Current Issues in European Cultural Studies
ACSIS Conference June 15-17 2011, Norrköping, Sweden
In this section the parallel sessions for Current Issues in European Cultural Studies are listed. Participants and abstracts for presentations can be found in the printed program.
Contemporary Families: Representations and Negotiations
Varied family constellations have existed historically, but have gained visibility in recent decades. Although there is general consensus that there have been important changes in family life, especially following the women’s movement and the gay rights movement, there is no consensus about the effects or value of these changes. Family continues to be debated by radicals, liberals, and conservatives alike; the father’s rights movement is one recent response to these familial shifts that often voices strong anti-feminist sentiment about families and traditional gender roles. Meanwhile, the normative power of the nuclear family has not been lost, and the myth of the nuclear family ideal is persistently reiterated in political and popular discourses.
In this session we would like to bring together scholars from different disciplines to look at the multifaceted concept of contemporary families, and the ways that these are negotiated and mediated in fiction, film, and other forms of cultural representations. In what ways do “traditional” and “new” families figure—and how do family ideologies operate—in these representations?
Coordinators: Jenny Björklund and Helena Wahlström, Uppsala University
Over the last decade Intellectual Property Rights have been given a central position in the discourse of Creative Industries and the Knowledge Driven Economy, not the least within the European Union. At the same time the opposition towards different kinds of Copyright expansionism has grown. A tendency that became particularly obvious when the Swedish Pirate Party conquered a seat in the European Parliament in the elections in June 2009, giving rise to similar parties in many other countries. But this conflict is far from new. Copyright has caused debates for centuries and book piracy has been a menace to publishers and authors for even longer. This session focuses on the conflicts that copyright law and intellectual property rights tends to arouse, not only in contemporary Europe but also globally and historically. It welcomes papers on all aspects of Copyright Wars, past and present.
Coordinator: Martin Fredriksson, Linköping University
Cosmopolitanism and cultural practice
In spite of its ancient intellectual roots the notion of cosmopolitanism is still much debated, evoking elitist as well as egalitarian connotations. The late modern condition of transnational mobilities and glocal (mediated) cultural flows has intensified these debates within many disciplines, resulting in the theoretical proclamation of a variety of ‘cosmopolitanisms’. Problematizing the traditional notion of cosmopolitanism as an ethical, universalist ideal, or a state of mind, recent and ongoing research have highlighted the need to study cosmopolitanism in terms of more concrete articulations of a particular logic of practice (e g Nowicka and Rovisco, 2009). Cosmopolitanism in this view is understood foremost as a mode of self-transformation, and thus something that can be achieved through a gradual process of cultural learning – for example through different kinds of mobility practices. This panel invites papers that explore and debate such a practice oriented view of cosmopolitanism, theoretically as well as empirically. Contributions may deal with issues ranging from everyday lived experience to institutionalized modes of cultural production.
Coordinators: Magnus Andersson, Malmö University and André Jansson, Karlstad University
The making of artefacts is a core activity in society, the result of which contributes to the building up of our physical surroundings and material culture. Throughout history, craft skills have been highly appreciated and have often been seen as crucial component of a capable human. Despite this, the knowledge base that constitutes the actual making is often overlooked in research within humanities. In this session we want to discuss theories and methods of crafting that might benefit cultural studies approach to making, from the artistic, historical, or aesthetical point of view. We welcome discussions on questions such as:
What can we learn about things by learning about their making? How do different craft skills offer an understanding of its historical use? How can theoretical and methodological approaches be developed concerning the actual making?
Coordinators: Anneli Palmskiöld, Göteborg University and Johanna Rosenqvist, Linnaeus University
Cultural Studies of/in the Republic of Turkey: Issues and Dynamics at Work
Recent socio-political developments have rendered cultural studies of the Republic of Turkey an ever-widening field of study. Whether ethnic, religious or ideological, cultural allegiances and pacts of forgetting are being realigned, restructured or renegotiated. The imperatives of globalization collude, leading apparently to a probable paradigm shift in a society that was once thought to be purely Western-oriented. Questioning both the foundational maxims and the insistent new requests has become a cultural studies task.
Endorsed by the Cultural Studies Association of Turkey, this panel proposes to discuss the theoretical and methodological aspects of cultural studies in Turkey. It intends to focus on current issues and dynamics at work, and make an updated inventory of the state of the art, as a follow-up to Laurence Raw's and Gönül Pultar and Ayşe L. Kırtunç's essays on the subject in Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies in 2004.
Coordinator: Gönül Pultar, Cultural Studies Association of Turkey
Culture in Use: Nation and Region Building in the Time of Late Modernity
In our panel we are going to focus on how the political and intellectual elites make a use of culture for the nation- and region building. As our framework we are taking constructivist approach but would like to bring other theories, which add to deeper understanding of concrete cases. What we can observe in late modernity is that culture is used simultaneously on three levels: for the construction of the national, regional and global discourses and communities.
In one of our case studies we will consider how an art project is used for the political construction of the Barents Sea region. Another case in consideration is the representations of the 20th century Ukrainian history by Ukrainian intellectuals in cultural products created since 1991 (such as films, literature, monuments, etc.). To our panel we would like to invite scholars who also approach the question how culture is used for the construction of communities on the national, regional and global levels.
Coordinators: Anna Kharikina and Yuliya Yurchuk, Södertörn University College
Current trends and issues in European museum research
Research on the roles played by museums in formation of heritage and identity has boomed the last two decades. Globalisation, digitalisation and revitalised identity politics are among the political, social and technological challenges that have brought on an array of research into the forces shaping museums and the negotiating capacity of museum collections, representation and politics. In Sweden, several strong projects for museum research have emerged within universities as well as in museums, building bridges between different institutions and strands of research. This twin session is a collaborative effort of ongoing research projects at Linköping University, Stockholm University, the Nordiska Museet and the National Historical Museum. It invites researchers doing innovative research exploring the role of museums in the wider culture to share their approaches and results contributing to comparative reflections on the role of museums and their collections. Topics could relate to identity politics; the sociomaterial dynamics of museum collections; institutional histories; museums, education and reform; post-colonialism; nationalisms; repatriation; and relations between research and policy development.
Coordinator: Bodil Axelsson, Linköping University
Darker Visions of European Identity
Scholars are generally aware that the idea of “Europe” does not necessarily refer only to politically progressive ideas, like democracy, human rights, or the welfare state. But there is relatively little research on the various ways conceptions of European identity, specificity, or superiority have been (and still are) mobilized for darker political and cultural projects, including imperialism, racism, anti-Semitism, dictatorship, and even genocide.
We invite proposals for papers on what we call “the dark side of the Idea of Europe”—dark because of its anti-humane goals, but also because of its relatively unexamined status in contemporary debate. Research is welcome on any aspect of anti-democratic, anti-humanitarian applications of the idea of Europe, in any cultural field or historical period. Bringing together such work could make possible interesting comparisons, and contribute to critical reflection (rather than the repetition of well-meaning clichés) regarding the past and future of European identity.
Coordinators: Benjamin G. Martin, San Francisco State University/Uppsala University and Magnus Rodell, Södertörns University
Diaspora in Europe/Diaspora of Europe
This panel will feature interdisciplinary scholarship that examining the diverse diasporic communities across Europe. There is, I believe, a crucial need to problematise the diasporic experience allowing for markers of privilege (mobility across national borders remains a privilege as queues in embassies and visa centres continue to demonstrate) as well as introducing themes of alienation, both from the now postcolonial 'homelands' and the old imperialist, colonialist European states. This panel will concentrate not only on the diaspora living in Europe, but also European diaspora in Australia, Asia and the Americas, examining how indices of race, ethnicity, national identity, gender and class are mapped onto the diasporic condition. While the panel will largely focus on the diaspora , this is not in order to conceptualise the diaspora as a discrete community. Indeed, one of the benefits of comparing the production and reception cultural production among diasporic and indigenous communities is that these cultural texts so often form a material link across national borders and therefore in many ways unite the diasporic and indigenous populations into one transnational community.
Coordinator: Anindya Raychadhuri, Cardiff university
Dreams of place making
The construction of place and community is widely discussed within the cultural disciplines. This group session on place making wants to consider the recent ‘entrepreneurial turn’ in ethnography where the scholar defines and recommends developments of a place. How does the scholar engage with public and private businesses, cross disciplines and engage with other fields of knowledge in order to design a cultural geography of a certain place? In corporation with ‘non-scholarly’ interests of traditional corporations and decision makers, how are urban areas, rural regions, tourist attractions, leisure or living environments transformed? The session aims at discussing the theories and methods of place making: What does ‘applied ethnography’ mean in a certain context? How is the field of practise performed and negotiated? Which concepts inform the place making strategies: Cultural policies; urban philosophy; cultural heritage; experience economy; regional development; life world of citizens; business competition, etc.
Coordinator: Sarah Holst Kjær, Norwegian School of Management
Electronic Dance Music scenes and changing conditions in DJ Culture
This panel presents a special issue on DJ culture for the international electronic dance music journal Dancecult, to be published in June 2011. This DJ issue (Dancecult #4) addresses itself specifically to the relations of pleasure and power that intersect in the space between the DJ, the dance floor and the rest of the club world. Our special issue collects reflections from DJ perspectives on the visionary and social dimensions of DJ culture. Electronic dance music, and its DJs, producers and promoters have become increasingly central to popular culture in its various spatial configurations; translocally, glocally, as well as transnationally. The DJ has been a key figure in popular music since the 1970s, as the superstars and gatekeepers of today's music and club industry. As artists and specialized guides to musical worlds, DJs are uniquely positioned in today's music scenes, but they usually tell their stories through soundscapes, weaving together auditory elements and influencing the bodies, moods and emotions of dance crowds. This issue offers creative and intellectual accounts from DJ perspectives, featuring contributions from established DJs/writers situated in various kinds of spatial and cultural configurations. Contributions address the technological, commercial and social developments and conditions that constrain and liberate DJs, the power dynamics of music scenes, and their positions in wider socio-historical processes.
Coordinator: Anna Gavanas, Institute for Futures Studies
It has been 25 years since the Writing Culture-debates started within anthropology. At the core of these debates were a series of questions concerning the crises of representation. But also discussions concerning new forms of ethnographic representations. These discussions took place foremost within anthropology, but quickly spread to other folds in the cultural and social sciences.
In this session we want to investigate the ways in which ethnographic imaginaries and representations can be formed today. We welcome contributions from different disciplines. Questions of interest are: what is it that happens with ethnographic representations when they are moved from one discipline to another, or from one context to another. How are ethnographic results for example presented for clients in the world of business, and how can ethnography meet the world of art? What happens when ethnography meets (audio-)visual imaginaries, and how would a performative ethnographic approach look?
Coordinators: Tom O'Dell and Robert Willim, Lund University
European identity is currently a contested concept that should be understood in the plural. While the European Union and other transnational actors strive to forge a stronger identification among citizens with Europe as a geopolitical, social and cultural space, a series of tensions and conflicts have developed, where ethnic, national, regional and local identifications compete with each other and tend to blur and challenge the idea of Europe as a shared space. Issues of identity, culture and media have become increasingly important also in the political sphere. This double session investigates a range of such issues, ranging from investigations of Europe's multicultural or cosmopolitan diversity, or case studies of ethnic, national, regional and local identities within the larger European area, to critiques of its efforts to establish a shared heritage of values and experiences. The combination of its papers will shed light on the processes whereby Europe is today and historically given meaning from within and from the outside; from above by Europe-branding institutions as well as from below by citizens, migrants or artists who make themselves home in Europe, criticise its deficits or construct alternative identifications.
Coordinator: Johan Fornäs , Södertörn University
European Nationalism(s): A Popular Cultural Inspection
Considering the rise of nationalism(s) all over Europe, the tension between practices of inclusion and exclusion, and the ambivalent effects of globalization and neo-liberalism on national politics, it becomes evident that a fresh discussion on “national identities” is important and urgent. Popular culture is a crucial domain in which national identity is both celebrated and contested and through which various dynamics of the (de)formation of national cultures can be analyzed. Therefore, in this session, we suggest to make a symptomatic reading of popular cultural artifacts in order to shed light on the complex interplay between commodity products and national identity and to examine the role of popular culture in the ways that national communities are “imagined”/performed. We encourage paper submissions reflecting on contemporary articulations of European national identities by focusing on popular culture.
Coordinators: Melanie Schiller and Aylin Kuryel, University of Amsterdam
Feminist Cultural Studies
Feminist cultural studies (in Sweden) can be defined broadly as gender studies focusing on culture, be it in the anthropological sense of the concept or in the sense of culture as manifested in texts, historical or contemporary, or other cultural products. Like cultural studies in general, feminist cultural studies focuses on the production of meaning, both in the practices of everyday life and in texts of different kinds. This session welcomes papers analysing gendered meaning production, in different texts and contexts. Papers where gender and other intersectional power relations meet are also welcomed.
Coordinators: Fanny Ambjörnsson and Hillevi Ganetz, Stockholm university
Exploring the intersections of the social dimension of sustainable development, environmental justice, utopian thought and urban development. Activities aiming at the design of green futures have become frequent in many different social areas such as media, planning, conventional politics, marketing and R& D. While such activities are often treated as mainly instrumental, technological or practical concerns, looking for the most apt or fit solution, we should also expect to find a rich political context of divergent interests, goals and values. When presenting and designing information under labels of ecologically adopted or sustainable futures, entrepreneurs, policy makers, activists and others both develop and adopt to certain forms of language, key words, metaphors, pictures, allegories, colour settings, associations and so on that both consciously and unconsciously build rhetorical and aesthetic frames that affects the cultural perceptions of green futures. The task here is to perform critical assessments of different practical and theoretical activities aiming at the generation of ecologically adopted or sustainable futures. Theoretically this topic is studied in relation to concepts such as discourse, social representations, ideology, rhetoric, visual culture, visualisation, framing and utopian thought. Empirically it concerns science, politics, media, exhibitions and practical projects, and how these different activities are understood by different audiences.
Coordinator: Johan Hedrén, Linköping University
Imagining Europe, Representing Periphery: The Body Language
The Berlin Wall is one of the symbolic walls that prevail in the geo-politics of Europe, despite its physical disappearance. A section of the Berlin Wall, now the East Side gallery, reminds us about the political, socio-economic and cultural divide between the West and the East. Symbolic walls are more powerful that their physical manifestations. It is being on the ‘right’ side of the wall that determines the versions of sovereignty, the citizenship-related entitlements, including the economy of the rights, and in a way, of the body.
The body can be seen as one of the signifiers of the wall crossing, the border crossing, migration routes and various diasporas. We invite the artists and academics to submit a visual piece, an image, a documentary or a short film, addressing and questioning the possibilities for imagining Europe while representing its peripheries, either as a physical body or as a body of knowledge.
Coordinators: Katarzyna Kosmala, University of the West of Scotland and Ryszard Kluszczynski, University of Lodz
Marketisation, Working-Life and Culture
For the last thirty years the neo liberal logic of the market has dominated the world on many different levels. Not least is this tendency of marketisation transforming the working-life. This session aims to highlight this phenomenon from different perspectives, theoretical as well as empirical. What happens to working-life as a cultural field when subordinated to market principles? How may it challenge individuals’ and organizations’ conception of work, knowledge, value and social status? What happens with the concept of work itself? What kinds of regulation or empowerment are facilitated? How is the relationship between culture, ideology and politics affected? We invite papers from a wide range of areas interested in discussing the contemporary changes in working-life from a cultural perspective and believe that this set of problems provides an opportunity for cultural studies to regain the critical stance that is central in its history and identity.
Coordinators: Fredrik Sunnemark and Carina Kullgren, University West
New technologies of subjectivity: Transformations in the public sphere
In his Anticapitalism and Culture, Jeremy Gilbert calls for a new Cultural Studies based on late modern economies of cultural forms and messages. In this panel, we explore the possibilities of such a new Cultural Studies by focusing on the ways in which new technologies offer opportunities for the construction of selves. Such patterns of construction hinge on the shifting boundaries between modernist notions of the private and the public sphere. Starting from four empirical case studies, theoretical implications will be raised. The case studies span different areas of the world as well as different new media technologies. In each of the cases we investigate the potential and the constraints offered by such new technologies of subjectivity in particular micro and macro contexts, and feed the findings back to broader transformations in cultural and semiotic economies.
Coordinator: Piia Varis, Tilburg University
Post-Yugoslav Condition: Cultural Studies Does the Balkans
Recently, there has been a growing number of scholars doing what in the widest sense can be termed cultural studies research on and about the area of the former Yugoslavia. Slowly but surely cultural studies is becoming recognized as a postdisciplinary subject in the official university curricula across the Balkans attracting particularly students and younger scholars.
It is worthwhile to look not so much at what cultural studies is but what it does in the Balkans. Post-Yugoslav cultural studies research is organized around classic cultural studies notions such as ethnicity, class, gender, everyday life, discourse(s) and power but its effects can be seen as interventions into how culture in this context is defined, negotiated, forgotten/remembers, invented and reinvented. Balkan cultural studies scholars will explore diverse and challenging topics from social memory and politics of nostalgia, politics of witnessing and transitional (postwar) justice, as well as new (old) cultural fundamentalisms directed against various ‘others’. They will thus look into a number of various phenomena ranging from Titostalgia, gay identities and fundamentalisms, trauma, imagination and hope after genocide, students’ movements, (de)construction of ethnic identities, new colonialisms, legacy of socialism, Europeanization and turbofolk to mention but a few.
Coordinator: Danijela Majstorović, University of Banja Luka
The relation of place and cultural economy
Culture is regarded as an important building stone in today’s society and there is great faith in its potential for growth. The cultural politics of the European Union has a clear goal to promote culture as a propelling force for growth in which culture, creativity and competitiveness are key concepts for creating an attractive living environment and strengthen people’s identity. A definition of cultural economy refers to the use of culture in the sense of creating human value, meaning and identity in relation to economic contexts. In the perspective of place, cultural economy involves preserving the history, special features and identity of a place and creating attractive spaces for visitors, newcomers, business and other organisations. This requires maintaining a critical distance to cultural, economic and social aspects as well as a balance between the inside and outside perspectives, that is, how local people perceive their environment and how the representation of the place is constructed and mediated from outside.
Coordinator: Lotta Braunerheim, Karlstad University
Re‐processes: Recycling, Revivals, Makeovers and Remakes
During the last decades, recycling, revivals, makeovers and remakes have become ordinary cultural strategies. Post‐modernism as an intellectual current opened up for the ‘return of the past’ – from ‘neo‐isms’ to cultural regeneration in society. It did also imply modes of re‐ processes where traditional skills and props are put to work in new settings: to get back to an earlier stage, to transform or to improve something to another shape or state, or, to in‐ novate something which didn’t exist before by making new combinations. Re‐processes are well integrated in people’s thinking and manifested in cultural representations. Re‐processes can both be reactionary or progressive, and have a segregating or integrating impact on so‐ ciety. This session are looking for papers which highlight the issue of cultural re‐processing and reconsideration. What is the methodology and ideology of re‐processing, and how does it work and materialise in different contexts? In what way do re‐processes have an effect on individuals as well as groups of people in society?
Coordinator: Per Strömberg, Norweigian School of Management
Rethinking Cultural Research in Europe
In the course of last two decades we have seen previously unimaginable opportunities for a dialogue between former Western and East European traditions of understanding the relation between culture and society, and perhaps even more importantly, for the very re-definition of these critical categories as well as ways of examining them. We shall ask to what extent such dialogue has been taking place, how various domestic research and discursive positions in the area of cultural research has developed differently in different locations (i.e. Kulturwissenschaften , kul'torologia, empirical sociology and phenomenology of culture, and indeed the internationalized versions of Anglo-American Cultural Studies) continue to contradict, influence and/or possibly colonize each other in various intellectual and scholarly environments in contemporary Europe.
Coordinators: Jirina Smejkalova and Ann Gray, University of Lincoln
Revisiting the Literary Within Cultural Studies
Ever since the international breakthrough of Cultural Studies in the 1980’s, the literary text has been increasingly (re)embedded within its specific social, cultural, political and/or anthropological contexts. And rightly so – literary texts are, par excellence, places where cultural tendencies, social practices and power structures interact and converge. Nevertheless, we think it is time to refocus on the ‘literariness’ of literary texts, not as a way to purify their sense and meaning, but as a way to understand their instigating function within this dynamic interplay of functions. In this session, we will focus on the three main genres of literary texts, i.e. the novel, the poem, and the essay.
Coordinator: Aukje van Rooden, Utrecht University
Rhythm Changes: Jazz Cultures and European Identities
Today, the history of jazz is considered one of conflict and contestation; jazz is a critical discourse that has changed and adapted over time, feeding into issues of race, gender, class, identity and place. Since the 1990s, New Jazz Studies scholars have drawn attention to the political or ideological backdrop in which jazz has been created and, most importantly, their methods have given rise to voices that have been previously excluded from jazz history, from women to the musicians themselves. Today, the New Jazz Studies encapsulates a vast array of critical positions and yet, despite this plurality, the engagement with jazz outside of American contexts has been limited. Ironically, in dispelling several mythologies about jazz, the New Jazz Studies has, arguably, failed to engage with the global spread of jazz and the inter-cultural exchanges that have occurred in the music since its inception. Each of these papers engages with the challenges of rethinking the concepts and practices commonly identified with jazz as a result of these larger inter-cultural processes.
Coordinator: Nicholas Gebhardt, Lancaster University
The conditions of music-making
“The conditions of music-making - between cultural policy, economics, and esthetics” is a cooperative project run by the department of culture and media studies at Umeå universitet and Svenskt Visarkiv.
This project studies contemporary professionalized artistic music-making as a process where musicians, music, concert situations and audiences intersect and interact within a society framing where an outspoken cultural policy, mediatization and an expanding experience- and event-oriented “cultural economy” are important factors.
Coordinator: Alf Arvidsson, Umeå University
The Processes of Remembering and Forgetting
The session wants to discuss new approaches to cultural memory studies. Instead of looking at cultural memory as already fixed stores of knowledge, as for example in studies of national literary or art histories, the working concept is the processes of identity formation. Cultural memory as a process cannot be isolated from the ways a community or its individuals remember a past establishing narratives, mythologies, and artefacts. By looking at these phenomena as discursive processes of remembering and forgetting it can be made clear that cultural memory from monuments and museums to national literature mark ways of recalling always already involved in politics and power relations. The aim is not only to revise the relations between intercultural communication, aesthetics and politics but also to reinterpret given notions of identity demonstrating that in memory processes a master discourse, for example a literary canon or a personal history (an ego-document), is hiding gaps in the recorded events where other narratives or discursive elements could have come into play. The session is open to researchers from different areas in the humanities and the social sciences that wish to problematize traditional approaches to the conception of cultural memory.
Coordinator: Kristina Fjelkestam, Linköping University
This is Our Place! – Reflections on Place, Identity and Citizenship
As long as cities have existed, they have been subjected to political ideals, will and actions. Similarly, the city has always been a place where a multiplicity of political, cultural and social projects has been staged. People have always wanted something with the city, and the city has always been a place where people have expressed their opinions and put forward their demands. In this workshop we want to highlight and discuss examples of visions of the city, and how the city has been used as an arena for political, social or cultural projects. We also seek to highlight questions of belonging, identity and citizenship in relation to the city.
The focus is on the urban space. Yet, as Massey has argued, “all places have lines that run out from them: trade routes, investments, political and cultural influences” (Massey 2007:6) and to understand the urban space, these lines and influences must to some extent be acknowledged. The workshop welcomes contributions in which political, public and governmental actors, commercial actors, social movements, diasporic communities and citizens' views on, forming of and use of urban space are highlighted. The workshop especially welcomes contributions in which concepts such as space, place, culture, identity, ethnicity, and citizenship are of key importance.
Coordinator: Josefina Syssner, Linköping University
Transport and infrastructure planning under pressure. The role of socio-cultural dimensions and critical perspectives in current and future research.
The current transport system and infrastructure planning has proven to be essentially unsustainable and in the need for change. In this session, we will explore various socio-cultural dimensions and power-aspects influencing the current transport system and its potential trajectories for the future. The session welcomes presentations with empirical focus on policy and planning processes, mobility norms or other perspectives influencing transport policy, attitudes and everyday-life experiences from various groups in the transport system etc as well as studies exploring geographical framings or other spatial dimensions that affects transport and infrastructure planning. We will aim for 5-6 short presentations from current research, which will be the basis for a discussion that aims at identifying key themes and issues for future research in this field.
Coordinator: Karolina Isaksson, Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute
Senast uppdaterad: 2011-07-04