This research aims to analyse how the body changes as a result of the development of a physical disability and how it affects the gender identity of the subject. Specifically, it seeks to investigate three areas: femininity and masculinity imaginaries, relationships and affective-sexual practices, and body image. It starts from the assumption that there is a gender difference which is key to understanding the experience of the subjects – women – in these three areas: the development of physical disability, experiencing more barriers to satisfactorily building and reshaping their emotional and sexual life, and sustaining a positive body selfconcept. In all these three areas womens' experiences differ from those of their male counterparts. Moreover, physical disability involves the transition from possessing a ‘valid’ body (capable, productive, and reproductive) to a ‘non-valid’ one (conceived as incompetent, unproductive, and non-reproductive). This research puts forward as a hypothesis that the resulting transformed bodies challenge the dichotomous model of a sex-gender binary as they do not meet the defining precepts of hegemonic masculinity and femininity. To test this hypothesis I applied a qualitative methodology: the body iteneraries of six subjects, three men and three women with spinal cord injury (SCI), were reviewed.
J.F. Matamoros-Sanin and Ingris Peláez-Ballestas
As anthropologists it may be fruitful to consider the way we construct space with our ethnographies; especially regarding illnesses from people with musculoskeletal diseases. The discussion of space in ethnographies and through narratives points to peculiarities and possibilities it could present for ethnographers trying to interpret and understand the way illness takes place in urban areas. Some of these conditions, for example: ankylosing spondylitis, carry consequences understood as disabilities. Part of this reflection shall be sustained from ethnographic fieldwork undergone in Chihuahua City, Mexico. This city belongs to a state located on the border with the United States, where certain indigenous groups live in both rural and urban areas. We present an approach to the health phenomenon with an indigenous person with ankylosing spondylitis who inhabits this place and not only interacts with it, but constructs new ways of existing through space and body alike. To better understand a disabled indigenous body in an urban space, we shall rely on the basic anthropological concept of ‘technics of the body’, while trying to connect with further spatial and technical notions; particularly what we understand as techniques of the body through space. Acknowledging the body without the space it occupies may prevent us from considering what seems to be beyond it, but ends up being a part of it too. Considering how and where people move from this perspective shall hopefully bring theoretical and methodological tools that could enhance our interpretation of illness.
This chapter draws on the initial findings of my PhD research, which theorises queer, alternative and subversive feminine orientations, embodiment and subjectivity in everyday life. Using a theoretical framework of Pierre Bourdieu’s (1984) concept of the habitus, Judith Butler’s (1999) theory of gender performativity and Sara Ahmed’s (2006) queer phenomenology concerning processes of orientation, I investigate how subjects who identify their femininity as being queer, alternative or subversive, manifest their gender identity according to the affects, objects, people, spaces, aesthetics and positioned intersections of identity that they orientate themselves towards and away from. The project uses a mixed methodological approach involving a discursive analysis of three major queer feminine subcultural texts, Chloë Brushwood Rose and Anna Camilleri’s (2003) Brazen Femme, Ulrika Dahl and Del LaGrace Volcano’s (2008) Femmes of Power and Jennifer Clare Burke’s (2009) Visible: A Femmethology, as well as interviews and visual materials in the forms of collages and photographs produced by 15 queer feminine participants in the UK. This chapter explores the question of why positionalities matter for theorising queer feminine orientations. It discusses how various intersecting positionalities, including ‘race,’ ethnicity, disability, class, age, sex, gender, sexuality, size and geographical location orientate queer feminine identities, by shaping, limiting and producing specific modes of queer feminine embodiment and subjectivity.
Abu Baker A. A. Al Hadi
The chapter focuses on how the perceived physiological and non-physiological causes of female infertility are treated by the Muslim healers in Tamboul town, which is located in central Sudan. Seeking treatment at institutions such as masīd (a religious complex) is commonly the first option for Sudanese women. Women mostly opt for the Islamic spiritual healing because they perceive that the causes of their infertility are non-physiological such as ‘amal (sorcery), which is believed to disrupt the cycle and cause milk hormone problems, and Umm Al-Subyān (an evil spirit), which is believed to populate the womb, eat sperms, break the eggs and cause recurrent abortion. Muslim healers - male and female - perform various rituals for healing these causes, such as bakhra (incensing), ‘azīma (spitting cure), miḥāya (erasure), and order paying visits to shrines of saints. Women who visit doctors also perform these rituals. This is because they perceive qīsma (fate ordained by God) as the cause of infertility, and son-infertility (the failure to conceive sons), even if the cause is medically explained. Doctors also encourage women to visit these healers for psychological support. Methodologically, the analysis of the practices is based on medical pluralism. Data was collected through observations, ethnographic interviews, and informal conversations.
Mohammad Khalil Elahee
A Research Group was initiated in 2008 at the University of Mauritius to undertake studies related to Maurice Ile Durable or MID. The latter refers to the achievement of a model in terms of sustainability for the Republic of Mauritius, an export-dependent and tourism-based insular economy, vulnerable to both climate change and disruption in importation including that of fossil fuel and food. More than 30 academic staff from all Faculties of the University of Mauritius worked in a multi-disciplinary manner to produce preliminary reports addressing the following themes: MID Concept Definition; Institutional Framework; Participative Democracy; Sustainable Energy; Ecotourism; Transport and Land Use; Health and Environment; Sustainable Agriculture; Culture; and Standards, Indicators and Dashboard. A methodology was defined towards turning the MID vision into reality. Without being comprehensive and prescriptive, the findings pointed to the sequence of events in view of ensuring a systemic or holistic approach: a) Calling of a national consultation forum on MID; b) Finalising the shared vision, mission, priorities, strategies and action plan; c) Setting up of the relevant institutional framework within a loi-cadre; d) Continuous monitoring, feedback and communication on the MID progress. Also, the studies emphasised the following urgent needs: Responding to immediate areas of concern with respect to energy, waste, transport, new buildings and cane industry in order to ensure that MID compliance is not overlooked; Responding to the needs of the population, particularly vulnerable groups as a condition for participative democracy; Sustaining MID in its initial stage through education, training, sensitization and communication campaigns; Combating consumerism and debt through the promotion of sustainable living; Introduction of standards, indicators and dashboard for MID as part of the MID action plan.
Mary Ann O’Grady
This mixed methods research project examined the phenomenon of filicide - which is defined as the murder of children by their parents - from a conflict resolution perspective. Previous research has investigated filicide across a variety of contexts including legal, social, and cultural, but not from a viewpoint of managing and resolving intra-family conflict. The goals of this research project were to provide additional insights and practical applications for professionals who come into contact with those families at high risk for incidents of filicide by, firstly, expanding the classification of motives for filicide to include both instrumental and expressive motivations according to the type of parent; and, secondly, by examining the gender differences existing in the degree of planning prior to the act of filicide. The mixed methods research carried out included the construction of a tri-county level database for south Florida for filicides occurring between January 1985 and December 1994. The qualitative portion of the methodology included a content analysis of the descriptive variables for each filicide case. Two case studies originating from September 2010 to the present day were utilized to illustrate patterns/themes common to filicide cases entered into the quantitative database. A quantitative analysis of the filicide database was conducted to compare the frequency of the variables of expressive versus instrumental filicide as they related to the motives of genetic parents and step-parents. The results suggested that, regardless of the category of parent, the filicides tended to be more expressive in nature; and that females were more likely to engage in a greater degree of planning than males in the commission of filicide. A comparison between the degree of brutality and gender of the offender revealed that more males than females were represented in each of the three categories of brutality.
Creative Writing and theory have long had a problematic relationship, one that is arguably based on mutual neglect and one that is complicated by the alleged death of one of the partners. This chapter therefore seeks to reconsider the significance of theory for Creative Writing research. It aims to remedy the misperception of theory instated by Creative Writing scholars and practitioners, and hence to counter theory’s marginalisation from within Creative Writing circles in the academy. It rekindles the debate about the supposed antagonism between these two fields of study and attempts to re-invigorate the conversation by provoking writers to reconsider their understanding of theory’s usefulness to their practice. It argues for a plurality of theories while pointing out that theories grounded in postructuralist conceptions of language may be more conducive to Creative Writing research as these facilitate a deeper understanding of both product and process. This chapter singles out psychoanalysis as a case-study, for psychoanalysis is only at best a work in progress, and therefore not a ‘theory.’ Thus it makes a case for a theory that does not consolidate our certainties, but rather disrupts these, thereby opening up creative possibilities that can in turn be theorised. A psychoanalytic understanding of subjectivity does indeed enable writers to gain insights in their own creative processes. This in turns permits them to scrutinise the very concept of knowledge production in ways that are not envisaged by other models of subjectivity. Psychoanalysis may only be useful in that it suggests that both writing and the subject are constructions in the making, yet by grappling with the theory itself, new teaching methods and methodologies arise.
Phil Fitzsimmons and Edie Lanphar
In the field of children’s literature and narrative research, the notion of the ‘tell tale gap’ or ‘not so obvious ‘gap’ has been a focus point for a considerable length of time. However, with the advent of a multitude of connected narratives that migrate across platforms and modalities, analysis of the ‘gap’, or points of omitted difference, has become even more complicated. While apparently still in its infancy, the developing research base is littered with an array of points of analytic diversification, explication and definition. This chapter seeks to add to this analytic spectrum as it discusses a ‘transmedia’ narrative research project that sought to investigate and analyse the ‘gaps’ embedded in and between the narrative shifts occurring across the graphic novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and the subsequent movie, Hugo. While the project commenced with simply ‘thematizing’ the gaps, closer inspection revealed the need to use an interdisciplinary approach, which employed Goffman’s concept of ‘frame analysis’, ‘Tell Me reader response’ and the ‘tools of visual literacy’. These conjoined points of understanding came into ‘research being’ because of an ideological belief in the research praxis of ‘methodological appropriateness’. Hence, as these versions were primarily ‘visual’ meaning making processes, and because each used ‘paratext’ as a critical entrée point, the interdisciplinary foci became the initial ‘narrative orientation points’. Through an inductive application process the gaps became recognizable as markers of ‘silence and disclosure’ of identity, the ‘liminality of trauma’ and the ‘wholeness and creativity of abandonment’. While on the surface the ‘gaps’ were points of difference and divergence, when pulled together for closer scrutiny it becomes clear that through this set of transmedia narratives, ‘woundedness becomes a visual mouth’.
Hovig Ter Minassian, Isabel Colón de Carvajal, Manuel Boutet and Mathieu Triclot
This contribution presents a research work in progress based on the analysis of video recordings of people playing at videogames. The screen and the players are both recorded, and then the two video records are synchronised. This methodology allows observing precisely the immersive potential of videogame practices, according to the socio-spatial contexts in which they take place. The results of such analysis show that the videogame experience is not only immersive or intensive, but also actually characterised by the superposition of discontinuities: immersion/perturbation, connection/disconnection, pleasure/boredom etc. Thus, the limits between what is real and what is not, between what is play and what is not, are not given a priori, and are not the same according to the contexts of play. There are several interests of such work. Firstly, it allows putting in perspective the place given to the images in the analysis of videogame practices, and to focus on what we could name, in the continuity of Raymond Bellour’s works on the body of the spectator in a movie theatre, ‘videogame bodies.’ Secondly, such research allows taking account of spatial and social micro-interactions which occur during a videogame session, particularly between the videogame spaces and the players. Lastly, it gives us a glimpse of the ordinary life of a group of players engaged in a collective activity, in a context of leisure and friendship. The whole study shows that the limits between what is real and what is virtual are due less to the technological performances of more and more powerful videogame machines, allowing the player to be dived into always more immersive and realistic universes, than to the way the player is engaged in a videogame. Immersion in a videogame is not reducible to a unique formula, and the circumstances of videogame practices should be observed to be understood.
This paper investigates how mechanical works of art in contemporary galleries can assist in transferring and translating notions of affect, or instantaneous emotional impulses, based on the viewers’ visual literacy levels with regard to specific mechanical parts. In practice, the examination entails associating affective symbols with mechanical forms and functions of exhibited sculptures. During a practice-based study, still mechanical sculptures were exhibited in UK galleries, in an attempt to establish the presence of affective transfer between the works and the viewers. The analysis of data collected from more than 400 participants (using validated psychometric tests, internationally reliable PANAS and I-PANAS-SF scales of affect measure, CCTV recordings and participant observation) reveals that the success of this impulsive transference depends on a number of factors, including the viewers’ visual familiarity with the mechanical parts, properties and functions employed in the sculptures. Parallel case studies on artwork by Francis Picabia have revealed the mechanism’s potential to portray human traits and conditions. Additional studies have exposed the particular characteristics of viewers’ visual thinking processes and emotional responses to specific mechanical parts and mechanical installations, as well as the relation of these responses to their ability to assign meaning to the artwork. The theory forwarded here has been informed by the writings of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari on affect and the encountered sign, whilst emphasis was also placed on recent writings by Jill Bennett and Simon O’Sullivan in terms of rhizomatic connectivity. Through this interdisciplinary study, the research undertakes a novel methodological approach, informed and guided by affective notions, as it attempts to shed light on an affective dynamic between the artwork and the spectator’s sensory and emotional perception.