Delirious Expenditure: Post-Modern Ghost Dances and the Carnivalesque
Margaret Del Cooke
Scholarship has emerged in recent years on neo-tribal alternative communities like underground rave, examining its radical political potential and its millennialist affectations. I want to extend the focus of these discourses by taking a critical look at the jam band grassroots underground, the rave underground's American cousin, and the way that the movement might also be thought of as a millennialist religion or 'crisis cult'. The jam band underground, like the rave underground, achieves this pre-industrial 'tribal' spiritualism through the problematic identification with and symbolic appropriation of suitably 'ethnicized' Others. First, I call into question jam band subcultures' 'affective alliance' with the Native American by examining Sound Tribe Sector 9, a popular jam band subculture; Planet Art Network, the New Age tribal association to which Sector 9 is linked; and the 'original' jam band, the Grateful Dead, who Philip Deloria accuses of 'playing Indian'. In the second part of the article, I try to put into perspective this 'playing Indian' by questioning to what extent recent studies on rave culture and religion, largely celebratory of this techno-millennialism and its radical potential in an increasingly globalized world, might need to take another look at discourses on the carnivalesque. I ask as well, is the jam band underground just another carnivalesque activity, a way for the bourgeoisie to reinscribe their hegemony through this rediscovery of the Other, what Stallybrass and White call 'delirious expenditure', or does a new language need to be developed to account for what I call 'post-modern Ghost Dances'?
Dances of Death in Rural Lucerne
The town of Lucerne in Central Switzerland is the only place in the world that houses three monumental Dances of Death. Together with the two examples in Wolhusen and Hasle, the town and its hinterland display an extraordinary density of this art form that reflects on the human mortality and calls for contemplation. The question is why Dances of Death were placed there so often. Approached with the explanatory patrons of the existing historiography, it can only be assumed that the region suffered a low Christian morality. But as I find this explanation unsatisfactory, the angle in this article is a different one. It focuses on the two Dances of Death in the Lucerne hinterland and thoroughly analyses their interaction with possible predecessors in cultural centers, most notably the Jesuit town of Lucerne, on which both rural parishes were at least politically dependent. I do this in order to draw a picture of a small-scale cultural network and to discover influences of local agency on the Dances of Death-art form.
The Dances of Death were made under the leadership of the two responsible Jesuit-educated parish priests as part of a major prestigious improvement of their parishes, in the aftermath of a violent farmers uprising in 1653. Both examples show signs of independence from Lucerne and made remarkable choices in adapting the religious source to meet their own requirements. They integrated contemporary developments and are most of all a display of local pride and resilience.
The Reality of the Unmediated: Traumatic and Mystical Experience
Mystical experience has long been perceived as traumatic, to say the least--as mystical experiences range from visions, stigmata, and levitations. The experience of the Real lies beyond both traumatic and mystical experience. As such, the fields of trauma studies and mysticism are consumed with similar issues. This essay seeks to bring the two fields into conversation and share discoveries. By investigating a debate about the possibility of unmediated experience that has existed in the field of mysticism, I hope to offer correctives to a similar debate in the field of trauma studies.
An examination of the manipulation of the European Union-Turkish boundary, as a means of governance for the European Union
The article aims to explore how the EU's manipulation of its boundaries has affected the Union's sphere of governance, with specific reference to the EU-Turkish boundary. The paper uses the framework on boundaries developed by Michael Smith to assess the EU's different boundaries with Turkey, these being: geopolitical; legal/institutional; transactional; and cultural.
A key element that stopped the EU being perceived as a state is its undefined territory, which has hampered its role in international politics. However the paper shows that the ability to vary its boundaries has enabled the EU to play a larger role in the Turkish, Greek and Cypriot conflict, than in the Yugoslav conflict in the 1990's, when the EU had no boundaries with Yugoslavia and could not therefore use them to enhance its level of governance to bring about a resolution of the conflict.
The paper shows that provided that the EU has some form of tangible boundary that it can dissolve or enforce, then it is able to expand its sphere of governance over a country or region and hence play a larger role.Thus as the EU enlarges and its borders expand then the EU will face increased pressure for it to lower its boundaries with neighbouring countries which will increase its sphere and level of governance.
Faith in Community
'Community cohesion' has become a central goal of government policies since violent disturbances broke out in towns in northern England in the summer of 2001. A longstanding ideal, 'community' and especially 'cohesive communities' are being revived as normative goals of national policy. This paper argues that the theorization used to support the British government policy of community cohesion is not time- or place- specific, but rather uses a generic model of social capital theory applied to a problem imagined within existing understandings and political discourses. The understanding of disorder as a 'problem' to be 'solved', and the nature of this problem, are not inevitable but are rooted in existing discourses and associations constructed through public debate. Neither the understanding of the 'problem', nor the proposed 'solution', are fixed or obvious. In this case, a simplistic understanding of social capital has been married with the existing Third Way ideology of government to provide a ready-made solution to disorder, which conveniently obscures questions of inequality and discrimination. Community has become an end, for which other goals (such as tackling poverty and exclusion) have become simply means. In this context, the concept of 'community' has become an article of faith.
Fever as Fervour: Mesmerism, Religion, Gender and Class in Balzac's Ursule Mirouet
This article looks at the representation of fever as a form of religious fervour in Balzac's Ursule Mirouët. It begins by looking at Balzac's conflation of Swedenborgianism and (medically heretical) Mesmerism in this novel, setting it in the context of his broader project to (re)unite science (medicine) and religion (Catholicism) within the pages of La Comédie humaine. In particular an apparent digression - recounting a materialist and atheist doctor's conversion to both Mesmerism and Catholicism - is analysed for what it has to say about mysticism, particularly with regard to issues of gender and class. The interrogation of gender and class is pursued further in an analysis of illness and suffering - to some extent conceived of as forms of mysticism - in Le Médecin de campagne. The main body of the article goes on to build on these various analyses, showing how the undiagnosed fevers contracted by Ursule Mirouët are held by Balzac to testify to her piety (as in the theosophy of Joseph de Maistre) and also to purify and elevate her within the unified hierarchy, at the same time spiritual and social, that he creates in order to redefine the concepts of community and aristocracy in the wake of the 1830 Revolution. In the process, Balzac anticipates the hierarchical theories of Antoine Blanc de Saint-Bonnet in De la douleur, a work later championed by Barbey d'Aurevilly, Huysmans, Bloy and other authors of the fin-de-siècle Catholic Revival.
Housing regeneration in Glasgow: Gentrification and upward neighbourhood trajectories in a post-industrial city
The urban socio-spatial processes associated with globalisation have been the subject of much research over the years. The contraction of manufacturing employment in the older industrial cities in Europe since the 1960s onwards created specific challenges for these cities including massive unemployment, a growth in poverty, the physical and social degeneration of the urban fabric and significant population loss. This has had a detrimental impact on many communities. Despite public investment and policy measures implemented by different scales of government, these problems have persisted (Bailey et al 1999).
The proliferation of policies that stress the importance of housing rehabilitation and neighbourhood renewal has suggested to some commentators (Lees 2000) that "the current 'urban renaissance' being promoted in our towns and cities is a mantle under which gentrification is being promoted" (Atkinson 2004: 107). This has been problematic, as the costs and benefits of the process are often unequally distributed between the richest and poorest members of society.
In recent years however, there has been a growing demand among urban researchers to question assumptions underpinning the negatives associated with of gentrification, and a call to expand research to identify manifestations and examine impacts of the process particularly in cities undergoing de-industrialisation.
This paper, contributes to an expanded 'geography of gentrification' by examining the process in the context of Glasgow. The aim of the paper is to present a theoretical / policy discussion as a prelude to research exploring the potential role of gentrification in the wider regeneration of Glasgow.
The Language of Home
Classically, home is defined as a unique, fixed and familiar abode, the constant point of our departure and return to which we feel that we belong. It is a type of sacred space, that privileged place (from) where we make sense of and give shape to an otherwise amorphous world. However, home is a rich, elastic concept amenable to many possible definitions. Starting from a revised existential definition of exile as a pendular perpetum mobile between paradise lost and promised land, I argue that we continually have to negotiate our place in the world and home is the very locus of that negotiation. Employing language as a domestic paradigm, I attempt to show that home is an ambivalent idiosyncratic construct. Language, in the narrow as well as wider sense of the concept, plays a crucial role in defining one's sense of home. The latter may be the place of our nurturance but it can also stultify us. It fascinates and repels us, mirroring Rudolf Otto's idea of the sacred. Home can be defined as the sacred space where opposites do not necessarily coincide but at least are reconciled; in reality, often they just clash in a way uniquely possible within the medium of language. This is potently illustrated in the image of home as the death camp which, I argue, transpires from Aharon Appelfeld's Shoah (Holocaust) novella Badenheim 1939.
Scars Upon My Heart and Soul: Religious Belief in Women's Poetry of World War 1
World War I, like many other cataclysmic events, sparked a renewed interest in religion that is demonstrated most clearly in the literary discourse of the period. As women were, for the most part, the ones left behind during World War I, they were the ones who worked to make sense of the slaughter of war, and the religious iconography in many of their poems details this attempt. This paper will establish the popularity of religious belief during the war, then introduce Freud's 1928 essay, The Future of an Illusion, as a means of opening a new perspective on faith during the early 20 th century. His perspective will help explain why, rather than tacitly subscribing to the religious fervour of the period, the women's poetry reveals an ambiguity, a questioning of belief. This paper will argue that the religious iconography became such a popular discourse, used for support, protest, and a variety of messages in between, that it ultimately devalued itself and destabilized the very ideals it sought to reinforce.
In the Name of All that is Holy: Classification and the Sacred
In The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, Emile Durkheim (1976) posited the opposing notions of 'sacred' and 'profane' as fundamental categories of human thought, from which the principles of reason, science and thus of all other classification systems ultimately derived. Durkheim's belief was that society, the collective, preceded religion. The 'sacred' was essentially a projection of collective ties and affects onto the external universe.
Durkheim's thesis was given evidential force by the researches of the historian of religions Georges Dumézil, and was utilised by, among others, Georges Bataille. However, the dimension of the sacred within social interactions and phenomena is rarely explored by contemporary social scientists and is viewed implicitly as having little or no relevance to the industrialised West. This despite the fact that the 'objectivity' and 'rationality' of traditional epistemologies have been thrown into question to a much greater extent than was the case in Durkheim's time.
Recent studies of classificatory theory and practice, for instance Bowker and Star's Sorting Things Out (1999) focus rather on the processes whereby social classification continually both shapes, and is shaped by, political and ethical interests. The contention of this paper is that a reintroduction of the conceptual vocabulary of the sacred: profane distinction, as deployed by Durkheim and others, alongside arguments such as those presented in Bowker and Star's book, may be productive. A wider implication of the paper is that the approach designated 'sacred sociology' associated with Bataille and others in the 1930s has a continued relevance today.
The Catholic Way of Death: Contemporary Reflections on Thanatology and Theology
Kenneth Jason Wardley
How can we adequately acknowledge the stranger in modern theology? Drawing on the work of post-Heideggerian theorist of language and death, Jacques Derrida, and his own creative re-reading of Martin Heidegger and Emmanuel Levinas, the Catholic theologian and phenomenologist Jean-Luc Marion has attempted to reconstruct what he regards as a genuine Husserlian phenomenology; in doing so he has mapped out a phenomenology of love and a phenomenology of the (divine) gift of that love as 'being given as givenness', or a condition of life itself. In this attempt at a first philosophy he has in fact produced a work that lies on the boundary between theology and thanatology, the philosophy of our encounter with that most radical of strangers, death. In these reflections upon 'saturated phenomena' he exposes the interplay between the more traditional Christian topics of hope and death and more contemporary arguments on meaning, symbol and ritual. The Christian hope has always resided in a remembrance of death and Marion argues that the Eucharist is the site of human hope in its recollection of the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ; for him, only this crucial eucharistic move upwards and outwards can overcome the burden of Western metaphysics. This present essay will outline Marion's project and consider its value in informing our language in talking about and recognising the other.