Hegemonies Have No Irony

For the full quotation, from a recent interview with Mikael Sala, an advisor to the French far right politician Marine Le Pen,
see the article posted by NPR.

Photo of two Roman Catholic nuns, heads covered,
on a public street in Paris, January 19, 2011

Taking Theory for Granted

parliamentanthemWithout arriving on the scene with the work of a social theorist like Emile Durkheim in our back pockets, I’m not sure what we would make of the French parliament joining together yesterday to sing their national anthem in the wake of Friday night’s bloody Paris attacks. Continue reading “Taking Theory for Granted”

Your Turn: Is the Beach Really Better?


Your Turn” is a new, ongoing feature at Culture on the Edge, in which we just plant the seed by picking a ripe e.g. and then soliciting and responding to your analysis.

Maybe the beach really is better?

Recently, as I sat down on a beach near Nice, France, I took notice of two women in front of me. One was wearing the tiniest of French bikinis, the other, a full burka. Other than the sand — Nice’s beaches are quite pebbly — the scene looked a lot like the photo above and sent my mind spinning, a growing clarity or distillation of oh so many discussions and debates I’ve had here in the academy about women’s rights, liberation and the like began to emerge. The juxtaposing bodies, each “oppressed” or “subjugated” in their own ways via the burka or bikini (of course, depending on the social interests at stake), collided in front of me in the south of France, a country that has recently banned face-covering burkas from public altogether and the more basic headscarf from schools and other civic institutions and establishments back in 2004. Continue reading “Your Turn: Is the Beach Really Better?”

Bayart on Contextual Identification

edgebayart“Historical experience shows that an individual’s act of identification is always contextual, multiple, and relative. For example, someone from Saint-Malo will define himself  as a resident of that town when dealing with someone from Rennes, as a Breton when dealing with someone from Paris, as French when dealing with some from Germany, as a Continue reading “Bayart on Contextual Identification”