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Prospects of Further Evolution of Culturology

Anna Iosifovna S?herbakova1, Larisa Sergeevna Zorilova2, Natalia Ivanovna Anufrieva3, Alexander Vladlenovich Kamenets4 & Elizaveta Olegovna Zinchenko5

1Professor, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and socio-cultural activities, Head of the Department of Sociology and Philosophy of Culture Russian State Social University, Moscow, Russia. 2Professor, by Dean of Faculty of Musical Arts has, Moscow State Institute, of Culture. Email: zorilova@mail.ru. 3,4,5Russian state social university, Moscow, Russia

Volume 8, Number 3, 2016 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v8n3.11

Received May 22, 2016; Revised July 10, 2016; Accepted July 10, 2016; Published August 18, 2016


Abstract

The article deals with the definition of subject matter and scientific status of culturology. It provides comparative analysis of cultural studies at home and abroad and traces back scientific evolution of culturology as well as of sociocultural anthropology which is a more broadly used notion in foreign studies. Highlighting the main modern doctrines and historical theoretic foundations of culture studies the paper focuses on contribution of Leslie White who articulated key research problems of culturology. His innovative conception of cultural science and its further evolution was later embraced by Russian school of culturology. Recognizing high potential of Russian national culture as substance for further cultural studies the article outlines potential ways of formation of culturology in Russia and tries to find its place in the global context while maintaining traditions of studying culture as a social phenomenon. Cultural values, its spiritual and moral foundations which appear to be ignored by related social sciences are put forward as one of the main research subjects. Analysis of differences in Russian and Western approaches to substance and essence of cultural studies stresses the need to specify scientific perception of culturology by modern scholars.

Key words: culture, science, spirituality, sociocultural anthropology, subject, subject matter, society, positivism, values, mentality, methodology.

Science, Scientism and the Ideological Production of the Social Subject: Re-considering Interdisciplinarity

Subhro Saha

Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, India

Volume VII, Number 3, 2015 I Download PDF Version

Abstract

The paper attempts to reach at an understanding of the concepts of ‘science’ and ‘scientism’ as constructed and ideological concepts and how they contribute in shaping our commonsensical understanding of the body in terms of its relation to social identity and role. While attempting to expose modern science as a “constructed” discipline and ideology operating in tandem with the dominant hegemonic structures, the paper also attempts to briefly throw light on the limits of the current trend of interdisciplinary approach(es) and the concepts of “agency” and “critique” as well. Using a post-structuralist approach the paper therefore attempts not only to open-up the closed structures of both “science” and “scientism” but also to reach at an understanding how it goes on to affect questions of representation, reality, social and the body itself.

Keywords: science, scientism, ideology, body, subject, representation, interdisciplinarity, intra-action, agency, critique.

Black Magic vs. White Magic in Hawthorne’s ‘Birthmark’: The Science of Control vs. the Poetics of Imagination

Bryce Christensen

Southern Utah University, USA

Volume 7, Number 3, 2015 I Full Text PDF


Abstract

In his landmark Science and Poetry (1926), critic I. A. Richards suggested that science is inherently subversive of “the Magical View” of the universe which he believed to be essential to poetry. Careful readers of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “The Birthmark,” however, may wish to qualify Richards’ suggestion by contrasting two quite different magical views, both depicted in this iconic story. For Hawthorne depicts the magic of poetic imagination (practiced by the beaus who view Georgiana’s birthmark as a sign of a delightful enchantment) as something quite different from the sorcery of technocratic control (practiced by the perfection-seeking Aylmer). Thorough analysis reveals that the magic of poetic imagination is of the sort that W.H. Auden has in view when he acknowledges that in the physical world “poetry makes nothing happen.” However, Hawthorne helps readers see that in the world of the spirit, this poetic magic works marvels as it helps us to cherish the world as it is. This non-manipulative magic is central to the contemplative leisure that philosopher Josef Pieper recognizes as essential to literary culture. As a benign magic that “makes nothing happen,” this non-controlling magic suggests something like what Taoists refer to as wu wei or “wise passivity,” a contemplative posture manifest in the poetry of China’s two greatest poets, Du Fu and Li Bai. In contrast to this magic of appreciative contemplation, the manipulative sorcery of Aylmer’s science does make things happen in the physical world, though—as Hawthorne’s story makes clear—with perilous side effects.

Keywords: science, poetry, magic, leisure, wu wei, Hawthorne

De-Essentialising Indigeneity: Locating Hybridity in Variously Indigenous Performative Texts

Sibendu Chakraborty, Rabin Mukherjee College, Kolkata                

Abstract

Australian Indigenous literature in general and theatre in particular has been found to chart a trajectory of self-reflexivity. What I mean to show in this paper is this sense of inherent scepticism which indigenous theatre unfolds in course of its identity formations. The politics of inclusivity and ‘othering’ that regulate the domain of identity formations seem to stereotype essentialised identity around specific fantasies of exclusivity, cultural alterity, marginality, physicality and morality. The articulation and representations of full blooded Aborigines, half-castes and other successive generations of culturally diluted Aborigines problemetises the notion of indigeneity resulting in a complex interplay of inter-racial, socio-political, economic and cultural dialog. Thus Aboriginal theatre often grapples with these crosscurrents of diversity of identity formations along essentialised and hybrid representations of Aborigines. By decoupling indigeneity from certain fixed phenotypical traits I seek to uncover the hybridity of indigeneity as articulated through variously indigenous performative texts.

Key Words: stereotype, cultural alterity, Aboriginal theatre, hybridity, de-essentialising indigeneity, performative texts

“The continual questioning of who we really are is the essence of Australian nationalism.”

(Lattas 1990: 54)[1]

 

“It seems to me, then, that generalizations about Aboriginal literary discourse must be grounded in a reading of individual Aboriginal (inter)texts which will reveal their destination, their less or greater openness, in terms either of an interethnic or of an intraethnic dialogue.”

(Riemenschneider 1997: 177)[2]

Australian history writes itself into performance by utilising the double narrative threads of inclusion and exclusion, attraction and repulsion, idealisation and marginalisation. To contextualise its relevance to the notion of the Derridean ‘difference’ we need to scrutinise the essential ambiguities that accompanies the nation-building endeavour. The dominant trope of politically, culturally, economically marginalising the Aborigines by imposing on them a supposed tag of inferiority and inconformity is counter balanced by a corresponding ideology of identifying them as timeless and spiritually dominant or sacred. Hence, “white Australians displace Aboriginal cultures and bestow on themselves an antiquity and historical past which their recent arrival and colonial status precludes” (Dibble and Macintyre 1992: 93). This essentialist strategy of demeaning the Aborigines on one hand and simultaneously qualifying them for homogenous sacred affiliations on the other opens up spaces for critical attention and subsequently loads the discourse with an indulgence of looking for crosscurrents that might somehow tilt the balance towards ‘hybridity’. What I mean to show in my paper is this subtle interplay of discursive strategies which while making way for one kind of ideology engages itself in a performative gesture of articulating another range of essentialist interpretation.

Negotiating Indigeneity and Postcoloniality

Vitally connected to this issue of double narrative is the presence and application of rituals which directly or tangentially make theatre presentational, representational or manifestational. (Gilbert and Tompkins 1996: 55-60) The reception of Aboriginal theatre cuts across such diverse anticipations of actor-audience relationship expanding or contracting the gap to adapt itself to the desired mode of dramaturgy. But before going into all those details let us look at the term ‘indigenous’ to locate its significance in the discourse of Aboriginal performativity. The adjective ‘indigenous’ has the noun form, ‘indigines’ taken from the Latin ‘indigenus’ denoting “‘born in’, ‘native to’” (Hodge and Mishra 1990: 25). Hodge and Mishra go on to mention that “[m]any Aborigines prefer one of the names from heir own languages, Koori, Murri, Nyoongar, names which signify the plurality of nations of the Aboriginal people. In Australia the coloniser’s name concedes the whole case: the white ‘bastards’[3] do not after all try to deny the priority of Aboriginal rights” (1990: 25). Kevin Gilbert grappling with this task of defining Aboriginality notes:

But what is Aboriginality? Is it being tribal? Who is an Aboriginal? Is he or she someone who feels that other Aboriginals were somewhat dirty, lazy, drunken, bludging? Is an Aboriginal anyone who has some degree of Aboriginal blood in his or her veins and who has demonstrably been disadvantaged by that? Or is an Aboriginal someone who has had the reserve experience? Is Aboriginality institutionalised gutlessness, an acceptance of the label ‘the most powerless people on earth’? Or is Aboriginality, when all the definitions have been exhausted a yearning for a different way of being, a wholeness that was presumed to have existed [before 1788]? (1978: 184)[4]

Indigenous identity in the twenty-first century might be strategically divided into ‘Indigenous One’ and ‘Indigenous Two’. Richard Borshay Lee makes critical elucidation while he notes

[1] Quoted in Brian Dibble and Margaret Macintyre 1992. ‘Hybridity in Jack Davis’s No SugarWesterly 37(4): 93.

[2] See Dieter Riemenschneider. 1997 ‘Aboriginal Literary Discourses and Australian Literature’, Aratjara: Aboriginal Culture and Literature in Australia (Cross cultures 28; Amsterdam: Rodopi). 177.

[3] See Bob Hodge and Vijay Mishra 1990 ‘The Bastard Complex’ in Dark Side of the Dream, Sydney, Allen and Unwin, pp. 23-49. Hodge and Mishra notes that: “The complexities of what is at issue here can be seen in the curious of the word ‘bastard’ in Australian male colloquial speech. …but it can also express high solidarity between male ‘mates’ … It is the solidary meaning which is most worthy of note, because it is this usage that is definitionally Australian: only a true mate can call his ‘mate’ a ‘bastard’” (23).

[4] See Adam Shoemaker 2004 ‘Aboriginality and Black Australian Drama’ in Black Words White Page: Aboriginal Literature 1929-1988, ANU E Press, doi: <http://epress.anu.edu.au/bwwp/pdf_instructions.html>

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The Portuguese Queer Screen: Gender Possibilities in João Pedro Rodrigues’s Cinematic Production

Antônio M. da Silva, University of Kent, UK

Abstract

The Portuguese filmmaker João Pedro Rodrigues has developed a significant cinematic production that has attained international recognition. The three feature films he made in the first decade of the 2000s (Phantom, Two Drifters, and To Die like a Man) engage with queer identities from different perspectives. This article examines the ways in which Rodrigues depicts these and argues that the films provide a spectrum of ‘performatively constituted’ identities that represent a challenge to patriarchy’s hegemonic subjectivities. It contends that such identities consequently represent abjection in a society that ignores them but also that the filmmaker gives them visibility and shows that their subjectivities do matter.

 

The transgender character Tônia in João Pedro Rodrigues’s Morrer como um homem/To Die like a Man (2009) sings a Portuguese fado in the final sequence of the film that opens with the line “Oh, how I’d like to live in the plural!” This line encapsulates how gender identities are constructed and depicted in the three feature films discussed in this article: they are ‘performatively constituted’ in the sense of Judith Butler’s (1990) assertion that “there is no gender identity behind the expression of gender; […] identity is performatively constituted by the very ‘expressions’ that are said to be its results” (34). In other words, these identities are ‘floating’ and not restricted to the biologically born gender.

In this trilogy-like set of feature films, which comprises his debut O fantasma/Phantom (2000), Odete/Two Drifters (2005), and To Die like a Man, Rodrigues offers the viewer a number of possible queer subjectivities. Queer means, in this case, all the identities that do not conform to hegemonic norms regarding gender and sexuality, including homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism. Moreover, it can be argued that queer is also what represents “abjection” (Kristeva 1982), which is a view patriarchy exploits to keep heterosexual identities in place. This happens in a rather symbiotic relationship that arguably needs the queer as an opposite to reaffirm what heterosexual identities are (or what they are not). Such a symbiotic relationship is evident in many patriarchal contexts where masculinity is defined mostly in relation to queer: one is either a ‘proper man’ (whatever that means) or he is queer and thus subject to punishment.

Context therefore plays an important role in queer subjectivities, particularly the urban space where such ‘abject’ identities are less susceptible to punishment and are, to some extent, ‘freer’ from severe regulations. This is evident in the three films discussed herein, which show that Rodrigues’s characters become part of the Portuguese urban space, represented in the films by the capital, Lisbon—as will be developed later in this article. However, as Trindade (2010) argues in relation to the Portuguese film Lisboa, Crónica Anedótica/Lisbon, Anecdotal Chronicle, such characters are Lisbon dwellers but they do not constitute a collective entity (or identity). This is a crucial point regarding these three films because the characters’ ‘failure’ to represent the identity of a group (a ‘category’) to the detriment of each individual’s has been an issue critics have picked on. In other words, Rodrigues’s films show the viewer a spectrum of gender identities but these are based on the individuality of the subjects he portrays rather than trying to create a collective queer identity. Despite this, his approach to queer indicates that such a term can work as an umbrella under which various kinds of gender subjectivities are possible. This is strongly indicated by the director himself stating in an interview that each film is a unique story, even if it could be related to the outside world (Lim 2009).

The aim of this article is therefore to discuss the queer subjectivities Rodrigues constructs in his films and how these are related to the urban space in which the characters are placed. It will refer mostly to Julia Kristeva’s theorisation of abjection while discussing the characters’ subjectivities because these queer characters are part of an urban environment that allows them to get on with their lives as they are but makes them ‘socially invisible’ by treating them as ‘abject’ and refusing to see their existence…Access Full Text of the Article


Having Your Beefcake and Eating it Too: Capitalism and Masculinity

Jonathan Kemp, Birkbeck College, University of London

This paper locates the roots of contemporary patriarchal mainstream masculinity in late nineteenth century developments in body building and the emergence of beefcake photography. It identifies the ways in which the rise of Capitalism is inextricably bound up with the image of musclebound masculinity. Examining the conceptual limitations at work in the term ‘beefcake’, the paper will argue that our toxic attachment to a monolithic masculinity which finds it most profound expression in destruction and force is a form of Stockholm Syndrome; as if testosterone were a race poison to which we’ve developed a fatal addiction.

I. The Body As Object

Theodor Adorno, in his book Negative Dialectics, reminds us that ,“objects do not go into their concepts without leaving a remainder”. In other words, every time we create a concept there is always something left out, something that doesn’t fit in, something lopped off in order for the concept to circulate and function in its ideal form. Like the ugly sisters hacking off toes to squeeze their bloodied feet into the glass slipper in the hope of marrying the handsome prince, our standard ways of conceptualizing inevitably distort the realities they purport to describe in order to establish a seamless identity between the concept and its object. Every concept thus requires conformity to its idealized form, and what doesn’t conform to the ideal is violently amputated in the rush to define and control. In other words, to define is to limit. It’s never the full picture. The full picture is messier, more complex, and includes all those things that don’t conform to the concept in its idealized form. The act of conceptualization, in other words, always produces a remainder.

Adorno calls this remainder the non-identical and it is here, he claims, where what doesn’t fit in is discarded, that something approaching the truth can be found. It is precisely the things that do not fit in that will provide the supplement necessary for the full picture to emerge. Every definition thus helps shapes an ideology at the expense of the truth, peddling as somehow natural or inevitable what is, in actuality, a conglomeration of custom, political motivation, cultural assumption, and embedded historicity. Concepts have a history which is always political, charged with implicit values whilst nonchalantly parading as self-evident, as purely and simply ‘what is’.

With this in mind, I’m going to start to think about some of the things erased or removed from our conceptualization of the term “beefcake”. I’m going to focus on the non-identical, on the excluded or erased aspects of that concept. On what isn’t being said when we use that word. In this way, I hope to expose the ideological oppressions, the violent hierarchies, that lurk just outside the ring fencing of that concept.

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Discursive Sites of Production and Opposition: Post World War I Popular Music Scene in Britain

Samraghni Bonnerjee, Independent Researcher, Kolkata, India

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Abstract

The post World War I British music scene was varied, spanning several genres, from croon, swoon, jazz, blues, to swing – with influences both home-grown as well as imported. New dances, jazz music, and cocktail parties were continuously being imported from America, aided by the popularity of American cinema, which shaped the form of leisure activities of Britain throughout the Twenties and Thirties. However, the conservative response to these forms of music was strict, and post War society was involved with means of trespassing the restrictions and legislations. This paper intends to look at the genres of popular music and their spatial sites of performance – dance halls and ball rooms in England as well as the English colonies – as discursive sites of production and resistance.

The Concept of Crisis in Art and Science

Eleni Gemtou,  University of Athens, Greece

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Abstract

The concept of crisis in art and science is to be investigated through two approaches: a historical-sociological and a philosophical-ontological one. In the framework of the historical-sociological approach, the crisis that has been affecting both the scientific and the artistic community, has been due to external sociological causes or to the psychological inabilities and personal ambitions of their members. The traditional notions of pure science and high value-laden art have been often neglected, as both scientists and artists deviated from the ideal principles of their working codes. This approach reveals common structures and behaviors in human communities, independent from the differences in subjects, methodologies and purposes they serve. The philosophical–ontological approach to art and science and to the course of their development leads, however, to the opposite conclusion: both art and science as rational systems are incompatible with the concept of crisis due to different reasons in each case.

Editorial: Special Issue on Performance Studies

In this edition of Rupkatha we have the privilege of incorporating an introductory essay by Richard Schechner, in which he once again valorizes the anthropological foundations of performance studies and goes on to refer towards the infallible necessity of observing behaviour as a kind of transbiological agency and of tracing its effects in theatre and other kinds of representations. Schechner belongs to a tradition of performance scholars who believed in a kind of large, scientific ontology for the arts, a tendency which is evident when he quotes a New York University scholar. Perhaps the objective vision of a performance continuum is instructive for the future, as it creates an immediate stance, of both engaging as well as transcending the flow of experience in our lives which are organized and controlled  by means of mimetically emerging actions. The performer acquires, in Schechner’s scheme, as a liminal activist, so wonderfully described by anthropologist Victor Turner, and analysed in the scientism of Geertz’ observations of culture as an influential medium in which the arts and performances get endowed with signification.

Black Feminist Discourse of Power in For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide

Lamia Khalil Hammad, Yarmouk University, Jordan

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Abstract

This paper discusses black feminist discourse of power in Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem For Colored Girls Who have considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. The work depicts the struggle of black women through a rainbow of experiences. At the end, the girls arrive at ‘selfhood’ by finding God in themselves. This paper focuses on how the patriarchal discourse lead to their suffereing and how they were able to claim back their identities as black females who only need to be loved and appreciated.

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