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Responsible Doubt and Embodied Conviction

The Infrastructure of British Equestrian Horse/Human ‘Partnership’

Rosie Jones McVey

Horse care practices and equestrian pedagogy are being reconfigured within a contemporary ‘revolution’ in British horsemanship. This is both instigated by, and instigates, horse owners’ attitudes of responsible doubt and self-critique. At the same time, embodied conviction is honed, because the rider’s mindful body is foregrounded as an integral part of the communication channel between horse and human. In this article, responsible doubt and embodied conviction are shown to emerge from, and contribute to, different ways in which horse riders can cut the network in their endeavours to achieve ‘true partnership’ with their horses.

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Local Laughter, Global Polemics

Understanding Charlie Hebdo

Jane Weston Vauclair

Charlie Hebdo became a global name following the tragic events of 7 January 2015 in Paris. Following this, two competing, somewhat reductive forms of commentary on Charlie Hebdo rapidly emerged in the global media. Could Charlie Hebdo effectively be sidelined as a case of egregiously irresponsible and offensive satire, even if the attacks per se were inexcusable? Or could its cartoonists instead be championed as martyrs to free speech, having proved to have a backbone of conviction and courage that had been lacking elsewhere in the media? This article argues that a dual set of tensions have come to the fore through Charlie's vertiginous global exposure. These are tensions between the local and the global, and between the ethics of conviction and the ethics of responsibility. It looks to highlight how Charlie Hebdo's contributors have been engaging with these tensions, both in the 'survivor's issue' of 14 January 2015 and in other spaces of commentary.

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Conflicted Power of the Pen

The Impact of French Internment on the Pacifist Convictions and Literary Imagination of Lion Feuchtwanger

Nicole Dombrowski Risser

German Jewish author, Lion Feuchtwanger, wove uncompromising pacifism into his post-World War I novels and plays, preferring a pen to a sword to oppose European fascism. Even over his six years of exile in France (1933–1939), Feuchtwanger maintained his pacifist convictions. This article traces the author’s late turn from literary pacifist antifascism to a reluctant, but firm advocacy of armed civilian and military struggle. Feuchtwanger’s internment by the French in the Les Milles detention camp triggered the author’s conversion. There, he abandoned his faith in pacifist, communist internationalism opting now for a romanticized idea of French nationalism, which pivoted around French martial, nationalist heroines like Joan of Arc and the Revolutionary Marianne. Novels, Paris Gazette (1939), Simone (1944), and his memoir The Devil in France (1941) demonstrated a sharpening of his pen to mobilize American and French readers for armed intervention and the militarization of female civilians. France in its betrayal, defeat, and regeneration became the lodestar for resetting Feuchtwanger’s compass.

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The Politics of Conviction

Faith on the Neo-liberal Frontier

Jean Comaroff

What, if anything, is distinctive about the Pentecostal revival that is currently palpable in many parts of the world? How might such revitalization be related to larger transformations in economy and society, and to enduring Weberian questions about the spirit of capitalism? Drawing largely on material from the US and Africa, this article explores three dimensions of contemporary theologico-politics—the sociological, the ontological, and the cultural—to examine the ways in which current religious emphasis on realism and rapture in many quarters might differ from apocalypse past, and how theocratic tendencies might be linked to shifts in the nature of the state, the shape of the secular, and the axioms of liberal humanism. How have the mass media played into this, and why are they such uncannily apt vehicles for a late-modern culture of the miraculous?

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The Embodiment of Learning and Teaching

The Enigma of Non-arrival

Nigel Rapport and Noa Vaisman

How people arrive at their convictions, and how they come to change them, remain immensely difficult questions. This article approaches convictions as manifestations of individuals' embodiment, and as allegories of their lives. As well as a rehearsing of moments of his own embodied learning, the main author engages in an email exchange with the second author, pondering how he might answer her questions about an anthropological methodology which more nearly approaches others' embodied experiences: the convictions represented by informants' words and behaviours. The article ends inconclusively. An individual's knowledge of body and self is part of that body and self, situated amid world-views and life-projects. Alongside the radical otherness of anthropologists' informants is the relative otherness of anthropologists to themselves. Our disciplinary conclusions concerning convictions, own and other, must remain provisional and open.

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Anthony Holiday

It is a commonplace of Kantian scholarship to describe his system as an attempt to curb the scope of rationalist metaphysics in order to accommodate his religio-ethical convictions. Indeed, in the second edition Preface to the First Critique, Kant himself says bluntly that he has ‘found it necessary to deny knowledge (Erkenntnis) in order to make room for faith (Glaube)’.

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Lynn Hunt

Robert R. Palmer exemplified the best that historians have to offer. He wrote with conviction, empathy, and at times passion, yet he always managed to maintain balance and portray both the good and the bad in the people and events he brought to life for his readers. Because he wrote with conviction, he also wrote with exceptional clarity. He never displayed the impulse to hide behind highfalutin language, contorted prose, or excessively specialized topics. He believed that democracy was an absolute good, that it had its origins in European history, and that its rise provided one of, or even perhaps the principal theme of all of modern history. As a consequence, he never lost his sympathy for the French revolutionaries of 1789–1794, however terrible their actions, however much they fell short of living up to their ideals.

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David J. Goldberg

The Liberal movement that John Rayner joined in the mid-1950s and speedily came to dominate was small, inward-looking, aimlessly treading water and intellectually undistinguished. But my conviction is that whether in its sister movement in the U.S.A., the two million strong Union of American Hebrew Congregations or in the glory days of nineteenth- century German Reform Judaism, John's powerful intellect, wide Jewish knowledge, conviction of principle, clarity of thought and concision of expression would have brought him to the forefront. When the history of Progressive Judaism comes to be written in a hundred years time, his name will be mentioned in the same breath as luminaries like Abraham Geiger, Kaufmann Kohler, Isaac Mayer Wise, Leo Baeck and Solomon Freehof. He was one of the great ones for his and future generations.

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Bordering Intimacy

The Fight against Marriages of Convenience in Brussels

Maïté Maskens

Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted between January 2012 and June 2013 in eight civil registry offices in Brussels, this article explores how assumptions about intimacy intersect with the moral standards of bureaucrats evaluating the authenticity of conjugal life in order to prevent 'marriages of convenience'. From the 'intimate conviction' of the agents of the state to the co-production of intimate narratives, this article tries to understand the intrusion of states in contemporary intimacies. I look at how the bureaucratic application of a civilizational ideology affects the subjectivities of those engaging in partnerships across two different nationalities (bi-national couples) – and blurs an historic distinction between what is public and what is private.

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Forget Dawkins

Notes toward an Ethnography of Religious Belief and Doubt

Paul-François Tremlett and Fang-Long Shih

New Atheism is characterized by a binary logic that pits religion against science, belief against doubt, a pre-modern past against a modern present. It generates a temporal sensibility and attitude toward being modern that is a 'survival' of late-nineteenth-century anthropology, where religious belief and the past were bound together in opposition to science and the present. We analyze this binary logic and then, in response, present two ethnographic accounts—one from the Philippines, the other from Taiwan—to support our contention that religion is not just a matter of personal convictions. Rather, it is a public practice in which belief and doubt are constituted socially and dialogically.