To conceptualize future directions of cultural studies depends on how the origins and genealogy of that discipline has been conceptualized. Two stories of origins have emerged, the textual and the sociological, the first of which is probably dominant within British academia. On the contrary, the sociological account is illuminating, even if one prefers to privilege the textual. Cultural studies are historically derived from adult education institutions, which determine the forms of knowledge that once passed as cultural studies, but such institutional contingencies are rarely regarded as being of theoretical significance. A cultural study has something particular to offer the rest of the academy because of its fluid intellectual boundaries and its newness as a university discipline. South African cultural studies provide an institutional matrix in which the traditional distinctions between academic and aesthetic production, like those between theoretical reflection and policy development, are deliberately interrogated, challenged and transformed.
Acceptance, critique and the bigger picture
Anne B. Ryan
This chapter reflects on two qualitative research projects, How Was It For You? and Balancing Your Life, that was carried out between 1999 and 2001, with people experiencing both the ways of life. It discusses the connections between individual choices and the ways that economic values affect society, and asserts that the public and private spheres cannot be considered in isolation from each other. Democracy in growth economies, which include Ireland, has been undermined by the extreme wealth owned by global corporations. Limits discourses create the conditions for critical thinking about the bigger picture and the longer term. Many people consequently live in a work-earn-spend cycle, spending much of what they earn on possessions and services now considered essential for everyday life. The 'reality' discourses have the effect of making people feel trapped in a cycle of earning, working, spending, consuming and meeting financial commitments, including the servicing of debts.
Quality and processes of qualification
Mark Harvey, Andrew McMeekin and Alan Warde
This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on concepts discussed in the preceding chapters of this book. The book describes that quality is inevitably about controversy over standards, and presents a set of diverse and detailed observations. It analyses of what it is to make a claim that something is of better quality than something else. The book focuses on a number of contrasting approaches to quality of food. It describes that different quality attributes could also have included contributions from sensory studies, biology, toxicology, psychology and others. It illustrates some of the ways in which the duty of interpretation may be conducted, suggesting a number of different ways to handle the quandaries of judgement. The book examines quality in the consumption sphere, several of the contributions have tacitly recognised links to commercial considerations.
This chapter sums up the key findings of this study on new social democracy (NSD). The book has argued that New Labour and NSD both failed to find a real alternative to the conservative hegemony and criticised the New Labour's preference for the combination of weak equality and strong reciprocity. This study has suggested that New Labour should be considered as both an effect and perpetuation of the security state and showed that the ‘old’ social democracy is not as discredited as new social democrats would have us believe. It has also proposed basic a model of ecowelfare, outlined a theory of intergenerational justice and suggested a multidimensional conception of human nature.
Community, language and culture under the Celtic Tiger
Irish language culture embodies all the tensions and contradictions historically pertaining to the relationships between community, nation and state. The Irish state has followed patterns typical of nineteenth- and twentieth-century nation building, in that it has sought to establish a unity of geographic space, language and ethnic culture. Rural Irish-speakers encountered colonial power relations, the ideologies and practices of political economy and the English language as one package. The Irish state portrayed the Gaeltacht as the 'storehouse' or 'treasure' of identity in a nation state. As 'the crucible of Irish postmodernity', the Gaeltacht has become the state's testing ground for decentralisation and local governance, as well as for the progressive recognition of linguistic and cultural minority rights. By opening up closed networks of both community and governance, Gaeltacht activism has pointed the way for the reduced role of the postmodern Irish state in its Celtic Tiger phase.
Sol Plaatje and W.E.B.Du Bois
This chapter focuses on the black Atlantic nationalism that began in 1993 with the publication of Paul Gilroy's book, The Black Atlantic, whose focus on the cultural, political and economic relations of Africa, Europe and the New World was not original. It discusses the work of Plaatje and Du Bois, which introduce different ways to think about black Atlanticism, as a critical dialogic relationship that questions some of the paradigms for analysis created by Gilroy's book and sustained by a number of Africanists. The cultural values and critical perspectives of black nationalism were ‘antithetical to the rhizomorphic, fractal structure of the transcultural, international formation of the black Atlantic’. As Gilroy's work has travelled from diasporic to African studies, it has gained a new component: the construction of African Americans as a global vanguard, whose role it is to lead continental Africans into modernity. However, Masilela's black Atlantic work presents black modernity as essentially a cultural condition, not a political economic and cultural process.
Social welfare for the twenty-first century
Social democracy has made a political comeback in recent years, especially under the influence of the ‘Third Way’. Not everyone is convinced, however, that ‘Third Way’ social democracy is the best means of reviving the Left's project. This book considers this dissent and offers an alternative approach. Bringing together a range of social and political theories, it engages with some contemporary debates regarding the present direction and future of the Left. Drawing upon egalitarian, feminist and environmental ideas, the book proposes that the social democratic tradition can be renewed but only if the dominance of conservative ideas is challenged more effectively. It explores a number of issues with this aim in mind, including justice, the state, democracy, new technologies, future generations and the advances in genetics.
Tadesse Simie Metekia
Atrocities that befell Ethiopia during the Dergue regime (1974–91) targeted both the living and the dead. The dead were in fact at the centre of the Dergue’s violence. Not only did the regime violate the corpses of its victims, but it used them as a means to perpetrate violence against the living, the complexity of which requires a critical investigation. This article aims at establishing, from the study of Ethiopian law and practice, the factual and legal issues pertinent to the Dergue’s violence involving the dead. It also examines the efforts made to establish the truth about this particular form of violence as well as the manner in which those responsible for it were prosecuted and eventually punished.
I focus on two contemporary art installations in which Teresa Margolles employs water used to wash corpses during autopsies. By running this water through a fog machine or through air conditioners, these works incorporate bodily matter but refuse to depict, identify or locate anybody (or any body) within it. Rather, Margolles creates abstract works in which physical limits – whether of bodies or of art works – dissolve into a state of indeterminacy. With that pervasive distribution of corporeal matter, Margolles charts the dissolution of the social, political and spatial borders that contain death from the public sphere. In discussing these works, I consider Margolles’ practice in relation to the social and aesthetic function of the morgue. Specifically, I consider how Margolles turns the morgue inside out, opening it upon the city in order to explore the inoperative distinctions between spaces of sociality and those of death. In turn, I consider how Margolles places viewers in uneasy proximity to mortality, bodily abjection and violence in order to illustrate the social, political and aesthetic conditions by which bodies become unidentifiable. I ultimately argue that her aesthetic strategies match her ethical aspirations to reconsider relations to death, violence and loss within the social realm.
John Harries, Linda Fibiger, Joan Smith, Tal Adler and Anna Szöke
This article will query the ethics of making and displaying photographs of human remains. In particular, we will focus on the role of photography in constituting human remains as specimens, and the centrality of the creation and circulation of photographic images to the work of physical anthropology and bioarchaeology. This work has increasingly become the object of ethical scrutiny, particularly in the context of a (post)colonial politics of recognition in which indigenous people seek to recover dominion over their looted material heritage, including the remains of their dead. This ethical concern extends to the question of how and under what circumstances we may display photographs of human remains. Moreover, this is not just a matter of whether and when we should or should not show photographs of the remains of the dead. It is a question of how these images are composed and produced. Our discussion of the ethics of the image is, therefore, indivisible from a consideration of the socio-technical process by which the photographic image is produced, circulated and consumed.