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James Baldwin Review (JBR) is an annual journal that brings together a wide array of peer‐reviewed critical and creative non-fiction 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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Rescue and Resistance in the Med

An Interview with Caroline Abu Sa’Da, General Director of SOS MEDITERRANEE Suisse

Juliano Fiori

-and-rescue missions. But it is citizen movements that have been at the forefront of the emergency response. Similarly inspired by cosmopolitan ideals, these groups tend to use more political language than conventional NGOs, presenting their relief activities as a form of direct resistance to nationalist politics and xenophobia. As liberal humanitarianism is challenged in its European heartland, they are developing – through practice – a new model of humanitarian engagement. SOS MEDITERRANEE is an ad hoc citizen initiative founded in 2015 to prevent the death of

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David Rieff

established global order has been greatly exaggerated, then you will doubt that those changes are likely to pose any existential challenge to the humanitarian international, be it in terms of the efficacy of what relief groups do in the field or in terms of the political and moral legitimacy they can aspire to enjoy. But if, on the contrary, you believe that we are living in the last days of a doomed system – established in the aftermath of World War II and dominated by the US – then the humanitarian international is no more likely to survive (or to put

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When the Music Stops

Humanitarianism in a Post-Liberal World Order

Stephen Hopgood

Introduction The modern global humanitarian system takes the form it does because it is underpinned by liberal world order, the post-1945 successor to the imperial world of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the global political and economic system the European empires created. Humanitarian space, as we have come to know it in the late twentieth century, is liberal space, even if many of those engaged in humanitarian action would rather not see themselves as liberals. To the extent that there is something constitutively

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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