Table of Contents 4
Camille Shepherd, Research Officer at the Learning and Teaching Development Uni & Tom Lowe, Vice President - Education
An Investigation into Anglo-Spanish Relations with particular regards to the crisis in the Netherlands
A Critical Review of the Pathophysiology of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Alex Browne
14 The Art of ‘Diss Tracks’
21 Small Odds
UK Banking Industry: AComparison of Barclays Bank PLC and the Co-operative Bank PLC Using Communication from the Annual Reports Jane Trenwith
46 A Critical Exploration of the Effects of Secondary
RE Teaching in terms of Community Cohesion Lilly Clark
50 Women’s Political Participation and their Legislative Representation Max Stafford
58 Exploring the Representations of American Femininity
and Feminism in the Television Series, Gilmore Girls
Submit work to Alfred
30 Britain’s “Cinderella Territory” - Weihaiwei 1898-1940
37 Corporate Governance in the
Preface We are thrilled to bring you the first student edited and student designed edition of the Alfred journal. Partnering with students and Winchester Students Union has been an ongoing theme at The University of Winchester this year with the roll-out of the Student FellowScheme. The Learning and Teaching Development Unit has experienced great succeses the past 48 months working with students on FASTECH, Mobile Device Scheme and most recently the Student Fellow Scheme and we felt that Alfred was the perfect place to engage students and provide them with an opportunity for professional development. Additionally, this year our goal was to move to a digital platform so that students are able to include the many creative and digital pieces of work that could not be presented in a paper format. Thanks are due to Emma Nail (Theology and Religious Studies) and Markus Rwabyomere (Digital Media Design) for their hard work in bringing this issue to life. Yet again we received a record number of submissions from students making our selection process difficult, but we are pleased to present a sample of some of the finest undergraduate work from across the faculties at Winchester.
Alfred was created in 2009 to share the great academic work of final year undergraduate students at the University of Winchester. This fifth edition of Alfred celebrates eight exceptional undergraduate articles of research from students from all four of the University of Winchesterâ€™s Faculties. It includes works on the modern day finance industry, international relations in Anglo-Saxon Europe and Women in party politics, all written by undergraduate students. Winchester is committed to celebrate student success in every form of engagement from academic to extra-curricular. Through congratulating both excellence in research and improvement in academic writing, talent is encouraged and advanced from an undergraduate level. The success and growth of the Winchester Research Apprenticeship Programme (WRAP) has allowed students to work with academic staff to experience professional research as well as gain recognition in published work. Within the new Student Fellow Scheme, students are participating in pedagogic research in staff-student partnerships, leading in the national student engagement agenda. This will provide further research experience to students, more publication possibilities and greater employability potential.
Camille Shepherd and Emma Nail
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Learning and Teaching Development Unit The University of Winchester
Tom Lowe Vice President, Education Winchester Student Union
AN INVESTIGATION INTO ANGLO-SPANISH RELATIONS WITH PARTICULAR REGARDS TO THE CRISIS IN THE NETHERLANDS IN 1558-1588 Adam Bowley
This article aims to investigate Anglo-Spanish relations during Elizabeth I’s reign, from her succession in 1558 to the Anglo-Spanish Conflict in 1588, focusing on the crises and issue of the sovereignty of the Netherlands. It will explore changes in the relationship between England and Spain during this period with an emphasis on the English perspective from Elizabeth I and her closest advisers in order to discover how far Elizabeth’s policy over the Netherlands contributed to increased tension between the two powers. This will be achieved by investigating the period as a whole as well as taking a thematic approach, discussing themes covering economic, political and religious issues to evaluate how and why the relationship between the two countries changed. The Netherlands and the issue of the sovereignty were important for three reasons. The first being political reasons because the Netherlands were a possible threat to England’s security. The Sovereign of the Netherlands was Philip II and, with the decline of Anglo –Spanish relations, the Netherlands could be used as a springboard for the invasion of England, because of the proximity of the Low Countries to England’s Southern Coast (Williams, 1995, Chapters 7-8). The second reason was religion, as England needed Protestant allies against Catholic countries not only to reform the faith in England but to make both the country and the monarchy secure. The third reason was economic because of the importance of the wool trade for the English merchants and the willingness of the Low Countries to lend money to Elizabeth and her government (Williams, 1995, Chapters 7-8, Outhwaite, 1971, p.251-263). The Dutch Revolt, 1559-1648, is vital to the understanding of the Anglo-Spanish relation in Elizabeth’s reign. This is due to the effect this had on Elizabeth and her foreign policy as the Revolt effected the trade, security and religion of England. The Dutch Revolt is a complex subject and only the years 1558-1588 are relevant for this article, The revolts would come to be important for Elizabeth as they would cause refugees to flee to England, increase piracy in the Channel and increase the security threat when later the Spanish army was stationed in the Low Countries and, towards the end of her reign, the Netherlands became the centre point of military conflict. It is generally accepted that the sovereignty of the Netherlands was an important cause of the Armada and the Thirty Years War (Black, 1959 Chapter 9 and 10, Williams, 1995, Chapter 8) However, despite this, existing sources that explore the relationship between England and Spain at the time only consider the issue of the Netherlands as part of a more general discussion of foreign policy. This work is unique as the sole focus of this investigation will be to use sources illustrating the English perspective that concentrate on the issue of the Netherlands and its part in the causes of the Spanish Armada. During the period 1558-1570 Elizabeth’s main focus of
Foreign Policy was Anglo-Franco relations (Simons, 2003,p.43-48. Potter, 2011, p.613-28). This was because Elizabeth ascended to the throne during a time of war with France. This was a byproduct of the Italian Wars which Elizabeth inherited because of her sister’s marriage to Philip II which brought England into the current Franco-Spanish conflict. The conflict between France and England continued for some time principally taking Elizabeth’s and her advisers’ attention as the French threatened to invade England from the North via Scotland. Historians have focused on the immediate threat to Elizabeth and England and the issue of Anglo-French relations in 1558-1570. With historians focusing on Anglo-French relations during this first phrase of Elizabeth’s reign, Anglo-Spanish relations have been over looked. Historians have concluded that the relationship was good and that, on an occasion or two, there were difficulties between Spain and England (Doran, 2000, Chapter 2 and 3). Historians such as Susan Doran come to the conclusion that ‘The only serious breach before December 1568 arose out of quarrels over commerce and was quickly mended without too much damage to the political amity’ (Ibid, p.15). Doran explains why she believes this by examining the trade embargo and the problems surrounding trade with the Netherlands. Doran also states that because the trade embargo did not stretch to Spain, no damage was done to Anglo-Spanish relations only to Anglo-Flemish relations. However, Doran maybe right in saying that the trade embargo briefly damaged Anglo-Flemish relations (Ibid, Chapter 2 and 3) but the Netherlands were part of Philip’s Spanish Hapsburg inheritance, therefore, surely if there was any damage to Anglo-Flemish relations, Anglo-Spanish relations would have also been damaged. Doran states that in 1567/8 when the Duke of Alba arrived in the Netherlands at the head of a Spanish army Anglo-Spanish relations started to come under strain. This not only alarmed Elizabeth but her advisers too. This was because of the security threat that Alba’s army brought to England (Doran, 2000, Chapter 2 and 3. Williams, 1995, p.250-253). This view is also shared by Alan G.R Smith who emphasises this event as “an obvious threat to English security” (Smith, 1984, p.159). Clearly, historians have the right theory regarding the arrival of the army. However, they seem to undermine the importance of other factors that appear throughout this period. The ability to borrow money from the Low Countries was an enormous benefit to England and Elizabeth as it enabled Elizabeth to pay for defensives and infrastructure in times of low tax income and times of war (Outhwaite, 1971, p.251- 263). It was also important for bankers of the Netherlands as it produced an income from the interest on the debts. This in turn continued the
healthy Anglo-Spanish relations as the Netherlands were hugely important to Elizabeth’s royal finances. This relationship between the English monarch and the bankers in the Low Countries had been established for decades and the relationship flourished as there was mutual trust between both parties (Doran, 2000, Chapters 2 and 3). This relationship can be seen with Elizabeth’s continuing to borrow money from merchants in the Low Countries, which amounted to tens of thousands of pounds from the start of her reign in 1559 to 1570. This point is highlighted by the historian R.B. Outhwaite, in his article examining Elizabeth’s financial arrangement and the impact the unrest in the Netherlands had on this arrangement (Outhwaite, 1971, p.251- 263). Outhwaite explains that by 1560 Elizabeth’s advisers were asking her to question borrowing money from the Netherlands and instead borrow from internal sources as underlying tension was starting to appear between England and Spain. This became apparent in 1569 when Antwerp was closed to the English as this cut Elizabeth off from easily accessible money that had a low interest rate (Ibid). From the 1560s, tension was building between the Spanish Netherlands and England and as a result it starting to effect economic relations. The result being a period where Elizabeth had to borrow money from the City of London as she could no longer borrow from the markets in the Low Countries (Ibid). This brief suspension of borrowing shows a small decline in Anglo-Spanish relations as the suspension would not have occurred if there was no underlying issue and discontent in the relationship. It also shows a decline in the relations because it caused an underlying issue of mistrust that was to erode the relationship throughout this period. Economic tensions reached breaking point in 1563 when a trading embargo was implemented on English merchants (Doran, 2000, Chapter 2 and 3. Williams, 1995, p.250-253). This event affected Anglo-Spanish relations more than historians have previously suggested. The cause of the embargo highlights significant underlying issues in the relationship between England and Spain. This can be seen by looking at the Proclamation against English Merchants from December 7th 1563. This Proclamation suggests that the English merchants had issues of resentment towards foreigners or, more importantly, merchants connected to Spain and as a result the embargo has been implemented until further notice. This feeling can be easily linked back to Wyatt’s rebellion in 1554 which protested against Mary I’s marriage to Philip II (Doran, 2000 Chapters 1-3. Williams, 1995, p.98-102) this resulted in higher feelings of xenophobia towards the Spanish as there was fears that England would be absorbed into the Spanish Empire and forced into a war to benefit Spain (Ibid). This xenophobic feeling towards Spain was an underlying issue that continued throughout the sixteenth century. The proclamation of 1563 builds on the edict from the Duchess of Parma on November 1563 (1438. Edict of the Duchess of Parma, 1869, p.593-604). This was an issue for Elizabeth and England because the Netherlands was controlled by Spain and therefore any problem’s in the Netherlands affects Anglo-Spanish relations. The proclamation states that ‘As the plague is raging in England, and especially at London, she forbids the importation of any woollen goods or cloths from thence into the Low Countries until Candlemas Day’ (Ibid). The previous quote shows that trade was suspended due to the risk of plague but, even though plague was active during this century, this break in trade helped lead to the decline of Anglo-Spanish relations as it fuelled
the underlying issues of mistrust. There was also a lack of communication between both sets of merchants over treaties and the standard of trade: both sides expected the other side to abide by. This miscommunication was allowed to occur and develop into hostile feelings towards each other. This as a result led to the trade embargo and a feeling of mistrust on both sides. Clearly, what this evidence is showing is a situation of tension that had been building for a long time, even before the trade embargo had started in 1563. This shows that the Anglo-Spanish relation was under threat a long time before many historians realise, much earlier than they state. Previously historians have suggested that the first sign of trouble in Anglo-Spanish relations are the events of 1567 (Doran, 2000, p.14-16. Williams, 1995, p.250-253, 264-265). They are correct in suggesting that the major problem facing Elizabeth was the security of her throne and country. This was of high importance when the Duke of Alba arrived with a large army in the Netherlands to put down the uprising and troubles that was occurring with the leading nobles such as William of Orange (Doran, 2000, p.6). However, there were a few flash points of political tension before 1567. The loss of Calais in 1558 contributed to the growing tension in AngloSpanish relations’ because of the lack of help from their Spanish allies who said they would help Elizabeth in reclaiming Calais yet failed to do so (Richards, 2010, p.52). This certainly did not help with the issue of trust which had already been tested and as a result it allowed further problems to occur. Another issue that must be mentioned was Elizabeth’s refusal of Philip II’s marriage offer in 1559 (Doran, 1989, Chapter 1, 2000, p.908-928). This, of course, was a blow to Anglo-Spanish relations’ as Philip needed the English on side to have safe access to the Netherlands via the sea through the English Channel (Parker, 1998, p.147-8.) Then, with Elizabeth accepting refugees from the Netherlands who were flooding into the country, because of the religious troubles in the Low Countries too English pirates raiding Spanish treasure ship in the channel (Richards, 2010, p.119-120). All these small factors helped to undermine the Anglo-Spanish relations’ during this period (1558-1570) which helped lead to a bigger break down in the relationship later on in Elizabeth’s reign. The biggest political threat came in 1567 when the Duke of Alba arrived in the Netherlands with an army numbering around 10,000 men (Doran, 2000, p.6, Guy 1988, p.67-9, MacCaffrey 1968, Chapters 2 and 3). This arrival sent the English court into a state of panic due to the security threat this army brought. Many historians such as Doran, Williams and Black all agree with this view (Williams, 1995, Chapter 7). The reason why the army was sent to the Netherlands was due to the religious and political unrest that was continuing from decades before. Members of the nobility in the Netherlands believed the Spanish Inquisition was being brought over from Spain (Parker, 1979, Chapter 2, 1990, p.27). The people believed this was an attack on their freedom as many of them were Protestant and felt the king was becoming a tyrant by not allowing them freedom of worship.
The arrival of the army threatened England and Elizabeth because it increased the risk of invasion due to the location of the Low Counties to Kent as the Netherlands could be used as a spring board for invasion if Philip decided he needed to control or remove Elizabeth from the throne (Williams, 1995, Chapters 7-8). The arrival of the army was the starting point in which the Anglo-Spanish relations declined politically. Philip felt it was necessary to send Alba to stop domestic unrest in Spanish held lands, yet in doing so, he damaged his relations with Elizabeth as she felt threatened and as result, the Anglo-Spanish relations was damaged. The aftermath of this event had dramatic effects on Anglo-Spanish relations as it resulted in the suspension of trade between Spain and England in 1569 which lasted until 1573 (Doran, 1995, p. xvi- xvii). The full details of suspension of trade can be seen by the Proclamation in the Low Countries which was made in March 1569 explaining why the Spanish suspended trade once again (199. Proclamation in the Low Countries, 1874, p.40-56). During the period 1558-1570, we can clearly see several events that undermine and put pressure on the Anglo-Spanish relations. This new approach of looking at this period of Elizabeth’s foreign policy from the start of the reign until 1570 in slightly more detail shows that other historians have dismissed most of these events and claimed everything before 1567 as unimportant or rather not significant enough to analyse in great detail. Yet this factors shows that not only was there tensions growing for economic reasons but there was also signs of tension political. This helps to show a steady decline from 1558 and helps to show the steady collapse of relations from an earlier stage than previously thought. Historians have also paid close attention to the years 1570-1580 as this was the period that Anglo-Spanish relations broke down and could not be fully repaired (Doran, 2000, Chapter 4. Williams, 1995, Chapter 8). This includes the Spanish Fury, the seizing of Spanish Treasury ships, the continued suspension of trade, the Sea Beggars, and the Revolts in the Netherlands and plots against the Queen’s life. All of these factors lead to the steady decline of relations between Spain and England adding to the level of mistrust and dislike towards one another. Key historians described Anglo-Spanish relations as a “crises” (Doran, 2000, p.25. Potter 2011, p.615-616) in this period of time due to the political unrest situated around the Netherlands. In the Netherlands itself, the Duke of Alba was continuing the pacification of the Protestant faith after his victory of the first revolt in 1568. Alba also needed to raise new funds to pay for the defensives and administration costs of the army in Flanders (Ibid). Alba tried to force the Low Countries to pay the tax he wanted and he even threatened the use of force and as a result a hand full of the estates sent deputies to Spain to protest against Alba’s actions (Limm, 1989, p.34-5). With Alba’s actions, trade falling and employment rises, and the Sea Beggars attacking in 1572, the Second Revolt started (Ibid) which affected Anglo-Spanish relations negatively.
Religion played an important role in Anglo-Spanish relations. This became more apparent in this decade. There are two events that are external to the issue of the Netherlands and they have to be addressed as they had a huge impact of Anglo-Spanish relations and the European scene as a whole. The first event was the Regnans in Excelsis. The Papal Bull of 1570 that excommunicated Elizabeth I (Pius V, ‘Regnans in Excelsis’, 1570). This Papal Bull had an effect on Elizabethan foreign policy. In terms of foreign policy it isolated England from her main trading partners and meant that Elizabeth had to ally herself and England to the Protestant Princes of Germany to help combat the growing Catholic threat (Trim, 2005, p.139-77). This therefore damaged Anglo-Spanish relation’s even more as Philip II being a devout Catholic would have taken this excommunication seriously as he would not have wanted to defy the Pope nor would he want the German Princes being given support as it threatened the stability of his Catholic lands therefore undermining Anglo-Spanish relations as the German Princes helped support the revolt in the Netherlands that in turn helped to undermine Philip’s authority even more. The Second event was the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in 1572; this affected Elizabeth and England because the Massacre was directed towards the Protestants Huguenots in France. The shock of the massacre had a great impact on the Protestant world as there was fear and anger over what happened and how the massacre occurred. This caused a problem for Elizabeth as many of her Protestant advisers called on her to act and send troops to France to help the French Protestants by giving them military aid. This would have meant Elizabeth was openly supporting Protestants against the Catholics which was a very difficult situation for Elizabeth to be in as this would have put England in a situation that threatened her peace agreement with France and could alienate Spain and Philip even more as Elizabeth would be openly supporting the Protestant factions in France. Elizabeth therefore decided to do nothing directly and instead involve herself by proxy. Elizabeth’s policy of “proxy” allowed tens of thousands of Protestant refugees and exiles to flood into England when the revolts and persecution of the Council of Troubles occurred, something Philip was not pleased with (Limm, 1989, p.35). Elizabeth also offered Protestant’s her protection later on in this decade which can be seen with her answer to the people of Holland in 1575 which state that “In case the King of Spain and his ministers shall not agree to give them liberty of exercising their religion her Majesty can be content to receive them into her protection.” (544. The Queens Answer to the Hollanders, 1880, p.206-224). This helped further the decline of Anglo-Spanish relations as Elizabeth was undermining Philips authority in one of his realms by offering religious freedom to his subjects, which is something as a Catholic monarch he refused to do. David Trim suggests that the refugees themselves enjoyed the protection they found in England and that because of this the Spanish started to fear Elizabeth’sintentions early on and from that point Philip decided for the first time that Elizabeth should be removed (Trim, 2005, p.148). Elizabeth also funded the Protestants rebels in the Netherlands to help form an alliance to combat the growing Catholic threat. In the years 1575-6 Elizabeth lent £100,000s to the Dutch rebels to help them raise and supply armies and to continue the war with Spain, (Ibid, p.161) with more money being lent to fund the war in later years. This highlights a decline in Anglo-Spanish relations because, not only was Elizabeth funding rebels in someone else’s sovereign territory,
she was supporting the Protestants’ cause in Europe. These two elements together no doubt would have angered Philip and hindered Anglo-Spanish relations as Elizabeth appeared to some degree to be involving herself in someone else’s country ( the Netherlands) by proxy. Many in England believed that Philip II was responsible for the excommunication of 1570 (Ibid, p.30) and as a result increasing the threat to England and Elizabeth’s throne therefore adding to more mistrust of the Spanish in the English court as it was believed that Philip II was also partly behind the Northern Rebellion of 1569. The incident of the Sea Beggars in 1572 and the seizing of the port of Brill helped to trigger the Second Dutch revolt which undermined the authority of Philip II in the Netherlands (Doran, 2000, p.30. Williams, 1995, p.264). This incident was started because Elizabeth and her advisers tried to rekindle Anglo-Spanish relations by ordering the Sea Beggars to leave English ports on March 1st (Williams, 1995, p.264). This had the result of the Netherlands being attacked and further damage to Anglo-Spanish relation occurring (Doran, 2000, p.33. Trim, 2005, p.139-77). According to Doran these events continued to damage Anglo-Spanish relations because Philip II believed the English intervention helped the rebels in the Low Countries to continue their resistance (Doran, 2000, p.34). In 1576 according to Simon Adams, Elizabeth was offered the sovereignty of the Netherlands unofficially (Simons, 2003, p.303-319). This meant that there was no treaty, just a visit by three of the leading supporters of the Prince of Orange to Elizabeth I and her court. (Ibid) Elizabeth was offered the sovereignty in a time of political unrest in the Netherlands. Negotiation between the Rebels and Philip II failed in reaching an agreement over the issue of religion which resulted in the provinces of Holland and Zeeland revoking Philips sovereignty therefore turning to a ruler who had similar interests, Elizabeth I (Trim, 2005, p.139-77). This undermined the authority of Philip II as the Netherlands was part of Philips land and with two of the provinces publicly offering their sovereignty to another ruler who was a Protestant would have been a humiliating event. That would not have only angered Philip but alienated him against Elizabeth even more. Of course, Elizabeth refused the sovereignty on this occasion and in the occasions in 1578 as she wanted to avoid open war with Spain however this did not stop her interfering within the Netherlands at all (Simons, 2003, p.303-319. Doran, 2000, p.37). During this period we also see the Duke of Anjou appear in the English court in 1578 offering to marry Elizabeth I and starting to appear in Elizabeth’s foreign policy (Doran, 2000, p.41. Williams, 1995, p.271-91. Black, 1959, Chapter 4. Maccaffrey, 1981, p.217-302). Even though the marriage did not take place, Elizabeth was involved in discussing the option of sending English forces to the Netherlands or using the Duke as a proxy weapon against the Spanish (Ibid). However, Elizabeth feeling uncomfortable with both options decided to fund a mercenary army to fight in the Netherlands under the leadership of John Casimir therefore causing Anglo-Spanish relations to decline further as she was now funding a military force in the Netherlands (Doran, 2000, p.34-41). The Suspension of trade between Spain and England continued to 1573 when trade was resumed (713.Articles for Compounding the Difference between Spain and England, 1876, p.354-367). However, this brief period of renewed trade was short lived as in 1576 the
Spanish fury occurred in Antwerp and, this drove away many of the English merchants that remained (Doran, 2000, p.34-41). 1570-80 was a period of decline in Anglo-Spanish relations. This period saw religion and politics becoming important issues in Anglo-Spanish relations with the economic aspects helping to contribute to the decline. By 1580 the situation had reached a dramatic stage, Elizabeth throughout this decade had undermined Philip’s authority and showed that England and her Queen would not be pushed around. Anglo-Spanish relations had taken a turn for a worse and the consequences were going to follow. By 1580, with the Prince of Orange and the Duke of Anjou appearing more in Elizabeth’s foreign policy war looked like a possibility. The situation in the Netherlands during by 1580 dramatically changed. Two years before this period begins the United Provinces under the Union of Utrecht was created in 1578 (Limm, 1989, p.51-53). The Prince of Orange joined the union in 1579 as not to be isolated and face the Catholic powers alone (Ibid). In response to the creation of the Untied Provinces, the southern Catholic provinces formed their own union known as Union at Arras, on 6th January 1579 (Limm, 1989, p.51-53). Over the course of a four year period the United Provinces looked for outside support but it was not until 1584 that this help was needed most. 1580-88 saw very little change in the Anglo-Spanish relations in terms of economics and religion. In terms of economics, very little trade between the Spanish Netherlands and the main land was occurring with England. The Netherlands was in total turmoil as it was divided therefore making it hard for trade to resume. By the middle of this decade the factor of economics had decreased dramatically to being in the background in Anglo-Spanish relations. As for religion, the same troubles continued from the last decade into this eight year period and instead of religion being its own factor in the decline of Anglo-Spanish relations it became part of the political troubles. The divide between the Protestant powers in Europe and that of the Catholic powers started to become more apparent and within a few years it had grown and become a threat to stability of Europe. Politics in 1580-88 became the most important factor in the decline of Anglo-Spanish relations. This is because the Netherlands became the location of military action for England as it became central to Elizabeth’s foreign policy. It is also the location that took the attention of the France and Spain. 1580-1 was a turning point in Anglo-Spanish relations as Philip II moved to acquire the Kingdom of Portugal (Doran, 2000, p.39. Williams, 1995, p.283. Philip II, The Portuguese Succession, 2003, p.112-116). This enabled him to turn his attention to the problems in the Low Countries and the involvement of England as this gave him the resources and power to enhance his Navy power (Williams, 1995, p.283). The increased of Philips naval power was a threat to England as it allowed Philip to have the capability to launch an invasion of England. Problems arose for Elizabeth and England in 1584 when the Prince of Orange was assassinated by a royalist (Simons, 2004, p.309-319). This meant that the United Provinces no longer had a leader that could unify and lead them in their war against Spain. This meant that the United Provinces had to look for external help (Limm, 1989, p.55).
This caused a problem for Elizabeth and Anglo-Spanish relations because the remaining members of the United Provinces needed to find a leader that had similar religious and political interests therefore they chose Elizabeth which would put further pressure on an already strained AngloSpanish relationship. Another problem for Elizabeth was that the Duke of Anjou died in 1584, this meant that Elizabeth’s “proxy” was no longer available to fight a war for her (Simons, 2004, p. 309-319. Doran, 2000, p.41. Williams, 1995, p.299). However, Anjou’s military involvement in the Netherlands was a huge failure, and it achieved nothing for either Anjou, Elizabeth or for the United Provinces (Ibid). The death of Anjou meant that if Elizabeth wanted to get involved in the Netherlands she would have to either find someone else to fund or send her own army into the Netherlands. But with the assassination of the Prince of Orange, Elizabeth’s choice was limited, as there was no real contender to replace the role of the Duke of Anjou. While for Philip, it meant he could now deal with Elizabeth to stop further involvement in the Netherlands as his other problems, especially those with the Turks, were no longer pressing. In 1585 Elizabeth was offered the sovereignty of the newly formed United Provinces of the Netherlands with the agreement of Utrecht (Foedera, Conventiones, Litterae, ed. Thomas Rymer, 1740, p.183. Simons, 2004, p.309-319). In short, this agreement asked Elizabeth to take control of the Netherlands as the members of the United Provinces no longer recognised Philip’s authority. It not only did this but it asked her and her government help in the war against Philip because Philip was not allowing them religious freedom and there liberties and rights that they use to enjoy (Ibid). This was very important factor in Anglo-Spanish relations as Elizabeth yet again was offered the sovereignty of someone else’s lands. This angered Philip and caused him to plan the invasion of England (Doran, 2000, p.52-3. Simons, 2004, p.309-319. Williams, 1995, p.309-311). This official offer of sovereignty to Elizabeth symbolises the last strand of relations between England and Spain and despite Elizabeth’s refusal of the sovereignty she did agree to be the protector of the Netherlands until further agreements could be made (Doran, 2000, p.52-3. Simons, 2004, p.309-319). After the sovereignty offer in 1584, Anglo-Spanish relations took a turn for a worse. There was no option but for a military conflict. In 1584 Elizabeth agreed to send troops and money to the Netherlands under the Treaties of Nonsuch (Treaties of Nonsuch, p.83-88). Under this treaty Elizabeth agreed to send and pay for the upkeep and supply of an army of 5000 foot soldiers and 1000 cavalry (Ibid). This treaty also outlined the time scale of when the United Provinces would pay Elizabeth back as well as establishing the towns the English would garrison as an insurance policy to make sure she got her loans back (Ibid). The treaty also had clauses where Elizabeth was not allowed to have diplomatic relations with Spain over the issue of the United Provinces unless the State General agreed or advised her therefore limiting Elizabeth’s power over the newly formed Netherlands (Ibid). This challenges Doran’s idea as she argues that these clauses were to stop them making peace without Elizabeth’s consent (Doran, 2000, p.4). The signing of these treaties and the sending of the Earl of Leicester with an English army was an unofficial
declaration of war therefore putting an end to friendly Anglo-Spanish relations. This final period of Anglo-Spanish relations shows a clearly defined turn for the worst. Through external and directly linked events the relations between England and Spain went from bad to worse as by the middle of the period in 1585 England and Spain were in an undeclared war. However, by the end of the period in 1588 England and Elizabeth were under threat of invasion with the Netherlands becoming the launch paid for invasion and the Enterprise of England was beginning to unfold. 1580-88 can truly be described as a period filled with tensions that had been building up before and since 1558, and that had reached breaking point. With external events allowing Philip to turn his attention to England and the Netherlands the tensions in Anglo-Spanish relations was bound to break and Elizabeth sending an English army to the Netherlands in 1585 was the trigger for war. The period that followed has had many publications focusing on the Spanish Armada and subsequent war. For this reason, the Armada of 1588 and the war with Spain are not covered in this article as the topic has been explored extensively. Many of the historians that have been used throughout this investigation cover the period 1588-1603. The Anglo-Spanish conflict highlights the final chapter in relations during Elizabeth’s reign as after years of undermining each other’s authority and the build-up of mistrust over many issues, both powers finally came to blows. One of the main reasons for this was, in Philip’s own words, the issue of the Netherlands: The Second is, that all the places in my Netherlands which the English hold shall be restored to me: and the third is that they (the English) shall recompense me for the injury they have done to me, my dominions, and my subjects; (From Philip II, to the Duke of Parma, April, 1978, p.70-1) Overall, Anglo-Spanish relations during the period 1558-1588 saw a clear and steady decline. The main reason for this was because of Elizabeth’s attitudes and policy to Philip’s sovereign territory, the Netherlands. This article shows the Netherlands and the issue of the sovereignty was important for multiple reasons, the first was political, due to the threat to England’s and Elizabeth’s security as the Netherlands could be used as a springboard for the invasion because of the proximity of the Low Countries to England’s Southern Coast. The second reason was religion, as England needed Protestant allies to combat the Catholic threat that had increased throughout this period (Trim, 2005, p.139-178). The third reason was economic because of the importance of the wool trade for the English merchants and the willingness of the Low Countries to lend money to Elizabeth and her government (Outhwaite, 1971, p.251-263) although this decreased in importance as time went on. This analysis of Elizabeth’s foreign policy towards Spain shows that the Netherlands was an important factor in the decline in Anglo-Spanish relations from 1558-88 but external factors also helped to cause the decline. Therefore, this article has indicated that there was mistrust, religious tension, unwanted involvement in domestic issues and dislike from both Spain and England from
Elizabeth’s succession to the climax in 1588.
Limm,P., (1989) The Dutch Revolt 1559-1648. New York.
This investigation in Anglo-Spanish relations during the period 1558-88 focusing on the Netherlands is only the surface of a very complex issue that previously historians have not fully given credit or time to in their general works. Therefore, this article can be the starting point which historians of the Elizabethan period can use when looking at the issue of Anglo-Spanish relations, as the Netherlands as Loades states is key to understanding Elizabeth’s foreign policy and the focus point of economic, religious and political tensions (Loades, 2012, p.107).
Loades, D., (2012) The Tudors. London.
References 199. Proclamation in the Low Countries. March 1569’, (1874), Calendar of State Papers Foreign, Elizabeth, Volume 9: 1569-1571, pp. 40-56. 544. The Queens Answer to the Hollanders 1575 Calendar of State Papers Foreign, Elizabeth, (1880),Volume 11: 1575-77, p.206-224. 1460. Proclamation against English Merchants December 1563, 1-10’, (1869), Calendar of State Papers Foreign, Elizabeth, Volume 6: 1563, pp.604-615. 713.Articles for Compounding the Difference between Spain and England, 1573, (1876), Calendar of State Papers Foreign, Elizabeth, Volume 10: 1572-1574, p.354-367. Pius V, ‘Regnans in Excelsis’, Given at St. Peter’s at Rome, on 25 February 1570, http://www. papalencyclicals.net/Pius05/p5regnans.html. 21. Philip II, (2003), The Portuguese Succession (1579) Early Modern Spain: A Documentary History (Ed) Jon Cowans, p.112-116, Pennsylvania. Foedera, Conventiones, Litterae, ed. Thomas Rymer (io vols., The Hague, 1740o), vI, 183. Treaties of Nonsuch, S.W., A General Collection of Treatys, Volume 2, p.83-88. Black,J,B., (1959) The Reign of Elizabeth 1558-1603.Oxford. Doran,S., (1989) ‘Religion and Politics at the Court of Elizabeth I: The Habsburg Marriage Negotiations of 1559-1567’, The English Historical Review, Vol. 104, No. 413, pp. 908-926.
Maccaffrey,T, W., (1968) The Shaping of the Elizabethan Regimes: Elizabethan Politics , 15581572. New Jersey. Maccaffrey T,W., (1981) Queen Elizabeth and Making of Policy 1572-1588. New Jersey. Outhwaite. R.B., (1971) ‘Royal borrowing in the reign of Elizabeth I: The aftermath of Antwerp’ Oxford Journal, p251- 263. Parker,G., (1979) The Dutch Revolt. Harmondsworth. Parker, G., (1990) Spain and the Netherlands 1559-1659: ten studies. London. Parker.G., (1998) The Grand Strategy of Philip II. New Heaven. Potter,D., (2011) England and Europe 1558-1585 , The Elizabethan World, p613-28. London. Richards,M,J., (2010) Elizabeth I. London. Simons,A., (2003) The Succession and Foreign Policy, History Today Vol 53, p42-48. Simon,A., (2004) Introduction Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Sixth Series, Vol.14, pp.119-122. Simon,A., (2004) Elizabeth and the Sovereignty of the Netherlands 1576-1585, Royal Historical Society , Sixth Series Vol.14, pp.309-319. Smith,G.R, A., (1984) The Emergence of a Nation State: The commonwealth of England 15291600. London. Trim, J,B,D., (2005) Seeking a Protestant Alliance and liberty of Conscience on the Continent 1550-85, Tudor England and it Neighbours Basingstoke, p.139-77. Basingstoke.
Doran, S., (2000) Elizabeth I and Foreign Policy, 1558-1603. London. Doran,S., (2011) The Queen, The Elizabethan World, p.35-58. London.
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J.H.Neale, (1930) Elizabeth and the Netherlands, 1586-7, The English Historical Review, Vol.45 ,No.179, pp.373-396.
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A Critical Review of the Pathophysiology of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Alex Browne The terms ‘muscular dystrophy’ and ‘myopathy’ cover a wide range of disorders that share common symptoms and functional outcomes, but diverge in specific pathophysiology, some methods of treatment and life expectancy (Myers & Nieman, 2009). Myopathies can be categorised as ‘congenital’, ‘inherited’ or ‘acquired’. Congenital forms include muscular dystrophy and metabolic myopathies, whereas acquired forms include toxic, endocrine and inflammatory versions (Myers & Nieman, 2009). Inherited or genetically-based muscular dystrophy usually occurs as the result of mutations to the structural proteins of the cytoskeleton, or other metabolism-linked proteins. This results in a specific pattern of progressive muscular weakness that is characterised by the particular form of the dystrophy, e.g. fascioscapulohumeral (FSHD), Duchenne (DMD) and Becker (BMD), depending on the specificity of the genetic defect involved (Passarge, 2007). Whilst the severity of all cases of muscular dystrophy varies, DMD is a singularly debilitating, inherited version that most-often only manifests in male children, a detail that offers some insight into its genetic legacy (Emery & Muntoni, 2003). Whilst the progression of many dystrophies such as FSHD is slower and susceptible to significant improvement through pharmacologic and exercise prescriptions, the progress of DMD is far more rampant, with sufferers being wheelchair-bound by a mean-age of 10 (Boland et al, 1996). This leads to several unique characteristics amongst DMD patients. Firstly, those suffering may present with mental and behavioural problems, possibly resulting from abnormalities in the brain, or social isolation (Poysky, 2006). Secondly, due to its’ fast-progressing nature experts dispute the clinical utility of exercise interventions (Grange & Call, 2007), often favouring corticosteroid use that further compounds the atrophying effects of chronic limb disuse. DMD is a highly debilitating, incurable disease that is partly, but not totally understood (Deconinck & Dan, 2007). Whilst all dystrophies are important within research, the pathophysiological defects of DMD itself are broad and not easily related (Tidball & Wehling-Henricks, 2007), and worthy in itself of a greater word-count than that currently available. For this reason as well as those above, it will be the focus of the following essay, which will explore the altering pathophysiology of DMD with an inclination to understanding future avenues of physical treatment that may delay or reverse the onset of this terminal condition. DMD is a genetically-inherited neuromuscular condition (Myers & Nieman, 2009). Hence, it is necessary to examine the genetic divergence in order to fully understand the ensuing process of degeneration. The gene responsible for DMD, BMD and other, milder forms of dystrophy is an X-chromosome linked, maternally-inherited gene that is responsible for encoding the structural
protein dystrophin. It is located on the short arm of the X-chromosome at position Xp21.2 (Wilton et al, 1994). The exact causal divergence of the DMD gene is unknown, yet it is clear that sufferers of DMD inherit a somewhat uniform mutation of the gene. Den Dunnen et al (1989) found 115 axon deletions, and 13 duplications amongst 34 BMD and 160 DMD patients. Expanding on this, research shows that these deletions occur within a certain ‘deletion-rich’ hotspot of the gene, which is found between the axons 45 – 53 (Walmsley et al, 2010). However, it is not simply the number of axon deletions that determines the resultant clinical disease; small deletions to specific axons have typically resulted in DMD, whereas in some cases of which approximately 50% of the gene has been deleted, the outcome will be the less-severe BMD. This has been explained by the ‘reading frame hypothesis’. This maintains, with exceptions, that mutations which do not disrupt the genetic ‘reading frame’ will result in partly, but not entirely functional dystrophin and less-severe resultant muscular dystrophy, whereas a disrupted reading frame will cause more severe disorders (Muntoni, Torelli & Ferlini, 2003). This theory purportedly holds in 92% of cases (Koenig et al, 1989). The physiological result of genetic mutation in DMD is the absence of the protein dystrophin within the diseased muscle and some regions of the central nervous system (CNS). Although only present in small amounts in healthy humans (0.002% total muscle protein) (Rybakova et al, 2002), it performs an important role within the protein complex that connects the cell-membrane to the surrounding ‘extracellular matrix’, and helps maintain cell homeostasis. Dystrophin is a rod-shaped protein that acts much like a girder, helping to stabilise the sarcolemma of a muscle cell, and is present amongst skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscle cells (Marieb & Hoehn, 2010). Dystrophin-deficient boys also have significantly lower IQs’ (average 85), and have been shown to have abnormalities in the dendrites, as well as loss of neurones associated with dystrophin production (Anderson et al, 2002). Within the muscular tissue, the absence of dystrophin results in the fragile muscles tearing during contraction, which allows the entry of excess Calcium (Ca2+) molecules. Although Ca2+ performs a role in ATP production and is important for muscular contraction (Marieb & Hoehn, 2010), excess release will damage the contractile fibres and causes the accumulation of inflammatory cells in the surrounding connective tissue (Alderton & Steinhardt, 2010). It is this basic malfunctioning that is responsible for the degenerative process that leads to premature mortality amongst DMD patients. As the disorder is present in the skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscle cells, patients are susceptible to cardiomyopathy as a cause of death, accounting for approximately 20% of DMD mortality (Gomez-Merino & Bach, 2002). As with other complications, this emerges as
a result of the dystrophin deficiency within the heart. Wehling-Hendriks et al (2005) note that around 59% of DMD patients age 6 - 9 present with electrocardiography (ECG) readable signs such as tall right precordial R-waves, decreased S:R ratios and sometimes polyphasic R-waves. These develop into arrhythmias, ventricular wall motion abnormalities, left ventricular dilation and cardiac autonomic dysfunction, which becomes clinically apparent in 100% of patients over the age of 18 (Nigro et al, 1990). As diaphragm muscles are also affected, ventilatory failure is a primary and inevitable outcome of DMD, and despite patients responding well to ventilatory support it remains the leading cause of mortality amongst sufferers (Simonds, 2003). The nature of muscle-fibre necrosis in DMD is of central importance to the management of the condition when concerning exercise therapies. Current hypothesis as stipulated by Dekoninck & Dan (2007) into the basis of excessive weakness experienced by DMD patients holds that it is derived from the structural absence of functioning costameres in the muscles that are formed of the ‘dystrophin-associated protein complex’. Costameres are a rib-like layer on the sarcolemma that act to distribute contractile forces generated in the sarcomere, and maintain consistent length along the fibre (Samarel, 2005). As a result of this absence, it is thought that mechanical activation of the muscle fibres can result in damaging micro-lesions, creating the influx of Ca+2 that leads to hastened cell death, and supports the notion of immobilisation as a primary method of care. Despite this mechanical hypothesis, studies of resistance training amongst DMD patients have shown slight improvement to strength and mobility (Abramson & Rogoff, 1953), or none at all (Hoberman, 1955). What studies generally do not show is hastened degeneration as a result of exercise. Conclusions that can be made are that the patients’ ability to gain muscle mass is not entirely entwined with the absence of dystrophin, it is merely overridden by the rapid progression of the disease, and that the compensatory mechanisms within the muscles, whilst not nearly sufficient for unaffected everyday living are more robust than previously thought. Physiological examinations of DMD patients often show necrotic muscle fibres arrayed in clusters, rather than being randomly distributed (Blake et al, 2002). This raises questions into the vasculature of DMD-afflicted muscles. Whilst blood vessels are observed without abnormalities, the lack of dystrophin in the muscle cells means that the neuronal isoform of Nitric Oxide-synthase (NOs) lacks its anchorage to the sarcolemma, and instead floats within the cytoplasm in reduced concentrations (Deconinck & Dan, 2007). Nitric Oxide (NO) is important within the muscle for myofiber differentiation, modulation of contractile force and exercise-induced glucose uptake (Sander et al, 2000). Whilst NO disruption can be discounted as the root cause for DMD, the lack of NOs present may create problems, and DMD patients have been observed to experience ischemia during exercise as a result (Monici, 2003). The implications of this are that the lack of NO expression could contribute to the extent of the damage and the amount of inflammation present. This may also stunt the effectiveness of exercise interventions, preventing the ability to induce the training overload that is necessary for muscular adaptation. It is a well-established fact that the inflammatory response in DMD patients plays a role to the severity of the disease, and has been empirically monitored in genome profiling studies (Deconinck & Dan, 2007). These studies have documented a coordinated inflammatory response in dystrophic muscle that includes the up-regulation of ‘cytokine’ and ‘chemokine’ signalling, ‘leukocyte adhesion’ and ‘diapedisis’, ‘invasive cell-type specific markers’ and ‘complement
system activation’ (Haslett, Sanoudou & Kho, 2002). It is this understanding that underpins the usage of corticosteroids within the treatment of DMD. However, these findings have provided no revealing insights into the process of cell death, nor has there been a clear link shown to other factors present in DMD, aside from one outlined in a latter section (Deconinck & Dan, 2007). As a result of the present review, the centrality of the importance of the inflammatory response can be considered a secondary feature rather than a root cause, as further testing is necessary to clarify its role despite relevance to contemporary treatments. Mention should be given to the process of muscular wastage present in DMD, as the primary difference within the pathophysiology is the diseased muscles’ inability to regenerate sustained damage, and undergo the process of regeneration that is present within healthy human muscle. In normal conditions this is achieved through the activation of satellite cells (SCs) which reside on the basal lamina of the myofibers (Liu et al, 2012). Normally dormant, these cells activate under stress or injury to form multi-nucleated myotubes, and also undergo asymmetrical division to replenish dormant SCs stores. Within dystrophic muscle, the dystrophin-lacking and damagesensitive myofibers stimulate a process of SCs activation and myofiber repair that is ultimately unsustainable. This results in an age-linked increase in fibrosis and replacement of muscle fibres with collagen-rich tissue, the result being a decrease in musculoskeletal functionality and an ultimately terminal lack of muscular strength (Deconinck & Dan, 2007). Although it is unclear exactly how, it has been noted that this muscle fibrosis is at least partly induced by a cytokine called TGF-beta (TGFβ) (Goldstein & McNally, 2010). If reference is made back to the inflammatory process, it is possible to reason that inflammation stimulates and hastens the process of muscle degeneration. Recent research by Ardite et al (2012) has tested the practicality of inhibiting miR21, a microRNA that is stimulated by the signalling of TGFβ in mdx mice and found that there was a positive link between the over-expression of miR-21 and up-regulation of collagen. As a result, it was found that when miR-21 expression was lowered, so too was collagen production, which had the resultant effect of delaying or even reversing the process of fibrosis amongst mice. Although this has not been tested amongst humans, the implications are promising for treatments targeting miR-21, and other methods of macrophage regulation. As a result of the present review it is clear that the pathophysiology of DMD is a multi-faceted and complex situation to approach as a health professional. Although much scientific understanding into genetics has been gained in the last two decades, true understanding that could lead to significant outcomes to the lives of sufferers is still within early stages. Currently, the knowledge of DMD pathophysiology appears to be at a phase in which the likely causal effects of the main symptoms can be narrowed down to the lack of functional dystrophin within the muscles. Other hypotheses that consider vascular or inflammatory components to be central can be largely discredited, yet are still relevant as related mechanisms. What is required for advancement from the current state is a synthesis of knowledge regarding the interactions of the varying aspects of DMD. For example; the link made within the current essay regarding the inflammatory response and the advancement of fibrosis. To achieve this would require a significant undertaking of research, and it appears that a genetic answer to the disease would go hand-in-hand with advancements in technology.
References Abramson, A. S. & Rogoff, J. (1953) An approach to rehabilitation of children with multiple phenotypes. Lancet Neurology, 2, 731-740. Myers, J. & Nieman, D. (2009) ACSMâ€™s resources for clinical exercise physiology. 2nd edition. United States: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Nigro, G., Comi, L. I., Politano, L. & Bain, R. J. I. (1990) The incidence and evolution of cardiomyopathy in duchenne muscular dystrophy. International Journal of Cardiology, 26, 271277. Passarge, E. (2007) Color atlas of genetics. 3rd edition. Wemding, Germany: Appl Aprinta Druck. Poysky, J. (2006) Behaviour patterns in duchenne muscular dystrophy: report on the parent project muscular dystrophy behaviour workshop 8-9 of December 2006, Philadelphia, USA. Neuromuscular Disorders, 17, 986-994. Rybakova, I. N., Patel, J. R., Davies, K. E., Yurchenco, P. D. & Ervasti, J. M. (2002) Utrophin binds laterally along actin filaments and can couple costameric actin with sarcolemma when overexpressed in dystrophin-deficient muscle. Molecular Biology of the Cell, 23, (3), 231-238. Samarel, A. M. (2005) Costameres, focal adhesions, and cardiomyocyte mechanotransduction. American Journal of Physiology â€“ Heart and Respiratory Physiology, 289, (6), 2291-2301. Sander, M., Chavoshan, B., Harris, S. A., Lannaccone, S. T., Stull, J. T., Thomas, G. D. & Victor, R. D. (2000) Functional muscle ischemia in neuronal nitric oxide synthase-deficient skeletal muscle of children with duchenne muscular dystrophy. PNAS, 97, (25), 13818-13823. Simonds, A. K. (2003) Respiratory complications of the muscular dystrophies. Seminars in respiratory and critical care medicine, 23, (3), 231-238. Wehling-Hendricks, M., Jordan, M. C., Roos, K. P., Deng, B. & Tidball, J. G. (2005) Cardiomyopathy in dystrophin-deficient hearts is prevented by expression of a neuronal nitric oxide synthase transgene in the myocardium. Human Molecular Genetics, 14, (14), 1921-1933. Wilmsley, G. L., Arechavala-Gomeza, V., Fernandez-Fuente, M., Burke, M. M., Nagel, N., Holder, A., Stenley, R., Chandler, K., Marks, S. L., Muntoni, F., Shelton, G. D. & Piercy, R. J. (2010) A duchenne muscular dystrophy gene hot spot mutation in dystrophin-deficient cavalier king charles spaniels is amenable to exon 51 skipping. PLOS one, 1. [Online]. Available: http://www. plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0008647 [31st October 2012] Wilton, S. D., Chandler, D. C., Kakulas, B. A. & Laing, N. G. (1994) Identification of a point mutation and germinal mosaicism in a duchenne muscular dystrophy family. Human mutation, 3, (2), 133-140.
The Art of ‘diss tracks’ Daniel Gilligan Introduction
The art of ‘diss tracks’ have emerged as an integral part of hip hop culture over the past decades. Rooted in the inner cities of America, the phenomenon now traverses much of global hip hop. One lyricist is pitched against a rival to air their disagreements with one another. Creative rivalries are publicized, escalated, and at times resolved through a war of words, taunts and insults. Hip hop historian Davey D notes that, “we have always done something competitive with words; what are debates about? They are a war of words; how can you gain one-upmanship? Convince people? Move a crowd” (Beef, 2003).
To consider how artists use the diss track, we must consider what drives the conflicts behind them and how the ideas expressed through the tracks came about. This will help to aid the understanding of why opponents are represented and constructed in particular ways and why certain themes recur. There are also other factors such as group relationships and identity politics that must be given consideration when analysing the purpose and objectives of diss tracks.
Although they have been known to occur occasionally in rock music, diss tracks are endemic to the field of hip hop and its many subgenres. These conflicts became more aggressive and hostile alongside the commercial superseding of politicised rap by ‘gangsta rap’. The notion of ‘gangsta’ has evolved, becoming as much an umbrella term for the persona and attitude of a rapper, as a label for the genre itself. Gender plays a defining role throughout hip hop and the construction of the ‘gangsta’ persona, most topically through its culture of sexualisation and objectification of women, both lyrically and within other mediums such as the music video. However, through textual analysis of their competitive lyricism, this dissertation will seek to uncover how men represent their own masculinity, as well as that of their opponent. There have been extensive studies into the field of hip hop, including much research into the conflicts that permeate the genre. However, much of this research tends to centre on live battle arenas, known as ‘cyphers’, where emcees come together and are pitched against one another in friendly competition. Although gender is drawn upon in these pre-arranged battles, we will consider these themes within tracks that have been recorded and released into the public domain and whereby the conflict between the two competing parties was based upon genuine acrimony. We can better understand the culture of hip hop and its communities by considering some of the ways the individuals involved in these lyrical conflicts chose to represent themselves and their opposing parties.
Labov’s work highlights some of the primary ‘sources of prestige’ within groups, he noted ‘physical size, toughness, courage, skill in fighting, skill with language in ritual insults, […] money, hang-outs, marijuana, or other material goods’ (1974 p.245). Interestingly, we can see how inner city sources of prestige have carried through into hip hop and remained a consistent way of defining one’s self within the inner city community. Tying in with Labov’s observations, Luyt deducted these metaphorical themes from his ethnographic studies in South Africa; he considers normative notions of male behaviour in his conceptual model of hegemonic masculinity: (1) Masculine control: ‘It’s basically a conquest thing’, (2) Masculine (un)emotionality: ‘Having a lion’s heart’, (3) Masculine physicality and toughness: ‘The iron man’, (4) Masculine competition: ‘It’s a matter of war’, (5) Masculine success: ‘Flying high’, (6) Masculine (hetero)sexuality: ‘The steam engine within’, (7) Masculine responsibility: ‘Child-minding the world’ (Luyt, 2003 p.56) Luyt’s work identifies many of the themes pervading diss tracks, and hip hop itself. The importance of embodying these themes to many rappers can be identified in their constructions of themselves and their peers. The deliberate exaggeration of and emphasis placed upon distinguishing features of masculine normativity by rappers is exemplified in the quotes accompanying Luyt’s model above. Governed by many of the themes identified by Luyt and known most commonly as ‘hypermasculinity’; rappers pursue an image of invulnerability that is most evident through their conflicts with other rappers.
Hip hop offers individuals living in the inner cities a means through which to communicate and share their everyday experiences of the “perilous predicaments of living in an oppressed community”, in what Quinn describes as a “voicing of the margins” (2005 p.19). Drawing loosely upon Signithia Fordham and John Ogbu’s work, Jeffries goes some way to explaining the relationship between “living in an oppressed community” and hypermasculinity. The hypermasculinised identity that permeates hip hop is born from an opposition to race-based hegemonic structures that disadvantage black men. Uneven distribution of resources along race lines and an achievement gap in education between whites and blacks contributes to the desire to disregard societal norms and reward behaviour that is at odds with mainstream notions of achievement (Jeffries, 2011 p.56-57). Hip hop, especially gangsta rap, is a reaction to political subjugation, challenging notions of conservatism and transgressing social acceptability; unapologetically sexualising and glamorising subjects traditionally considered taboo. Although considered to be a politically oppositional form of music, rappers unwittingly conform to stereotypes of black subversiveness. Majors and Bilson explain the connection between black subordination and the manifestation of hypermasculinity: The dominant goals of hegemonic masculinity have been sold to black males, but access to legitimate means to achieve those goals has largely been denied to black males. Because of the many frustrations resulting from a lack of opportunities in society, many black males have become obsessed with proving manliness to themselves and others. Lacking legitimate institutional means, black males will often go to great lengths to prove their manhood in interpersonal spheres of life (Staples 1982; Majors 1986 in: Majors 1998 p.72). Crawford writes that “gender is a social construct: a system of meaning that organises interactions and governs access to power and resources” (1996 p.12). As Majors notes above, many black males have a “lack of opportunity”; consequently, they adopt rapping as a means on conveying their masculinities to “achieve social recognition, cultivate forms of self-esteem, and as a means to attain economic and social aspirations” (Bramwell, 2011 p.98). Majors and Bilson argue that the “proving of manliness” becomes a “relentless performance” (1992 p.4). This performance embodies the archetypal notions of black masculinities, known as ‘cool pose’ (coined by Majors and Bilson, 1992). Cool pose can manifest itself through various demeanours and displays of masculinised behaviours; these are exemplified through hip hop music, especially within its conflicts. Rappers traditionally embrace several ideologies traditionally associated with the hypermasculine identity, including; heteronormativity, violence, criminality, womanising and materialism. Many of these traits can be seen in the films 8 Mile and Notorious; biopics about the lives of Eminem and Notorious B.I.G. Álvarez-Mosquera identified these themes as being recurrently used as social markers (2011 p.67-68). Further to this, both films depict the challenging and problematic upbringings endured by the protagonists. This is not insignificant, and is considered an intrinsic
part of cool pose. “Tough life constitutes the first source of masculinity” writes Álvarez-Mosquera (2011 p.65); without this difficult background the authenticity of an individual can be called into question. Cool pose is used as a means of “surviving in a restrictive society” (Jeffries, 2011 p.56). Hence, those who have experienced a greater deal of hardships and been afforded the least opportunity are perceived as the most authentic. Jeffries comments that: “cool pose is a cultural code that both reflects disadvantageous social structure and structures society disadvantageously for those who embody it” (2011 p.57). Cool pose burdens individuals with a constant obligation to exemplify masculine ideals; this in turn, serves to verify and normalise media representations of inner city violence. The abrasive nature of cool pose can also be seen as limiting to an individual’s potential for upward social mobility. Jeffries adds that “cool pose sets black men on a collision course with each other” (2011 p.114). A melting pot of individuals all striving for the same goal of attaining a level of masculinity over and above their peers inevitably manifests itself in conflictive situations.
Analysis Having considered some of the overarching ideas underpinning the identity constructions and masculinities that permeate hip hop, we can now look to how these notions manifest themselves within the lyrics of some of rap music’s famous conflicts. The Question of Authenticity Quinn considers what he terms the ‘eye/I’ dialectic (2005 p.25); the crucial difference between seeing and doing. He questions whether the seemingly authentic declarations purported by many rappers bear any substance in actuality. This question is one regularly asked by rappers of their opponents throughout much of the competitive discourse. Burkitt has similar ideas; he theorises that “through the physical performance of texts, bodies are materialized and thus thought to be real, rather than due to any essential individuality” (Burkitt, 1999 in: Luyt, 2003 p.47). His ideas hark back to Majors and Bilson’s cool pose and the idea of the performance. He infers that rappers draw upon their own lyricism as a basis for constructing their personas. By depicting themselves as strongly masculinised figures engaged in criminality, rappers afford themselves a competitive advantage over their opponents in the war of words to establish who the more masculine is. Jeffries notes that “rappers build hood and race consciousness by describing personal character traits and collective local experiences as ghetto residents” (2011 p.61). In the Eazy-E, Gangsta Dresta and B.G. Knoccout diss of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, entitled ‘Real Muthaphuckkin’ G’s’, Dresta asserts: Ain’t broke a law in your life Yet every time you rap you yap about the guns and knife Just take a good look at the, nigga and you’ll capture The fact that the bastard is simply just an actor
Who mastered the bang and the slang and the mental? Of niggas in Compton, Watts, and South Central Never ever once have you ran with the turf But yet in every verse claim you used to do the dirt But tell me who’s a witness, to your fuckin’ work So you never had no business, so save the drama, jerk Niggas straight kill me, knowing that they pranksters This is going out to you studio gangstas See I did dirt, put in work, and many niggas can vouch that So since I got stripes, I got the right to rap about that But niggas like you, I gotta hate ya ‘Cause I’m just tired of suburbia niggas Talking about they come from projects Knowing you ain’t seen the parts of the streets (1993) The conflict began following Dre’s departure from ‘Nigga’s With Attitude (NWA)’; a group that also featured emcees Ice Cube, MC Ren and Eazy-E (Beef, 2003). Dresta’s involvement in the conflict shows a striking loyalty to Eazy-E. As Eazy’s friend he dutifully contributed a verse to the track, without having had any personal troubles with Dre. This is reflective of Labov’s findings; Dresta felt an “obligation to support his fellow member in group fight” (Labov, 1974 p.244). This was likely combined with his and Eazy’s shared street philosophies and Dresta’s strive for enhanced status in the black community. This show of friendship and willingness to enter into a conflict with care-free disregard is endemic throughout rap; even Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg were joined by associates Jewell and RBX for their Eazy-E diss ‘Fuck Wit’ Dre Day (And Everybody’s Celebratin’)’ (1993). The content of Dresta’s contribution is anchored towards questioning Dre’s credibility, citing him as an ‘actor’. Quinn makes the point that authenticity derives from “rather than simply narrating badman exploits […] actually assuming this role” (2005 p.25). Dresta is keen to point out that he ‘did dirt’ and ‘put in work’ and that this can be corroborated. He contrasts his own claims to ‘thuggery’ (as defined by Jeffries, 2011 p.142) by accusing Dre of fabricating his thuggish persona; describing him as a ‘prankster’, ‘a studio gangster’ and a ‘suburbia nigga’. As Álvarez-Mosquera (2011 p.65) pointed out, a rapper’s ‘tough life’ is tantamount to his masculinity and authenticity. By denouncing Dre’s claims to social hardship, inner city living and criminality, Dresta is emasculating him in an attempt to make Dre appear inauthentic. Jeffries established through his research that many consumers of hip hop believed “fake thuggery diminished the quality of the art” (2011 p.142). This impression was likely imparted through diss tracks, whereby there is regular reference to opponent’s claims of thuggery being unfounded. He goes on to say that some respondents “detested inauthentic performances” and many “lamented the fact that rappers used inauthentic elements because they sell” (Jeffries, 2011 p.149).
Hypermasculinty and Authenticity The cultural space occupied by hip hop, especially gangsta rap, is unquestionably a heavily masculinised space. In Jeffries re-evaluation of Majors and Bilson’s cool pose (1992), he believed that the social struggles endured by rappers afford them a degree of emotionality and sentimentality in regards to their hardships as part of the cool pose. This element of the gangsta rap person invariably manifests itself through tracks which detail troublesome upbringings, family relationships and bereavements. However, throughout diss tracks this element of the persona is almost always omitted. One notable example is Common’s diss of Ice Cube. Common, a seminal figure within the realm of conscious hip hop, was critical of the more gangsta direction hip hop was taking and aired his opinions in the song ‘I Used to Love H.E.R’ (1994). Gangsta rapper Ice Cube took offence to the song’s subject matter and retorted with the diss, ‘Westside Slaughterhouse’ (1995). Common responded; issuing a scathing reply entitled ‘The Bitch in Yoo’ (1996) (Beef, 2003). Common’s reply was tangibly out-of-character; known to be soft-spoken and unintimidating; his reply was littered with violent imagery and attacks on Ice Cube’s masculinity. Common declares: ‘It’ll take the Nation of Millions to Hold Me Back/From giving you mouth shots or hit with the pipe Ralph got’ and, ‘Read, rich, got the nerve to say you rob/Hypocrite, I’m filling out your Death Certificate’ (1996). Quinn noticed the ability of rappers to “shift from a posture of antiviolence to depictions of a badman on a murderous warpath” (Quinn, 2005 p.29). Common is not known to exhibit hypermasculine traits, his adoption of them here is wholly situational. Being publically defamed stirred Common’s desire to adopt this persona and for the first time adhere to the stereotypical notions of black masculinity promulgated by the media and corporate America (as described by Rose, 2008 & Jeffries, 2011). The naturalised association between the hypermasculinised identity and authenticity likely contributed to Common’s decision to respond as he did. Connell and Messerschmidt observed that one “can adopt hegemonic masculinity when it is desirable; but can distance themselves strategically from hegemonic masculinity at other moments” (2005 p.841 in Luyt, 2012 p.52). At the time of Common’s conflict with Ice Cube, the East Coast/West Coast saga was topical. Media sensationalism was working to authenticate the hypermasculinised black identity as normative behaviour when engaged in conflict. If Common failed to reply he would effectively be deviating from the norms of hip hop conflicts, in doing so he risked presenting his black identity as inauthentic. Common made the quite deliberate, temporary transformation to gangsta rapper; 50 Cent on the other has long been a hardened gangsta rapper. 50 does not shy from discussing his criminality and hardships. In the song ‘Hail Mary’ 50 alludes to his getting shot to demarcate his hood authenticity:
Lil’ nigga named Ja think he live like me Talking ‘bout he left the hospital, took 9 like me You living fantasies nigga, I reject your deposit (2003)
2Pac of guns, shows an unerring ruthlessness concurrent with Luyt’s notion of ‘unemotionality’ (2003). Mobb Deep countered 2Pac’s diss with ‘Drop a Gem on ‘Em’, a track even heavier in gun references, Prodigy raps:
Here, 50 is endeavouring to belittle his opponent Ja Rule’s masculinised image by inferring he lies about his lifestyle, labelling Ja’s declarations as ‘fantasy’. 50 simultaneously enhances his own credentials by referencing his shootings and indicating that they are resultant of his own criminal activities. 50’s verse pitches Ja Rule as vulnerable and weak, contrasting himself as the epitome of machismo.
Aiming at your face at the gate Bottom line off top soon as you came through Shots flew; don’t even know the half of my crew I got a hundred strong arm niggas ready to rock your shit […]
Hypermasculinity and Violence Depictions and threats of violence are a recurring phenomenon throughout diss tracks. Dyson believes “violent masculinity is at the heart of American culture, visible in everything from the preoccupation with Jesse James to the historical genocide of Native Americans”. Hypermasculinity, he claims, exists in many forms, including; “in sports, in the military, in religion, and even in the academy”. Consequently Dyson considers that “hip hop’s hypermasculine pose reflects a broader American trait” (2012 p.359-360). These lyrics, extracted from ‘Ether’, a track directed at rival Jay-Z, are indicative of the broader violent culture Dyson sees reflected in hip hop: I embrace y’all with napalm Blows up, no guts left, chest, face gone How could Nas be garbage? Semi-autos at your cartilage Burner at the side of your dome, come out of my throne I am the truest; name a rapper that I ain’t influenced (2001) Nas depicts extreme and excessive violence, reminiscent of military conflicts or film. The use of exaggerated violence in Nas’ lyricism is far from isolated. Similar to Nas, 2Pac threatens: ‘Bad Boys murdered on wax and killed/Fuck with me and get your caps peeled’ and ‘this ain’t no freestyle battle/All you niggas getting killed with your mouths open’ (1996). The Game also uses adopts hyper-violence, he references 2Pac and Nas’ disses, implying a greater number of casualties will result from his conflict with 50 Cent: ‘This ain’t ‘Ether’, nah, this ain’t ‘Hit ‘em up’/This is a lot of dead bodies, who gonna pick them up’ (2007); he goes on to affirm his threats declaring: ‘Then call the God and tell him your ass is comin’ (The Game, 2007). The incredulity of Game’s murderous threats alludes to Majors and Bilson’s notion of the performance (1992). His hypermasculine standpoint is designed to intimidate, Jeffries writes: “gangsterism in hip hop is fundamentally concerned with the performer’s ability to assume a dangerous persona who is willing to injure and exploit others for personal gratification” (2011 p.77). Gun references are a tangibly recurrent theme of diss tracks. “Some hip hop artists zero in on the use of the gun as paraphernalia of American masculinity, as the symbol of real manhood” (Dyson, 2012 p.360). 2Pac flagrantly declares: ‘All of y’all mother fuckers, fuck you, die slow, motherfucker/My .44 make sure all your kids don’t grow’ (1996). This, one of many references by
With bangers the size of African spears It’s warfare in the arena; we turn arenas into house of horrors Its terror dome, when you see my clique you need to run behind shit […] 60 G’s worth of gun clapping Who shot ya? You probably screamed louder than an opera New York got ya, now you wanna use my mob as a crutch What you think you can’t get bucked again? (1996) Dyson poignantly notes that “the gun is the merchandise of manhood and the means of its destruction”. The exchange of gun-related lyrics is a scare-tactic; both 2Pac and Mobb Deep endeavour to convince one another of their willingness to take the other’s life, be this true or not. The power of the gun cannot be underestimated; “the gun is the most lethal means of undermining the masculine stability that many rappers desperately seek” (Dyson, 2012 p.359). There is an unambiguous connection between guns and the loss of life; mentions of guns, especially in the violent contexts they recur throughout diss tracks, are intended to invoke trepidation and enhance the orator’s criminal identity. Effeminacy and Homosexuality Hip hop is a prime example of demonstrating how “gender is the governing ideology within which narratives or scripts are created” (Crawford, 1996 p.13). Gangsta rap is especially renowned for its derogation of women with Hooks describing it as “labouring in the plantations of misogyny and sexism” (1994 p.122 in: Quinn 2005 p.20); a poignant comparison between the enslavement of blacks by whites and the black subjugation of women. African American rappers use derogatory “references to females, to reinforce their prototypical masculine images” (Álvarez-Mosquera,2011 p.58). “Masculinity and femininity” are constructed as “polar opposites” (Crawford, 1996 p.13). Consequently, it makes sense, when endeavouring to emasculate an opponent, to represent them as being effeminate. Jeffries explains: “Domination-driven masculinity and the potential to inflict harm are further affirmed through […] the construction of weak men as feminine” (Jeffries, 2011 p.92). This long-standing practise, Abrahams writes, was prevalent in the exchange of ‘Dozens’, a precursor to diss tracks dating back to the 1940s whereby participants exchange insults as a
rejection of “feminine principles” (1993 p.305 in: Bramwell, 2011 p.244). Ascribing opponents with feminine characteristics is widespread throughout diss tracks: ‘All of a sudden Dr. Dre is the G Thang/But on his old album cover he was a she-thang’ writes Eazy-E, before proclaiming: ‘Damn it’s a trip how a nigga could switch so quick/From wearin’ lipstick, to smoking on chronic at picnics’ (1993). Similarly, Jay-Z ridicules Nas: ‘Niggas with pink suit/ Tryin’ to get cute’ (2001); while Eminem writes of Ja Rule: ‘you ain’t no killer, you a pussy/ That Ecstasy done got you all emotional and mushy’ (2003). Here, the rappers have used flagrant stereotypes to construct their lyrics; referencing things frequently associated with women, from emotions to clothing and personal effects with the goal of emasculating opponents. The use of pejoratives is thematic throughout diss tracks. “The greatest insult from one man to another in hip hop (and beyond) is to imply that he’s less than a man by calling him a derogatory term usually reserved from women or gay men” (Dyson, 2012 p.367). As a consequence rappers choose their lexis to represent effeminacy and homosexuality; both Common and The Game describe their opponents as a ‘bitch’: I see the bitch in you when you don’t speak your mind The bitch in you, looking me in my eyes lyin’ I see the bitch in you, to be hard you tryin’ The bitch in you but yo it’s coming out (Common, 1996) Let me tell you a story about this bitch I know Grew up on the south side sucking dicks for dough Give her a half a dollar; she’ll put on a show Do anything to be in a Dr. Dre video The bitch went Hollywood, one trip to the west coast She got fucked by this white bitch, had her legs wide open (The Game, 2006) Common’s representation alludes back to the notion of the cool pose performance (Majors and Bilson, 1992), accusing Ice Cube of suppressing femininity underneath his masculine exterior. The Game assumes the role of his opponent 50 Cent for his diss, comparing him to a female prostitute. For maximum impact he emasculates 50 in several ways in this excerpt alone. The Game refers to 50 as a ‘bitch’ and also uses the pronoun ‘her’. He cites that 50 performed fellatio and got ‘fucked’. The notion of getting fucked infers passivity and vulnerability; The Game adds further insult by declaring that 50 was fucked by a ‘white bitch’. This depiction of 50 as submissive to an emasculated white man is in stark contrast to 50’s hypermasculine persona, that Quinn theorises is used as a means of counteracting the subordination of hegemonic whiteness (2005). Dyson states: “In hip hop as in the larger society you pick the most vulnerable when you want to insult somebody. In our society, that is women, gays and lesbians” (2012 p.367). The Game’s characterisation of 50 Cent as a female prostitute can also be seen to connote 50 as a homosexual.
Drawing on the work of Connell (1995), Luyt writes that “sexuality exists as the most common axis along which hegemonic and subordinate masculinities are distinguished in contemporary Western society. Heterosexuality is considered a definitive characteristic of masculinity, whereas homosexuality is not” (2012 p.50). Nas’ diss of Jay-Z is riddled with references to homosexuality and infers his opponent to be homosexual, he writes: ‘This Gay-Z and Cockafella Records wanted beef’, ‘Rocafella died of AIDS- that was the end of his chapter’, before describing Jay-Z as having ‘dick suckin’ lips’ (2001). Nas is not the only rapper to use this emasculating technique. Ice Cube raps: ‘Eazy’s dick is smelling like MC Ren’s shit’ (1991). Similarly Dre declares of Eazy-E: ‘Your dick on hard, from fuckin’ your road dogs’ (1993); whilst 50 Cent questions Ja Rule: ‘When your lil’ sweet ass gon’ come out of the closet’ (2003). “Heterosexual male supremacy exerts a powerful force within hip hop communities” (Jeffries, 2011 p.197) as homosexuality invariably carries a substantial stigma throughout hip hop and the wider African American community. Drawing upon the work of Raewyn Connell (1987, 1995), Jeffries considers the nature of hegemonic masculinity, stating that “it describes social relations wherein one form of masculine identity is celebrated above all others, and men who cannot embody the dominant form are degraded and oppressed” (2011 p.57). Heteronormativity is one of the principal governing ideologies of hegemonic masculinity, which in hip hop circles involves the complete rejection of homosexuality. This explains why rappers imply their opponents to be homosexual or engage in homosexuality. Dyson elaborates: the double negative of being dissed to begin with and then being assigned a gender or sexual orientation epithet to boot. These epithets place a male lower on the totem pole of masculine identity by classifying him with the already degraded gay male (2012 p.367). Rappers endeavour to polarise themselves and their opponents by exaggerating their own heterosexuality whilst simultaneously constructing their opponents as homosexual. There is also a tendency for rappers to represent their opponents as being unsuccessful in samesex relationships. Jay-Z writes: ‘And since you infatuated with sayin’ that gay shit/Yes you was kissin’ my dick when you was kissin’ that bitch’, he goes on to say: ‘You calling Carm’ a hundred times/I was boning her neck/You got a baby by that broad’ (2001). The Game takes a similar approach when addressing 50 Cent, he exclaims: ‘You kiss Lakisha in that mouth, tell me how my dick taste’ (The Game, 2007). Finally 2Pac unapologetically declares: ‘You claim to be a player but I fucked your wife’ (1996). Álvarez-Mosquera considers Harper’s notion of the ‘player of women’. Harper believes promiscuity and sexual success is an integral part of authentic black masculinity. “Those who are unsuccessful at these aims are generally made fun of, have their heterosexuality questioned, or are considered less masculine than their peers” (Harper, 2004 p.93 in: Álvarez-Mosquera, 2011 p.58).
Similarly Luyt writes that “sexual success appears to be a key way in which marginalised men may practice ‘real’ masculinity” (2012 p.50). Luyt infers that again subordination drives the desire to prove one’s masculinity (as described by Anderson, 2005), in this case through glorifying their sexual exploits. The authors of the above lyrics all proclaim to have had sexual relations with a woman attached to their opponents. This simultaneously boosts their claims to sexual success, whilst deriding their opponent’s sexual abilities.
Conclusion The songs examined presented a number of recurring themes; from these, discernible patterns of representation began to emerge. The establishment of authenticity plays a central role throughout the texts and manifests itself through an individual’s hardships, their threatening, violent demeanour, criminality and a rejection of effeminacy and homosexuality. Less obvious indicators of authenticity involved loyalty to one’s clique and a detached unemotionality. These markers have evolved into markers of racial authenticity and consequently are adhered to as a means of elevating one’s status within the collective black identity. As we know though, all of the characteristics that serve to define one’s masculinity can paradoxically be used against an individual within the realm of conflict. The diss tracks examined in this dissertation embrace all of the dominant features of black masculinity and authenticity. Boyd notes that “those who have embraced the strongest sense of cultural authenticity have held the longest-lasting influence over the culture at large” (1997 p.14). This is evidenced in the commercial success of the artists featured in this piece. “The depths of commercial success associated with violent, gang and street culture as “authentic” hip hop has given violent black masculinity a seal of approval” (Rose, 2008 p.58). There are innumerable examples of diss tracks which demonstrate the compulsion of inner city black rappers to market themselves in the violent frameworks established by commercially successful rappers, such as 50 Cent. Rose criticises this as exploitation. She describes how the commodification of violence in black culture serves to ‘pathologize’ black people (Rose, 2008 p.58). It is interesting and ironic how black hypermasculinity is used as supposed rejection of hegemonic whiteness, but simultaneously conforms to saleable stereotypes; stereotypes that are reproduced throughout the mainstream media and continue to subordinate inner city blacks. The samples in this study cannot be considered representative of hip hop as a whole. As an initial study, this piece focused upon tracks well-known in the hip hop community and situated primarily within the gangsta rap subgenre. Exploration of other subgenres and consideration of the global hip hop scene, both underground and commercial, would paint a more comprehensive picture of hip hop’s conflicts and unearth more underlying themes. Avoiding the real life manifestations of rap conflicts is becoming increasing harder as the line become performance and real life continues to blur. The Game threatens: ‘I’ll have your crew sit/ so play like them is toy guns and this is just music’ (2007). Worryingly, he bluntly acknowledges that the conflict between him and 50 Cent is more than just music. It would appear that the culture
and art of diss tracks is here to stay as for many years as our ‘manhood stops us reaching out […] and seeking agreement and peaceful resolution’ (Dyson 2012: 361).
References Primary Sources Common (1996) The Bitch in You (Ice Cube diss). Pete Rock (producer). Relatively Urban Assault [12” single]. Relativity Records. Dr. Dre Featuring Snoop Dogg, Jewell & RBX (1993) Fuck Wit’ Dre Day (And Everybody’s Celebratin’) (Easy-E diss). Dr. Dre (producer). The Chronic [CD]. Death Row, Interscope. Eazy-E featuring Gangsta Dresta & B.G. Knoccout (1993) Real Muthaphuckkin’ G’s (Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg diss). Rhythum D & Easy-E (producers). 187um Killa [CD]. Ruthless, Priority. Eminem, 50 Cent & Busta Rhymes (2003) Hail Mary Remix (Ja Rule diss) [originally by 2Pac]. Hurt-M-Badd (producer). DJ Green Lantern: Invasion Part II/Conspiracy Theory [CDr]. Shady Records (Unofficial Release). The Game (2007) Body Bags (Tony Yayo & 50 Cent diss). Tommy Gunz (producer). [mp3]. Not on label. The Game (2006) My Bitch (50 Cent, Jay-Z & Suge Knight diss). DJ Khalil (producer). [Mp3]. Not on label. Ice Cube (1991) No Vaseline (NWA diss). Ice Cube, Sir Jinx (producers). Death Certificate [CD]. Priority, EMI Records. Jay-Z (2001) Super Ugly Freestyle (Nas diss) [originally by Nas]. Megahertz (producer). [12” single].Not on label.
Mobb Deep (1996) Drop a Gem on ‘Em (2Pac diss). Havoc, Prodigy (producers). Hell on Earth [CD]. Loud. Nas (2001) Ether (Jay-Z diss). Ron Browz (producer). Stillmatic [CD]. Ill Will, Columbia. 2Pac featuring Outlawz (1996) Hit ‘em Up (Notorious B.I.G., Mobb Deep, Puffy, Junior M.A.F.I.A., Lil Kim diss). Johnny “J” (producer). How do u want it (A-side) [12” Single]. Death Row, Interscope.
Secondary Sources Álvarez-Mosquera, P. (2011) Constructing identity: The representation of male rappers as a source of masculinity, 57-78. In Armengol, M. (ed.) Men in Color: Racialized Masculinities in U.S. Literature and Cinema. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Álvarez-Mosquera, P. (2010) Exploring the use of wordsmith tools for sociolinguistics purposes: A case study of cultural loaded language uses in white and black rapper’s corpora, 39-48. In Moskowic, I. et al (eds.) Language Windowing through Corpora. Universidade da Coruña. Anderson, E. (2005) Orthodox and inclusive masculinity: Competing masculinities among heterosexual men in a feminized terrain. Sociological Perspectives, 48 (3), 337-355.
Majors, R. (1998) Cool pose: Black masculinity and sports, 15-36. In Sailes, G. A. (ed.) African Americans in Sport. New Jersey: Transaction. Majors, R. & Billson, J.M. (1992) Cool pose: The dilemmas of Black manhood in America. New York: Simon & Schuster. Rose, T. (2008) The Hip Hop Wars. New York: Basic Books. Quinn, E. (2005) Nuthin’ but a “G” Thang: The Culture and Commerce of Gangsta Rap. New York: Columbia University Press.
Barber, A. (2011) The 50 best hip hop diss songs. Available from: http://www.complex.com/ music/2011/06/the-50-best-hip-hop-diss-songs/. [Accessed 7 October 2012]. Beef (2003) DVD. QD3 Entertainment, Sony Music. Beef II (2004) DVD. QD3 Entertainment, Sony Music. Bramwell, R. (2011) The Aesthetics and Ethics of London Based Rap: A Sociology of UK HipHop and Grime. London: London School of Economics and Political Science. Unpublished PhD Thesis. Boyd, T (1997) Am I Black Enough for You?: Popular Culture from the ‘Hood and Beyond. Indiana: Indiana University Press. Crawford, M. (1995) Talking Difference. London: Sage. Dyson, M. E. & Hurt, B. (2012) “Cover your eyes as I describe a scene so violent”: Violence, machismo, sexism and homophobia, 358-369. In Forman, M. & Neal, M, A. (eds.) That’s the Joint: The Hip Hop Studies Reader. 2nd ed. Oxon: Routledge. Hurt, B. (2006) Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes DVD. Northampton, MA: Media Education Foundation. Jeffries, M. P. (2011) Thug Life: Race, Gender, and the Meaning of Hip Hop. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Luyt, R. (2012) Constructing hegemonic masculinities in South Africa: The discourse and rhetoric of heteronormativity. Gender and Language 6 (1), 47-77. Luyt, R. (2003) Rhetorical Representations of Masculinities in South Africa: Moving Towards a Material-Discursive Understanding of Men. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 13 (1), 46-69.
Small Odds India Roberts Small Odds “A man with outward courage dares to die; a man with inner courage dares to live.” *Lao Tzu ** Anna There was a scent of uncertainty with this man, something I hadn’t smelt in a while. If he removed his hands from his pockets, I was sure I’d see something raw. His eyes pale, and difficult to define in colour, showed a curiosity and apprehension. He stared at me like a dog might when finally catching up with a rabbit, its nose pressed to its ear, sniffing loudly, not knowing what to do. Most men I’d encountered stared at my body, their pupils inflating as though their entire hole could swallow any colour of the iris. And it wasn’t always when I asked for it. It was like they knew I’d done it before. Perhaps my pores were clotted with the sweat of these men staring on from my past. Men whose sweat rubbed into mine for a night, mixed with the phlegm deposit trapped in plastic. But tonight I had come looking: I needed the money. ‘It’s cold isn’t it?’ he said, breathing out a small cloud of air. We’d been standing there listening, to the gargling of water in the drains between two narrow walls: an alley way I didn’t know. At least this one was lit by a yellow street lamp, so it was only dark beyond the circle of light we stood beneath. I could hear the sound of waves pulling stones and throwing them back onto shore. My shirt open and white beneath my jacket, had stuck to my skin from the rain. And I was expecting him to ask; even if only with his eyes, his large hidden hands, his wallet… He’d said I was the only woman below sixty he’d seen for a long time. Perhaps he was exaggerating, but he didn’t smile as he spoke. And here I was, a young twenty in a short skirt and heels, with a nerve twitching somewhere upon my red lips. ‘You must be cold,’ he said, repeating his invitation for an irrelevant conversation. I snapped the gold mermaid mirror shut. He was leaning against the wall; his legs bent like a sturdy chair I could sit on after walking so long. He looked down at mine covered in mud spots and then turned his attention to the area beside my head, gulping down the excessive saliva in his mouth. I watched his cheeks fill with just enough colour to suggest he was alive, and inexperienced.
But it was hard to believe a woman hadn’t crossed his path before; he was perfect in muscle tone and chiselled facial features. His body could have called a lady in fur to cross the street and then on that same day, a younger girl too, pausing in the looping of daisies. His chest was wide enough for both women, but he didn’t know how to speak. He didn’t know how he looked or the power of his arms. He could take me, easy as a doll and shake me to pieces if he wanted to. His stillness assured me he wouldn’t. He would fill my buttercup with juices and my bag with money. ‘Are you wearing tights?’ ‘No,’ I said. ‘I can never tell,’ perhaps he had no sisters, ‘but it is so very cold…’ He looked at my legs again and frowned, thinking things I could only guess. It was long ago when I thought about tights. They were practical; they kept you warm, but here they complicated things. And it could be easy: a girl whose name I’d forgotten told me so. Maybe there were several girls… One had black hair. She was one that had laughed and called me ‘Gypsy’ when she found me sat on the steps outside before school. She waited behind me with her friends until I stood; a thick dirt line clung to the back of my skirt. She didn’t tell me until long after, and then I was careful about where I chose to sit. The janitor saw me sitting outside, cramming my fingers inside my mouth to keep them warm. Soon I waited to hear the jangle of keys before he let me inside, locking the door behind so that none of the kids could prod me with pencils. One day he brought me a pack of sweets and then another, and when he was spotted, squeezing his face with effort to open another bag, the children screamed, ‘he’s giving out sweets, he must be a girl snatcher.’ ‘It’s there,’ the black haired girl had said after she decided I was pretty, ‘just in case you need to get away.’ And so it was, when I needed it, and I did need it, I needed to catch a train to somewhere. He seemed like an easy seventy quid, the grateful type. My only explanation was that he’d stayed
indoors all his life, thinking his size to be terrifying. But when he’d pull his hands out his pockets, they’d be soft. He shivered. ‘Are you ok?’ I asked. ‘I’m sorry I’m not used to this. I only came out for a walk…’ ‘It’s what we all do at this hour…’ I smirked. ‘…It helps the night go faster, but then I saw you and – ’ ‘Are you afraid of the dark?’ ‘No, I just prefer it when it’s light, but then it never really is?’ ‘Always cloudy here?’ ‘Sort of.’ The clouds puzzled him and yet he must have seen them all the time. I stepped forward, spreading my fingers over his knees – that got his head out of the clouds. ‘I’ve been here… and I’ve never seen you before…’ ‘No,’ he said firmly, ‘like I said, you’re the only one who’s new… you look new’ ‘Look new?’ Did everyone come to look old staying here? I’d seen no one but him. I had no idea how many people there were, the size of the town or the nearest cashpoint – for I’m sure he wouldn’t be carrying a bundle of money in his pocket. It wasn’t the time to ask. He’d pay I was sure. He wouldn’t use me and throw me to the ground like the girls who were pitied and spoken about outside newsagents. ‘Where did you come from?’ ‘I don’t remember,’ I replied, surprised at my immediate response. I couldn’t remember. I hadn’t thought about it until now. I just remembered walking. I looked at the ground, the water trickling into the drains… I thought about my side, it was hurting, sore in fact. Where had I been? Did I pass out – forget about the night before, not question where I was and start walking? ‘Are you ok?’ now he was asking me. ‘What? Yes, yes, I’m fine,’ I smiled, rubbing my thumbs in small circles a little above his knee. Is this how it would be, a sort of tease? I wasn’t comfortable with that. I wished he’d just fuck me or fuck off. ‘Sorry.’ ‘For what,’ I snapped. His eyes were sad. I opened my mouth, sucking in the sea-air and stepped forward, positioning myself between his legs, sliding my hands along his fluffy fabric trousers – a material I didn’t recognise. It was softer than wool, like a thousand baby hairs had been wrenched out and spun into knotted fabric. ‘Young,’ he said. ‘Young?’ he didn’t flinch as I moved closer, my head not quite close enough to be clamped beneath his chin. ‘Earlier when I said ‘new’ it was… the wrong word, I meant ‘young’. You’re the only young woman… or person I’ve seen because everyone is so old. They don’t talk like you do… They mumble….’ ‘Sounds boring here,’ I blurted out. He turned to me, and with his eyes, I felt as though he took hold of my jaw and parted my lips so
I tasted the salt in the air. And the skin on my lips rose and crumpled. I thought of what to say next, something to help us progress. His face was young, only the crow’s feet stamped at each corner of his eyes made it hard to place his age. ‘You don’t look that old…?’ ‘Everyone feels it, being here.’ I stroked, peeled his hand from his pocket and placed it on my breast. With my other hand I pressed harder and deeper, so that my fingers sunk between the hair-like fibres of his trousers. I smiled as I did so, all his talk of being old made me forget his hair was brown and I imagined it grey; his face aged so that there between the stubble it looked like many fine stones of granite had been thrown. And a set line of concern, sitting atop wiry brows…. I remember those sad blue eyes and the way only his could pin down mine. He’d make me hesitate to leave again the small semi-detached patchwork-paint-house. He was always unhindered by the sharp words I tried to spit out, but couldn’t, because of his eyes gently pleading, be careful, my little Anna. I looked back at this man, this stranger who was looking at his hand on my breast like he didn’t know who it belonged to. ‘Sorry I…’ he removed the hand that remained numb, flopping over at the wrist. He looked at my face, the freckles beneath my eyes mixed with mascara flakes. He stayed there, looking as though counting. Did he know how many there were? I don’t know how long had we’d been standing there, listening to the gargling, each other’s unfamiliar voices, taking in the unfamiliar scent of salt. It felt like the fresh air didn’t relieve, but tightened my lungs. Time didn’t matter to him and I didn’t care myself until I thought about a train. Somewhere it was moving, screaming wheels across the tracks and wherever it was going, I needed to go with it. I looked beyond the circle of light; I didn’t know what lay in the dark. I believed it could be anything, a maze of walls, a few yellow lamps and old people. I felt a strange noxious sensation deep in my stomach thinking about them; their white flying hair, flowing down stained aprons worn like bibs. There they sat eating and waiting to die in arm chairs, only to rise when they heard the unfamiliar sound of heels through the cracks between the bricks. I wanted to leave, even without the money, I wanted to go. ‘Why don’t you leave?’ I asked aloud. He stared at me fiercely, outraged at the question or astounded, I didn’t know. ‘Leave?’ ‘I’m sorry,’ why was I apologising? He carried on staring at me. I looked again at the ground – it could all end there – neck bent against the wall after the sudden fury of this man. ‘No, I am,’ he said sincerely. I didn’t know why he was sorry, or why I felt sorry myself. But there seemed to be this alarm in him like bells were clanging against his ears, making him look suddenly awake. I’d leave after this exchange, for I wasn’t waiting any longer as much as this conversation was interesting and his company alluring. I thought I’d like the opportunity to prolong his company, but I didn’t. What if he knew something about me I didn’t want to find out? I looked at his waist: no belt to slow things down, just a button and fly it seemed, unless there was no fly, but a series of buttons.
‘If I had listened to what my mother said, I`d have been at home today, but I was young and foolish, oh, God, let a rambler lead me astray.’ Now I was hearing Joan Baez as though this was where I was at, the ‘House of the Rising Sun’ and it really wasn’t that bad – this act, as I said it’s always an exchange, nothing more. And he looked kind. He’d handle my body as though he would wings, knowing if he broke it, I’d be as good as dead. My mother wouldn’t approve, she’d never understand. Maybe she guessed this was something I was capable of doing. It didn’t matter what she thought. ‘You don’t have to –’ ‘What?’ I said. What did he want from me? He’d seen me here in this alleyway, come to me and now what did he want me to do? Sit on his lap? A noxiousness rose inside of me rocking me sideways. ‘Do you know where you’ll stay?’ ‘No,’ I said continuing to sway. My head fell back so I looked up to the lamp, there no cover just a large bulb. I couldn’t see its outline because of the brightness filling my vision with blind spots. ‘No…’ I said and fell-forward-fast-hitting-something hard and cold and muscular. My cheek pressed up against this man’s chest. Get up. You can’t stay here, come on, will power – get up! I tried to get up, thought about my fingers, my toes-arms-legs-and nothing moved. I closed my eyes. Three wrinkled faces leaned in towards me, letting their white hair fall upon my gritted teeth. ** Tim The way in which her eyes were closed, her breath was small, her hands twitched as though she were dreaming… The way in which she really believed she could leave, she could go somewhere… It made me want to keep her... Here in my house. I really hadn’t seen anyone below sixty, not for as long as I could remember. I’d stand at my window when the light in the sky was pale to watch a group of them run across the beach. They raised their knees high to avoid kicking stones. It was difficult to imagine their skin pulled back smooth, even as they ran against the wind, or their yellowed eyes white again. I saw in the kitchen tap that mine were still white and my ears were still regular in their size with no straying hairs. I’m sure I didn’t look old to this woman, who could have been a girl curled up like that. But it was clear she was not by the length of her face, the lack of puppy fat and her breasts, round and freckled like every other part of her body I could see. I didn’t know her name. I thought about carrying her to bed, tucking her under covers. But what if when she woke she wanted her own bed? I could never give her that and then she’d want to know why I couldn’t drive her home. It seemed better to leave her lying on the floor – besides – I didn’t want to remove her shoes. I could tell by her scabbing heels that her toes would be red and mangled. What if she always wore them like the black smudges round her eyes? And if she did then taking off her shoes would require ripping off the skin that clung onto them and when I pulled, she’d wake up screaming. I wanted to ask her when she woke if her feet were sore, but how? Asking such a question would
imply that I had examined her. I pulled the tartan blanket over her bare arms and chest. I thought it best her feet were still exposed, yes, poking out like that in bright pink heels – well who could call the topic of conversation strange?… She’d probably make a comment about the room being cold as she touched the tiles, although temperature didn’t seem to bother her. She’d said nothing about it before. She almost seemed irritated that I’d mentioned it, like it was the one time a comment about the weather was not acceptable. I hadn’t felt lips before. I wanted to do it, to experience being inside a person – this woman. Maybe beneath the moaning she’d reveal something, something about me. My body knew this when I shuddered; I told her I was cold. Her warm fingers: paddles on my leg. I ran my hand along the dark marble surface. Just one movement left a long smear from the middle to the edge. She wouldn’t like it here. I could talk about the build of the house, the way in which entire trees washed up to shore roots and all and that with these trees, the house was built. A house made from drift wood. The wind blew through the many tiny holes as though there were many children with their mouths pressed to the walls, whistling varied notes. I could even show her the trees where the wood came from and the nests where sea birds laid their eggs. The eggs were blue and empty. My house was built by these trees; no one knew if there were eggs lying in their branches. Its colour was almost white, the only house that stood alone and different from the others. I couldn’t offer her much of a view from my window, only fragments of sea between the houses. I could show her my boat. I could teach her to set up the sail and I would watch her waving. I’d call her back. And maybe the wind would blow harder, the sail expand larger. Maybe she’d wait for the wind to pick up, climb in and leave before I stood out on the pie to wave goodbye. She’d wash up on someone else’s chest she’d open to find the money she wanted. ‘Could I have a glass of water?’ I turned round, she was awake, the blanket had fallen exposing her shoulders and hiding her feet. ‘Yes,’ if it was tea we could have had an easy conversation. I could compliment her on being sweet if she didn’t take sugar and if she did… ‘Would you not like something warmer?’ ‘No, I’m fine,’ she seemed more like a whiskey kind of girl. ‘Do you have any whiskey?’ I laughed: you couldn’t get whiskey here. I’d never tried whiskey. ‘What?’ She said, pulling herself up to sit a bit taller. ‘I was joking...’ ‘Oh,’ I’d disappointed her. ‘If I could get some I would.’ I wondered about the contents of her bag: tattered notepads filled with contacts of men and old girlfriends who didn’t speak to her anymore. Bastard – ‘Can I get you anything else instead?’ ‘What I’d really like is a signal.’ ‘Sorry?’ ‘For my mobile?’ She waved the little device at me. ‘Haha,’ I laughed, she frowned: she didn’t like it when I laughed. ‘You won’t find any signal here.’ ‘What about near the window?’
I shook my head. ‘How long did I sleep?’ ‘I don’t know.’ ‘I still don’t understand how I got here.’ There wasn’t much I understood, she appeared from nowhere. ‘You just walked here.’ Maybe she was what all this waiting had been for. I’d been drawn to the window to watch and wait for her. And now here she was under my blanket. ‘I meant how I got here,’ she said. ‘I carried you.’ ‘Did I pass out or something?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Oh…’ Out in the hallway, the bed sheet was folded on the table beside a vase of thistles. I must have forgotten to put it away. One of the corners at the open edge was unexposed; its dog ear must have been beneath the folds. I wanted to correct this. Where there should have been six corners, there were only five. ‘I’m not usually like that. I must have been very tired…’ It was a mistake I couldn’t have missed: I stood at this counter at many points during the day. The day before I studied the bread box and felt the grooves of wood; I must have been thinking about skin and age even then. It was only on this side where I could study the wood and it was only on this side that I could see the blanket. I had walked in and out and past this side of the counter three times that day, meaning I would have seen the blanket a total of four times – and that was only from what I could remember. It was possible someone else had been in the house, just walked in. But who and why would they touch the blanket? It was as though they wanted me to notice. I walked out the room. I bent down before the blanket. No hairs, no spilt chemicals of any sort. No insect. No dust. No scent other than that clean scent when a blanket is blown about by the wind. It was possible this woman was watching me right now. And that if I turned round, she’d know I was considering her involvement in the dishevelment of the blanket. I kept my eyes averted from the kitchen. She may have stood to her feet by now – stronger than her tiny frame suggested – all she had to do was open the latch and let him in. In the dark, it was easy to suspect a shadow, a witness, a partner in bad deeds. She might not have walked alone; she might have been carried earlier that night to be ‘the distraction’. And she was a distraction, I couldn’t keep my eyes away and when I could, I was thinking of her, not wanting her to leave my sight…. But it would have been too difficult to open the door without me noticing. And I had nothing. No evidence of existing. I needed to stop suspecting her, but trust whatever she would tell me, was true. I took hold of the blanket and shook it. Next I took two corners from one side and made them join together face to face. I turned it and repeated the same action with the other side and then again creating three folds. I could turn and fold it again to present four edges at the side, but the bulk of it would make the closed curved edge less definite. The black stitches would look more like curves than straight lines; it would mislead anyone to getting the wrong impression of the pattern. Black against white, very striking and yet, I’d never thought so much about the size of the squares and the ratio between the white to the black and why it was that my eyes were drawn more to the
black than they were to the white. If we would have been there longer out in the dark, I might have let it happen. I might have come to know about the things that my eyes were closed to. I closed my eyes. It was difficult to remember the sensation rising from my knee to my groin like a stirring of a bear panting from the rising air. A cold draft from the door. ‘What are you doing?’ She’d opened the door, for someone to come in? – No, she was planning to leave without a word. ‘I just…’ ‘You were going to leave.’ Her mouth opened and she stepped back: I’d frightened her. ‘Sorry,’ because she was in no way obliged to stay. She could leave; who the fuck did I think I was, her boyfriend? It’d been a while since I’d had company. ‘I can’t stay here.’ She wanted to leave and what could I do to stop her? Tell her she could walk and walk and find nothing – there was nothing. ‘Yes. Ok. Bye,’ I said. She looked at me as though she was reconsidering. The blanket was folded neatly now and after she left, I could put it away and brush the cushion seat, but who would sit there? She’d left the door open. I had to shut it. Why did I have to shut it? No one was watching me; at least, I thought no one was watching me. ‘Hey,’ I called out quietly. She walked along the cracked slabs, looking down probably wondering if it was possible to walk away, but she didn’t stop. I wouldn’t bother trying, no matter how confused I felt, I couldn’t walk in them. ‘Hey, wait you’ll fall over.’ I walked after her. She turned, her ankle fell to the side – her body fell with it. She moved her arms in the other direction, pulling her straight again. She said something, but it got caught between the strands of hair that blew between her lips. Her long hair, I wanted to reach out and touch it again. Before she’d collapsed beneath the street lamp I’d caught her and had held her close to me, amazed by her weight. It wasn’t that she was light, which she was; it was the way in which she brought my shoulders down assuring me she was real. I was holding gravity, knowing I could drop her. She was my responsibility. ‘I don’t know where I’m going,’ she looked down at her tiny feet, I’m sure she would have had fine blonde hairs rising on her legs were she younger, just a girl in heels who’d had a day playing in her mother’s shoes. ‘I don’t know where I am.’ ‘You’re safe with me.’ You’re safe with me… Really? Is that my best line? Now she was looking at me in the same way I’d look at myself, a total and utter twat. ‘What’s your name?’ I called out. It could have been a very ugly name like ‘Gretel’ or ‘Fran’ or ‘Sue.’ Those were the kind of names you heard around here. It had to be something short, but more open sounding with her small head and large dark eyes she hid beneath her frown. ‘I don’t know. You decide.’
‘…Anna,’ that suited her. It was nice, ‘you decide’ maybe she’d let me decide what side of the bed she slept on, how she’d wear her hair… How she’d wear socks to soften her feet. ‘Mine’s –’ ‘No.’ ‘What?’ ‘I’ll decide.’ ‘Ok.’ ‘Time,’ she said, ‘it must have fallen off my wrist…’ I imagined what that looked like: losing time. The sun would have to fall to stop time entirely, or the sun would have to stay. If it were always day then I wouldn’t hear the strange whining sounds. At times it felt like the nights were longer than they ought to be. I walked outside the lights onto frozen lakes. Here I heard high frequencies coming from somewhere beneath the ice. I thought that’s where it came from, along with the vibrations. It could have been that the sounds were coming from within me, and that it was only the low growls and the flashes of white that came from somewhere outside. But they never came too close: my scent was affectless. Now she was looking down at the houses, wondering who lived there I expect. She couldn’t meet them. It was best that we stayed near my house, or even inside. It was funny, she was walking in the direction of the long train tracks that ran across the coast, unbending, but there were only tracks. If I knew a train would come, I might have let her go, it would be better for her. Because at some point they’d see her and wonder who she belonged to. They were like that, their little gardens fenced off and their back windows boarded up. I often found them covered in mud at the knees and on their patterned skirts from digging with their fingers for bulbs in the soil. I told them they wouldn’t grow, they wouldn’t listen. They’d dig all day like dogs filling up their nails – I didn’t want her to meet them. One by one they’d try and pull her into their house to question her. They’d look at her smooth clean nails and they wouldn’t like her. She looked between the houses – the slices of sea panels, the sun had lit up the sea and even with this it remained grey. ‘It will blind you.’ She seemed certain of this. ‘It can’t. The sun could only blind you if you felt it… Is it different here? Different to where you came from?’ ‘Yes. It’s quiet,’ I didn’t know what to ask to tease it out of her. ‘What’s down there, is it the ocean or a lake.’ ‘I think it’s an ocean.’ ‘Have you swum across?’ ‘The ocean? No.’ ‘You should.’ She smiled, bent down, picked up a stone and hurled it down the hill. I watched it fall and roll, knocking other rocks out the way in its course. ‘See that’s impressive,’ I said. ‘What? I can’t throw far.’ ‘No, but look at all the rocks you hit with one small stone.’ ‘No sand?’
‘Not even a strip.’ ‘Oh well.’ She bent down, balancing on one leg as she pulled at the strap of her heel. I looked away. I didn’t expect to hear singing, but there wasn’t even a bird being thrown about in the wind. Nothing. Where did they all go? Screaming. I turned round… Anna. She was rolling down the hill at a pace, soon to hit the bottom of a house – Fran’s house. ‘Anna!’ I shouted. ‘Stop, Anna.’ I put my feet down onto the grass it was springier than I’d expected – difficult to get a grip, even with bare feet. Sharp blades wedge between my toes. I saw to the right of the house a colourful sun wheel jump out. ‘Anna! Anna!’ My foot skidded down the grass, my body falling with it. I fell to the ground with a thump and carried on sliding. I reached out around me, grabbing at the grass. I felt stones beneath me and on me thrown up by my feet. She’d stopped and was lying on her front on stones. I couldn’t see her face. ‘Anna,’ I felt more and more stones beneath me. I heard a door shut-open-and-shut. That familiar rattling sound. Fran. ** Anna I couldn’t empty my ears from the small stones caught there because he had me against the wall. With one hand he held my mouth shut and with the other he gestured to be quiet. I thought of ‘Jim’, his ginger hair I didn’t like. We never went far beyond play. I’d stare at him, with the wide eyed look I thought a damsel in distress would have. He didn’t let me go; I licked his hand and wiggled away. Now he was listening. Why was he afraid? I could tell he’d lived here a long, long time, it was as though he’d known nothing else, but this quiet. Perhaps he didn’t want anyone to see me, he was embarrassed about me, but still he wanted my attention – I knew it, I’d been here before. But he wasn’t pressing hard against my lips, he was gentle. ‘Tim.’ The man looked in response to what must have been his name, Tim. I would have called him Frederick for he seemed very ‘bow tie’. I couldn’t tie the things up, I’d never tried, I was glad his name wasn’t Frederick. ‘I’ve seen her, Tim,’ the old woman’s voice was close – round the corner. I heard the creek of wood like a rocking chair. He hadn’t told me anything of the people in this place. ‘Come and introduce her, Tim, you may as well, we’ll all see her soon enough.’ Tim looked side to side, thinking what to do. I heard a tapping from the front of the house like a nail being hammered. Tim looked at me, worried. Whoever she was, I’d had my fair share with old people and she could say anything; nothing would knock me down. I smiled with my eyes. He was unfazed as if he didn’t know what a smile was without the lips. I licked his hand; he removed it, disgusted by my childish action.
‘Come on,’ I laughed quietly. We’d rolled to the sea. It was too wide and big to be a lake and you couldn’t see the end. Grey and no patch of blue beneath the sun. Perhaps only a shade lighter than the flat stones we’d have to skim across sometime. It was a holiday in this place with a stranger I was coming to like. I wanted to be thrown to the sea. ‘Put your hands in your pockets,’ Tim said through his teeth, he didn’t want this old woman to hear. I did what he said. He noticed too the pink baby rattle on the floor. He hadn’t seen it before, or he didn’t like to see it. I’d bought one similar at some point for my sister. But the way it rattled, she said it sounded like a snake. ‘I can’t take it,’ she’d said. It was half an hour before I gave it to her. I stood standing for half an hour, overlooking the hospital bed where she sat until she said, ‘I can’t take it.’ We hadn’t talked in years. We haven’t spoken since. I heard a strange ringing in my ears. On the open porch she sat, bending over a table with a hammer and nail. Soil or dry blood surrounded the round object. And the nail slipped about over it and onto the table. ‘Fucking…’ she said, reminding me of sitting in a room I rented in a noisy neighbourhood, there I heard gravely voices like hers, swearing. She picked up the nail again. This time it pierced the object and blood spurted out. ‘Is that? –’ ‘A heart, yes. Picked it up on the sea bed. Just a charm,’ she lay down the hammer next to the heart nailed down to the wooden block. Her face was covered in lines, not just wrinkles, but pink scars in lines and circles. But her eyes were a wide blue and her lips plump and warm as her cheeks. Her hair was thin and waved. ‘Let me see your hands,’ she said, her rough voice softened. I brought my hands from my pockets. My knees buckled, I fell hard onto the stones. ‘No need to compare your hands, is there?’ Tim sounded angry; he’d thrown me to the floor. ‘Stop it!’ I yelled. Tim had a strange threatening expression on his face as though he was ready to lash out at the old woman. Where before I felt like the rabbit, now I felt like I was one of his own. I watched them from the floor, the sun had come a little between the clouds, it shone upon the stones, but didn’t change their shade of grey. A shadow fell across the old woman’s face and Tim’s also. She took hold of his hands. ‘Still soft,’ she said flirtatiously. ‘Where did she come from, hey?’ ‘I don’t know,’ ‘does she know?’ ‘No.’ I came from Fazeley, I knew where I came from. ‘You won’t, will you,’ she said picking up the wood and heart from the table. She held it out towards him. ‘Perhaps you need it more than we do.’ For a moment Tim didn’t move, I couldn’t see his face for he’d shifted his body so I couldn’t see it. She looked towards where I guessed his lips were, and there she stared, as though processing information, something I couldn’t see.
Tim walked down the steps and came towards me. I looked down at myself and closed my legs. I took his hand. He pulled me up, pushed me off him and sneezed. ‘I’ll show you the sea,’ he emphasised the ‘I’ll’ as though I might have gone without him. ‘You came alone, didn’t you?’ ‘Yes,’ I wondered who he imagined would follow me. ‘And no one came after you?’ ‘No, no there was no one.’ He looked around him towards the bungalows. All of them were painted white or green: their windows lined up with a wavering thin white cloth, their hems, dancing in the wind. I didn’t know anything about this man, ‘Tim? Is that your name?’ ‘Yes, I’m sorry you couldn’t give me one before you heard it.’ ‘I still could…’ but he looked like a Tim, ‘how long have they called you it?’ ‘I don’t know. Feels like forever.’ ‘And it’s so short.’ ‘Don’t start calling me Timmy.’ I grinned at him, the sea looked grubby, but I liked the idea of hearing him laugh. ‘Timmy…’ I focused on my eyes. All of them had told me how easy it was for me to look seductive. I bit my lip and in one quick movement, pulled my top up to my head. Here, inside, where all I saw was white I imagined when the top was over my head I’d look around and see home. It wasn’t a home, but that’s what I called it. Cats crawled through the gap in the wall. Some stayed and some left, same as people. Their tongues like sandpaper. My walls, drawn over by wax crayons and felt tips – attempts of replicating real smiling faces. I pulled the top over my head and onto the floor. Tim was still staring at my breasts. I turned and ran towards the sea, forgetting the stones, they slowed me down. ‘Anna.’ He wasn’t going to run. He hadn’t had fun for too long. ‘Anna,’ I kept running, the sea would be cold. ‘Anna!’ * I woke up cold, the buzzing noise still in my ears, but no stones. The sound of the sea was distant. ‘You er, passed out,’ Tim didn’t sound so sure, he looked worried, ‘do you want anything?’ I hadn’t eaten in a while, I wasn’t hungry. ‘Did I eat? I can’t remember?’ ‘No…’ his voice faded away, ‘there’s water beside your bed.’ The last glass tasted of salt, like all he’d done was scoop up a glass from the sea. I didn’t spit it out though. I licked my lips. My throat was fine. But I thought I should have a drink. I bent over, the blanket fell – I wasn’t wearing any clothes. ‘You fell in the sea. I’m sorry I couldn’t stop you this time,’ ‘This time?’ ‘Yes. I mean, well you fell before, didn’t you.’
I hadn’t been in the sea before. This was the first time. ‘I mean… You’ve fallen around here, haven’t you,’ he tutted, ‘you’re just so weak aren’t you? So weak and tired and pale, oh, I’m sorry, I’m sorry…’ he sounded hopeless and melodramatic, as if I was dying. I’d fallen and couldn’t remember because, because you don’t remember everything. ‘I should sleep,’ I said. ‘Yes, if you want?’ ‘Well if I can’t stay here forever, can I?’ He stared out through the window, fixated on something. ‘What is it?’ I asked. I looked at the empty wardrobe, the chest of drawers. He was a nice guy, he cared. If there was something I could do, I could get him some new clothes – then he might not look so old. ‘You can stay here, until you feel ready to leave.’ Until you feel ready to leave?... Maybe I’d wait. It was silly, fucking stupid; I came looking for money from him and now? Now I wanted to feel wanted. I rolled over to see the glass of water. The salt flakes were still spinning and glittering from the light that filtered through the cloth. Next to it, what looked like an acorn made from blue glass and an inscription so small it would take a magnifying glass to read it.
Extended Creative Project Rationale During a time when I wanted to be distracted, I found myself on the Isles of St.Agnes in the Isles of Scilly with a population of seventy three residents, one pub and a shop. It was beautiful, but time felt endless; I was forced into reflecting upon being alone. Here I came to understand that sometimes the most idyllic, quiet locations can be among the hardest places to feel at peace. I experienced frustration as I saw the patience, among the community of parents: waiting with expectancy for their older children to return from busy cities. Chika Unigwe describes setting as ‘…the mental landscape of the characters who inhabit a particular narrative…’ I was captivated by the way in which setting has the potential to intrude on a Character’s mentality. A combination of the setting, my emotions and the people ‘waiting’ brought a tone of both apathy and melancholy-dissociation to my writing. I felt it was important to not only tell a story, but to pull the reader into my characters’ experience and journey. Besides using the setting to write a mood into the piece, I also found it helpful to listen to Ludovico Einaudi’s Nightbook. Through ekphrasis I could extract the dynamic emotions Einaudi expresses using the piano pieces he describes like ‘chapter(s) in a story.’ As the ‘music opens up gateways to hidden worlds,’ I could get a better grasp of the new world Anna finds herself in by listening to, ‘Bye Bye Mon Amour’ . I began to think about innovative ways of using language to illustrate the crossover from the ‘world’ we know, and the ‘limbo’ Anna is thrown into. ‘He stared at me like a dog might when finally catching up with a rabbit, its nose pressed to its ear, sniffing loudly, not knowing what to do.’ Initially it was difficult to grasp Anna’s voice. I had to first ensure I knew her intentions: wanting to prostitute herself as a means of gaining money, shifting to a willingness to trust Tim. I decided there would be someone in her past she is reminded of in the presence of Tim, who made her,
‘hesitate to leave again the small semi-detached patchwork paint house.’ It was good to discover that as a writer I didn’t have to be prohibited by the old myth of ‘write what you know,’ because the character required to disturb Tim’s comfortable life in limbo was one that has walked a darker path myself. I gained a whole new perspective, reflecting upon what Donald Murray writes, saying that ‘we write what we don’t know to discover what we know that we didn’t know we knew.’ I didn’t know how it would feel for someone to be able to say ‘He would fill my buttercup with juices and my bag with money’ without feeling any form of distress, however after I wrote it, I came to believe I could imagine how it felt. It was through reading Sharon Olds ‘Blood Tin and Straw’ that I came to see how a combination of a fearless approach to language and a fearlessness of the representation of the Author, can allow ‘an experience’ experienced or not, to ring true. The raw images she creates inspired me in the way that she did not only invite a reaction from readers, but also a real intimacy into sharing uncomfortable moments. She demonstrates this in ‘After the rape in our building’, ‘and dropped the envelope into the wastebasket,/and for the first time, I realised all those/sperm were alive in there,/skilfully racing around and around in that/ball of dark, white phlegm.’ I didn’t want to imitate Olds in my writing, but rather replicate the poem’s voice’s attitude of indifference and ignorance to the dirtiness of the image. I too experimented with the odd displacement of words and gritty language. I think some of the best stories are found when every part of a character’s world is challenged. Tim’s character and motivations developed after reading Michael faber’s Farenheit Twins and Irvine Welsh’s The Acid House . Both writers in these short story collections demonstrate their concern of identity and the representation of masculinity. When I imagined a character staring out to a similar sea to what I saw, I thought of a quiet, sensitive man; this became ‘Tim’. I was not swayed by the doubts my peers had about Tim’s ‘male voice’ because I wanted to follow the example of ‘Faber’ and ‘Welsh,’ who chose to write subversive male characters. I was struck by the deep emotion Welsh’s ‘Jim’ feels as a widower to his deceased wife, ‘Joan.’ His outward appearance is ‘the fittest man on the ship’ while he confides to the reader, ‘I’m not asleep. I’m lying awake and talking to myself and crying. Ten years after Joan.’ Welsh wrote with knowledge of the social expectation of male identity. Recognising the similar themes to my story, I read Ian McEwan’s ‘On Chesil Beach’. I was inspired by the climatic sequence where McEwan forces his reader to empathise with Florence, seeing how sex can be a horrible thing, as Edward cums all ‘over her gouts, in vigorous but diminishing quantities, filling her navel, coating her belly…’ However it wasn’t enough for me to wait for this moment of intimacy. I decided to write in ‘first person’ because I didn’t want to write a commentary as I felt McEwan did, but rather I wanted the reader to make their own judgements of my characters. I set up the beginning so the reader would come to trust Tim to be a kind man. However I also consciously wrote in subtle phrases to suggest he may not be the seven foot angel he is presented to be ‘I might have let her go, it would be better for her.’ Where at the heart of my story lies the question, ‘can love be found in death,’ I wanted to give Tim the seat of ‘God’ where he could choose to let Anna keep her memories and remember her mortality, or forget everything and remain in his arms. This was greatly inspired by Michael Gondry’s, ‘The eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind’ and the Greek myth of the river Lethe – the ‘river of forgetfulness’ .
My piece developed after a long period of deliberating over what I wanted my story to be. Though much work was done independently, I can’t be negligent of the help I received through sharing my writing with other creative writers: peers and tutors. Knowing I work best with the opinions and criticism of those around me, I would like to pursue a professional relationship from someone in the field of publishing as a method of getting my story published. There are two avenues I am considering here. First I intend to send 5,000 words of my novel to ‘Lightship Publishing’, for their competition could be the breakthrough for my success or at least my introduction to the bookshelves. The competition is part of Lightship’s strategy to discover ‘the best new writers (in English) from around the world.’ With this particular competition they ask for the first chapter – ‘5000 words’ of a ‘literary novel.’ As Small Odds is within the genre of literary fiction and I have not of yet written more than 7,000 words, I think it would be highly appropriate for me submit my entry. Included in the winning is three mentorship sessions from three professional writers, ‘Australian author M.J. Hyland; David Miller of Rogers, Coleridge and White Literary Agency; Alessandro Gallenzi of Alma Books,’ who can offer ‘constructive criticism and practical advice on how to edit and rewrite.’ . If my novel does not win the main prize of supporting the writing of my novel I can still be published in the ‘Lightship publishing’ annual anthology. With this I can approach an agent and show I have already been published. This brings me second plan of action – ‘getting an agent’. Alongside submitting to Lighthouse publishing, I plan to get a literary agent. I understand there are ways of getting published without assistance and I think it would be possible as I am quite driven. However I am willing to lose a percent of my successes if it means having someone to consolidate with and someone who can support me in an industry I know little about. It is among my key concerns to find someone who is as passionate about my writing as myself and who is not money driven, but driven to assist new voices being recognised. The first literary agent I plan to approach is Lugi Bonomi and Amanda Preston from Lugonomi Bonomi Associates, the agency is ‘keen to find new authors and develop their careers’. They are a recently established agency (2005) but their agents have been in the ‘industry for years’. They publish a range of authors including literary writers. One particular writer attracted my attention because I imagine myself to be presented in a similar light. Her first novel – ‘Black Heart Blue’ is about ‘the domestic horrors that can unfold within a small community - and one girl’s quest to stand up for the truth.’ Her writing is dark and literary like mine, only she markets herself as a ‘teenage author.’ I would like to market myself as a writer of literary adult fiction aimed at women. The reason I will market myself as a writer for women is because I am aware that my writing deals largely with emotions and I have a keen interest for writing about relationships. Even though my writing does have an alternate first-person perspective and I do write from a male perspective, my character is quite subversive and slightly effeminate. I also think it would be easier to aim for a smaller market of readers – women rather than men and women. If of course the literary agent I attain disagrees, I am happy to aim at a wider market; I am confident in my writing and ability to adapt as a writer if need be. My plan is to send off letters to several literary agencies at the same time. This is not to be pessimistic, but to be realistic. Some words from the romantic novelist, Katie Fforde has made me think about how essential it is to aim for the right market, ‘I was aiming at a market that wasn’t
quite suitable for me.’ I recognise how aiming for the wrong market could slow down my success as a published author by many years. Bearing time in mind and submitting to the right people, I would like to look in particular at literary agents who are seeking ‘first time authors’ like ‘The Standen literary Agency: ‘ The aim of the agency is to nurture unique voices in all genres’ Writing Small Odds has made me consider the possibility of succeeding as an author. Before writing my extended creative project, I had limited confidence in my ability, pleasure and talent as a writer. Gaining this confidence in these three areas has given me reason to maintain a focus on the completion of Small Odds and an excitement for new pieces. As I intend to complete the novel and get it published, I also intend to market myself as a literary writer and continue to read novels of that genre to grow my understanding of what is out there, the form and what is missing. I will continue to write, no matter the difficulties and numerous rejections one can expect in this difficult journey. This is I agree with Tony Barnstone as he writes ‘there is a small charged thrill each time I build another little house of language,’ I, like him, will continue to build these houses of language.
Extended Creative Project Bibliography Armstrong, Nancy, Desire and Domestic Fiction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987). Barnes, Julian, Pulse, (London: Vintage, 2011). Chika Unigwe, Short Circuit: A Guide to the Short Story, ed. by Vanessa Gebbie, (London: Salt Publishing,) Ellis, Brett, Easton, American Psycho (London: Picador, 2006). Faulkner, William, The Sound and The Fury (London: Vintage, 1995) Gebbie, Vanessa, e.d, Short Circuit: A Guide to the Art of the Short Story (London: Salt Publishing, 2009). Kazuo Ishiguro, The Unconsoled (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 1995). McEwan, Ian, On Chesil Beach (London: Vintage, 2008). Murakami, Haruki, Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (London: Vintage, 2003). Plath, Sylthia, Ariel (London: Faber and Faber 2005). Niffenegger, Audrey, The Time Traveller’s Wife (London: Vintage, 2005). Olds, Sharon, Blood, Tin, Straw (Great Britain: Jonathan Cape, 2000). Owen Alysoun, e.d, Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2013 (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, Plc: 2012). Samson, Polly, Perfect Lives (Great Britain: Virago Press, 2012). Welsh, Irvine, The Acid House (London: Vintage, 1995). Woolf, Virginia, To The Lighthouse (Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions Limited, 1994). Waters, Sarah, Fingersmith (Great Britain: Virago Press, 2002). Woodrell, Daniel, The Outlaw Album Great Britain: Sceptre, 2011).
Exhibitions Powell, Felicity, Charmed Life: The Solace of Objects, (Winchester Discovery Centre: February 5th) Radio: Weatherall, Sarah, Storm, (BBC: Broadcast date Friday 28 December 2012) Duration: 45 minutes,accessed at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pgll3 Websites: Goulian, Jon-Jon, Bret Easton Ellis interview, The Art of Fiction, The Paris Review, No. 216, http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/6127/the-art-of-fiction-no-216-bret-easton-ellis , [date accessed: 9 March] Pick, Dan, The House of The Rising Sun, music video, vintage entertainment limited 2011, http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=khHm8aLiGIw, [accessed February, 20, 2013] Images from websites: http://media.thelineofbestfit.com/wp-content/media/2012/06/Tallest-man1.jpg (accessed 10 March 2013) http://brandonfilm.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/womb-beach.jpg http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-33eDAaqK_RM/Tu93AyP05UI/AAAAAAAAFeQ/4wYn7V4LVBk/ s1600/womb+Sylt.jpg http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m90gzvWmyy1rngmtco1_500.gif http://c300221.r21.cf1.rackcdn.com/sheeps-heart-stuck-with-nails-and-pins-said-to-have-beenused-to-break-a-spell-cast-by-a-witch-over-a-farmers-cattle-1339212230_b.jpg h t t p : / / t h e b l u e b o t t l e t r e e . c o m / w p - c o n t e n t / uploads/2012/10/431588_450835198296519_255575388_n.jpg http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_vFX70h86ETg/TUrygG_LpHI/AAAAAAAAAA4/GTRxLxcNwMo/ s1600/eternalsunshine.jpg Films: Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, Michel Gondry, (2004) The Lake House, Alejandro Agresti, (2006) The Last Night, Massy Tadjedin, (2010) Submarine, Richard Ayoade, (2010) Womb, Benedek Fliegauf, (2010) Music: Band of Skulls, ‘Close to Nowhere’, from the album, Sweet Sour, (Electric Blues Recording, 2011) Danger Mouse, Rome, (EMI Records, 2011) Joan Baez, The House of the Rising Sun, (ATF Media, 2013) The Dodos, No Colour, (Wichita Recordings, 2011) Ludovico Einuadi, Nightbook, (Decca music group ltd, 2009) Philip Glass: metamorphosis, (SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT, 1989)
Acknowledgements First and Foremost I’d like to thank Connor Powell for his dedication to reading my work, forgiving me for barging into his room at all hours, and for making me recognise my ability to get through the hardest of times, turning good into bad. His excitement about my writing made me believe there may be others who would like to read my stories. Then I’d like to thank Emily Cross and Brendan way for being brilliant. You two always make me laugh and keep me seeing ways of pulling life into a story about death. Amanda Boulter, if I could have you as my literary Agent, I would. I’ve found my match for high standards. You’ve shown me what my best writing looks like, and you’ve inspired me to write and edit in pursuit of that quality. Thank you for challenging me in ways I wouldn’t have chosen – if I could have had it my way, I would have tried to hold your hand all the way. Thank you for teaching me to close my door as I write and for not having one shed of doubt in me. To Bobbie and Darnd thank you Bobbie for letting me believe there was a possibility that I could write and for teaching me to always look for hope in every situation. I hope I can always bring a message of hope to my writing amongst the chaos. Thank you Darnd for your wisdom and for training me to be a hard nut, I need to be. Thank you Steffi, Pete and Chris for believing in me and keeping me laughing. I have missed you three so much. I’d like to give special thanks to my sister and best friend. You know me better than anyone and are the best at stopping me from drowning in my deepness. Finally I’d like to thank my church at both home, Renewal Christian Centre – Stratford and Winchester Family Church. Thank you for making time for me and making me feel like I am loved by so many people. Of course I must thank the creative writers here at the University of Winchester. Thank you for your encouragement and criticism and most of all, your inspiration. You are all so very interesting people and I will be so sad to part from you for what I hope will only be a short time.
Britain’s “Cinderella Territory” - Weihaiwei 1898-1940 Jackie Wilkinson Weihaiwei was one of four leased concessions along the Chinese coast. The others were Port Arthur (1898-1905) to Russia, Tsingtao (1898-1918) to Germany and in the south of China, Guangzhouwan (1892-1946) to France. Port Arthur and Tsingtao developed faster than the others, primarily because a clause in their leases gave permission to build railway lines into the hinterland, bringing trade and communication benefits. Permission was also given to the French to build a line inland, through unleased territory, but when work started armed Chinese resistance forced a halt, the French lost interest and thereafter Guangzhouwan failed to prosper, becoming a sleazy drug-running and smuggling port of little significance. Britain had signed away the opportunity to build a rail link from Weihaiwei so development and ultimate prosperity were dependent on other factors.
Governments dealt with their remote territory. From the early 1900s until the 1920s the government was preoccupied with political issues in Europe and, apart from a brief period during World War I, Weihaiwei was so unknown that even David Lloyd George (Prime Minister 1916-22) resorted to an atlas to locate it. This disinterest came not from deliberate conservatism but from inertia, indecision and unwillingness either to plough in money to develop the port or to hand it back to the Chinese after 1905 as the original lease terms had specified. Altogether a textbook example of out of sight and out of mind. It was the close relationship built up by the British Royal Navy, together with two very enlightened Sinophile Commissioners of the early 20th century and the Shandong Chinese that prevented the bloody civil uprisings that characterised much of China and facilitated Weihaiwei’s development. Initially, Chinese co-operation emanated from the urgent need to rebuild their Navy, which had been destroyed by the Japanese at the Battle of Weihaiwei during the Sino-Japanese War of 1895, leaving China vulnerable to further Japanese aggression. Having British naval facilities on hand offered practical and technological help as well as interim security and protection. Gaps in the area’s historiography occur between 1914 and 1918, because the British Royal Navy was pulled out of Asia in order to support Allied soldiers in World War I. In this conflict, Russia and Japan were Allies, joined by China in 1917, and not considered a threat to British trading interests in China which were, therefore, allowed to continue unhindered. It was only in the early 1920’s that new British ships returned to the Far East and Weihaiwei became a regular summer station again.
The Russian, British and German leased territories of North China Weihaiwei was acquired not as a Treaty Port forcing China to open up to external trade, but as a “leased concession to counter Russian and German advances in North China “, in other words a military and naval base which could be ramped up quickly if the need arose. This arrangement worked both for and against Weihaiwei, as a lease, by its nature, has an end point and during its existence the British were not obliged to westernise or modernise the concession . The upside of this was the laissez-faire attitude of the British, stepping lightly and working with the Chinese. The downside was that minimal investment restricted commercial investment from traders causing a very pedestrian and uneven rate of growth compared to Hong Kong or Shanghai. Official papers at the National Archives in Kew expose the way in which successive British
Lease period of Weihaiwei (1898-1930) and Liugong Island (1898-1940)
The leasehold territory of Weihaiwei and Liugong Island, dotted line showing the ten-mile boundary of the territory. British Royal Navy ships had been periodically visiting Weihaiwei throughout the nineteenth century, although as early as 1860 General Wolseley (a member of an Anglo-French military Expedition) reported, erroneously, that lack of fresh water made the area unsuitable for military or naval purposes . His remarks went unheeded when in 1898 the British government agreed to lease Weihaiwei, Liugong Island and a ten mile wide area of land around the bay “for as long a period as Port Arthur shall remain in the occupation of Russia” . The reasons given were “to provide Great Britain with a suitable naval harbour in North China” and “for the better protection of British commerce in the neighbouring seas” . This clause alludes to increasing acts of aggression by (mainly) Chinese and Japanese pirates. Politically, Britain had watched the Russians occupying Port Arthur as an ice-free Far Eastern port and Weihaiwei offered a “strategic counterpoise” across the Gulf of Chihli. Also Britain was able to monitor developments at Kiaochow (Tsingtao) seized by the Germans in 1897. Since the 1895 Battle of Weihaiwei the Japanese had occupied Liugong Island, withdrawing on 22nd May 1898 after the terms of the Treaty of Shimonoseki had been met and China made its final indemnity payments to Japan. Within twenty four hours the Royal Navy took its place and started a rebuilding programme. On the mainland, the small port area of Ma-t’ou (renamed Port Edward) and a ten mile wide swath of land around the (excluded) walled town of Weihaiwei were within British jurisdiction. Shandong Province was extremely remote with few transport links, and although not completely poverty-stricken most inhabitants were subsistence farmers and fishermen, isolated from central government and bypassed by would-be invaders. However, after 1898 change came rapidly. With typically Teutonic efficiency the Germans completed the first railway line from Tsingtao to
Tsinan in 1904, and set about building up Tsingtao into a modern, commercial port. Ten weeks before Britain signed the lease for Weihaiwei the British Ambassador, in a sop to the Germans, signed a note in Berlin promising that “England will not construct any railroad communication from Weihaiwei and the district leased therewith into the interior of the Province of Shantung”, a short-sighted move effectively cutting off Weihaiwei from the rest of China. As there were few roads in Shandong this effectively contained trade only to the seaward side, hamstringing development. Across the bay, the Russians quickly completed the Chinese Eastern Railway from Dairen via Harbin, east to Vladivostok, and west to Moscow, opening up advantageous trade routes. From the start the British Government had been half-hearted about leasing Weihaiwei at all, citing cost and usefulness. Lord Salisbury, Prime Minister (1895 to 1902) called it a “cartographic consolation” and Arthur Balfour (Salisbury’s successor) ridiculed in Parliament those “foolish enough” to look for profit from the leasehold. Disparagements like these ensured that minimal economic assistance was given to Weihaiwei.. With little help from London, it was miraculous that firstly James Stewart Lockhart (between 1902 and 1921) and latterly his friend Reginald Johnson (from 1904-1919 as Assistant Commissioner and 1927-1930 as Commissioner) were appointed Commissioners to Weihaiwei. Both were committed Sinophiles, fluent in Mandarin, and able to forge respected relationships with both Chinese and British contacts.
Commissioner James Stewart Lockhart (front) and Reginald Johnston (3rd from left) with Yang Shixiang (Governor of Shandong), 11th July 1905, Weihaiwei). Under Stewart Lockhart’s influence from 1902, the decision was taken to implement a unique bespoke judicial system combining Chinese custom and practice with British law. This was a pragmatic solution to the difficulties that had been engendered by the first Military Commissioners who had set up a regiment of Chinese soldiers , under British command, to quell any possible insurrection. These soldiers led by British officers were set against local Chinese, possibly their own kinfolk, a clumsy approach more likely to cause problems than solve them. Before Stewart Lockhart’s arrival, topographical and public health surveys had been carried out by British colonial officials , and the British Government was still arguing about the financial expenditure needed for rebuilding and fortification. By 1904, despite Stewart Lockhart’s
optimistic reports, the Government had reduced its annual grant-in-aid by 50%, from £12000 to £6000, decreasing it by half again over the next two years, presumably because of constant dithering over whether to return Weihaiwei to the Chinese under the terms of the original lease. At this point diplomacy became paramount. The Japanese wanted the British to stay to protect them from the Germans in Tsingtao, but the Qing government wanted the British to go so that they could recommence development of their naval headquarters on Liugong Island. The British Government as usual vacillated, eventually informing the Chinese that by remaining in Weihaiwei the British afforded them protection against both the Japanese and the Germans. Vague promises were made of rendition at some time in the future, but no commitments were made on financial investment, a situation acceded to by the failing Qing dynasty. By 1910 Weihaiwei’s expenditure was roughly twice its revenue, partly offset by limited grants from London , but the China Fleet had been ordered to spend longer in these northern waters than before, to demonstrate their maritime superiority in the face of the increasing threat of a world war, and their presence brought some revenue to the area.The unpredictability of levels of grant-in-aid from London did nothing to encourage investment from Shandong commercial organisations. Lockhart ceaselessly encouraged Chinese entrepreneurs to set up fruit farms, gold mining (an instant failure), forestry and ground nut farming, and rudimentary roads and bridges were built or improved and plans put in hand to extend the piers and dredge the harbour to allow passage to bigger ships. All these plans, worked out co-operatively with local headmen and using local labour, were eventually reduced or scrapped through lack of finance. There seems to have been no consistent long-term strategy by the British. Annual reports indicate an haphazard approach - one year the emphasis was reforestation, the next silk production, and so on. An adhered-to longer term strategy might have produced more consistent results. Simultaneously the development of the Liugong Island Royal Naval summer station was accelerating. Stewart Lockhart’s Annual Reports to the Colonial Office from 1902 to 1913 list the increasing numbers of ships that spent from May to November in Weihaiwei. Its protection role for European commercial interests along the coast whilst monitoring German, Russian and Japanese activities was considered vital. The all-important naval exercises were meant to be visible, so whilst performing a valuable training function they were powerful evidence of the superiority of the British Navy.During World War I Weihaiwei briefly became important to the Allies. Out of a total of around 150,000 Chinese recruited between 1916 and 1918, approximately 54,000 Shandong Chinese peasants were shipped from Weihaiwei to the Western Front as manual labour . Canadian merchant ships transported them, but British Army recruiters registered, trained and issued them with uniforms. These recruits were appallingly mistreated by the British, over 20,000 reported missing or killed in action, with some 3,000 survivors never returning to China after the Armistice, either through lack of repatriation funding or resettlement in France. Weihai historians today pinpoint this incident as a major reason for the Chinese finally standing up to the West and refusing to sign the Versailles Peace Treaty, forcing abandonment of the remaining unequal treaties. They even suggest that the birth of the Chinese Communist Party in 1921 in Shanghai was in part a reaction to a lost generation of Shandong labourers. It is quite remarkable that relationships between the British and Chinese in Weihaiwei remained cordial
after World War I. By 1919 the usual government arguments restarted on the advisability of keeping Weihaiwei. Arch-Imperialists Lord Curzon and Winston Churchill, supported by the Admiralty, were “uncompromisingly hostile” to any talk of rendition, citing “imperial prestige” and “defence” as major factors . But in 1922 Prime Minister Balfour agreed to return Weihaiwei if certain conditions regarding the retention of the Naval facilities were honoured. This took until 1930 to ratify, when Weihaiwei mainland was formally returned to the Chinese with a new tenyear lease being signed for Liugong Island and its Naval Base.
Weihaiwei mainland Weihaiwei mainland including Ma-t’ou (Port Edward) were administered differently from Liugong Island, although the two were inextricably linked together. On 24th July 1901 in the presence of King Edward VII, a unique system was ratified by the Court of St. James granting extensive civil and judicial powers to the British Commissioner in Weihaiwei, making him “more of an autocrat than a Colonial Governor, for legislative powers were vested in himself alone, and not, as in most colonies, shared with a legislative council” , - a key difference between the definition of a leased territory and a Treaty Port. Liugong Island came under the jurisdiction of the Commissioner except that the naval base was controlled by the Naval Officer-in-Charge. Sir James Stewart Lockhart’s collaborative approach to his administration, whilst not entirely trouble-free, especially in the early days, was arguably the lynchpin of the harmonious relationship between the Chinese and British for thirty years. Incredibly, Shandong villagers petitioned against the retrocession of Weihaiwei in 1930. The Times reported that the petitioners “represented 300 villages who enumerated the great benefits which Weihaiwei has derived from British rule. Peace, prosperity and justice without parallel elsewhere in Northern China have been secured by the British flag, while lawlessness and banditry are prevalent in Shantung”. The Times correspondent remarked that “considering how timid the Chinese are in thrusting themselves into official notice, in this instance they are actually appealing to a foreign Government against their own. It is impossible to exaggerate the significance of the petition as an indication of the forebodings with which the Chinese in Weihaiwei dread the impending changes”. With hindsight, they were right to be concerned. The next decade brought a gradual slide back towards poverty and lawlessness, largely through increasingly punitive government taxation, lack of finance from Nanking and the removal of Weihaiwei’s status as a duty-free port which led to a rapid decline in commercial activity. There are few historical examples of any population pleading to remain colonial subjects, let alone people notable for their placidity and fear of antagonising its own government arguing against rendition. Lockhart achieved peace after early land demarcation disputes with villages on the edge of the agreed ten-mile leased territory borders by registering village headmen, thus recognising their village leadership roles and responsibilities, such as turning in villagers wanted by the government, maintaining peace and good order and collecting taxes . In return, villages were allowed to manage themselves and the headmen were rewarded periodically with medals or special banquets. In order to maintain this balancing act between laissez faire and the harsher colonial rule often practiced in other British territories, 113 ordinances were passed up to 1930
covering every imaginable aspect of territorial life. A minimal native police force was needed, supplemented only between 1927 and 1930 by a single company of British soldiers who patrolled the border line because “horrible atrocities [due to the Chinese civil war] had been carried up to the boundary of British territory, but not an inch beyond”. Reginald Johnston in a speech in Weihaiwei in 1930 just before rendition said “we have interfered very little, or not at all, with Chinese customs, and we have administered justice in our law-courts as far as possible in accordance with Chinese law and custom, modifying that law and custom only when they conflicted with British conceptions of morality and justice” . His great regret was Britain’s inability to impose penalties to eradicate foot-binding, as evidence suggested that even in 1930 more than half of adult women in Weihaiwei had bound feet, a much higher proportion than in other regions of China. For the British to have brought in an ordinance against footbinding may have been unpalatable and caused tensions with unforeseeable consequences. The Juye Incident of 1897, when peasants of the Big Sword Society (associated with the Boxers) killed two German missionaries near Tsingtao , concentrated the minds of Europeans on the dangers inherent in trying to impose alien religious beliefs. British missionaries in Weihaiwei were careful not to antagonise local people, concentrating on charitable projects such as training in embroidered products which were a source of export revenue, and establishing priest-run schools and an orphanage . Churches, both Catholic and Protestant, were built on the mainland and the island, without coercing the Chinese to attend. Shandong was the birthplace of Confucianism, so whilst people were very happy to have their children well educated at no cost, traditional belief systems won out every time over Western religion. Arriving in high spirits from a successful posting in Hong Kong, James Stewart Lockhart, judging from his annual reports , became steadily more dispirited with his inability to squeeze seed capital from London to underpin development plans for Weihaiwei. Nevertheless, his developmental achievements were quite remarkable. In 1902, 146 ships carrying 151,809 tons moved in and out of Weihaiwei, but by 1929 the total tonnage was 1,307,015 tons carried by 1139 ships , an increase of 861%. By 1922 Weihaiwei became self-supporting, and from 1925 onwards the surplus of accumulated revenue became the basis of a British “reserve fund”. This was used for public works improvements, education grants and pension payments, all precursors of rendition to a still precarious Chinese government in Nanking . The most vociferous advocate of retrocession to China was Reginald Johnston, who had returned to Weihaiwei in 1927, following eight years’ service as Tutor to the Emperor of China, Puyi, a role that placed him at the heart of the Imperial Household in Peking (Beijing) . His efforts to ameliorate the sad existence of the last Emperor were only partly successful, but the experience made him more than ever convinced that the Chinese should be allowed to rule themselves without Western interference. It was some surprise to him to be offered the Commissioner role in 1927, and he wasted no time in getting back to “delectable” Weihaiwei, where he spent three years wheedling money from whoever would grant it to fund improvements. His reward was a knighthood in 1930 , just four months before rendition.
Liugong Island and the Royal Navy
British China Fleet, off Weihaiwei, summer 1935 On the 24th May 1898, Commander Napier of HMS Narcissus, under Admiralty orders, took possession of the leased territory of Weihaiwei from China in a ceremony on Liugong Island . Anglican missionary Roland Allen reported: “On [the] island close to the sea there is a fairly large village with several foreign-built houses fringing a long straggly winding street unevenly paved with stone. Of the houses some are held by Chinese store-keepers, many are deserted, most dilapidated, a few practically ruins” . After the 1895 Battle of Weihaiewei neither the Chinese Naval Dockyard nor collateral damage on the island had been repaired, and the Admiralty plan was to demolish the remaining buildings, clear the land, refortify and build a modern, functional naval station and commercial trading area. Despite work still being needed to dredge the seabed and extend the pier facilities, the China Squadron immediately sailed from Chefoo (forty miles north) and the extra manpower was a major factor in expediting reconstruction. During the financial year 1900-1901 £7000 (equivalent to £350,000 in 2012) was allocated within the Navy Estimates for establishing a Naval Depot and £6000 (£300,000 equivalence) for dredging work . This was largely for plant and materials as labour was plentiful and extremely cheap. Initial optimism quickly drained away as increasing global tension turned the British Government’s attention to showcasing the deterrent and defensive capability of the largest and most powerful battle fleet in the world rather than in investment in China and the plans for the island’s fortifications were quietly dropped. But by 1902 when the Admiralty gave control of Weihaiwei to the Colonial Office and James Stewart Lockhart became Commissioner, the island’s administrative centre, parade grounds, hospital, roads and even a nine hole golf course were also in place. Showing the pace of redevelopment, as early as July 16th 1898 the first corpse had been interred in the new naval cemetery - Fleet-Surgeon Macaulay of HMS Centurion who “only a few weeks before his death had selected the burial ground, little thinking he would be the first to occupy it” . Lockhart was absolutely determined that Weihaiwei would not go the same way as some small Treaty Ports along the Chinese coast which were set up on a shoestring with incompetent Consuls or Governors, and which closed within a few years. His maxim of “pas trop gouverner” was not meant to imply doing nothing, rather to “avoid meddlesome interference in Chinese affairs” , and this was adhered to scrupulously by the Royal Navy throughout their forty-two year stay.
As early as 1902 the Colonial Office list announced that Liugong Island was to be a “flying naval base, and a depot and drill-ground and sanatorium for the China Squadron in North China”. Stewart Lockhart’s Annual Colonial Reports through to 1914 constantly congratulate the “blue jackets on their impeccable behaviour”, especially in the early years when “it is remembered that there are not many amusements for Jack Ashore during the summer, which is also a thirsty season” . Additional sports and recreation facilities were developed on the Island, providing more local jobs. Opposite the sampan pier was a splendid Royal Naval Canteen, with fruit and vegetable traders allowed to operate on the front steps, and once sailors’ temporal requirements had been met (partly – no brothels were permitted on the island) their spiritual needs were catered for in both Church of England and Roman Catholic churches.
Liugong xxpansion and refurbishment continued during the early 1930s. The contrast between housing and other facilities for Europeans and for the Chinese, was still marked, but the squalor of earlier years, to judge by two photographs of the 1930s was long gone. Throughout the decade, thousands of sailors arrived each summer, naval exercises continued and entertainment and recreation facilities were shared with ships from other nations. After mainland rendition the presence of the Royal Navy was needed more than ever, both as an incentive for investment, a source of revenue and a security measure and Surgeon Rear Admiral Arnold Pomfret was appointed Naval Officer in Charge on Liugong.
Liugong Island’s West Village, (the main residential centre on an island roughly two kilometres long by one kilometre wide) was British owned and leased to the local population, encouraging the establishment of commercial businesses. Seymour Street ran alongside the sea wall on the south between the entrance to the Dockyard and the Royal Naval Canteen. It was here that many Chinese had their shops, benefitting from the constant to and fro of sailors and other traders and it is possible to see from photographs of 1910 and 1930 just how many improvements were made to the buildings and the bund itself over twenty years. Surgeon Rear-Admiral Pomfret’s official residence, 1938
Seymour Street, Liugong Island, 1910 (top) and 1930, showing improvements and modernisation undertaken during British rule
Liugong Island village street, brick and stone buildings and stone flagging, 1933
In 1937 military preparations started in anticipation of a Japanese attack, including the evacuation of mainland-based Chinese marines to Liugong Island. On 12th December 1937 Nanking fell, and on 3rd February 1938 Chefoo (a port favoured by the Americans) was occupied by the Japanese. On 7th March 1938 Japanese ships arrived at Weihaiwei harbour and by 12th March the occupation was complete. On Liugong the Japanese were taken on a tour of the island and shown the sites and buildings which were under British control, each of which had had prominent notices attached to them stating that they were British property.
Pomfret and secretary Shao outside Naval offices on Liugong Island, 1938, showing the sign reinforcing the fact that the building is British Property. Despite renewing the lease for Liugong for another ten years (from 1st October 1940, with Chiang Kai Shek’s government) the Japanese refused to recognise the renewal and a decision to evacuate the Island of all British personnel and equipment was taken in London. Before leaving, Pomfret and his secretary Shao destroyed huge quantities of confidential paperwork (allegedly put down a well ) and he and three remaining sailors, finally left the island to a force of over 300 Japanese marines on 11th November 1940. In a final act of defiance they locked every building and took all the keys with them, petty indeed, but no doubt satisfying. What paperwork remained was sent to Hong Kong, and apparently then onwards to London, but despite many efforts at location the vast majority seems to have been lost.
Conclusion Revisionist history frequently decries colonialism as a thoroughly bad thing, whereas rarely is everything totally black or white.. Weihaiwei proved that if diplomats of empathy and sensitivity are allowed to manage without heavy-handed interference from London, then the lives of those that they manage can usually be transformed without violence or bloodshed. The single most important factor in the growth and later prosperity of Weihaiwei was the appointment of Sir James Stewart Lockhart as Civil Commissioner in 1902, until 1921. His enthusiasm sometimes irritated his London masters, particularly his seemingly never-ending slew of ordinances and presentation of medals as rewards for headmen who had carried out their responsibilities particularly assiduously. Medals, London opined, should only be distributed by the sovereign whose head appears upon them, a statement which proved nobody in the Colonial Office had actually seen the medals which were merely inscribed “Presented by the Government of Weihaiwei” . They followed a common Chinese custom and proved an excellent motivator for the recipients. On such minor irritations, though, careers turned and they cast shadows over Stewart Lockhart’s promotion prospects, leaving him years longer in Weihaiwei than he might have wished. It was his persuasiveness that convinced the Colonial Office to employ Reginald Johnston alongside him, and it was their joint immersion in, and sensitivity to, all things Chinese
that enabled the two men to build up such strong bonds of trust wherever they went in China. Given the chaotic state of Chinese government at the beginning of the 20th century, the British presence in Weihaiwei brought stability and development potential to a remote, almost unreachable, and therefore ignored part of Northern China. At the same time, the admittedly slow and piecemeal rebuilding and modernisation plans undertaken were crucially done in accord with Chinese tradition and thus with co-operation from the local population. This helped Weihaiwei become self-sufficient by 1930. Atwell notes that “[by 1930] Port Edward had 20,000 inhabitants and a vigorous import/export trade. [There were] fifty-miles of modern roads, [and] bus services connecting villages within the concession. In sharp contrast to those in nearby Chinese territory, Weihaiwei’s villagers lived in peaceful surroundings free to pursue their agricultural tasks without fear of extortionate taxation or conscription into a warlord army”. Johnston, quoting an English newspaper in China, called Weihaiwei “the Cinderella of the British Empire.” Weihaiwei in fact had four unlikely fairy godmothers in the shapes of Lord Curzon and Winston Churchill whose arch-imperialism succeeded in preventing Weihaiwei being returned to the Chinese after 1905, and Sir James Stewart Lockhart and Sir Reginald Johnston as successive enlightened Commissioners who developed Weihaiwei in co-operation with the Chinese headmen. And finally, an unlikely guardian in the shape of the Royal Navy, whose presence brought money, employment and security for over forty years. Although modern China still feels deeply the humiliation it suffered at the hands of the West, the now huge city of Weihai recognises the importance of conserving the memory of its transitory link to the British Empire.
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Corporate Governance in the UK banking industry: A comparison of Barclays Bank plc and The Co-operative bank plc using communication from the annual reports. Jane Trenwith Introduction The UK has seen a string of crises and scandals in the banking sector in the last five years, which has been described as having, an impact as bad for the economy as a world war (BBC, 2012 [online]). In 2012, the banking sector hit another crisis point when the banks came under fire for operating in an extremely unethical manner; Barclays rigging the LIBOR rate (The Guardian, 2013 [online]), HSBC aiding drug cartels to launder money through its subsidiaries (Davies, 2012 [online]), Standard Chartered violating international sanctions (Isidore, 2012 [online]) and more. It is fervently becoming clear that the ethics in banking needs to be restored. The scandals and crises have led to a consumer outcry for government reform and an ethical and responsible alternative. The campaign ‘Move your money’ encouraged consumers to move their money to more ethical and socially responsible banks, such as the Co-operative Bank and the Islamic Bank of Britain (Bachelor, 2012 [online]). After the 2012 scandal, which has reduced faith in these institutions, finding a difference between the perceived ethical and unethical, will enable further research to be done into implementing the ethical practices across the sector. The purpose of this study is to find the differences between Barclays Bank plc (Barclays) and The Co-operative bank plc’s (The Co-op) corporate governance choices and communication, and thus relate it to their perceived ethical stances in 2012. Whilst the banking sector is largely subjected to outside influences, and many of the crises have been worldwide situations, uncontrollable by the individual bank, the decisions made internally to enable individual scandals, such as that of the LIBOR rigging, have come under scrutiny. Internal management decisions are controllable by shareholders, board of directors, management and many other stakeholders. These decision making processes and outcomes are set out by the principles of the UK corporate governance code by which the board choose the principles the company wishes to adhere to. These choices are published in the annual reports and the principles they wish to not comply with should be explained therein. Corporate governance has many definitions and is often subject to the user’s own interpretations. One definition used by Lee (2006, p.21) suggests corporate governance is: The formal mechanisms of direction, supervision and control put in place within a company in order to monitor the
decisions and actions of its senior managers and ensure these are compatible and consistent with the specific interest of shareholders and the various other interests of stakeholders. Within this study, the focus is centred on the UK corporate governance code and the contents of the published annual reports. The annual report is the primary source of communication from the company to its stakeholders about corporate governance. The purpose of the UK corporate governance code, along with many other ethics codes, is to standardise and improve what is reported and improve company ethics. Thus it is not unreasonable for stakeholders to assume that adherence to the UK corporate governance code would inherently improve company ethics. This is the first study attempting to find the difference between corporate governance choices of the UK’s banks, perceived by the general public as seen in media publications, as the most unethical and one of the most ethical. The findings will then enable further research into corporate governance regulation of banks and into the implementation of ethical banking principles across the banking sector.
Literature Review The definition of corporate governance is extensively varied dependent upon who and how the concept is perceived. There are many theories that enable generalised definitions such as agency theory and stakeholder theory. The plethora of definitions generally all agree that corporate governance interacts between various stakeholders and the company, is used to direct and control, has legal and internal aspects, influences management and performance, and finally should be transparent (Chalhoub, 2009; Grosu, 2011; Haniffa & Hudaib, 2007; Quick & Weimann, 2011). Corporate governance has been a topic of interest since the 1930’s; however it has gained increasing coverage in the past two decades. The increased coverage has come after times of financial crises, such as that of the Enron collapse and the economic recession (Strouhal, Bonaci & Mustata, 2012). The reasons for such heightened awareness of corporate governance around financial crises is due to the importance financial institutions have in the world; they have the potential to grow and cripple the economy (Pati, 2007; Mullineux, 2006; Chahal & Kumari, 2011; Levine, 2004). Banks are crucially the main source of finance and depositories for the individual and businesses (Levine, 1997; Chahal & Kumari, 2011). This means, “Bank failures can pose significant public costs and consequences” (Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, 2005 [online]). It is noted that banks’ activities are less transparent thus creating a heightened
need for corporate governance. Therefore, when the financial sector hits crisis point, the corporate governance practices come into question. The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) (2010 [online]) encourages banks to develop and strengthen governance practices under different systems. BCBS (2010 [online], p.6) suggest “Good corporate governance requires appropriate and effective legal, regulatory and institutional foundations”. This review focuses on three major themes; corporate governance practices affecting firm decisions, the relationship between good ethical practices and financial performance, and corporate governance reporting.
Corporate Governance Practices Affecting Firm’s Decisions It is a well-publicised understanding that how stakeholders perceive a company’s ethical stance has a direct impact on performance. 19% (£23 million) of The Co-operative’s profit in 2003 was directly attributable to customers who are with the bank for ethical reasons (Marketwatch, 2003). Whilst good corporate governance can affect performance, it should also align decision making with company goals. Chalhoub (2009) suggests corporate governance should encourage employee awareness of company goals. All managers should be made aware of the company goals and the corporate governance principles by which it is confined, as set out by the transparency principle.
Corporate governance principles therefore set out what and how decisions should be made. When used effectively, the principles chosen within an organisation should have a positive effect on performance, decision making and subsequently, should enable decision makers to act in a positive and goal orientated manner that best suits all stakeholders.
Corporate Governance Reporting Corporate governance reporting has seen gradual evolution over the past twenty years. In the UK, the first code was issued in 1992, The Cadbury Code, and has seen eight further reports and reviews; the last of which was 2011, Financial Reporting Council’s Guidance on Board Effectiveness (Grant Thornton, 2011 [online]; Grosu, 2011). Although the UK corporate governance code seeks to harmonise the reporting processes of companies, there are elements of ambiguity in the correct practices to follow. Whilst the code operates under a ‘comply or explain’ principle, often the ‘explanation’ requires improved quality (Grant Thornton, 2011 [online]). The essence of choice enables companies to follow some but not all codes of practice. This enables two companies in the same sector, offering the same services, to ethically act in two opposing manners. The most commonly used method of analysing corporate governance reporting is to use content analysis on the published annual reports (Chahal & Kumari, 2011; Haniffa & Haudaib, 2007; Ienciu, 2012).
Transparency is of high importance, specifically in the UK, as the corporate governance principles are not laid down as rules. The corporate governance principles set out an ideal of how companies should be performing. However, as companies can operate under the “comply or explain” parameter, this enables boards and managers to effectively choose which principles they comply with. Providing they can ‘explain’ with sufficient reasoning, this means they can disregard the remaining principles (Financial Reporting Council, 2010 [online]). These choices, of which principles to comply with and which to ‘disregard’, have a fundamental impact on how companies are run and how/what subsequent decisions are made at all levels of power.
Chahal and Kumari (2011) examined the corporate governance practices of Jammu and Kashmir Bank Ltd, using content analysis over the eight year period, from 2002 to 2009. Seven areas were identified for improvement which included increased disclosure and improved board or committee composure. Similarly, other studies in developing countries have also found good standards of corporate governance reporting in relation to legal requirements however, more disclosures are required for improved reader comprehension (Haniffa & Haudaib, 2007; Ienciu, 2012; Quick & Wiemann, 2011).
OECD (2006 [online], p.3) states good corporate governance ought to “provide proper incentives for the board and management to pursue objectives that are in the interests of the company and its shareholders”.
It is also apparent that some studies use a primary source of information by administering questionnaires to gain inside opinions of company corporate governance. Laouisset (2009) administered a 50 question questionnaire as well as conducting interviews for the purpose of collecting primary data. Laouisset (2009) successfully gained a different perspective for corporate governance research. However, the fundamental issue with collecting data from staff is the possibility of bias. Even if the construct is that of minimising the risk of subjectivity errors, there can never be a perfect design.
One fundamental issue with decision making, that has been well documented, is agency theory; where agents of an organisation make decisions that are in the interests of themselves as individuals. “Agents are more likely to act in the interests of the organization when their own interests are aligned with those of the organization” (Bryant & Davis, 2012, p.3). Bednar (2012, p.131) says “Control mechanisms, such as boards of directors, can reduce “agency costs” stemming from managerial self-interest”.
From the discussed literature and previous studies, it is fair to state, corporate governance affects profitability and it influences how and what decisions are made within the organisation. As seen in the literature, corporate governance plays a part in that ethical stance visible to the public. Therefore, the corporate governance choices made by a UK bank have a direct impact on profitability; whilst it is possible to act unethically and make profits, this implies that the same company would improve profitability if they acted in more ethical manner. The decisions that were made by Barclays’ staff in the LIBOR rigging scandal are highly unethical and the question poses, would Co-operative staff have been able to make the same decisions under their corporate governance ethos and ethical code? This study will unravel, and begin to answer, this question by looking at the corporate governance of each bank and the effect that has on stakeholder perceptions. From these statements and the knowledge of the current banking situation in the UK, the following hypotheses have been formulated and will subsequently be tested in the later sections of this research. Hypothesis 1: There are gaps/ failures in the UK corporate governance code which enables companies to act in unethical ways. The null hypothesis of 1 is there are no gaps or failures in the current UK corporate governance code. Hypothesis 2: Non adherence to the full UK corporate governance code does not mean companies will act unethically. The null hypothesis of 2 is that adhering fully to the UK corporate governance code will ensure companies act ethically.
Methodology After the 2012 banking crisis, many people questioned if moving their bank to an ethical counterpart would solve/change the situation (Siegle, 2012 [online]). Having seen the perceived ethical stances publicly broadcast, Barclays and The Co-operative are the ideal candidates for comparison. The current display of negativity surrounding Barclays, due to their LIBOR rigging scandal, has put drastic negative light over their ethical policies. By contrast, the co-operative have seen an 8% increase in market share and a 21% rise in business accounts being open. Subsequently, their ethical policies have been highlighted as the reason for this sudden surge (Siegle, 2012 [online]; The Co-operative, 2012 [online]). Whilst the sample size is very small, this will enable a better understanding of the corporate governance choices that are made and their subsequent effect on ethical decisions made within the company; and thus the perceived ethical stance by stakeholders. To test the corporate governance within the two banks, the published annual reports will be analysed from 2007 to 2011, using content analysis. Content analysis is described by Marshall and Rossman (1989) as a way of asking a fixed set of questions about data in such a way as to produce countable results or quantitative descriptions (cited in Baker & Foy, 2012, p.142).
The fundamental reason for analysing the annual reports from 2007 to 2011 is to cover the major financial crisis period in the UK. Whilst the 2012 banking crisis is the impetus for this study, the 2012 annual reports are not fully available; therefore a longitudinal study of the financial crisis period in the UK will give a clear indication as to the corporate governance situation in these banks that have lead up to the 2012 scandal. Annual reports are typically the key source of communication, between a company and its stakeholders, and are readily available online due to the national requirements of disclosure and transparency. As such, this gives a detailed account of the company’s actions, decisions and performance throughout the year. The corporate governance disclosures are a legal requirement in the annual report to ensure stakeholders are aware of the current corporate governance situation. As the most readily available sources of reference to their corporate governance practices, the reports are the most useful form of analysing the choices made by each bank. Despite being secondary sources, the quality is of a high standard due to the legal requirements of preparation. Therefore, this study will focus on the disclosures made in the annual reports due to their inherent importance to the stakeholder and their perceptions of the company. As with any form of research, the research ethics must be considered at all stages. In this instance, the research ethics is guided by the University Research and Knowledge Exchange Ethics Policy. Due to the inherent availability of the annual reports in the public domain, no ethical issues have been identified in this research. Given the nature of the annual report, a written document, the only method of analysing this text is by content analysis; this will enable an analysis and comparison of the two company’s intentions, attitudes and values which govern the company. One particular issue to consider with the annual reports is how well they are designed and crafted. As secondary sources of information, it is vital to remember the lens under which they were originally created. There are many instances where it would benefit the organisation to omit negativity. Moxey (2012, [online]) suggests “there is usually plenty of well-crafted text to tell us everything is just fine”. As such, it is important to continue questioning what is not being said, when reading and analysing the annual report. Whilst annual reports are known to be well crafted, there is some assurance provided in the knowledge that financial statements, remuneration disclosures and corporate governance disclosures are all audited by external, and therefore supposedly independent, auditors. However, since the collapse of Enron, the successfulness and effectiveness of the audit function has been highly debated. A crucial element of the collapse is the failure of the external audit function and as such, is a highly relevant aspect in the following results. Grant Thornton’s 2011 Corporate Governance Review questionnaire is a means of collecting qualitative data which will be analysed in the qualitative form and subsequently coded in order to analyse quantitatively.
In order to analyse the data in a qualitative form, a scoring model is developed which is based largely on the model used by Quick & Weimann (2011) and subsequently edited to conform to the requirements set out in the Grant Thornton 2011 Corporate Governance Review questionnaire. The questionnaire sets out in detail the reporting requirements as per the corporate governance code. The rating responses are ‘none’ for no mention of the desired criteria, ‘some’ for a limited mention if the desired criteria and the Grant Thornton 2011 Corporate Governance Review questionnaire provides further details on the requirements for attaining a ‘more’ score.
This provokes many questions and concerns, due to the unexpected inconsistency between public perception and corporate governance reporting.
Scores are then assigned in relation to the required performance criteria, set out in the UK Corporate Governance Code, as follows: 0 = A ‘no’ or ‘none’ response 1 = A ‘yes’ or ‘some’ response 2 = A ‘more’ response. The scores will then be totalled to give an overall corporate governance score out of a possible 64.
Findings and Discussion Analysis of corporate governance scores With a maximum score of 64, general corporate governance reporting in these two UK bank’s is at a good standard, with some room for improvement. To improve quality, Grant Thornton (2011) identified the requirements of ‘more reporting’ which encapsulates all necessary information that should be reported, to provide full explanations to stakeholders. This study found, for the most part, the amount of ‘more reporting’ to be improving each year; the Co-op didn’t improve in 2009 which is consistent with the overall corporate governance score. Both banks had a uniform approach to more reporting in the following categories: Risk management, Relations with shareholders, Principle business risks and Key performance indicators. These are all areas of particular importance in either the banking sector and/or general reporting to shareholders.
Public satisfaction has consistently been higher for the Co-operative bank. After the LIBOR rigging scandal had been publicised, The Co-operative saw a 25% increase in account openings and subsequently, Barclays have recently announced pre tax profits have fallen 96% from 2011 to 2012 (Edwards & Salmon, 2013 [online]). Part of this perception should come from the published annual report, however, from the corporate governance scores shown in the graph below, this is not possible. This inherently indicates that public perception is not centred on the annual report contents; it may play a small part, however annual reports are not the driving factor for public perception. The implications here for the usefulness of the annual report when regarding corporate governance, are bleak at best. It is clear that public perception is affected by other influential factors that are of greater impact than that of the annual report.
However, when these scores are compared to general public and stakeholder perception information, this area is one of particular contradiction. It is known that being ethical increases company competitiveness and can enhance corporate health (Haynes, 2007). The literature highlighted corporate governance as one method of providing goal congruence through the use of proper incentives and control (Bednar, 2012). Therefore, if corporate governance is effective, the actions of employees and the overall perception of the company should be that of a positive ethical view; thus effective corporate governance should be positively correlated to positive stakeholder perception. However, the contradiction appears, as the well-known public perception is that Barclays is less ethical than the Co-operative, however these corporate governance scores, found in table 1, contradict those perceptions. In 2007, the Co-op did come out as having better corporate governance however in 2008, Barclays improved and equalled the Co-op and hence continued improving their corporate governance score to overtake the Co-op in three subsequent years.
The way in which the company operates appears to be negatively correlated to the corporate governance scores. However it is seen in the literature that corporate governance is a means of setting out company goals, expectations and to some extent, culture. As such, it would be expected that the corporate governance score shows an indication to the likely actions of a company. These results find the opposite; corporate governance scores for Barclays, who is identified as being unethical and not managed well, are for the most part higher than that of the Co-op, who is known to be ethical and managed well. This negative correlation is likely to be related to the UK corporate governance code requirements for reporting. True company actions and managements’ actions are not incorporated into the requirements of reporting; it is more of a declaration of the company ideals for corporate governance in the entity. This gap in corporate governance reporting is a fundamental factor that is missing from annual reports. Incorporating the actual company actions and management process in relation to corporate governance, would increase the usefulness of the information in the annual report and would reduce the gap in corporate governance reporting. Should this gap not exist, and companies had to report the actual actions of staff in relation to corporate governance, it is likely that Barclays LIBOR rigging would not have been possible. Knowing that auditors have to oversee the corporate governance disclosures in the annual report, if actual actions became a part of the annual report, auditors would then be obliged to check the actions of staff and not just the reported corporate governance. Lord Sharman of Redlynch (2002 [online]) identified the LIBOR scandal as a “failure in governance compounded by a failure in auditing”. This is a fundamental issue for auditors and has been identified as a severe audit failure. Similarly, this has highlighted a failure of corporate governance reporting due to an apparent gap in the corporate governance code; thus supporting hypothesis 1. However, it is important to point out, the committee of The Law Society stated (2002 [online]) “No regulatory standards will ever prevent such negligent/fraudulent behaviour, either by company directors or their auditors”. Pendlebury and Groves (2001) have highlighted how narrow the auditors’ scope is for reviewing corporate governance and suggest that this limited scope of review is potentially a key factor in the failure of auditing when analysing scandals such as the LIBOR.
It is abundantly clear from the above results tables that the primary difference between the two banks’ corporate governance, is the independence of the directors and their subsequent treatment.
Differences found from the questionnaire Having reviewed the annual reports in line with the Grant Thornton questionnaire, the following questions provided a clear indication of the fundamental corporate governance differences between the two UK banks. The following tables are extracts from the full questionnaire and answers.
Barker (2009 [online]) suggests the strong emphasis on director independence is borne from a concern about the distribution of power at the top of a company. If board members are not independent, they may sanction corporate behaviour that runs contrary to their fiduciary duties to stakeholders. However, in wake of the financial crisis, the emphasis and focus has shifted away from independence. Barker (2009 [online]) found that adhering to the formal criteria of independence does not necessarily achieve the objective of an independent and critical mindset. It is human nature that any individual with an investment in a company will inherently want that company to perform exceptionally. The same is naturally true of directors; as shown in these results of the Co-op directors. It is also seen that the investment in a company is not simply that
of shares. The Barclays directors are primarily rewarded with shares and yet they do not show the same interest in the success of Barclays that the Co-op directors show. By contrast, Co-op directors aren’t rewarded with shares and still appear to have invested more interest in the success of Co-op. A fundamental difference between the two sets of company directors, is the number of appointments held in other entities and the type of appointments held. The extensive number of board positions held on unrelated entities means that each of the Barclays directors are focussed on a variety of differing board styles, management styles and entity objectives; thus the Barclays entity is not of paramount importance to each director. Barker (2009 [online]) emphasized that a sufficient amount of time must be committed to their duties, which is difficult to achieve if they hold an excessive number of board positions in other organisations. This appears to be one fundamental failure in Barclays’ board composition. However, the IOD has identified insufficient sector-specific knowledge to be a driving factor of difficulty for many non-executive bank directors. Myners (2008 [online]) also suggests: The business of banking is exponentially more complicated than a generation ago (...) at the very least the chairman and senior independent director or chairman of the risk committee should have recent and relevant banking experience. This is echoed by the chairman of Spain’s biggest bank Santander, Botín (2008 [online]) who states: For years, the idea of a mostly independent board was promoted as a hallmark of good governance: the best director was the one most removed from the business because he was the most independent. That was the wrong approach. This is a complex industry, subject to constant change and innovation. What is [stet] needed are directors who know the business well. What this tells us, is that director independence is not as of great importance as was once believed. It is been seen here that a factor with significantly equal importance, specifically for the banking sector, is that of sector knowledge. It is therefore clear, from the results and subsequent discussion, that independence on the board is not wholly essential. The Co-op has proved that not having an entirely independent board can in fact be beneficial. Barclays by contrast, have followed the UK corporate governance code to the letter, and have still partaken in scandalous actions. Thus hypothesis 2 is proved; non adherence to the full UK corporate governance code does not mean companies will act unethically.
Conclusion The past five years has seen the banking sector in great turmoil, both nationally in the UK and worldwide. The economic recession and many scandals have highlighted the failures of corporate governance and the impacts of acting unethically. The aim of this research was to find what
enables a UK company in the banking sector to act unethically when its competitors are being praised for their ethical policies. On the basis of this research, the analysis has found Hypothesis 1 is proved - There are gaps/ failures in the UK corporate governance code which enables companies to act in unethical ways and Hypothesis 2 is proved - Non adherence to the full UK corporate governance code does not mean companies will act unethically. The fundamental gap in corporate governance is the lack of reporting actual governance in the company. The fundamental reason Barclays could rig the LIBOR rate is because they reported to shareholders as having top quality corporate governance and were able to hide the true actions of the company. Enabling a company to report an ideal corporate governance structure and act in contrast to that ideal is not in the interests of stakeholders. This is a core issue with the current UK corporate governance code, one which is in dire need of reformation. It was also found, that full adherence to the UK corporate governance code does not ensure companies act ethically. Whilst a reasonable expectation from stakeholders is that adherence leads to good ethics, this is proved not to be the case, as seen by Barclays. Barclays claimed to adhere fully to the code and yet managed to act unethically in one of the UK’s biggest banking scandals, thus disproving H20. Hypothesis 2 is proved by the Co-op, who stated in the annual report nonadherence to the provisions surrounding director independence, and yet are still perceived by the public as one of the most, if not the top, ethical banks in the UK. Therefore, board independence has been highlighted as fundamental difference between Barclays and the Co-op. Considering the Co-op is publicly seen as the more ethical bank, it is noted that independence is not key to their board structure. It is apparent, therefore, that an emphasis on independence does not make sense in all situations (Barker, n.d. [online]). As such, it is clear that the independence criterion for directors in the UK corporate governance code needs addressing. It is not suitable in all instances, in particular as seen here, in the banking sector. Looking forward, “the holy grail of boardroom design in the banking sector should not be independence, but boardroom competence and professionalism” (Barker, n.d. [online]). Some inherent limitations must be considered when interpreting the results. The study looks solely at two UK banks listed on the London Stock Exchange. Whilst the results are analysed on a longitudinal basis, the sample size is very small. For further evidence, a larger sample size should be used in the banking sector for further analysis and comparison. Furthermore, the study is focused on corporate governance reporting in the UK. Thus the results are only valid for this country and cannot be generalised due to country specific reporting standards. Based on this, the study has highlighted several areas for future research. Whilst the banking sector is receiving great interest due to current scandals it is important to analyse the impact on other sectors to understand the full extent of corporate governance reporting.
A comparative study to identify the impact of board independence in the banking sector, across country barriers, would provide further insight in order to provide a full analysis of the improvements required in the banking sector. A final area for future research is one which is already seeing attention; the failures of the audit function. The auditors’ role is to protect the interests of the shareholders, who are therefore the primary customer; however it is often the needs of senior managers that auditors focus on (Competition Commission, 2013 [online]). This conflict of interest was highlighted by Enron and the audit firm Arthur Andersen (AA); Wearing (2005, p79) indentified: The audit part of AA would be reluctant to upset Enron management because that would risk losing not just the audit services, but the lucrative non-audit services. Whilst not as severe as the Enron/AA case, Barclays has paid PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP a further £9m for non-audit services. This conflict of interest is a severe issue which needs addressing.
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A critical exploration of the effects of Secondary RE teaching in terms of community cohesion Lilly Clark Following the influx of immigration (and those seeking asylum) since the 1950s, of which the Home Office has identified an increase in recent years, British society has become increasingly multicultural, containing a rich heritage of cultural and ethnic diversity (Billings, 2009 p.98; Home Office, 2001 p.1; Watson, 2011 p.98). A correlation between ethnicity and religion, ascertained by the Office of National Statistics, confirms the increasing growth of religious diversity in parallel with the influx of cultural diversity (Bosveld and Connolly, 2006 p.21). This diversity has continued to intensify in an era of globalisation; religion and beliefs have become more visible in public life locally, nationally and internationally, and the impact of both on society and public life is persistently brought to the attention of the public through extensive media coverage, which may not always be reliable (DCSF, 2010 p.6). As a democracy, Britain is underpinned by certain values, including freedom of speech and opinion, religious freedom, equality before the law, protection of minorities, tolerance, fairness and justice (Watson, 2011 p.98). Although other groups can incur discrimination and prejudice, the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) identifies that “race and faith are often seen as the most frequent friction points between communities, and the most visible sources of tension” (DCSF, 2007 p.5). Following the Northern England race riots in 2001 and 2005, the partial electoral success of the British National Party in 2001 and such events as 7/7, questions were raised of whether British society had become less cohesive – a division borne of religious beliefs (Moulin, 2012 pp.161-2; Rowe et al, 2011 p.4; Ward, 2008 p.315, p.318). Enquiries suggested communities had become fractured along ethnic, religious and cultural lines: collections of mono-cultural communities living together but rarely engaging in positive interaction (Rowe et al, 2011 p.4). The legal duty of schools to promote community cohesion, having been included as part of the 2006 Education and Inspections Act, thus came into force in September 2007, becoming an Ofsted inspected feature in 2008 (Ofsted, 2010 p.47; Parliament, 2006; Rowe et al, 2011 p.4, p.18; Watson, 2011 pp.97-8). Although the 2010 Coalition Government downplayed this notion for the concept of the Big Society, community cohesion still plays a significant role (Watson, 2011 pp.97-8). RE, when taught correctly, has been acknowledged to play a vital role in addressing community cohesion, playing a major part in helping pupils understand and respect diversity, and contributing to their role as responsible citizens in a cohesive community (Marshall, 2010 p.283; Ofsted, 2010 pp.56; Watson, 2011 p.98). This essay will explore these factors in the community school context, looking not only at institutional reports and guidelines provided by Ofsted, the Department for
Children, Schools and Families, and the Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC), but also such theorists as Woodward, Panjwani, Erricker and Jackson. Although both Jackson and Woodward acknowledge that many prejudices are deep rooted and cannot be overcome, or at least not very easily, the contribution education, and RE specifically, can make to community cohesion – in building a more tolerant, understanding, fair and positive society in which a sense of belonging is shared by all communities – when taught effectively, is widely seen as a major strength and success of religious education (DCSF, 2010 p.3, p.6; Jackson, 1995 p.273; Marshall, 2010 p.283; Ofsted, 2010 pp.5-6; Woodward, 2012 p.141). Panjwani (2005, p.387) argues that RE can contribute to community cohesion in three ways: firstly, RE can help foster attitudes that are necessary for negotiations in a pluralistic society by helping students develop the skills to analyse situations and engage in open-minded discussions. By exposing students to different religions and beliefs, RE can also facilitate mutual understanding, respect and tolerance that might otherwise not be possible if not given the opportunity, and thirdly, RE provides the opportunity to reflect upon existential questions and limit-situations that concern all human beings in an appropriate environment (Panjwani, 2005 p.387). Although knowledge of other religions and beliefs in itself does not necessarily facilitate respect and community cohesion, Woodward contends that when teaching encourages open-mindedness and sensitivity to others and their beliefs, beliefs that form a part of contemporary society, RE can then play a role in creating an open and accepting atmosphere in the school, an attitude which can then be echoed by students into their behaviour outside of the school (DCSF, 2010 p.7; Woodward, 2012 p.137). Although Ofsted stated that the effectiveness of RE observed in many schools was not good enough, in their 2010 report Transforming religious education: Religious education in schools 2006-9, they still highlighted the success and major role RE played in supporting the promotion of community cohesion (Ofsted, 2010 p.5). According to their report, the contribution RE made to community cohesion was good or outstanding in six out of ten primary schools, and eight out of ten secondary, reflecting the positive contributions RE made to the pupils’ understanding of diversity and respect for others beliefs, enhancing their moral, social and cultural development (Ofsted, 2010 p.5).
Although Ofsted (2010 p.47) recognised this potential of RE to be a “cornerstone of excellent practice in relation to community cohesion”, being a strength in most of the schools visited, this potential was not always fully realised – a stance supported by the Religious Education Council of England and Wales (2010 pp.1-2), Woodward (2012 p.141), Panjwani (2005 p.375, p.377), Erricker (2006 pp.137-8), and Marshall (2010 p.283). Badly taught RE can have negative effects on community cohesion, for example: where teaching was superficial and uncritical, where limited attention was paid in exploring beliefs and values leading to a lack of understanding and realisation of the place of beliefs in contemporary society, and where opportunities for field work and promoting links with local religious communities and the beliefs of pupils were missed (Erricker, 2006 p.145; Ofsted, 2010 p.16, pp.32-3; REC, 2010 pp.1-2). Certainly, the REC, DCSF (2010 p.22), Erricker (2006 p.145), Jackson (1995 p.272) and Panjwani (2005 p.378, p.383) identify that the negative affects of badly taught RE, such as shallow knowledge that ignores controversial matters and issues of authority and internal diversity, can in fact exacerbate prejudice and stereotyping; statements supported by Ofsted (2010 p.4, p.16) who identified that where provision for RE was inadequate and the teaching unsatisfactory (providing little opportunity for them to develop understanding) pupils expressed more negative attitudes to diversity, showing notably less respect and tolerance than their peers. Although Woodward (2012 p.141) notes there are those, such as the National Secular Society, who argue that highlighting the diversity of religious faith within society through religious education prevents community cohesion, the REC (2010 p.1) states that the attitudes RE seeks to foster and develop can actually have “a significant impact on pupils’ perceptions of communities and therefore on cohesion”, and this is certainly the position of the Ofsted report. Ofsted (2010 p.16, p.47) also noted that pupils widely saw the value of RE as one of the main contexts in which they could develop an understanding and respect of diversity and others beliefs, and how this contributed to a more harmonious society, showing an awareness from pupils of the ability of RE to help promote community cohesion. The key issue, Baumfield notes, is in how RE is taught (Baumfield, 2003 p.174; Panjwani, 2005 p.387). Examples Ofsted (2010 p.35, pp.47-8) and the DCSF (2010 p.32) give of how schools were successful in their application of RE to community cohesion, were so by providing opportunities for pupils to engage first-hand and create links with local religious and belief communities, such as by employing the use of visitors and field work, twinning with schools of differing cultural make ups, running theme days, events and cultural assemblies, by analysing patterns of religious diversity in the area, and by acknowledging the particular religious beliefs of students and their families. By involving the students and families (if they wished) it was more likely that they would also feel confidence that their religion was being respected (Ofsted, 2010 p.35, pp.47-8; DCSF, 2010 p.32). RE can thus be seen to foster tolerance and respect within the local community as well as the school, and because RE has a locally determined syllabus, incorporating the use of SACREs (Standing Advisory Councils, including members of local religious communities), it has the advantage of investigating religions as they are lived out in the community; allowing schools
also to be aware of and explore issues that may arise within the community, and of whether these affect pupils or their families (Panjwani, 2005 p.385; REC, 2010 pp.7-8; Woodward, 2012 p.137). Community cohesion measures in RE are therefore implemented differently by schools to serve their different communities (Rowe et al, 2011 p.10). The REC (2010 p.8) and DCSF (2010 p.32) also noted the development of youth SACREs in building on community cohesion, allowing pupils to take a part in their own learning and voice their own views on RE, enabling young people to relate positively and responsibly to their local community. Religious education, when taught effectively, can thus be shown to promote community cohesion at each of the four levels outlined by the DCSF guidance: in the school context (both within the school itself, and networks formed between schools) and the local community, yet also at the UK and global levels, recognising how religious beliefs and diversity influence national life and the global community (DCSF, 2007 p.5, 2010 p.8; Ofsted, 2008 p.3). The DCSF has identified that one of the main barriers to community cohesion is a mistrust of different groups, and the misunderstandings and suspicion that can occur through this (DCSF, 2007 p.4, p.8; Joubert and de Beer, 2010 p.304; Watson, 2011 p.99; Woodward, 2012 p.26). When taught well, RE can help to break down this barrier; pupils have opinions, attitudes, stereotypes and prejudices, and RE can be used to build bridges, giving pupils the opportunity to meet groups and engage with them, challenging assumptions, misconceptions and negative stereotypes, hopefully leading to the realisation, the REC state, “that what binds us together as human beings is far greater than what divides us”, increasing the likelihood of community cohesion (DCSF, 2007 p.8; Moulin, 2012 p.167; REC, 2010 p.1; Woodward, 2012 p.144). Another way RE does this is through classroom discussion. Although learning about religious and non-religious beliefs is vital for increasing the mutual understanding required for cohesion, the REC (2010 p.5) states that this may contribute less to community cohesion than opening up the classroom as a forum for questions and issues that students may have. Likewise, the option to withdraw a child from RE lessons and activities and the effects this may have on attempts at cohesion and cohesive attitudes also needs to be considered. RE provides a key context for exploring concepts and issues and their roles in the spiritual, moral and cultural lives of people in a diverse society, helping pupils make sense of the world and develop moral and social understanding (DCSF, 2010 p.5, p.7; Panjwani, 2005 p.387). This also contributes to community cohesion by helping pupils develop the skills to analyse situations and engage in open-minded and evaluative discussions – an attitude Panjwani (2005 p.387) determines is necessary for preparing pupils for adult life and negotiations in a pluralistic society. RE encourages pupils to actively engage with each other, fostering a sense of self-awareness, belonging and identity that manifests itself in positive participation in both the school and community (DCSF, 2007 p.6, 2010 p.26). As well as this, RE encourages empathy, compassion and responsible engagement, improving the capacity for students to negotiate, interpret, evaluate and express themselves, and teaching pupils what it means to have mutual respect in terms of speech and conduct (DCSF, 2010 p.8; Erricker, 2008 p.145; REC, 2010 p.3). By addressing relevant issues at a local, national and global level, such as the media, asylum,
refugees and terror, students should be able to form educated views, achieving better understanding of their own thoughts and viewpoints and tempering initial more extreme opinions, learning how to handle and resolve conflicting views without generating hostility, and even re-examining their own opinions through dialogue with others (Watson, 2011 pp.100-102; Woodward, 2012 p.138, p.140). Although Watson (2011 p.100, p.103) emphasises that classroom communication is “an operative process in which participants are changed and new understanding emerges”, this is not always the case. Although many prejudices are deep rooted and cannot be overcome, or at least not very easily, race and faith have been identified as the most frequent friction points between communities and the most visible sources of tension, highlighting a need for the improvement of community cohesion. RE, when taught effectively, has been shown to play a vital role in helping pupils understand and respect diversity, having the potential to be a cornerstone of excellent practice in relation to community cohesion. When taught well, RE provides the opportunity for pupils to engage first hand with local religious and cultural communities, and because the syllabus is locally agreed, students are able to relate what they learn to their experiences in the local community, as well as in the national and global context. Classroom discussion provides a safe forum for students to discuss and debate concepts and issues that are part of living in a diverse society, enabling the students to actively engage with each other and analyse and negotiate situations, preparing them for adult life as a responsible, respectful citizen, and member of a diverse community. Effective classroom discussion in RE should enable students to learn to show compassion, empathy, understanding and an ability to appreciate other peoples views and opinions in a respectful manner, serving to create cohesion in the classroom and the school, and also in the wider community. Good RE can therefore be shown to promote community cohesion at the four levels denoted by the DCSF guidance: in the school context (both within the school itself, and networks formed between schools), the local community, and also at UK and global levels, enabling the student to recognise how religious beliefs and diversity influence national life and the global community. However, although RE has the potential to be a major success in promoting community cohesion, this is not always fully realised, and badly taught RE can be seen to have a negative effect on community cohesion, exacerbating prejudice and stereotyping, and on the whole not living up to its full potential. Where the provision for RE was inadequate, pupils expressed more negative attitudes to diversity and less respect and tolerance than their peers, however, in this regard it can be argued that the key issue to any failure of RE to promote community cohesion is not down to the subject itself but rather in how it is taught.
References Baumfield, V. (2003) Democratic RE: preparing young people for citizenship. British Journal of Religious Education, 25:3, 173-184. Billings, A. (2009) God and Community Cohesion: Help or Hindrance? London: SPCK.
Bosveld, K. & Connolly, H. (2006) Chapter 2: Population, 19-42. In Dobbs, J., Green, H. & Zealey, L. (Eds.) Focus On: Ethnicity and Religion. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. DCSF. (2007) Guidance on the duty to promote community cohesion. Nottingham: DCSF Publications. DCSF. (2010) Religious education in English schools: Non-statutory guidance 2010. Nottingham: DCSF Publications. Erricker, C. (2006) If you don’t know the difference you are living with, how can you learn to live with it? Taking difference seriously in spiritual and religious education. International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, 11:1, 137-150. Erricker, C. (2008) In fifty years, who will be here? Reflections on globalisation, migration and spiritual identity. International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, 13:1, 15-26. Ipgrave, J. (2009) The language of friendship and identity: children’s communication choices in an interfaith exchange. British Journal of Religious Education, 31:3, 213-225. Jackson, R. (1995) Religious Education’s Representation of ‘Religions’ and ‘Cultures’. British Journal of Educational Studies, 43:3, 272-289. Joubert, Y. & de Beer, H. (2010) Organisation Team Sport Interventions to Overcome Diversity Constraints in the Workplace. The International Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations, 10:2, 303-318. Marshall, K. (2010) Education for All: where does religion come in? Comparative Education, 46:3, 273-287. Moulin, D. (2012) Religious Education in England After 9/11. Religious Education, 107:2, 158173. Ofsted. (2008) Equality Impact Assessment Form. Manchester: Ofsted. Ofsted. (2010) Transforming religious education: Religious education in schools 2006-09. Manchester: Ofsted. Panjwani, F. (2005) Agreed Syllabi and Un-Agreed Values: Religious Education an Missed Oppportunities for Fostering Social Cohesion. British Journal of Educational Studies, 53:3, 375393. Parliament. (2006) Part 3: Further Provisions About Maintained Schools. Education and Inspections Act 2006, last accessed: 15/01/2013, available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ ukpga/2006/40/part/3
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Women’s political participation and their legislative representation Max Stafford Introduction Women’s political participation and their legislative representation has long been a matter of public debate. This dissertation chooses one aspect of this debate; methods for increasing the proportion of women selected to contest parliamentary constituencies, and explores it within the context of the United Kingdom (UK). In particular, it focuses upon the method known as All-Women Shortlists (AWS), its ineffectiveness and its inappropriateness in tackling barriers to women’s representation and whether better alternatives exist. Shortlists are the list of people considered for selection by a political party within an individual parliamentary constituency. Therefore, AWS are lists which include only women for consideration by selection committees. They are a form of quota policy – whereby each party will seek to select women for a certain proportion of seats in attempting to ensure that a minimum number are elected, aiming to increase the proportion of women in parliament. The UK has been selected as the case study for this dissertation due to the controversial legacy generated by AWS’s introduction. The dissertation’s main conclusion is that AWS are not a suitable policy for tackling the low numbers of women selected for parliamentary seats. Through examination of the relatively low proportion of women within both the current and the previous House of Commons, it is clear that AWS have had a limited effect. AWS have not challenged prejudicial attitudes faced by prospective female candidates. It is thus this dissertation’s central hypothesis that AWS are not a wholly appropriate method for increasing the proportion of women in the modern Westminster parliament. Despite this conclusion, some acknowledgement is given to AWS for having, albeit minimally, increased the number of women in parliament more than alternative methods.
CHAPTER I: The Historical Context and Debates Today twenty-two per cent of MPs are women, contrasting with fifty per cent of permanent secretaries in the British Civil Service, nearly thirty-three per cent of public appointments and twelveand-a-half per cent of directorships of Financial Times and Stock Exchange 100 (FTSE 100) companies (Home Office, 2012). Clearly, in comparison to the proportion of women sitting on the boards of companies women have fared better in being elected to parliament. However in relation to other fields such as public appointments (which include the senior judiciary and appointments to public commissions) women’s representation in parliament is comparatively low. The UK is
ranked just forty-first for the total number of women in its main legislature – far behind Rwanda, which, at fifty-six per cent, is the world’s leading nation in terms of the proportion of women in parliament (Slattery, 2012, p. 86). Although other parties feature, it is with Labour, due to their strong advocacy of All-Women Shortlists (AWS), that this dissertation is primarily concerned and so the account, given later in the chapter, of the changes that occurred throughout the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s is chiefly concerned with the Labour Party. The outcome of the long campaign for British suffrage was the granting of the franchise to women aged over thirty at the end of the First World War (1914-18) and to women aged over twenty-one ten years later (Walker, 2006, p. 191). Consequently, this landmark was succeeded by the election of the first female Members of Parliament (MPs). The first woman to take up her seat at Westminster was the Conservative MP Lady Nancy Astor, who gave her maiden speech to the House of Commons in February 1920 (May, 2004, p. 844). Although a parliamentary landmark, it did not result in the election of vast numbers of women MPs (May, 2004, p. 844). In the ninety-three years since her election the proportion of women parliamentarians has grown relatively slowly. It was not until the late 1970s, however, when conventional wisdom on women’s role as parliamentary candidates was challenged. Parties had previously believed women candidates often cost votes (Studlar and McAllister, 1998, p. 73). It is unclear from where this view originated. However, it transcended party politics. Ann Widdecombe, a former Conservative minister, has commented that campaigns by women’s movements to increase the proportion of women in politics damage the traditional family structure, saying: “‘You cannot be a good mother and be a good MP at the same time.’” (Widdecombe, cited in Kochan, 2000, p. 213). Whatever the reason for the view that women candidates were a major electoral risk, it was found to be erroneous in a number of different academic studies beginning in the late 1970s (Studlar and McAllister, 1998, p. 73). The surveys identified three obstacles to increasing the number of women selected: longterm incumbency in parliamentary seats (meaning the number of vacancies at each election was limited); the single seat plurality electoral system, and most significantly, the selection process itself (Studlar and McAllister, 1998, p. 73). Issues relating to the selection process are examined in Chapters II and III of this dissertation and are, of course, crucial to the concept of AWS. Incumbency is an obstacle as it means that the rate of supply of available seats can be low and, therefore, vacancies for women seeking selection are limited. The problems raised by the use of the single seat plurality system are examined in detail in Chapter III. It is sufficient to state here that more proportional systems, with their multi-member constituencies, provide greater opportunity for women to be selected through the use of list systems – whereby female and male candidates have
equal opportunity to be placed in any particular order upon the list.However, identifying these problems was insufficient – action was required in order to ensure that women were not disadvantaged. The use of gender quotas during party shortlisting procedures was introduced by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) during the early 1980s (Byrne, 1996, p. 66). However, it was not concurrently adopted by any of the three main political parties who were either against them or preoccupied, in Labour’s case, with internal divisions over the need to modernise in other ways. The decision to implement quotas has been described as the most controversial of all of the reforms aimed at women introduced by the Labour Party between 1979 and 1995. S. Perrigo has described why the quotas policy was introduced. General election defeats for Labour in 1987 and 1992 meant that many in the party, including the leadership, felt a need to increase the momentum of modernisation (Perrigo, 1996, p. 127). Therefore the period of 1987-1995 became, according to Perrigo, the point of transition “…from rhetoric to action.” (Perrigo, 1996, p. 127). It is a view concurred with by then Shadow Minister for Women Claire Short who suggested the need to address the party’s masculine image was shown by the fact that Labour would have won the 1992 general election had women and men voters swung towards Labour in equal numbers (Short, 1996, p. 19). Judith Squires agreed that giving women more power and responsibility within the party’s organisation would improve Labour’s electoral chances (Squires, 1996, pp. 73-4). AWS were introduced into the Labour Party and consequently established for the first time within one of the three main British political parties, with the other two being the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, in 1990. A resolution before the 1990 annual Labour Party Conference proposed the voluntary use of quotas within selection processes. This was done with a view to securing fifty per cent female representation within the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) within either the following ten years or next three general elections, whichever was sooner (Squires, 1996, p. 129). Following the defeat of the general election of 1992, AWS were adopted in 1993 as a compulsory selection mechanism for use within both half of all marginal seats and also half of the vacated seats contested by Labour at the following general election. This decision has left a strong legacy of controversy over whether better methods exist for increasing the proportion of women in parliament. Indeed, as will be discussed in Chapters II and III, there is much debate surrounding whether positive discrimination should be used at all to artificially assist in increasing this proportion. This chapter has provided a brief history to establish the context for the debates explored in succeeding chapters. Chapter II builds upon this context by analysing of the debates that have emerged since the introduction of AWS and examines whether they have a justifiable place within British politics.
CHAPTER II: The All-Women Shortlist (AWS): Legal Challenge, Implementation and Effectiveness (1993-2010) This chapter examines the function of All-Women Shortlists (AWS) within electoral politics and whether their role within selection procedures for parliament has helped remove barriers to women’s political representation. It analyses the effect of the 1996 employment tribunal case brought against the Labour Party in response to its first introduction of AWS (Jepson and Dyas-Elliot v.
Labour Party) and the introduction of the Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Act 2002. Crucially, it considers arguments surrounding supply and demand factors which create obstacles to women’s political participation, concluding that AWS do not sufficiently address these issues. Central to both this chapter and the wider dissertation is the concept of positive discrimination. AWS are an act of positive discrimination as they exclude men from a number of local selection processes in order to positively boost the total women selected. The concept is defined as the act of “…applying different criteria for selection to representatives of different groups as a way of addressing the existing social inequalities.” (McLean and McMillan, 2003, p. 428). In 1996 Joni Lovenduski wrote that the Labour Party was “…now uneasily committed to a policy of quotas for women candidates.” (Lovenduski, 1996, p. 3). This uneasy relationship with AWS had become fraught following the ruling in the Jepson and Dyas-Elliot v. Labour Party case of January 1996. Peter Jepson and Roger Dyas-Elliot were two members of the Labour Party who had been seeking party selection but found that their chosen seats were subject to AWS. They took their case to an employment tribunal, which ruled that AWS “…breached sex discrimination laws in preventing men from entering the profession.” (Peake, 1997, p. 172). The tribunal considered whether AWS embodied illegal sexual discrimination by “…regarding the matter as conclusively decided by the ‘simple’ answer to the ‘simple’ test of whether the complainant would have received the same treatment but for his sex…” (Fredman, 2011, p. 239-240). Subsequently, the tribunal ruled “‘It is obvious direct discrimination on grounds of sex.’” (Jepson and Dyas-Elliot v. Labour Party, cited in Fredman, 2011, p. 240). The justice of this judgement cannot be doubted. The use of AWS by Labour directly contravened the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (SDA 1975). The SDA 1975 referred to discrimination against women by men. However, Part I, Section 2, subsection (1) stated that Section I of Part I and Parts II and III applied “…equally to the treatment of men, and for that purpose shall have effect with such modifications as are requisite…” (Sex Discrimination Act, 1975, Part I, Section 2, subsection (1), p. 2). AWS fitted the Act’s description of discrimination as someone treating another “…less favourably than in those circumstances he treats or would treat other persons…” by favouring women through the exclusion of men. The specific points of the SDA 1975 contravened by AWS were Part II (which deals with employment), Section 6, subsection (1)a and (1)c and Part II, Section 10B, subsections (1)a and (2) a. Section 6 prohibited discrimination against a person in arrangements made for determining who is offered employment and, in subsection (1)c, “…by refusing or deliberately omitting to offer her that employment.” (Sex Discrimination Act, 1975, Part II, Section 6, subsection (1)c, p. 9). Given the Act’s earlier provision that Part II applied to both men and women, AWS using positive discrimination in favour of women, clearly contravened this provision. Section 10B, which dealt directly with office holders, was a more controversial area of the Act. Subsection (1)a banned discrimination in relation to “…determining to whom the appointment should be offered…” and subsection (2)a extended this prohibition to arrangements made “…for the purpose of determining who should be recommended or approved in relation to the appointment…” (Sex Discrimination Act, 1975, Part II, Section 10B, subsections (1)a and (2)a, p. 22).
However, Section 10B was subject to Section 10A, which offered exemptions from the former section’s provisions. In this case, Section 10A, subsections (3)a and (3)n provided exemptions which were of relevance. The former exempted offices of the House of Commons which were held by MPs whilst the latter exempted “…any office of a political party…” (Sex Discrimination Act, 1975, Part II, Section 10A, subsections (3)a and (3)n, p. 21). However, being the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) for a party is not to hold an office but rather to seek to do so. Therefore, the 1996 judgement was justified, given the SDA 1975’s provisions, to rule Labour’s practice of AWS unlawful. Furthermore, in addition to this the tribunal ruling held that the policy contravened Section 13, subsection (1) of the Act – which “…prohibits bodies or authorities conferring authorisation or qualification needed for engagement in a particular profession or trade from discriminating on grounds of sex…” (Kelly and White, 2012, p. 3). Therefore, AWS were introduced into British politics and subsequently declared illegal. Amid the controversy, the number of women in parliament went up from sixty to one-hundred-and-twenty at the 1997 general election, one-hundred-and-one of whom were Labour MPs (Ward, 2002, p. 238). However, Labour continued its advocacy of AWS, despite its ignominious introduction. Following the Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Act 2002 (SDA 2002), AWS were used at both the 2005 and 2010 general elections. Of the three main parties, again only Labour chose to adopt this method of selection with twenty-three out of thirty AWS candidates successfully elected in 2005 and twenty-eight out of sixty-three in 2010 (Kelly and White, 2012, pp. 26-7). The SDA 2002 was the Labour government’s response to the continuing call from feminists both within and outside the party to act to ensure women’s increased parliamentary representation. In short, the Act exempted arrangements surrounding “…the selection of the party’s candidates in a relevant election…”, including those “…adopted for the purpose of reducing inequality in the numbers of men and women elected, as candidates of the party…” (such as policies of positive discrimination, including AWS), from Parts II to IV of the SDA 1975 (Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Act, 2002, Part I, Section 1, subsections (2)a and (2)b, p. 1). Therefore, by 2002, all legal obstacles to the continued use of AWS were removed and parties were free to adopt the policy in their candidate selections for elections to Westminster, the European parliament, the Scottish parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and most local government legislatures (Kelly and White, 2012, p. 3). Furthermore, the SDA 2002 did not compel parties to use AWS, allowing parties opposed to the policy (including the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats) to continue to operate without it and, therefore, the Act passed through parliament as a Bill without substantive opposition (Childs, 2002, p. 91). Questions of their past legality aside, AWS’ effectiveness in removing obstacles faced by women seeking selection remains to be examined. Much debate about the increase of women in parliament has surrounded the economic laws of supply and demand, the two driving forces of the market. They determine, in the case of supply, how much of a particular commodity or resource is available and, in the case of demand, “…the amount of a good or service that people are both willing and able to buy.” (Bishop, 2009, p. 79). The laws of supply and demand are widely used
in academic literature critiquing AWS and their attempts to address what Lucy Peake described as the “…dearth…” of women MPs (Peake, 1997, p. 170). That the supply and demand sides are linked cannot be denied. The more difficulties women face in aspiring to be selected, the fewer make it into the House of Commons. Indeed, as Sarah Childs cites, political parties often complain that if more women came forward more would be elected yet this “…ignores the role of party demand in the supply and selection of candidates…” (Childs, 2012). This role has been well documented in the media (Hartley-Brewer, 1999; Ward, 1999; Ward, 2001). In addition, Joni Lovenduski and Pippa Norris, who have written extensively upon the role of supply and demand factors, highlighted the interaction between the two factors when they wrote: “Potential applicants may be discouraged from coming forward by the perception of prejudice among party activists, complex application procedures, or anticipated failure.” (Lovenduski and Norris, 1995, p. 15). Within the Conservative Party, women aspiring to become candidates reported being asked discriminatory questions such as “‘It’s the party of the family – shouldn’t you be at home looking after the children?’” (Cited in Ward, 1999). Such prejudicial questions had been a long-established problem. In her memoirs the former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher revealed that, amongst other questions, she was asked “…did I really think that I could fulfil my duties as a mother with young children to look after and as an MP?” (Thatcher, 1995, p. 94). This discrimination is historically not uncommon in local Conservative associations. Two years after the first Labour women chosen using AWS were elected, an internal Conservative Party report, ‘Conservative Women’, argued that many older members of local selection panels were discriminating against female candidates due to a yearning “‘…for the days of the subservient family woman…’” (Keswick, et. al., cited in Hartley-Brewer, 1999). In order to resolve this issue, and thus increase the supply of women, the report concluded that “‘All discrimination in the selection of candidates must be weeded out.’” (Keswick, et. al., cited in Hartley-Brewer, 1999). However, its conclusions were not implemented as they included recommendations to use quotas as part of the solution, something to which the party had long been opposed (Hartley-Brewer, 1999). Subsequently, eighty-five per cent of Conservative candidates prior to the 2001 election were male (Watt, 2000). However, other political parties have also experienced such problems. In 2001 less than a fifth of the combined total of Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Scottish Nationalist and Plaid Cymru candidates were women (Ward, 2001). Mary-Ann Stephenson, director of the Fawcett Society, which examines issues affecting women, argued that this evidence of demand-related hurdles was a strong justification for AWS, saying that without such policies “‘…left to their own devices, a lot of constituency parties go back to their old habits of assuming that the best man for the job is a white male.’” (Stephenson, cited in Ward, 2001). However, some doubt the pertinence of supply and demand arguments. Ann Widdecombe, the former Conservative Shadow Home Secretary, consistently rejected the idea that women need assistance to progress through Westminster politics. Instead she argued, in adherence to her party’s belief in meritocracy, that gender is not a barrier to political advancement and all women inter-
ested in political careers should therefore strive to achieve them on merit (Kochan, 2000, p. 208). As a shadow minister in 1998 she commented: “‘I should hate to think I was only going to get into the Cabinet because I was a woman’...” (Kochan, 2000, p. 208). She has retained particular vehemence for those vehicles used, in her view, to patronise women through the use of quotas, saying in 1998: “I don’t think positive discrimination has done us any favours at all.” (Widdecombe, cited in Kochan, 2000, p. 208). She believes that positive discrimination creates “‘… two classes of women in parliament. The first are those who have beaten off all the men…in the normal way. The second…have their paths artificially smoothed.’” (Widdecombe, cited in Woodward, 2006). She thus reflects one of the main criticisms of AWS – that they segregate women MPs into those who have fought equally with men for their candidacy and those who have been patronised, and may therefore be seen as having done less to earn their selection. Widdecombe’s colleagues have passed comments which in fact support the views of those who argue that demand-side factors limit the amount of women selected. Conservative MP Michael Brown observed that she often seemed to want to be “‘…on of the boys…’” (Brown, cited in Kochan, 2000, p. 208). This observation of Widdecombe’s political conduct not only concurs with her own view that women should not receive different treatment due to their sex but agrees with those who suggest that women who refuse to conform to Westminster’s masculine attitudes will struggle to progress. The Widdecombe case study lends credence to the theory that the demands of selection panels have often been prejudicial towards women, thus limiting the number selected. AWS alone do not tackle attitudes stopping women from being treated equally to men when aspiring to hold public office. How this can be achieved, instead of resorting to AWS, is examined in Chapter III. In the light of obvious prejudice in the selection process, such as that highlighted in the cited newspaper articles, it is possible to perceive why many have felt AWS to be the best method of combating such discrimination. However, the evidence of the reduction of the number of women selected for the 2001 general election suggested that this prejudice is independent of AWS. The percentage of constituencies with no women candidates rose from forty-seven to sixty-three percent (Ward, 2002, p. 242). Attitudes which created such a barrier remained at the 2005 election. Despite it being the first general election following the SDA 2002, women still constituted fewer than twenty per cent of the Commons following the 2005 election (Childs, 2005, p. 150). Clearly, attempts at increasing equality of opportunity in the selection process are entirely redundant if individual attitudes remain unchanged. Although many capable women may be selected using AWS, the policy is dangerous for female representation as it has not sufficiently reinforced the view that women have equal right with men to be assessed on merit and not gender. This chapter has illustrated that AWS have been subject to much controversy and debate within British politics. Whilst the number of women MPs has increased from nearly eighteen per cent in 2001, the last election before the act was passed, to twenty-two per cent in 2010 it does not change the fact that it took a major change to British law to legitimise the process (Kelly and White, 2012, p. 4). The fact that two of the main political parties, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, have chosen not to use the policy has revealed two key lessons. First, it means that the effects
of AWS are limited. Although the number of women elected steadily increased from one-hundred-and-twenty to one-hundred-and-forty-three between 1997 and 2010, the number of Labour female parliamentarians fell to its lowest level since 1992 at the last general election (Kelly and White, 2012, p.4). Whilst this may reflect the significant overall drop in Labour’s share of the vote at the 2010 general election (from just over thirty-five per cent in 2005 to twenty-nine per cent in 2010), it also suggests that AWS cannot guarantee increased women’s representation (Fielding, 2010, p. 72). Second, if AWS’ failure to substantially increase the number of women elected is accounted for, then one may speculate that they may be made more effective if the SDA 2002 were amended, or replaced by a new statute, to make them compulsory for political parties to use in fifty-percent of seats. However, it is likely such a move would currently be defeated by the UK’s Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government; both parties are opposed to the policy and also hold a large enough majority in the Commons to defeat the motion. Overall, AWS have had a limited positive impact upon the proportion of women in parliament whilst failing to address or even understand the core issues, including problems in supply and demand, affecting women’s political participation. How to resolve this matter, without AWS, is the concern of Chapter III, which focuses upon whether there are fairer and more effective methods for increasing women’s representation at Westminster.
CHAPTER III: ALTERNATIVES TO THE AWS This chapter will build upon Chapter II’s findings by illustrating better methods for increasing women’s representation. It will analyse two alternatives: the adoption of a more proportional electoral system and affirmative action. Other options for increasing women’s representation, including the use of open primaries, have been tried within British politics. However, the two alternatives examined here are those for which the greatest amount of evidence and literature exist. Overall, the chapter argues that the use of affirmative action is the most commendable of the two alternatives. The current electoral system used for the Westminster Parliament is single-seat plurality. Under this system the electoral area is arranged into a series of single-member constituencies, with voters voting once for a candidate. The elected candidate holds the greatest number of votes (Heywood, 2007, p. 257). The system is more commonly known as “First Past The Post” (FPTP) due to the fact that the size of the margin by which a candidate wins is immaterial provided they have the most votes. FPTP has been much lamented as a block to the reforming of women’s representation, primarily due to the effect that it has upon selection procedures. M. Russell and C. O’Cinneide argued that under FPTP, as individual local parties undertake the primary role in selecting candidates, it is harder to ensure a balanced array on each party’s national list (Russell and O’Cinneide, 2003, pp. 589-590). Therefore, discrimination at the local level, including of the type identified in the last chapter as causing demand-side issues, can be difficult to avoid.
Systems of PR which use party lists mean candidates are chosen for multi-member constituencies giving rise to greater opportunity for a balanced range of candidates. Party lists, in their simplest definition, are a list of candidates fielded by a political party in an election conducted under PR (McLean and McMillan, 2003, p. 397). In these elections, voters select a party rather than individual candidates; seats are allotted according to the proportion of the vote won by each party. Although this relies on parties selecting women for the system to work, the potential for increasing women’s representation is increased, as in all systems of PR “…each constituency is responsible for electing more than one politician.” (Salmond, 2006, p. 177). This means that women have multiple opportunities for selection, as opposed to the single chance they have in each seat under the current single-member format.
the 2001 general election. The Guardian revealed that, in 2000, “…efforts by Central Office to overturn the party’s image as a bastion of white, middle class men have failed to influence local selection committees which are repeatedly turning down women.” (Watt, 2000). This led key Conservative Party figures, including future party chairman Theresa May, to call for affirmative action (May, 2004, p. 848). After passing selection assessments, successful applicants received training, some being just for women, in order to further develop these skills and increase confidence (Childs, 2008, p. 67). This policy aimed at removing supply-side obstacles, such as those revealed in the 2000 Guardian article, and to support the argument that “…what ought to be done, instead of instituting gender quotas, is to address the underlying causes of women’s exclusion.” (Dhanda, 2000, p. 2969).
It is enlightening to reflect on parliaments in other nations that have higher proportions of women representatives and who have been elected under a more proportional system. Norway, Denmark and Sweden all use proportional electoral systems with multi-member constituencies and, by the late 1990s, had all achieved higher levels of women’s representation than the UK currently enjoys (Henig and Henig, 2001, p. 95). Norway’s parliament comprised thirty-six-and-a-half per cent women in 1997 whilst, in 1998, the Danish and Swedish national legislatures had proportions of more than thirty-seven and forty-two per cent respectively. This would imply that more proportional systems are successful in securing higher numbers of women representatives. However, these countries also exercise positive discrimination policies similar to AWS, susceptible to the faults identified in Chapter II.
Such policies were, and continue to be, more appropriate responses for removing obstacles facing women’s political representation. As analysed in Chapter II, positive discrimination largely fails to tackle the prejudicial attitudes facing many women seeking parliamentary selection. Affirmative action specifically aims to remove such barriers through supporting women and opening up the selection procedures of political parties to them.
Sweden’s constitution contains a clause which expressly permits positive discrimination in order to accomplish the aim of gender equity (Russell and O’Cinneide, 2003, p. 595). Furthermore, it introduced the Sex Equality Act in 1992, ten years prior to the UK’s SDA 2002. This specified that political parties should be regulated by their internal rules and can thus exercise their own discretion in regard to positive discrimination (Russell and O’Cinneide, 2003, pp. 595-6). Parties such as the Social Democratic Party have used positive action since 1994. The result was that, with forty-four per cent, Sweden had, by 2003, what was then the world’s highest proportion of women in parliament (Russell and O’Cinneide, 2003, p. 596). Norway and Denmark have followed a similar pattern. Therefore, the argument that these three Nordic countries illustrate that a more proportional system helps increase women’s representation is questionable. However, other methods can be used to increase women’s political representation. Prime amongst these is affirmative action. This has the potential for generating far more cross-party support than other methods. All three parties have expressed similar sentiments regarding the use of affirmative action in support of female candidates. For instance, the recent Liberal Democrat proposal to allow female MPs to job-share built upon Labour MP Meg Hiller’s previous similar proposal. (BBC, 2012) Whilst not giving a similar commitment, Conservative Party leader David Cameron responded to the idea by saying that he agreed that more needed to be done in supporting women’s political aspirations (Wintour, 2013). Women, if deterred from standing for selection by perceived gender prejudice on the part of those responsible for local selection procedures, may be less willing to stand than male candidates. The Conservatives found such factors particularly problematic whilst selecting candidates for
As a strategy, affirmative action should not be underestimated. Not only is it one of the few policies for increasing women’s representation which all of the three main parties agree upon, it is also effective in improving the proportion of female representatives in the House of Commons. This is demonstrated by the number of women representatives for each party at the 2005 general election (Childs, 2005, p. 152). Labour and the Conservatives increased their number of women by three and the Liberal Democrats doubled their total to ten (Childs, 2005, p. 152). The fact that all three parties saw increases in their proportion of women representatives for the first time since 1987 seems significant given that the use of affirmative action in relation to both candidates and selectors was their only common policy (Childs, 2005, p. 152). This suggests that affirmative action can potentially make the greatest difference. It has a greater capacity than AWS for tackling supply and demand issues identified within this dissertation. Despite AWS being easier to quantify in terms of success and having a more established historical record, policies of affirmative action do not bear the same inherent divisiveness and are not as potentially counter-productive. Overall, this chapter has identified the introduction of comprehensive policies of affirmative action by all parties as the best alternative to AWS. The analysis drawn from the evidence assessed within this chapter gives a strong indication that such policies have been far more effective than AWS in addressing supply-side issues in women’s representation. Of course, the potential to argue in favour of AWS, given their more quantifiable results, is acknowledged by this dissertation. However, affirmative action, whilst slower to show tangible results in terms of increasing numbers of women being selected, meets the objections raised against AWS, including those evaluated in Chapter II. Therefore, the continuation of these policies is surely a positive step for women’s political representation and presents a thoroughly viable future alternative to AWS, potentially proving as, if not more, effective than methods of positive discrimination.
Conclusion This dissertation has sought to answer the question of whether All-Women Shortlists (AWS) are an appropriate and effective method for increasing the proportion of women in the UK’s Westminster parliament. Its central hypothesis was that they were neither an appropriate nor effective policy for achieving this aim. Their appropriateness has been assessed partially through an examination of their legality although, as they were eventually given credence by parliament in 2002, this no longer remains an issue. Therefore, the issue of their appropriateness has also centred upon their divisive nature and whether they have addressed the existing problems relating to discrimination against women which they were supposed to confront. The effectiveness of the policy was judged as being very limited. AWS’s have been used for over ten years and were used prior to both the 2005 and 2010 elections, in addition to their earlier use between 1993 and 1996. However, the proportion of women has risen by a mere four per cent during this time. More importantly, there is no substantial evidence that they have tackled the prejudicial attitudes which have prevented female selection for decades (as evidenced by, amongst other sources, Margaret Thatcher’s experiences). In order to reach this conclusion, the dissertation’s three chapters have provided much detailed evidence, analysis and critical reflection.
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It is the final conclusion of this dissertation that AWS are to be noted for their attempt, albeit often unsuccessfully, to address prejudices against women politicians. However, it is also important to recognise, given the small rise in the number of women MPs between 1997 and 2010, their inherent flaws as a policy for increasing women’s increased political representation at Westminster. Therefore, AWS have had some success in increasing the proportion of women selected, and thus increased the number elected to parliament. However, this dissertation has found that future political efforts might be better spent in exploring and developing alternative methods in order to find a less divisive solution with a potentially higher level of success.
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Exploring the Representation of American Femininity and Feminism in the Television Series, Gilmore Girls Juliet Williams
“While women remain subordinate in our patriarchal social order, their status within that hierarchy depends heavily upon other factors, including their ability to conform to norms of femininity […]” (Williams, 2009).
this reflects familiar female identities in American society to establish what image of women is being represented in the show and how we may read this when placing it within the American cultural context of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The concept of American femininity to which Williams argues American women must conform in order to gain and sustain perceived true female identity, is one which has changed and progressed alongside many other normative social and cultural constructs existing in America. Varying significantly in its interpretations while also holding onto strong stereotypical and ideological association , it is also a concept whose definition has been highly contested by American women in recent years. Extensive feminist critique claims that particular definitions of femininity are constructs of an American patriarchal society which are restrictive and demeaning of women , keeping them in the subordinate position which they have occupied throughout modern American history. It is with this in mind that this thesis will explore the mediation of such concepts of American femininity and feminism, with a specific discussion of both their overt and subtle representations in the American television series, Gilmore Girls.
In order to understand the characterisation of female protagonists in Gilmore Girls it is important to firstly discuss Gilmore Girls within an American cultural context. In her chapter, Feminism by Any Other Name, Michele M. Moody-Adams explores the concepts surrounding feminism and femininity in the context of the American family.
A family drama series which was first aired on the cusp of the twenty-first century, Gilmore Girls centres itself around its female protagonists, with dominant narratives consistently focussing on the representations of work, relationship-power dynamics, and the family, and how each of these issues is negotiated to shape both the characters and their representation of femininity and womanhood. Although only occasionally overtly feminine or feminist in its representation of modern American women, the show presents these concepts delicately through its humour and ideological American themes .Through discussing the theories of a number of critics, this thesis will examine both the subtle mediation and representation of these themes in the show, exploring how each is presented and performed to a female dominated, twenty-first century audience .
Characterisation: Exploring the Representation of Femininity and Feminism Across Three Generations of Gilmore Girls This chapter will examine the significance of the deliberate characterisation of female protagonists in Gilmore Girls by creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, with particular reference to the characters of Emily Gilmore, her daughter Lorelai, and her granddaughter Rory. This chapter will focus upon the themes surrounding femininity, feminism and family with reference to the debates surrounding these issues that have featured dominantly in American culture. It will consider how
Adams’s chapter begins by exploring claims made by various critics that “feminism is fundamentally “antifamily” (Moody-Adams, 1997. P.76), a claim which Adams herself argues only considers the concepts of second wave feminism of the 1960s and 1970s, which may be considered to have both challenged and changed the constructed ideal of the American family . This therefore makes such claims inaccurate and not wholly applicable when discussing the impacts of feminism on the family during the period of the later 1990s when Adams writes her chapter. Furthermore, Adams continues her argument to state that in contemporary American culture “feminism by any other name can be useful in securing the well-being of the modern family” (Moody-Adams, 1997. P.86), therefore claiming that contemporary feminism in America does not challenge concepts of family but instead exists alongside contemporary forms of femininity to contribute to the security of the modern American family. It is this concept that we experience on Gilmore Girls. Gilmore Girls sets itself up as being both feminist and feminine consistently through its female protagonists Lorelai and Rory. This is confirmed in Season One through both active claims to feminism and demonstrations of overt femininity . These demonstrations of combined femininity and feminism signify a show largely aware and inclusive of a contemporary American female audience and their experiences. Gilmore Girls presents us here with two female protagonists who are largely independent, intelligent, and successful through their contemporary feminist expectations of work and education, yet they both remain ‘girly’, feminine, coming to successfully manage their feminism and femininity in a way which agrees with Adam’s concept of contemporary forms of feminism. The representation of contemporary feminism that we experience on Gilmore Girls thus, does not agree with critic’s claims of feminism as “antifamily” (Moody-Adams, 1997. P.76), but with Adams’ argument that contemporary feminism contributes to the construction and well-being of the family in contemporary American society. Having established the characterisation of these
women as both distinctly feminist and feminine, it is important to discuss the representations of these themes in each of the Gilmore women in order to understand how they manifest themselves in different ways, in turn becoming more reflective of (and accessible to) an American female audience. As the matriarch of the family, Lorelai’s mother Emily Gilmore asserts an air of authority in whatever she does, especially when it comes to her family and her home – two things she considers to be of the upmost importance in reflecting her social standing in New England high society . Emily’s commitment to preserving her family’s good reputation is a theme which runs throughout the series and explicitly defines her character. Emily comes to embody a female characterisation which is typical of that of the traditional First Lady of the United States. She becomes a symbol of wealth and womanhood, whose role is not clearly defined outside of accompanying her husband . Emily’s responsibilities characterise her in a way which Verna Williams argues epitomises the role of First Lady, stating that “Women playing this role are generally considered… the nation’s hostess[…] the First Lady personifies domesticity and traditional womanhood.” (Williams, 2009). Emily Gilmore therefore comes to represent a particular type of femininity which is also influenced strongly by her class. It is this characterisation of upper-class femininity that makes Emily’s character different to that of her daughter and granddaughter. Emily demonstrates her wealth and status through consumption, as a form of asserting power. This is something which Diane Negra calls “consumer emancipation” (Negra, 2009. P.117), stating that consumption for women can become a means of emancipation where they are lacking freedoms in other areas. In Emily’s case, her endless consumption of such things as clothes, food, and parties becomes liberating, allowing her to escape the dependent yet occasionally lonely role of ‘wife’ and make a name for herself where she has no other place (such as work) to do this. Emily Gilmore’s characterisation therefore, comes to represent forms of femininity and feminism which are unique to her social class and wealth. While she does play the role of homemaker her money and consumption allow her freedoms that would not necessarily be available to those less affluent. It is this freedom which in turn allows her to assert an authority and power which oppose the passivity associated with the role of homemaker or wife, with her class and status signifying her as a figure of both subtle femininity and feminism. She therefore comes to represent the forms of contemporary feminism that Adams speaks of. “I like to be aware of my idiocy” : Generational differences. In contrast, the character of Emily’s daughter Lorelai is the most overtly feminist character in the show, something which manifests itself humorously firstly through her explicit claims of feminism and feminist thinking – for example when she attempts to drive Luke’s truck in Season Four . The use of humour here and throughout the series as a whole undermines this sense of feminism, making it more acceptable to an audience of not only American women but also men, while at the same time making its presentation both believable and relatable. Secondly, Lorelai’s feminism manifests itself through her manner and ability to talk to such an extent that nothing and no one can suppress her . Lorelai’s character and the manner of her performance may be compared to that of the 1950s I Love Lucy sitcom protagonist, Lucy Ricardo. A 1950s housewife notorious for her “scheming” (Jones, 1993. P.67) and “wacky” (Jones, 1993.
P.72) behaviour, Lucy Ricardo continuously rebels against her role as a housewife in search of her own personal recognition and fame outside of the home. This is something which is mirrored by Lorelai in Gilmore Girls, who continuously rebels against the world in order to get her voice heard and heard well. Her continuous fighting attitude manifests itself in many ways. However, unlike Lucy Ricardo who Gerard Jones argues always “comes crashing down in a humiliating exposure” (Jones, 1993. P.67), Lorelai more often than not triumphs in her pursuit of acknowledgement. This is something which gives her power in her career, as well as in her family roles as both mother and daughter. Lorelai’s characterisation becomes not dissimilar to the stereotypical second wave feminism that Adams discusses, but it is her humour and wackiness that keeps her character at odds with critic’s concept of feminism as “antifamily” (Moody-Adams, 1997. P.76). Despite her seeming to represent this second wave feminist fighting attitude, Lorelai also remains the most perceptibly feminine of the female protagonists in the show. However, her femininity is not shaped predominantly as a result of her homemaking or role as a mother as femininity was traditionally perceived, but through other more noticeable forms of femininity such as her appearance and her often flirtatiously wacky manner. Again much like that of Lucy Ricardo, Lorelai’s character is “dizzy” (Jones, 1993. P.64) and this is something which she consistently uses to get what she wants, despite her intelligence, demonstrated well when she states: “I hate when I’m an idiot and I don’t know it. I like to be aware of my idiocy” . Lorelai’s reluctance to cook, clean or keep a home outside of her inn also demonstrates a complete rejection of the traditional forms of femininity outside of her maternal role, with Lorelai coming to represent a more contemporary feminism which negotiates non-traditional forms of femininity and becomes reflective of twenty-first century American women. This is something Diane Negra argues is “postfeminism” (Negra, 2009. P.48), claiming that we experience a new form of feminism in Gilmore Girls. Even more so than her mother, Rory Gilmore epitomises Negra’s concept of postfeminism. While Rory exudes her mother’s independence and strength she does not fight to be heard in the same way as Lorelai, but instead expects to be heard. This is something which Negra claims reflects an important “postfeminist ideological shift” (Negra, 2009. P.119) . Despite Rory’s characterisation as intellectual, academically driven and ambitious, she remains feminine and relatable to an American audience. This is in contrast with the many representations of teenage girls in American TV and film as passive, senseless and obnoxious . Such a contrast is illustrated best in the pilot episode where Rory’s class is asked to work on their assignments, but Rory is the only girl to begin writing while her peers pass each other nail polish and comment on Rory’s work in disbelief . Rory’s peers are shown to display little interest in anything academic, paying more attention to topics such as love letters and ‘slam books ’which might facilitate their gossip, and all while they paint their nails. This demonstration of senseless vanity is something which positions Rory in contrast to these mainstream representations, with Ritch Calvin stating that Amy ShermanPalladino created Rory’s character “…to represent a young female in contemporary [American] society who was focussed on her studies and career, a bit naïve, and not sexually active” (Rich
Calvin, 2008. P.5) in the same way as many other representations of young women. This is something which positions Rory’s character not only as different to that of other representations of teenage girls, but also in contrast to the characteristics of second wave feminism and traditional femininity which Adams discusses. This results in Gilmore Girls’ representation of a young woman becoming more accessible through reflecting a contemporary female audience in much the same way as those representations of her mother and grandmother. Rory’s character does not rebel, but also does not conform and becomes the only character in the series that not only has choices but also has the control of them. This is something Negra argues is as a result of her post-feminist freedoms, stating “Postfeminism flourishes under the conditions of private wealth and public austerity [… ] it maintains a relentless representational focus on the interests, concerns, and progatives of elites” (Negra, 2009. P.91). Unlike her Grandmother who is limited as a result of her dependency on her husband and their social status, and her mother who escaped overbearing parenting and upper-class Connecticut WASP society only to have to work to provide for herself and her daughter, Rory has complete freedom as a result of both her mother’s hard work and liberties and her Grandparent’s wealth. Through exploring the characterisation of feminism and femininity in Gilmore Girls, and with particular focus on its representation across three generations of Gilmore women, it is evident that such characterisations are significant in forming a representation of American women. While Emily demonstrates both her underlying feminism and femininity through the more stereotypical themes of class status and consumption, her daughter Lorelai and granddaughter Rory both display expressions of feminism and femininity which have evolved with the concepts themselves, from the overtly active to the expectant. These characterisations comply with Adams’s argument that feminism and femininity have progressed in ways which allow them to work well together in contemporary American culture.
Working Women: Examining the Representation of Women at Work and the Feminisation of the Workplace in Gilmore Girls. Following from the discussion of the importance of the characterisation of female protagonists in the show Gilmore Girls, this chapter will examine further how such representations of American femininity and feminism both significantly shape and are equally shaped by the work place. By making specific reference to the concept of work as a traditionally masculine space, as well as exploring the feminisation of the work place, this chapter will examine the representations of such themes in Gilmore Girls. To understand the importance of the representation of the work place in the narrative of the Gilmore Girls series, it is essential to place it within the American cultural context of the late 1990s and early 2000s when the series was first broadcast on mainstream American television. It is in this period which Diane Negra writes about these themes of feminism and femininity and the significance of their representation in American television and film. Negra focuses on her concept of “a popular cultural preoccupation […] with the dilemmas of work, family, and female
identity in the age of postfeminism” (Negra, 2009. P.21). – an age which sees the changed and more contemporary form of feminism we explored in Chapter One as one which negotiates the dilemmas of work, family, and female identity which Negra speaks of. This form of feminism is one which Pamela Aronson calls ‘third wave’ feminism (Aronson, 2003), claiming that the idea of ‘postfeminism’ suggests in fact that America is experiencing a period where feminism as a concept has ended rather than a period in which specific forms of active feminism having subsided. Both Aronson and Negra explore this contemporary period of feminism, understanding it as an age in which the traditional or stereotypical sense of feminism as an active social movement and fight for women’s equal rights has changed and progressed into an anticipated freedom of choice and subtle expectation of equality. If we place these arguments within the cultural context of America during this period, the representations and mediation of women which we experience in television and film come to reflect what Negra states as a “highly unsettled economic and social moment” (Negra, 2009. P.15) in America. Therefore the seemingly contradicting representations of femininity as both traditionally passive and newly active experienced in television and film at this time come to signify and reflect a change in American female identity. Negra states that the representations of women in both the domestic and the work space that we experience in American television and film reflects an important “post-feminist ideological shift” (Negra, 2009. P.45) where we see women making their own choices. It is this notion of having choice which comes to define contemporary American female identity as post-feminist. For the representations of women experienced in television and film during this period there is consequently no single identity to which they must conform, it is these changes in American female identity that are important in order to understand the representation of women at work that we experience on Gilmore Girls. This is my favourite place” : Transformation and Feminisation Work remains central to the narrative of Gilmore Girls throughout the series, serving as both the backdrop to its storylines and as a significant feature in the storylines themselves. With the central female protagonists, Lorelai and Rory, represented as largely independent, hard-working and driven in their approach to work (and with many of the background female characters doing the same), the show establishes the work place to be as equally familiar to that of the home. The importance of work and the work space to the narrative of the series can be recognised in the show’s Pilot Episode. In this episode it is understood quickly through her directing of other staff that Lorelai is the manager of the Independence Inn in which she works. It features a significant scene in which we experience the character of Lorelai in her place of work, with her managerial position emphasised clearly through her clothes and appearance .
This performance of her position through her appearance is something which Blanch H. Gelfant calls “self-actualisation” (Gelfant, 2006. P.554), a concept whereby the character of Lorelai becomes “more and more what [she] is capable of becoming” (Gelfant, 2006. P.554) through the self-anticipation of what she can become. This results in what Sharon Willis states is a “transformation” (Willis, 1997. P.113) which not only demonstrates Lorelai’s ability to be professional through her masculinised appearance, but that also comes to demonstrate active feminism in the workplace. While it is clear that Lorelai does undergo a transformation when at work in order to appear professional, Willis’s concept of ‘the transformation’ as being a demonstration of active feminism does not quite fit here. Though Lorelai’s transformation and adoption of typically masculine clothing does allow her to overcome the barriers set in place by an American patriarchal society, it also illustrates her inability to appear professional in clothes which are typically or characteristically feminine. This requires her to compromise her sense of physical femininity in the workplace in order for her to perform a professional identity, meaning that while we still recognise Lorelai’s character as female she becomes a masculinised version of herself. This is further emphasised when she appears in shot with her best friend and chef at the Inn, Sookie. Sookie appears feminine through her appearance; wearing a colourful chef’s tunic, a white apron and a pink head scarf to cover up her slightly dishevelled hair, Sookie’s clothing indicates that her job is not professional in the same sense as Lorelai’s. Her role as ‘chef’ is one which is much more personally essential than professional, and comes to represent an extension of Sookie’s home life and her seemingly inherent need to cook rather than her professional career. The character of Sookie is also represented here as giggly, clumsy and simple . The representation of femininity we experience through the stereotypically feminine character of Sookie, further emphasises Lorelai as being removed from the stereotypical or traditional notion of femininity and in turn demonstrates her to be performing a masculinised identity in order to be successful in the work place, conforming to notions of American patriarchy rather than female empowerment. Despite the performed masculinity and professionalism in this scene we also experience a work place which is largely domesticated. This is something which Negra refers to as a “positivelycoded feminisation of the workplace” (Negra, 2009. P.25), arguing the work and places of work experienced by the female characters in Gilmore Girls to be stereotypically and traditionally feminine and which can be “seen to be expressive of women’s essential femininity” (Negra, 2009. P.87). For instance, we experience both Lorelai and Sookie working within hospitality, an industry which largely revolves around the care of clients through creating the experience of home without the responsibilities that come with it, and which is therefore highly reliant upon domestic duties such as cooking, cleaning and entertaining to achieve this . We experience the domesticated space of the kitchen most prominently in this scene – a space which is at the heart of domestication and the American home , and which throughout the series becomes a central arena in which we see Lorelai and Sookie’s friendship explored.
While for Sookie the Inn becomes an extension of her home life and essential femininity through her cooking, for Lorelai the Inn is more of a domestic space than her own home where she is never seen to clean or cook, and shows little interest in the presentation of her house. Johanna Brenner argues that through this feminisation of the work place, work can become a space which matches that of the home. She states: If we envision […] a radically democratized organization of production which allows individuals to “be themselves” at work, which breaks down the division between work and play, which makes work selfaffirming instead of soul destroying, and which allows individuals to build a sense of community and collegiality on the basis of the common purpose and shared decisions of their efforts, can we not then envision work as a place where we are “at home”? (Negra, 2009. P.137)
It is this acceptable feminisation and domestication of the work place therefore which allows it to become a space that self-affirms and enhances these characters sense of femininity, and while for Sookie it acts as a sanctuary or an extension of her home, for Lorelai the Inn becomes her home . Through examining the representations of women in the workplace that we experience in Gilmore Girls, it becomes clear that such representations highly negotiate the concepts of both feminism and femininity. These representations of women demonstrate greatly the sense of postfeminist ideology that Negra argues to exist in television and film at this time. We see the female protagonists in the show both move away from traditional femininity through their representation of a professional transformation, while also re-affirming it through the representation of a work space which is not masculine. Therefore, Gilmore Girls becomes an excellent representation of women’s negotiation of the workplace acting as both an ideological television fantasy and a reflective American reality.
Women With(out) Men: the Representation of Masculinity and the Necessity of Men in Gilmore Girls. Continuing from our examination of the impact of working women on the representations of American femininity and feminism that we experience in Gilmore Girls, this final chapter will explore how these representations also become largely shaped by the role and representation of male protagonists in the show and the depiction of relationship dynamics we experience. This will examine the necessity of men in re-enforcing the varying mediations of femininity and feminism we experience in the show. In order to identify the significant influence which Gilmore Girls’ lead male protagonists have upon the show’s representation of women, it is first necessary to examine its own mediation of men and American masculinity. The experience of male characters in Gilmore Girls is a diverse one in terms of its representations of masculinity, and one which also comes to be largely defined through class. However, these representations tend to fall into two central characterisations of masculinity.
Firstly, and most prominently throughout the series, we experience the characterisation of the main male protagonists as high-flying, city-working and business minded, coming to represent a form of modern American masculinity. This form of masculinity is one which E. Anthony Rotundo argues is grounded in the concept of twenty-first century men having to “earn approval, win love, attain power […and] mold an identity” (Rotundo, 1993. P.285) to a degree never before experienced in America. He argues that the concept of modern American masculinity is one which comes as a direct result of the process of ‘American modernity’ and may be defined through its acclimatisation to America’s post-industrial revolution advancement into a corporate, consumerist cultural power . Rotundo claims that as a consequence of America’s modernity men are no longer born into natural positions of power but have to earn it through their own career or financial successes. Modern American masculinity may come to be recognised in Gilmore Girls through characters such as Emily’s husband Richard Gilmore, Lorelai’s long-term love interest Christopher, and Rory’s college boyfriend Logan. All three of these men are highly educated, professional, and wealthy business owners who epitomise Rotundo’s concept of modern American masculine achievement. In contrast, Gilmore Girls also presents us with the characterisation of the quintessentially allAmerican, small town and outdoors-y man who comes to represent what we may define as essential American masculinity. As opposed to modern American masculinity, this essential form of masculinity is one which has been constructed and achieved through men’s relationship with America itself. Donna Harraway states that for American men “civilisation appeared to be a disease in the form of technological progress and the vast accumulation of wealth in the practise of monopoly capitalism” (Haraway, 1993. P.261), further stating that American “manhood was endangered” (Haraway, 1993. P.261) as a result of this. Harraway argues that as a consequence of American modernity true American masculinity is threatened, claiming in turn that this form of American masculinity can only be achieved through engaging with fundamentally important and defining principles of America as a nation, such as the constitutional belief in self-sufficiency and independence or the belief in the importance of interacting with the American wilderness. This form of essential American masculinity is one which we experience in Gilmore Girls through the characters of Lorelai’s other long term love interest Luke, Rory’s high school boyfriend Dean and Sookie’s husband Jackson. All three of these men demonstrate a degree of self-sufficiency and independence from corporate America, working in their seemingly familial inherited jobs which place them outside of a commercial American marketplace . Each of these men also connects with nature and the wilderness at some point, whether it be Jackson harvesting his own vegetables, Luke going camping or Dean getting a second job as a builder. These characters are content to remain in the small town of Stars Hollow where their masculinity is established and unchallenged rather than attempting to create it through American modernity. In turn they become representations of ordinary, working-class but essentially American men, reminiscent of America’s nineteenth Century frontiersmen.
Despite these differences in male characterisation, each representation may be considered to achieve a traditionally or stereotypically masculine depiction of American men as protectors and providers. Whether this masculinity is established through modernity or essential American character its achievement reinforces the concept of women’s role in American society as passive (Rotundo, 1993. P.106). In 2006, Virginia Heffernan described Gilmore Girls as a show which portrayed women who were “fundamentally without men” (Heffernan, 2006). However, when we explore the negotiation of relationship and power dynamics between these women and their male counterparts we may come to understand Heffernan’s argument to be untrue, with all of the central female protagonists demonstrating varying levels of dependency on their men. It is here that we should explore the long standing relationships featured in the series. “…Emily Gilmore I better not catch you climbing out the window!” Examining Richard and Emily’s relationship, we experience a well-established and mutually understood power dynamic which is largely stereotypical. Firstly, Richard’s character is the sole breadwinner and provider for his wife and family, while Emily remains at home as his devoted wife. Secondly, the representation of relationship dynamics between them plays upon common stereotypes of American female and male character, with Rotundo arguing that men are stereotyped as strong and knowing “the ways of the world” (Rotundo, 1993. P.94) while woman are weak, and are only knowing of “the arts of the home” (Rotundo, 1993. P.94). We see this stereotype manifest itself in both characters, with Emily continuously represented as unreasonable, ridiculous and irrational, while Richard remains strong, composed, and sensible, acting as the voice of reason in response to Emily’s distraction. This stereotyping and representation of relationship dynamics is best shown in episode one of Season Five when Emily climbs out the window . This highly comical interaction between husband and wife is one which epitomises Rotundo’s concept of women as the weaker and un-knowing sex . Despite the scene’s humour however, it does re-enforce gender stereotypes and this is something which continues throughout the series. However, the power dynamics between Richard and Emily never appear inappropriate, but always necessary. Richard’s character constantly achieves his masculinity through his asserting power, strength and authority, while Emily’s character remains completely dependent on her husband. Therefore, while she remains a postfeminist figure the representation of her femininity may be considered more traditional in terms of her relationship. “I thought me and Luke, but it’s not me and Luke it’s me and Christopher.” When examining Lorelai’s relationships, we experience a contrasting representation to that of Emily and Richard’s and one which negotiates the concepts of American masculinity even further. Throughout the series Lorelai is shown to have a number of serious love interests but is never seen to be able to manage her relationships well, something which is best illustrated through her often
interwoven and conflicted relationships with male protagonists Luke and Christopher. Lorelai’s negotiation of these relationships is represented as hugely conflicted, with Diane Negra arguing that this is as a result of her double-life, stating: “Lorelai’s dedication to her adopted hometown of Stars Hollow is reinforced again and again and the theme of rootedness plays through her romantic dilemmas” (Negra, 2009. P.23). Negra’s argument can be applied undoubtedly to the entire Gilmore Girls series, with Lorelai’s character continuously attempting to manage her small-town, Stars Hollow lifestyle with that of her roots in the upper-class and society-conscious world of her parents. The characters of Luke and Christopher become representations of each of Lorelai’s worlds , coming to characterise two very different types of men through their contrasting but equally powerful representations of American masculinity. As Lorelai’s relationship with Luke develops to fulfil Stars Hollow’s want for them to be together, it also poses a dilemma as Luke is not deemed suitable or respectable enough by her parents . When Lorelai and Christopher begin to date and quickly get married we see the same conflict played out, but this time with Lorelai’s parents seen toasting the relationship and Stars Hollow shown as unable to accept it . Lorelai’s negotiation of these characters and the two worlds they come to represent is not successful and this is most excellently illustrated when Luke and Christopher resort to physically fighting in an almost comical attempt to establish their role in Lorelai’s life. Lorelai’s incessant narrative of unsuccessful attempts at juggling these relationships result in her never having or sustaining a fulfilled love life. Her loneliness as a result of this is something which Virginia Heffernan claims manifests itself in her “untenable reliance on her daughter as the one true thing in her existence.” (Heffernan, 2006). Rory therefore becomes the only character who Lorelai fully depends upon, more so than with any man she meets. These issues hold Lorelai’s character back from ever fully committing herself to a man, with us continuing to experience a representation of a woman who has a desperate want to be in a relationship and fall in love. “Does it have to be all or nothing?” Unlike the representation of Lorelai’s relationships that we experience, the character of her daughter Rory manages her own relationships in a way that appears to be as part of a progressive learning curve which molds her character. This shaping of Rory’s character is something which Ritch Calvin argues “has a particular perspective on the formation of personal identity” (Calvin, 2008. P.4) in the show, with the two main love interests who contribute most in this shaping being her high-school boyfriend Dean and college boyfriend Logan. As Rory’s first boyfriend, Dean’s character becomes a significant influence on her representation in the first season of the show in ways which shape both her naïve teenage femininity and her occasional feminist outlook that she has inherited from her mother. This is most evident in the episode That Damn Donna Reed where Rory finds herself contesting Dean’s approval of the concept of the 1950s housewife . The representations we experience in this episode not only establish Dean’s own sense of masculinity but in turn allows for demonstrations of both forms of American feminism and
femininity from Rory, establishing a characterisation which continues throughout the series. It is this characterisation which is demonstrated again most noticeably in the last season when Rory rejects her long-term college boyfriend Logan’s marriage proposal . Logan’s character comes to represent a modern form of American masculinity and it is this which Rory rejects, knowing that if she was to marry Logan she would have to give up her own career freedom to follow him and his new job in California. Rory therefore demonstrates a sense of post-feminism, wanting to follow her own path and achieve her own successes despite loving the idea of being married and wanting to continue their relationship, asking “Does it have to be all or nothing?” Rory therefore comes to represent a post-feminist figure who despite having a number of love interests throughout the series demonstrates a real independence from men. We may then argue that Rory is the only character in the show who is truly a woman without a man. From examining the varying representations of American masculinity in Gilmore Girls we may come to understand that representations of American femininity and feminism in the show are reenforced through these relationships and their traditional or stereotypical relationship dynamics as a result.
Conclusion Throughout this thesis we have explored and examined how the representations of American femininity and feminism in the television series Gilmore Girls come to not only reflect important cultural moments in America, but also epitomise significant American ideological concepts concerning women’s positioning in American society. Negotiations of a still dominant American patriarchal society become mediated through both the representation of the workplace and relationship power dynamics in the series, with the concept of a post-feminist ideological shift (Negra, 2009. P.45) coming to be most intriguing here. This concept suggests that America may be on the cusp of experiencing a more radical postfeminist cultural shift in the future. This is something we see mediated in Gilmore Girls, firstly through the changed representation of the work place which becomes successfully feminised and domesticated, and secondly through the character of Rory Gilmore, who appears to demonstrate a complete power over her freedom of choice and opportunity, coming to be the only character who represents a comprehensive postfeminism through her education and true independence from men. However, although Rory’s character does come to represent this ideal of postfeminism, she is also privileged and white. Therefore, though this post-feminist shift is an interest concept to deliberate it is also important to recognise that while the representation of women we experience in Gilmore Girls does reflect a shift in women’s positioning in American culture, its progress will be highly affected by other equally important cultural and political shifts, such as those concerning class and race.
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Published on Nov 9, 2017