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Feminist research on racism, nationalism and ethnic relations

Hi there, I am engaged primarily with feminist research on racism, nationalism and ethnic relations (ISA/ RC05). The recent election results in the Netherlands, but also in other European countries hint at a persistent renaissance of chauvinism, xenophoby, embodied in anti-Muslim racism in Europe. I was wondering what you guys have to say on the current and future ethics of academic research via these challenges?

This entry was posted in Ethics and Soci(ologic)al Theory.

  • Ayşe Mermutlu

    Hi Ulrike,
    Welcome to the group and very thanks for your contribution. Yes, this is a very crucial issue. I totally agree with you that current tendencies in Europe connotes sorely ‘the dark side of modernity’ – chauvinism, xenophoby, and so on. And academic discourse itself may be held partially responsible for these tendencies (take the ‘clash of civilizations’ discourse, for example) . So it seems to me that what is needed is, firstly, to be in an effort to create an academic climate that allows for and prompts the development of alternative discourses and methodologies. I see feminist, cultural, post-colonial and subaltern studies among others as crucial contributions in this context. And secondly, what is needed is, to go beyond ‘objectification’ and to be in pursuit of a normatively critical standpoint. This second requirement is relating to a very simple principle. Let me at this point quote Bauman from his essays entitled ‘Sociological Enlightenment – For Whom, About What?’ (2000) and ‘Afterthought: On Writing; On Writing Sociology’ (2000): ‘There is no choice between “engaged” and “neutral” ways of doing sociology. A non-committal sociology is an impossibility. Seeking a morally neutral stance among the many brands of sociology practised today, brands stretching all the way from the outspokenly libertarian to the staunchly communitarian, would be a vain effort. Sociologists may deny or forget “world-view” effects of their work, and the impact of that view on human singular or joint actions, only at the expense of forfeiting that responsibility of choice that every other human being faces daily. The job of sociology is to see to it that the choices are genuinely free and that they remain so, increasingly so, for the duration of humanity’.
    For now that’s all.
    All bests,
    Ayşe

  • Dr Ulrike M Vieten

    Dear Ayse this is an impressive ‘response’ to the question I posed! Thanks for that.

    To me it seems that Gramsci’s organic intellectual is lacking a great deal in the contemporary academic world (and public sphere as well) . I don’t know whether this is another tribute also to consumer generations. All the anti-mainstream – isms (postcolonial, subaltern, feminist) do hard work while keeping our critical thinking going, but as austerity defines the rule of the game I am not that optimistic it is sustainable.

    Neo-Liberalism and its merger of disciplines takes its toll already.

    Greetings, Ulrike

  • Antonio

    Hallo Ulrike and Ayse !

    Before yesterday I was walking in Delft and I saw a graffiti claiming that PVV ( The party for Freedom, from Wilders) was equal to NSB ( National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands), today the owner of the wall was already covering the painting. In fact he was feeling quite shamed when he saw me looking reading the wall.

    As a researcher and as a citizen what kind of connection do you see between the uprising of fascist political movements in different countries in Europe , which have shown good results on the last elections, not only in netherlands but in several european countries and the current economical crisis. All together these fact together with the contemporary situation we are living where there is a feeling of living on a global world where nations, nationality and identity are difficult to be defined shows a complex scenario. Are we on a similar scenario that before II World War, or the situation is quite different ? Besides there is an emergency of social and political movements claiming to build a more colourful environmental friendly societies, the contemporay situation is quite interesting.

    I hear that Wilders has some support between teenagers because he has a cool hairdress- this comments I heared on a podcast from Radio Netherland International- , as it seems that there was a pretence elections between teenegars on the public schools and students said that they like Wilders because he was cool. On some way this could reflex the relationship between fascist, consumerism society and capitalist, as the lackness of deep though are a good milieu for fascims, because I understand fascism as an empty idnot only to survice but to increase through the mass media messages, which probably have a more powerful effect on minds when they are young, and on the other side does not allow the mind to grow but to get it exhausted.

    Well all the best and we are in touch,

    Antonio

  • Ulrike

    Hi Antonio (and others, who might read this)

    well,

    as a German living in England and working at a university in Holland I am very much concerned of what is going on in the Polder country,
    But as you rightly say, we could add,: Hungary (extreme right), Italy (Berlusconi land) and France with its recent anti-Gypsy racism, not quite sure what the notion of ‘left’ and ‘right’ still has to add to contemporary politics and emanations of racism.

    To be frank, I see a clear difference between Continental Europe and Britain (still) in this regard and my own research is approaching this as a structural follow up of post-Shoa homogenized societies. Why? The Holocaust mass murder is the extinction of ethnic and religious difference; minorities.

    Did post Holocaust societies come to terms with this; with their violent homogenity? I doubt that; 21st century culture is superficially built on a late modern secular and Christian consensus of what difference should mean today, or of what consumerism and conformity has to offer to its citizens.

    Anxieties are triggered while offering a ‘fitting’ faith enemy; sure we know this; but sadly propaganda does its trick.

    By the way, Wilders was born in the southern part (Venlo) of the Netherlands and what is called province Limburg he got most votes in the recent election. This is a predominantly rulral area, where farm workers from other EU countries got the lowest paid jobs causing some anger locally ( not to say that the locals relaly would go for these jobs…). The political rise of Wilders is due to economic failures that are orchestrated ideologically for the purpose comforting social discomfort and – again – constructing a scapegoat. But apart from the young generation, who might see Wilders as a celebrity ( learning from teh media; it is more important to be famous; it is less important why…. this is a moral failure, too) I found shocking how slow response came from Dutch colleagues, the Dutch public in general.

    SO, pragmatism plays into the hands of extreme right or fascist politics. and that’s where we should point the finger at. IT IS CALLED NORMALITY.

    If an extreme right coalition goes ahead I am sure it will accomodate legislation ought to criminalize certain minorities… and that’s well, repeating history…

    It is for that reason of major concern that

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