Other Notes:

 

 

Place is one of the most important concepts in geography.

How is place important to our sensitivity to our perceptions of  conflict?

 

  1. Exhibited art is showcased in specific places that we have set aside to encounter art and creates a division between the art inside the space and non art world outside. Cresswell, T. (2015) Place, (Wiley Blackwell).

 

  1. “The modern gallery/museum space, for instance, with its stark white walls, artificial lighting (no windows), controlled climate, and pristine architectonics, was perceived not solely in terms of basic dimensions and proportion but as an institutional disguise, a normative exhibition convention serving an ideological function. The seemingly benign architectural features of a gallery/museum, in other words, were deemed to be coded mechanisms that actively disassociate the space of art from the outer world, furthering the institution’s idealist imperative of rendering itself and its hierarchization of values “objective,” “disinterested,” and “true.” – Kwon, M. (1997) One Place after Another: Notes on Site Specificity, (October) vol. 80, pp. 85-110.

 

  1. It is in this dissociation of space that makes the artwork less shocking…?
  2. This dissociation is part of the space in which the art is displayed. By paying for entry, we gain access to a space which contains the art. It is therefore within this bubble that we consume the art, but we are free to
  3. Within the space there is a performance that disengages us from the art.
  4. Freedom to come or go is key to our perception of conflict…

 

The place associations of the art are important to our reaction to the art. Cresswell gives the example of moon rocks, which look like they could be any old rock, but because we know they come from space we more likely look upon them with awe…

 

The Age of Terror exhibition is at the Imperial War museum, London. This sets the exhibition within the wider theme of showcasing war related objects and artworks but also directly means that to access the art, you must be in London, a Western Megacity.

anarchist geography

Some of the main points of anarchist geographies include Kropotkin’s 1902 Mutual Aid, the idea that cooperation between species is a stronger factor for social organisation than competition. Applied to geography, what does that mean? applied to community?

I will link that to the Kibbutz communitites in Israel during the presentation.

to what extent does a community’s ideology have an impact on its socio-spatial organisation and architecture?

The Agency of Migrant Women & Integration

Women, Migration and Activism in EU

  •  The unjustified generalisations of migrant women >> the integrative approaches which ignores the experiences of skilled migrants

>> contextualisation of the experience of different women without creating essentialist assumptions on the basis of a common female id.

– How does the relations of gender interact with class, race and ethnicity?

– immigration with/without legal residence status: the label of ‘illegality’ on immigrants

  • The affect of the framing of the place of women to migrant women: women are considered as dependent on their male partners for both legal and economic rights. >> migrant women are forced into positions of dependency and vulnerability, thus stop them from engaging in activism in public sphere

the underlying assumption constructs a primarily domestic role for them

  •  gender inequalities in their country of origin(within their own community) + host countries >> isolate women in a domestic arena

 

Integration and Multiculturalism

the concept of Ethnocultural groups vs minorities

  • ethnocultural groups trying to carry out their lives through negotiation and compromise with each other

>> this does not represent the way of life of the mainstream, which is typically preferred by the dominant group and the public institution they created. (the cultures each groups possess are weighted equally, regardless of their sizes or power)

>> in this sense, non of the groups are assumed to be assimilated by the others

–> a multidimensional concept

Psychological view:

  1. There is a desire to maintain the group’s culture and identity
  2. There is a desire to engage in daily interaction with other ethnocultural groups in the larger society, including the dominant one
  • However, not all groups seek to engage in intercultural relations in the same way (i.e. various alternatives, assumption of eventual assimilation –> from attitudes to strategies

Freedman, J. (2008). Women, Migration and Activism in Europe. Amnis, (8).

Immigration and Minority Women: presentation outline

Research questions:

What political, social and economic obstacles do minority women face in the process of immigration and integration in contemporary Western Europe?

Is gender a differentiating factor in minority women’s experience of immigration and integration?

Presentation outline:

  1. Intro
  2. Primary agent of exclusion: the economic market
  3. Constructed conceptions of womanhood: inclusion or assimilation?
  4. Political treatment of minority women: differentiated path to citizenship
  5. Conclusion

1. Intro

  • Immigration, Asylum seeking: how general analyses of immigration / asylum seeking do not take into account the gendered differentiations. How policies based on such analysis turn out to damage women.
  • The unjustified generalisations of migrant women
  • Discrimination of minority women: multi-layered identities make them more vulnerable to discrimination, violence and violation of their rights.
  • Defining key terms: conception of immigrant v. refugee, integration, assimilation.

 

2. Primary agent of exclusion: the economic market

  • Complexity of the diversity of experiences in terms of economic well-being according to gender, ethnicity and intra-ethnicity identity.
  • Experience of specific minority migrants (and their descendents): Quantitative (hard statistical data) / Qualitative research (personal experience and perception)
  • Neoliberalism: free market model turns out to be exclusive and harmful towards minorities.
  • Institutionalised racism.

 

3. Constructed conceptions of womanhood: inclusion or assimilation?

  • Integration of Immigrants: Personal – Family – State 
  • Immigrants are perceived as a homogenous group, with no differentiation between men and women in the process of immigration/integration
  • The fear of integrating: the image of women is linked to an idealised notion of home, thus connected with the fundamental structures of society.
  • The image of women is forced into dichotomies: ‘minority women becoming visible and audible only as domestic violence victims or rendered invisible if they do not conform to this identity.’

 

4. Political treatment of minority women: differentiated path to citizenship

  • Immigration and social integration are gendered issues. (Kofman 1999, Sinke 2006)
  • Political effects of austerity: Ghettoization: isolation within communities, which intensify minority women’s exposure to patriarchal oppression (gang rape, crime, forced marriage etc.)
  • Securitisation of immigration: migrant women are put under explicit scrutiny.
  • Secular policies disproportionately impact minority religious women: 2004 ban on the headscarf, 2010 ban of the burqa.
  • Explicit discrimination again an infinitely marginal part of the national population: at the time of the law, roughly 1900 women wore the burqa in France, thereby representing no more than 0.04% of the French Muslim population, and less than 0.003% of the french population.

Restrictive access to citizenship rights

  • Sexual democracy: refers to the way in which democracy seeks to accommodate and appropriate sexuality. In this model, sexuality is seen as a vital aspect of democracy, citizenship, etc. Discrimination occurs at the ‘private’ level, pervading areas such as sexuality, body image, one’s choice of partner, children’s rights, etc.
  • Strong emphasis on Muslim women’s relation to their bodies and the way they dress. Muslim women’s dress-code is constructed as a threat to public order, and associated with oppression, terrorism and extreme religious belief: securitisation theory.
  • PM Manuel Valls ‘The headscarf, which prevents women from being who they are, remains for me, and must remain for the Republic an essential fight.’ (Europe 1, Feb. 2013)

 

 

Interdisciplinary Links Between Research

Politics & Philosophy: Aristotle’s + Hegel’s definitions of community: maybe start by providing both?

Politics & History: Julia’s discussion of the recognition of Hollywood as part of the wider community and Ana’s exploration of cinema reflecting the status quo/moral values of the society in which it is created.

Politics & History & Philosophy: Julia asking how we maintain diversity of casts / women on screen and Ana demonstrating that as women gain independence and prominence on the screen, this is quickly dominated by masculinity. How do we stop this happening? My suggestion that we seem to be breaking down hierarchies and achieving more justice, but is it the case that this will soon revert?

Politics and Philosophy: Sanjana asks what the systems are which allow for women to be simultaneously publicly exposed and intimately harassed. My reading of Aristotle (via appeal to hierarchy and justice) could answer this question by contending that it is the hierarchy and injustice which allows this. Thus, is it the abuse of the community which contributes to and drives this simultaneity? 

Politics and Philosophy: Sanjana also discusses questions of how gender has affected a woman’s career – this ties in with stereotype threat and implicit bias. 

We will also being using the disciplines of film and print media in our research. I am currently putting together a video which highlights the frequency and severity of unjust treatment of females in Hollywood.

Organisation of the political analysis “inside Hollywood movies”

After the very nice meeting we had today at the Maughan library, our ideas are much clearer and well organised – excited about next week repetitions of our representation!
Thus, to draw on Shivani and Sanjana’s last posts, this is the outline I will present on the 27th of March.
I also come with a definition of what is a community, but from a political sciences’ perspective: Hegelian view of an ethical community (also found in his political theories) underlines that a good person = a good citizen who follows the rule of law
  • Fact: Hollywood is part of the US community (a subcategory?)
  • How does Hollywood (as an organization/business)’ embeddedness in social and cultural communities influence its behaviour?
  • How does the film industry in the US’ – commonly called Hollywood- embeddedness in the US social and cultural community influence its behaviour?
After Ana shows how  cinema reflects the status quo of the society in which it is happening until the 1980s, I will continue with movies from the 1980s onwards
1)To draw on Ana’s last point about Women in Danger’s movies: Michel Foucault and the repressive forms of social control/biopolitics power -> affected men, raised anxieties of castration -> This is where the submission of Hollywood under the US community is apparent -> tool of politics (Reaganian “remasculinization and rebarbarization after humiliation in Vietnam and American hostages in Iran): must reassure anxieties (Cohan and Hark)
2) Then move to Postfeminism after the 1980s: defined with difficulty
  1. A discourse highly knowing about sex and gender diversity, which sometimes esteem that “basic feminism” is over
  2. but which also invest in conventional modes of feminism, quite ironic in tone (Radner and Stringer)
  3. Historical relationship to political and philosophic feminist movement that points to the pervasive impact of gender hierarchies and argues for gender equality)
  4. Anchored in images, media, TV, pop culture -> these images changed according to US politics/normative context
  • Welfare image = dependence, sex object, pretty vs. smart, success in marriage in the private sphere (p82)
  • Neoliberal image = strong, empowered, emphasize achievements (p68) and individual choices (p69), pretty AND smart,  femininity as the asset to sell in the private and the public sphere (p82)
  • Example of the older woman figure
  • Example of the regressed child
    • Regression movies: men funny because sexual innuendo vs. women innocence
    • Enchanted: plays on critiques of the central romance narrative but sincere presentation of ideas of true love on the other
  • Finally, the example of the super corporate woman, which I won’t develop but we all know this movie with the super-empowered professionally woman who reveals a lack of romantic stability behind: failure to grow up
    • Ex: Maria Bello in The Jane Austen Book Club, described on the Wiki page of the movie as “a happily unmarried control freak and breeder of Rhodesian Ridgebacks” -> finds love (after a lot of resistance) at the end of the movie and finally seems complete
– As all these example shows, postfeminism = anchored in the contemporary context of neo-liberal, late-capitalist society characterized by consumer culture, individualism, postmodernism and a decreased interest in institutional politics and activism
– Thus, audience wondering at what price comes this super empowered life?  Like the real superstar actresses which embody them? Sleeping with a high rep of their industries in order to achieve what’s best for them? Women presented as finished products in movies
  • maintain stereotypes about a particular femininity
  • do not show/perform other types of femininity -> lack of diversity in images -> ends up with accommodation to and acceptance of a diminished role for women (p69 Radner and Stringer)

 

Week 8 – notes write up

Here are some of the nots that I’ve taken for some of the parts of the presentation that I believe will be valuable for adding some final background to our presentation.  It’s quite unordered but as our discussions have become more focused, I’ve narrowed our general discussions down to focus on the behind-the-scenes aspect of hollywood and gender that is often ignored, as well as what labour conditions and protection there is for vulnerable people within hollywood.

Below are some extracts / exercpts from the document, all of which has been commented on or added to by the other members of the group :

  • How does hollywood as a community operate on the public/private paradox because …Which movies have had notoriously bad working conditions – even if they weren’t technically considered under the umbrella of the law, because they weren’t reported / weren’t technically illegal? How does the public private paradox play out behind the scenes? Much of the discussion around representation in Hollywood often centers on what women are represented to be or thought to be on screeen, and not behnd the screen? How does this tie into notions of hierarchy, justice, and a community?

    Hollywood offers a particularly salient example of this – that film must be political because of what it seeks to portray and that it is not made in a vacuum. The production of film, financing of it, and the kinds of stories that get told are always political, even if not recognised as so, and often disparities behind the camera, or behind the scenes, are translated into deficiencies in front of. Moreover, Hollywood is fundamentally a profit making mechanism that creates a contract between art and commerce – women led films have been dismissed for years on the spurious basis that they are not profitable.

    Weinstein’s lawyer’s comment that “the casting couch” has been a notable stereotype of the film industry since before he was even born, and that if someone willingly consents to being on this casting couch or sleeping with someone in order ot get ahead, then it’s not “rape”, even though this obviously is not what happened with Weinstein.

  • Behind camera – laws  / labour laws that have been passed to enable female participation and treatment in hollywood – how does this tie into metoo? “Celluloid ceiling”
    • In 2017, The Celluloid Ceiling report found that 88 % of the 250 top films of 2017 did not have female directors (https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2018/01/the-brutal-math-of-gender-inequality-in-hollywood/550232/)
    • Moreover, 90 % of these films did not have any female sound gaffers, grips or people in technical roles.
      • This can also betray a disparity in how women are encouraged to go into professions or jobs that rely heavily on their physical attributes and what they can offer for consumption, often within the confines of the male gaze.
      • That movies are often not made with women’s direct involvement leads into how women are portrayed on screen, and often leads to major deficiencies in story line or characterisation.
    • These numbers change drastically when examining independent film-making, or young female directors seeking a start in Hollywood. These numbers are often reprenstative of women who already work in Hollywood, and often are overwhelmingly white women who are middle class.
      • 83 % of Hollywood’s film industry had no female writers.
      • Sociological studies have highlighted that the worst working conditions for women ensure at the intersection of several key factors – “male domination in positions of power; work arrangements that are relatively transient; and young, single women in more-vulnerable and low-paying occupations.”
      • These kinds of working conditions are largely enabled by political forces informed by historical and philosopical understandings of bias and gender imbalance.
      • Within Hollywood, while all actors are unionised, often young creatives will have to work for exposure and undertake gruelling feats of work in order to simply get their foot in the door. In this sense, women often work for little pay in conditions that are not protected by labour laws – because of the casualisation of a lot of work has fractured the industry and made it increasingly possible to recruit young people who are interested in working in Hollywood.
      • The Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission – which is tasked with examining discrimination across various industries – has brought a discrimination lawsuit against major studios in hollywoodin 2015, with eveyr single major studio accused of systemic gender discriminaton. https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/feb/20/hollywood-studios-sued-discrimination-against-female-directors
      • The EEOC does not just investigate whether or not female directors have been hired, but actively looks at how patterns of hiring could result in discrimination, as well as the other factors that largely influence how companies and production firms function. These go past macro-structural issues – such as passing over a female director for an action movie – and also look at how many women were encouraged to apply for the roles, how many women are in a talent pool etc –
      • The EEOC also has the power to file a class action lawsuit against the industry if they feel that women and minorities are not being included in behind the scen
    • Women working in hollywood have largely beared the brunt of ensuring increased female representation through their own initiatives, working groups and whisper networks. While it becomes evident that there has been significant conversation around the representation of women on screen, there are still conversations to be had around the working conditions that can be generated through diverse crew.
    • Research carried out on the gender balance behind the camera has highlighted that when women are in charge of movies or documentaries, they are more likely ot have diverse casts and crews ()http://wmc.3cdn.net/2e85f9517dc2bf164e_htm62xgan.pdf, pg 37 onwards)
  • How does this relate to the idea of community?
    • Communities are often inward-facing, and insular. How Hollywood functions remains a mystery to those outside of the industry, and it is only recently that the veil is being pulled back. However, it should be obvious that the less women there are behind the scenes – in terms of writing scripts, in terms of gaffes, in terms of direction – the more likely it is that women will not be portrayed and fully realised as real people on screen.
  • In this sense, it is worth examining the fact that when all the Weinstein allegations surfaced, the LAPD set up their own independent unit to carry out investigations into the reports of sex abuse and harassment that had occurRed  – because of the sheer scale of these allegations.
    • This is common and expected when dealing with specific abuses of power and abuses of women within communities, as a more focused approach – for example, identifying common powerful people who have perpetrated these abuses.
      • This approach can be seen throughout the world, in many countries with far less “robust” legal systems.
    • In this sense, there is also the idea that communities perpetuate their own forms of hierarchy + justice (as pointed out by Shivani’s reading of community from Aristotle) and in doing so, render themselves politically difficult to reckon with. For example, Ronan Farrow published an account of how Rose McGowan, who has been outspoken about the abuse she suffered as a result of Weinstein’s actions, was trailed by former MOSSAD agents and agencies, creating a sense of paranoia. However, her ability to verify those claims was severely doubted, as she was often thought of, particularly within Hollywood, as something of a wild card, because of her previous inclination towards speaking out about injustice.
    • Within the eyes of the law, the justice system has had very ltitle ot offer survivors of sexual violence, in terms of actually giving them any sense of justice having been served or even that it was being pursued in a meaningful manner. This is common to many victims of sexual violence throughout the legal system in any country, not just in America, but the gendered nature of sexual violence often leads to trauma and continued frustration for women who have been maligned in some manner.
    • In this way, the EEOC had investigated these same claims of discrimination in 1989, and while the matter had been referred up to the Justice Department, no action was taken that could actually “change” things. This may also be beacuse the justice department was at the time headed by SCJ Clarence Thomas, who has been anti-feminist on numerous occasions in his rulings, and as well as the lack of a general appetite for severe scrutiny of these issues.
    • When it comes to detractors of #metoo, many often ask what the eventual outcome will be, or whether the movement has proved or provided anything tangible. However, tangibility is a difficult thing to measure, as well as a different standard of address in which to correct injustices.
      • Yet, the backlash from the New Yorker / NYT revelations has led to many actors and people in the public eye confronting allegations of harassment, but often with uncomfortable questions arising as a result.
      • Even the coverage of this has not been entirely flawless – for example, a magazine (X) ran Ronan Farrow as a cover star when doing an end of year round up, despite the fact that two women at the NYT had been the first to break the story.
      • Many of Weinstein’s victims pointed out that they felt more comfortable with the discussion happening with other women, than men.
    • So the mechanisms of justice and equality that we seek to use to correct perceived imbalances of power distribution are flawed within Hollywood as they are in the rest of the world. Whenever htere is widespread knowledge of a perceived injustice within certain communities, the kneejerk reaction is that an outside, impartial view will be able to delineate the wrongdoing more clearly, but this is obviously difficult when it is so embedded in the culture of a community – and even of an industry.
      • At the end of the day, while Hollywood is a community, it is also fundamentally an industry. It operates to make money – and actresses, actors – particularly high profile ones – earn very large sums of money, even if they differ by gender or age.
      • In this sense, a community might struggle the protect the most vulnerable – or even put safeguards in place – if exploitation and mistreatment are ways to either make money or profit from suffering.
      • In this sense, we can highlight how certain movies that are incredibly well known, popular or part of an iconic film canon, were actually made under difficult circumstances and must be confronted in difficult ways.
        • E.g. Kill Bill
        • we are making a list of movies that fit this description, screenshots of which we will be including in our presentation.
      • In this sense, we can look at the fact that many well known movies with complex female characters – or that are held up as examples of women who are parts of pop culture iconography – often had well documented abuse and mistreatment behind the scenes, even as these sequences were choreographed or created for maximum effect.

 

Focused :

 

  • What are the behind – the – scenes conditions that can affect gender relations?
  • What are the legal issues that have hindered women from being able to access equal pay, sexual harassment settlements, and often kept them silent?
    • Fundamentally, Hollywood – however it is understood – is a community that functions from profit. When people’s movies don’t do well – especially if they’re risky, such as being led by a woman or a minority – this is meant in terms of a lack of profit, and then this leads to their own consequences much like anywhere else.
    • As is stated in the
    • Much of the work that people undertake behind the scenes is in the form of unpaid internships or casual work, where the pay is often delayed and the working conditions and any adequate protection is often not to be found. This is doubly difficult for women as many women will struggle to get into these jobs in the first place because of the focus on long hours, endurance and the likelihood of working alongside all male crews.
  • How has gender discrimination affected the behind the scenes productions of movies ?
  • What does that have to do with community and the public / private paradaox?
    • As women are represented on screen, the ways in which they do so are often imbalanced, misjudged or stereotypical. Yet, scrutiny of these roles and the identities are masked by the fact that it’s so difficult to make it in the industry, and that these are often due to conditions enabled by precarious working conditions, a culture of secrecy, as well as high costs for failing out of public life.
    • When women become famous, they are subject to scrutiny and tore apart in the press unless they behave a certain way. But if they’re not famous, people don’t care about the harassment, abuse and difficulties that they will have to go through in order to reach that stage.
    • So that paradox becomes apparent.
    • But in terms of a community, Hollywood could be said to be incredibly insular – this is made evident by the fact that Weinstein had a noted team of people who enabled his abuse and even condoned it for years, as well as the fact that one wrong word from him – and people who liked and supported him, and his money – would be ostracised immediately, and not appear in movies anymore.
      • A community can punish members who deviate from the norm far more harshly than outside judgement, and can leverage commonality as a form of weakness.

Aristotle’s Conceptions of Community

Aristotle’s definition of community originates from his explanation of the city-state. He claims that the city-state consists in different kinds of community such as households, economic classes, or political divisions. He then continues to explain that a community is ‘a collection of parts having some functions and interests in common.’[1]

What constitutes a community?

According to Yack, ‘Wherever individuals hold something in common (koinon), whether it be a home, a contract or a goal, Aristotle sees community.’[2]

  • This seems to be true of Hollywood e.g. goal of creating the film/series etc.,
  • However it is also important to interrogate whether or not there are different motives behind these goals. Why has x director chosen x female actress over another? And why has x female actress agreed to do y? Is it because she has been coerced into doing so? Or blackmailed?
  • Further, ‘Man… uses his community for both common and individual ends.’[3] This supports my above claim by demonstrating that the goals in a community, and in this case, in the Hollywood community, vary for different people.

Justice and Hierarchy in Hollywood

‘Every form of community… has a form of justice and friendship appropriate to it.’[4]

  • Good place to begin the argument: there is a form of justice that is appropriate to Hollywood, but this form of justice doesn’t always seem to apply to or exist in Hollywood.
  • This is demonstrated by the constant injustices against females in the hierarchy of Hollywood. For instance, justices that exist in the form of implicit bias: behaviours and attitudes which alter how the quality of a woman’s work / ability of a woman is perceived. This leads to an unjustified and unjust negative evaluation of that work / woman.[5]
  • However, with regards to friendship, it’s important to consider the relationships and solidarity that arises/is reinforced as a result of the injustices. For example, whisper networks – conversations and discussions among women about the threatening/dangerous men who have been known to conduct sexual harassment/assault etc. These are a way for women to look out for each other.

All communities need to establish hierarchies, implicit or explicit, among various claims to make final decisions for the communities – age, physical prowess, talent, wealth, freedom, virtue, good birth, divine [favour], and so on.’[6]

  • This argument would suggest that Hollywood is a community, since these hierarchies do very clearly exist.
  • When these hierarchies are implemented, they can be conducive to stereotype threat. This is where females ‘are unconsciously preoccupied by fears of confirming the stereotypes about their group.’ Thus, if a female is already trapped within the framework of a hierarchy, they become a victim of stereotype threat in that it becomes even more difficult for them to break out of this structure.[7]
  • Moreover, it seems as though sometimes these hierarchies are not only implicit, but also hidden. There is a desire to conceal them yet still implement them, and this is where the problems arise. For example:

‘In a political community [these hierarchies] become the [centre] of argument. In a household, we tend to accept the hierarchy of age because of the combination of natural inequalities and affection.’[8]

  • This presses us to question which hierarchies we tend/ought to accept within Hollywood.
  • Of course, we do need hierarchies, it seems as though it is a fact of life that we cannot progress or make decisions without them. However, in order to be a community, these hierarchies must line up with the other parts of Aristotle’s definition of community. That is, they must have a ‘form of justice to them.[9] Currently, not all of them do. e.g. hierarchies of male pay vs. female pay. male representation vs. female representation are unjust hierarchies.
  • Do we need to begin by breaking down these hierarchies in order to then break down some of the tropes that we see existing both on and off screen? Would this be one of the first steps on the way to making Hollywood an equal and just community for all?

 Yack argues that ‘in the end, distinctive and ugly forms of distrust are part of the price one pays for community.[10]

  • This seems to be true, there is a lack of trust of men from females – and this is the sacrifice that women make in this industry in order to succeed and progress.
  • However, they should not need to accept this distrust and injustice in order to progress.

‘In a community of free individuals, coming together from different clans, implicit claims to rule will tend to be challenged.’[11]

  • This seems to be what is happening now. We are finally on the cusp of challenging these rulers and overturning their claims and domination.

Therefore, in coherence with Aristotle’s views, it seems as though Hollywood does fit into the definition of a community. But does it function as one? What kind of community is it? And at what cost? Is it worth being part of a community which is based on such drastic inequalities and injustices?

 

 

[1] Fred Miller, “Aristotle’s Political Theory”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2017 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.) <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2017/entries/aristotle-politics/>

[2] Bernard Yack, “Community and Conflict in Aristotle’s Political Philosophy,” The Review of Politics, 47.1 (1985), p.93.

[3] Yack, “Community,” p.95.

[4] Ibid., p.104.

[5] Jennifer Saul, “Implicit Bias, Stereotype Threat, and Women in Philosophy.” In Women in Philosophy: What Needs to Change?, by Hutchison, Katrina, and Fiona Jenkins, edited by Katrina Hutchison, and Fiona Jenkins, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp.2-3.

[6] Yack, “Community,” p.101.

[7] Saul, “Implicit Bias,” p.5.

[8] Yack, “Community,” p.101.

[9] Ibid., p.104.

[10] Ibid., p.92.

[11] Ibid., p.101.

Group presentation structure

Title

Representations of communities through paradox : a case study of Lacombe Lucien by Louis Malle.

Research question

To what extent is ‘community’ represented as paradox in the movie Lacombe Lucien by Louis Malle and how is this relevant in the contemporary context ?

Scene selected

Marie (the waitress) and Lucien in Marie’s bedroom

00:44:34 – 00:45:21

Script

Marie : Faut pas te mêler à ces gens-là. C’est pas des gens comme nous. D’abord, c’est les américains qui vont gagner la guerre. Tout le monde le dit. Tu m’entends ? Les boche ils sont foutus. C’est les américains je te dis.

Translation

Marie : Don’t mingle with that kind of people. They are not like us. And anyway, the Americans are going to win the war. Everyone says so. Are you listening ? The “boche” are fucked. It’s the Americans, I’m telling you.

Themes we have to talk about
  • Responsibility
  • memory and post memory
  • disunified critical reception
  • violence
  • grey zone
  • community through exclusion
Introduction 2’30” 375 words
  • summarise origins of Lacombe Lucien
  • summarise Lacombe Lucien
  • summarise critical reception
  • summarise Vichy shame
  1. Community through exclusion 7’30” 1.125 words

Summary of what we are going to say in this part

In Lacombe Lucien the characters’ identities are defined by opposition to others’. For instance, France Horn defines herself as a French citizen when she first meets Lucien, by opposition he defines himself as being part of the ‘German police’. Then, when Lucien takes her to a party in the gestapo headquarters, she is called ‘Jewish’ by the waitress, as opposed to the non-Jewish people in the room. Finally, the last opposition which is highlighted during the last minutes of the movie is the youthfulness of France and Lucien by opposition to the old age of the grandmother.

Summary of what Astrid is going to say according to my major (Politics)

In politics, communities are often constructed or strengthen by naming an enemy of defining themselves by opposition to someone/something else. Mouffe highlights that “Consensus is by necessity based upon acts of exclusion”, which means that in order to make sense of a group and create a sense of belonging for its members, there is a need to define what they are not and what they do not want to be. In the movie Lacombe Lucien, this tendency is clearly present in the way characters change their sense of belonging to a specific group depending upon the person they are facing.

Summary of what Kay is going to say according to her major

Community as a construction, as written into societies and thereby into societal expectation and thereby the conscious/deliberate fabricated formation of ‘norms’. How ‘normative’ communities and community behaviours are thereby justified and frameworked and how inclusion/exclusion therein justified is then portrayed through the ‘community activity’ of cinema. Discussion of political nature of the release of political films such as Lacombe Lucien, and the repercussions even now due to residual contentions surrounding Vichy Shame. Parallelity offered with recent film Get Out and acclaim/criticism. Consideration of: significance, utility – why is it useful to depict social exclusion/inclusion through film? What are its implications and limitations? Should it be done? – and implications of representations/criticisms of communities through pop. culture mediums (film). Finally, summative comments on whether or not considerable change may be enable through, or with the aid of, cinematographic representation of community and paradoxes therein encountered, particularly political corruption. Offer reference to the words of a wiser woman to conclude.

Summary of what Martyna is going to say according to her major

2. The ambiguous relationship between community and responsibility
7’30” 1.125 words

Summary of what we are going to say in this part

One of the major themes from Lacombe Lucien is the question of responsibility and by extension, whether or not the main character is responsible for his own actions. Indeed, Lucien does not seem to have enough intellectual capacities to make a conscious choice or even realise what he is doing. Louis Malle portrays the main character as a young boy without any ideological or political convictions, employed by the French Gestapo out of pure coincidence.

Summary of what Astrid is going to say according to my major (Politics)

The movie was among the first ones to outline the responsibility of French citizens in the Jewish genocide. Indeed, the myth of a unified France wholly against the Nazi regime was omnipresent after the Second World War and the Vichy regime was not even mentioned at school in the history programs. This surely explains why the movie was considered as highly controversial when it came out in 1974. The responsibility of French people is portrayed in the movie through two main elements. First, the people who are part of the French gestapo – and thus collaborating with the Nazi regime – come from all social, cultural or even ethnic backgrounds, representing the whole French nation. Second, the character of Lucien portrays the complexity of the French collaboration with the Nazi regime. Indeed, it is difficult to blame the young boy because of his lack of knowledge and understanding of what he is really getting into. Lucien is a clear metaphor of Hannah Arendt notion of the ‘banality of the evil’. A notion which is going to be at the centre of the political debate not so long after the movie was released during the trial of Maurice Papon – a French civil servant who participated to the deportation of 1600 Jews during WWII.

Summary of what Kay is going to say according to her major

Summary of what Martyna is going to say according to her major

Conclusion 2’30” 375 words
  • how is Lacombe Lucien and its depiction of communities still relevant nowadays

Group meeting n°6 – First potential presentation outline

Our goal for this week was to put all of our individual research and reading into a somewhat comprehensive outline of what we would each like to present.

Shivani looked into a philosophical definition of community and how this can be applied to Hollywood:

  • Two important notions in Aristotle’s definition of community: hierarchy and justice; every form of community is characterised and maintained by specific hierarchical relationships and the forms of justice they create
  • As applied to Hollywood, important to interrogate what these hierarchies and justice “systems are and how they shape motivations or understandings within Hollywood: i.e. Why has X female actress agreed to do so, and why she was she picked for the role?
  • “A man uses his community for common and individual ends”
  • Important to note that these hierarchies are not only implicit but hidden – and this is where the problems start to arise; the implicit character of these structures means that there is liability and recourse for those victimised by the community
  • Different forms of hierarchy: age, knowledge, socio-eco status… In the context of Hollywood, we look at male vs female in several aspects i.e. pay, representation…
  • Do we need to begin by breaking down these hierarchies – in order to break down some of the tropes we see existing? What kind of a community do we want it to be?
  • Implicit forms of rules are being challenged – overturning forms of domination
  • In coherence with Aristotle’s view, Hollywood is a community, but does it function as one and should it be functioning as one?

Julia focused on a political understanding of Hollywood as a community. She explored that question through a “on-screen” perspective which tackles the topics of conception and representation of female identities in cinema.

  • Hegel’s definition of a community (majority of political theories are based on this theory of community): every person in order to be a good person has to follow virtuous rule that are designed for a stable community
  • Essential to recognise that Hollywood is part of the wider “community” of the US state/nation: it will therefore reflect its rules, its way of life and its normative contexts i.e. Interesting parallels between Reagan era and films – actors in front of the camera and behind the camera were reflecting policies
  • From toxic masculinity to super diverse casts: post-feminism on screen means that empowered women are being displayed and represented / very positive that we’re able to see this but how did we reach that state and how do we maintain it?
  • Masculinity is still quite present – even if you are a strong character, you will fall into men’s arms and you will still be in lov

I wanted to get some wider historical context for our question and to analyse to what extent the toxic attitude towards women is a structural issue in Hollywood.

  • Started looking into Hollywood and the American dream and how they’re connected: very strong role of images and clichés in the construction of the American dream / adding to that, as Julia found, cinema often reflects the values/morals/codes of the era in which it is produced.
  • 1920s cinema = the advent of the figure of the New woman / very much connected to the era of the Roaring 20’s especially with the flapper/burlesque dancer/working woman. Female bodies are liberated and displayed but in an empowering way rather than through an objectifying male gaze.
  • 1930’s: tendance is reversed with apparition of Classical Cinema; women are “put back in their place”. The figure of the dedicated housewife takes over; majority of adventurous/empowered female characters are depicted as selfish, cruel, unreasonable or will experience some kind of downfall/repent at some point.
  • 1960’s – 70s: second wave feminist cinema arrives with a bang and renews female empowerment on screen; more female directors, more female protagonists, more female screenwriters, more women in the audience…
  • 1980s: the women-in-danger genre appears; characterised by female characters who are being stalked/attacked/murdered by male characters (reclaims elements from Film Noir which was itself characterised by important misogynist patterns) / same time, new popularity of adventure movies w/ very male identity.
  • Pattern emerges = women gain independence on screen and are then rapidly shut down/taken over by strong masculinity –> one step forward, two steps back kind of movement
  • raises question of what’s next now? If we’re experiencing era of challenging men and empowering women, does that mean we’re going to regress in the next few years? Is the pattern still going on?

Sanjana looked at the politics of gender off-screen in Hollywood. While Julia focused on the representation of women in movies, Sanjana explored the political/legal framework which is in place behind-the-scenes and sustains or prevents toxic attitudes towards women in the industry.

  • Legal cases and precedents: concretely what is the legislation in place to protect women in the cinema industry? is it different from other fields of work?
  • Celluloid ceiling = Glass ceiling specific to cinema industry / relies on data regarding the proportion of female directors, female actors, female screenwriters in Hollywood.
  • Question of public paradoxes -> women in cinema are simultaneously publicly exposed and harassed in their intimacy; what are the systems which allow for this contradiction to occur?
  • Wishes to see historical nuances, evolution
  • Equal employment opportunity commission, federal commission = examining discrimination across industries -> behind the camera perspective since three years, many cases filed
  • How has gender affected your career? Numerous interviews on that topic; recent example: Julianne Moore laughing in face of (male) interviewer asking if she’s ever experienced harassment/abusive behaviours
  • Sociology + politics + hollywood  – what does the production and creation of hollywood films reflect about the politics of gender at the time and the ideas of justice?

Exposing our ideas this clearly helped us decide of a broad outline for our presentation. We’re thinking of starting with Shivani’s theoretical definition and to complete/contrast it with my historical context which we think would provide a more practical definition of our question and main themes. Then we would go on with Julia’s part which adresses the current state of female representation in Hollywood which we felt would tie on nicely with the end of my analysis. Sanjana would then close the presentation by showing us the current political/judicial/social structures which allow for this overly-masculine culture to be maintained and possibly determine if the outcry we’ve seen recently has the potential to produce lasting results. We don’t want it to be 4 distinct presentations so we will be working together to really connect/intertwine our different parts.