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James Baldwin Review (JBR) is an annual journal that brings together a wide array of peer‐reviewed critical and creative work on the life, writings, and legacy of James Baldwin. In addition to these cutting-edge contributions, each issue contains a review of recent Baldwin scholarship and an award-winning graduate student essay. James Baldwin Review publishes essays that invigorate scholarship on James Baldwin; catalyze explorations of the literary, political, and cultural influence of Baldwin’s writing and political activism; and deepen our understanding and appreciation of this complex and luminary figure.

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Loud and proud

Passion and politics in the English Defence League

Hilary Pilkington

‘Loud and proud’: Politics and passion in the English Defence League is a study of grassroots activism in what is widely considered to be a violent Islamophobic and racist organisation.

The book uses interviews, informal conversations and extended observation at EDL events to critically reflect on the gap between the movement’s public image and activists’ own understandings of it. It details how activists construct the EDL, and themselves, as ‘not racist, not violent, just no longer silent’ inter alia through the exclusion of Muslims as a possible object of racism on the grounds that they are a religiously not racially defined group. In contrast activists perceive themselves to be ‘second-class citizens’, disadvantaged and discriminated by a ‘two-tier’ justice system that privileges the rights of ‘others’. This failure to recognise themselves as a privileged white majority explains why ostensibly intimidating EDL street demonstrations marked by racist chanting and nationalistic flag waving are understood by activists as standing ‘loud and proud’; the only way of ‘being heard’ in a political system governed by a politics of silencing.

Unlike most studies of ‘far right’ movements, this book focuses not on the EDL as an organisation – its origins, ideology, strategic repertoire and effectiveness – but on the individuals who constitute the movement. Its ethnographic approach challenges stereotypes and allows insight into the emotional as well as political dimension of activism. At the same time, the book recognises and discusses the complex political and ethical issues of conducting close-up social research with ‘distasteful’ groups.

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‘Loud and proud’

Piercing the politics of silencing

Hilary Pilkington

activists. In this chapter, that experience is shown to be one of a politics of silencing in which attempts to articulate grievances are met with accusations of racism and respondents learn to ‘keep your mouth shut’. This constraint on political space compounds a wider disengagement from the formal political sphere and a denial of the ‘political’ nature of activism. Such disengagement, it is argued here, is not rooted in a traditional far right, anti-democratic ideology, however, but in an experientially based scepticism about the functioning of contemporary formal

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Introduction

Transgressing the cordon sanitaire: understanding the English Defence League as a social movement

Hilary Pilkington

introductory chapter sets out an approach to understanding activism in the English Defence League (EDL) from within social movement studies. It places the EDL alongside populist radical right rather than classic ‘far right’ movements on the political spectrum and outlines a provisional rationale for characterising it as an anti-Islamist movement. Prefacing the theoretical discussion in subsequent chapters of the book, it contextualises claims by the EDL that the organisation is ‘not racist’ but ‘against militant Islam’ within contemporary theories of ‘race’ and racism and in

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Conclusion

Passion and politics

Hilary Pilkington

Conclusion: passion and politics This book is political. Not because it started with an explicit commitment to a particular political project but because it did not. Not because the author took the position of ‘activist-scholar’, but because the ‘ugly’ politics of the movement studied rendered such a role inappropriate. But must research on activism always take the form also of political action? If so, do we not exclude the possibility of close-up research of those political causes and movements that we find, personally, most difficult to comprehend and

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Joy Damousi

6 Viola Bernard and the case study of race in post-war America Joy Damousi The writings and political activism of Viola Bernard, a psychoanalyst of German-Jewish background who practised in New York during the twentieth century, provide a further prism through which to consider the genre of the case study, as well as broader questions concerning intersections between culture, politics and the discourses of psychiatry and psychoanalysis. A resilient political and social activist, Bernard was committed to many progressive causes. These included support of trade

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Visibility and vulnerability

Translatina world-making in The Salt Mines and Wildness

Laura Horak

women cultivate survival through strategies of collective care, kinship, and world-​making. Following the insights of the Combahee River Collective, which argued that, ‘If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression’ (1986), trans activists have argued that the most vulnerable trans people should be at the heart of trans politics and activism (Spade, 2015:  19). This political attention to vulnerability (e.g. to the structures that produce it, the

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Martin McIvor

same time as offering a viable and sophisticated defence of political activism and social commitment that could prove newly resonant for contemporary audiences. Nor has this been a purely academic or intellectual phenomenon – the renewed currency of republican values and concepts has begun to infuse contemporary policy debates around constitutional reform, the importance of ‘civil society’, and extending, as we shall see, to suggest new rationales for reforms aimed at securing greater social and economic equality. As Chapter 5 in this volume shows, the possibility

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The centralised government of liquidity

Community, language and culture under the Celtic Tiger

Steve Coleman

actions of the state.’33 In Akutagawa’s and Hourigan’s analyses,34 these outcomes represent the ‘failure’ of popular political movements. They see the main results of local activism as the extension of state control within the Gaeltacht, and the creation of a new Gaeltacht middle class centred around local cooperatives and the broadcasting and film industries. These indigenous elites are treated by locals ‘as an extension of national elites to be lobbied rather than [as] their local representatives operating at local level’.35 Likewise, local cooperatives become ‘merely

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The power of vulnerability

Mobilising affect in feminist, queer and anti-racist media cultures

Edited by: Anu Koivunen, Katariina Kyrölä and Ingrid Ryberg

The power of vulnerability interrogates the new language of vulnerability that has emerged in feminist, queer and anti-racist debates about the production, use and meanings of media. The book investigates the historical legacies and contemporary forms and effects of this language. In today’s media culture, traumatic first-person or group narratives have popular currency, mobilising affect from compassion to rage to gain cultural visibility and political advantage. In this context, vulnerability becomes a kind of capital, a resource or an asset that can and has been appropriated for various groups and purposes in public discourses, activism as well as cultural institutions. Thus, politics of representation translates into politics of affect, and the question about whose vulnerability counts as socially and culturally legible and acknowledged. The contributors of the book examine how vulnerability has become a battleground; how affect and vulnerability have turned into a politicised language for not only addressing but also obscuring asymmetries of power; and how media activism and state policies address so-called vulnerable groups. While the contributors investigate the political potential as well as the constraints of vulnerability for feminist, queer and antiracist criticism, they also focus on the forms of agency and participation vulnerability can offer.