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Women and Sexuality in Contemporary Iran

When HIV Meets Government Morality

Kristin Soraya Batmanghelichi

In Iran, as in many countries worldwide, misinformation and ignorance of HIV/AIDS have encouraged a culture of secrecy and anonymity for those living with HIV. For many HIV-positive women, religious, political and economic pressures complicate their social status and access to health care. Moreover, they must contend with societal discrimination and stigmas associated with the condition. Adding nuance to contemporary studies on gender and sexuality in Iran, this report highlights the colourful narratives of a select group of HIV-positive mothers attending weekly wellness workshops in Tehran. Discussing issues of intimacy, modesty, motherhood and stigmatisation, this article explores one of Iran's expanding communities at risk of infection and the ways in which women with HIV negotiate the stigma of their condition in an Islamic Republic.

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Albert Camus

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'The Lying Art'

Peter Porter's Modest Proposals

Adrian Caesar

I should begin with an apologia for my title. An interesting, entertaining and useful paper might be written about the satirical, Swiftian aspect of Peter Porter's poems. This isn't it. Nor am I concerned here with the imaginative and intellectual brilliance of so many Porter titles, though this too would make a fascinating subject. Rather my interest is in the idea of 'modesty' in relation to art and artists as it is articulated in Peter's work.

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Regulating Multiplexes

The French State between Corporatism and Globalization

Graeme Hayes

Since the mid-1980s, the growth of multiplex cinemas has transformed the social, industrial, and spatial logics of film exhibition across western Europe. Pioneered in the United States, where they were developed in the mid-1970s as “destination anchors” in suburban retail centers, multiplexes first appeared in Europe in Belgium (as early as 1975), Sweden (1980), and the United Kingdom (1985). In France, multiplex development started comparatively late; a first wave of comprehensive theater modernization and rationalization, launched in the 1960s, had already created a distinctive national model of multiscreen complexes (such that one observer was moved to argue that, by the late 1980s, “without false modesty, France’s film theaters are the most attractive in Europe and among the best in the world”).

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Frank Pearce

This is an essay – along with another, by Raymond Boudon – on The Cambridge Companion to Durkheim (2005), edited by Jeffrey Alexander and Philip Smith. With becoming modesty, the editors admit that their argument for a 'cultural turn' in Durkheimian interpretation isn't universally accepted. Yet there is little sign, in their collection, of contributions that dispute their position. Certainly, some of the articles are interesting and stimulating, though others are modest in another sense, even quite flawed – as in some of their ideas about America. True, in his own article, Alexander makes a good enough case for a 'cultural turn'. But he seems unaware of Durkheim's last publication in his lifetime, 'The Politics of the Future' (1917). And in general, it is necessary to challenge 'culturalism'. This essay suggests an alternative, based not only on The Division of Labour, but the continuing relevance of Durkheim's belief in the need for socialism.

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Picturing Politics

Female Political Leaders in France and Norway

Anne Krogstad and Aagoth Storvik

This article explores images of high-level female politicians in France and Norway from 1980 to 2010, examining the ways in which they present themselves to the media and their subsequent reception by journalists. Women in French politics experience difficulties living up to a masculine heroic leadership ideal historically marked by drama, conquest, and seductiveness. In contrast, Norwegian female politicians have challenged the traditional leadership ethos of conspicuous modesty and low-key presentation. We argue that images of French and Norwegian politicians in the media are not only national constructions; they are also gendered. Seven images of women in politics are discussed: (1) men in skirts and ladies of stone, (2) seductresses, (3) different types of mothers, (4) heroines of the past, (5) women in red, (6) glamorous women, and (7) women using ironic femininity. The last three images-color, glamour, and irony-are identified as new strategies female politicians use to accentuate their positions of power with signs of female sensuality. It is thus possible for female politicians to show signs of feminine sensuality and still avoid negative gender stereotyping.

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'in plain English, stark naked'

Orlando, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and Reclaiming Sapphic Connections

Alison Winch

Despite her claims to truth and plainness, however, Montagu’s autobiographical account is embellished, feigned and fragmented. She rewrites herself as a precocious fourteen-year-old as opposed to nineteen, and the related events and emotions do not always correspond with those outlined in her letters. In failing to write in so ‘plain a manner’, Montagu gestures at the inevitable fabrication involved in writing the self and in writing history. In particular, she exposes the difficulty of portraying a protagonist who ‘had a way of thinking very different from that of other Girls’ (79), of inscribing a person who defies the fixed, gendered categories of ‘plain English’. The problematics of depicting history and conforming to that powerful dictator, ‘reputation’, are further evident in Montagu’s ‘History of her Own Times’which she reportedly destroyed ‘as fast as she finished it, in a sustained, heroic act of self-censorship’.2 Indeed, the contradictory impulse to write the life of Montagu and to write it according to the policing gaze of ‘Chastity, Modesty and Purity’ plagues Montagu’s self-representations, as well as those of the critics who attempt to write and edit her life for future readers.