Why plumage matters
Author: Rodney Barker

This book presents the rich fabric of language, clothing, food, and architecture which forms the diverse religious, political, cultural and ethnic identities of humanity. The colour of a scarf, the accent of a conversation, can unite people or divide them, and the smallest detail can play its part in signalling who are allies and who are enemies, as much for elites as for citizens in a democracy. Human identity is neither rigidly determined nor unpredictable and spontaneous, but between those two extremes is the forum on which the public life of humanity is generated. After a century in which an assumption was held across the ideological spectrum from left to right and from Marxists to economic individualists that the rational pursuit of material gain underlay social and political activity, the fundamental importance of the cultivation and preservation of identity is re-emerging across the whole spectrum of politics in which Britain is one example only. Yet while identity is the dimension in which public life is conducted, it is inherently paradoxical: on the one hand people cultivate their identity by association with a group, or religion, or nation, whilst on the other hand they distinguish themselves from their associates within those groups by presenting an intensified or purer form of the qualities which otherwise unite them. So identity simultaneously generates equality and inequality, between identification by association, and identity by exclusion and differentiation; it is both the engine of public life, and the cause of its confusion and conflict.

This Open Access edition was funded by London School of Economics and Political Science.

Open Access (free)
Rodney Barker

or principle which is no more than a summary of what it seeks to explain. What applies to birds applies with even greater force to humans, animals who wear not only their own skin and hair, but that of other creatures as well, adding to and extending their own plumage by creating for themselves second and third skins of clothing which are as much a part of who they are as are the feathers of the sparrow or the plumes of the peacock, and no more artificial than a sparrow's nest. Human plumage, as a tangible component of human identity, is not

in Cultivating political and public identity
Open Access (free)
Rodney Barker

identity, and a narrowing, though not a vanishing, of the distances between various rungs in the social ladder and of the privileged and penalising differentiations of gender. If distinctions, exclusions, and privileges remained, they nonetheless increasingly, if unsteadily, did so within a common forum, rather than in a society rigidly even if not impermeably divided between the classes and the masses. At every stage, clothing, manners, speech, diet, and religion have been part of those identities. And so also are the accounts, claims, and challenges about these

in Cultivating political and public identity
Open Access (free)
The Algerian war and the ‘emancipation’ of Muslim women, 1954–62
Author: Neil Macmaster

In May 1958, and four years into the Algerian War of Independence, a revolt again appropriated the revolutionary and republican symbolism of the French Revolution by seizing power through a Committee of Public Safety. This book explores why a repressive colonial system that had for over a century maintained the material and intellectual backwardness of Algerian women now turned to an extensive programme of 'emancipation'. After a brief background sketch of the situation of Algerian women during the post-war decade, it discusses the various factors contributed to the emergence of the first significant women's organisations in the main urban centres. It was only after the outbreak of the rebellion in 1954 and the arrival of many hundreds of wives of army officers that the model of female interventionism became dramatically activated. The French military intervention in Algeria during 1954-1962 derived its force from the Orientalist current in European colonialism and also seemed to foreshadow the revival of global Islamophobia after 1979 and the eventual moves to 'liberate' Muslim societies by US-led neo-imperialism in Afghanistan and Iraq. For the women of Bordj Okhriss, as throughout Algeria, the French army represented a dangerous and powerful force associated with mass destruction, brutality and rape. The central contradiction facing the mobile socio-medical teams teams was how to gain the trust of Algerian women and to bring them social progress and emancipation when they themselves were part of an army that had destroyed their villages and driven them into refugee camps.

Author: Sara De Vido

The book explores the relationship between violence against women on one hand, and the rights to health and reproductive health on the other. It argues that violation of the right to health is a consequence of violence, and that (state) health policies might be a cause of – or create the conditions for – violence against women. It significantly contributes to feminist and international human rights legal scholarship by conceptualising a new ground-breaking idea, violence against women’s health (VAWH), using the Hippocratic paradigm as the backbone of the analysis. The two dimensions of violence at the core of the book – the horizontal, ‘interpersonal’ dimension and the vertical ‘state policies’ dimension – are investigated through around 70 decisions of domestic, regional and international judicial or quasi-judicial bodies (the anamnesis). The concept of VAWH, drawn from the anamnesis, enriches the traditional concept of violence against women with a human rights-based approach to autonomy and a reflection on the pervasiveness of patterns of discrimination (diagnosis). VAWH as theorised in the book allows the reconceptualisation of states’ obligations in an innovative way, by identifying for both dimensions obligations of result, due diligence obligations, and obligations to progressively take steps (treatment). The book eventually asks whether it is not international law itself that is the ultimate cause of VAWH (prognosis).

Open Access (free)
Rodney Barker

such groups, ideologies, and visions – is a continual tangle between the aspiration towards equality and the assertion of inequality. Second, everything counts, no human activity is trivial or meaningless, and the visible and audible actions that constitute identity both individually and collectively – clothing and eating, speaking and moving, architecture and public spaces – are not best seen as expressions of some deeper, internal, or foundational essence. Any summary of identity is a summary of these components, not a description of a first

in Cultivating political and public identity
Rodney Barker

sufficient occasion for protest marches from their republican opponents. 8 Protest marches were not the only possible consequence of the choice and treatment of clothing. The wrong cut or the wrong colour could be enough to prove treason or counter-revolution. Every aspect of human clothing, conduct, and culture from the colour of a garment to the shape of a shoe could be seen as both a sign and a component of an allied or an alien loyalty, and be the occasion for solidarity or hostility, fraternity or assault. 9 In revolutionary France, a police agent warned of the need

in Cultivating political and public identity
Charity and the economy of makeshifts in eighteenth-century Britain
Sarah Lloyd

action, which they regarded as behaviour that had to be contained. Arguably, the governors’ new rule was not simply a gesture of appeasement but also an attempt to restrict mobility, as the school struggled in other contexts and ways to contain parental, and in some cases pupils’, assertions of control over animate and inanimate things – teachers, pupils, clothing, apprenticeships and the children’s time. In this chapter I want to elaborate on the idea of an economy of makeshifts through examining the charitable context in which the poor Welsh parents, and hundreds of

in The poor in England 1700–1850
Negotiating vanity
Faye Tudor

. Brathwaite argues that clothing is nothing more than a practical necessity, essential for the human being after Adam and Eve sinned and ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. This sin left all humans subsequently vulnerable to the elements and therefore clothing became necessary but, ‘to glory then in these necessities is to glory in sinne’.14 For a woman to have pride in her appearance, in her clothes and in fashions, is to revel in the sins of Adam and Eve. Brathwaite picks at the flimsy fashions of contemporary society: Was apparell first intended for keeping in

in The senses in early modern England, 1558–1660
Jayne Lloyd

, in the case of the sheet folding, part of the process of doing the laundry. Betty’s performance of doing the laundry in the arts sessions did not contribute to the continuity, maintenance or repair of clothing or fabrics in the care home. I propose instead that it was a form of self-care that involves the performance of care for objects and materials as a way of maintaining and providing some continuity and, perhaps, repair of Betty’s identity, which could be considered incomplete if activities that form and express aspects of who she is are lost on entering

in Performing care