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National Global Imaginaries recent journal articles

2012/02/03

Carib as a Colonial Category: Comparing Ethnohistoric and Archaeological Evidence from …

postcolonial,indigenous,race

“Documents and maps describe settlement locations and objects possessed by the Carib, or Kalinago, in the Commonwealth of Dominica during the post-Columbian period. Archaeological testing at multiple sites in northern Dominica reveals that historical Carib settlements functioned as trading sites, observation posts, or refuges, but such testing has not recovered material culture described in the documents. Part of the explanation for the lack of correspondence between ethnohistory and archaeology is the inadequacy of the Carib ethnonym, which has been manipulated by the political and economic interests of European colonizers since 1492. Beginning with the first voyages of Columbus, the Carib were portrayed as warlike cannibals who raided the “peaceful” natives of the Greater Antilles. Carib-French contacts in the seventeenth century recorded origin myths and linguistic evidence that fit with the initial Spanish impressions of native Caribbean peoples. Archaeological findings reveal some of the heterogeneity that has been obscured by the Carib category recorded in the ethnohistoric sources.”

Post-Secular Turkey – GÖLE – 2012 – New Perspectives Quarterly

globalization,trade,democracy

“For 500 years the West was on the rise, culminating in Globalizaiton 1.0—the open system of trade, information flows and the spread of technology on the terms and in the image of the West. The benefits of that system over the last 30 years have led to the rise of the emerging economies. As a result we are entering the new era of Globalization 2.0 characterized by new forms of non-Western modernity and the interdependence of plural identities. The advent of this new era has been hastened by the fiscal and financial crisis in Europe and the United States. Turkey, with its Islamic-oriented democracy that has become a template for the liberated peoples of the Arab Spring, and China, with its effective neo-Confucian form of governance, are the most sharply defined new players in this multi-polar and multi-dimensional world. In this section, one of Turkey’s most insightful sociologists examines the post-secular transformation of that nation. One of China’s more provocative philosophers proposes a hybrid model that combines what has been learned from the experience of Western and Chinese governance in a way that “enhances democracy” in both systems.”

Reading between the “posts”: Systemic violence and the trope of hybridity in …

postcolonial

“The late-20th-century convergence of post-structural, postmodern and postcolonial theories has engendered a critical discourse network that privileges hybridity. These accounts contend that it (re)inscribes the agency of minority subjects, destabilizing hegemonic discourses, but, paradoxically, hybridity has become a stabilizing trope for – as well as the dominant way to read – the postcolonial novel. This essay discusses three postcolonial novels that “disidentify” with this master narrative of postcolonialism: Maryse Condé’s Heremakhonon, Jessica Hagedorn’s Dogeaters and Shani Mootoo’s Cereus Blooms at Night. When reread as performances enacted between the “posts”, these novels suggest that hybridity can expose the systemic violence of colonial rationality.”

Realisation of the right of indigenous peoples to natural resources under international…

rights,autonomy,indigenous,resource_mgmt

“For most indigenous communities, communal lands and natural resources have fundamental spiritual, social, cultural, economic and political significance that is integrally linked to both their identity and continued survival. Denial of the inherent and inalienable rights to their traditional land and natural resources is often at the root of human rights violations, giving rise to intra-state tensions and laying the foundation for emerging and ongoing conflicts. Full enjoyment of their land rights, including access to and control over the lands and their natural resources, would imbue indigenous peoples with the economic independence they need to preserve their distinct cultures and determine their futures. Immediate resolution of this issue is critical to ensuring that indigenous peoples are able to enjoy the rights to which they are entitled, and to enhance stability at the national level. It is suggested that one possible means is through the strategic reconceptualisation of self-determination. More specifically, the implementation of alternative manifestations of this right, particularly the effective realisation of the emerging right to autonomy, recognised in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, would enable indigenous peoples to have effective, de facto control over all aspects of their political, social, cultural and economic survival.”

Mind the Gap: Disciplinary Dissonance, Gender, and the Environment – Society & Natural …

gender,resource_mgmt

“This article investigates the treatment of gender issues in “research for development” natural resources management (NRM) projects. Through discussion of an NRM research project in the United Kingdom and India, the article explores how the use of inaccurate gender stereotypes results in projects being compromised. The article seeks to explain why this happens despite widespread appreciation of the centrality of gender issues to NRM and poverty. In explanation the article identifies the significance of difficulties in the partnerships between the natural and social science dimensions of these projects. The study demonstrates that instead of easy and equal partnership, the relationship between natural and social science practitioners and practices remains characterized by inequality and poor communication, with serious consequences for the understanding of, and response to, gender issues.”

Art of resistance: negation, Ojaide and the remaking of the Niger delta – African Ident…

poetics,environment

“This paper is focused on Tanure Ojaide’s poetry as ecocritical art for negating ecological imperialism, which he envisions is one of the major causes of political impasse, ecological malaise and socio-economic dissonance in the Niger delta of Nigeria as well as a fundamental obstacle to its remaking. In order to remake this region for environmental and developmental sustainability, Ojaide’s poetics advances the possibility of this through art of resistance, a kind of dissidence poetry couched in ecocriticism that negates ecological imperialism, a capitalist practice that destroys the Niger delta environment. Ecocriticism is a type of aesthetics or artistic representation that considers the nature of the relationship existing between literature and the natural environment. The central idea of this paper is that Ojaide’s ecocritical poetry is premised on questioning as well as negating imperialist operations in the Niger delta, where the activities of the multinationals in partnership with Nigeria’s political class have left a ledger of destruction, deprivation and violence. Thus, in Ojaide’s contention, since art is a refraction of realities in human world, it could be a potent instrument in remaking Nigeria for sustainable development through the insights and possibilities that it offers.”

Emerging writing from four African countries: genres and Englishes, beyond the postcolo…

postcolonial

“This article presents recent empirical research into emerging literature in English from four African countries. Employing ethnographic research methods to interrogate the current state of emerging writing in English from Cameroon, Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya, the research recognises the creative writing medium of ‘short stories’ to capture contemporary concerns of Africans living in the nations noted above. The short stories in this research project are newly sourced and are treated as data per se from which we are able to question the idea of emerging writing in English in these countries being ‘beyond the postcolonial’. In essence, the article presents data which suggest a shift from the classic postcolonial text to new, contemporary texts highlighting fresh departures in theme, genre and use of Englishes. The article demonstrates how the emerging writing captures and represents a sense of the zeitgeist of Cameroon, Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya respectively. This article presents distinctive scholarly arguments for the use of interdisciplinary enquiry (ethnographic methods to interrogate the field of literary studies) as well as presenting substantial new empirical data to support the notion that writing in English from former postcolonial countries is less indicative of the classic postcolonial text.”

Dependence Networks and the International Criminal Court1 – Goodliffe – 2012 – Internat…

rights,autonomy,law,globalization

“This article explores why governments commit to human rights enforcement by joining the International Criminal Court (ICC). Compared with other international institutions, the ICC has substantial authority and autonomy. Since governments traditionally guard their sovereignty carefully, it is puzzling that the ICC was not only established, but established so rapidly. Looking beyond traditional explanations for joining international institutions, this study identifies a new causal factor: a country’s dependence network, which consists of the set of other states that control resources the country values. This study captures different dimensions of what states value through trade relations, security alliances, and shared memberships in international organizations. Using event history analysis on monthly data from 1998 to 2004, we find that dependence networks strongly affect whether and when a state signs and ratifies the ICC. Some types of ratification costs also influence state commitment, but many conventional explanations of state commitment receive little empirical support.”

Building a Blog Cabin during a Financial Crisis

new_media

“In their studies of online media, political economists of communication have examined how firms like Google enclose users in a web of commercial surveillance, thus facilitating the commodification of their online labor. However, this focus on enclosure tends to overlook the political possibilities highlighted by autonomist Marxist theory—namely, that users, under certain circumstances, can appropriate these applications to contest conditions of exploitation. This article offers an analysis of Blog Cabin 2008, a cable home improvement show, in order to explore this tension between autonomy and enclosure. Our findings suggest that producers indeed used the show’s blog to exploit fans’ free labor. However, fans also used the blog to form social bonds, to press demands on the show’s producers, and to make connections between the show’s class politics and the wider financial crisis. A concluding section explores the theoretical and political significance of such unanticipated uses of the show’s blog.”

Theorizing Community as Discourse in Community Informatics: “Resistant Identi…

discourse_analysis,community

“Community informatics (CI) is a form of activism that involves the application of information and communication technologies in pursuit of community development within localities. This article draws on discourse theory (DT) to re-evaluate activists’ self-interpretations that rely on community, and to make sense of the political struggles at the heart of CI. It is argued that activists’ community discourse constructs, through articulation, locally “resistant” collective identities and an associated collective agency capable of appropriating technology in pursuit of unfulfilled social demands. However DT also suggests that the socially progressive nature of CI is not guaranteed by recourse to the social ideal of community.”

How does Interculturalism Contrast with Multiculturalism? – Journal of Intercultural St…

culturalisms,law,globalization

“This paper critically examines some of the ways in which conceptions of interculturalism are being positively contrasted with multiculturalism, especially as political ideas. It argues that while some advocates of a political interculturalism wish to emphasise its positive qualities in terms of encouraging communication, recognising dynamic identities, promoting unity and critiquing illiberal cultural practices, each of these qualities too are important (on occasion foundational) features of multiculturalism. The paper begins with a broad introduction before exploring the provenance of multiculturalism as an intellectual tradition, with a view to assessing the extent to which its origins continue to shape its contemporary public ‘identity’. We adopt this line of enquiry to identify the extent to which some of the criticism of multiculturalism is rooted in an objection to earlier formulations that displayed precisely those elements deemed unsatisfactory when compared with interculturalism. Following this discussion, the paper moves on to four specific areas of comparison between multiculturalism and interculturalism. It concludes that until interculturalism as a political discourse is able to offer a distinct perspective, one that can speak to a variety of concerns emanating from complex identities and matters of equality and diversity in a more persuasive manner than at present, interculturalism cannot, intellectually at least, eclipse multiculturalism, and so should be considered as complementary to multiculturalism.”

Minority nationalism and immigrant integration in Canada – Banting – 2011 – Nations and…

national_global_imaginaries

“Immigrant integration is currently a prominent issue in virtually all contemporary democracies, but countries in which the historic population itself is deeply divided – particularly those with substate nations and multiple political identities – present some interesting questions where integration is concerned. The existence of multiple and potentially competing political identities may complicate the integration process, particularly if the central government and the substate nation promote different conceptions of citizenship and different nation-building projects. What, then, are the implications of minority nationalism for immigrant integration? Are the added complexities a barrier to integration? Or do overlapping identities generate more points of contact between immigrants and their new home? This article addresses this question by probing immigrant and non-immigrant ‘sense of belonging’ in Canada, both inside and outside Quebec. Data come from Statistics Canada’s Ethnic Diversity Study. Our results suggest that competing nation-building projects make the integration of newcomers more, rather than less, challenging.”

The politics of conflict: a constructivist critique of consociational and civil society…

national_global_imaginaries

“This article presents a (critical realist) constructivist critique of both consociational and civil society/transformationist approaches and their crude understandings of politics and the prospects for political change. Consociationalism’s primordialist or essentialist foundation leads it towards a world-weary, pessimistic, conservative realism about how far ‘divided societies’ may be transformed. Advocates of the civil society approach, in contrast, take an instrumentalist view of identity and are optimistic that a radical transformation can be achieved by mobilising the people against ‘hard-line’ political representatives. The constructivist approach can provide a framework in which a more complex and nuanced understanding of identities is possible. This better equips us for understanding the prospects of bringing about desirable political change. The first part of this article is a critique of Nagle and Clancy’s consociationalism. The second part provides a brief outline of a constructivist critique of both the consociational and civil society understandings of politics and their contribution to understanding the politics of managing conflict.”

Constructing a shared public identity in ethno nationally divided societies: comparing …

national_global_imaginaries

“In order to bolster sustainable peace building in violently divided societies, a normative suggestion is that efforts should be made to construct a shared public identity that overarches ethnic divisions. A number of different centripetal/transformationist processes are identified as engineering a shared identity in comparison to consociational arrangements, which are accused of institutionalising ethnic differences and perpetuating conflict. These transformationist approaches essentially rest on the premise that because ethnicity is constructed it can be reconstructed into new, shared forms. Looking at Northern Ireland, we argue that there are limits to the extent that ethnicity can be reconstructed into shared identities. By analysing consociational and centripetalist/transformationist approaches to division, we conclude that although consociationalism will probably not deliver a common identity, it does provide a robust form of conflict regulation.”

Forging the nation as an imagined community – Shahzad – 2011 – Nations and Nationalism

transnationalism,national_global_imaginaries

“This article examines the ways in which young Canadians represent the ‘the War on Terror’ in their narratives. I explore how a hegemonic nationalist narrative enters into this representation in different ways and positions itself in a dynamic tension with the USA, at times eliding the difference and at times affirming it. I illustrate that these students do not simply tell the narrative of the war, but use the deixis of ‘we/us/our’ or ‘them/they/their’ in a way that constructs multiple imagined communities. I argue that these presumably benign representations of Canadian involvement in the war produce banal nationalism that excludes ‘others’, and binds human imagination into a framework that works against critical thinking.”

Neo-Nazi Nationalism – Cooter – 2011 – Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism

national_global_imaginaries,race

“In an effort to understand how supremacists may respond to future socio-political events, this article examines how White Aryan Resistance (WAR), as a major player in the White Supremacist Movement (WSM), conceptualises nationalism and who qualifies as a ‘real’ American. I use discourse analysis on two year’s worth of WAR newsletters: twelve monthly issues before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and twelve issues after this date. Only partial support is found for outcomes that the existing nationalism literature would predict, suggesting that those who research the right-wing must better understand the WSM’s sense of status loss to adequately predict future violent action from these groups. I show that WAR did not increasingly target Arabs after the attacks, which may have enhanced their membership and mobilisation efforts, but that this decision was a rational response in the context of status threats and limited movement resources.”

Forging the nation as an imagined community – Shahzad – 2011 – Nations and Nationalism …

national_global_imaginaries

“This article examines the ways in which young Canadians represent the ‘the War on Terror’ in their narratives. I explore how a hegemonic nationalist narrative enters into this representation in different ways and positions itself in a dynamic tension with the USA, at times eliding the difference and at times affirming it. I illustrate that these students do not simply tell the narrative of the war, but use the deixis of ‘we/us/our’ or ‘them/they/their’ in a way that constructs multiple imagined communities. I argue that these presumably benign representations of Canadian involvement in the war produce banal nationalism that excludes ‘others’, and binds human imagination into a framework that works against critical thinking.”

Introduction – China and the Human } Social Text

culturalisms

“This introduction frames a special two-part issue consisting of eleven essays and a visual dossier, which collectively investigate the conceptual, political, historical, and cultural relationships between China and the human. By juxtaposing China and the human as two discrete categories, this introduction—and the special issue it accompanies—do not assume either concept as a pre-established object of knowledge; China is considered as a method of inquiry in itself. This introductory essay provides a conceptual and historical map for examining both China and the human as a set of comparative and relational events in specific historical and geopolitical contexts by investigating Euro-American, Chinese, and transnational itineraries of the human. While it analyzes China’s potential to undo the universalizing claims of Western idealized norms of the liberal human, the essay also refuses to re-essentialize Chinese otherness as an alternative. At the same time, it traces alternative cosmologies and discourses of Chinese humanism and anti-humanism, informed by Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism, as well as other religious and political traditions. In addition, this introduction examines from various transnational perspectives Marxist and Maoist conceptualizations of the human that mark the advent of Chinese modernity. Finally, it considers the status of the human in contemporary China, defined increasingly as a bearer of universal political and economic rights under the shadow of neoliberalism. What humanity means in China today—and in the world—and what it will mean in the future are part of an ongoing struggle over the meaning of its past and the politics of its present.”

The Meaning of Work in Neoliberal Globalisation: the Asian exception? – Third World Qua…

globalization,labour,development

“This article argues that a central element of capitalist development, especially in its neo-liberal form, has been the configuration of a rationalised and individuated conception of work that helps to maximise capitalist efficiency. As the capitalist system has become globalised there has been an attempt to export this conception of work to the Global South by means of liberalisation programmes, many of them sponsored by the World Bank. These have entailed repression of organised labour in the attempt to force workers to adopt the role allocated to them by neo-liberalism, that of individual rational maximisers of utilities. It is argued that this attempt to globalise a neo-liberal conception of work must confront an Asia wherein local values (notably a preference for communitarian rather than individualistic values) and conditions have led both state and civil society to frame the concept of work as having collective rather than just individual significance.”

International Studies in Gender, State and Society – The Agency Gap in Work-Life Balanc…

cultural_studies,labour

“Work-life balance (hereafter WLB) is a discursive refrain in European public debate that reflects goals for a more productive workforce: that women and men should be able to be both earners and carers. It is not merely a buzzword in policy circles, however, but mirrors rising expectations of working parents for a better quality of life and the tensions that ensue from these expectations within individual lives, households, work organizations, and policy frameworks. European societies’ attitudinal studies reveal that an overwhelming majority of both women and men maintain that WLB is a primary priority when considering job and workplace (Hobson and Fahlén 2009a, 2009b). There is also convincing evidence that most European men would like to reduce their working hours, even with an equivalent reduction in hourly pay (Fagan 2004; Hobson and Fahlén 2009a). Yet, there is a growing gap between attitudes and practices, the ideal and the real, as seen in the rising numbers of individuals who work long hours (Boulin et al. 2006; Guest 2002; Lee 2004), and the significant proportions of jobs with unsocial hours (Boulin et al. 2006; Perrons et al. 2006). When applied to working parents, WLB is often defined as a lack thereof, i.e., work-life imbalance, or work-life conflict (Guest 2002), which is reflected in international research that shows that individuals most often view work demands as impinging on family time rather than vice versa (Frone 2003).”

Elizabeth Costello, Embodiment, and the Limits of Rights

cultural_studies,rights

“Critics have commonly interpreted J. M. Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello as a defense of animal rights. However, this essay argues that it more accurately demonstrates the liabilities of enlisting the idiom of rights to advocate for animal welfare. It thus develops a phenomenology of embodiment indebted to Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s thought as an analytic through which both to elucidate the status of the animal in Coetzee’s text and to probe the limits of the liberal logic of rights. In doing so, it argues that liberal discourses of rights paradoxically occlude the ontological condition of embodiment. Although the text of Elizabeth Costello often appears closer to philosophy than literature, this essay further maintains that its narrative stages a plea for art’s superior ability to manifest animal being—in particular its deeply embodied texture.”

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