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Bill Brydon

International Studies in Gender, State and Society - The Agency Gap in Work-Life Balanc... - 0 views

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    "Work-life balance (hereafter WLB) is a discursive refrain in European public debate that reflects goals for a more productive workforce: that women and men should be able to be both earners and carers. It is not merely a buzzword in policy circles, however, but mirrors rising expectations of working parents for a better quality of life and the tensions that ensue from these expectations within individual lives, households, work organizations, and policy frameworks. European societies' attitudinal studies reveal that an overwhelming majority of both women and men maintain that WLB is a primary priority when considering job and workplace (Hobson and Fahlén 2009a, 2009b). There is also convincing evidence that most European men would like to reduce their working hours, even with an equivalent reduction in hourly pay (Fagan 2004; Hobson and Fahlén 2009a). Yet, there is a growing gap between attitudes and practices, the ideal and the real, as seen in the rising numbers of individuals who work long hours (Boulin et al. 2006; Guest 2002; Lee 2004), and the significant proportions of jobs with unsocial hours (Boulin et al. 2006; Perrons et al. 2006). When applied to working parents, WLB is often defined as a lack thereof, i.e., work-life imbalance, or work-life conflict (Guest 2002), which is reflected in international research that shows that individuals most often view work demands as impinging on family time rather than vice versa (Frone 2003)."
Bill Brydon

Elizabeth Costello, Embodiment, and the Limits of Rights - 0 views

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    "Critics have commonly interpreted J. M. Coetzee's Elizabeth Costello as a defense of animal rights. However, this essay argues that it more accurately demonstrates the liabilities of enlisting the idiom of rights to advocate for animal welfare. It thus develops a phenomenology of embodiment indebted to Maurice Merleau-Ponty's thought as an analytic through which both to elucidate the status of the animal in Coetzee's text and to probe the limits of the liberal logic of rights. In doing so, it argues that liberal discourses of rights paradoxically occlude the ontological condition of embodiment. Although the text of Elizabeth Costello often appears closer to philosophy than literature, this essay further maintains that its narrative stages a plea for art's superior ability to manifest animal being-in particular its deeply embodied texture."
Bill Brydon

New Literary History - The Obbligato Effect - 0 views

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    "Beginning with a quirky example by Aris Fioretos, this essay considers the peripheral and unintended associations that accompany any act of reading. After some contextualization in genetic criticism and the thought of Maurice Blanchot, it contrasts two versions of what goes on unconsciously while reading a literary work. The first version follows the author's implicit directions; the second gives free rein to personal associations. It may seem that the second reader is missing the text's true meaning; however, these free-ranging associations are necessary in order to create any meaning at all, according to Daniel Dennett's "multiple-drafts" theory of consciousness. Whether we validate it or not, an obbligato of associations always accompanies our reading. Such an obbligato is not only necessary and useful in producing meaning; it is part of the pleasure of the text."
Bill Brydon

In Defense of Reading: Or, Why Reading Still Matters in a Contextualist Age - 0 views

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    "Suspicion of reading as a lived experience is a consequence of the rhetorical success of a few key arguments that together have defined a critical landscape dominated by various forms of contextualism. Where the contextualist consensus prevails, reading is tacitly or explicitly regarded as an epiphenomenon, inasmuch as the real locus of meaning-creation is elsewhere. The essay analyzes three core contextualist doctrines (about consciousness, history, and the status of the subject) and argues that they need not delegitimate the experience of reading. Rather, in each case the defining assumptions and beliefs of contextualism require attention to reading in order to do their interpretive work. Giving reading its due may also have a corrective function to the extent that contradictions caused by its neglect have thwarted an understanding of issues such as the relation of form and history, the status of the aesthetic, and the disciplinary purpose of the lettered humanities. Recognizing reading as the hidden ground of our critical and theoretical activity can help get us past various conundrums, impasses, and dead ends that haunt our profession."
Bill Brydon

New Literary History - Friending the Past: The Sense of History and Social Computing - 0 views

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    "Reflecting on the relation between the media ages of orality, writing, and digital networking, Liu asks the question: what happens today to the "sense of history" that was the glory of the high age of print? In particular, what does the age of social computing-social networking, blogs, Twitter, etc.-have in common with prior ages in which the experience of sociality was deeply vested in a shared sense of history? Liu focuses on a comparison of nineteenth-century historicism and contemporary Web 2.0, and concludes by touching on the RoSE Research-oriented Social Environment that the Transliteracies Project he directs has been building to model past bibliographical resources as a social network."
Bill Brydon

Violence, Postcolonial Fiction, and the Limits of Sympathy - 0 views

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    "In this article, I consider the implications for fiction of Slavoj Žižek's argument that the violence of individual subjects is informed by "symbolic violence" (1-2), that is, the distortions concomitant on language's constitutive, rather than merely referential, relation to the world. Given that the medium of the novel is language, Žižek's contention raises serious questions about this genre's capacity to address violence. I argue that this problem is most apparent in those forms of realism that, in seeking to render language transparent, compromise their ability to recognize the violence of the symbolic order. While my argument in this connection has implications for fiction-writing in general, I confine my discussion to postcolonial fiction that focuses on the racialization of the human body, that is, its reduction to a sign in a discursive system."
Bill Brydon

Biography - Life Writing and Intimate Publics: A Conversation with Lauren Berlant - 0 views

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    "Prosser and Berlant focus on some paradoxes of autobiography: notably, that individual stories are impersonal too, in their formal and emotional conventionality. Relatedly, they discuss how different genres, media, and political situations produce the sense of immediacy, of belonging and survival that Berlant associates with what binds people to intimate publics."
Bill Brydon

American Book Review - Context Is the New Content - 0 views

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    "In "Composition as Explanation," Gertrude Stein claims that people only appreciate contemporary works of culture retrospectively. Stein keenly quips, "the creator of the new composition in the arts is an outlaw until he is a classic, there is hardly a moment in between and it is really too bad very much too bad naturally for the creator but also very much too bad for the enjoyer." Kenneth Goldsmith's new collection of essays, Uncreative Writing, aims to lessen the lag, for this is a critical poetics that seeks to clarify. Donning his outlaw status as UbuWeb innovator, conceptual poetry provocateur (as evidenced in his Harriet blog posts for the Poetry Foundation, from which this collection is largely culled), and author of works including Soliloquy (2001), Day (2003), and The Weather (2005), Goldsmith, not quite making a claim to the classic, seeks to advance understanding of avant-garde work being done now."
Bill Brydon

Introduction to Focus: Uncreative Writing: What Are You Calling Art? - 0 views

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    "Conceptual writing has been thought of as an afterthought to conceptual art. And yet, writers deployed strategies of appropriation and recontextualization long before Marcel Duchamp exhibited a urinal as sculpture. Centos made up of fragments of other works, poems built on the pure meaninglessness of sight or sound, and procedure-riddled texts where language play trumps sense anticipated and developed this tradition. In their anthology Against Expression, Craig Dworkin and Kenneth Goldsmith take a broadly inclusive view to present this genre. For this ABR Focus, I would also like to concentrate on a subset of the genre that is sometimes used interchangeably with the term for the whole: uncreative writing. Uncreative writing is the appropriation of previously produced material, taking something out of its original context and putting it forth as art by reproducing it in another context."
Bill Brydon

Navigating complexity: From cultural critique to cultural intelligence - Continuum - Vo... - 0 views

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    "That the world is terribly complex is now a vital part of global cultural experience, a structure of feeling which has grown more pervasive in the 21st century. How do we find ways of navigating the complex challenges of our time? And what role can we, as cultural researchers, play in this task? Much humanities and social science scholarship in the past few decades has embraced complexity, so much so that the pursuit of complexity (e.g. in scholarly theorizing) has become an end in itself, a key element in the production of cultural critique. In this essay, I argue that if we wish to engage with the real-world need to deal with complex realities, cultural research must go beyond deconstructive cultural critique and work towards what I call 'cultural intelligence'. The development of sophisticated and sustainable responses to the world's complex problems requires the recognition of complexity, not for complexity's own sake, but because simplistic solutions are unsustainable or counter-productive. At the same time, cultural intelligence also recognizes the need for simplification to combat the paralyzing effects of complexity. Developing simplifications should not be equated with being simplistic. While being simplistic is tantamount to a reductionism which dispenses with complexity, simplification allows us to plot a course through complexity. To put the question simply, how does one simplify without being simplistic?"
Bill Brydon

Journal of Middle East Women's Studies - Introduction - 0 views

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    "Over the last three decades, the role played by phenomena linked to the (re-)making of collective memory, or, more precisely, of collective memories in situations of societal and political change, has gained attention in the humanities and social sciences in general. Only in recent years has this subject been researched with respect to colonial and postcolonial settings (Sengupta 2009) and here also with respect to the Middle East.1 Approaches are highly diverse, ranging from cultural studies to psychosocial perspectives. Rare but highly interesting exceptions studying the violent history of the Middle East from a gender perspective and focusing on contesting memories of women include works by Efrat Ben Ze'ev (2010), Ruth Rubio-Marín (2006), and Alison Baker (1998)-in addition to films like The Forgotten by Driss Deiback (2006). These studies link the general trend toward marginalizing or denying female experiences in the field of officially recognized memory production to the continuing hegemony of gender stereotypes that identify women with passive and "helping hand" roles, thus neglecting their distinct collective as well as individual contributions to society and history. Generally speaking, memory studies seem to suggest that representations of women as "self-abandoning" and "self-forgetful" are one common characteristic element of the making of collective memory. This may be explained by the fact that the making of collective memory is often linked to highly gendered and sexualized models of national, religious, or ethnic identity. Though fully aware that most of the terms describing phenomena of collective memory or collective forms of trauma are highly controversial, we decided not to engage in a more general theoretical debate here but rather to test such concepts with respect to the material presented in the case studies"
Bill Brydon

Beyond post-feminism - McRobbie - 2011 - Public Policy Research - 1 views

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    Outlining the terms of a 'new sexual contract', Angela McRobbie traces the trajectory of feminism and 'sophisticated anti-feminism' across the last two decades of political and cultural change.
Bill Brydon

Habermas' Communicative Rationality and Connectionist AI - Culture, Theory and Critique... - 0 views

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    "Habermas' universal pragmatics continues to draw significant attention from sociologists seeking a viable balance between poststructuralism and traditional critical theory, while at the same time becoming increasingly recognised within formal political circles worldwide. A number of social theorists and philosophers, however, have taken Habermas to task with respect to how much his 'theory of communicative rationality', the driving force behind universal pragmatics, in fact actually steps away from epistemological foundationalism as Habermas intends it to do. This paper explores parallels between Habermas' particular notion of human reason and rationality (i.e., communicative rationality) and that expressed within connectionism, today's dominant paradigm in the discipline of artificial intelligence (AI), created as an alternative to the classical AI view of 'mind as computer'. Given the homology, I argue, the practical shortcomings of connectionism may indeed lend unique and compelling weight to those claims that Habermas' system of thought is foundationalist, despite Habermas' efforts."
Bill Brydon

'The lady is a closet feminist!' Discourses of backlash and postfeminism in British and... - 0 views

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    "This article examines news reports of the second-wave feminist movement during its most active political period (1968-82) in British and American newspapers, and specifically focuses on the ways postfeminist discourses were constructed and deployed. While most accounts of postfeminism relate to American cultural texts from the 1990s to the present day, they ignore (or are unaware of) the ways such discourses were constructed before this, or in different cultural contexts. In this article, I argue that postfeminist discourses are evident throughout the 1970s, during the height of the second-wave feminist movement, and that many of these discourses differed between the countries as a result of unique socio-cultural contexts, and the ways the women's movements evolved. That postfeminist discourses emerged early on indicates the extent to which patriarchal and capitalist ideologies contested feminist critiques from an early stage, demonstrating that notions of feminism's eventual illegitimacy and hence its redundancy were not constructed overnight, but took years to achieve hegemony."
Bill Brydon

CONVERGENCE CULTURE AND THE LEGACY OF FEMINIST CULTURAL STUDIES - Cultural Studies - Vo... - 0 views

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    This essay elaborates upon some of the feminist legacies underwriting the work of Henry Jenkins, particularly the 2006 book, Convergence Culture, to develop a set of priorities for media and Cultural Studies research following in its wake. Focusing on critical uses of the term 'subculture', and its convenient fit with Internet scholarship to date, and moving to an analysis of the notion of 'participatory culture', we question how easily the practices of online media consumption can be separated from the wider structuring conditions of everyday life. Our recent research on fan communities and information workers highlights the labour and leisure conditions contributing to the experience of online community, fan-based or otherwise. These contrasting examples show the many non-voluntary dimensions that accompany participation in 'convergence culture', and how these are experienced in specific ways. The gendered intimacy of fan fiction communities and the coercive nature of technologically mediated white collar employment each reveal the stakes involved in allowing the practices of a minority to stand as the optimistic vision of the imminent media landscape.
Bill Brydon

Face A Chinese concept in a global sociology - 0 views

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    "The concept of face, as it is developed by Goffman, has strong conceptual links with the notion of a 'looking-glass' self outlined by Adam Smith and developed sociologically by Cooley. It also has links with the Chinese concept of face, which relates to the transfer of social science concepts from one cultural setting to another. By discussing the specificity and universality of face the article indicates the significance of the Chinese concept of face in a global sociology. The article goes on to examine aspects of the treatment of the Chinese concept of face and in doing so presents a more comprehensive account of a sociological conceptualization of face. The article then considers the relationship between face and emotions in indicating the mechanisms that underlie face. Finally, a distinction is made between face as an embedded social process and as an object of social contestation"
Bill Brydon

Telling different tales: Possible childhoods in children's literature - 0 views

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    This article draws on the insights/questions that emerged while putting together a set of stories for children published in a series named Different Tales. These stories, set in Dalit and other minority communities, problematize the normative grids through which we view 'childhood' as they depict the complex ways in which children negotiate and cope with the material conditions of their marginality, often drawing upon the resources and relationships within the community. What follows is a resistance to representing culture as a marker of essentialized difference.
Bill Brydon

Willful Parts: Problem Characters or the Problem of Character - 0 views

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    This paper addresses the question of character by thinking through how willfulness becomes a moral attribute, a way of making certain characters into problems. Reflecting on how an education in virtue became an education of the will, the paper explores how some characters become "willful parts" when they do not align their wills with the moral and general will. Drawing on readings of willfulness in novels by George Eliot, including Daniel Deronda, Mill on the Floss and Romola, the paper explores how feminist histories might involve the willful claiming of the attribite of willfulness. The paper suggests that when willfulness is reclaimed, it exceeds the very system of characterization, even when it appears to fulfill a set of expectations of what is behind an action.
Bill Brydon

Asian African Literatures: Genealogies in the Making - 0 views

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    This essay contextualizes the Special Issue on Asian African Literatures by first discussing the terminology of "Asian" in the context of African identities. It then presents a brief genealogy of Asian African literary production in East and South Africa in the first half of the twentieth century. While a number of scholars have increasingly paid attention to Asian writing in Africa since the 1960s, less is known about such literary activities in earlier decades. I present in this article some possible avenues for such research and highlight the theatrical and poetic engagements of Indians in those decades. The final part of the essay contextualizes the individual contributions to the volume and serves as a reading map for the volume.
Bill Brydon

Anime fandom and the liminal spaces between fan creativity and piracy - 0 views

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    Anime fan subtitling and online distribution offer rare insights into the relationship between fan creativity and industry conceptualizations of piracy. This article attempts to de-polarize this debate (wherein fans are presented as invaluable amateur producers or, alternatively, as overt pirates) in order to examine the roles played by these liminally situated fan producers in relation to the wider anime fan and industrial communities. These active fans are now represented as good or bad dependent on other groups' investments in their practices, and unpacking these conceptualizations provides a better view of how anime fandom may be indicative of larger changes in online fan community construction.
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