family

Investigating Radical Right Populist Discourses: Conceptual Metaphors.

Lately, I have been working on a paper titled ‘Conceptual Metaphors at Work in Radical Right Populist Discourses: Romania Is a Family and It Needs a Strict Father.’ My intent was to flesh out how certain metaphors were consistently employed by the two presidential hopefuls from the Romanian radical right populist parties in their 2004 televised final confrontation. The two were Vadim Tudor of the Greater Romania Party (PRM/Partidul Romania Mare) and George Becali of the New Generation Party (PNG-CD/Partidul Noua Generatie). The conceptual metaphor of the STRICT FATHER (i.e. the power to take care of the family members in need; the Messianic ability to read and interpret holly texts; the capacity of deciding who belongs to the family and who is excluded; the commitment to enforcing the set rules; and the ability to punish wrong doers, and bring justice to the defenseless) made direct reference to that of the NATION IS A FAMILY conceptual metaphor. The way these metaphors were used underlined a deeply heteropatriarchal structuring at work in the radical right populism in Romania. The discourses were obsessively structured around male figures, and their possible male contenders; women were almost invisible, and when their existence was acknowledged, they were presented merely as some subordinated beings. From this point of view, I think that a closer look from a feminist perspective at how such metaphors structure the reality these parties put forward and want to make people take as given is a worth doing enterprise.

I will present it within the workshop titled ‘From postcommunism and transitology to non-teleological change. Present and future research on Eastern and Central Europe.’ organized by Associate Professor Ann-Cathrine Jungar, research leader at CBEES, Södertörn University College, Stockholm.

The workshop is arranged by the CBEES (Center for Baltic and East European Studies) theme ‘Society and the Political’, and it aims at ‘at bringing together junior and senior scholars in the social sciences and humanities (political science, sociology, economics, ethnology and history) doing research on the political, economic and social developments in Eastern and Central Europe.  The workshop is divided into thematic slots, which are introduced by senior scholars with experience in the specific research area and in which the participants are invited to present their ongoing research. A special session is devoted to issues of fieldwork in the area.’ (quoted from a more extensive workshop description; for more details, please read here).

I am very curious about the feedback I will get from the other researchers on Eastern Europe, especially since mine is very specific a reserch topic and it is undertaken from a consciously chosen gender sensitive perspective. In general populists managed to present masculinity as the norm, and I wonder if this would be accepted as such or discussed critically. I think it will be a very interesting workshop.

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Thursday, June 4th, 2009 Research No Comments

Call for Conference Panelists: ESHHC 2010 Panel; New DL: 22.04.09

Call for Conference Panelists: ESHHC 2010 Panel

My colleague from Stockholm University, Helena Tinnerholm Ljungberg, and I are setting up a panel within The Sexuality Network of the European Social Science History titled (Re)-Producing the Nation, Histories of (Re)-Defining the Family? (Re)-Conceptualizations of Society’s Nuclear Structuring in a Global Age (a short description of the panel bellow). The panel will be part of the bigger European Social Science History Conference 2010 to take place in Ghent (13-16 April 2010).

Interested authors should submit their abstract (max. 300 words) accompanied by 5 keywords to both panel organizers. We have extended the call until the 22 April 2009:

O Cristian Norocel
cristian.norocel(@)helsinki.fi

Helena Tinnerholm Ljungberg
helena.tinnerholm-ljungberg(@)statsvet.su.se (remove parantheses).

(Re)-Producing the Nation, Histories of (Re)-Defining the Family? (Re)-Conceptualizations of Society’s Nuclear Structuring in a Global Age.

In an evermore interconnected world, marked by a full spectrum of interactions between traditions, languages, and ethnic identities, the family understood as the heteropatriarchal unit for societal structuring faces new challenges. In a world where individuality and flexibility are the norm, we witness the twin processes of widening up the traditional definition of the family, concomitantly with the inward-looking, conservative attempt to contain and restrict the allowed definitions of the concept.

Thus, queer and feminist activism and scholarship offer new perspectives and interpretations of the family concept, and call for inclusion of new family constellations in the mainstream debate. In the recent history, the right for same sex marriages, the right for assisted insemination for same sex couples, and the right for adoption by same sex families are just a few examples of painstakingly won rights in countries in the Western hemisphere.

These coexist, however, with appeals for moral reform and an increasing legal regulation of sexualities across the globe. Recently enforced constitutional amendments in various countries stipulate the family as exclusively heterosexual, and political actors across the political spectre (re)-invent traditionalist interpretations of the family concept. Conservative entities call for a defence of the traditional family and claim virtuous histories, refuting any non-heteronormative definitions of the family. Concomitantly, even more permissive legal regulation of sexualities restricts the (re)definitions of family to a monogamous relationship between two parts. From a historical perspective, the task of (re)producing the nation has relied strongly on a certain view on the family, but its actual (re)definition requires a (re)conceptualization of the two.

With this in mind, we welcome papers inquiring into the apparently monolithic definition of the family as the constitutive unit of society throughout history. We are particularly interested in exploring historically the (re)definitions of the family concept, in the questioning of the regulatory sexualities (be them hetero- or homosexual) and their impact on how society is perceived to be structured around the model of nuclear family. We encourage historically aware analyses of how gender, ethnicity, and obsessions of national preservation and reproduction are intersecting to create (new) mythologies of the family.

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Saturday, April 18th, 2009 Research No Comments

Call for Conference Panelists: ESHHC 2010 Panel; New DL: 22.04.09

Call for Conference Panelists: ESHHC 2010 Panel

My colleague from Stockholm University, Helena Tinnerholm Ljungberg, and I are setting up a panel within The Sexuality Network of the European Social Science History titled (Re)-Producing the Nation, Histories of (Re)-Defining the Family? (Re)-Conceptualizations of Society’s Nuclear Structuring in a Global Age (a short description of the panel bellow). The panel will be part of the bigger European Social Science History Conference 2010 to take place in Ghent (13-16 April 2010).

Interested authors should submit their abstract (max. 300 words) accompanied by 5 keywords to both panel organizers by 17 22 April 2009:

O Cristian Norocel
cristian.norocel(@)helsinki.fi

Helena Tinnerholm Ljungberg
helena.tinnerholm-ljungberg(@)statsvet.su.se (remove parantheses).

(Re)-Producing the Nation, Histories of (Re)-Defining the Family? (Re)-Conceptualizations of Society’s Nuclear Structuring in a Global Age.

In an evermore interconnected world, marked by a full spectrum of interactions between traditions, languages, and ethnic identities, the family understood as the heteropatriarchal unit for societal structuring faces new challenges. In a world where individuality and flexibility are the norm, we witness the twin processes of widening up the traditional definition of the family, concomitantly with the inward-looking, conservative attempt to contain and restrict the allowed definitions of the concept.

Thus, queer and feminist activism and scholarship offer new perspectives and interpretations of the family concept, and call for inclusion of new family constellations in the mainstream debate. In the recent history, the right for same sex marriages, the right for assisted insemination for same sex couples, and the right for adoption by same sex families are just a few examples of painstakingly won rights in countries in the Western hemisphere.

These coexist, however, with appeals for moral reform and an increasing legal regulation of sexualities across the globe. Recently enforced constitutional amendments in various countries stipulate the family as exclusively heterosexual, and political actors across the political spectre (re)-invent traditionalist interpretations of the family concept. Conservative entities call for a defence of the traditional family and claim virtuous histories, refuting any non-heteronormative definitions of the family. Concomitantly, even more permissive legal regulation of sexualities restricts the (re)definitions of family to a monogamous relationship between two parts. From a historical perspective, the task of (re)producing the nation has relied strongly on a certain view on the family, but its actual (re)definition requires a (re)conceptualization of the two.

With this in mind, we welcome papers inquiring into the apparently monolithic definition of the family as the constitutive unit of society throughout history. We are particularly interested in exploring historically the (re)definitions of the family concept, in the questioning of the regulatory sexualities (be them hetero- or homosexual) and their impact on how society is perceived to be structured around the model of nuclear family. We encourage historically aware analyses of how gender, ethnicity, and obsessions of national preservation and reproduction are intersecting to create (new) mythologies of the family.

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Tuesday, March 31st, 2009 Research No Comments