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Edited by William Fourie

From subversive shop windows to moralising theme parks, Urban Assemblage presents eight diverse perspectives on urban space and culture. The volume spotlights cities as far afield as Johannesburg and Cork City to see how different cultures, media, mobilities and narratives come to form the spaces we occupy; it looks at the Tuscan utopia, the evolution of the hipster, the Neo-bohemian café culture of gentrification, and breaking the rigid urban way of life through the fluid (identity) movement of Parkour. Not only is the subject matter diverse, but the interdisciplinary spirit at the core of this volume elicits convergences and divergences, intersections and parallels by drawing on wide-ranging methodologies and disciplines. Urban Assemblage is an assemblage of eight different voices, informed and cutting-edge in their explications of various urban spaces.

Amber Anna Colvin

In recent years the study of celebrity, of what constitutes fame, and how that fame is controlled and performed, has become an area of intense scholarly interest. This is due in part to the increased emphasis on social and cultural history and the presence of new and innovative sources, both of which have created new and exciting areas of study. The growing importance and recognition of the celebrity phenomenon has created a field that is both currently rich in literature and has the room for continued scholarship. The works in this volume address debates on the concept of celebrity, including the modernity of celebrity, the importance of the celebrity-audience relationship and the question of who controls celebrity personas. How, in essence, do celebrities “do fame?” This question is at the centre of this book, with the pieces included addressing this idea across a variety of academic disciplines, time periods, and methodological approaches.

Edited by Nuria Rodríguez Ortega, Fátima Díez-Platas and Seppo Kuivakari

The articles comprised in this anthology are attempting to discuss the rapid change of digital media technologies and the way they impetus our understanding of history and memory. History should not be regarded only as an object of research. It is also a subject, performing and registering agency. The aim of the articles will not be to cover the whole range of mediated histories, but to claim fresh insights for debate and discovery in terms of digital memories. In this sense, contributions for this volume will leave the “doors of perception” (Aldous Huxley) wide open and sketch the impact of media to different cultural practices, identity work and preservation of history, as well as the examination of it. Likewise, divergence of the papers at hand indicates that the concept “digital” ought to be recognized as institutional practices, methodological tools, or as content providers for memories.

Edited by Nate Hinerman and Holly Lynn Baumgartner

From the ridicule of Emo culture on YouTube to the minute joys of the Happy Hour Trolley in an Australian palliative care setting, responses to suffering and death range from avoidance to eradication. Blunt Traumas thoughtfully engages these topics with compassion and brutal honesty. Contributors across the spectrum of professions using a variety of methodologies, including case studies, fieldwork, systematic philosophy, and historical and textual analysis all respond to the orienting question: ‘How does culture impact, co-create, and/or produce suffering?’ Their inter- and multi-disciplinary perspectives are divided into two sections. The first, ‘Public Perceptions of Death, Dying, and Suffering’ closely examines human interactions with and performance of technologies of suffering from wireless to religious, dead baby bloggers to wounded warriors. The second half of the book focuses on the ‘The Sufferer’s Right to Choose’, whether that concerns end-of-life decisions, medical technologies, or narratives of self. Together, these chapters provide greater intelligibility on and provocative discussions about the oft ignored or ‘buried’ discourses of suffering and dying.

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David J. Galbreath, Ainius Lašas and Jeremy W. Lamoreaux

Continuity and Change in the Baltic Sea Region uncovers the Baltic States’ foreign policy transition from Socialist Republics to EU member-states. Situated between the Russian Federation and Northern Europe, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have had to manoeuvre within an often delicate sub-region. Since independence, the foreign policies of the Baltic States have been dominated by de-Sovietization and European integration. Lying at the crossroads between small state theory and identity politics, this analysis engages with the development of Baltic foreign policies as post-Soviet, small and transitioning states.
The authors argue that Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania dictated their early foreign policy agendas based on a process of identity construction and as a response to their regional environment. This process took the Baltic States from East to West in their foreign policy aspirations. Key factors in foreign policy making and implementation are discussed, as well as external factors that shaped Baltic foreign policy agendas. Overall, the book illustrates how continuity and change in the Baltic foreign policies has been shaped by both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ factors. It is a study in the foreign policies of transitioning states and in this regard illuminates a much larger research area beyond its geographic focus.

Things Done Change

The Cultural Politics of Recent Black Artists in Britain

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Eddie Chambers

1980s Britain witnessed the brassy, multifaceted emergence of a new generation of young, Black-British artists. Practitioners such as Sonia Boyce and Keith Piper were exhibited in galleries up and down the country and reviewed approvingly. But as the 1980s generation gradually but noticeably fell out of favour, the 1990s produced an intriguing new type of Black-British artist. Ambitious, media-savvy, successful artists such as Steve McQueen, Chris Ofili, and Yinka Shonibare made extensive use of the Black image (or, at least, images of Black peo¬ple, and visuals evocative of Africa), but did so in ways that set them apart from earlier Black artists. Not only did these artists occupy the curatorial and gallery spaces nominally reserved for a slightly older generation but, with aplomb, audacity, and purpose, they also claimed previously unimaginable new spaces. Their successes dwarfed those of any previous Black artists in Britain. Back-to-back Turner Prize victories, critically acclaimed Fourth Plinth commissions, and no end of adulatory media attention set them apart.
What happened to Black-British artists during the 1990s is the chronicle around which Things Done Change is built. The extraordinary changes that the profile of Black-British artists went through are dis¬cussed in a lively, authoritative, and detailed narrative. In the evolving history of Black-British artists, many factors have played their part. The art world’s turning away from work judged to be overly ‘political’ and ‘issue-based’; the ascendancy of Blair’s New Labour government, determined to locate a bright and friendly type of ‘diversity’ at the heart of its identity; the emergence of the precocious and hegemonic yBa grouping; governmental shenanigans; the tragic murder of Black Londoner Stephen Lawrence – all these factors and many others underpin the telling of this fascinating story.
Things Done Change represents a timely and important contribution to the building of more credible, inclusive, and nuanced art histories. The book avoids treating and discussing Black artists as practitioners wholly separate and distinct from their counterparts. Nor does the book seek to present a rosy and varnished account of Black-British artists. With its multiple references to Black music, in its title, several of its chapter headings, and citations evoked by artists themselves, Things Done Change makes a singular and compelling narrative that reflects, as well as draws on, wider cultural mani¬festations and events in the socio-political arena.

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Catriona Firth

For decades postwar Austrian literature has been measured against and moulded into a series of generic categories and grand cultural narratives, from nostalgic ‘restoration’ literature of the 1950s through the socially critical ‘anti- Heimat’ novel to recent literary reckonings with Austria’s Nazi past. Peering through the lens of film adaptation, this book rattles the generic shackles imposed by literary history and provides an entirely new critical perspective on Austrian literature. Its original methodological approach challenges the primacy of written sources in existing scholarship and uses the distortions generated by the shift in medium as a productive starting point for literary analysis. Five case studies approach canonical texts in post-war Austrian literature by Gerhard Fritsch, Franz Innerhofer, Gerhard Roth, Elfriede Jelinek, and Robert Schindel, through close readings of their cinematic adaptations, concentrating on key areas of narratological concern: plot, narrative perspective, authorship, and post-modern ontologies. Setting the texts within the historical, cultural and political discourses that define the ‘Alpine Republic’, this study investigates fundamental aspects of Austrian national identity, such as its Habsburg and National Socialist legacies.

Edited by Laura Crossley and Clara Sitbon

Narrating Indigenous Modernities

Transcultural Dimensions in Contemporary Māori Literature

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Michaela Moura-Koçoğlu

The Māori of New Zealand, a nation that quietly prides itself on its pioneering egalitarianism, have had to assert their indigenous rights against the demographic, institutional, and cultural dominance of Pākehā and other immigrant minorities – European, Asian, and Polynesian – in a postcolonial society characterized by neocolonial structures of barely acknowledged inequality. While Māori writing reverberates with this struggle, literary identity discourse goes beyond any fallacious dualism of white/brown, colonizer/colonized, or modern/traditional. In a rapidly altering context of globality, such essentialism fails to account for the diverse expressions of Māori identities negotiated across multiple categories of culture, ethnicity, class, and gender.
Narrating Indigenous Modernities recognizes the need to place Māori literature within a broader framework that explores the complex relationship between indigenous culture, globalization, and modernity. This study introduces a transcultural methodology for the analysis of contemporary Māori fiction, where articulations of indigeneity acknowledge cross-cultural blending and the transgression of cultural boundaries.
Thus, Narrating Indigenous Modernities charts the proposition that Māori writing has acquired a fresh, transcultural quality, giving voice to both new and recuperated forms of indigeneity, tribal community, and Māoritanga (Maoridom) that generate modern indigeneities which defy any essentialist homogenization of cultural difference. Māori literature becomes, at the same time, both witness to globalized processes of radical modernity and medium for the negotiation and articulation of such structural transformations in Māoritanga.

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Laurence Roulleau-Berger

Within a movement towards the circulation and globalisation of knowledge, new centres and new peripheries form and new hierarchies appear - more or less discretely - producing competition and rivalry in the development of “new” knowledge. Centres of gravity in social sciences have been displaced towards Asia, especially China. We have entered a period of de-westernization of knowledge and co-production of transnational knowledge. This is a scientific revolution in the social sciences which imposes detours, displacements, reversals. It means a turning point in the history of social sciences. From the Chinese experience in sociology the author is opening a Post-Western Space where after Post-Colonial Studies, she is speaking about the emergence of a Post-Western Sociology.