

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The Chimes of Liberation and the Millennial Frontier

Extract of the Statement at the Conference Forum 2000, 4 September 2007

Wole Soyinka

The rise of extreme nationalism, racism and xenophobia that swept through France, Germany, the United Kingdom and even some Scandinavian countries during the past decade – a tendency that appears only very recently to have begun very slightly to reverse itself – is yet again evidence of the ease with which the collective mind can be swept up by demagoguery that appeals to that 'zone of faith' in the consciousness of most human beings. The 'nation' is only another article of faith – like religion and ideology, and an appeal to the irrational baggage that sustains it in the mind is no different from the irrational supports of religious or totalitarian orders.

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Patricia Anne Simpson

Europe has witnessed the rise of a multigenerational, populist shift to the right, characterized by the unapologetic deployment of extremist symbols, ideologies, and politics, but also by repudiations of right-wing labels associated with racism, xenophobia, and nativist entitlements. The political lexicon of far-right rhetoric derives its considerable persuasive force from mobilizing and normalizing extremist views. This article examines the intricately and translocally woven connections among representative movements, organizations, and media personalities who popularize and disseminate far-right views through social media and their own internet websites. With diatribes about the threat against Russia, the uncontainable and intolerable influx of refugees and asylum seekers, whom they blame for terrorist attacks, deteriorating family values, the loss of national German identity, and the antidemocratic politics of Chancellor Angela Merkel, the cadre of self-credentializing experts and politicians, some in alignment with Pegida, mobilize historical moments and meanings to make connections with a broad spectrum of supporters.

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Michèle Lamont

In recent years, surveys have consistently shown relatively high levels of racism and xenophobia in France. In particular, a 1999 Harris poll conducted for the Commission nationale consultative des droits de l’homme revealed that 68 percent of the respondents in a national sample declared themselves somewhat racist; 61 percent believed that there are too many foreigners in France; 63 percent believed that there are too many Arabs (up 12 percent compared with 1998); and 38 percent believed that there are too many blacks (up 8 percent compared with 1998).1 Against the backdrop of a long, difficult, and partly repressed colonial past, a full 28 percent of French voters have, since 1983, voted at least once for the openly racist and anti-Semitic Front National.2 These results clash with the popular image of a Republican France, where the dominant political ideology affirms that the ascribed characteristics of citizens are irrelevant to their participation in the polity.

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Comics as Public Pedagogy

Reading Muslim Masculinities through Muslim Femininities in Ms. Marvel

Shenila S. Khoja-Moolji and Alyssa D. Niccolini

In this article we examine the production and operation of the character, Kamala Khan, a Muslim American-Pakistani superheroine of the Ms. Marvel comic series, to glean what this reveals about Islam and Muslims, with particular attention to representations of Muslim masculinities. We argue that Ms. Marvel's invitation to visualize Muslim girls as superheroes is framed by a desire to interrupt rampant Islamophobia and xenophobia, yet, in order to produce such a disruption it relies on, and (re)produces, stereotypical conceptualizations of Muslim masculinities as mirrored in men who are conservative, prone to irrational rage, pre-modern, anachronistic, and even bestial. However, as the series progresses we notice the emergence of representations of complex and complicated Muslim masculinities that cast doubt on these tired, hackneyed ones, thus making way for a comic to undertake the pedagogical work of resistance. We see this graphic novel, like the shape-shifting Kamala herself, as wielding potentially dynamic and transformative power in social imaginaries.