In 1997, Stuart Clark published the first monograph since the time of Jules Michelet to focus on pre-modern ideas about witches. The language of belief in witchcraft studies betrays an anachronistic, modernist and dismissive approach to a mental universe quite different from our own. This book makes the male witch visible, to construct him as a historical subject, as a first step toward a deeper understanding of the functions and role of gender in pre-modern European witch-hunting and ideas about witches. The overtly political dimension to the study of witches in early modern Europe demands a high level of consciousness and reflexivity regarding language, representation, and meaning. William Monter provides a wealth of data about male witches, in an 'unremarkable province' close to 'the heart of northern and western Europe'. Here, men comprised the majority of those tried and executed for witchcraft. The book examines cases in which men were accused of witchcraft. The examples are drawn from several different regions, in order to test conventional generalisations about male witches. The agency theory posits that actors always have choices; 'agent-centred' morality proposes a novel twist on both traditional Kantian internalist categories. The problems of both male and female witches' agency and selfhood are discussed. The book also presents data compiled from ten canonical works, and a brief discussion of demonological illustrations. Finally, it addresses the question of what it means to label a man as a witch within a framework that explicitly and implicitly feminised witchcraft.
Concepts of ‘balance’ have been central to modern politics, medicine and society.
Yet, while many health, environmental and social challenges are discussed
globally in terms of imbalances in biological, social and ecological systems,
strategies for addressing modern excesses and deficiencies have focused almost
exclusively on the agency of the individual. Balancing the Self explores the
diverse ways in which balanced and unbalanced selfhoods have been subject to
construction, intervention and challenge across the long twentieth century.
Through original chapters on subjects as varied as obesity control, fatigue and
the regulation of work, and the physiology of exploration in extreme conditions,
the volume analyses how concepts of balance and rhetorics of empowerment and
responsibility have historically been used for a variety of purposes, by a
diversity of political and social agencies. Historicising present-day concerns,
as well as uncovering the previously hidden interests of the past, this volume’s
wide-ranging discussions of health governance, subjectivity and balance will be
of interest to historians of medicine, sociologists, social policy analysts, and
social and political historians alike.
of selfhood and right to participate in this world. Moreover, violence is absolutely integral to the markings of subjectivity, setting apart claims about identity, along with notions of civility and barbarism. Violence is always mediated through expressed dichotomies between acceptable and unacceptable behaviours, between the right to punish and the intolerable transgression, between the force of normative law and the terror of the minority. In fact, there is an entire political ecology at work in the very diagnosis of something as political violence in itself
theorists, religious thinkers and artists discussed one's identity, one's perceptions and perspectives, as well as one's station in life, as more malleable than their classical counterparts, subject to both external social and cultural forces and conscious self-directed transformation.
Nonetheless, though building on such antecedents, it seems clear that selfhood and subjectivity became objectified in new ways and new settings over the twentieth century, not least in medicine and a
Balance, malleability and anthropology: historical contexts
practices – historical horizons of possibility – is one of my grounding assumptions in the history of medicine.
After some reflection, however, the request to provide a reflexive springboard or foundation for the rest of the conference, a role that I am usually pleased to perform, provoked some disquiet. What caused me to pause were the following questions: If this idea of a constructed selfhood is to be a conceptual foundation, then what are its foundations? Where am I standing? More precisely, what am I standing on, or pushing off from? Where does
French denaturalisation law on the brink of World War II
are prosecuted in the name of the nation’s security,
highlighting those moments when notions of selfhood and otherness are
shaped, mobilised, and transformed.
My approach to history is motivated by a genealogical
method of research, starting with the recognition that contemporary
denaturalisation practices continuously articulate a past that
nonetheless remains only partially known to us. Accordingly
that actors always have choices, no matter how restricted;
‘agent-centred’ morality proposes a novel twist on both
traditional Kantian internalist categories and a useful political starting
point for taking agents’ conscious moral choices seriously. 2
In this chapter, we address the problems of both male and
female witches’ agency and selfhood. Issues of agency and resistance
Postcolonial women writers in a transnational frame
has alienated her from this space as mythic, ancestral
ground. Indeed, her rapist so identiﬁes with the cult of the people as the land’s
children that he is described as having ‘grown’ from the earth. He also, chillingly, calls her sister (‘Hanzvadzi’). Yet, far from her opposition to the ‘father’land serving as a position of strength, Masvita’s wounded incomprehension of
what has happened as anything other than brute violence condemns her to a
sterile condition of victimhood. Hers is a desperate, destructively translocal
search for a sense of autonomous selfhood
Visualising obesity as a public health concern in 1970s and 1980s
programmes also firmly established the idea that balancing individual diets and physical activity was essential to good health.
Such ideas of balance and selfhood permeated individualised notions of health education throughout the 1970s and 1980s. For heart disease prevention programmes, overweight and obesity were regularly constructed as an imbalance between caloric intake and energy expenditure, with the individual identified as the crucial agent in self-adjustment and self-improvement. Of course, this idea of dietary moderation for health
. ). Indeed, the genealogy of autoﬁction is broad and
well documented: from the crisis of the notion of selfhood in modern
times, to notions of the death of the subject and the author, to postmodern
claims of absence and privation – all of which are paralleled by the loss of
conﬁdence in the referential power of language to tell the crumbling reality
of the self in a text.
Whichever way one chooses to trace the fact that writing an autobiography can no longer be a naïve practice, it is undeniable that autoﬁction has
grown in reaction to this and as a resilient attempt to