EUC Student Academic Journal First Edition, 2019 Book Design: Gabija BubnytÄ— & Natalia Derossi Realised with the help of: Laetitia van der Bergen, Philipp Spengler & Emilie de Bassompierre Self-published at the Willem de Kooning Academy Fonts used: Minion Pro Helvetica The academic journal is also hosted online: www.esaj.nl
FIRST EDITION, 2019
Editorial There is something deeply disheartening about spending days and nights sweating to give birth to the best of your papers, only to see them gather dust in some untouched folder along with a stack of notes from your old courses. Within a strong academic community such as EUC, the work that students put into their papers should be rewarded with more than just a number. At a university that not just aims to understand, but also to engage with the outside environment, setting in motion a publishing flow furthermore constitutes a step in the right direction. It is with these ideas in mind that I, together with a group of academic colleagues and friends, first conceived the idea of an EUC Student Academic Journal (ESAJ); a peer-reviewed journal that aims to publish the best papers written by our students. Having now the honor to introduce the first issue of the ESAJ to the EUC community, I find myself filled with a deep sense of gratitude towards everyone who has contributed to make this possible. It has been a beautiful experience to observe a humble idea develop into a fruitful cooperation between students and staff at EUC. It is with the hope that the ESAJ can become an established entity at EUC, able to enrich academic life for years to come, that I will be passing on the task of chief editor to Philipp Spengler. My personal experience working together with him tells me he will be a great replacement. I imagine such a journal to continue to allow students who join the editorial board, as well as those interested in publishing, to gain insight into the process of academic publication and to improve their text writing and editing skills. Never have I learnt so much at EUC as I did while setting up the ESAJ in the past one year and a half. From institutional dynamics and organizational matters, to translation issues (especially when a French, an Italian and a German debate over details of the English language), all the way into ego-management when dealing with the comments of your classmates on your own article. I believe similar lessons have been felt by my fellow editor-friends. Collectively, we have learned the extent to which a small-scale journal can bring another level of meaning and experience to our fellow students. 4
Needless to say, my editing team was practically flawless, with its chief editor (myself) being the only occasional cause of fuss and delay. Hence, I wish to express my sincerest thanks to my awesome team members: Shireen Bhalla, Emilie de Bassompierre, Laetitia van den Bergen, Philipp Spengler and Daniel Xu. A special thank you goes to Gabija BubnytÄ—, who in addition to editing became the official and much needed designer of our team. Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to prof. dr. Wim Hafkamp, and head of department dr. Robin van den Akker, without the support of whom the entire project would have not been possible. Natalia Derossi, Chief Editor.
About this issue If there is anything in common among the papers we encountered over the course of the making of this issue, it is the time and effort that students have put in them. Beginning at the roughly fifty papers submitted, to the twelve papers which remained after two editing rounds, the enthusiasm and dedication towards this project that the students showed stood out. In the essays themselves, we encountered a spirit of critical reflection - papers that break disciplinary bounds, that challenge established modes of thinking, or that ask about the studentsâ€™ own place in society and the world. The process we followed in this journal was a double-blind peer review process. Selection of papers took place through two reviewers who had to reach a unanimous decision for acceptance, otherwise a third reviewer was consulted. The chief editor was personally responsible for assigning papers to the various editors and ensured that double blindness remained intact throughout the whole process. Editing was done in two rounds, whereby the authors of selected papers received feedback from two editors each time. In one case, anonymity could not be maintained, which led to the dissolution of the professional relationship between one of our editors and authors. Fortunately, this happened only after all the twelve papers were already selected. Nonetheless, we wish for this not to happen again, which is why we will conduct the editing process with greater stringency in the future. This edition features papers from the social and behavioral sciences, the humanities and the life sciences departments. Although three departments are represented, we cannot say that the representation is equal. Three fourths of the manuscripts received belonged to the humanities departments and we hope that in future editions we will be able to publish more papers also from the other departments. Disclaimer: Although the editors of the EUC Student Academic Journal have taken the utmost care in reviewing the papers in this issue, we cannot exclude the possibility that they contain inaccuracies or violate the proper use of academic referencing or copyright in general. The responsibility for these matters therefore remains with the authors of these papers and third parties that choose to make use of them entirely. In no event can the editorial board of the EUC Student Academic Journal be held accountable for the contents of these papers.
What to expect In Sister Insider, Roos Volkers offers an answer to a pressing question: can White people be allies to Black women – and if so, how? Writing as a White woman, she displays an impressive sense of self-consciousness as she reflects on the pain and anger experienced by Black women as expressed in the poems of Black feminists. Her suggestion to White people? To hold space as a type of listening that encourages Black women to continue to express their anger. Ole van Vredendaal answers an oft-overlooked question: how does the practice of federal plea agreements in the United States fit into Montesquieu’s ideal of the separation of powers? In a careful side-byside analysis of Montesquieu and plea-bargaining, he argues that plea agreements are fundamentally incompatible with the ideals expressed in the US Constitution. Laura Vecoli, Insook Yoon, and Henry Oh perform a quantitative content analysis to chart the evolution of beauty standards in Miss Universe Contests. Their paper exposes the Miss Universe Contest as consistently perpetuating stereotypical Western beauty ideals over the course of its 67-year history. In an analytically rigorous essay, Maurits van Halderen considers how the so-called Third Reich used aesthetics to demonstrate its fascist power. His paper takes an interesting approach by understanding aesthetics as a tool for promoting a ‘civic religion’, with its own mythical symbolism and liturgy. The key factor, he argues, is its power to present an alternative reality as the truth. Natalia Derossi’s critical review of Memorias del Subdesaradollo (dir. Thomàs Gutiérraz Alea) focuses on the dichotomies that are established in the film. Her thorough analysis of the film’s content and cinematography discloses a reality dominated by Western/anti-Western revolutionary conflict. Alea’s objective – she claims – is to foster participation and contemplation in his viewers.
IN THIS ISSUE
Bram Wiggers interrogates Hegel’s conception of the organic modern state in relation to the present-day state. His essay meticulously outlines the intrinsically interwoven metaphysics of Hegel, Hobbes, and Kant, and follows with a critique aided by Schmitt, Arendt, and Adorno. In The Promise of Cosmopolitanism and the Potential for Resistance in the Global Network Society, Philipp Spengler boldly departs from the Network Theory of Manuel Castells to propose a new way of understanding network behaviour. Situated in the context of global capitalist mode of production, he reconceives network behaviour as subjectivation processes within nodes. In Sex, Drugs, and Dieting, Rebecca Mikova applies strain theory and differential association theory to explore the origins and transmission of deviant behaviours within the modelling community. Remaining rooted in the real, an interview with a former model forms the basis of her analytical investigation. Saira Sakalas makes a welcome contribution to the ongoing debate on cognitive gender stereotypes. Her partial replication of Stoet’s (2017) seminal paper challenges the stereotype that women are better multitaskers than men. In Who Let the Dogs Eat, Shireen Balla considers an issue that has dogged her for years: the considerable population of stray dogs in her hometown of Bangalore. Her ecological analysis identifies the predictors of dog populations, and offers suggestions as to how these populations may be better controlled. Natalia Derossi and Laetitia Van den Bergen investigate the growing phenomena of techno music. Their visual analysis – conducted close to home at Maasilo, a Rotterdam techno club – reveals a recurrence of opposing themes.
In an innovative example of using the contemporary to challenge the past, Chiara Lampis Temmink uses Kendrick Lamar to challenge Sartreâ€™s assertion that only prose can be political art. Through her rigorous analysis of Lamarâ€™s To Pimp a Butterfly using the theories of Ranciere and Mouffe, she demonstrates that music and poetry too can be political.
IN THIS ISSUE
TABLE OF CONTENTS R. VOLKERS Sister Insider: Holding space for Black women’s anger
O. VAN VREDENDAAL Interpreting Montesquieu’s views on the separation of state powers in the context of federal plea agreements in the United States
L. VECOLI, I. YOON & C. WU The Evolution of Beauty Standards as Expressed by Miss Universe Contestants
M. VAN HALDEREEN Nazi Aesthetics: Perceptible Affect in the Third Reich
N. DEROSSI Memorias del Subdesarrollo: A Critical Review
B. WIGGERS A Critical Reflection: Hegel and the Concept of the Modern State
P. SPENGLER The Promise of Cosmopolitanism & the Potential for Resistance in the Global Network Society
R. MIKOVA Sex, Drugs and Dieting: Deviance in the Modeling Industry
S. SAKALAS Demythifying cognitive stereotypes on gender: do women really outshine men at multitasking?
S. BHALLA ‘Who Let the Dogs Eat?’: An Ecological Analysis of Stray Dogs Within Human Communities in Bangalore, India.
L. VAN DEN BERGEN & N. DEROSSI The Visual Language of the Rotterdam Techno Scene
C. LAMPIS TEMMINK Music as Committed Writing: Exploring Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly (2015)
R. VOLKERS Sister Insider: Holding space for Black women’s anger
This essay explores the anger of the Black woman – the painful sexist and racist oppression that angers her, the radical potential for change which her anger holds, and the risk of others dismissing her for being angry, so that she is closed in silence once again. It does so by tracing anger in the poems and poetic essays of Black feminists, especially Audre Lorde and bell hooks. Wherever possible, Black feminist poets are directly quoted, for their tales of anger need to be heard in their own words, not as they are told by White women like me. The essay then, is also a reflection on if and how White people can be an ally to Black women. I suggest that we can do the alliance work by holding space as a type of listening that encourages the Black woman to continue to express her anger. This is of vital importance, because anger rages Black women towards telling their authentic (hi) stories in which another Black woman can recognise herself; she will echo them with the experiences of oppression that are hers. Together, these angry echoes may just pave the way to new, more equal modes of being.
A Preliminary Note on My Whiteness I am a White, young, middle-class woman. My anger is uniquely my own, completely different from any other. But what I am angry about pales in comparison to the injustices which Black women fight against. I therefore write about their oppressed lives without having experienced their oppression myself. This means my essay always falls short; I can never describe the exact pain and anger felt by a Black woman. However, I include as many words as possible written by Black feminists themselves, so that my words not tell the story but reflect on and amplify the stories of those who do know what it feels like to be Black and a woman. These stories tend to be expressed in poems or poetic essays, because “poetry has been the major voice of poor, working class, and Colored women.” (Lorde, 2007, p. 183). Poems do not require a room of one’s own with a computer and stacks of paper; they can be scribbled on scraps in the small spaces that oppression allows – between shifts, in the pantry or on a train.
Therefore, poetry seemed to me the most telling tale, the story which most authentically represents the angry Black woman, for she tells it herself. I chose it as my way into her experience. Every new passage in this essay begins with an excerpt from the work of a Black feminist poet. I specially cite the words of Audre Lorde and bell hooks, since they have written about anger and its uses in much detail . Lorde (2007) was a Black, lesbian, mother, partner, feminist, socialist, poet and writer (p. 72). Through writing, she sought to address the particular injustices of racism, homophobia, sexism and classism intersecting in her life and to explore an intersectional feminism that would foster solidarity across differences. These objectives return in the works of Gloria Jean Watkins, a fellow Black, feminist, socialist, poet and writer who is better known by her pen name ‘bell hooks’ (2000, p. 117-118). Like Lorde, hooks composes texts which are theoretically insightful, emotionally expressive, and above all, powerfully angry. I also write my own subjectivity into this essay, for it is important to know when I identify with the anger myself and when this anger is unimaginable to me. In the end, my life has mostly taken place at the centre of society, on the inside, where there is excessive space for my feminist tales of anger (Sullivan, 2006, p. 10). I have come to realise that it makes me take up space of women living at the margins and that if I truly strive towards radical equality for all, I must do the alliance work as an “attempt to shift positions, change positions, reposition ourselves regarding our individual and collective identities.” (Anzaldúa, 1990, p. 143). That is why most importantly, my essay must be read as an attempt to reconsider my own space by holding space for Black feminist tales of anger. Tracing the Tale of Black Feminist Anger I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own. And I am not free as long as one person of Color remains chained. (Lorde, 2007, p. 190)
We become angry when we realise that this pain of ours is an outrage which must be fought (Ahmed, 2004, p. 174-175). This makes anger a great vehicle for change. As a response to an unjust past, it can open up ways of achieving a more equal future (Lorde, 2007, p. 194). Thus, it comes as no surprise that the act of expressing our pain through
anger has been integral to the feminist movement. Feminism was founded upon women telling one another about those corners of our lives in which we silently suffered the blows of a patriarchal society, and then realising that this was not just our story but the story of being female. By sharing our pain, we could recognise its structural nature. We became uncontrollably angry in response. With anger, we walk out of hiding and onto the barricades. With anger, we challenge the existing sexist structures, both in our public institutions and our private homes. With anger, we demand that our voices be heard, our pain be acknowledged, and our call for change be acted upon. However, it is with anger too, that we are silenced. Opponents of feminism have used the trope of the angry woman to discredit our societal critique (Tomlinson, 2010, p. 1). They construct us as emotional, embodied subjects who are â€œmotivated by a purely negative passionâ€? (p. 170) rather than by reason (Ahmed, 2004). Doing so in a modern civilisation that is premised on the divide between the inferior body and her emotions on the one hand, and the superior mind and his ratio on the other, will render everything we say dismissible. I write here about a female body in relation to a male mind on purpose, for the man/woman dichotomy and the mind/body dichotomy are intimately connected (De Beauvoir, 2009, p. 25-26). When we become angry, we risk dismissal of our pain on the basis of the anger with which we express it. This does not only corrupt our words before they reach the ears of others, it also cuts off our voice right at the source. Because if anger is not listened to, it churns inside us till it is no longer a productive emotional force but has changed into the self-destructive emotions of bitterness and hatred (Campbell, 1994, p. 50; Lorde, 2007, p. 231). We begin to doubt whether our pain is deserving of outrage. We come to question the very significance of our own experiences. Ultimately, we will turn back to silence. The women who are most affected by the trope of the angry woman, are the ones that have the least resources to express their anger (Campbell, 1994, p. 52-53). Amongst them are Black feminists like Lorde and hooks. But even with the odds of racist and sexist oppression stacked against them, these women write their essays as
poems touching upon the deepest layers of fury inside their being. Yet there has been little room for Black feminist anger within the academic tradition and the feminist movement (Griffin, 2012, p. 139; hooks, 1990, p. 195). I find that outrageous. Therefore, this essay will hold space for Black feminists’ tales of anger. I am aware that as a White woman I cannot make a “homeplace” (p. 78) in the way that Black women create this safe space for sharing (hooks, 2015). But I hope that by hearing their pain, their anger, and their silence, I can begin to do the alliance work that is necessary1 (Anzaldúa, 1990, p. 143). The Pain: When Racism and Sexism Intersect No other group in America has so had their identity socialized out of existence as have black women … When black people are talked about the focus tends to be on black men; and when women are talked about the focus tends to be on white women. (hooks, 1990, p. 7)
Black women find themselves at the intersection of racism and sexism, where they bear the pain that most cannot imagine (Griffin, 2012, p. 146). This is the pain of slavery. This is the pain of scientific exploitation. This is the pain of unwanted sterilisation. This is the pain of domestic violence. This is the pain of a history which remains hidden, relegated to the spaces in between the lines of the public discourse. This is the pain of having no place to share one’s pain, neither with White women nor with Black men, not even with the sisters who experience the same suffering (hooks, 1990, p. 9; Lorde, 2007, p. 222223). This is a pain that has been imprinted on Black women’s bodies, so that their fingers can trace the physical wounds back to the times in which they were stomped on, whipped, hit, opened up, cut, Being an ally to Black women does not make me any less complicit in the systemic racist oppression which they suffer. In fact, I agree with Barbara Applebaum (2010) that the only way that white people can join in alliances with the victims of racism, is by recognising our complicity and letting it stick to us as we try to act in morally responsible ways (p. 6). Here, acting is not so much about what I can do to move towards a non-racist culture, but rather about what needs to be done in order for people who do experience racist oppression to be heard (Ahmed, 2007, p. 164-165). The latter is the purpose of my essay; holding space within the privileged space of academia for the stories of Black women, in the hopes that more people will hear them. 1
raped, shot and murdered, because they were less than a man, less than a woman, inhuman, only the useful property of someone else (Bakare-Yusuf, 1999, p. 316-317). Are there words to describe a body in such pain? In Ain’t I a Woman (1990), hooks writes about the Black women who did find the words to express their pain (p. 160). However, she also tells about the painful exclusion of these women from the social movements that they had hoped would listen to them, namely the feminist movement and the civil rights movement. On the last pages, she reflects on how this exclusion has translated into her own life as a Black feminist (hooks, 1990, p. 189). She turns to the perspective of the ‘I’ to voice a pain which arises from Black men prioritising racial equality over equality of the sexes and White women appropriating the equality of the sexes for their own particular interests. But hooks (1990) remains determined to engage with a feminism that is not simply “a movement to ensure that women will have equal rights with men; it is a commitment to eradicating the ideology of domination that permeates Western culture on various levels.” (p. 194). The Anger: Raging towards Better Futures Every woman has a well-stocked arsenal of anger potentially useful against those oppressions, personal and institutional, which brought that anger into being. Focused with precision it can become a powerful source of energy serving progress and change. (Lorde, 2007, p. 194)
Fear surrounds the Black woman who is outraged at her pain, for expressing her anger means feeling the fulness of its weight and risking its dismissal by others. The anger can be forcefully returned to her, for example when White women respond with a guilty defensiveness that destroys any possibility of genuine communication (hooks, 2000, p. 55; Lorde, 2007, p. 190). We – that is, I and my fellow White wom-
en – are offended that someone could accuse us of being complicit in perpetuating racism and thus do not wish to hear it (Ahmed, 2017, p. 157; Applebaum, 2010, p. 2-3). From behind our “brick walls” (p. 135) of whiteness, we lash out at the ones who are trying to point out the racist fault lines in society: Black feminists (Ahmed, 2009, p. 49-50; Ahmed, 2017). So, Black women are afraid, and live with their anger in silence. The pain remains unnamed while they are “metabolizing hatred like a daily bread” (p. 238), until they come to regard themselves with the same hate that racism and sexism have fed them from the day they were born (Lorde, 2007). Black women then aim the anger at their own self, at their sisters in whom they see the self reflected which they so wish to obliterate. This is the anger of the Black woman we do not hear. However, if she does talk back angrily, it is “a gesture of defiance that heals, that makes new life and new growth possible.” (hooks, 2015, p. 29). In her essays collected in the anthology Sister Outsider (2007), Lorde writes about the need to translate her anger into action (p. 239). We may read our pain as outrageous and become angry in response, but that response is focused on the past alone. Only if we act on our anger, can it be visionary, “loaded with information and energy” (p. 200), can it open up the future (Lorde, 2007). Lorde therefore urges Black women to come out of silence (Ahmed, 2004, p. 175). The fear of anger taught her nothing. The fear of anger turned her away from the future. It was when she made anger an active part of her being, that it raged her towards the radical change that could subvert the ideology of domination. This is the anger of the Black woman we do hear, what all Black women’s anger could be. The Silence: Say Nothing or You Are a Sapphire she’s been dead so long closed in silence so long she doesn’t know the sound of her own voice (Shange, 1975, p. 4)
Black women that are angry find themselves in a dilemma. They could act on it, angrily demanding change, but this comes with the risk that opponents can dismiss their societal critique by calling it a form of anger (Ahmed, 2004, p. 177). The risk is much higher for the
Black woman than for the White woman, because she has been structurally stereotyped as the “overbearing, bossy, sharp-tongued, loudmouthed, controlling and, of course, emasculating” (p. xxxiii) sapphire (Cole & Guy-Sheftall, 2003; Griffin, 2012, p. 144). The sapphire is rooted in a racist-sexist mythology that “designated black women the epitome of female evil and sinfulness.” (hooks, 1990, p. 85). As a result, White men, Black men, and White women could all justify their own innocence in the face of oppression; they had no other choice but to enslave, abuse, and ignore the ‘devilish bitch’. The image of the sapphire is a variation on the trope of the angry woman, and still very much part of the public discourse, circulating through media outlets and casual conversations alike2 (Griffin, 2012, p. 147-148). Thus, Black women already become characterised as angry before a word has left their mouth. They speak out of anger, therefore their anger will not be heard for what it is: outrage at an injustice. How is one supposed to defend herself against such an argument? Certainly, it cannot be with anger. Many Black women have experienced the suffering inherent to dismissal. If they are not allowed to be angry about their pain, they become unable to translate it into action. They suffer from a “nightmare reliving of unscrutinised and unmetabolized pain.” (Lorde, 2007, p. 269). They will not express their anger again. Some will not even try to do so in the first place. This is how silence enfolds the Black woman. It seems like in the end, whether she is publicly raging or quietly suffering, it will always enfold her. Lorde and hooks may write about the angry force that moves Black women from a past of domination towards a future of equality, I feel quite hopeless when I think about the force with which this anger has also been turned against them. I cannot help wondering whether staying angry is too high a sacrifice. Examples of the Sapphire character abound in mainstream media; she is the outrageous caricature – often portrayed by a Black man in drag – of comedies such as 20th Century Fox’s Big Momma’s House, she is the ‘bitch’ or ‘ho’ that many a rap song condemns, she is the dramatic castmate on reality shows like MTV’s The Real World, she is the seductive but dangerous love interest of the educated white male protagonist of coming-of-age stories such as the Dutch novel Alleen maar nette mensen, and lastly, she is the stereotype that tends to characterise the public discourse around Black women in power like Michelle Obama (Harris-Perry, 2011, p. 403; Madison, 2009, p. 323). 2
Angry Echoes: Black Feminist Autoethnography If I step into the space that resistant cries have created, maybe, just maybe, something about my resistant voice in this moment will be heard, taken in, and taken seriously. Maybe. (Griffin, 2012, p. 139)
As I listened to the anger of these Black feminist poets like Lorde and hooks, I was in awe of their vulnerability. It is one thing to live with pain, but to take up a pen and write about the wounds which are still bleeding as the ink dries on the paper, must be an act so excruciatingly raw, only few will have the courage. However, every time I neared the end of their essays and read that one sentence urging women to remain with the anger, a painful question would return to me: is it worth it? For two centuries, angry women have spoken up (Lorde, 1990, p. 159). Yet most of us have not learned “to hear the anger of others” (Ahmed, 2004, p. 178). Angry women are still dismissed, ridiculed, threatened, and silenced. So I wondered: do we give up too much and change too little when we stay angry? In my search for an answer to this question, I happened upon an essay by Rachel Griffin. She wrote her own Black Feminist Autoethnography (BFA) by telling “all that I can about my anger – in anger, through anger, with anger – … because treading lightly when it comes to racism and sexism is killing me softly.” (Griffin, 2012, p. 144). The method of BFA is centred around Black women reflecting on their personal lived experiences. It recognises every woman has a different story, rooted in the unique ways that race, gender, sexuality, class, and age intersect in her life (Lorde, 2007, p. 176-177). This is
exactly what defines the works of Lorde and hooks; they are aware of their subjectivity. With them, Griffin asks women to stay with anger. While she acknowledges that it will not directly alter the ideology of domination in society, it does give Black women agency over their stories (Griffin, 2012, p. 150-151). Through angry writing, they mark their presence and preserve their knowledge, piercing the historical records with Black female voices. Anger then, no matter how forcefully it has been returned to the individual Black woman, is a force for the authentic representation of her sisters. Authentic representation is everything, as it allows another Black woman to find the strength to express the anger that is hers. Griffin (2012) speaks “not for all Black women but for myself in the hopes that my voice will echo and affirm the experiences of women who look like me.” (p. 145). She made me realise that one angry voice might not incite radical change, but that this voice can be echoed by a thousand others, which together “might just shudder us into new modes of being.” (Ahmed, 2004, p. 175). That is why the pain, the anger, and the silence of Black women is powerful, and why I will continue to hold space for it – holding space as a type of listening “that can foster a willingness on the part of the systematically marginalized to engage in a dialogue” (Applebaum, 2010, p. 6). It means to hear the angry Black woman instead of speaking for her, for once, to use our “white ontological expansiveness” (p. 4) to open up space for her to speak so that she can be heard by others too (Sullivan, 2006). Maybe, just maybe, this will make her express her anger a next time, and another, louder and louder, until there is no way not to hear it.
REFERENCES: Ahmed, S. (2004). The cultural politics of emotion. New York, NY: Routledge. Ahmed, S. (2007). A phenomenology of whiteness. Feminist Theory, 8(2), 149-168. Ahmed, S. (2009). Embodying diversity: Problems and paradoxes for Black feminists. Race Ethnicity and Education, 12(1), 41-52. Ahmed, S. (2017). Living a feminist life. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Anzaldúa, G. (2009). Bridge, drawbridge, sandbar, or island: Lesbians-of-Color hacienda alianzas. In A. Keating (Ed.), The Gloria Anzaldúa Reader. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Applebaum, B. (2010). Being white, being good: White complicity, white moral responsibility, and social justice pedagogy. New York, NY: Lexington Books. Bakare-Yusuf, B. (1999). The economy of violence: Black bodies and the unspeakable terror. In J. Price & M. Shildrick (Eds.), Feminist theory and the body: A reader. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press. Campbell, S. (1994). Being dismissed: The politics of emotional expression. Hypatia, 9(3), 46-65. Cole, J. B., & Guy-Sheftall, B. (2003). Gender talk: The struggle for women’s equality in African American communities. New York, NY: Ballantine Books.
Harris-Perry, M. V. (2011). Sister citizen: Shame, stereotypes, and Black women in America. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. hooks, b. (1990). Ain’t I a woman: Black women and feminism. London, UK: Pluto Press. hooks, b. (2000). Feminism is for everybody: Passionate politics. Cambridge, MA: South End Press. hooks, b. (2015). Talking back: Thinking feminist, thinking Black. New York, NY: Routledge. hooks, b. (2015). Yearning: Race, gender, and cultural politics. New York, NY: Routledge. Lorde, A. (2007). Sister outsider: Essays and speeches. Berkeley, CA: Crossing Press. Madison, D. S. (2009). Crazy patriotism and angry (post)Black women. Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 6(3), 321-326. Shange, N. (1975). For colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf. New York, NY: MacMillan. Sullivan, S. (2006). Revealing whiteness: The unconscious habits of racial privilege. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Tomlinson, B. (2010). Feminism and affect at the scene of argument: Beyond the trope of the angry feminist. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.
De Beauvoir, S. (2009). The second sex. New York City, NY: Vintage Books. Griffin, R. A. (2012). I AM an angry Black woman: Black feminist autoethnography, voice and resistance. Women’s studies in communication, 35(2), 138-157
O. VAN VREDENDAAL Interpreting Montesquieu’s views on the separation of state powers in the context of federal plea agreements in the United States Plea bargaining is a legal practice in which prosecutors offer accused criminals a lower sentence than they might be sentenced to if convicted during trial, on the condition that defendants plead guilty to the crime of which they are accused. Typically, a judge will validate a plea bargain without altering anything about the sentence as proposed by the prosecution. As such, it may appear as though prosecutors are essentially playing judge. One might consider this to contradict Montesquieu’s doctrine of the separation of state powers. Power separation, Montesquieu argues, is necessary to avoid fostering despotism. The worldwide prevalence of plea bargaining has sparked concern. In the United States, where Montesquieu’s views on the separation of powers served as a main source of inspiration for the Founding Fathers in writing the United States Constitution, the majority of federal criminal cases are settled through plea bargains. This essay will evaluate Montesquieu’s ideals in the context of plea bargaining at the federal level, analysing how the practice relates to his doctrine of the separation of powers. Defendants that enter into plea bargains often do so under pressure from prosecutors. This provides defendants with limited room to reject proposed plea bargains. Figuratively, defendants cannot flee. This is reflective of despotism, as defined by Montesquieu. Furthermore, plea bargaining does not allow judges to play their role in the criminal justice system, as specified in the United States Constitution.
Introduction For viewers of police serials and legal dramas alike, the concept of plea agreements, also known as plea bargains, in the context of criminal legal cases will be a familiar one. Plea bargaining refers to a legal practice in which prosecutors, who represent the government during criminal trials, offer accused criminals (i.e. defendants) a lower sentence than they might be sentenced to if convicted during trial, on the condition that defendants plead guilty, that is, admit to having committed the crime in question. At first glance, the basic premise of plea bargaining appears to be simple. Faced with the possible prospect of a lengthy prison sentence or even capital punishment, defendants agree to serve a comparatively lower sentence, which prosecutors offer them, often without considering refusal. A judge will then validate the agreement reached between the prosecution and the defendant in open court, typically without altering anything about the sentence as proposed by 22
the prosecution. When one considers plea bargaining in this light, it may appear as though prosecutors are essentially playing judge. Since plea bargaining has become common practice in various countries across the globe, serious concerns have been raised over the role of this practice in the criminal justice system (Bowcott, 2017, para. 1). Although plea bargaining has reached a point of worldwide prevalence, it most frequently occurs in the United States, where approximately 97 percent of criminal cases involving acts that qualify as offenses under federal legislation are settled through plea agreements (Viano, 2012, p. 110; Bowcott, 2017, para. 3; Fair Trials, 2017, p. 4). As recently as May 2019, the American Bar Association (ABA) – the largest professional organisation representing attorneys in the United States – issued a formal opinion in which it raised the issue of prosecutors’ ethical responsibilities in dealing with plea bargains (American Bar Association, 2019). The way in which power is divided in the United States, and the way in which, in turn, the criminal justice system is organised, can be traced to the eighteenth-century French philosopher Montesquieu. The Founding Fathers of the United States admired the ideals of Montesquieu, who championed the belief that the state’s powers should be separated in order to ensure freedom. Specifically, Montesquieu argued for the separation of the state’s powers across three distinctive governmental branches: a legislative branch, an executive branch, and a judicial branch. This, he asserted, would prevent despotic rule (Mason, 1975, p. 134; Shklar, 1987, pp. 121-124; Robin, 2006, p. 53; Bok, 2014, para. 1-25). Montesquieu’s ideals on the separation of powers have frequently been related to administrative law. They have, however, not frequently been related to criminal law. Similarly, the issue of the separation of powers, specifically, has rarely been raised in discourse surrounding plea bargaining (Barkow, 2006, pp. 989-993). Relating Montesquieu’s ideas to criminal law by examining the practice of plea bargaining might thus be academically fruitful. This essay will begin by outlining Montesquieu’s main works before examining his views on the separation of powers. Subsequently, the practice of plea bargaining in the United States will be explored. For practicality’s sake, this essay will confine itself to plea FEDERAL PLEA AGREEMENTS
bargaining at the federal level, which is justifiable considering the vast amount of criminal cases dealt with through plea agreements at this level of government. Next, Montesquieu’s ideals will be evaluated in the context of plea bargaining, analysing how the practice relates to his doctrine of the separation of powers. The essay will finish with a conclusion regarding the question whether Montesquieu’s ideals continue to remain relevant in this particular context. Montesquieu and the separation of powers Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, is widely considered as an important contributor to the Enlightenment. A French nobleman with a background in law and experience in government, Montesquieu is perhaps best known for his doctrine of the separation of state powers (Bok, 2014, para. 1-2; L. van Bunge, personal communication, November 26, 2018). His ideas heavily influenced political debate in Europe and North America throughout the eighteenth century. For instance, Montesquieu’s work helped guide the Founding Fathers of the United States in writing the United States Constitution (Shklar, 1987, pp. 111-123; Robin, 2006, pp. 70-71). Montesquieu’s two main works are Persian Letters and The Spirit of Laws. Both centre around the topics of state power, the purpose of laws, and (state-sanctioned) violence. The way in which Montesquieu treats these topics, however, differs between publications. Persian Letters offers an account of French society under Louis XIV, King of France, as told by two fictional Persians travelling the country. They comment on government, political authority, and the rule of law (Bok, 2014, para. 6-8). Persian Letters is remarkable because it reflects terror, characteristic of Louis XIV’s reign, in the Persians’ behaviour, one of whom tyrannically rules over a harem of wives (Robin, 2006, pp. 54-56). In The Spirit of Laws, Montesquieu examines laws and socio-political institutions more in-depth. He considers citizens’ ability to live in relative freedom under a stable (non-despotic) government to be paramount. He refers to this freedom as liberty. Montesquieu further develops this initial concept, defining political liberty as, essentially, the assurance of personal security, and protection from predatory state power. Liberty entails that one may do as much as possible within a framework of laws that protects citizens from harm 24
inflicted by others, simultaneously preventing one from harming others oneself. If one obeys these laws, the state’s power will not be negatively aimed at oneself (Robin, 2006, p. 61; Bok, 2014, para. 24). Doctrine of the separation of powers A main element of The Spirit of the Laws is Montesquieu’s vision on the separation of powers (i.e. trias politica). To ensure liberty, he argues, governments require certain features. One of these features is a check on governmental power, without which there can be no liberty whatsoever. Such checks can be implemented by dividing the state’s power over three distinct governmental branches: a legislative branch, an executive branch, and a judicial branch. Each branch shares in and competes for power. Consequently, each governmental branch depends upon another. This, Montesquieu asserts, prevents any branch from acting arbitrarily (Mason, 1975, p. 134; Robin, 2006, p. 53; Bok, 2014, para. 25). As Mason (1975, p. 135) underlines, The Spirit of Laws essentially continues where Persian Letters left off; the former presents ways in which to combat the arbitrary rule and terror found in the latter. How does Montesquieu define terror? In simple terms, Montesquieu characterises terror as “unmitigated violence” (Robin, 2006, p. 52). The despot creating terror has no political agenda and discards the rule of law. Terror has a severe impact on citizens. Those terrorised do not possess rationality, cannot deliberate or flee, nor do they have agency (Robin, 2006, p. 52). Montesquieu expresses a preference for state power to be shared by three governmental branches. The legislative branch, preferably consisting of two legislative chambers (i.e. bicameral), is tasked with enacting and amending laws. The executive branch should ensure public safety and have the power to veto legislature and declare war. In a well-functioning democracy, Montesquieu asserts, the people should choose who exercises executive power. The judicial branch should be concerned with punishing criminals and settling disputes between individuals, consistently applying the law to particular cases (Montesquieu, 1777, XI, Ch. 6, para. 2; Uhr, 2006, p. 539; Bok, 2014, para. 16-19, 26). The practice of plea bargaining in the United States Plea bargains in the United States’ federal judiciary constitute an FEDERAL PLEA AGREEMENTS
agreement between defendants and prosecutors, the latter representing the United States federal government. These prosecutors, known as (Assistant) United States Attorneys, are also part of government themselves, belonging to the executive branch; they are appointed by the President of the United States and operate under the direction of the Attorney General, head of the United States Department of Justice (“Offices of the United States Attorneys”, n.d.). Plea agreements are typically reached before trial. Defendants will plead guilty to the crime of which they are accused, in return for which the prosecution recommends a particular (lower) sentence to a judge for them to serve. While, at the state level of government, plea agreements may require a judge’s approval, such approval isn’t required in the federal judiciary (Santobello v. New York, 1971, as cited in Viano, 2012, p. 110; Federal Bureau of Investigation, n.d.). As such, the “recommended” sentence de facto becomes the sentence that a defendant will serve when entering into a plea agreement. Plea bargaining does not constitute a grey area of the law. In fact, the United States Supreme Court established the practice’s constitutionality, underscoring its legality, in the Court’s ruling on Brady v. United States (1970, as cited in Viano, 2012, p. 110). Brady v. United States concerned Robert Brady, a New Mexico man who, in exchange for a plea bargain, pleaded guilty to kidnapping under federal criminal statute 18 U.S.C. §1201(a) in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico. The defendant subsequently sought to reverse his guilty plea, arguing that he had entered into the plea agreement under pressure from his own attorney. Brady alleged that he went through a state of extreme fear after having been confronted with the possibility of being sentenced to death – the maximum sentence specified under 18 U.S.C. §1201(a) – if convicted during trial, and that this experience prompted him to accept the plea bargain. In reality, however, Brady had pleaded guilty because his co-defendant had accepted a plea bargain himself in exchange for testimony against Brady. In arguing for reversal, the defendant and his counsel did not acknowledge the fact that Brady had explicitly voiced his desire to enter into a plea bargain in open court, and that the acting judge had asked for Brady’s consent twice. The District Court did not reverse the defendant’s original guilty plea, nor did the Court of Appeals for 26
the Tenth Circuit, where Brady subsequently appealed the ruling of the District Court. The defendant also appealed the Tenth Circuitâ€™s ruling. As a result, the case proceeded to the United States Supreme Court. The Court unanimously ruled that plea bargains, such as the one entered in to by Brady, are constitutional when defendants explicitly agree to accept a plea bargain, as the defendant had done. The Court concluded that Brady had not been pressured by his attorney. Furthermore, the Court argued that if attorneys attempt to persuade defendants to accept a plea agreement by confronting them with the possibility of receiving a high sentence, as Brady had alleged happened in his criminal case, this cannot be seen as coercion or another form of pressure (Brady v. United States, 1970; Zottoli, Daftaryâ€?Kapur, Edkins, Redlich, King, Dervan & Tahan, 2019, p. 390). The Courtâ€™s stance on plea bargaining seems to have remained unaltered since the days of Brady v. United States. As recently as 2012, Supreme Court Justice Kennedy acknowledged that the American criminal justice system is nowadays more about pleas than about trials (Missouri v. Frye, 2012, as cited in Viano, 2012, p. 110). Plea agreements are related to a number of advantages. Plea bargaining can reduce the number of cases which federal courts have to process. As a result, less time elapses before cases not settled through plea bargaining can proceed to trial. Plea bargains may also reduce the length of pre-trial detention for defendants if less time has to pass before cases can proceed to trial. In addition, plea bargaining is generally more cost-efficient compared to trial. Barkow (2006, pp. 1044-1045) asserts that these practical benefits associated with plea bargains motivated the Supreme Court to legitimise and encourage plea bargaining. Furthermore, plea bargaining does not require those associated with a crime to relive possibly traumatising moments in court, and typically provides defendants with lower sentences. Nevertheless, plea bargaining does deny defendants the rigours of a full trial (Demarest, 1994; Fair Trials, 2017, p. 2). Even if plea bargaining has become routine and provides (practical) benefits for both victims and those accused, as well as being advantageous to the criminal justice system as a whole, the practice is criticised and scrutinised in relation to some major disadvantages and injustices. The private, out-of-court nature of plea FEDERAL PLEA AGREEMENTS
bargaining arguably results in a lack of transparency, possibly undermining trust in the judiciary. In general, public trials increase public trust in the judicial process (Gifford, 1983, pp. 70-71; Hessick, 2002, p. 192). Although limited, there is some empirical evidence to suggest that American public opinion is, overall, negatively disposed towards the practice of plea bargaining. In 1993, a Gallup poll conducted among some 1,000 respondents in the United States indicated that 24% of the participants were in favour of banning plea bargaining (Gallup, 1994, p. 216). In addition, a 2005 report on public trust and confidence in the California judiciary, considering state courts rather than federal courts (Rottman, 2005), suggests that many members of the public are concerned with issues of procedural fairness (Rottman, 2005, pp. 23-25, 35). Viano (2012, pp. 124-125), citing Schulhofer (1992) and Tyler (2005), also points towards possible erosion of public confidence in the judicial system in the United States as a result of plea bargaining. The negative impact of plea bargaining on the publicâ€™s trust in the judiciary is not limited to the United States, however. Roberts (2007, pp. 164-165, 177), studying public confidence in the Canadian criminal justice system, asserts that (media coverage of) plea bargaining may make Canadians inclined to believe that the criminal justice system favours the offender, not the victim. Roberts (2007) builds upon research conducted by Cohen and Doob (1989), among others, in making this claim. And, in Slovenia, where plea bargaining has occurred since 2012, the introduction of this practice resulted in public condemnation (Roberts & Plesnicar, 2015, p. 44). Furthermore, according to non-profit justice watchdog Fair Trials (2017, p. 3), an estimated 20,000 allegedly innocent individuals remain imprisoned in the United States after having entered plea agreements. Plea bargaining hasnâ€™t only been criticised by those outside of the criminal justice system. High-ranking individuals within that system have also spoken out against plea agreements. Chief Judge Young of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, alongside other federal judges, finds the plea-bargaining system to be rigged against defendants. The government allegedly coerces defendants into entering a plea agreement by presenting the prospect of a heavy sentence if convicted during trial, thus discouraging defend28
ants from calling upon their constitutional right to be tried by a jury of their peers (Barkow, 2006, p. 1046; United States v. Richard Green, 2004, as cited in Viano, 2012, p. 109). Interpreting Montesquieu’s ideal of the separation of power in context Having examined Montesquieu’s views on the separation of powers, as well as the nature of federal plea agreements in the United States, we can now relate both to each other. From a theoretical perspective, plea bargaining clearly violates Montesquieu’s doctrine of the separation of powers. When defendants are to serve a sentence as decided upon by prosecutors, rather than judges, the executive branch, through the United States Department of Justice and its (Assistant) United States Attorneys, effectively appropriates the judiciary’s power to determine a fitting sentence. At the state level, such conduct might be curbed by the potential requirement of a judge’s consent to validate a plea agreement. Such provisions do not apply in the federal judiciary, allowing for this violation of Montesquieu’s doctrine to take place unbounded. As mentioned, Montesquieu proved to be a major influence on the Founding Fathers of the United States in writing the United States Constitution. Montesquieu’s doctrine of the separation of powers was more than merely an inspiration to them, considering that articles one through three of the Constitution establish a clear separation of powers between governmental branches (Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute, n.d.). Keeping this in mind, it is especially surprising to observe Montesquieu’s doctrine being violated through plea bargaining, also given the importance that is generally assigned to the Constitution in the United States. In The Spirit of Laws, Montesquieu comments on the importance of legal formalities. He states that these serve to combat despotism (Mason, 1975, p. 135). Since plea agreements are typically reached outside of court, thus more or less outside of the formal sphere of justice, one might argue that plea bargaining possibly contributes to fostering despotism in the United States. Considering Montesquieu’s earlier characterisation of despotism, we can indeed see some despotic tendencies being reflected in the practice of plea bargaining. FEDERAL PLEA AGREEMENTS
When defendants are pressured by the prosecution, as allegedly happens, they cannot, in a figurative sense, flee. At first glance, one might assume that, since defendants’ rights to a jury trial is protected under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, defendants would only lose this right once they explicitly agree to a plea bargain. Legally, this is indeed the case (Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute, n.d.). As such, defendants are, in theory, at liberty to reject any plea bargain offered by the prosecution. In reality, however, defendants are often not inclined, if not actively discouraged, to reject plea bargains. Writing for the Columbia Law Review, Crespo (2018, pp. 1311-1314) outlines how prosecutors are able to use their extensive knowledge of the law to their advantage when attempting to reach a plea agreement with defendants. Firstly, prosecutors rarely seek the highest possible sentence which a judge or jury is authorised to impose by law. Hypothetically, if the maximum sentence for a particular felony, as specified by federal criminal statutes, is a prison sentence of 25 years, prosecutors might argue for a 15-year or 20-year prison sentence to be imposed. Despite not seeking a maximum sentence, prosecutors may choose to confront defendants with the prospect of receiving the maximum sentence. As Crespo (2018, pp. 1311-1314) asserts, this occurs frequently. Secondly, prosecutors may take advantage of defendants’ overall lack of knowledge about the legal system by presenting them with “inflated charges”, which are not merited considering the law or the evidence of the case. To defendants, inflated charges could mean receiving a more severe sentence. An initial felony charge of aggravated robbery, for example, might be inflated by prosecutors adding additional charges – making threats or being in possession of a weapon, for instance – to the indictment. Thirdly, after having confronted defendants with the prospect of receiving a harsh sentence if the criminal case were brought to trial, prosecutors may finally offer a comparatively lower sentence. To defendants, this offer will likely seem more bearable. This will often be the sentence that prosecutors desired in the first place, Crespo (2018, pp. 1311-1314) asserts. In effect, by intimidating defendants and convincing them that a trial is likely to result in receiving the maximum sentence, prosecutors are able to make the sentence offered as part of their plea bargain seem the most reasona30
ble option. Not wanting to risk receiving a high sentence, defendants will be inclined to consent to a plea bargain, choosing to forego trial. Prosecutors may thus effectively make defendants feel as though they can do nothing but accept a plea bargain. As such, defendants enjoy little agency. For Montesquieu, despotic terror is characterised by such a lack of agency. Of course, other elements of Montesquieu’s concept of terror do not relate to the practice of plea bargaining. One cannot characterise plea bargaining as being especially violent. Likewise, the practice is heavily grounded in the rule of law, given the Supreme Court’s ruling in favour of plea bargaining, and the large scale on which the United States Department of Justice carries out the practice. Conclusion In conclusion, while plea bargaining provides (practical) benefits, it does so at the expense of Montesquieu’s ideals. When the executive branch of government effectively sentences defendants without a judge being able to decide on an appropriate sentence, the judicial branch of government is stripped of its powers. Two powers are subsequently held by one governmental branch, constituting a violation of Montesquieu’s doctrine of the separation of powers and thereby threatening liberty. Moreover, when prosecutors pressure defendants into entering a plea agreement, the state’s power is, in a sense, negatively directed at them, seriously limiting defendants’ liberty, as Montesquieu had cautioned against. While defendants legally and theoretically retain the (constitutional) right to reject any plea bargain, the manner in which prosecutors may interact with defendants frequently discourages the latter from calling upon this right. We cannot conclude whether a judge’s sentence would be fairer or better than the one decided upon by prosecutors as part of plea agreements, nor can we say definitively whether trials are ultimately better than plea bargains. However, given the prominent place of Montesquieu’s doctrine in the United States Constitution, the alleged disadvantages and injustices that may result from plea bargaining, as well as the strong opposition to the practice, it might be sensible to allow judges to play their part in the criminal justice system, in keeping with Montesquieu’s ideals and the judiciary’s role under the Constitution. Not only would this combat the elements of despotism that FEDERAL PLEA AGREEMENTS
plea bargaining is demonstratively connected to â€“ even if elements of despotism seem to be confined to the sphere of criminal justice â€“ it would also allow society to empirically determine whether trials are to be preferred over plea bargains, as well as maintain and/or restore trust in the criminal justice system. As such, Montesquieuâ€™s ideals on the separation of powers continue to remain relevant in this particular context.
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Retrieved from http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/ articleii Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute. (n.d.). U.S. Constitution Article III. Retrieved from http://www.law.cornell.edu/ constitution/articleiii Crespo, A. M. (2018). The hidden law of plea bargaining. Columbia Law Review, 118, 13031424. Retrieved from http://columbialawreview.org/content/the-hidden-law-of-plea-bargaining/ Demarest, C. (1994, April 4). Plea bargaining can often protect the victim. The New York Times. Retrieved from http:// www.nytimes. com/1994/04/15/opinion/l-plea-bargainingcan-often-protect-the-victim-794066.html Fair Trials (2017, April 27). The Disappearing Trial [PDF document]. Retrieved from http://www.fairtrials.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/The-Disappearing-Trial-Summary-Document-SF.pdf Federal Bureau of Investigation (n.d.). A brief description of the federal criminal justice process. Retrieved from http://www.fbi.gov/ resources/victim-services/a-brief-description-of-the-federal-criminal-justice-process Gallup, G. (1994). The Gallup Poll. Public Opinion 1993. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources Inc.
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L. VEICOLI, I. YOON & H. OH The Evolution of Beauty Standards as Expressed by Miss Universe Contestants Beauty standards are the foundations that drive beauty pageants on all scales from small local shows to stages with contestants from all over the world. One particular competition is Miss Universe, where international women compete for the title. Have the seemingly ‘western’ beauty standards represented by Miss Universe changed over time, and if so, how? This paper addresses this by utilising a quantitative content analysis. The results and discussion of the paper are based on secondary data of sixty-seven Miss Universe winners from the first (1952) to the most recent winner (2018). The data was analysed using the statistical analysis software SPSS. The research discovered numerous findings such as that 72.7% of titleholders, regardless of nationality, possessed fair skin. Taking into account these findings, the research concludes that Miss Universe winners have stereotypical western beauty ideals, and that the beauty standards have not changed over time to become more inclusive.
Introduction In the last five decades, there has been a large body of studies investigating how beauty standards arise and develop according to their socio-cultural contexts (Calogero, Boroughs, & Thompson, 2007; Corbett, 2008; Mazur, 1986; Karupiah, 2015). For centuries, pursuing ideal appearances has been a monumental force determining the beauty standards of both men and women in every culture (Yan, 2017). Yet, there is no universal consensus of what beauty really is, and there exists no standard measurement to evaluate an individual’s physique. As the world globalizes, and as international pageant competitions such as Miss Universe gain popularity, what will the ideal appearance become, and how will beauty standards change over time? The invention of television in 1927 in the United States markedly enhanced the volume and speed potential of communications (Hilmes, 2003). The popularization of television not only helped circulate information, but also cultural ideas and trends. The type of beauty exemplified by advertisements set a standard for “ideal beauty” that was very much Western. This westernized definition of beauty soon became a prototype of ideal beauty around the world, as mass media tapped into international audiences (Botta, 1999; Martin, 2012). With social and economic advantages and political dominance, the Western world is shaping the specific beauty standards and driving THE EVOLUTION OF BEAUTY STANDARDS
the current trend towards slenderness (Pauli, 2019; Grogan & Wainwright, 1996). For instance, the rise of In the 1950s, Besides, the phenomenon of western beauty standards leading the world could be witnessed. bBbreast fetishism (or “bosom mania”) in the 1950s emerged between the 1950s and 1960s in the United States was, punctuated by a rise in breast implants (Mazur, 1986; Swami & Tovée, 2013). Although Western-centric beauty standards tend to dominate in media or advertising, different beauty ideals aside from the Western framework are found in the literature (Altabe, 1998; Parker et al, 1995). Calogero, Boroughs, & Thompson (2007) found that not all ethnic groups are influenced by Western beauty standards. One one hand, African American women are open-minded and non-judgmental in regard to body fat and have their own beauty standard. On the other hand, Hispanic women are more easily judge their body shapes, especially when wearing swimsuits. The intent of this paper is to determine how beauty standards have changed over time, as represented by the winners of Miss Universe pageants. In so doing, we will investigate whether the concept of ideal beauty has become more inclusive in recent years, extending from Western beauty standards towards other body types. Based on Calogero, Boroughs, & Thompson’s (2007) finding, our hypothesis is that over time, the winners of Miss Universe represent a more expansive image of beauty, one that gradually includes different body colors and features. This study is relevant in an age where society is permeated with images constantly reminding women of what is considered beautiful, and in which professional success has become associated with beauty. A review of the relevant literature on the topic will open this paper, followed by a method section. The research method used in this paper follows the guidelines outlined by Rose (2000), regarding the selection, coding, and analysis of large samples of images. In addition to these steps, an SPSS analysis is carried out to evaluate the progression of beauty trends over time. The study results will then be analytically discussed, concluding with limitations and suggestions for future research.
Theoretical Framework The theoretical framework of this study is based on the argument that ideals of feminine beauty, represented in global beauty pageants such as Miss Universe, become constructed into hegemonic images of beauty. This is drawn from Kumara & Jayawardhana’s (2018) theoretical framework that “models of feminine beauty” or “perfect female body images” have been propagated into a global agenda. The authors mention that these ideas of beauty are created in a world shaped by capitalism, which in turn contributes to the standardization of modern-day beauty. In fact, as perfection becomes the new beauty standard, a strive for beauty that can never be satisfied is created (p.41). Capitalism, in other words, shapes the beauty ideal to create a need and supply market. In line with this conclusion from Kumara & Jayawardhana, it can be argued that the Western beauty ideals discussed in this paper stem and are sustained from the emergence of capitalism, a predominantly Western development (Wallerstein, 1992, p. 561). What is more, the main concepts encompassed in Kumara & Jayawardhana’s (2018) study are: slenderisation, a trend that started in the 1950s that popularised a thinner physique that characterised “a subdued and classy sensuality, often associated with the aristocrat and high fashion” (Mazur, 1986, p. 294); standards of beauty, closely linked to “physical attractiveness and especially feminine physical attractiveness” and certain ideals societies hold (Bovet, 2018, p. 1); and diversity, which can be defined in many ways such as “individualism...pluralism”, “multiculturalism”, and “individual achievement”. The above-mentioned concepts that exist implicitly in beauty pageants revive political discourse about diversity and identity politics (Banet-Weiser, 1999, p. 21, p. 23. p. 151). U.S. Trends in Beauty When studying the trends in feminine beauty and overadaptation in America, Mazur (1986) hypothesized that the ideals of feminine beauty vary greatly over time. Using past media such as photographs, paintings, and Miss America pageant yearbooks, Mazur (1986) indeed found a changing trend in beauty standards over the years, moving from the celebration of voluptuous figures in 19th century America to, more recently, the incline towards slim figures. He found, in his investigation of Miss America winners, that initialTHE EVOLUTION OF BEAUTY STANDARDS
ly the pageants’s hips and busts continued to increase, in the 1920s, no winner had a larger bust than hip, and in the 1940s, almost all winners had larger busts than hips. From 1969 onwards, winners’ heights rose, and weights fell, contributing to the trend of slenderisation (popularizing a thinner physique) that is still prevalent today. Although Mazur’s (1986) research focuses on American media and its influence in shaping American society’s beauty standards, it is relevant to this study given that the American beauty ideal often serves as a benchmark for international beauty contests such Miss Universe (Banet-Weiser, 1999). Miss Universe and Globalization Hoad (2004) puts forward that beauty pageants at a regional, national, and international levels are in powerful positions to impose standards of beauty. He adds that these types of pageants generally are prone to criticism due to issues surrounding “representations of femininity circulating in national and international public spheres” (Hoad, 2004, p. 73). Analysing more than fifty Miss World winners, Hoad found that white ideals of beauty also prevail in non-white winners. Banet-Weiser (1999) argues that pageant diversity is encouraged to invite women of color into the “carefully guarded boundaries of white femininity even while the pageant denies and obscures opportunities for celebrating particular ethnic identities” (p. 206). From this, it can be extracted that it is the adherence of a contestant to sexy norms as dictated by modern white Western standards which will determine the chances to win the title. Hoad (2004) uses the success of Miss Nigeria as an example; she was six feet tall and very slim, while in Nigerian culture “Coca-cola bottle voluptuousness is celebrated, and ample backsides and bosoms are considered ideals of female beauty” (p. 75). Hoad’s study is relevant to our research as it focuses on the beauty pageants of Miss World, a very similar but older contest compared to Miss Universe, owned and managed by a different organisation. While the former focuses on contestants’ intellectual levels, the latter draws more attention to their appearances. Moreover, Hoad (2004) critically examines how each cohort of winning pageants influences global beauty standards, and conversely, how global beauty standards in turn influence the next candidates of beauty pageants. Given the aforementioned literature, we formulate the 38
hypothesis that while beauty pageants have become more diverse with the acknowledgement of more nationalities from different continents, the standard of beauty that is held highly in such pageants, namely Miss Universe, has not changed over time and still sticks to Western ideals. Method In this study, a quantitative content analysis was performed to evaluate the beauty standards as represented by Miss Universe contestants since the beginning of the competition in 1952. Content analysis is defined as “the systematic reading of a body of texts, images, and symbolic matter, not necessarily from an author’s or user’s perspective” (Krippendorff, 2004). Content analysis is used to objectively analyze large numbers of images thanks to its rigorous procedure of selecting, coding, and analysis of images (Rose, 2016). This type of analysis is well suited for this study, for it can generate objective data out of pictures that represent a highly subjective topic, namely, beauty. Given that this method is methodologically explicit, it can also be replicated by other researchers. Moreover, it is the most efficient method given the relatively large sample size of the study (136 images in total). Lastly, this method detects patterns among the images that would be imperceptible through the use of other manual techniques (Rose, 2016). The pictures of each winner of Miss Universe are a mostly face close-ups, retrieved from the official archive of Miss Universe (n.d.), which displays the winners’ photographed portraits in a gallery spanning from the first (1952) to the most recent contest (2018). One of the codes selected for this research includes the bust-to-waist measurements of the pageants. Given that it is impossible to derive such measurements from the selected images, an additional source (“Evolution of Miss Universe (1952 - 2016)”, 2017) was used to derive the pageants’ bust-to-waist ratios. The images were then coded by the authors based on aspects that are relevant to the research question, “How have beauty standards, as represented by the winners of the Miss Universe pageants, changed over time?”. Some codes include: eye color, nose shape, eyebrow shape (Supplementary Materials including codes, pictures, and reports on statistical processings can be accessed online). The THE EVOLUTION OF BEAUTY STANDARDS
codes are grouped into two main categories: build characteristics, and grooming & makeup. Although types of makeup and hairstyles are not characteristics unique to the models, they nevertheless complement natural features. Furthermore, the style of makeup and grooming reveals what the beauty ideal should look like according to the consensus of a specific time and place. It is therefore relevant to include both categories in our coding procedure. To limit research bias, each picture was coded by all three authors, who first coded the pictures independently, and then compared their ratings. If some traits were rated differently (for instance, one author coded for a V-shaped chin while another coded for an oval shaped chin), the authors re-evaluated the picture to reach an agreement. Once all the pictures were coded, a frequency analysis was performed using SPSS software. A frequency analysis is a descriptive statistical method that shows how often a chosen variable occurs (â€œWhat is frequency analysis?â€?, n.d.). In this paper, the frequencies are shown in percentages. The frequencies were also analysed in relation to other values such as the year in which each picture was taken, the location in which the competition was held, as well as the winner nationality. These values help to contextualize the images, and judge whether the beauty standards expressed by Miss Universe winners were convergent with major fashion trends of the time, and whether they were influenced by the location in which the competition took place. Considering that infrequent codes may be just as significant as frequent codes, particular attention was paid to codes that appeared less frequently. This allowed us to assess what was not considered beautiful. Results Table 1 displays the most frequent physical characteristics of Miss Universe contestants since 1952, while table 2 displays the least frequent physical characteristics. Both tables suggest that the type of beauty promoted by Miss Universe contestants represent the physical traits that are most frequent in Western societies: fair skin; brown or blue eyes; brown, flaxen, or golden hair; a long and straight Roman nose with a curved tip; and a V-shape face (Frost, 2014). As shown by Table 2, to this date only 6% of Miss Universe 40
winners have monolid eyes, and only 1.5% have a funnel-shape nose (typical of African descent). Most strikingly, there has been no Miss Universe with dark brown or black skin tone, nor with red hair. Table 1 Most Frequent Physical Characteristics of Miss Universe Contestants
Table 2 Least Frequent Physical Characteristics of Miss Universe Contestants
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Table 3 shows the overall frequencies of grooming and makeup styles of Miss Universe contestants since 1952, with the highest frequencies marked in bold. Makeup is popular among the winners, yet only if used with moderation (38% of “medium” level of makeup, versus 3% of “heavy” makeup). Long and wavy hair is generally preferred (with frequencies of 32.8% and 37.3%, respectively). Table 3 Total frequencies of Miss Universe grooming and make-up styles
In Table 4, the frequencies of each sub-category that had been coded are compared between two year groups, 1952-1985 and 19862018, to see how the preferred physical characteristic and makeup styles of Miss Universe have evolved over time. The most frequent characteristics that remained common to both year groups are: a fair skin tone, no special features such as freckles or dimples, natural-looking lips, a Roman nose, a V-shaped face, high cheekbones, almond eyes, an oval face shape, a symmetrical breast-to-waist and waist-to-hip ratio, and lastly, a medium level of makeup. In the table below, the most frequent characteristics are marked in bold. 42
Table 4 Cross-tabulation of model characteristics per year groups
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Moving on to nationality, Figure 1 illustrates the distribution of nationalities represented by Miss Universe winners. An overwhelming 37.31% of winners are from South America, followed by Europe (17.91%) and North America (14.93%). For analytical purposes, the Middle East was counted as separate from Asia. As such, it is the least represented region of the world in the Miss Universe competition (with 2.99% of Miss Universe winners).
Figure 1. Pie Chart representing the continents of origin of Miss Universe winners since 1952.
Finally, Table 5 shows the distribution of Miss Universe nationalities over the two year groups, 1952-1985 and 1986-2018. In both year groups, South America dominates. However, between 1986 and 2018, the representation of Europe by Miss Universe dramatically decreased by 17.4%, along with the representation of North America (-5.5%), and Australia (-2.9%). Instead, an increase in the representation of Asia (+6.4%) and South America (+16.1%) can be noted. THE EVOLUTION OF BEAUTY STANDARDS
Table 5 Cross-tabulation of Nationality per Year Groups
Data Analysis The least and most frequent physical characteristics observed in winners (a fair skin, a Roman nose, natural lips, a V-shape chin, almond eyes, high cheekbones, and a proportionate bust-to-waist ratio; see Tables 1 and 2) suggest that the type of beauty promoted by Miss Universe contestants is a prototype of the Western beauty ideal. Interestingly, the nationalities represented by Miss Universe have indeed diversified in recent years, with a greater number of South American and Asian nationals (see Table 5). However, the modelsâ€™ physical characteristics have remained constant since 1952 (see Table 4), indicating that regardless of the modelsâ€™ nationalities, these models still possess typically Western features. This exemplifies that the influence of Western beauty standards in international competitions is still strong. These outcomes are consistent with Hoad (2004) and Banet-Weiserâ€™s (1999) findings (p. 206) that beauty is still heavily influenced by white hegemony. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that the outcome of bust-to-waist ratio (equal bust-waist to waist-hip) coincides with the modern trend of slenderness as described by the literature (Pauli, 2019; Grogan & Wainwright, 1996; Mazur, 1986). Some beauty traits have noticeably changed since 1952. In the earlier half of the competition, blue eyes and short, blonde hair were 46
most common among Miss Universe winners, along with dramatic rounded eyebrows. However, our findings show that regardless of nationality, western physical traits still dominate the competition. Hence, we cannot conclude that the beauty standards promoted by Miss Universe have, in essence, expanded past Western beauty ideals, leading us to reject our hypothesis. It is surprising to note that throughout history, the preference of judges in Miss Universe has shifted with regards to hair length; contestants with ear-length hair were preferred from 1952 (the beginning of the pageant) until 1984, and then those with longer hair gained popularity from 1985 onwards. However, the judges’ opinions on skin tone did not change; even though the spread of nationalities diversified over time, the preference for a fair skin tone prevailed. The fact that Miss Nigeria wore makeup to lighten her skin tone (Hoad, 2004) corresponds with the judges’ preferences of skin color, as corroborated by our data. In addition, the outcome also supports Banet-Weiser’s (1999) finding that though there are more diverse ethnic winners in the pageants competition, the beauty ideal of white femininity is the key factor for success. Limitations Previous studies suggest that while conducting a content analysis or comparative analysis, a sizeable sample size of at least 100 images must be selected in order to ensure research reliability and to minimize confirmation bias (Klaus Krippendorff, 2004; Worthington & Whittaker, 2006). Due to the fact that the Miss Universe contest has been held for sixty-eight years, the analysis thus relies on an insufficient sample size. In addition, the data of every candidate’s physical feature is subjectively coded and thus bias of personal standard of classification is impossibly prevented. In an effort to reduce possible bias while coding, the three authors of this research paper blindly rated each picture Besides, the data on analysing the trend of has been categorized into two year groups of 1952-1985 and 1986-2018 to examine how the preferred physical characteristics and makeup styles of Miss Universe have evolved over time. While this threshold was selected to obtain groups of equal size, no theory founds this choice, which is thus arbitrary and limits the related findings. Lastly, due to the lack of complete personal profiles for the difTHE EVOLUTION OF BEAUTY STANDARDS
ferent Miss Universe, the classification of bust-waist ratio was mainly made on the basis of online resources such as the website Evolution of Miss Universe (1952 - 2016)(2017). The validity of the source could not be fully confirmed and some information about the winnersâ€™ characteristics were unattainable, therefore this category might possess bias or inaccuracy. Conclusion The purpose of this study was to determine whether the pageant competition of Miss Universe has become more inclusive of different types of beauty throughout time. The results section support that Western beauty standards, such as slenderness and fair skin tone, are still very much prevalent in Miss Universe winners, despite the increased diversity of ethnicity. This finding leads us to reject our hypothesis that beauty standards have become more inclusive, departing from the Western perspective. Given the influence that looks can have on self-confidence and self-concept, this narrow and monocultural view of beauty produced by the results is eye-opening and somewhat worrying; this kind of perspective seems to be out of place and rigidly old-fashioned in an increasingly globalized and connected world. We hope that this research can motivate more studies to investigate the homogenization of beauty, and contribute to raising awareness in order to encourage a wider definition of beauty, one that includes all colors and body shapes.
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Karupiah, P. (2015). Have beauty ideals evolved? reading of beauty ideals in tamil movies by malaysian indian youths. Sociological Inquiry, 85(2), 239-261. Kosif, R., Diramali, M., & Yilmaz, S. (2018, September). Classification of the lip shapes[infographic]. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/327306722_Kosif_R_Diramali_M_Yilmaz_S_Investigation_on_the_relationship_between_personal_characteristics_ with_lip_jaw_and_philtrum_dimensionsInt_J_Res_Med_Sci_2018_69_2911-5 Rose, G. (2016). Visual Methodologies. An Introduction to Researching with Visual Materials. SAGE Publications Ltd. Krippendorff, K. (2004). Reliability in content analysis. Human Communication Research, 30(3), 411-433. Kumara, H. I., & Jayawardhana, R. A. (2018). International beauty pageants and the construction of hegemonic images of female beauty. Sri Lanka Journal of Social Sciences, 41(2), 123. doi:10.4038/sljss. v41i2.7699 List of Miss Universe titleholders. (2019, May 07). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Miss_Universe_titleholders
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M. VAN HALDEREEN Nazi Aesthetics: Perceptible Affect in the Third Reich. This essay analyses Nazi aesthetics, identifying its roots and essence, societal propagation, and its political raison d’être. Fascist power was made known through visual means, namely with the use of aesthetics. These aesthetics should be understood as a tool for promoting a civic religion which is realised through its own mythical symbolism and liturgy. First, different approaches and critiques of Nazi art in general are analysed. Second, central concepts of Nazi aesthetics are discussed. Amongst these are the alteration of the perception of reality through the use of myths, which are thematically anachronistic and therefore possess deceptive untruthfulness. These myths produce certain delusional ‘ideals’ within the perceiver. The concept ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ is examined in relation to Nazi aesthetics. Gesamtkunstwerk provided an alternative depiction of reality that could transcend people’s individual conception of reality. The Nazis’ attitude towards modernist art is discussed as well. Their opposition and rejection of modernism created a categorial gap between the two corresponding conceptions of art. The Nazis utilized this gap by means of their own aesthetics. Finally, the importance of visual aesthetics, namely film, in Nazism, will be analysed. Film’s totalitarian societal implementation was a key aspect of using art as an ideological tool to enkindle and control the masses’ feelings and emotions, making them credulous for the Nazis’ dogmatic enchantment. What is concluded is that the method and utilisation of aesthetics by the Nazi regime produced a disparate perception of reality, or so to speak, the rise of a hyperreality.
Introduction ‘Fascism’ and ‘culture’ are two words which are usually perceived as contradictory or incompatible. What comes to mind are idolized symbols, books set ablaze, and vast uncluttered bulwarks. It is true that these phenomena are often found in 20th century fascist societies, but what is often overlooked is the sophisticated cultural machine which had a central role in the realisation of fascist ideas. Fascist power was made known through visual means, namely with the use of aesthetics. Benjamin states that “the logical result of Fascism is the introduction of aesthetics into political life” (1935/1988, Benjamin, Arendt & Zohn, p. 241). Human existence was perceived as inextricably intertwined with art, including political conduct. Politics, then, reciprocated this artistically perceived life by being experienced as a form of art: something Benjamin coined as ‘the aestheticization of politics’ (Jay, 1992, p. 41-42). Fascism’s aesthetics should be understood as a tool for promoting a civic religion, an unconventional belief, realised through its own symbolism and liturgy. Unconven52
tional, because the focus lay on the nature of the state and the orthopraxy of its citizens; hiding behind ‘holy aesthetics’, fascists tried to instigate revolutionary governmental reform. The European idea that beauty was associated with the Platonic transcendentals ‘the good, the true, and the beautiful’, was key for the effectiveness of fascist aesthetics (Mosse, 1996, p. 246). Everywhere in fascist society, these ‘holy aesthetics’ were expressed through the use of symbols, inducing one to the devout enchantment of its belief. Consequently, fascist ideologies are not something to be understood based on rationality alone (Mosse, 1996, p. 245-246). In this essay I will focus on the period of 1933 until 1945 in which Germany was known as the Third Reich, led by the fascist national socialists, or ‘Nazis’. I will analyse the Nazis’ aesthetics, and try to identify its roots and essence, its societal propagation, and its political raison d’être, all while taking the broader historical perspective of European Modernity into account. I shall demonstrate that the Nazis created a hyperreality through the use of their aesthetics, a concept defined by Baudrillard as “the generation by models of a real without origin or reality” (1994, p. 2). To do so, I will first present different approaches and critiques of Nazi art in general. Then, I will discuss central concepts of Nazi aesthetics, such as the alteration of the perception of reality through the use of myths, along with the Nazis’ attitude towards mainstream modernist art, and how they deemed it ‘degenerate art’. Lastly, I will analyse the importance of visual aesthetics in Nazism, and how its totalitarian societal implementation through film, had an effect on people’s perception of Nazi society, after which I will end with an overarching conclusion. “It is self-evident that nothing concerning art is self-evident anymore, not its inner life, not its relation to the world, not even its right to exist” (Adorno, 2014, p. 1). The opening sentence of Aesthetic Theory by Adorno can be specifically applied to Nazi art, as its existence has been numerously doubted through history. Nazi art was created for the specific reason of supporting and glorifying the vicious totalitarian ideology of the Third Reich. In the period shortly after World War II, bourgeois liberalists refused to consider the place of Nazi art, let alone acknowledge it; it was categorized as non-art for which “every word... is too much” (Pevsner, 1992, as cited in NAZI AESTHETICS
Strathausen, 1999, p. 5). This negligence posed several problems. Nazi art was disbarred from public memory, following the exact same modus operandi of the Nazis’ own selective exclusion of art while they were in power. By distinguishing true art from non-art, or simply by excluding something, one declares fidelity to the type of aesthetics to which they do affiliate, even when incognizant of actively doing so (Strathausen, 1999, p. 6). Another consequence of solely perceiving art produced in the Third Reich as non-art is the assumption and recognition that all works share a stylistic or dogmatic unity, which therefore acknowledges, even emphasizes, the precise intent of the Nazis’ cultural revolution: the creation of a sui generis form of art (Strathausen, 1999, p. 6). Thus, perceiving Nazi art as non-art is contradictory, as it eventuates in a single categorisation, a single bundling together, of Nazi art. This is precisely the outcome that the non-art endorsers initially so gravely tried to foil. For the abovementioned reasons, I argue that Nazi art should be considered as a true form of art, possessing its own sub-categorisations and idiosyncrasies, which I shall now elaborate upon in the following sections. One of these sub-categorisations is Nazi paintings. These were primarily ‘genre-paintings’ depicting 17th and 18th century scenes. Genre painting has an element of genuine realism, but this realism experienced two changes overtime. This is claimed by Hinz in his book Art in the Third Reich (1980). From a Marxist perspective, he argues that Nazi paintings entailed a gradual deceit in their portrayals of reality. Firstly, the genres stayed somewhat unchanged since the 17th century; therefore, the realistic contents became unrealistic as time passed and societal circumstances changed. Nazi genre paintings thus depicted something of the past, hence losing their original realistic attitude; genre paintings became thematically anachronistic (Appendix A). Once the Nazi genre paintings lost their realistic attitude, one had to pretend that they actually reflected reality, which had consequences for both their form and content. The justification of their realistic significance was thus based on the subjective interpretation present in society’s dominant belief, such as the perception of the ideal family (Hinz, 1980, p. 104). This justification would come about 54
in genre painting through the principle of immanence, according to which the physical realm holds some form of celestial presence. Genre paintings lost their realistic attitude even further by the subsequent attempt to obtain the absolute by transcending this immanence. When a representation has already lost its legitimacy to reality, the attempt to regain this legitimacy by making it a symbol of primal forces will only worsen the situation. This is the case as sticking with the past warrants persistence, which will then lead to distortion; this spawns a vicious cycle with regards to the connection between art and reality (Hinz, 1980, p. 109). Thus, Nazi paintings create a distorted image of reality which rejects the notion that society’s superstructure is changing, opposes modernity and its industrialisation and urbanisation, ultimately subduing it under Nazi fantasies. Deceptive untruthfulness can also be seen in the vast uncluttered bulwarks of Nazi architecture, such as the New Reich Chancellery designed by Albert Speer (Appendix B). These structures appear as Neo-Classicist, as they try to attain a certain archaic aesthetic, just as the Nazi genre paintings. However, in reality beneath their surface, a steel framework is necessary to hold it all together. The reinforced concrete used is an essential characteristic of modern architecture. Hence, the Third Reich’s propaganda machine set in motion by Joseph Goebbels contradicted itself, as it was discreetly constructed upon that which he tried to remove, namely modernism (Strathausen, 1999, p. 7). I will return to the Nazis’ view of modernist art towards the end of my essay. In the previous sections the untruthful nature of Nazi art, and its position in the realm of art in general has been analysed. I shall now move on to a different, broader, way of approaching Nazi aesthetics and their societal effect. Scholars can reject Nazi art in its totality, but cannot deny that there exists something as Nazi aesthetics. Hegel defined aesthetics as “the science of sensation, of feeling” (1988, p. 1). Hence, aesthetics is concerned with the feelings evoked by art. Rentschler states that when one speaks of National Socialism, one also speaks about aesthetics, as these are inseparable concepts (1996, p. 21). Strathausen, in turn, describes Nazi aesthetics as both a “National Socialist approach towards art in theory and practice, as well as the specific psychological effects of this approach upon the German NAZI AESTHETICS
population” (1999, p. 7). This analytical approach of Nazi aesthetics allows for the dismissal of the disagreement surrounding Nazi art’s normative approach; one supposes that Nazi art is not concerned with a mimetic depiction of reality, but with the glorified mythical reality the Nazis hoped to come true. The Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will (1935), directed by Leni Riefenstahl, is a perfect example for this. The mainstream press reported it to be both an objective documentary as well as a keen confession to the ideology. Official critics did not oppose the co-existence of fact and fiction, they even espoused the idea that ‘objectivity’ was asserted by the prowess of the artist in portraying the world as desired by the Nazis, instead of how it actually was (Strathausen, 1999, p. 7-8). Through their aesthetics the Nazis depicted an alternate mythical reality which constructed their truth. A better way to understand this construction of reality through aesthetics is by considering several art forms simultaneously. Wagner’s idea of total art form, or ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’, formulated in his essays Art and Revolution (1849), and The Artwork of the Future (1849), strongly emphasised this very idea of considering several art forms simultaneously. It describes art that carries a compelling force due to its use of all forms of art at once. Wagner used this term to describe music drama, an art form he perceived as the coming together of society through the defeat of the imbalances between individuals; an antidote to society’s fragmentation which accentuated the existence of a coalesced German Volk. The Nazis used this concept for the very same reason (Zabel, 1990, p. 408). They emphasized that the unified use of different media was more flawless than reality itself; different mediums could depict the world as they saw it as more real than anything else. Categorical critiques based on the terms of ‘objectivity’, ‘truth’, and ‘historical reality’ were redefined in Nazi aesthetics. Therefore, a rigid framework of tangible traits, specific artistic styles such as neo-classicism, or certain characteristics, cannot be used for the pinpointing and classification of Nazi art. Instead, Nazi culture questioned aesthetics through the lens of the central issue of the concept of reality, and how the latter was perceived by humans. Therefore, advanced critique must be viewed in the context of the greater effect of all Nazi aesthetics on the totality of their cultural environment (Strathausen, 1999, p. 9). 56
Artists respected as cultural assets in Germany today were contrarily perceived as part of the cause of society’s fragmentation under Hitler’s rule, therefore producing the exact opposite effect of Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk. Hence, these modern artists were labelled as the “enemies of the German people” (Goggin, 1991, p.85), as their works were not considered to be aligned with the Nazi regime and its perception of art. The Nazis drew the basis of their ideas regarding the function of art in society from texts such as Degeneration by Nordau (1892), and Kunst und Rasse by Schultze-Naumburg (1928). These Nazi treatises included in their analyses how different societal stratifications, notably race, played a role in art (Mueller, 1954, p. 39-41). Furthermore, the Nazis used these precedents in combination with Hitler’s ideas to instigate anti-modern-art campaigns, in which artists and their works were branded corrupt and ‘degenerate’. This was part of Hitler’s propaganda in which he blamed the socio-political and economic issues on specific targetable minorities, including artists, and their various supporters such as art collectors, critics, and curators. Modernist art exemplified by Expressionism, Cubism, and Futurism, was an important backdrop to which Nazi art provided an alternative. There was a clear gap between these two conceptions of art. Because the modernist conception involved making radical alterations to how one should perceive art, the visceral imaginary of Nazi art was more familiar and identifiable to the general public. Despising modernist art, the Nazis made sure to exploit this gap to consolidate their power (Hinz, 1980, p. 228; Goggins, 1991, p.85). The Nazis contended that since modern artists held the view that everything in one’s surroundings can potentially be considered as art, therefore as ‘beautiful, heroic, and pure’, the regime could parallelise these values to ‘ugly, base, and erotic’, therefore as immoral art (Sabile, 1947, p. 25). Thus, the Nazis believed that modern art posed a threat to German morality; the anti-modern-art campaigns were propelled by the fear that the masses would begin to view the world in the same way as represented by the modernist artists. Hence, it can be said that the specific mediums of modernist artistic expression were not perilous to the stability of the Nazi aesthetic, but rather the danger lay in the effects it could have had on society, which may emanate from NAZI AESTHETICS
the radical modernist way of seeing, therefore knowing. The Nazis’ principal objective was to control worldly perception by using art as an ideological tool to solidify the regime’s power (Strathausen, 1999, p. 14). Such a very effective ideological tool was film, which became significantly influential on Germany’s cultural system after World War I. Film’s impact on politics, art, and literature was a hot topic amongst the German public (Kaes & Levin, 1987, p. 7). Hence, film turned into a prime leitmotif of the German aesthetic debate. This is to some extent due to the technological essence of film: its form provided a metaphorical paradigm for societal fragmentation and its desire for unity, which was a primary issue on the plane of culture during modernity (Strathausen, 1999, p. 15). This may seem paradoxical as film is literally composed of fragments, which could be interpreted as the aesthetics of disunity. However, these isolated fragments are coherently united into a beauty otherwise unable to perceive, making film compensate for its own fragmentation, which Birdsall argued is the modern reappropriation of Wagner’s notion of music drama as a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ (2012, p. 171). Thus, film offered a new form of aesthetic perception, which favoured the Nazi’s idea of aesthetics (Strathausen, 1999, p. 15). Consequently, the Ministry of Propaganda attached great value to film, as it was considered a dogmatic weapon and mass mobilizer. Goebbels once emphasized that films are one of the most modern and sophisticated ways of influencing the masses (Rentschler, 1990, p. 257). Cinematic content made in the Third Reich, along with a collection of Nazi activities such as radio programs, and mass rallies consisting of cavalcades, uniforms, flags, and other Nazi symbols, infused daily life with a persisted ambience of thrilling drama. These spectacles were to be found throughout the whole of society, residing in physical space, as well as in the psyche; any deviating experiences and autonomous beliefs were despised collectively and individually (Rentschler, 1990, p. 257). In short, the political plane became firmly interwoven with aesthetics and entertainment. Films made during the Third Reich represent the advanced construction of totalitarian rule, which caused the persuasive integration of public fantasies, state terror, and eventually world war. 58
As film was a key aspect of influencing and controlling the masses, the National Socialists immediately began to organize the film industry on all fronts when they came to power in 1933: “from finance, distribution, advertisement, and critique to the choice of material, cast, crew, and directors” (O’Brien, 2006, p. 6). This all started with the establishment of the Reich Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda, led by Goebbels who called himself ‘Patron of the German film’, and which tried to account for the whole of Germany’s cultural fabrication. The film industry received a complex bureaucratic supervision, something central to Nazi praxis. The ministry was responsible for rating and censoring films, in which a subsidiary branch, the ‘Reich Film Chamber’, was a trading organisation which controlled economic matters, as well as individuals’ membership to the film industry. All necessary aspects of filmmaking were included in the organisation; directors, actors, editors, cameraman, etc. were all obliged to become members of the organisation (O’Brien, 2006, p. 6). Membership was only possible for ‘pure’ Aryans, and Jews had been banned from the film industry halfway through 1933; as the long arm of callous Nazi racial laws also swayed in the entertainment industry. Film stars were an important feature to the success of film in the Nazi genre, as they served as the embodiment of the Nazi secular myths, as well as a bridge between the people and these myths. Film critic James Monaco stated that film stars exemplify “political and psychological models who demonstrate some quality that we collectively admire” (1981, p. 222). Identification and affiliation with these myths were naturally possible for the masses, who had successfully integrated Nazi ideals, contributing to the establishment of the hegemony of the Third Reich. Celebrities such as Zarah Leander, Brigitte Horney, Gustaf Gründgens, and Heinrich George satisfied the masses’ expectations by acting in customary ways, and displayed characteristics which the public admired and strived to mimic. Apart from structural control over the film industry, Goebbels also had his own theory about the National Socialist approach of art and its function in society. He argued that propaganda should transcend its potential conversive function on society. More accurately, he believed that art is a mere shaper of feelings, which come from the emotions, not from reason, whereby the artist only serves NAZI AESTHETICS
as these feelings’ interpreter (O’Brien, 2006, p. 8). Film was regarded as the most prominent means to accomplish the goal of shaping people’s feelings. Fritz Hippler, the filmmaker who oversaw the Reich Film Chamber, specified that unlike other forms of art, film’s primary virtue is the capacity to essentially appeal both to the optical and emotional, which he perceived as parts of the non-intellectual realm, therefore having a powerful long-term effect on the masses (1943, p. 14). A perfect example of a propaganda film which had significant impact on the viewer’s emotions is the aforementioned Triumph of the Will, by Leni Riefenstahl, which “objectively” depicted the annual Nazi party Congress in 1934. Emotional appeal situated viewers in their own psyche; viewers identified with the myth produced by this ‘nonfiction’ film, as its illusionary discourse was fashioned in the ‘national character’ of Germany (Kracauer, 1947, p. 8). The masses are literally portrayed on the canvas themselves (see Appendix C, available online). This recognition makes one identify with the camera’s point of view, as if one stood there themselves. Such cinematic ‘subject-effect’ relies mainly on the apparatus theory, a film theory predominantly developed by Lacan and Althusser, which from a Marxist perspective states that every film is ideological in its making and presentation, due to the fact that the passive viewers’ subconscious cannot distinguish cinema from reality due to thorough identification with what is depicted, making them credulous for dogmatic positioning (Strathausen, 1999, p. 17; Wees, De Lauretis, & Heath, 1982, p. 51). This was the case in Triumph of the Will, in which one of the prominent ‘tricks’ was the repeating glorification of the swastika flag. According to Hoffmann, the flag was used by Riefenstahl as a “emotional and sentimental prop with which to orchestrate a dizzying symphony of flags which disseminated the Nazi worldview in staged aesthetic events that indicated the ‘correct’ way to regard art” (1996, p. 18). Hoffman even goes so far as to say that Riefenstahl fetishizes the flag: “the optical opium of the people, forests of flags as a psychological field of force” (1996, p. 19). The film’s ‘spectacle of reality’ was transformed into ‘true reality’; the nexus of vision and sound fabricate an image which fortified the zeitgeist, appearing as real for numerous viewers (Tomasulo, 1998, p. 102). Sontag stated that the film “has 60
no commentary because it doesn’t need one, for Triumph of the Will represents an already achieved and radical transformation of reality: history become theater” (1980, p. 83). Conclusion In conclusion, fascism occurred at the crossroads where books turned to film, and subsequently words to images. This sparked a struggle in German modern subjectivity, resulting in a significant reconstruction of the modern perception of reality, during which the symbolic transformed into the mythological. This allowed for the consolidation of fascist rhetoric and ideology in the early 20th century, as the emergence of film not only affected the psyche of the public, but also enabled its exploitation serving the Nazi’s political agenda (Strathausen, 1999, p. 15). The ‘fascination’ for fascism has been understood through studying the method and utilisation of aesthetics by the Nazi regime which birthed a disparate perception of reality, or so to speak the rise of a hyperreality (Sonntag, 1980, p. 74). In this essay, I have shown the method by which the Nazi regime used aesthetics to create a hyperreality. First, I argued that Nazi art should to an extent be recognized as such. Second, by analysing Nazi genre paintings and architecture, I have demonstrated how Nazi aesthetics possess deceptive untruthfulness and result in the production of certain delusional ideals, namely the Nazis’ rejection of modernity. Then, I have explained how Nazi aesthetics are generally concerned with the glorified reality they espouse; this evokes the Gesamtkunstwerk, which calls into question the concept of reality itself, by providing an alternative depiction of reality that could transcend people’s individual conception of reality. Afterwards, I explained how Nazism’s opposition and rejection of modernism created a categorial gap between the two corresponding conceptions of art, and how the Nazis utilized this gap by means of their own aesthetics. I discussed how film was a modern reappropriation of Gesamtkunstwerk, and how the Nazis took control of the film industry and used it to manipulate the masses, with the example of Triumph of the Will. National Socialism aimed to control and exploit citizens’ ethos to facilitate the achievement of their political intent. The totalitarian authorities attempted to supervise the formulation of dreams by altering the perceptions of reality through the realisation of myths. NAZI AESTHETICS
Mass pathos replaced the individual and communal ethos, mesmeric symbolism replaced logos and critical thinking, and indoctrination replaced consciousness, ultimately replacing conscience (Mandoki, 1999, p.80).
REFERENCES: Adorno, T., Adorno, G., & Tiedeman, R. (2014). Aesthetic theory. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. Baudrillard, J. (1994). Simulacra and simulation. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Becker, W. (1973). Film und Herrschaft. Federal Republic of Germany: Spiess. Benjamin, W., Arendt, H., & Zohn, H. (1988). Illuminations. New York: Schocken Books. Birdsall, C. (2012). Cinema as a Gesamtkunstwerk? In Nazi Soundscapes: Sound, Technology and Urban Space in Germany, 1933-1945 (pp. 141-172). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. Cassou, J., & Sabile, J. (1947). Le pillage par les allemands des oeuvres d’art et des bibliothèques appartenant à des juifs en france (Série documents / centre de documentation juive contemporaine, 4). Paris: Éditions du Centre.
Hoffmann, H. (1996). The triumph of propaganda : Film and national socialism, 19331945. Providence: Berghahn Books. Hull, D., S. (1973). Film in the Third Reich. New York: Simon and Schuster. Jay, M. (1992). “the aesthetic ideology” as ideology; or, what does it mean to aestheticize politics? Cultural Critique, 21(21), 41-61. Kaes, A., & Levin, D. (1987). The Debate about Cinema: Charting a Controversy (19091929). New German Critique, 40, 7-33. Kracauer, S. (1947). From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Kreimeier, K. (1999). The Ufa story: A history of Germany’s greatest film company, 19181945. Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press. Mueller, J., Lehmann-Haupt, H., & Mukerjee, R. (1954). Art under a dictatorship. American Sociological Review, 19(6), 811-811.
Goggin, M. (1991). “decent” vs. “degenerate” art: The national socialist case. Art Journal, Mandoki, K. (1999). Terror and aesthetics: 50(4), 84-84. Nazi strategies for mass organisation. Culture, Theory and Critique, 42(1), 64-81. Hegel, G. W. F., & Knox, T. M. (1988). Hegel’s Aesthetics : Lectures on Fine Art ; Vol. 1. Mosse, G. L. (1996). Fascist aesthetics and Oxford: Clarendon Press. society: Some considerations. Journal of Contemporary History, 31(2), 245-252. Hinz, B. (1980). Art in the third reich. OxMonaco, J. (1981). How To Read a Film. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. ford: Oxford University Press Hinz, B. (1995). “Degenerate” and “Authentic”: Aspects of Art and Power in the Third Reich. In B. Ades (Ed.), Art and Power Europe under the dictators 1930-45 (pp. 330333). London: Hayward Gallery. Hippler, P. (1943). Betrachtungen zum Filmschaffen. Berlin: Max Hesses Verlag.
O’Brien, M. (2006). Nazi Cinema as Enchantment: The Politics of Entertainment in the Third Reich. UK: Boydell & Brewer. Rentschler, E. (1990). German feature films 1933-1945. Monatshefte Für Deutschen Unterricht, Deutsche Sprache Und Literatur, 82(3), 257-257.
Rentschler, E. (1996). The Ministry of Illusion: Nazi Cinema and Its Afterlife. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Sontag, S. (1980). Fascinating Fascism. In Under the Sign of Saturn (pp. 73-105). New York: Farrar Straus Giroux. Strathausen, C. (1999). Nazi aesthetics. Culture, Theory and Critique, 42(1), 5-19. Tomasulo, F., P. (1998). The Mass Psychology of Fascist Cinema: Leni Riefenstahlâ€™s Triumph of the Will. In Documenting the documentary: close readings of documentary film and video (pp. 99 - 118). Detroit: Wayne State University Press. Wees, W., De Lauretis, T., & Heath, S. (1982). The cinematic apparatus. Cinema Journal, 21(2), 50-50. Zabel, G. (1990). Wagner and Nietzsche: On the Threshold of the Twentieth Century. The Musical Times, 131(1770), 407-409.
N. DEROSSI Memorias del Subdesarrollo: A Critical Review.
Memorias del Subseradollo, directed by Thomàs Gutiérraz Alea, remains up to today one of the most celebrated and acknowledged movies of Latin American cinematography. For the Cuban director a movie’s production must engender participation, which he defines the ability to adequately respond to the issues that permeate current social reality. This review wishes to demonstrate Alea’s consistency by illustrating the ways in which his dialectical principles are put to work in his 1968 movie. I will focus on the contradictions that are established within the film and strive to give an interpretation of the possible implications that these might have. Through an analysis of both content and cinematographic techniques, the following contradictions were found: fiction versus reality, apathy versus emotion, individualism versus collectivism, revolutionary versus counter-revolutionary and finally, revolutionary ideals versus lure for Europe. I argue that without pretending to escape his own well-off societal position, Alea discloses to us the reality produced by a clash of conflict between the Western lure and the anti-Western revolutionary ideas, and how the intensity of such a clash is somewhat positively correlated with the amount of European culture we have been fed. I interpret the dichotomies of Memorias del Susdesarrollo as a clever attempt to foster participation and thinking in his viewers, proving Alea’s consistency with his own principles.
A movie envisaged for participation and critical thinking In his 1984 essay/manifesto on viewers’ dialectics, the Cuban director Tomàs Gutiérrez Alea lays down the distinction between cinema envisaged for pure consumption, versus one aimed at creating social consciousness (p. 120). The latter, the author explains, is crucial within a society that is, just like Cuba, ‘building socialism’ (p. 128). For MEMORIAS
Gutiérrez Alea, a movie’s production must engender participation, which the movie director defines as the ability to adequately respond to the issues that permeate current social reality. In a fashion characteristic of what Getino (1997) would refer to as Third Cinema, movies shall confront the viewers with the ideological struggles they have to resolve, contributing to the rational comprehension of some aspect of reality (p. 103). Directing Memorias del Subdesarrollo (1968) - one of the most celebrated and acknowledged movies of Latin American cinematography - Gutiérrez Alea is loyal to his words, putting together a film that impels participation and critical thinking. This review wishes to demonstrate Gutiérrez Alea’s consistency, by illustrating the ways in which his dialectical principles are put to work within his 1968 movie. For the purpose of this brief review, dialectic can be understood as the cinematographic ability to set up tension between discordant positions. Indeed, I will focus particularly on the contradictions that are established within the film, to then give an interpretation of the possible implications that all such contradictions might have. A context of tensions The movie is an intervention within a specific socio-political time. Together with directors such as Joaquim Pedro de Andrade and Glauber Rocha - to name a few - Gutiérrez Alea locates the film within a wave of Latin American movies that aim to distance themselves from American canons (Getino, 1997, p. 277). The Cuban director himself is one of the founders of the Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos (ICAIC). The institute was established in 1959 and explicitly insisted on producing cinematographic content that would be freed from American influence, relying on the assumption that cinema is key within ideological formation (Lent, 1988, p. 59). Memorias del Subdesarrollo enters the cinemas in 1968 roughly ten years after Fidel Castro rose to power. At this time, the new revolutionary leader is busy institutionalizing communism and nationalizing Cuban businesses, and citizens are coming to terms with the difficulties of a post-revolutionary Cuba (Chomsky, 2015, p. 23). Meanwhile, due to the worsening of the relationships between the United States (US) and Cuba, the government of the US denies Gutiérrez Alea access to the country, forcing him to miss several 66
awards ceremonies he had been invited to (Chanan, 1997, p. 128). This particular event goes to show the extent of the US versus Cuba tension, and allows us to better understand the biographic theme Gutiérrez Alea deals with in his film. The United States’ cultural model is an attractive alternative for unsatisfied Cubans. As an intellectual educated according to European standards, there is we have reasons to believe that the director projected in the movie an interior conflict of his own. It is interesting to notice that the historical tension is dichotomous: politics and culture intertwine, giving rise to the specific tension the movies tries to capture. Memorias del Subseradollo: A clash of contradictions The movie itself is set between two crucial moments of post-revolutionary Cuban history: The Bay of Pigs invasion (1961) and the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962). While many people are fleeing the country, Sergio - an aspiring intellectual from the commercial bourgeoisie - decides to stay, with the intention of finally setting himself to write the book he has always wanted to write. The plan is not successful, and oscillating between procrastination, disinterest and past life reflections, Sergio wanders around Havana, chasing women. The plot is quasi-inexistent; the movie simply follows the stream of consciousness of the main character as he goes through his days. It is, as Chanan (1997) would say, a ‘movie of ideas’ (p. 125). Such ‘ideas’ are not necessarily restricted to Sergio’s ideological repertoire. The main character’s perspective is repeatedly interrupted and juxtaposed with fragments of photo essays, newsreels, broadcasts, and newspaper clippings, which depict the reality of Cuba’s pre- and post-revolutionary times. Gutiérrez Alea pastes together fiction and reality in the form of a collage. ‘Collage - a bit of everything’ are the precise words the director uses in his brief cameo appearance1 (min. 37.04). The timing in which documented reality takes over fiction is never random. As Sergio yawns, historical images depicting hunger appear on the screen. Right after his friend discloses his nostalgia for Batista’s regime, the scene cuts to shots disclosing tortured bodies belonging to the Bay of Pigs prisoners. A cameo role or cameo appearance is a brief appearance or voice part of a well known person in a work of the performing arts. In this case, we see the director, Tomàs Gutiérrez Alea, discussing the production of a movie. 1
The reality-fiction dichotomy is accompanied by another one: that between individual and collective perspectives. While the fictional story is invaded by Sergio’s own internal thoughts - insistently individualist and self-centered- the documentary-like portions of the movie report a collective reality (see min. 25 for a clear example). But Sergio does not belong to the Cuban collective consciousness. His words ‘What is the sense of life for them? … And for me?’ (min. 17), delineate the distinction he traces between himself and Cubans. He refers to them as ‘underdeveloped’ (min. 5); yet, the movie does nothing but show that he is the one who is underdeveloped: an underdeveloped intellectual, an underdeveloped writer, an underdeveloped revolutionary, an underdeveloped lover. Another telling duality is to be found within the camera focalizations. From the very first shots, it appears evident that the camera shifts from Sergio’s gaze onto the crowd of future expatriates and from the crowd’s gaze onto Sergio. This pattern is defined through two cinematographic techniques: double repetitions of specific scenes and the constant 180-degree camera shift. The first refers to the fact that a few scenes are shown twice. First, through an outsider perspective, and then, through Sergio’s one. Let us take as an example the initial farewell scene (mins. 4 - 6). People looking at Sergio see an apathetic and (once again) indifferent man. Sergio looking at people, sees an emotional crowd. These two views are incompatible. The second technique simply describes the action of the camera shifting from Sergio’s focalization to the crowd focalization. An example can be found at minutes 14.40-15.03. Contradictions continue, with Sergio being ‘neither a revolutionary, nor a counterrevolutionary’ (min. 41.58), as Elena, a young Cuban girl he seduces, astutely remarks. His desire for European women -ironically explicit in his disturbing way of repeatedly touching Botticelli’s Venere- (e.g. minute 28), is also contradicted by his relationship with a Cuban woman. Schroeder (2016) suggests that by proposing these constant oppositions - some more explicit than others - the movie wishes to show that the truth of the Revolution is to be found in neither an individual, nor a collective perspective, rather in their dialectical confrontation. By so doing, the movie urges the question of what it takes 68
to develop a socialism that productively manages to incorporate both the individual and the collective need (p. 195). Extending Schroeder’s argument, we could say the same logic holds true for the shifting focalization: reality is neither to be found only in Sergio’s perspective, nor only in the people’s gaze towards Sergio. Only the dialectical confrontation of the two gives us a grasp of reality. It is precisely through such dialectical contradictions that the movie effectively does something to its viewer. It fosters questions, and from questions, thinking emerges. Fostering Questions Why does Gutiérrez Alea decide to talk about the revolution through the eyes of a quasi-intellectual who is alienated from it, an individualist who cannot fit within a communist society? And, perhaps most importantly, why does a movie that originates from the ICAIC depict a younger and Felliniesque Mastroianni, carrying himself in Godardian manner2? Is this a sign of Eurocentrism? Schroeder (2016) would argue it is not (p. 192). Making European stylistic choices is more of a technique used to hook a specific audience, precisely that of higher-class intellectuals, who are most likely familiar with ‘La dolce vita’ (1960) or ‘À bout de souffle’ (1960). I would add that it is also a critique of the role of intellectuals within the revolution, pointing out the possibly counterproductive outcome that fascination for Europe has on the wealthy people of Latin America; counterproductive because it renders individuals apathetic and detached from the issues at stake. If the movie manages to foster critical thinking, it does not tell us what the role of intellectuals should be within post-revolutionary Cuba. That is, it makes us critical of the existing state of things, but it does not give us an explicit alternative, thus contributing to the consciousness formation only implicitly. Lesage (2017, p.1) criticizes the movies’ implicitness. I disagree with this critique. Gutiérrez Alea’s implicit manner of touching upon the theme of the small bourgeoisie’s role within the revolution, as well as the individual/community dialectic and the exploration of Latin American intellectual’s lure for Europe, is brilliant and self-reflexive. At the same time, the lack of an That is, why does the main actor remind us so explicitly both of Mastroianni in Federico Fellini’s movie and of Jean-Paul Belmondo in Jean-Luc Godard’s one? 2
explicit alternative allows the viewer to form their own opinion on the matter. Without pretending to escape his own well-off societal position, Gutiérrez Alea discloses to us the reality produced by a clash of conflict between the Western lure and the anti-Western revolutionary ideas, and how the intensity of such a clash is somewhat positively correlated with the amount of European culture we have been fed. I interpret the dichotomies of Memorias del Susdesarrollo as a clever attempt to foster participation and thinking in his viewers, proving Gutiérrez Alea’s consistency with his own principles.
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Sharman, A. (2007). The Indiscre- te Charm of the Bourgeoisie, or, the Difficulty of Going Beyond the Subject of the Nation: Gutiérrez Alea’s Memorias del subdesarrollo. Bulletin of Chomsky, A. (2015). A History of the Cuban Hispanic Studies, 645–660. Revolution. Malden: Wiley Blackwell. Slide, A. (1989). The International Film InFellini, F. (Director). (1960). La Dolce Vita dustry: A Historical Dictionary. Connecticut: [Motion Picture]. Greenwood Press. Gabriel, T. H. (2011). Towards a Critical Theory of Third World Films. Critical Interventions - Journal of African Art History and Visual Culture, 187-203.
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Getino, O. (1997). Some Notes on the Concept of a ‘Third Cinema’. In B. R. Ana M. Lopez, New Latin American Cinema, Volume 1 (pp. 99-108). Detroit: Wayne State University Press. Godard, J.-L. (Director). (1960). À Bout de Souffle [Motion Picture]. Gutiérrez Alea, T. (Director). (1968). Memorias del Susdesarrollo [Motion Picture]. Gutiérrez Alea, T. (1984). The Viewer’s Dialectic. In M. Martin, New Latin American Cinema, Volume 1 (pp. 108-131). Detroit: Wayne State University Press. Lent, J. A. (1988). Cuban Films and the Revolution. Caribbean Studies, 59-68. Lesage, J. (2017, 05 10). Memories of Underdevelopment. Portland, Oregon, United States. Malcolm, D. (2000, Feb 10). Tomas Gutierrez Alea: Memories of Underdevelopment. The Guardians. Schroeder, R. P. (2016). Latin American Cinema: Comparative History. Oakland: University of California Press.
B. WIGGERS A Critical Reflection: Hegel and the Concept of the Modern State. This paper returns to Hegel’s conception of the organic modern state in order to investigate whether or not this notion of the state still applies today. The opening section discusses Hegel’s metaphysics, indicating that the latter are intrinsically interwoven with, and at the same time critically responding to, the metaphysics of Hobbes and Kant. Unlike the latter two, Hegel’s metaphysics is one of immanence and not of transcendence. This purported immanence is crucial to Hegel’s conception of the state and the dialectical progression thereof. The middle section of the paper traces the dialectical formation of the state; both as the synthesis between actuality and reason, as well as the state as the universal synthesis between family and the civil society. After this formal description of the modern state, a chapter devoted to the critique of Hegel’s state will be presented. Most notably, Schmitt and Arendt contest Hegel’s a-subjective progression of history − through the Geist − and his dismissal of political action, in favor of decisionism. Theodor Adorno criticizes Hegel’s positivism and the very existence of the Absolute. In so doing, Adorno stresses the importance of an unresolved dialectic that is not based on identity, but rather on non-identity. As such, the dialectical progression of the Geist towards the Absolute is never linear. The conclusion synthesizes the arguments implicated by the various chapters, finding that the Hegelian modern state does not exist, but that the significance of Hegel’s work, in light of its critique, should not be dismissed.
Introduction Hegel is a notoriously difficult writer and philosopher. Yet, his influence on German idealism and continental philosophy is remarkable. Schopenhauer’s philosophy of the ‘Will’ was a direct reaction to Hegel’s pure rationality, Marx’s materialism a critique of Hegel’s idealism and Adorno’s negative dialectics a reversal of Hegel’s dialectical method. Peter Singer put it aptly “Hegel took history seriously” (Singer, 1983, p.1). Hegel proposed that the human condition could change as history progressed, it was moving somewhere. This progression of history followed a dialectical process, of contradiction and creation, guided by the ‘ideas of men’ (Sprinzak, 1975, p.401). According to Hegel, the state has an essential role to play in the proliferation of the ‘ideas of men’. In this paper I will attempt to indicate precisely the role that the modern state serves in Hegel’s philosophy of rights. Furthermore, I wish to investigate whether or not Hegel’s conception of the modern state is still of use today. Is its logic overridden two hundred years 72
after its conception was written down in The Philosophy of Rights? I will start by addressing Hegel’s critical reflection on Hobbes and Kant, which provides the necessary theoretical concepts to discuss Hegel’s metaphysics. Elaborating on Hegel’s metaphysics is crucial, as it is tightly connected to his conceptualization of the modern state. Having discussed the concept of the modern state I draw upon Carl Schmitt, Hannah Arendt and Theodor Adorno in an attempt to criticize Hegel’s state. Schmitt argues against Hegel’s concept of the state as an organic being. In arguing that an element of decision prior to self-consciousness is elementary, Schmitt distances himself from Hegel’s metaphysics. Arendt, in a similar way to Schmitt, argues that the human creates its own world through action; we are political animals. Theodor Adorno fundamentally criticizes Hegel’s theoretical use of the dialectic as the motor of ‘progress’. Taking into consideration the critical remarks brought forward by Schmitt, Arendt and Adorno, I return to my original question whether or not Hegel’s state is still actual. The metaphysical foundation Hegel is, without a shadow of a doubt, a colossal figure in the German idealist tradition that follows from Kant, Fichte and Schopenhauer all the way to Hegel. But his works have had a far wider reach than Germany alone; Hegel was not blind to the world. As such, his work critically responds to, and at the same time draws from a whole selection of philosophers, most notably Hobbes and Kant. In order to come to terms with Hegel’s metaphysics, I must first outline the philosophies of Hobbes and Kant, as well as Hegel’s critique on the two. I will argue in a chronological order, which leads me to start with Hobbes and his famous description of the state of nature as a “war of all against all” (Oakeshott, 2000, p.37). This “war” arises from the fact that each man is pursuing his own interest, that of self-preservation, in which the Other is necessarily a competitor (Oakeshott, 2000, p.37). In order to overcome such a chaotic state of nature and secure one’s private end of self-preservation, a state with a sovereign power needs to be created that ensures that the private ends and individual rights of its subjects do not confront one-another. Such a subject would submit himself to an impartial rule through law. In agreeing upon this “contract”, and thereby transmitting one’s natural HEGEL AND THE MODERN STATE
rights to an outlaw sovereign power – who Hobbes characterized as the mythical figure of the Leviathan − a subject is created submissive to the law of the sovereign (Sedgwick, 2010, p.178). However, following Kant, Hegel contests this notion on the basis of one fundamental problem. Hobbes’ subject, by nature, is only interested in private ends. The contradictory situation will inevitably arise where private ends come into conflict with the state’s ends. Furthermore, the transmission of rights is not based upon free will, but out of necessity. The rights enforced by the sovereign are thus not grounded in consent. Hegel comes to the conclusion that rights cannot be based upon indifference to particularity, since the fundamental aforementioned problem will arise (Sedgwick, 2010, p.178). Kant had recognized the problem associated with the Hobbesian indifference to particularity. He therefore stated that to conform oneself to the law, it follows that one should see one’s interest reflected in the latter (Sedgwick, 2010, p.179). Both Kant, and later Hegel, indicate that Hobbes had failed in this regard because he described the nature of man as following only his particular ends. Kant therefore formulated a different conception of the nature of man; that ‘what it [man] wills is impartial law’ (Sedgwick, 2010, p.179). Kant attempted to show that the law is not something purely perceived as an obligation legitimized by the particular needs of men, but in fact the opposite, that through reason the subject himself can forego his private interest in favor of the law (Sedgwick, 2010, p.180). Central to this claim is Kant’s insistence on a reasonable subject; ‘sapere aude’. His epistemological theory indicates why. The ‘Ding an Sich’ (Thing-in-itself), which describes the existence of mind-independent objects, is presupposed in Kant´s epistemological theory. However, Kant’s epistemic modesty forces him to crucially assert that we cannot know the ‘a priori’ (Hogan, 2009, p.49). In spite of this, Kant still proposed what he called a ‘synthetic a priori’, on which he expands in the theory of transcendental deduction (Scruton, 2003, p.54). The ‘a priori’ is transcendental and therefore necessarily mind-independent, our experiences of the ‘a priori’ are accordingly always mind-invested (Hogan, 2009, p.49). This fundamental logic is stated in his theory of apperception, which holds that our objective representations, or deductions, of the world are thus necessarily 74
tainted by our subjective position in it (Sedgwick, 2010, p.181; Scruton, 2003, p.46). According to Kant, we need to distance ourselves, as much as possible, from the level of sensations and prescribe logical ‘a priori’ categories (Lloyd, 1915, p.374). Space and time are the a priori intuitions from which we can deduce the categories necessary for an objective deduction (Scruton, 2003, p.47). These categories are imperative to indicate that an objective world does exist. For instance, the theory of causality is formulated to indicate that some continuum of time exists beyond our subjective experience (Westphal, 2006, p. 285). Categories are therefore free of any premises and can be used to deduce the highest possible form of knowledge; ‘the synthetic a priori’. Kant thus suggests that we must presuppose a unity between the categories and the empirical subject in order to use pure practical reason, and thus consider our will as free (Sedgwick, 2010, p.181). In presupposing a transcendent subject we can elevate our particular interest and deduce, by and through experience, the transcendent; the categorical imperative (Scruton, 2003, pp.83-85).The famous Kantian moral principle that any reasonable subject can and should deduce states that one should: “Act only on that maxim whereby thou canst at the same time will that it should become a universal law.” (Singer, 1954, p.577) Hegel criticizes Kant on precisely this synthesis and his presupposition of a transcendent subject. Hegel states that the categorical imperative is itself external, just like that of Hobbes. Therefore, there exists an original disunity or dualism between the subject and the categories, which can only be bridged by using transcendental deduction or reason (Sedgwick, 2010, p.182). Hegel reverses the Kantian trap. In his theory of the organic unity, the world itself is comprised of the a priori structures that Kant sought to deduce from a transcendental realm; the synthesis is already presupposed (Brinkmann, 2011, p. 56-58). It follows that subjective appearances and the thing in-itself are coextensive, both being of this world (Stovall, 2007, p. 97). Hegel believes that reason and subjectivity (which I shall from now on refer to as ‘the actual’) are not heterogeneous, but rather reciprocally determined (Sedgwick, 2010, p.182). This is where Hegel’s conception of the state becomes crucial.
HEGEL AND THE MODERN STATE
Hegel and the modern state Hegel, as I have indicated, distances himself from the idea that some rights or laws are pregiven, for instance natural rights, or the categorical imperative. The concept of immanence – formulated first by Spinoza in his concept of ‘the univocity of being’ − as opposed to transcendence is crucial in this regard. For Hegel, the content of the world is already rational; rationality is immanent to it; we as subjects of a particular actuality only need to comprehend it in a Spinozistic way (Lee, 2017, p. 206). Hegel thinks about history in terms of an immanent encounter between philosophical reason and the historical given. His famous statement that “What is rational is actual; and what is actual is rational” , acts as a summary of this notion (Hegel, 1991, p. 20; Lee, 2017, p. 206). Given this purported immanence, it follows that rights, laws and freedom are only protected and meaningful concepts in a certain social configuration; in their immanent actuality (Sedgwick, 2007, p. 183). Such an immanent actuality arises out of the dialectical historic encounter between reason and actuality. The dialectic remains an elementary concept in Hegel’s philosophy. Both as a theoretical tool – as that which indicates two binary opposites ultimately resolved through a synthesis – as well as the motor of history, how Hegel would come to use it in his Philosophy of History. The dialectic follows a threefold pattern: that of abstraction, dialectic and the speculative. Also sometimes referred to as thesis-antithesis-synthesis, or the ‘identity of identity and non-identity’ (Stone, 2014, p.1122). The first stage of dialectics is that of abstraction, which tells us that the categories we use in our thinking and in the objective world necessarily imply an abstraction from whatever created it. Hegel uses the concept of being as such an abstraction − everything that is must be. Dialectics arise when these abstract concepts become unstable (as is for instance the case in revolutions) and turn into opposites, being turns into nothingness, so that everything on which we have structured our entities is based on nothing. This is the first dialectical move, the negation of the concepts. Following, the second move is that of negating the negation, i.e. turning nothingness back into being. Hegel infers from this that the two intermediate stages make being and nothingness distinct and interdependent. These two dia76
lectical stages make up for a new overarching structure; the process of becoming. This is the last stage of the traditional dialectic, the speculative, where a new concept is formed that reconciles − Hegel would prefer “synthesizes” − the conflict between the earlier opposites (Stone, 2014, p.1123). Therefore, the becoming is determined by the unity of oppositions of the preceding dialectical movement (Stone, 2014, p.1124). According to Hegel, the state is the actualization of an immanent rationality, and therefore the synthesis of a dialectical process. As such there exist a reciprocal relationship between that which is actual and that which is perceived as rational. Rights and laws are, then, historically situated concepts reflecting an actual state of consciousness and certain type of reason (Sedgwick 2007, p.183-184). This is what Hegel described as the Geist (Spirit). The Geist is an immanent logic and “is the self-sufficient standard generated by a community that is engaged in the process of creating, sustaining, challenging, and transforming its norms and judgments over time.” (Farneth, 2015, p.185). Hegel had shown this in his Philosophy of History, in which he traced the various manifestations of rationality in actuality. For example, the Greek Polis had provided great public freedom, but no civic rights, which the Roman Republic would later establish (Little, 2017, para.2.3). It is important to stress the fact that no blueprint of the rational state as it ‘ought to be’ can exist. Neither the philosopher nor the state can transcend its time (Tunick, 1998, p.516). The weight of Hegel’s famous statement is precisely situated in the latter; what is actual is rational. Hegel maintains that the state itself is always rational, for what is, is reason (Little, 2017, para.2.3). Yet, this unity conceptualized in the state between actuality and reason is temporal. The ‘Geist’ is the dialectical motor of history, and will only end in the Absolute in which reason and actuality are one and the same (Day, 1989, p.915). This positive account of dialectics, in the sense that history always moves towards the Absolute, is crucial to Hegel’s state. Namely, in that the state in each phase of the dialectical progression institutionalizes concrete freedom (freedom in the positive sense obtained through the universality of the state’s organic whole) embedded in an organic unity (Geist) that is not yet wholly actualized – it is not yet absolute. The rational and the actual HEGEL AND THE MODERN STATE
are reciprocally determining the process of History and the conditions of the rational state in each of its individual phases (Sedgwick, 2010, p.185). It is therefore no wonder that Hegel claimed that the state is the perfect object of historical analysis. In terms of the modern state, which according to Hegel can be traced to early 19th century Prussia, a dialectical synthesis arose of three distinct moments. The first moment, and as such the cornerstone of every society, is the family. Hegel writes: “The family, as the immediate substantiality of spirit, has as its determination of the spirit’s feeling of its own unity, which is love […].Thus, the disposition is to have self-consciousness of one’s individuality within this unity” (Hegel, 1991, p.199). Through the natural, immanent, love between man and woman, the subject constructs a self-consciousness that surpasses his self-interest. In fact, the family is an immediate ethical relation, for it implies the consciousness of this union as a substantial end in itself (Hegel, 1991, p.202). The family, accordingly, is the root of the ethical life, as the construction of self-conscious individuals and the division of labor (man and woman) develops into the self-conscious civil society (Landes, 1981, p.27). In the family a subject is raised to be a self-sufficient particularity. After the death of a parent, or when the children come of age and are recognized as legal persons, the ethical dissolution of the unity of the family into a plurality of families according to the principle of particularity is inevitable (Hegel, 1991, p.219). According to this logic “The expansion of the family, as its transition to another principle, is […] a coming together of scattered family communities under the influence of a dominant power or in a voluntary union prompted by interdependent needs and their reciprocal satisfaction.” (Hegel, 1991, p.219). This new voluntary union, through the stage of difference, marks the second moment of the modern state; civil society. Hegel denotes civil society as the sphere of social and economic life that functions according to a logic “of ‘subjectivity’ and ‘individual freedom’ in which the individual acts as an independent agent, responsible for his own beliefs and pursuing his own interests, particularly in the economic sphere of the competitive market” (Sayer, 2007, p. 89). The principle of individual freedom and subjective 78
autonomy are, perhaps for the first time in history, cheered upon. In fact, Hegel, echoing the ‘Invisible Hand’ by Adam Smith, himself does so too: “Subjective selfishness turns into a contribution towards the satisfaction of the needs of everyone else. By a dialectical movement, the particular is mediated by the universal so that each individual, in earning, producing and enjoying on his own account, thereby earns and produces for the enjoyment of others “(Hegel, 1991, p. 233). In addition to the first principle of particularity, a second principle of mediation, although misapprehended by civil society, is presupposed. Hegel argued that the subject can only forward its self-interested ends on the market through others. Particularity, limited by universality, promotes welfare (Hegel, 1991, p.221). The third moment of the modern state is in fact the state itself. Hegel writes: “The state is the actuality of the ethical idea – the ethical spirit as substantial will, manifest and clear to itself, which thinks and knows itself and implement what it knows in so far as it knows it. “(Hegel, 1991, p.275). It becomes clear that Hegel is referring to the Geist here − the state as immanently present − which becomes conscious of itself and actualized in a concrete universal ethical whole. As such, Hegel stresses that we must trace the Idea, which is the actualization of the Geist, however transitory, in the organism of the state. The ‘Idea’ – as that which indicates the unity of abstract rights and welfare in the state − is the defining concept of concrete freedom (Lee, 2017, p.207). Subjects are bearers of rights that according to the principle of abstract rights cannot be violated, whilst welfare describes that a subjects’ particular ends need to be satisfied to be deemed free. The citizen of such a state, who at the same time is a member of a commonality, i.e. the family, and an individual with his own needs and desire, i.e. civil society, develops what Hegel calls ‘self-consciousness’ (Church, 2012, p.1022). The state actualizes the self-consciousness, or Sittlichkeit (ethical order), that is already immanent to the subject. By doing so, the subject, in the family and civil society, is self-determined to appeal to this universal since they “discover their essential self-consciousness in [economic-social] institutions as that universal aspect of their particular interests which has being in itself, and by obtaining through these institutions an occupation and activity are directed towards an universal end within HEGEL AND THE MODERN STATE
a corporation” (Church, 2012, p.1036). Hegel states that the modern state achieves its strength only by allowing the fulfilment of personal self-sufficient particularity, in both the family and civil society, while also bringing it back to a universal unity (Hegel, 1991, p.282). It follows that in relation to duties and right, the duties imposed upon the subject, by measure of universality, are in an immediate sense also his rights (Hegel, 1991, p.285). What matters most is that the subject’s particular ends should become identical with the universal, as such: “The will which wills itself is the basis of all right and all obligation, and hence of all laws of right, prescribed duties, and imposed obligations” (Hegel, 1991, p.287; Church, 2012, p.1022). Unlike Rousseau, who held that the will should be general, Hegel, forwards the will in and for itself as universally rational (Hegel, 1991, p.277). The Hegelian modern state is thus the dialectical synthesis in actuality between the family (universality) and civil society (particularity), becoming a self-mediated concept of concrete freedom (Day, 1989, p.910). The universality of the will is what is actualized through the organism of the state. It is the modern state that I have just described which, some might argue, Hegel thought to have reached the Absolute. An alternative narrative of progress Having identified the driving force behind the dialectical development of the state throughout history, there must exist the possibility of negation. Essential to Hegel’s metaphysics is that this negation itself is purely rational. What this implies, precisely, is that which I stressed in my preceding discussion on the dialectic: the Idea that guides the modern state, the concept of the good as a unity between reason and the actual, is temporal. The Geist, however, is continuous. In this sense the subject is a reasonable object guided by the Geist, through which the self-consciousness of the modern subject guarantees the constant changing Idea of the state as a rational entity (McCarney, 1999, p.135). Both the family and civil society are the building blocks of the modern state that represent particular interest. If the rational Geist of these subjects advances, a negation of the current state exists, since it can no longer serve as the concrete unity (McCarney, 1999, p.135). “The owl of Minerva begins its flight only with the onset of dusk” (Hegel, 1991, p.23). 80
From here it is not a far stretch to imagine the critique Hegel would have had on political thinkers like Kelsen and Rawls. These thinkers tend to apply a non-metaphysical Kantian framework to legitimize their claims. Following Hegel’s critique on Kant, it necessarily follows that what Kelsen, with his legal positivism, and Rawls, with his principles of justice, seem to propose is an already existing original set of rights and principles external to the actual (Sedgwick, 2010, p.184). By use of the Kantian metaphysics, these liberal theorists claim to have deduced, in a non-metaphysical manner, a universal set of values to govern the state (i.e. the law). Hegel objects to this notion on two fundamental points. First, as I have stressed earlier, a conception of rights, laws, and freedom only come to be through the actualization of the state, which in its turn depends on the actual (Sedgwick, 2010, p.184). The liberal theorist thus falls into the Kantian trap of placing rights and principles externally from the actual. A second objection, which is perhaps even more important, is that the actual in its turn is a historical product of the Geist. Universality in Hegel is expressed through the state’s contingent configurations of the Idea, which is itself a particularity in history. The principle of justice that Rawls aims to decipher, therefore, is itself a product of given actuality. As such, the state is the temporal embodied universal unity of the actual and the Geist. It remains central to state that the reciprocal, dialectical, relation between the actual and reason produces, immanently, the universal, which therefore can express itself differently throughout history. So that when the Spirit advances, or the organic unity dissolves, a new dialectical synthesis will arise; a new rational state will emerge. Indeed, Hegel states that “This organism is the development of the Idea in its differences and their objective actuality […] through which the universal continually produces itself ” (Hegel, 1991, p.290). At this moment, it might be useful to discuss the Schmittian view on decisionism that puts the Hegelian organic state in question. The problem that Schmitt points out is the Hegelian appeal to the synthesis revealing itself as the state. According to Hegel, this ‘higher third’ (aufhebung) reveals itself rationally as the, institutionalized, product of a self-conscious dialectical synthesis between the universal and the particular. Yet, the subject, according to the dialectic principle HEGEL AND THE MODERN STATE
of abstraction, can feel alienated towards his own institutions (Norris, 2007, pp.140-141). This alienation is the basis of the state’s negation, the start of an anew. However, Schmitt argues that such an alienation will necessarily imply a form of decision, contesting the very notion of the Geist in Hegel’s metaphysics (Ball & Vollgraff, 2013, p.74). What this implies is not per se that the state itself is irrational, but that the course it takes is not that of an evolving rationality guided by the Geist (Ball & Vollgraff, 2013, pp.76). It is therefore a critique on the organic state as such. Schmitt’s metaphysical reversal is not on that of the level of freedom per se. Both Hegel and Schmitt see freedom as the ultimate goal in their political thinking, yet, their conceptions of historical progress differs. Schmitt, namely, places his ‘metaphysics’ in men, not in mind (Geist) (Ball & Vollgraff, 2013, p.76). Reason, according to Schmitt, is not actualized through the actualization of the Geist into constant new dialectical identities, but rather through the state’s actual will formation through the pouvoir constituant (constituting power) (Ball & Vollgraff, p.76). Reality as such is then grounded in decision and the active dialectical creation of a ‘we’. What Schmitt seems to imply is that a negation and thus the historical process of the rational state always needs an active negation of thought. That is to say, we need to abstract ourselves from certain universal principles in order for a new realization of the state to be constructed. Schmitt’s dialectic is that of assertion-abstraction and realization, where the realization is a decision by the ‘pouvoir constituant’ (Norris, 2007, p.154). Schmitt must then not be seen as a radical departure from Hegel’s organic state, but rather as practically enforcing his system of an organic unity where what is rational is actual through decision. One of the most important political thinkers of the 20th century, who pleasantly surprisingly happens to be a woman, Hannah Arendt, strongly supports this critique. Arendt most prominently criticizes the Hegelian concept of Freedom, whereby he sought to retrieve freedom as a rational historical necessity. Furthermore, Arendt is critical of the fact that the historical progression of freedom should somehow reconcile with the actual in the Absolute (Villa, 2007, p. 7). What makes humanity as opposed to nature is precisely its capacity for freedom, not as a (natural) historical necessity, but as 82
it is created through a durable set of laws, institutions and cultures (Villa, 2007, p.7). Arendt’s concept of ‘action’ – which in this instance is not dissimilar from Schmitt’s ‘decisionism’ – is vital in this regard. It is through action that we ourselves constitute a representation of reality by claiming a position in the world; and only as such, do we appear as humans (Breier, 2005, pp.19-22). Arendt upholds an Aristotelean stance when it comes to humanity. Accepting that the world is a human creation implies that one accepts oneself as being a political animal (Breier, 2005, p.23). Freedom can thus only be obtained through the expression of oneself as a political animal, exemplifying action. In contrast, freedom, according to Hegel is constitutive, rather than Arendt’s constituting. The ‘pouvoir constituant’, or in other words the ‘we’ that is essential to the politics of both Schmitt and Arendt, implies a certain historical precedent. Considering this, a Schmittean read of Hegel would almost certainly ring communitarian overtones. The dialectical progression of the state is not cosmopolitan, as the unity of the actual and rational is always individualistic and contextual. The state, formulated as such, must therefore correspond to a certain history, a certain historical precedent that is particular to that community, and serves as the construction of the other, the enemy (Burns, 2014, pp.330-331). This also makes sense for Hegel, since its highest good, concrete freedom, is necessarily a reciprocal determinate of what is actual. Both are also the products of the historical development of that community. The ‘Geist’ once fully realized establishes the actualized state where the abstract interest of its community is met through concrete institutions (Mullender, 2013, p.10). One of the main challenges faced by Hegel’s organic state is how to construct a singular political community rationally represented by the state, that unifies the particular with the universal (Tsao, 2004, p.108). Or to put it differently, how can Hegel’s organic state with its actualization of concrete freedom account for dissent, poverty, racialism and exploitation? Since “Whatever is to achieve recognition today no longer achieves it by force, and only to a small extent through habit and custom, but mainly through insight and reason” (Tunick, 1998, p.519), the possibility of dissent seems minimal. According to Hegel, the institutions themselves are already rational, HEGEL AND THE MODERN STATE
thus, it is only in adhering to the state’s laws and institutions that man is free in the positive sense (Tunick, 1998, p.521). Acting according to the state’s laws is rational, for the state itself must be rational. To this end Hegel must justify the existence of, for instance, poverty. The rational state, in its historical dialectical movement necessarily creates internal contradictions: to “become” it must negate what it is not. The progress to Absolute freedom, then, necessarily externalizes others (Whitt, 2013, pp. 268-270). Poverty is essentially unresolved because it allows the state to actualize its sovereignty and externalize other nation states, through colonization, constructing a ‘we’ as a rational organic unity (Whitt, 2013, p.272). Hegel states in one of his lectures on the Philosophy of History: “Freedom is not envious: it allows its various aspect to assume different forms, while the unity remains strong enough to preserve the unity between itself and its particular determinations” (Hegel, 2002, p.115) However, the necessary existence of poverty allows for only a ‘partial’ actualization of the organic unity, since welfare is not universal. But did Hegel not argue for the Absolute? Right from the publication of the Phenomenology of Spirit, the ‘End of History’ thesis, which Hegel more or less announced after the battle of Jena, sparked controversy. “History’s progressive movement − to realizing that all are free and to building a social world on that principle − is not linear but more spiral-like, complete with catastrophes and moments of (seemingly total) regression or loss” (Villa, 2007, p.9). Therefore, Hegel’s idea that the movement of history is a linear line to the Absolute seems merely hypothetical. Adorno drives this point home. In his ferocious critique of the Enlightenment, Adorno seeks to reassert the primacy of the object over the subject, in his attempt to rid philosophy of its positive inquiry in favor of negativity – critique (Villa, 2007, p. 18). Following Nietzsche, Adorno states that reason equals power (Villa, 2007, p.22). He holds that the Enlightenment reflects the positivist quest to dominate nature through social “mythical fear radicalized” (Villa, 2007, p.18). Reason as such turns instrumental, contradicting in itself the enlightened spirit: “myth is already enlightenment; and enlightenment reverts to mythology” (Held, 1980, p.151). Critical theorists equate this nihilist impulse of the enlightenment to positive philosophy. Identity in the form of systems, whether 84
in the form of Kant’s categorical imperative or the Hegelian state, is imperative to such a philosophy. The logic of identity serves as the oppression of otherness (Villa, 2007, p.18). In reawakening philosophy and practical reason, Adorno, juxtaposes identity with non-identity and the positive with the negative. Adorno, arguing against Kant, redirects the primacy of intelligible knowledge from the subject to the object. It is this which forms the basis of the non-identical: “Genuine experience is made possible by that which exceeds the grasp of thought and sensibility” (Zuidervaart, 2015, para.5). The Hegelian Absolute – which is the dialectical mediation of identity and identity – is contested: “Adorno maintains that the Absolute can only be presented negatively and –insofar as the form of system creates the illusion of a finite presentation of the Absolute – anti-systematical” (Stewart, 2006, p.49). It is this anti-systematical, which is non-identity, that continuously refuses identity, that escapes the dialectic. Negativity as such preserves the difference of being and becoming that positivism seek to subsume under identity (Zuidervaart, 2015, para.5). The classical dialectic is reversed from ‘identity of identity and non-identity’, or becoming, to Adorno’s ‘non-identity of identity and non-identity’, or difference (Sherman, 2016, p.355). Although Adorno does not deny the existence of Universals as such – the non-identity is always Universal − he contests Hegelianism on the basis of its presupposition of the transcendental subject (as guided by the Geist). Adorno, much like Schmitt, puts an emphasis on the active empirical subject and the history that preceded it (Sherman, 2016, p.360). For Adorno, progress is never linear, the dialectic always leaks and our understanding of reality – as exemplified by the opposition between non-identity and identity – is always infected by subjective conditions (identity). The mediation between reason and actuality – which Adorno would deem the object − that Hegel’s system sought in the Absolute is sublimated by a new style of thought, one that decisively opposes instrumentality, identity and structure. On Hegel’s metaphysical project Adorno remarks: “Having broken its pledge to be as one with reality or at the point of realization, philosophy is obliged to ruthlessly criticize itself ” (Sherman, 2016, p.356)
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Conclusion Hegel’s idea of the state – as a dialectical synthesis resulting in an organic unity of reason and the actual necessary in the construction of concrete freedom – is a remarkable view on politics. In fact, one could argue that Hegel disregards the element of the political all together, in that the progress of the state is made through a constant reconfiguring rational unity of the Idea towards its end point, the actualization of the Absolute. Hegel himself, some have argued, thought he witnessed the progression towards the Absolute after the battle of Jena in 1806. However, Hannah Arendt discussed in her book The Origins of Totalitarianism that the organic states of 20th century were far from having achieved this goal. The disastrous regimes of Hitler, Stalin and Mao, despite their supposed unity, are proof of that fact (Tsao, 2004, p.107). The organic unity that these states achieved was not one of law, as Hegel´s conceptualization required, but of the nation, in which the particular interest of civil society had not been overcome (Tsao, 2004, p.112). Should we, then, expect a rational organic state to emerge in the 21st century? Are Germany, Finland and Canada Hegel’s modern state? I would highly contest this notion. First, I contest the notion that history is a movement of progress. Adorno’s negative dialectics indicates that the dialectic itself can be contingent, progress is not linear. What becomes crucial is that the transcendent becomes negative too, indicating the importance of a critical reflection of the social order as is. Adorno’s conceptualization of negative transcendence is an acceptance of the limits of our rationality, with the purpose to understand and improve our world, not to transcend to another or belief in the progress of an Absolute (Sachs, 2011, p.284). Furthermore, Carl Schmitt and Hannah Arendt have indicated that negation requires the element of decision. The state, if it is to actualize freedom and progress through history, needs to be legitimized by a pouvoir constituant, a political subject who actively shapes the world. When the dialectical process of history is not necessarily rational, if the dialectic leaks, the only way to construct an organic state between reason and the actual is through the hands of the people, the construction of a ‘we’.
In our modern day the organic state does not exist. The demands of a plural civil society, the conditions of postmodernity and global issues like the climate crisis make the idea of a truly organic state sound obscure. Yet, the relevance of Hegelâ€™s work cannot simply be dismissed. What Arendt, Smith and Adorno fundamentally have in common is their collective critical stance towards the work of Hegel that, to this day, forwards concepts as state, the political and difference. In the spirit of negative thinking, Hegelâ€™s works will always remain a source of great inspiration, or should we say, critique.
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REFERENCES: Ball, H., & Vollgraff, M. (2013). Carl Schmitt’s Political Theology. The MIT Press, 146, 65-92. Retrieved from https:// www-jstor-org.eur.idm.oclc.org/stable/ pdf/24586629.pdf?refreqid=search:24d2946cd68d7d208bab0fdd820e5b4b. Breier, K.-H. (2005). Arendt. (H. Daalder, Trans.) (3rd ed.). Rotterdam: Lemniscaat. Brinkmann, K. (2011). Idealism Without Limits: Hegel and the Problem of Objectivity. Philosophical Studies in Contemporary Culture, 18, 1-283. Retrieved from https:// link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/97890-481-3622-3.pdf. Burns, T. (2014). Hegel and global politics: Communitarianism or cosmopolitanism? Journal of International Political Theory, 10(3), 325–344. doi: org/10.1177/1755088214539409 Church, J. (2012). G.W.F. Hegel on Self-Determination and Democratic Theory. American Journal of Political Science, 56(4), 1021-1039. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary-wiley-com.eur.idm.oclc.org/doi/epdf/10.1111/j.1540-5907.2012.00609.x. Day, B. R. (1989) Hegel, Marx, Lukács: The dialectic of freedom and necessity. History of European Ideas, 11, 907-934. Retrieved from https://ac-els-cdn-com.eur. idm.oclc.org/0191659989902799/1-s2.00191659989902799-main.pdf?_tid=4eb6de3f-808f-483c-b685-d4e1fc441a52&acdnat=1553163072_0c5cdec1affe5364888ee3a43531b235
Hegel, G. W. F. (2002). Lectures on the Philosophy of World History . (H. B. Nesbit, Trans.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Held, D. (1980). ‘The Critique of Instrumental Reason - Critical Theory and Philosophy of History. In Introduction to Critical Theory (pp. 148–174) Hogan, D. (2009). How to Know Unknowable Things in Themselves. Noûs, 43(1), 49-63. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40267328 Jackson, J. (2014). The Resolution of Poverty in Hegel’s “Actual” State. Polity, 46, 331-353. Retrieved from https://www-journals-uchicago-edu.eur.idm.oclc.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1057/pol.2014.15 Landes, J. (1981). Hegel’s Conception of the Family. Polity, 14(1), 5-28. doi:10.2307/3234493 Lee, S. (2017) Freedom, the state, and war: Hegel’s challenge to world peace. International politics, 54, 203-220. Retrieved from https://link-springer-com.eur.idm.oclc. org/content/pdf/10.1057%2Fs41311-0170026-z.pdf Little, D., (2017). Philosophy of History. In E. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from https://plato.stanford. edu/archives/sum2017/entries/history/ Lloyd, A. (1915). Kant and After Kant. The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods, 12(14), 373-381. doi:10.2307/2013670
Farneth, M. (2015). Hegel’s Sacramental Politics: Confession, Forgiveness, and Absolute McCarney, J. (1999). Hegel’s legqcy. Res PubliSpirit. The Journal of Religion, 95(2), 183ca, 5, 117-138. Retrieved from 197. doi:10.1086/679686 https://link-springer-com.eur.idm.oclc.org/ content/pdf/10.1023/A:1009697117206.pdf. Hegel, G.W.F (1991). Elements of the Philosophy of Rights. (Nisbett. H.B., Trans.). Mullender, R. (2003). Hegel, Human Rights, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. and Particularism. Journal of Law and
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Sprinzak, E. (1975). Marx’s Historical Conception of Ideology and Science. Politics & Society, 5(4), 395–416. https://doi. org/10.1177/003232927500500401 Stewart, M. (2006). Adorno’s Conception of the from of Philosophy. Diacritics, 36(1), 48-63. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/ stable/4621058 Stone, A. (2014). Adorno, Hegel, and Dialectic. British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 22(6), 1118-1141. doi:10.1080/09608788. 2014.952264 Stovall, P. (2007). Hegel’s realism: The implicit metaphysics of self-knowledge. The Review of Metaphysics, 61, 81-117. Retrieved from https://www-pdcnet-org.eur.idm.oclc.org/ collection/authorizedshow?id=revmet Tsao, T. R. (2004). Arendt and the Modern State: Variations on Hegel in The Origins of Totalitarianism. The Review of Politics, 66, 105 - 138. Retrieved from https://www-jstororg.eur.idm.oclc.org/stable/pdf/1408834.pdf
Tunick, M. (1998). Hegel on Justified Disobedience. Political Theory, 26 (4), 514-535. Retrieved from https://www-jstor-org.eur. idm.oclc.org/stable/pdf/192202.pdf?refreSedgwick, S. (2010). The State As Organism: qid=search%3Aef92e87905279b6bd1 The Metaphysical Basis of Hegel’s 7501a8f564576d Philosophy of Right. The Southern Journal of Philosophy. 39, 171 - 188. Retrieved from Tsao, T. R. (2004). Arendt and the Modern https://onlinelibrary-wiley-com.eur.idm. State: Variations on Hegel in The Origins oclc.org/doi/epdf/10.1111/j.2041-6962.2001. of Totalitarianism. The Review of Politics. 66. tb01850.x 105 - 138. Retrieved from https://www-jstororg.eur.idm.oclc.org/stable/pdf/1408834.pdf Sherman, D. (2016). Adorno’s negative dialectics. Philosophy Compass, 11(7), 353Villa, D. (2007). Genealogies of Total Domina363. Retrieved from https://onlinelition: Arendt, Adorno, and Auschwitz. New brary-wiley-com.eur.idm.oclc.org/doi/ German Critique, 100, 1-45. Retrieved from epdf/10.1111/phc3.12328. http://www.jstor.org/stable/27669186 Scruton, R. (2003). Kopstukken Filsofie: Kant. Amersfoort: Lemniscaat.
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Whitt, M. (2013). The Problem of Poverty and the Limits of Freedom in Hegel’s Theory of the Ethical State. Political Theory, 41(2), 257-284. Retrieved from http://www. jstor.org/stable/23484421 Wood, A. (2011). Hegel’s Political Philosophy. In S. Houlgate & M. Baur (eds.), A Companion to Hegel (pp.. 297-311). Wiley-Blackwell. Zuidervaart, L. (2015). Theodor W. Adorno. In E. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2015/ entries/adorno/&t
P. SPENGLER The Promise of Cosmopolitanism & the Potential for Resistance in the Global Network Society This article theorizes a link between network functioning and node behaviour. In contrast with the network theory of Manuel Castells, the analysis points toward the importance of understanding subjectivation-processes within nodes for a complete understanding of network behaviour. Networks rely on the possibility of including excluded nodes in the network to enhance their efficiency in competition with other networks, which requires a willingness on the side of the node to participate in the network. Networks thus need to actively construct this willingness through modes of subjectivation. By example of the global capitalist production system, a general model for subjectivation of both humans and non-humans is established. The article uses the concepts of alienation and entanglement to show how this process contains a double movement; a machinic element producing alienation and an element of new entanglement produced by indeterminate encounters in the machinic process. This movement takes place on all organizational levels of capitalist production. The article begins at the level of the supply chain, progresses to the level of inter-subject relationships and ultimately arrives at the level of affect. At the level of affect, the process takes on the form of what the article terms as the promise of cosmopolitanism, resulting in a decreased potential for resistance to the it.
Introduction: Why care for the nodes in networks? Information technologies have progressed past the critical threshold whereby horizontal forms of organization are more efficient than vertical hierarchies (Castells, 2013, p.23). Unconstrained by space and time, previously only loosely connected societies now find themselves merged into a global network society. The networks that make up the global network society follow a logic of exclusion (Castells, 2013, p.25). As networks are continuously in competition with each other, whereby they compete over the efficiency with which they can carry out their program, they face the necessity to continually adapt to changing circumstances. Because they operate on a binary logic of inclusion/exclusion of nodes, in order to maintain their dynamic character, networks can never be all-inclusive. Financial networks, business networks, military networks, media networks â€“ they all require some degrees of freedom for their program to function (Castells, 2013, p.26). Networks operate within a space of flows, and thus transcend geographical borders (Castells, 2010, p.459). Exclusion from a network, therefore, should not be visualized as a line on a map that THE PROMISE OF COSMOPOLITANISM
separates those within from those without1, but rather as a mesh that hovers above the space of places from which one “drops” in and out. This process of exclusion appears as a technical process that becomes insignificant as one increases the scale. Castells (2013) remarks, for instance, that “when nodes become unnecessary for the fulfilment of the networks’ goals, networks tend to reconfigure themselves, deleting some nodes, and adding new ones. Nodes only exist and function as components of networks. The network is the unit, not the node.” (p.10). I propose, however, that there is a mechanism on the level of the node that is vital to the functioning of the network, making the node – contrary to what Castells implies - anything but insignificant. The dropping in and out of networks requires, I suggest, a willingness on the side of the actor comprising the node to participate in the network. This introduces contingency in the operation of the network as the network comes to depend on the willingness of the excluded to participate in the network when they are needed. Networks are generally capable of dealing with contingency; if one option is not available, there are still many others from which to choose. I argue, however, that the contingency introduced by the necessity of the willingness to participate is an existential threat to the network because it is shared among all nodes in the network. As more actors comprising nodes come to refuse participation in the network, the network becomes less efficient, and ultimately becomes unable to compete with other networks. Networks thus need to reduce this particular contingency by actively creating the willingness to participate through an affective infrastructure. In this essay, I show how global capitalism in particular plays a vital role in the elicitation of the willingness to participate by means of what I call “the promise of cosmopolitanism”. I begin by explaining the link between the willingness to participate and capitalism by drawing on Foucault’s concept of modes of subjectivation in the context of the early years of neoliberalism. Thereafter, I derive a general This is not to imply that this visualization is always inaccurate. Networks form through interaction between social actors, and as they are thus historical products, they can mirror historical spatial divisions. An example here is the division between the “Global North” and “Global South”, which can be seen as the legacy of colonial Europe. 1
model by which capitalism produces its subjects that applies to both human and non-human actors. Finally, I show how the promise of cosmopolitanism is a mode of subjectivation under global capitalism aimed at eliciting the willingness to participate. I end on a hopeful note, showing how among the processes described throughout the essay, there continue to be avenues of potential resistance to the mechanism they engender. Modes of Subjectivation in the Context of Networked Capitalism What is the promise of cosmopolitanism? As all nodes, whether they are institutions, collectives, or individuals are in the last instance comprised of subjects, the willingness to participate must be considered in its relation to subjectification. That means that, if networks are to create the willingness to participate within a node, they must ultimately do so on a psychosocial level. Foucault has argued in his 1978 lectures series that the forms of capitalism that arose in the late 20th century are characterized by their production of modes of subjectivation, and thus go beyond purely economic systems â€“ they enter the aforementioned psychosocial realm (Read, 2009, p.26). If there is a relation between networks and modes of subjectivation, then, it follows that the functioning of contemporary networks is inextricable from the functioning of global capitalism. To understand the promise of cosmopolitanism, an understanding of the functioning of global capitalism is therefore necessary. The global capitalist system that has developed over the last fifty years has arguably been defined by neoliberalism, which must here be understood as a political rationality which has an active role in the production of certain kinds of subjects (Lemke, 2001, p.201). The politico-social sphere is submitted to an economic rationality, whereby the state, reduced in its function to the service of the market, creates the subject as an entrepreneur-of-the-self through governmentality-processes (Brown, 2005, p.42). Governmentality here refers to Foucaultâ€™s conception of government as a continuum whereby the individual becomes subject such that it comes to govern itself through technologies of the self (Lemke, 2001, p.201). The state can then govern by acting on the conditions of acting themselves instead of on the body of the subject. The entrepreneur-of-the-self is, however, only a particular verTHE PROMISE OF COSMOPOLITANISM
sion of the capitalist subject, arising under the determinate conditions described above. Can we imagine the capitalist subject without the state and in doing so arrive at a general form of the subject of capitalism2? As a revolutionary mode of production, capitalism has few constants. Two, however, are as Anna Tsing (2017, p.133) suggests, omnipresent: alienation and accumulation. Alienation is the process by which people, plants, animals, and things become removed from their life-worlds and form self-contained units. These self-contained units allow for scalability, the construction of infinite needs, and thereby the concentration of capital as power which allows further concentration – accumulation. Of these two constants, alienation is arguably the more useful for understanding the subject of capitalism, as accumulation is primarily the concern of the capitalist and thus of the few. Alienation, however, is common to both sides of the capital relation. It would be too simple to call the subject of capitalism any alienated subject, however. Rather, it is the process by which the subject of capitalism becomes alienated that matters here. To define this process, it is necessary to consider, for a moment, the opposite of alienation: entanglement. From Entanglement to Alienation: Human and Non-Human Becoming-Subject Starting from entanglement recognizes that nothing comes into the world as a self-contained unit. Rather, everything is by nature of its existence relational. Similar to when Judith Butler speaks of precariousness as a condition of social being (Puar et al., 2012, p.165), entanglement stresses the mutual dependency between lifeforms for their continued existence. It adds the component of the indeterminacy of encounter, which describes the process by which the entanglements of an assemblage are brought into being (Tsing, 2017, p.83). Instead of a fundamental harmony between lifeforms, the products of entanglements are semi-stable assemblages. Forces within assemblages are more often than not conflicting, yet in their indeterminacy, they also hold transformative potential. The moment of indeterminate/transReaders may notice the syntactical turn taken at the end of this sentence – it serves a distinct purpose. Speaking of the “subject of capitalism” instead of the “capitalist subject” allows us to transcend the anthropocentric connotations that come with the latter. Establishing the general form as that of the subject of capitalism instead allows for the inclusion of ecology, which will prove useful later. 2
formative encounter that takes place in the fold of an assemblage can be likened to what Deleuze calls an event – the “potential immanent within a particular confluence of forces” (Parr, 2010, p.89)3. The alienated subject of capitalism, contrarily, is characterised by predictability, which is a requirement for scalability. This is because the smooth expansion of a project requires its elements to be oblivious to the indeterminacy of encounter with difference (Tsing, 2017, p.38). Becoming subject to capitalism, then, entails a movement from entanglement to alienation, from the embedded to the self-contained unit. Surplus-value generated within assemblages can thereby be appropriated without having to deal with the messiness of indeterminate encounters in what Tsing (2017, p.63) terms “salvage accumulation”. The movement itself, however, requires acts of translation that negate entanglement and make inventory. While in practice, these can be as simple as the application of a barcode to a product, acts of translation gain more complexity when considered in relation to networks, whereby a single entity comes to function as representative of an entire network (Callon, 1986, p.25), as in the case of the various participants in multinational supply-chains. At this juncture, I would like to give my own example of such a translation process. Specifically, I will describe the becoming-subject of coniferous trees in the region around the city of Bratsk in Russian-Siberia. It will be necessary to start from a historical perspective: with Perestroika in the late 1980’s, as export restrictions on timber were gradually reduced, the Russian timber industry became increasingly export-oriented (Liang et al., 2016, p.515). At the same time, That assemblages bear some similarity to networks is no coincidence - both are ways of describing associations. Nonetheless, they differ in many ways. Two examples will illustrate this comparison: A similarity between networks and assemblages is their definition by their program (Castells, 2013, p.20), or in the case of assemblages, by their productive character (Parr, 2010, p.18). Yet while networks, once established, maintain themselves though the efficient pursuit of the execution of their program, assemblages are always at once stabilized and carried away by the movement towards territorialization/deterritorialization. The second example I would like to give here concerns the analysis of the two. Assemblages can only be understood in their relation to the body and the incorporeal transformation of the body (Parr, 2010, p.18), whereby nodes in networks are ‘black boxes’, constituting the smallest components of the units of analysis (Castells, 2013, p.20). In relation to entanglement then, the analysis of assemblages assumes entanglement, whereas network-analysis does not consider it beyond possible switching functions of a node. 3
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China began to adopt open-trade policies, leading to a greater integration of the centrally governed Eastern Russian and Chinese economies (Narins, 2015, p.687). However, a supply-chain relation between the two countries only truly came into being with the introduction of China’s 1998 logging ban, which prevented logging activity in natural forests along the Yangtze river (Tsing, 2017, p.189) – appropriating surplus-value from forest assemblages had all of a sudden become much more difficult in China. Why supply chains? Supply-chains are the reaction of global capital to national environmental or labour protections. They allow different forms of capitalism to co-exist and are thus an important attribute of flexible accumulation (Tsing, 2017, p.70). Top firms, with their headquarters mostly in what we call “the West”, can, through multiple layers of sub-contracting, concern themselves entirely with the financing of their operation and do not need to worry about the conditions of production. When China banned the logging of its natural forests, international supply chains were created and logging operations were sub-contracted to Russian timber companies. Because Russia contains 50% of the world’s coniferous forests, the Russian state began to face increasing pressure from international environmental groups to prevent the decline of its natural forests, however. The timber harvest thus became a balancing act between satisfying the Chinese demand for timber and preserving ecological diversity. Logging was finally regulated and subjected to an export tax (Narins, 2015, p.694). When cornered, however, salvage capitalism reacts by spawning economic diversity. Apart from expected reactions such as an increase in illegal logging activity, coupled with smuggling activities along the Sino-Russian border (Vandergert & Newell, 2003, p.304), some small-scale logging operations discovered that the adoption of an elemental strategy could provide them with any amount of timber they wished to harvest: fire. The use of forest fires in forestry activities is no new thing – records show that Native Americans regularly set fire to the underbrush of the forests in the North-Western Cascades in the US to make picking berries off the ground easier (Tsing, 2017, p.196). What is new, however, is that fires became as much a method for harvesting timber in Siberia as for navigating relations to the 96
state. By deliberately setting low fires in the forests, root systems and dense outgrowths are burned away while the tree trunks themselves stay mostly intact. When the fires burn away, the remaining trees are only loosely held in place. The loggers then approach regional governments for permission to clear the area of the trees, since they pose a hazard of falling onto roads and people. Regional governments play along, seeing it a convenient way to surpass the restrictions imposed on their economic development by the government in Moscow (Narins, 2015, p.687). Anatoly Kotlobay conveniently states in her report for the WWF: “The customer will be issued a felling ticket for the performance of cleaning cuttings with the selective tapping of 100% wood on the site, even though most of the trees there may be quite healthy and only slightly damaged by fire. The logger, without paying a single kopeck to the state, gets for his disposal a considerable amount of first-rate wood.” (Kotlobay, 2002, p.8).
Fire, in this case, is the translation process by which entanglement is negated. Entanglement, in this case, exists in two senses: Materially, in the root networks that anchor the trees to the ground and the rest of the forest, and systematically, as it does between the trees, the loggers, the regional and the national government. By setting fire to the forest, then, the trees become the self-contained units that capitalism needs for the making of inventory – and who would stop the loggers after the fires have been set? Once their roots are burned away, the trees have no other use than to be sold as commodities. Before they can be sold to Chinese manufacturers, however, they must undergo one more translation process through which evidence of the entanglement of the trees with the fire is erased. For this purpose, the logs felled through the fire-method are brought to processing plants close to the Chinese border, where they are cleaned and cut into boards based on the Chinese customs officials’ expectations (Vandergert & Newell, 2003, p.305). In this second step, translation between capitalist forms thus takes place, erasing all evidence of practices that may be unacceptable to any party further along the supply-chain. What is exemplified here, then, is how an entangled subject becomes a subject of capitalism through the negation of its entanglement – but it also shows that this process affects both humans and non-human species, both ecology and social interactions. Can we therefore speak THE PROMISE OF COSMOPOLITANISM
of this process as a mode of subjectivation? Answering this question conclusively will require a return to human life-worlds and their practices of meaning-making. *** Characteristic of the network society is that it leads to a fragmentation of traditional societies (Castells, 2010, p.459). This fragmentation is the result of the relation between the global nature of the social structure and the local nature of experience; while the space of flows is the basis of the organization of power and function (Borja & Castells, 1997, p.42), the space of places is where human experience takes place (Castells, 2013, p.25). The fragmentation of societies occurs when the logic of exclusion/inclusion of networks is mapped onto the local/global divide. Participation in a network may then enable subsistence, but it does not provide meaningful connection. Although in rare cases, the entirety of a local community may participate in the same network, in which the space of flows then aligns with the space of places, the shifting nature of networks makes this arrangement ever more precarious (Borja & Castells, 1997, p.102). Next to the fragmentation of societies, I suggest that the exclusion/inclusion-local/global combination also produces a psychological fragmentation. Contrary to what the earlier example of coniferous trees may suggest, the movement of becoming-subject to capitalism is never complete, both in the temporal sense and in the sense of being all-encompassing. In the negation of entanglement, there is always something that escapes the making of inventory. That which escapes can lie in something as simple as the memory of past entanglement or it can consist of new entanglements that are formed through the first act of negation. The memory of past entanglement is captured well by Harney and Moten’s idea of bad debt: “We seek […] bad debt which is to say real debt, the debt that cannot be repaid, the debt at a distance, the debt without creditor, the black debt, the queer debt, the criminal debt. Excessive debt, incalculable debt, debt for no reason, debt broken from credit, debt as its own principle.” (Harney & Moten, 2013, p.61)
Bad debt, for Harney and Moten, is the mutual indebtedness of entanglement that escapes financialization. Contrary to debt tied to credit, it cannot be forgiven, only forgotten “to be remembered again” (Harney & Moten, 2013, p.63). The subject of capitalism thus always 98
finds itself between entanglement and alienation, going through the negation-machine over and over again yet always emerging from it incomplete. We truly do find ourselves in “peri-capitalist sites”, as Tsing (2017, p.63) has termed it, although we may do better to speak of a universal peri-capitalist mode of existence in the global network society – we are always at the periphery of capitalism without ever crossing entirely to one side. The Promise of Cosmopolitanism & the Question of Consent At this point, it is suitable to ask about the role of consent in the constitution of this peri-capitalist mode of existence. The ‘negation-machine’, as I previously called it, can hardly be compared to Ford’s Model T assembly line with its moulds, presses and welding rods. Having left the disciplinary society behind for the control society (Deleuze, 1992, p.4), today the subject itself takes care of all the work. Having thus arrived again at Foucault’s technologies of the self, it is time to return to the promise of cosmopolitanism. At one point of her book The Mushroom at the End of the World, Tsing (2017, p.99) recounts her own experience growing up as a Japanese-American in the post-war climate of the United States of America, and compares this to the experiences of East-Asian mushroom pickers who emigrated to the U.S. in the 1980s. While she remembers her family having to go through a process of coercive assimilation wherein “Americanness” was an ideal that had to be lived up to for fear of FBI surveillance, any assimilation at all was foreign to the East-Asian immigrants. Many having found themselves displaced by wars waged by foreign nations in their home countries, the immigrants had but to utter the code-word “freedom” (and show their hatred of communism) to the Americans to be granted citizenship (Tsing, 2017, p.104). Yet what “freedom” did these immigrants have to endorse? True, the cosmopolitanism the immigrants had been promised by the Americans had been granted – they could keep their traditions, their ways of speech, their cultural practices – but in exchange they were also expected to accept the “freedom of enterprise” of the neoliberal mode of regulation. Left to fend for themselves, thus, many of these immigrants found themselves impoverished in anonymous cities, without place, without direction – eventually turning to mushroom picking in the wilderness of the Oregon forests. WhereTHE PROMISE OF COSMOPOLITANISM
as the coercive assimilation of Japanese-Americans always left the inner potential for resistance, under the promise of cosmopolitanism, everything was left to the immigrants â€“ at the price of that very potential for resistance. Conclusion The promise of cosmopolitanism has become universal. Participation in the network society today implies complicity with supply chain capitalismâ€™s mode of subjectivation. But that is not to imply that resistance at all has become impossible. When the potential for resistance within the subject of capitalism, that self-contained unit made for salvaging, has been forfeited, another kind of potential for resistance must be found that goes beyond the subject. Such inter-subjective potential can be found, perhaps, in the thousands of unique entanglements that escape negation, in the pile of bad debt that has been forgotten, or in the interspecies condition of precarity that has become so common in this cosmopolitanism. It may be true that the need for alternatives has never been as great as it is today, but it is also true that there have never been as many alternatives from which to choose. The time has come to take our pick.
REFERENCES: Brown, W. (2005). Edgework: Critical essays Revised Edition. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh on knowledge and politics. Princeton: Prince- University Press. ton University Press, pp. vii-x, 37-50. Puar, J., Berlant, L., Butler, J., Cvejic, B., Lorey, Borja, J., & Castells, M. (1997). I. & Vujanovic, A. (2012). Precarity Talk: A Local & Global: Management of Cities in the Virtual Roundtable with Lauren Berlant, JuInformation Age. London, UK: Earthscan. dith Butler, Bojana Cvejić, Isabell Lorey, Jasbir Puar, and Ana Vujanović. TDR: The Drama Callon, M. (1986). The sociology of an Review 56(4), 163-177. actor-network. In M. Callon, J. Law, & A. Rip (Eds.), Mapping the Dynamics of Science and Read, J. (2009). A Genealogy of Homo-EcoTechnology (pp.19-34). London: Macmillan. nomicus: Neoliberalism and the Production of Subjectivity. Foucault Studies, 6, 25-36. Castells, M. (2010). The Rise of the Network Society. Cichester, UK: Blackwell Publishing. Tsing, A. L. (2017). The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Castells, M. (2013). Communication Power. Capitalist Ruins. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. University Press. Deleuze, G. (1992). Postscript on Societies of Control. October, 56, 3-7. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/778828
Vandergert, P., & Newell, J. (2003). Illegal logging in the Russian Far East and Siberia. International Forestry Review 5(3), 303-306.
Harney, S., & Moten, F. (2013). The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study. New York, NY: Minor Compositions. Kotlobay, A. A. (2002). Illegal Logging in the Southern Part of the Russian Far East: Problem Analysis and Proposed Solutions. WWF Russia. Lemke, T. (2001). ‘The birth of bio-politics’: Michel Foucault’s lecture at the Collège de France on neo-liberal governmentality. Economy and Society, 30(2), 190-207. Liang, S., Guo, S., Newell, J. P., Qu, S., Feng, Y., Chiu, A., & Xu, M. (2016). Global Drivers of Russian Timber Harvest. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 20(3), 515-525. doi:10.1111/jiec.12417 Narins, T. P. (2015). Dynamics of the Russia-China Forest Products Trade. Growth and Change, 46(4), 688-703. doi:10.1111/ grow.12108 Parr, A. (2010). The Deleuze Dictionary:
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R. MIKOVA Sex, Drugs and Dieting: Deviance in the Modeling Industry In this paper I explore the origins and the transmission of deviant patterns of behavior within the modeling community. Deviant norms practiced in this sub-culture are categorized in three groups: sexual behavior, dieting and substance abuse (alcohol and drugs). I apply strain theory developed by Merton and Cohen to analyze the emergence of the deviant norms within the context of socially prescribed goals and available means. The theory of differential association covers the second aspect of the research focusing on the spread of the norms among models and other actors forming the modeling industry. I conducted a semi-structured interview with a former model to provide insights into the dynamics within the industry, which lead to the formation of the deviant norms. The analysis revealed that that both theories can extensively explain the patterns of deviance. Innovation as a deviant adaptation within strain theory occurred when models could not attain desirable goals within their careers through the available means. Consequently, models resort to alternatives which directly or indirectly increase their chances of success. The theory of differential association showed how the specificities of the modeling environment (e.g. young age, living abroad, lack of oversight and partying as an inherent part of socialization) intensify the internalization of deviant norms. The understanding of the factors behind these deviant patterns of behavior should lead to the development of more effective means of addressing unhealthy and dangerous habits especially among young models.
Introduction Deviant subcultural behavior can take place in various societal groups, including professions such as modelling. Behavior that can be considered deviant within this community includes extreme dieting through unhealthy means along with appetite-suppressing substances (Mears, 2011, p.91), consumption of alcohol and drugs (Wheeler, 2016), and loose sexual behavior (Ridley, 2012), which can aggravate into the treatment of sex as a means of market exchange (Mears, 2011, p. 243). In general, the modeling industry externally projects ideals of perfection and deviance is not commonly associated with it. Such patterns are publicly repressed and must remain in the private sphere to not damage the glamorous image which fashion presents. From a subcultural point of view this dichotomy makes the patterns of deviance in the modeling community an interesting subject of study. This paper will analyze the formation of deviant social norms in the modelling community through strain theory and the theory of differential association. The deviant social norms will be classified into three patterns: dietary habits, sexuality and substance abuse. This 102
research strives to understand to what extent they are a product of a common condition of models and how they are embodied in norms reinforced through the community itself. A semi-structured interview (for Interview Guide see Appendix A; for interview transcript see Appendix B) was conducted with a female informant (further referred to as Eve), who has been part of the modeling community since the age of 14. Eveâ€™s position as a former model improves the construct validity of the study, since she was open and critical about the character of the industry. Selection was done through convenience sampling, which is a form of non-probability sampling resulting from the accessibility of the respondent. The modeling industry includes a variety of actors and stakeholders such as clients, photographers or modeling agency personnel who share common norms and values. Models as such constitute a subgroup within the community (see Figure 1). The emergence and transmission of norms needs to consider the behavior within the whole community due to the integration of their work in producing fashion (see Figure 2). Therefore, while the paper will focus on the patterns of deviant behavior in the modeling community, the norms and values later described will refer to those of the whole industry.
Figure 1 The modeling community is a subgroup in a bigger subculture of the modelling industry (see also Mears, 2011, p. 6).
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Figure 2 Production World behind the Look (Mears, 2011, p. 8)
Theoretical Elaboration Strain theory (ST), developed by Merton (1968, p.199), describes how an individualâ€™s unattainable culturally defined aspirations, through conformity to legitimate means, lead to deviant adaptations (Downes, Rock & McLaughlin, 2016, p. 98). Figure 3 depicts this by illustrating how rejection of culturally prescribed goals and/or available means leads to different types of deviant behavior. Most relevant in the further analysis will be innovation as deviant adaptation since models maintain success in the fashion industry as their goal, but reject conventional means of attaining it.
Figure 3 Mertonâ€™s typology of behavior (Downes, Rock & McLaughlin, 2016, p.98).
Cohen (1955) provides an extension to this theory through his analysis of status frustrations in delinquent subcultures. His research 104
focuses on how a disadvantaged position explains the emergence of deviant conduct (Terpstra, 2006; Downes, 2013, p.1). His theory, as described by Downes, Rock & McLaughlin (2016, p.126), looks at the functions and problem-solving character of deviant behavior in subcultures, showing how normative conflict of shared problems in subcultures, incompatible with the mainstream culture, is resolved by borrowing and adjusting elements from the mainstream culture. Mearsâ€™s (2011) study of the modeling industry suggests that models face unattainable goals, inducing deviant innovation within their subculture (Merton, 1968, p.230). She classifies modeling as a bad job with uncertain income on a contractual-basis, in an unstable and unpredictable market, where only a few top models succeed, while the majority struggle in an oversupplied highly competitive environment. To achieve success, they need to portray an unattainable abstract perfection, which leads models to make use of alternative, sometimes deviant measures. The theory of differential association (TDA) explains the cultural transmission of deviant behavior through learning from interaction with other people (Herman, 1995, p.67). The theory explains that due to frequency, duration, priority and intensity of social relations in the subculture, individuals develop alternative understandings of concepts from the mainstream culture (Downes, Rock & McLaughlin, 2016, p. 62). Regarding the transmission of social norms, Mears (2011) suggests that the excitement, thrill and obligation all create pressure on individual models to conform to the ideals demanded by the industry. This means that models who wish to succeed have high levels of willingness to learn the existing norms. The success in the industry is also strongly linked to knowing the right people, resulting in the importance of the socializing aspects of the career. The two theories can be analyzed together to explain the emergence and transmission of deviant behavior in the modeling subculture. Analysis of Deviant Behavior in the Modeling Subculture through ST and TDA The following analysis will address three observed patterns of deviance - dietary habits, sexuality, and substance abuse (drugs and alcohol) - in order to understand the underlying societal factors which induce and facilitate their presence and abundance. DEVIANCE IN MODELING COMMUNITY
Sexual Deviance The sexually deviant behavior present in the modeling community includes extensive normalization of sexuality and sexual practices. In practice this presents itself by promiscuity, polyamory, orgies and non-publicized treatment of sex as a means of transaction. Eve’s description of sexual deviance in modeling, relative to mainstream society, suggests that both theories can explain different sexually deviant behavior. ST can partially explain the common condition of models in a highly competitive market that leads to loose sexual behavior and the use of sex as a means of exchange. The value of bodily integrity of young models, typically around 13-14 years old, is diminished through the physical scrutiny of models in their daily castings where their identity is reduced to their body. This condition can be viewed both as a selection criterion, which in a highly competitive market only permits sexually liberal models to advance in their careers, and as an established attitude to which models are inclined to adapt. In an industry where models’ body and sexuality are treated as commodities and where an overt sexuality is appreciated, conservative attitudes tend to be rejected. This change in behavior to various extents functions as an innovation of means to achieve success in the fashion industry to better integrate into the community as a model. Nevertheless, ST does not fully explain why the overt sexual practices appear in the first place, particularly when it does not have a direct influence on the quality of the work in the fashion industry. The TDA can partially explain model’s internalization of loose sexual norms through the liberal environment and social pressure. Eve said she was initially shocked about the open attitude towards sex and its prevalence in the industry, including the abundance of orgies. Over time, the exposure and liberal attitude at a young age led her to normalize this behavior. She described the environment as a “very open social lifestyle where people go out a lot, and it is normal to have multiple partners and meet a lot of people.” Her words suggest that the sexual behavior among models becomes associated with the social outgoing modeling lifestyle, rather than the exclusively private domain common in the mainstream society. “In modeling sex is something very likable. People do not find it embarrassing to talk about or to engage in, it’s almost encouraged to be very open about it and to be 106
very active in it.” The presence of sexual transactions in the modeling industry can only be explained through the integration of mechanisms from both theories. Eve described it as “very common for either photographers or designers to ask for something more than you came for, in order to get better pictures, or more of them, get them for free or get a job instead of some other girl.” Such sexual transactions from the perspective of ST function as a form of innovative means to achieve success if the conventional methods of going to castings are not enough. Even when models reject similar offers, the exposure over long periods of time from a young age to an environment where sex is openly discussed, and sexual transactions are tolerated even in an overtly taboo form changes the perception of sex among models. “It is not really perceived as anything special or anything outrageous…because it has such a long history and these kind of transactions…if you do or if you know about someone doing it you do not really raise an eyebrow.” This suggests that the fashion industry plays a substantial role in socializing models into the sexually deviant subculture. Deviant Dietary Behavior Deviant dietary behavior among models includes excessive dieting, drug and tobacco intake to suppress appetite or anorexia. “There is a lot of pressure, so the girls really restrain themselves from eating. They constantly check their weight; they are nervous, tired, their bodies are completely shutting down because they are simply not eating and they’re substituting it with drugs.” Such behavioral patterns can be understood through the unattainable physical requirements models face. ST can explain this through innovative means models use to try to achieve desired bodily measurements. The culture of dieting is distinct with its focus on bodily mechanical functions that can be regulated as a market commodity. Eve described how agencies set measurement requirements for their models, which in the case of Eve was even included in her contract. Were she to gain weight she would “have to pay a huge fee.” This can create particular stress for girls who are naturally gaining weight when they are maturing. She also noted that she has never experienced someone being “skinny enough,” which confirms the unattainability of the desired physique. In general, the unhealthy deviant methods cannot be passed DEVIANCE IN MODELING COMMUNITY
on through the agency due to the legal restrictions in workspace. Instead, agencies provide models with desired measurements, without much complementary oversight or guidance on how to achieve them. Eve described that “the agency is literally just your employer … that’s where your relationship ends. They do not care about where you live, how much money you spend or what you eat …there is absolutely no control at all.” In contrast to the lack of supervision is the facts that “the agencies pressure you to look a certain way and to lose weight.” This treatment internalizes the notion that conforming to physical requirements is the necessary objective to succeed, regardless of the means. Additionally, it leaves empty space for models to seek out individually or within their community the most effective methods to lose weight regardless of the repercussions on their well-being. While Eve did not refer to transmission of dieting practices among models, it could be hypothesized that social ties among models constitute the basis for their dieting behavior. Alcohol and Drug Use Alcohol and drug use are common in the fashion industry. They constitute an aspect of the culture of partying which is widespread in this community: “I went to parties where I could see trays of drugs, people walking home with them and everybody was doing it”. Drugs also relate to the dieting habits as they suppress appetite and relive the anxiety models experience from hunger. Socialization at parties, full of young independent people aspiring for glamorous lifestyle, which often involve drugs, emerges as an innovative method to gather recognition. Eve described how networking and knowing the right people is essential for success. From her experience, the agency incentivized her to attend many events to “get her face out there.” ST thus provides and explanation for the culture of partying and drug intake in relation to dieting. It however does not fully clarify how substance abuse forms, since it only indirectly links to the success in the fashion industry through the need for socialization. It might not constitute a form of innovation to achieve success, but rather temporary rejection of both societal goals and available means to relieve the daily anxiety, leading to subcultural retreatism. This opens additional questions about whether models practice both deviant adaptations simultaneously or which one prevails. 108
TDA is better at explaining the spread of the deviant norms. Transmission of this behavior, according to Eve, through social interactions takes place mostly through party promoters, who bring models to clubs and typically ensure accessibility to drugs and alcohol. She noted that upon entering the community it is difficult to isolate yourself from drugs because they are so abundant. Eve did not regard herself being notably pressured into drug or alcohol consumption, but she acknowledged it can take place in some forms. Minor pressure can be exerted from the models themselves through picking on girls who are “so innocent.” Eve also noted there can be some pressure from photographers through their comments such as: “maybe if we take drugs, we can take better pictures, which wouldn’t be so stiff and unnatural because you do loosen up when you take drugs.” The influence of similar comments should not be downplayed in such a competitive industry. Overall the abundance of alcohol and drugs in the modeling environment normalizes them and creates new connotations for young models, as TDA describes. Due to the importance of socialization and open lifestyle TDA and ST can together explain the continuous transmission of these norms among new models. Conclusion ST and TDA successfully explain aspects of deviant behavior in the modeling community. ST shows how the treatment of sex as a commodity, extreme dieting and drug and alcohol consumption are forms of innovative deviant adaptations of the models to their unattainable aspirations to succeed in the highly competitive market. ST appears insufficient to explain why the deviant norms emerge in the first place in cases where they do not provide means to achieve success in the industry. The TDA is able to describe how social relations within the modeling subculture and industry induce a loose sexual attitude, drug and alcohol consumption and values about bodily integrity. Young age, the context of the profession and high competitiveness appear to amplify both the emergence and the transmission of the deviant norms. The subculture which young models become part of exerts substantial force in shaping their attitudes and behaviors. Consequently, the theories effectively interpret the patterns of deviance in the social context of the modeling subculture. In this paper I provided an overview of the dominant patterns of deviance in the modeling DEVIANCE IN MODELING COMMUNITY
community and explained how ST and TDA can explain their emergence and transmission. Further research can focus on exploring how the involvement of different actors facilitates individual patterns of deviance, and why norms such as substance abuse emerge within the scope of the ST. Insights from this paper, for example that the lack of oversight by the modeling agency leads to unhealthy dietary practices, can be used to develop strategies to safeguard well-being of young models.
REFERENCES: Cohen, A. K. (1955). Delinquent Boys. New York: Free Press. Downes, D. (2013). Delinquent Solution (Routledge Revivals): A Study in Subcultural Theory. Routledge Revivals- Taylor & Francis Group. Downes, D., Rock, P. E., & McLaughlin, E. (2016). Understanding deviance: a guide to the sociology of crime and rule-breaking (7th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Herman, N. J. (1995). Deviance: A symbolic interactionist approach. New York: General Hall. Mears, A. (2011). Pricing beauty: the making of a fashion model. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Merton, R. K. (1968). Social Theory and Social Structure. New York: The Free Press. Ridley, J. (2012, July 19). Dirty secrets of the supermodels. New York Post. Terpstra, J. (2006). Youth subculture and social exclusion. Young: Nordic Journal of Youth Research,14(2), 83-99. doi:10.1177/1103308806062734 Wheeler, A. (2016, November 17). A Look at Fashionâ€™ Long-Standing Love/Hate Relationship with Drugs. Fashionista.
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S. SAKALAS Demythifying cognitive stereotypes on gender: do women really outshine men at multitasking? Contemporary society demands frequent shifts between attentive tasks, also known as multitasking. Gender stereotypes imply that women outperform men when it comes to multitasking. Despite popular belief, a scientific consensus on gender differences in multitasking performances is still lacking. To help resolving the inconsistencies in current literature, this study examined the difference between men and women in multitask performance. A sample of 61 participants was assessed on its response time and error rate in a task-switching paradigm which requires selective and divided attention. We found no significant differential response time in selective attention and divided attention tasks between men and women. Furthermore, the differences in overall and incongruent error rates between genders were not significant. Thus, our findings contradict the gender stereotype that women are better in multitasking compared to men.
Introduction Being able to attend to one or more stimuli, while inhibiting surrounding ones, has been of essential importance in the cognitive development of primates (Räsänen, 2018). Attention is one of the core human cognitive functions that has enabled individuals to extract relevant information from the constant influx of stimuli around them. Moreover, daily life requires frequent shifts between attentive tasks, a phenomenon commonly associated with the term “multitasking”. Although this term was originally introduced by IBM to describe parallel processing capabilities in computers, it is now all too often used to describe one’s busy life schedule. In popular language, the word ‘multitasking’ refers to doing different tasks simultaneously, preferably as quickly as possible (Rosen, 2008). However, when approaching the term in scientific literature, the definition of multitasking may differ. As Stoet, O’Connor, Connor and Laws (2013) mention, the term multitasking can also be used to describe the ability to handle various task demands without the need to carry them out simultaneously. Hence, the term may be employed to describe the switching between multiple tasks, i.e. redirecting attention from one task to another (Buser & Peter, 2012). In the current ‘multitasking society’ that strives towards maximum efficiency, productivity and speed, multitasking is not only perceived as a desirable skill, but it has become essential to excel in one’s stu112
dent life or professional career (Salvucci & Taatgen, 2010). Given the growing necessity to multitask in our everyday life, not only should the underlying processes of multitasking be further explored, but also the individual differences in multitasking. Selective and Divided Attention As mentioned, multitasking can be distinguished in two different types. The first one is the ability to deal with multiple demands consecutively, without the need to carry them out simultaneously (Stoet et al., 2013). This we refer to as ‘selective attention’, which involves successful inhibition of stimuli that are irrelevant for the task (Räsänen, 2018). The second type of multitasking is used when two types of demand must be processed simultaneously, also known as ‘divided attention’ (Stoet et al., 2013). Attending to two tasks at a time usually dampens performance in reaction times and error rates, compared to performing only a single task (Szameitat, Schubert, Mu, & Cramon, 2002). A large body of scientific studies suggests that our ability to simultaneously perform cognitive operations is very limited due to the interference with executive control when attending to more than one stimulus (Pashler, 1994; Szameitat et al., 2000). This slow-down effect of response time in divided attention tasks compared to the selective attention tasks is also known as ‘dual task interference’ (Saxena, Cinar, Majnemer, & Gagnon, 2017). Gender and Multitasking One of the most prominent individual factors that has been suggested to play a role in attention and multitasking is gender. Reports in public media and surveys of the general public suggest the existence of a widespread gender stereotype for multitasking (Buser & Peter, 2012). Public belief that women are better at switching between different tasks is consistent across different global regions, including US, UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Turkey and others (Szameitat, Hamaida, Tulley, Saylik & Otermans, 2015). The rationale behind this perspective is that it has long been the woman’s role to manage a household, family and a job, all at the same time (Szameitat et al., 2015). This general opinion is in alignment with the Hunter-gatherer evolutionary hypothesis, according to which men are believed to have developed more advanced spatial abilities by hunting, while women showcase enhanced verbal cognition and multitasking capabilities since GENDER AND MULTITASKING
they had to look after offspring while gathering food (Ren, Zhou, & Fu, 2009). There is a firm scientific indication that women engage more in multitasking in daily life (Buser & Peter, 2012). However, the literature regarding whether women actually outperform men in multitasking ability has been mixed. Discrepancy in the literature is dependent on the experimental definition of multitasking and nature of the paradigms employed in these studies. To illustrate, the study by Jing, Jing, Huajian, Chuangang and Yan (2012) indicates that women indeed have superior multitasking abilities than men. This finding is based solely on one type of multitasking paradigm: participants had to perform a task while being subjected to background music, thereby examining their selective attention. Hence, the conclusions of Jing et al. (2012) hold for the paradigm of selective attention. Meanwhile, Stoet et al. (2013) used both selective and divided attention as multitasking paradigms. The authors reported that although men and women perform equally well when engaged in the selective attention tasks, women are less distracted while performing divided attention tasks compared to men. In other research, some experimental paradigms on multitasking even showed that men outperform women (MĂ¤ntylĂ¤, 2013). Contradictory to the aforementioned studies, many other experiments found no differences, regardless of the type of attention employed, arguing that gender is a poor predictor of multitasking (Buser & Peter, 2012; Sanbonmatsu, Strayer, Medeiros-Ward and Watson, 2013). The majority of the studies use response time as an indication of individual multitasking abilities. More recently, accuracy and the error rates have also been examined (Salvucci & Taatgen, 2010). Therefore, it is important to consider how multitasking performance is measured, i.e. which parameters are used to quantify the ability to multitask. For instance, one gender might multitask faster but with less accuracy compared to the other gender. Using different multitasking parameters across the research studies makes it hard to make general statements about the gender difference in multitasking and might lead to flawed conclusions. It is also important to recognize which aspect of attention is required in such tasks. Particular type of attention might be more advanced in one gender, but this is insufficient to apply these findings 114
to the broad cognitive phenomenon of attention. Regarding aspects of attention, Stoet (2017) reported that women were more easily distracted by task-irrelevant spatial information in multitasking paradigms (spatial attention). In line with the Hunter-gatherer evolutionary hypothesis, Stoetâ€™s (2017) findings indicate that men can process and act upon spatial stimuli faster. In contrast, in studies where participants needed to attend to and recognize one particular feature of an object while ignoring another feature, women were less affected by task-irrelevant information compared to men (feature-centred attention) (Stoet, 2017). In these studies, both men and women responded faster and make fewer errors when the stimulus is congruent. In a congruent stimulus task, both the attended feature and inhibited features required the same response. Hence, attending to the wrong feature would not be classified as an error (RĂ¤sĂ¤nen, 2018). Research Questions and Hypotheses In order to resolve the inconsistencies observed in the literature, this study will look at gender differences in task performance requiring selective and divided attention. In this research, performance is measured by the response time and error rate. Our research seeks to answer the question: Is there a difference in response time and error rates between men and women when they perform a task requiring selective and divided attention? Based on the cited literature, we expect that the overall performance in the divided attention task will be worse in comparison with the task that requires selective attention. Thus, we hypothesise that the participants will take less time to complete the task and make fewer errors when they are not required to focus on two dimensions simultaneously. Considering the gender differences in multitasking, we expect the following based on the previous research: 1. Men and women will not have a different response time in the selective attention task; 2. Women will have a shorter response time than men in the divided attention tasks; 3. Women will make fewer errors than men in both tasks, and this effect will be even more evident when presented with incongruent stimuli. GENDER AND MULTITASKING
For our study, we use a very similar experimental paradigm as the one employed in the first experiment of the study by Stoet et al. (2013). Hence, our study is a partial replication of their study. However, our participants are university students in the Netherlands. Hence, our participants are recruited from a different population (in terms of education, age and the geographical location) than those in the study from Stoet et al. (2013), in which participants were recruited via online advertisements and flyers in the UK. Whereas our study focuses on response time, error rates and the congruency effect across gender, the original study (Stoet at al. 2013) looked at different variables relevant for multitasking. Experimental Paradigm of Multitasking To study selective and divided attention in multitasking, we used a computer-based task-switching paradigm, where we compared performance on one pure task (responding consistently to either the shape or filling of the object presented on the screen, requiring selective attention) with performance when two tasks are mixed (responding alternatively to shape or filling task, requiring divided attention). The cue for whether the participant should complete the filling or shape task depends on the location of stimulus within the box (upper for shape or lower for filling) and the stimulus (the attentive object) are presented at the same time. Participants respond to the stimulus by pressing the corresponding keyboard button. Methodological details of our experimental paradigm are elaborated on below. Methods Participants By means of convenience sampling, participants were recruited by 30 Erasmus University College students participating in the Cognitive Neuroscience course. Each student was asked to approach two individuals, resulting in a cumulative data set of 61 participants. Among the participants, 22 were male (36.1%) and 39 (63.9%) female. The age ranged from 14 to 56 years (M= 25.36, SD = 11.869). None of the participants received any incentive for their participation. Materials The participants took part in a multitasking PsyToolkit experiment designed by Stoet et al. (2013), which was accessible via their personal computers. Participants were presented with two different task 116
dimensions, namely a shape and filling task dimension. The tasks were displayed in a yellow rectangular frame comprised of two sections depicted on a black background. The upper section was labelled with the word “shape” and required the participant to complete the shape task, while the lower section was labelled with the word “filling” and required the filling task (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Representation of the displayed stimuli format which are displayed. Note that the presented stimulus is incongruent, since it requires opposite responses in the shape (“b”) and filling task (“n”).
In the shape task, participants had to respond to whether the shape of the frame was a diamond or rectangle by pressing the letter “b” or “n” on their keyboard, respectively. In the filling task, participants had to assess the number of yellow dots presented within the shape. Two dots required participants to press the letter “b” while three dots required pressing the letter “n”. Besides focusing on these individual tasks one at a time, in one section of the experiment participants were also asked to focus on the two tasks simultaneously. There, the shape and filling tasks were randomly alternated. Participants had to process the location in which the stimulus appeared (upper/lower part of the box) before knowing whether they need to respond to the shape or filling. Our experimental paradigm is a form of Go/No-go task, because participants had to react on the cue (e.g.: shape of the stimulus) by pressing a corresponding button on a keyboard, while inhibiting the response associated with another feature (e.g.: filling of the stimulus). GENDER AND MULTITASKING
Experimental procedure To familiarize the participants with the experiment, a training block of 40 trials was presented (10 for performing shape tasks, 10 for filling tasks and 20 for both tasks combined). These results were not further used for data analysis. The experiment used for data analysis consisted of three different blocks with a total of 192 trails. In block 1, participants were asked to perform 48 trials of the shape task. Block 2 consisted of 48 trials of the filling task. In block 3, the filling task and shape task were combined across 96 trials by displaying 96 stimuli on either the upper or lower section. For this study, block 1 and 2 are defined as selective attention tasks since participants were asked to focus on a single task (shape/filling). Block 3 required divided attention as participants had to focus on the tasks simultaneously. Participants had up to 4 seconds to respond before a new stimulus appeared. In the case of an absence of response or an incorrect response, a reminder of the task descriptions was displayed for 3 seconds before the next trial. Figure 2 illustrates various displays that participants could encounter while performing the tasks.
Figure 2. Overview of the possible frames in PsyToolkit experimental, using the shape task (a selective attention task) an example. The type of task was first announced as preparation. If participants responded correctly to the imperative stimulus (Go trail), a new stimulus was shown after a short pause of 800 milliseconds (ms). Once the participant failed to respond within 4000 ms, “Time is up” frame was shown for 1000 ms as a negative feedback, followed by a reminder of the instructions for 3000 ms. After a pause of 500 ms, a new imperative stimulus was initiated. When failing to respond correctly, a frame stating “That was the wrong key!” was displayed for 1000 ms, followed by a reminder of the instructions and a new stimulus.
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Data analysis Response times of all participants were assembled in an SPSS data file on IBM SPSS Statistics 24, which incorporated data from all 192 trials. The overall error rate and incongruent error rate made when the stimuli required opposite responses in the shape and filling task (Figure 1), were calculated for each participant. Design. In our analysis we have used mean as a measure of central tendency and standard deviation as a measure of dispersal. In order to determine whether there is a significant difference in response time and error rate in selective attention and divided attention tasks between men and women, this study used the mixed-design ANOVA analysis. Our two within-subject factors were selective and divided attention tasks, while gender (male/female) represents the between-subjects factor (Figure 3). By performing a mixed-design ANOVA, the main effects of gender (male or female) and type of task (selective or divided), as well as the effect of the performed task conditional on gender, could be examined.
Figure 3. Outline of the between-subject and within-subject factors to perform a mixed-design ANOVA analysis.
Results Visual/graphical inspection via histogram plots confirmed that the assumption of normality is met. Leveneâ€™s test indicated that the homogeneity of variance holds in our analyses. Response Time Firstly, we examined the response times of all 192 trials (Table 1). The mean response time of all participants in the selective attention task was 548.32 ms (SD= 105.19). Overall, the mean response time for the divided attention task was higher, with the mean of 961.7 ms (SD= 120
225.51). The same direction of the slow down effect was observed for both genders. Both men and women had a shorter response time in the selective attention (pure) task, compared to the divided attention (mixed) task. Our descriptive statistics show that men have a faster mean response for both types of tasks compared to women. However, the difference is small and there is a greater variation in individual performances among men. Table 1 Descriptive statistics for the mean response times in the selective attention and divided attention tasks
To test whether the aforementioned effects are significant, we performed a mixed-design ANOVA (Table 2). Table 2 Mixed-design ANOVA analysis for the mean response time in the selective vs divided attention tasks in men and women
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The main effect of gender alone was not significant, F(1, 59) = 0.17, p = .68, suggesting that the response times of male and female participants were not significantly different, regardless of the task performed. A significant main effect of the performed task type was found, F(1, 59) = 390.50, p < .001, which implies that independent of gender, the response time differed significantly between tasks. All male and female participants had a faster mean reaction time to the selective attention task compared to the divided attention task. There was no significant interaction effect found between the gender and the type of task, F(1, 59) = 0.02, p = .90. Therefore, men and women followed the same performance trend in the different tasks and did not show a differential response time for selective attention and divided attention tasks. Accuracy and Error Percentage Next, we analysed the errors participants made during the experiment as a percentage of all trials. Furthermore, we looked at the error rate in the trial when participants responded to incongruent stimuli. Descriptive statistics are displayed below (Table 3). Table 3 Descriptive statistics for the mean percentage of all errors and incongruent errors in selective vs divided attention tasks for men and women
Regarding the overall errors made in the selective attention (pure) task, both men and women had a similar error percentage of 2.78% and 2.19%, respectively. Similar results were observed for the incongruent errors made in the selective attention (pure) task among men and women, whose rates were 1.34% and 1.40%, respectively. 122
More errors were made by both genders in the divided attention (mixed) task. However, the error rate for women in this task was smaller (3.21%) compared to men (5.22%). Incongruent errors made in the divided attention (mixed) task followed a similar distribution, in which women had an error rate of 2.51% and men 3.73%. To infer the significance of these effects, our results were analysed by mixed-design ANOVA (Table 4 and 5). Table 4 Mixed-design ANOVA analysis of the errors rates in the selective vs divided attention tasks among men and women
Firstly, the overall error rate was examined. There was a significant main effect of task type on error rate, F(1, 59) = 10.13, p < .01, which implied that all participants made a significantly different number of errors based on the type of task. Participants made fewer errors in the pure task than the divided attention task (Table 3). Although there was a difference between male and female error rates, the effect of gender alone was not significant, F(1, 59) = 3.71, p = .06. The interaction effect between gender and task errors was not significant either, F(1, 59) = 1.69, p = .20. Thus, there was no interaction found between gender and error percentage in the specific type of task. We then looked at whether the error effect would be the same for the incongruent stimuli (Table 5). Despite the sub-analysis of errors in the more demanding stimuli, results follow the same direction as in the overall error rate. GENDER AND MULTITASKING
Table 5 Mixed ANOVA analysis of the incongruent errors rates in selective vs divided attention task for men and women
Main effects of the incongruent errors based on the type of attentive task (F(1, 59) = 20.00, p < .001) and gender alone (F(1, 59) = 2.70, p = .11) were insignificant. Although the direction of the task error differed between men and women, where women made more errors in the pure task while men made more errors in the mixed task (Figure 3), there was no significant interaction effect (F(1, 59) = 1.54, p = .22).
Figure 3. Estimated incongruent task errors*gender interaction effect in the selective (pure) and divided attention task (mixed).
Discussion & Conclusion This study examined whether there was a difference between men and women in response time and error rates while performing tasks of selective and divided attention. Based on previous studies, we hypothesized that the response time would not differ between genders in selective attention tasks, while men would demonstrate slower response times in divided attention tasks than women (Jing et al., 2012; Ren et al., 2009; Stoet et al., 2013). As expected, our findings show that for both genders a significantly higher response time was needed to perform divided attention tasks compared to selective attention tasks, which complies to the dual task interference concept (Saxena et al., 2017). Indeed, as Pashler (1994) and Szameitat et al. (2002) indicated, this finding can be explained by a bottleneck in the human cognitive processing mechanism, which allows processing of only one task at a time. Thus, there is less capacity in the processing mechanism for two modalities to be processed simultaneously, resulting in slower response times in divided attention tasks. Although we found that men had a slightly faster response for both selective and divided attention tasks than women, contradicting the Hunter-gatherer evolutionary hypothesis and widespread gender stereotype, our results did not show that gender significantly affects response time. Furthermore, we have not found that the pattern of responses in our multitasking paradigm differs between gender. In conclusion, no interaction effect was detected between gender and the response time for the tasks. Thus, we accept our first hypothesis that men and women do not have a different response time in the selective attention task. However, we reject the second hypothesis, which states that women have a shorter response time than men in the divided attention tasks. As for the prevalence of error making, in our study both men and women made more errors in the divided attention task than in the selective attention tasks. We hypothesized that men make more errors than women in both selective and divided attention tasks, based on research performed by Stoet (2017). We expected to observe the same pattern for incongruent stimuli trials (RĂ¤sĂ¤nen, 2018). However, our results indicated that for both the percentage of overall errors and the incongruent errors, men and women showed no signifGENDER AND MULTITASKING
icant difference in the correctness of their responses in either of the attentive tasks. Therefore, our third hypothesis that women make fewer errors than men with a stronger effect for the incongruent stimuli, is rejected. Interestingly, error making differences in men and women were close to reaching the significance level (p = .06). Although not significant, our findings indicated that men made more errors than women in both task types, in agreement with our third hypothesis. Lack of the statistical significance could be attributed to the small sample size of this study. Hence, a larger sample size could have increased the statistical power of this study, which would have enabled us to detect the smaller effects. Another limitation of our study was that the sample group was not gender-balanced, as we had 22 men and 39 women. The mean age of the sample group was fairly low, since the recruiters could easily reach out to fellow students of a similar age to participate in the study. The sample group thus contained an overrepresentation of adolescents with similar educational backgrounds, thereby not being representative of the whole population. As the study by RĂ¤sĂ¤nen (2018) indicates, the brain areas involved in attentional tasks, the parietal and prefrontal brain areas, are not fully developed until adulthood. Moreover, Saxena et al. (2017) notes that adolescence is a critical period of development for learning how to successfully coordinate two different tasks. Gender differences while performing selective and divided attention tasks may not be perceivable during the adolescent stage, thereby skewing our results. Lastly, we had no control on the setting and the time of day in which the participants performed the experiment. While some participants performed the experiment in a quiet setting, others may have been distracted by audio-visual stimuli in their surroundings. These variations of experimental setting could have interfered with our findings. In conclusion, our study found no significant differences in response time in selective and divided tasks between men and women. Hence, in contemporary society where multitasking is valued as a highly desirable skill, gender stereotypes rooted in the Hunter-gatherer evolutionary hypothesis may portray an inaccurate depiction of 126
actual gender differences. This is important to discuss as, due to the widely believed stereotype, women may be unrightfully expected to organise and perform more tasks within their households and jobs, compared to men. Finally, although not significant, our results indicate gender differences in accuracy: men made more errors than women in both selective and divided attention task types. Hence, future studies could explore this effect. In order to strengthen our conclusions, future research should be conducted on a larger, gender-balanced sample group with a higher control of the experimental environment. Replicating our study in a wider age range and more educationally diverse sample would enable exploration of the gender effect in multitasking at the general population level. Acknowledgements I would like to thank Dr Chris MĂźller for providing feedback on this paper. Special thanks go to my dear colleague Borah Spoorenberg, whose support and help with the data processing and discussion of the results was of immense help.
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REFERENCES: Buser, T., & Peter, N. (2012). Multitasking. Experimental Economics, 15(4), 641-655. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10683-012-9318-8 Field, A. P. (2005). Discovering statistics using SPSS (second edition). London: Sage. Mäntylä, T. (2013). Gender differences in multitasking reflect spatial ability. Psychological science, 24(4), 514-520. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797612459660 Pashler, H. (1994). Dual-task interference in simple tasks: data and theory. Psychological bulletin, 116(2), 220. https://doi. org/10.1037/0033-2909.116.2.220
ences in selective attention. Psychological research, 81(3), 571-581. https://dx.doi. org/10.1007%2Fs00426-016-0763-4 Stoet, G., O’Connor, D. B., Conner, M., & Laws, K. R. (2013). Are women better than men at multi-tasking?. BMC Psychology, 1(1), 18. https://dx.doi.org/10.1186/2050-7283-1-18 Szameitat, A. J., Hamaida, Y., Tulley, R. S., Saylik, R., & Otermans, P. C. (2015). “Women are better than men”–Public beliefs on gender differences and other aspects in multitasking. PloS one, 10(10), e0140371. https://dx.doi. org/10.1371/journal.pone.0140371
Ren, D., Zhou, H., & Fu, X. (2009). A deeper look at gender difference in multitasking: Gender-specific mechanism of cognitive control. In 2009 Fifth International Conference on Natural Computation (Vol. 5, pp. 13-17). IEEE. https://doi.org/10.1109/ ICNC.2009.542 Rosen, C. (2008). The myth of multitasking. The New Atlantis, (20), 105-110. Salvucci, D. D., & Taatgen, N. A. (2010). The multitasking mind. Oxford University Press. Sanbonmatsu, D. M., Strayer, D. L., Medeiros-Ward, N., & Watson, J. M. (2013). Who multi-tasks and why? Multi-tasking ability, perceived multi-tasking ability, impulsivity, and sensation seeking. PloS one, 8(1), e54402. https://doi.org/ 10.1371/journal. pone.0054402 Saxena, S., Cinar, E., Majnemer, A., & Gagnon, I. (2017). Does dual tasking ability change with age across childhood and adolescence? A systematic scoping review. International journal of developmental neuroscience, 58, 35-49. https://doi.org /10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2017.01.012 Stoet, G. (2017). Sex differences in the Simon task help to interpret sex differ-
S. BHALLA ‘Who Let the Dogs Eat?’: An Ecological Analysis of Stray Dogs Within Human Communities in Bangalore, India. This paper comprises ecological research into stray dogs in Bangalore, India. The study sets out to create a linear regression model predicting dog populations based on different types of food sources, from data acquired on field. The analysis finds that bakeries, houses and trash piles are significant predictors of dog populations. We suggest decreasing the carrying capacity of the environment by targeting these three food sources.
Introduction About fifteen million people in India are estimated to be bitten by animals every year, 91.5% of which are dogs, and 60% of those are strays (Menezes, 2008), which amounts to roughly eight million stray dog bites a year. Two studies done in 2005 estimated an annual incidence of close to 20,000 human deaths to rabies in India, roughly 36% of global deaths due to rabies (Knobel et al., 2005; Sudarshan et al., 2007). Regrettably, those are the latest statistics on the issue. There is a generally acknowledged paucity of data on the subject, and neglect in the management of the disease, indicating a lack of investment by the government in the matter. Recently, however, the Indian media has been picking up coverage of dog-related incidents, and public pressure for more effective control of dogs is mounting. Stray dogs are an integral component of the urban ecology of Indian cities. Unofficial data puts the total Indian dog population at roughly twenty-five million, with around 80% of this being at least partially unrestricted in their movement (Menezes, 2008). The term ‘stray dog’ in this paper is used synonymously with Free Ranging Dog (FRD) which is defined by Beck (2002) as “Any dog observed without human supervision on public property or on private property with immediate unrestrained access to public property” (p. 3). In the Indian city of Bangalore which is the setting for this study, the last official stray dog census was conducted in 2012. It estimated that the number of stray dogs was just under 0.2 million, compared to a human population then of around nine million (KIMS, 2007). Stray dogs in the urban environment play several roles. In developing countries, Reese (2005) finds that they keep trash and vermin levels down and provide companionship to people. However, since they are also prone WHO LET THE DOGS EAT?
to aggression, are noisy, and are carriers of diseases - predominantly rabies â€“ the management of their population needs to be the subject of academic research and new policy decisions. Stray dog management is currently restricted by national law to implementation of the Animal Birth Control policy, also called the ABC program (AWBI, 2001). This involves capturing stray dogs, taking them to a pound where they are sterilised and immunised, and returning them to the same locality where they were found. Execution of the task is entrusted to local authorities. This method was instated in 2001, after the euthanising of dogs was outlawed due to animal activist movements (AWBI, 2001). There has been little systematic verification of the success of the ABC program, but there are doubts as to its efficacy because of the high number of dogs that would need to be sterilised for there to be any sizeable effect on the population (Menezes, 2008). Coleman and Dye (1996) published a theoretical model stating that at least 70% of the total dog population would have to be vaccinated in a short period of time to eliminate or prevent rabies on at least 96.5% of occasions. This was echoed in research conducted around the ABC program in Jodhpur, by Totton et al. (2010) who performed population and demographic studies in 2005 and 2007, before and after the implementation of the ABC program. They found that over the two years, 61.8-86.5% of the FRD population was sterilised and vaccinated. They predicted that by maintaining that level of ABC intervention, the dog population would decrease by 69% after thirteen-eighteen years and vaccination coverage would stabilise at over 70%. However, there has been no long-term data on any of the ABC programmes, making it difficult to assess the actual success of the ABC strategy. Given the inadequacy of the sterilisation method, interven tions premised on reducing the carrying capacity1 of the environment have been proposed. Totton et al. (2010) suggest that in addition to the ABC program, we must reduce the available food in the enviCarrying capacity can be understood as the number of individuals of a population that can be sustainably supported in a given environment. If the population exceeds the carrying capacity, either insuffcient resources or waste produced by the population will cause a crash in numbers (Hui, 2006). In this case, we explore the possibility of reducing the carrying capacity by reducing the availability of resources in the environment. 1
ronment to assist in controlling the population of strays. Baquero, Akamine, Amaku and Ferreira (2016) find that the latter is the most effective way to influence dog populations, compared to changing rates of abandonment, adoption, sterilisation and changing the carrying capacity of owned-dogs. This approach has been mildly echoed in several articles and directives which propose that the public can contribute to managing the FRD population by not dumping waste in public spaces (Herbert, Basha & Thangaraj, 2012; KIMS, 2007; Reese, 2005) and by regulating slaughter houses dumping waste (KIMS, 2007). However, these directives operate on the assumption that refuse is the primary food source of stray dogs. Meanwhile, other researchers propose that most stray dogs are in fact owned and that households actually support the bulk of the FRD population through direct feeding. The nutritional dependence on different food sources has not been quantified, because as Morters et al. (2014) state, quantifying the “uptake of environmental resources is generally not practicable” (p. 1097). With a focus on further investigating the potential for this line of interventions in Bangalore, this study poses the research question ‘How can we predict dog population sizes based on different types of food sources?’ We hypothesise that populations are sustained primarily by food from households, secondarily by trash piles and expect that commercial food outlets play a less significant role. Methods In order to answer the research question regarding how different types of food sources can be used to predict the population of dogs, raw data on the distribution of dogs and food sources was collected, and multiple linear regression models were run. This section describes the process of data collection, organisation and analysis. Data collection Location. The data regarding dog populations and food sources was collected in northern Bangalore, India, spread over the localities of Jakkur, RK Hegde Nagar, Amruthahalli, Sahakar Nagar, Kodigehalli and Tindlu (see Apendix A, available in the online version). These were urban areas, characterised by differences in density and socio-economic profile, which were also captured. Unit areas. The spatial scale used in the study was 248*248 m2. WHO LET THE DOGS EAT?
This was deemed appropriate based on existing data concerning the maximum home range of FRDs in India, which one study found to be 544m in diameter (Pal, Ghosh & Roy, 1998). Spatial resolution twice as fine was therefore considered adequate to capture the dynamics of dog distribution in relation to food sources. QGIS version 3.4.3-1 (QGIS Development Team, 2018) was used to create the 248*248 m2 grid map which was imported onto My Maps for use while surveying the dogs. Twenty-eight units, each with fairly homogenous socio-economic class profiles, were selected for survey. Socio-economic class classification. It is important to note that economic status is difficult to gauge accurately without income data. Moreover, most neighbourhoods experience gentrification at some point and are not entirely homogeneous. But because the sample areas were on the outskirts of the city, the character of a neighbourhood was relatively singular and easy to characterise. The classification was made as follows: (a) Lower socio-economic class: small houses with no cars or only company-owned taxis (the resident being the taxi driver) parked outside (n = 9). (b) Middle class: small independent houses without space for cars. If present, the cars were low-end models and parked out on the street (n = 6). (c) Upper class: large independent houses with one or more personal cars either in driveways or parked outside (n = 8). (d) Empty: areas where housing development was just beginning. Largely characterised by sparsely interspersed upper-class houses, makeshift houses of construction workers and empty plots of land (n = 5). This category of units was ultimately not used in the results since it produced no clear trends.
Dog population survey. An FRD survey was conducted using visual capture-recapture method. This technique involves repeated sampling of a population, wherein the individuals are recognised in each subsequent sampling not by physical marks but by comparison with pictures from previous sightings. The surveys were conducted by cycling through all the streets in the unit area and recording sightings using the mobile application Geopaparazzi. The route followed in each unit was chosen based on the most efficient way to cover every single street and remained the same in each subsequent sampling. In this program for each sighting, an image of the dog is captured along with its location. At the end of each sampling session, a .kmz file is export132
ed for processing on Google Earth Pro which displays the locations of each dog photographed in a sample, along with the images. Four surveys were conducted in each unit over the span of two consecutive days, in the morning between 6 30 and 9 30 and in the evening between 15 00 and 18 00. Only in the case of one unit, the number of samples was three rather than four, because the weather impeded sampling. These times allow for enough light for photography, and have been found by other authors to produce the highest number of dog encounters (Tiwari et al., 2018). The surveys were conducted by cycling through all the streets in the unit area. The surveying took place between 16 January and 22 January 2019 with 1’796 sightings recorded. Of these, 761 individual dogs were identified. A total of twenty-eight units were surveyed and have been described previously. Food source mapping. The routes used in the dog survey were subsequently covered by bicycle again and Geopaparazzi was used to mark the location and nature of each food source present. For the trash piles, in addition to the location, an image was taken for future analysis. The sources fell into five categories, namely (a) trash, (b) small roadside shops, (c) bakeries, (d) butcher/fish shops, (e) restaurants, and (f) households. The last food source – houses – was numbered using the base print of buildings in Google Maps. Since the surveys were conducted in predominantly residential areas and the number of commercial establishments was insignificant in comparison, they were not subtracted from the house count. The shops, bakeries, butcher/fish shops and restaurants were marked as potential food sources as it was hypothesised that dogs would either be able to find food in trash bins or might be fed scraps by the proprieters and consumers. Since this is an explorative paper, it was decided to analyse the different types of establishments separately. Data Curation Data count. The dog survey data was imported as .kmz files onto Google Earth Pro and the images from each sample were used to map the dogs to each other to identify the number of unique individuals. Each dog was pinned at the first location it was seen and the number of repetitive sightings recorded. Typically, dogs were seen only within one unit, however if they were seen over multiple units, they WHO LET THE DOGS EAT?
were coded in the unit they were first sighted in. When the images were unclear, an informed judgement was made based on proximity and knowledge of the dogs. This data was reduced to a list of (a) total number of dogs spotted in a unit and (b) number of dogs that had only been spotted once, that is uniques (Appendix B). Population estimates. The Application SuperDuplicates online tool produced by Chao, Colwell, Chiu and Townsend (2017) was used to make probability estimates of the population based on the raw data. Tiwari, Vanak, O’Dea, Gogoi-Tiwari and Robertson (2018) have found this to be the most robust estimation tool for FRD populations in India. This tool makes use of the number of uniques observed in an area to extrapolate the number of undetected individuals. While it was initially created to estimate species richness, in this study, each dog is considered as a unique species, as done in the review by Tiwari et al. (2018), to procure a robust population estimate. The application offers the use of ‘incidence data’ where one inputs the number of observed dogs, the number of uniques (dogs spotted only once) and the number of sampling units (4). The population estimate produced under chao.2est was used as the final population in the analysis (Appendix B). Trash selection and sizing. For a trash pile to be considered a viable source, it was visually assessed for recent organic matter. This was to distinguish those that could be reliable food sources from trash piles that were either inactive or created during construction and that contained primarily inorganic matter. Where trash piles lined a road bordering a unit, they were included in the unit’s analysis. However, trash piles in neighbouring units were discounted for the sake of clarity. The viable trash sources were re-coded by size since there were large differences in that regard. Trash piles that measured between 2m2 and the size of a plot of a house were counted as 1 unit. Larger piles were coded proportionally. Data analysis Estimating proportion of houses that feed strays. This was done using the dog population data, number of houses, and a mean of 1.4 dogs fed per house. This average is based on figures produced by Morters et al. (2014). They found that in two villages in Johannesburg, South Africa as well as one in Bali, Indonesia, the average 134
number of stray dogs maintained by a single household was 1.3 and 1.7 respectively, producing an average of 1.4 overall. Since the average was sufficiently consistent over these widely different geographic and cultural contexts, we used this figure in our calculation. Linear regression analysis. A linear regression model between the dog population and food sources was run using IBM SPSS Statistics 24 (IBM Corp., 2016). Initially only continuous food sources were modelled as independent variables, namely trash piles, shops, bakeries, butchers, restaurants and houses. Subsequently, the analysis was re-run with the socio-economic profile of the unit included. In order to include them in the regression, the socio-economic classes were dummy coded, taking the lower socio-economic class as the baseline. Results Descriptive Statistics Table 1 Mean population of dogs per class.
Table 2 Mean number of houses per class.
Differences across classes in mean population of dogs as well as the mean number of houses were found to be significant (p = .05). Mean percentage of houses that feed stray dogs by socio-economic class. The percentage of houses feedings strays in each sample unit was calculated using the following formula. The average of these percentages was then taken for each socio-economic class. % of Houses that feed stray dogs = #dogs * 100 รท (#houses * #dogs fed per house)
Where, number of dogs fed per house = 1.4 as explained in the methWHO LET THE DOGS EAT?
ods. The difference between classes was found to be significant (p = .05). Linear Regression Analysis The models shown below depict the relationship between stray dog population and food sources through multiple linear regresTable 3 Mean % of houses that feed strays according to socioeconomic class.
Figure 1. Means plot of % of households that feed stray dogs per class (n = 23).
sions conducted in SPSS. Model 1. The first regression run was to predict dog population based on the continuous predictors, namely the number of trash piles, shops, bakeries, butchers, restaurants and houses. Prior to performing the regression analysis, checks for normality, linearity and homoscedasticity were conducted with no violations. In checking for multicollinearity, VIF scores were generated and none exceeded 102, therefore the assumption was considered to be met (Field, 2016). Although a couple of outliers were present in the variables, 92.9% or more of the 2
Data and figures from the analysis can be made available upon request.
standardised z-scores for all variables fell within the normal range, so data did not need to be transformed (Field, 2016). The results of the regression analysis are presented in appendix D. A significant regression equation was found F(6,21) = 14.85, p < .00 with a model fit of R2 = .91. The calculated regression equation generated is as follows: Stray dog population = 10.36 + 1.87(Trash)+ 1.93(Shop) + 11.65(Bakery) – 0.52(Butcher) – 1.65(Restaurant) + 0.53(Houses) + εi.
The number of trash piles, t(21) = 2.35, p < .05, and bakeries, t(21) = .59, p < 0.05, were found to be significant predictors of stray dog population. Since this model did not contain the socio-economic profile of the neighbourhood, a second linear regression was run, which included the upper and middle classes dummy coded against the lower class. Model 2. The results of the second regression analysis are presented in appendix E. Another significant regression equation was found F(8,14) = 14.47, p < .00 with a model fit of R2 = .95. While this model has a better fit than the previous one, the variable ‘shop’ has a very high VIF score indicating high multicollinearity. Therefore, the regression was run once more without the variable. Model 3. After removing shop, multicollinearity was not seen (VIF < 10). The final regression was also found to be significant F(7,15) = 17.25, p < .00 with a model fit of R2 = .94 (Appendix F). The equation generated was: y = 14.19 + 1.85(Trash)+ 10.26(Bakery) + 1.51(Butcher) – 2.31(Restaurant) + 0.11(Houses) – 16.11(Upper class – Lower class) – 2.94(Middle Class – Lower class) + εi.
The number of trash piles, t(21) = 2.60, p < .05, bakeries, t(21) = 2.58, p < .05, houses, t(21) = 2.52, p < .05, and the difference between upper- and lower-class neighbourhoods, t(21) = -2.38, p < .05, were significant predictors of stray dog population. Further, looking at the standardised beta coefficients in the model, we find that bakeries are the strongest predictors (β = .459), followed by houses (β = .319), the difference between upper- and lower-class neighbourhoods (β = -.309) and trash piles (β = .249) (Appendix F). WHO LET THE DOGS EAT?
Discussion and Conclusion This study is premised on identifying the food sources that could be limiting factors in the carrying capacity of stray dogs to gauge possible community-based interventions. The results show that of the food sources that are significant predictors of population sizes, bakeries are the strongest predictors, followed by houses and trash piles. The importance of bakeries in supporting dog populations proves to be an unexpected and novel result. We hypothesise that this is because they typically maintain a pack of dogs, through both direct feeding from customers and the proprietors, as well as feeding from open-air trash bins. Moreover, we suggest that bakeries serve as stronger predictors of populations than households since each supports a larger number of dogs than any household would (1.4). In addition, the proportion of bakeries that feed stray dogs is likely to be far more than the proportion of houses. The high predictability of dog populations from households confirms research by Butler and Bingham (2000), who likewise found that dog population density increases with an increase in human population. It also lends support to research which finds that most FRDs in urban settings are owned by households and maintained by direct feeding (Morters et al., 2014). We find that the estimated percentage of households that feed stray dogs is relatively small at 10% in upper-, 16% middle- and 18.3% in lower-class units, compared to 42 and 73% in two Indonesian villages (Morters et al., 2014). It is thus evident that a small proportion of households can sustain large FRD populations. Finally, the finding that trash sources although significant are weaker predictors of populations goes against research by Butler and Bingham (2000) as well as Reese (2005) who suggest that in India human waste food and faeces contribute highly to dog populations. We suggest that trash serves as a secondary food source to owned FRDs and as the primary food source to the population that is unowned. Although the sampling methodology of this study did not allow for the quantification of the ratio of owned to unowned populations, Mortersâ€™s team (2014) found that only 1.1 to 1.5% of dogs in two study sites in Bali were entirely unowned, which suggests that this population is likely to be small in this study area as well. During the data collection, it was also noticed that large trash piles are not very 138
frequent, contrary to popular opinion. Many neighbourhoods, particularly dense ones found in lower socio-economic areas do not have trash piles in the narrow streets and the door-to-door trash collection system appeared to be regular and well-used. Trash piles were only seen on large roads, main shopping streets, and in vacant lots present in middle- and upper-class neighbourhoods. Looking forward, we make two policy suggestions. First, in order to reduce the carrying capacity of the environment, we suggest regulating the feeding of stray dogs around bakeries and implementing proper waste management in public spaces. Additional research is required to determine whether the feasibility and cost-benefit ratio of this approach is greater than that of the ABC programme, and accordingly whether the two should be implemented together or one will suffice. Second, we advise that by increasing awareness about the role that the household plays in sustaining a population, we can increase individualsâ€™ feeling of personal responsibility in controlling the population, particularly amongst the lower classes, but generally in those who live close to stray dogs. While Herbert et al. (2012) suggested that households can be made aware of the role they can play by not dumping waste, we propose that more important is the awareness of the impact of feeding stray dogs. The value of the results and policy suggestions in this study can be verified by future research that quantifies the economic benefit of reducing the environmental carrying capacity in such a manner. This would be aided by gathering data on the ratio of owned to unowned stray dogs in the Indian setting, as well as surveying the actual proportion of houses that feeds stray dogs. Additionally, since the study was small in scale and conducted at the outskirts of the city, a larger survey area in the centre of the city is suggested to test the proposed theories.
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REFERENCES: Animal Welfare Board of India. (2001). Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001. Retrieved from http://envfor.nic.in/legis/ awbi/awbi13.pdf
urban slums in India. Journal of infection and public health, 5(6), 374-380. Hui, C. (2006). Carrying capacity, population equilibrium, and environment’s maximal load. Ecological Modelling, 192(1-2), 317-320.
Baquero, O. S., Akamine, L. A., Amaku, M., & Ferreira, F. (2016). Defining priorities for dog population management through math- IBM Corp. (2016). IBM SPSS Statistics for ematical modelling. Preventive veterinary Windows, Version 24.0. Armonk, NY: IBM medicine, 123, 121-127. Corp. Beck, A. M. (2002). The ecology of stray dogs: a study of free-ranging urban animals. Purdue University Press e-books. Retrieved from http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/purduepress_ebooks/3 Butler, J. R. A., & Bingham, J. (2000). Demography and dog-human relationships of the dog population in Zimbabwean communal lands. Veterinary Record, 147(16), 442-446. Chao, A., Colwell, R. K., Chiu, C.-H., & Townsend, D. (2017) Seen once or more than once: applying Good-Turing theory to estimate species richness using only unique observations and a species list. To appear in Methods in Ecology and Evolution. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/ doi/10.1111/2041-210X.12768/abstract Chatterjee, P. (2009). India’s ongoing war against rabies. Retrieved from https://www. who.int/bulletin/volumes/87/12/09-021209/ en/ Coleman, P. G., & Dye, C. (1996). Immunization coverage required to prevent outbreaks of dog rabies. Vaccine, 14(3), 185-186. Field, A. (2016). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS statistics. Sage. Herbert, M., Basha, R., & Thangaraj, S. (2012). Community perception regarding rabies prevention and stray dog control in
KIMS (2007). Performance audit of Animal Birth Control programme in Bangalore City. A Report. Retrieved from http://www.kimscommunitymedicine.org/files/ABC-report.pdf Knobel, D. L., Cleaveland, S., Coleman, P. G., Fèvre, E. M., Meltzer, M. I., Miranda, M. E. G., … & Meslin, F. X. (2005). Re-evaluating the burden of rabies in Africa and Asia. Bulletin of the World health Organization, 83, 360-368. Menezes, R. (2008). Rabies in India. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 178(5), 564-566. Morters, M. K., McKinley, T. J., Restif, O., Conlan, A. J., Cleaveland, S., Hampson, K., ... & Wood, J. L. (2014). The demography of free‐ roaming dog populations and applications to disease and population control. Journal of Applied Ecology, 51(4), 1096-1106. Pal, S. K., Ghosh, B., & Roy, S. (1998). Dispersal behaviour of free-ranging dogs (Canis familiaris) in relation to age, sex, season and dispersal distance. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 61(2), 123-132. QGIS Development Team (2018). QGIS Geographic Information System. Open Source Geospatial Foundation Project. Reese, J.F. (2005). Dogs and dog control in developing countries. In D.J. Salem & A.N. Rowan (Eds.), The state of the animals III: 2005 (pp. 55-64). Washington, DC: Humane Society Press.
Sudarshan, M. K., Madhusudana, S. N., Mahendra, B. J., Rao, N. S. N., Narayana, D. A., Rahman, S. A., â€Ś & Ravikumar, K. (2007). Assessing the burden of human rabies in India: results of a national multi-center epidemiological survey. International Journal of Infectious Diseases, 11(1), 29-35. Tiwari, H. K., Vanak, A. T., Oâ€™Dea, M., Gogoi-Tiwari, J., & Robertson, I. D. (2018). A comparative study of enumeration techniques for Free-roaming dogs in rural Baramati, District Pune, India. Frontiers in veterinary science, 5, 104. Totton, S. C., Wandeler, A. I., Zinsstag, J., Bauch, C. T., Ribble, C. S., Rosatte, R. C., & McEwen, S. A. (2010). Stray dog population demographics in Jodhpur, India following a population control/rabies vaccination program. Preventive veterinary medicine, 97(1), 51-57.
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L. VAN DEN BERGEN & N. DEROSSI The Visual Language of the Rotterdam Techno Scene Techno is a music genre that mainly employs synthesizers as instruments. Its adhesion has increased exponentially in the last decades. Our analysis aimed at interpreting the discourse upon freedom portrayed by the visual language of the Techno scene. We took as a case study Maassilo, an old factory situated in Rotterdam, now mainly employed as a techno club. We undertook several qualitative interviews, collected pictures, videos and audio records in the club. The main aspect that emerged from our visual analysis has been the recurrence of opposing themes -rebellion/liquidarity, sociability/egoism, intimacy/individuality- that we placed in the bigger binary frame of freedom/constriction.
Introduction The word ‘Techno’ is a nebulous word of sorts, laced with misconceptions and sub-genres while lacking a clear definition. In 1994, Techno already had twelve different variants (Fitzgerald, 1998). The current research refers to Techno as the genre of music that employs electronic, digital instruments and circuitry based technology, distinguishing itself from the traditional way of doing music. More specifically, Techno music is characterized by mechanical effects, a 4/4 drum kick beat, synthesizers, and a repetitive feel with a fast tempo of 120-160 bpm (Verhagen, 2000). Born in Detroit in the 1980’s, the genre made its way to Europe within ten years, reaching the Netherlands in 1991. The number of Techno listeners has exploded after the phenomenon started in the 1990’s (Hitlzer & Pfandenhauer, 2002). The 2003 Love Parade in Berlin, which gathered a total of 1.6 million participants, is perhaps the event showing most clearly the reach of techno music on crowds (Nye, 2009). By displaying the idea of gathering all its miscellaneous sub-genres in one “Big Techno Family”, the music exposes two explicit and related messages. The first would be the total acceptance of diversity; as Techno embraces all its different extensions, analogically, Technoids embrace socio-cultural and economical diversity, acceptance, and tolerance (Rodgers, 2015). Indeed, Big Techno Family was a term employed by techno-lovers to name parties and Facebook groups revolving around their community. Secondly, the Big Techno Family is also a symbol for global unification due to its massive popularity (Hitlzer & Pfandenhauer, 2002). The goers of Techno events are not only free and dispatched from societal restric142
tions, but also rejoice in the awareness of being in massive company. About thirty years after the birth of the Techno genre, we will analyse the visual language that this scene portrays nowadays. The absence of literature on the visuals associated with the genre fosters the fascination of this research. Whereas cultural institutions such as museums have been analysed extensively, inquiry into the visual language of Techno clubs remains an uncultivated field, even though the latter are also cultural institutions, some of which considered spaces of ‘high culture’ such as Berghain in Berlin (Biehl-Missal, 2016; Garcia, 2011; Oltermann, 2016; Rose, 2016). Interpreting visual content has been a different way to analyse the Techno scene discourse: the ‘Techno soul’ maybe would have not emerged as clearly by focusing on the music only. Visuals are an important component of the Techno scene, with underground, industrial spaces being one of the peculiar characteristics of Techno venues. We believe that music is not the main component involved in the feelings of freedom experienced by the crowd. We refer to freedom as the power to act as one wants related to the annihilation of restriction. The design of spaces is not coincidental and Techno clubs can be said to work through an apparatus (the forms of knowledge/power that constitutes them) and technologies (a set of tools and methods) that produce a discourse and subjects specific to the Techno scene (Rose, 2015). Hereby, we consider spatial clues of equal importance to the music. Considering both Rotterdam’s accessibility and importance in the development of the genre (the Dutch city gave birth to Gabber in the 1990s, a sous-genre of Techno music), Maassilo, a club residing in the city, served as our case study. Built in 1911, Maassilo used to be a grain factory with more than 3000 workers. It was converted into a club and venue space in 2003 (Maassilo, 2017). Equipped with high tech sound and light systems, this place regularly hosts Techno parties. Though the world capital of Techno is Berlin, Rotterdam shares many features with the German city. Both Rotterdam and Berlin were destroyed during the Second World War and then quickly rebuilt in the years after, relying heavily on an industrial type of economy. Maassilo has common features with Berlin’s renowned club Berghain. Both buildings are characterised by industrial architecture and include large and empty spaces. These are reused as multifunctional ROTTERDAM TECHNO SCENE
event venues that can welcome up to 5000 people (Maassilo, 2017). By drawing on existing literature, interviews, and the analysis of visual cues found in Maassilo club, we will analyse the discourse of freedom that is portrayed by the visual language of the Techno scene. Firstly, the methods employed will be explained. Then, the available literature on the topic will be reviewed and the Techno scene will be framed according to the results of small-scale qualitative interviews. After, we will expose how the club’s architecture hints at a sense of freedom to its visitors. We will move on to expose how other concepts -rebellion, sociability, and intimacy- are fostered by freedom and by the environment. In parallel, we will offer a possible interpretation: each of the above mentioned notions is related to an opposed one; namely liquidarity, egoism, and individuality. Finally, we will place these binary themes in a bigger frame of contrasting concepts: freedom/constriction, dark/light. Methods To analyse the discourse upon freedom portrayed by Maassilo Techno scene, we followed Rose’s (2016) recommendations to use an eclectic variety of sources (texts, photographs, interviews, analysis of architecture, layout, staff and audience). Three Disc Jokeys (DJs) were interviewed to find out what experience they seek to create while working and what they look for when attending parties. Michel Schelvis, an Art professor and teacher in leisure management, was interviewed to understand the broader (historical) context of the Techno scene and genre. We physically experienced the scene by visiting Maassilo and collected pictures of the spaces along with video and audio records. We focused on different displays such as lights, architecture, decoration, people’s attitudes, movements, and appearance. In addition, we analysed flyers of the parties and Web pages of Maassilo. All mentioned visual cues were used to understand what strategies organizers use to attract their crowd, and to interpret what discourse is conveyed by Maassilo’s environment. It is important to note that visual methodologies in discourse analysis only allow to build an interpretation, and are intentionally not aimed at revealing any truth. Even though as visual analysts we have aimed to assemble a large amount of sources to build the findings presented here, it is important to underline that such findings are 144
interpretations resulting from our and cited researches’ experience. Being strangers to the scene, we have immersed ourselves in Maassilo taking on a position –that of visual analysis- that has necessarily skewed our interpretation. Relevant literature was also selected on the basis of relatability to Maassilo, so no underground, outdoor, or smaller spaces were taken in consideration. It is clear that our analysis, even though drawing from research carried in other places, remains situated to the specific location we have chosen: Maassilo. Literature Review Previous research on Techno music and Techno scene converge to say that all components work together to foster a variety of emotions in the audience (Biehl-Missal, 2016; Fitzgerald, 1998; Garcia, 2005, 2011; Hitlzer & Pfandenhauer, 2002). Techno fans are induced to feel a strong sense of belonging, intense pleasure, and freedom of expression. Freedom seems to be an important incentive for the party goers, as the techno music and club loosen external control and regulation (Fitzgerald, 1998; Garcia, 2005). The Techno environment, being a subculture with its own norms, creates a space in which its audience feels liberated from societal obligations (Hitlzer & Pfandenhauer, 2002). Drugs, by modifying temperament, facilitate this process. This literature review provides us with a theoretical framework for our research, and, by highlighting the central role of freedom in Techno music, justifies our choice to place freedom at the core of our own interpretation. Framing the Techno Scene Discourse through Interviews Certain themes were recurrent in the answers of the interviewed DJs. Sharing a positive attitude towards Techno, all of them spoke of sound power, resonation, crowd energy and darkness as concepts somewhat able to generate freedom. Atanas Georgiev, sound engineer major at Birmingham City University, DJ and producer, focuses on the idea of perfect sound. Although difficult to put in words, this sound portrays a distortion that runs smoothly from the DJ set to the crowd. It creates resonation as the crowd is filled with a “deep, full, reverberating sound” (Georgiev, personal communication, May 2017). According to Georgiev, through resonation bodies can lose themselves within the music and when the climax kicks in, freedom is reached. Jasper De Fluter Balledux, resident DJ at Toffler, underlines that the sense of ROTTERDAM TECHNO SCENE
liberation is felt by the entirety of the crowd. Moreover, the success of the DJ mainly relies on the amount of people he manages to captivate with his sound. Jasper explains how the bigger the crowd that rejoices in resonation, the more the Disc Jockey physically benefits from it. This ‘crowd energy’ is powerful enough to lead the DJ to function on a different, higher frequency. A DJ is brought to a state of mind that resembles the one produced by a psychoactive drug. Lastly, Henry Johnson, Utrecht DJ at Basis, introduces us to his idea of the ‘dark vibes’: “Techno music is ‘dark’ because it is made with the purpose of creating a healthy ritual to free mind and body from the stacked-up negativity of life” (personal communication, May 2017). All interviewees agreed on the fact that a good DJ is aware of the entirety of their surroundings and that focusing only on music can be a mistake. While they all insisted on the role music plays in creating a sense of freedom, and thus support Garcia’s (2005) conclusions, we also noticed many visual aspects in Maassilo that hinted by themselves at freedom, sociability, and ecstatic feels. We will move on to analyse and interpret the visual data gathered to evaluate the DJs point of view. Visual Analysis Visual Cues & Freedom When entering Maassilo, one finds oneself in a completely different atmosphere than that of an up-scale nightclub, perhaps filled with velvet carpets and chandeliers (see Figure 1). After being checked by security, techno-goers walk down the stairs and enter a room of concrete walls where they can put their jackets in a locker. No one elegantly takes care of it for them. From there, the party goer follows the music and sneaks into the following room; a dark space where people sit and chat between old grain silos. The walls are grey, raw, and void of any decoration. One’s outfit does not have to match any particular colour. Neither does one need to conform to any particular style: people show up presenting their own way of being confident, there is no prerequisite. The space is neutral and its audience is meant to act as decoration. Moving through the stairs, the spectator finds themself in front of a huge space where three impressively high ceiling rooms follow each-other. The light, projected on the people, is just dim 146
Figure 1. Maassilo’s entrance (Maassilo, 2017)
enough to reveal the darkness of the brick walls. The gloomy environment enables any type of action. The dancers’ smallness compared to the volume of the space foster in them a feeling of vastness. The contrast between sizes is maybe the most powerful visual aspect; not only does it reminisce back at the romantic dilemma (human’s finite abilities constantly clashing with their infinite desires) but also reverses it (Fichte, 1846). Inside Maassilo, the finitude of one’s body and existence is immersed inside a space that gives hints of infinity. However, instead of letting oneself be oppressed by the vastness of the space, one lets one’s desires flow free. People scream, run, walk, jump on each other: one is dropped in an enormous playground, a different reality where everything seems allowed. This interpretation matches Biehl-Missal’s (2016), who, investigating the Berghain club’s architecture, pointed out that the alternation between massive and intimate spaces creates an ‘architecture of enabling’ (p.45). Maassilo’s vast rooms are flanked with smaller rooms where one can eat, chat, or smoke, and balconies are accessible. The constant switch of dimension between areas such as a small dark room and an immense dance room, fosters the dancers’ permissive attitudes. People move within the rooms performing unrestricted movements that are allowed by the design of the club. Within Maassilo, freedom is not written on walls, nor spoken anywhere. As the analysis of lights, architecture, decoration, attitudes, movements, and appearances shows, it is possible to infer its existence from visual content. Fostered by the visual cues mentioned above, the sense of freedom leads to other concepts that are visually explicit: rebellion, sociability, and collectiveness. ROTTERDAM TECHNO SCENE
The Rise of Rebellion People that feel free are willing to transgress any type of restriction: they dance as they like, they talk to who they want, and they stand against society. Rebellion can be seen in the consumption of illegal drugs and in the participation in underground events. Looking at the flyers and the visual projections of MORD, one of the events hosted by Maassilo, one sees a raised closed fist. It can be said that through this powerful symbol, MORD invites its audience to rebel and inculcates the fist in its mind as the crowd dances (see Figure 2).
Figure 2. Online Mord event tickets sale (Mord, 2017)
Garcia (2005) argues that repetitive music can be characterized as transgressive and oppositional. Intrinsic to Techno music, repetition and uniformity both disrupt musical narrative and deny meaning, thus opposing the discourse of Western art music and producing a cultural rebellion and social rupture. Dance, consequentially, is limited to a couple of repetitive movements each dancer decides to perform. The high complexity behind the DJ’s equipment is aimed at producing the most basic and primitive forms of music and dance as it was with the drum, argues Michel Schelvis. He calls this phenomenon ‘low life in high tech’ (personal communication, May 2017). The loss of musical arrangement is linked to the loss of the listener. The hypothesis is confirmed by Rietveld, who describes Techno as the dance in which to forget and to lose oneself: ‘the Dionysian ritual of obliteration, of disappearance’ (as cited in Thomas, 2003, p. 65). The Techno scene could be said to enable the dissolution of the self, something also sought for when taking 148
drugs, and the freedom associated to the genre would thus be one in which the party-goer is freed from his ego (p. 66). The rebellious aspect appears curious if we reflect upon the history of the event location. The initial factory closed because it could no longer fulfil its primary function due to the automatization of industrial production (Maassilo, 2019). It is interesting to notice that an automatized type of music gave a new purpose to the abandoned space. A location nowadays designed for liberation used to be filled with the sound of workers’ repetitive movements, almost as if their past is echoed in the present. The monotony of the mechanical movements reverberates both in the music and dance that are performed inside the club today. Thus, the meaning attributed to the symbolic repetitive action undergoes an abrupt change. In the modern times of Techno, monotony and repetition symbolize rebellion whereas when Maassilo was a factory, they symbolized alienation (Marx, 1872). An Ambiguous Sociability As rationality fades and leaves space for bodily experience, rebellion moves to the background and a vague intimacy steps forward. Garcia (2005) pointed out that this specific music scene displays a special sense of belonging coined as ‘liquidarity’ (p. 12). Liquidarity refers to the vague intimacy correlated to an “intensified social warmth” (p.13) generated and perpetuated by a shared set of intense bodily experiences that stimulate affect. Examples of bodily experiences are music climax, dancing, touching, crowded spaces, darkness and, not to be forgotten, drugs. The concept of liquidarity can be seen as opposed to rebellion as it is claimed to have a negative outcome upon the revolutionary attitudes of youth and on matters of inequality (Garcia, 2011). The ambiguous solidarity between different classes temporarily numbs frustration, violence, and anger without fixing any problem. Furthermore, liquidarity shines some light upon the type of sociability that takes place within a club. One sees people talking and people touching, one sees boundaries falling and diverse people engaging in intense conversation; but the effect is short term. The smoking room, a quieter space with steady light favouring sociability, provides us with an example of liquidarity (see Figure 3). The absence of chairs and tables forces the smoker to sit on the ground or on the stairs. This ROTTERDAM TECHNO SCENE
deficiency enables one to join groups without appearing intrusive. Instead of asking permission to join a table with a finite number of seats around, one can casually rest on the stairs and participate in a conversation. However, it would seem that conversations enable intimacy by gathering strangers who are mainly motivated by the egoistic need to share self-related thoughts. As one pays attention to interactions, one notices that conversations jump from one topic to another and one realizes that talking overwhelms listening. Conversations appear ‘liquid’ as well, the construction of any solid bond through them is questionable.
Figure 3. Maassilo’s smoking room (Maassilo, 2017)
Collectiveness & Individuality Moving back to the dance floor, this time looked at through a bird’s eye view, a unique mass animated by a single rhythm appears. In the huge room, one can see a multitude of hands but is unable to distinguish anybody from the crowd: the experience appears collective. This movement resonates with the idea of Technoïds being One Big Family (Hitlzer & Pfandenhauer, 2002). Examining the crowd further, however, another idea emerges. Participants do not really pay attention to each other; they are into themselves, their eyes are closed, they are all dancing in a different way, expressing their own individuality. Michel Schelvis names this phenomenon ‘collective individualism’ (personal communication, May 2017), an expression which perfectly 150
reflects the exposed idea: the clubber attends the party hoping to feel a piece of a unified community of dancers, but remains alone in his very own perception of the experience. The shared aspects are only external: music and space. Minuscule walls still exist between one and the crowd. Framing Oppositions It seems as rebellion becomes liquidarity, high technology serves for basic sounds, sociability reveals short-term and egocentric interactions, and the collectiveness of the crowd hides individualistic personalities. We believe that this set of binary themes (rebellion/ liquidarity, sociability/egoism, intimacy/individuality) can be placed within a bigger frame, constructed of two main binary themes: freedom & constriction, dark & light. At the core of the techno experience stands the feeling of freedom, sought after by the party goers during the night. The architecture, the setup, the darkness of the rooms, the consumption of drugs and the music, all hint at this emotion. Concepts such as sociability, intimacy and rebellion can be seen as expressions of freedom itself. However, the raver knows that the night will bring with itself also a sentiment of opposed kind: constriction. Constriction to pay for entrance (Maassilo parties are generally three times more expensive than others), and constriction of the welllit bathroom, where tap water (essential substance to overcome the damages ecstasy has on human body) costs money.
Figure 4. Maassiloâ€™s bathroom (Author, 2017)
Or the constriction of the security guardâ€™s glance keeping the smoker room under surveillance. Or even of the light strobes flashing ROTTERDAM TECHNO SCENE
the crowd, hauntingly resembling those of a prison control tower.
Figure 5. Light strobes illuminating the crowd (Maassilo, 2017) and beam light coming from a prison guard tower (Batman, 2013)
As the night comes to a close, the inside lighting trades its panopticon-like flashes for a dull fluorescent light, signalling to the party-goers that it is time to re-enter reality. The sudden switch also represents how limited experience of freedom is, as it only lasts for a determined amount of time. The sun rises, the party is over, people take their bikes and go back home. Conclusion Any space that has been created for leisure and has been set up for a specific public, tells its visitors a story. Literature depicts Techno as the environment able to generate feelings such as freedom, pleasure, acceptance, and rebellion. Interpreting the visual language of the Techno scene is one way to analyse its discourse and see below the surface: its â€˜contradictory soulâ€™ comes to light more evidently. The Techno scene is an interesting topic as we believe that the set of binary themes (rebellion/liquidarity, sociability/egoism, intimacy/individuality) depicts existential contradictions intrinsic to the scene and its audience. Never is there only one side of the coin, as DJs would seem to claim. The Techno scene appears as built upon contrasting elements, revealing a controversial discourse about freedom. Could it be that its popularity derives from the dualistic feelings it fosters? If so, what functions do such contradictions fulfil? Are they connected to greater social developments? Other methods of research are needed to answer these questions, and we leave them open to the readerâ€™s interpretation. As Rose (2016) noted, discourse efficacy resides in the contradictions that allow for interpretative flexibility, and considering 152
the sceneâ€™s increasing popularity, we believe that further research on Techno visual language should be performed to deepen and expand the interpretations presented here.
ROTTERDAM TECHNO SCENE
REFERENCES: Batman (2013). File: Black gate prison. nal Retrieved from ORCZ http://orcz.com/File:Blackgateprisonbao.jpg Mord. (2017, May 5). Mord. Retrieved from https://www.residentadvisor.net/event. Biehl-Missal, B. (2016). Filling the ‘empty aspx?934313 space’: Site-specific dance in a Techno club. Culture and Organization, 1-16. Nye, S. (2009). Love Parade, please not again: A Berlin cultural history. CHO: A Music-CenDax, M., & Samuels, A. J. (2012). How Tech- tered Journal, 9(1). no and Gabber developped in Rotterdam. Retrieved from http://www.electronicbeats. Oltermann, P. (2016). High culture club: net/rotterdam-feature/ Berghain secures same tax status as Berlin concert venues. Retrieved from The Fichte, J. G. (1846). The Destination of Man. Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/ London: Chapman. music/2016/sep/12/berlins-berghain-nightclub-classed-as-culturally-significant-venue Fitzgerald, J. I. (1998). An assemblage of desire, drugs and Techno. Angelaki: Journal Rodgers, N. A. (2015). “House and Techno of the Theoretical Humanities, 3(2), 41-57. Broke Them Barriers Down”: Exploring Exclusion through Diversity in Berlin’s Electronic Garcia, L. M. (2005). On and on: repetition Dance Music Nightclubs (Unpublished master’s as process and pleasure in electronic dance thesis). Linköping University, Sweden. music. Music Theory Online, 11(4), 1-19. Retrieved from http://www.diva-portal.org/ smash/get/diva2:858020/FULLTEXT01.pdf Garcia, L. M. (2011). “Can you feel it, too?”: Intimacy and affect at electronic dance music Rose, G. (2016). Visual methodologies: An inevents in Paris, Chicago, and Berlin. Chicago: troduction to researching with visual materials University of Chicago, Division of the Hu(3rd edition). New York: SAGE pubications. manities, Department of Music. Thomas, H. (2003). The body, dance and culHitzler, R. &. (2002). Existential strategies: tural theory. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. The making of community and politics in the Techno/rave scene. Postmodern existen- Verhagen, S. V. (2000). Fast on 200 beats per tial sociology, 87-101. minute: The youth culture of gabbers in the Netherlands. Youth & Society, 32(2), 147-164. Maassilo. (2017, May 19). Maassilo. Retrieved from http://www.maassilo.com/ zalen-overzicht/ Maassilo. (2019). Geschiedenis – Een 100 jaar oude Graansilo. Retrieved on http:// www.maassilo.com/geschiedenis/ Marx, K. (1872). Capital. Paris: M. Lachâtre. Modular. (2017, Avril 4). Modular Music. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/ pg/ModularMusic/photos/?ref=page_inter-
C. LAMPIS TEMMINK Music as Committed Writing: Exploring Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly (2015) This paper’s aim is to examine Jean Paul Sartre’s concept of political and committed art. Specifically, I will elaborate on why Sartre states that only prose can be political and try to propose an argument for an expansion of this definition to also include music and poetry. This will be done by analysing the political aspects in Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly (2015). I will start by stating Sartre’s argument on why music and poetry – and therefore hip hop – cannot be political. Then I will look into the political aspects of form in the work, into the lyrics and into how political commitment arises from interaction with the work. Following these examples, this paper will argue that Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly is a form of critical art and therefore is political. This point will be further emphasized by highlighting the theories of Jacques Rancière and Chantal Mouffe. Finally, the conclusion reached will be that music can be political art.
Introduction In his text “What is Literature?” (1950, p. 58), Sartre argues for committed literature that engages both the writer of a text as well as its audience. Committed literature puts us, as both audience and as writers, into a position in which we must make a judgement and take a side. For Sartre, this political engagement is a necessary step in changing an unjust world (1950, p. 69). He argues that within art, only literature, and more specifically prose, can be political and committed. In his view music, poetry and painting are non-political because they do not carry meaning in the way that prose does (Sartre, 1950, p. 26). Sartre posited this argument in a tumultuous time: the middle of the twentieth century. Not long after the publication of What is Literature?, the colonies of Sartre’s native land France would start their struggles for independence. Sarte himself was involved with these issues as a writer with strong anti-racist and anti-colonial sentiment (Sartre, 1963, p.xliv). His writing led to engagement of his readers, for instance, activists in the SNCC as a part of the Black Power movement in the United States (Carmichael, min. 2:03, 1966). Since then, many new forms of artistic expression have emerged and have changed the way we access art, as well as how we process media in general. These changes enable us to explore different artistic mediums through which we can engage with the world. To that end, I propose a critique of Sartre’s ideas on committed art. I will MUSIC AS COMMITTED WRITING
do this by comparing Sartre’s arguments on music and poetry with Kendrick Lamar’s hip-hop album To Pimp a Butterfly (2015). I argue that the album is a committed work in both its form and content and therefore that Sartre’s definition of committed literature should be extended to say that music can be politically committed. Sartre’s Argument: Why Music Is Not Committed Sartre argues against music because notes cannot carry meaning in the way that words do. Unlike words, notes are not made up of “signs” (1950, p. 25). Signs refer to concepts outside of themselves and thereby convey a certain meaning or idea (Sartre, 1950, p. 31). Committed art should ignite a spark in the reader and stimulate political thoughts. Prose can do this because it is made up of signs (Sartre, 1950, p. 28). Prose is “utilitarian” (Sartre, 1950, p. 34) and “employed in discourse; its substance is by nature significative – that is, the words are first of all not objects but designations for objects” (p.35). Music is non-committed and non-political because it does not reference to anything outside itself in the way that words in prose do. In terms of notes and melody, Sartre (1950) posits that the meaning of a melody “is nothing outside the melody itself ” (p.27), whereas prose can articulate abstract ideas in multiple different ways. He also declares poetry cannot be considered committed because it focuses on the beauty and the sound of words and not on their meaning (Sartre, 1950, p. 29). The example Sartre provides is how a poet would put together the words “horse” and “butter” as “horses of butter” (Sartre, 1950, p. 29), which does not mean anything. It does not describe the world, nor does it utilize language to transfer a meaning related to the social and political context (p. 29). A poetic phrase such as “horses of butter” could never incite commitment from a reader because there is nothing to commit to, there is nothing for the audience to build on. Hence, even lyrical music and by extension hip-hop cannot be committed. Sartre’s view is that “one does not paint meanings, one does not put meanings into music” (p. 28). However, I will propose a work of music that does refer to political notions outside of itself and that thus can be “employed in discourse” (Sartre, 1950, p. 35). Lyrical Music and Hip-Hop Can Be Political Sartre writes that a poetic attitude hollows out a work, and that its meaning becomes obsolete when the focus is on the aesthetic (Sartre, 156
1950, p. 26). I argue that the beauty of a work does not have to overshadow the significance the words hold. In Kendrick Lamar’s album, the lyrics of To Pimp A Butterfly are colorful and aesthetically pleasing, for instance in terms of rhythm and rhyme. Yet the lyrics also talk about racial issues in The United States and refer to concepts exterior to the work. The album covers a variety of topics, from institutional racism in the ghetto of West-Compton, Los Angeles to the history of slavery of Black people and their current fetishization in mainstream American culture (Wesley’s Theory, track 01, Lamar, 2015). The album opens with Wesley’s Theory: Lamar narrates how he spends his money selfishly and excessively now that he is famous and has escaped the poverty of the ghetto. He spends money on cars, parties, luxury products and guns, self-fulfilling the stereotype of Black people being excessively materialistic and consumerist, working themselves into debt (Wesley’s Theory, min. 1:46-2:11, 2015). This is then followed by the hook: “We should’ve never gave niggas money” (Wesley’s Theory, min 2:11, Lamar, 2015). In For Free? Lamar more directly attacks the existing system of inequality, saying: “Oh America, you bad bitch, I picked cotton and made you rich” (For Free?, track 02, min. 2:03, Lamar, 2015), referring to The United States’ history of enslaving Black people. Lamar also references the #BlackLivesMatter movement and police brutality, for instance in Alright: “Lookin’ at the world like, ‘Where do we go?’ / Nigga, and we hate po-po / Wanna kill us dead in the street fo sho’” (2015). The album is saturated with similar references to the issues concerning the Black struggle in the United States in songs such as Institutionalized, Hood Politics and The Blacker the Berry. Though not always explicitly, the lyrics do refer to issues outside of the work, issues that hold meanings in the real world. The shootings of Black youth in the streets of the United States is not a metaphor. It cannot be interpreted in a myriad of ways or stand for many different meanings. As Sartre would say, Kendrick Lamar’s work is made up of “signs” as well (Sartre, 1950, p. 35). When Kendrick Lamar brings this up, he is pointing to a concrete issue. Different people can interpret these meanings differently, as they hold different values regarding, for example, race. But still, the work is not hollow in the manner Sartre describes music and poetry to be. MUSIC AS COMMITTED WRITING
Form as Political The form of a work can also create political engagement and it can carry a particular meaning. In the case of To Pimp a Butterfly, choosing to incorporate traditionally Black aspects into the music such as hip-hop, jazz, and funk redirects the message to a specific audience who should be able to understand it. The album “[draws] upon and [affirms] Black musical history” (Rocha, 2017, p.1) in its choice of music and samples. It thus already carries meaning just by being what it is: an album with a backdrop of Black musical tradition. Sartre himself stresses the importance of an audience for a work to exist and for it to be committed (1950, p.58, p. 65). In a piece of music or an album, the first thing the audience is confronted with when listening to it is its form: the melody, the instruments used and the genre to which it belongs. In the case of To Pimp a Butterfly, many of the formal aspects are drawn from Black culture and will predominantly be understood by those who carry this cultural history with them. The form of the work is therefore also political, because as it creates political engagement, it also establishes for whom this discourse is most accessible. It takes a side. Creating New Meaning Through Interaction Sartre (1950) states, “To write is to make an appeal to the reader that he led into objective existence the revelation which I have undertaken by means of language” (p. 54). He writes that for a work to have meaning, it must be known by someone else. The meaning of a work then arises in the space between the writer and the audience, as the text has a structure and essence of its own, but there is always someone who will interpret the work and contextualize it within their own frame of reference. Every time a piece of work is read, or heard in the case of music, it is reborn with a slightly different meaning. When investigating the politics of music, Goehr (1994) states: To understand music in all its dimensions, theorists thus argue, it no longer suffices to analyze the form and content of musical works in isolation; we must investigate as well the institutional context in which the composition, performance, and reception, the production, exchange, and distribution of works take place – the context in which the works assume their full meanings (p. 101).
To Pimp a Butterfly is a hip-hop album. Hip-hop is a genre created by African-American youth and originated during house parties in 158
1970s New York. The work is not just listened to in a concert room, it is actually sung at protests and rapped by kids in the street (Coscarelli, 2017; Harris, 2015; King, 2016). To Pimp A Butterfly is not only performed by the author Kendrick Lamar, but the work is reinterpreted by different people on the streets around the world (Coscarelli, 2017). Additionally, social media, streaming and pirating have affected the way in which the work is distributed and exchanged, and have made the album widely accessible. If Sartre writes that meaning arises in that space between audience and writer, then this work illustrates that in practice beautifully. To Pimp a Butterfly is reborn again every time someone takes it up, for instance when a video of people chanting to chorus to Alright is posted on Twitter or when it plays at the reception of a #BlackLivesMatter conference (King, 2016). The textual meaning of a song can be about Kendrick Lamar’s personal struggles growing up in the ghetto or about Compton, about struggling with addiction and depression due to institutionalized racism, yet when the work is taken up by an audience as it has been, during protests and manifestations, an additional layer of meaning is added to it. Sartre argues this is essential for a work to be committed, because if an author simply prescribes a set meaning, this is not engagement (1950, p. 55). Instead, the author should create a certain distance, so the audience still has the freedom to form their own respective emotions in relation to the work. To Pimp a Butterfly allows for this freedom, because although Lamar raps about his own experiences, he does this with a certain distance, talking through a caricature character of himself (Rocha, 2017). To Pimp a Butterfly is a committed work because it does not provide solutions that Kendrick Lamar wants to see. Instead it starts a discourse, by bringing up issues but not fully resolving them. The struggles outlined throughout the album can be used as a reference and a framework, so that others can recognize and contextualize their own struggle. To Pimp A Butterfly provides its audience with the tools to engage with this struggle. Critical Art and Establishing the Political Besides Sartre’s ideas on political writing, there are other similar approaches to political art. Rancière (2010, p.142 ) states that critical art is art that creates ‘dissensus’. Dissensus is a conflict between the intended meaning of a work and the way it is interpreted by the MUSIC AS COMMITTED WRITING
audience. While normally these two aspects should align, political art creates a discrepancy between the meaning and the understanding. Art does this by re-configuring what is held as common sense, for instance by making people who are normally objects into subjects (Dyer, 1997, p.10). Dissensus creates a sense of strangeness, and this strangeness creates a break from the status quo, and thereby, a space in which new meaning can arise. Critical and political art can only exist when there is dissensus (Ranciere, 2010, p.143). The opposite of dissensus is consensus, a state in which everyone agrees with each other. However, consensus can never really exist (Mouffe, 2009, p. 3). Society is built on antagonism, because every group or person defines itself in relation to others. There is always a “we” in relation to a “they” (Mouffe, 2009, p. 2). Every group has different ideals and desires that can never all be realized at the same time. Instead, the idea of consensus is actually the complete domination of one group, so there is no longer conflict or discourse in society, simply because one or more groups do not have a say (Mouffe, 2009, p. 3). Critical art creates dissensus, it establishes a conflict that is necessary for democracy and change. To Pimp a Butterfly creates a misalignment between the intended meaning of the work and the reality the audience is living in, while also highlighting the dissensus existing in society. The border drawn in Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly is the border between the hegemony of white culture over Black people in the United States. “White people create the dominant images of the world and don’t quite see that they thus construct the world in their own image” (Dyer, 1997, p.9). I believe that by writing a hip-hop album from the perspective of a Black person with a Black audience in mind, Lamar contests this hegemony. In my opinion he successfully shows that white people do not necessarily have to be the only actors in society, but that Black people live their own fully-formed lives, instead of being objects on the periphery of white existence. By highlighting the Black experience, Lamar shows that Black lives indeed matter, and deserve as much exploration and representation as white lives have had. Accordingly, changing the dominant discourse in the media means changing the representation of people in society. Since representation is the main way we learn about reality, changing representation means changing reality (Dyer, 1997; Goehr, 1994). 160
Conclusion Before concluding this essay there is one issue that must be addressed. Kendrick Lamar himself said To Pimp a Butterfly was an intimate album and that it carried a lot of meaning for him (Coscarelli, 2017). It feels problematic to take up his work - a testimony to Black America - in an argumentative essay, especially because academia has a history of being a very white institution that has justified the oppression of Black people. Even Lamar (Institutionalized, track 04, Lamar, 2015) himself raps: “Me, scholarship? No, streets put me through colleges”. Therefore, I ought to discuss the paradox that arises from using this particular work in a position essay. However, the work is not being co-opted or stripped of its meaning. On the contrary, in this essay I aimed to show how Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly is a politically committed work. As a consequence, To Pimp a Butterfly shows that other forms of art, in particular music, can be committed by Sartre’s definition. Kendrick Lamar concludes the album with a poem that is laced through the entire work in fragments and then consolidated in the final song of the album, Mortal Man (2015). Here is an excerpt: But while my loved ones was fighting the continuous war back in the city I was entering a new one A war that was based on apartheid and discrimination Made me wanna go back to the city and tell the homies what I learned The word was respect Just because you wore a different gang color than mine’s Doesn’t mean I can’t respect you as a black man Forgetting all the pain and hurt we caused each other in these streets If I respect you, we unify and stop the enemy from killing us But I don’t know, I’m no mortal man.
Sartre (1950) said: “And if I am given this world with its injustices, it is not so that I may contemplate them coldly, but that I may animate them with my indignation, that I may disclose them and create them with their nature as injustices, that is, as abuses to be suppressed” (p. 66). Lamar is attempting the same thing: engaging his audience, urging them to take a position against the injustices Black communities face.
MUSIC AS COMMITTED WRITING
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Coscarelli, J. (2017, December 21). Kendrick Lamar on the Grammys, Black Lives Matter and His Big 2015. Retrieved from https:// www.nytimes.com/2016/01/03/arts/music/ kendrick-lamar-on-a-year-of-knowingwhat-matters.html
Rocha, D.A. (2017). Kendrick Lamar and Hip Hop as a Medium for Social Change. The Cupola, Scholarship at Gettysburg College, 1-11
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Goehr, L. (1994). Political Music and the Sartre, J., & Sédar, S. (2003). Black Orpheus. Politics of Music. The Journal of Aesthetics New York: French & European Publications. and Art Criticism, 52(1), 99-112. doi:10.2307/431589 Harris, A. (2015, August 03). Is Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” the New Black National Anthem? Retrieved from https://slate.com/ culture/2015/08/black-lives-matter-protesters-chant-kendrick-lamars-alright-whatmakes-it-the-perfect-protest-song-video. html?via=gdpr-consent King, J. (2016, February 11). The Improbable Story of How Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” Became a Protest Anthem. Retrieved from https://mic.com/articles/134764/ the-improbable-story-of-how-kendricklamar-s-alright-became-a-protest-anthem#.1GcA9feLL Lamar, K. (2015). To Pimp A Butterfly. Lamar, K. (Ft. George Clinton & Thundercat) – Wesley’s Theory. (2015, March 23). Retrieved from https://genius.com/Kendrick-lamar-wesleys-theory-lyrics Mouffe, C. (2009). On the political. London:
The EUC student academic journal (ESAJ) is an academic journal led by students of Erasmus University College in Rotterdam, The Netherlands....
Published on Jan 9, 2020
The EUC student academic journal (ESAJ) is an academic journal led by students of Erasmus University College in Rotterdam, The Netherlands....