This study of a festive dinner in a rural micro-community in the period of socialist Yugoslavia shows how a group confirms and redefines its existence through a formal menu. The menu bears the male sex signifier, yet matches the taste of all the consumers. The abundance of meat in the meals shows that “a class body” – a strong (male) body is desirable, revealing the deepest dispositions of habitus. Alcoholic drinks are taken by both men and women, yet men drink more being members of a more dominant sex, thus having a greater need in reproducing the cultural norm. The activity of preparing and serving food at the table is not subject to ritual rules and bears the female sex signifier. By introducing changes in the menu and by emancipation of the woman at the dinner table, this patriarchal micro-community shows dynamics and flexibility, thereby negating the stereotype of the rural population as passive. The differences in the economic power are least visible at the festive dinner table, which confirms the Bourdieu’s statement that food is a privileged field where it is symbolically possible to regain dignity and self-respect of the social groups positioned at the bottom of the social ladder, in real economic and social terms.
In the paper, Don DeLillo’s novel Mao II (1991) serves as an example of a relationship between cultural studies and the novel. Starting from the influence which this interdisciplinary field of research could have on the construction of the novel world, focused on the prevalence of cultural processes, the paper pinpoints and examines several aspects of selected chapters and scenes in the given novel in order to show some points of convergence and the shared interests between cultural studies and the novel, knowledge invested in them, meanings of depicted cultural phenomena and tendencies and their potential cultural value. The analysis is primarily focused on the presentation and interpretation of the masses as both physical entities and entities of identity and consciousness, as features of the discourse and the ideas produced.
The thesis presented in this paper shows that literature has not completely lost its role of cultural capital. The reason for optimism is found in intertextuality as a key feature of postmodern art. The postmodern method in popular culture involves use of high art stylistic solutions while at the same time the content of popular genres treats very complex issues. We take as an example the television series True Detective, produced by the American HBO network, to show that even in that popular form it is possible to identify features of postmodern art such as double coding, intertextual irony and quotations. Through its themes and motifs, this series has been associated with one of the most significant work of the canonical literature – Dante’s Divine Comedy. Also, one work of popular literature has been explicitly quoted in this series – a collection of stories from the 19th century The King in Yellow by Robert Chambers.
The author examines how the former binary opposition between heroes and villains neutralizes and transforms inside the television fiction. While heroic and villainous characters in the past used to be based on the contrast between the absolute Good and Evil, today, their definitions are in continual transformation. This paper also attempts to provide insights and redefine aspects of anti-heroism. Popular TV series subvert the idea of heroism, as well as the idea of morality which is present in classical genres, based on duality of the world, the struggle between Good and Evil, temptation, a pact with the devil, suffering etc which culminates in redemption, catharsis and salvation. For the antihero, there is no rescue. In the second part of this paper, the author comprehensively discusses the theories that have appeared since the second half of the 20th century which have addressed developing emotions towards media content and media characters defined as anti-heroic, primarily affective disposition theory which explains how a viewer refocuses moral positions of the protagonists, as well as moral defense mechanisms, developed for the purpose of pleasure.
The paper is an attempt at illustrating the radical changes in the way in which gender, media and literature interact. Its intention is also to examine the ways in which the media and new digital technologies contribute to representations of gender-linked communication in the novels written by Vida Ognjenović, Ljubica Arsić, Tamara Jecić and Dunja Radosavljević. The new informational technologies have managed to capture the voices lingering at the margins, helping women transcend their real-life grounded identities and explore new narrative practices. The process of identification of women’s social self as depicted in contemporary Serbian women’s writing (such as Dunja Radosavljević’s Life After America, Tamara Jecić’s Stinky Onion, Vida Ognjenović’s The Address is Correct and Ljubica Arsić’s All Inclusive) lavishly uses computer mediated communication. These books introduce different kinds of women’s narratives, ranging from intimate confessions in letters and journals to experimental practices involving different points of view and focalisation. The aim of the paper is to analyze the ways gender is redefined in the cyberrituals of womanhood.
Entering a completely new field of research, such as the research of synthetic worlds, places unique methodological challenges before anthropologists: it would seem that a new medium, which defines a new space and allows creation of new cultures, requires new methodological tools for fieldwork and data collection. However, a careful observation of the conditions of motion through synthetic worlds shows that, in this field, a researcher is faced with the same methodological problems as in any “classical” study of individual, specific culture, opening up even questions of validity of many previous RL researches. Analysis, as well as former practice, shows that observation with participation – as defined by Malinowski back in 1922 – is still a valid fundamental principle of ethnographic field research. Furthermore, with researching in virtual/synthetic worlds, it has become clear that participation is crucial for full understanding of any researched culture – a detail that is consistently neglected in many (primarily domestic) ethnographic researches.
This paper explores the processes of gentrification in post-socialist cities, focusing on the cases of Prague, Budapest and Belgrade. The aim of the paper is to contextualise gentrification as part of a broader process of spatio-social stratification taking place in the post-socialist city. The process of post-socialist transformation resulted in sharp changes in both social and spatial aspects of the post-socialist city. The heterogeneous social structure of the city, which existed as a partially attained goal of the socialist housing policy, changed towards a polarized social structure comprising of the winners and losers of the post-socialist transformation. This induced emergence of gentrified and gated communities. The paper deals with the political, economical, and, most importantly – cultural – factors that influence contemporary urban development and policies. It accentuates a global shift towards more flexible urban policies and democratization of decision making. Multiple urban actors (the local administration, developers, experts and the civil sector) became involved in the negotiation around decisions concerning urban development, which used to be the sole responsibility of the socialist state.
The aim of this paper was to analyze the policy of representation of the presidential figure of Josip Broz Tito in the most important TV series after 2000. Following a short review of the role which the audio-visual representation (in film and then television) has played in building the cult of his person in the SFRY period, the main part of the paper examines the thematic and narrative content of relevant TV series related to the discourses inherited from the socialist period which have undergone political and social transition. Critically summing up variable meanings of the presentations of Josip Broz Tito in the context of construction and reconstruction of the culture of remembrance, the main part of the paper examines different existing nationalist/patriotic and consumerist approaches.
Starting with the interrelated notions of globalization, postmodernism and neoliberalism, relying on their theoretical overlap, we suggest possible directions of inquiry that would clarify some aspects of the specific and today omnipresent “New Age” spirituality. Individualistic and eclectic, New Age spirituality arose in the context of countercultural movements of the sixties. It includes various kinds of metaphysical syncretisms combined with elements of modern science and humanistic psychology. We will try to show how this type of spirituality corresponds with the dominant cultural logic of the late capitalism (which we understand as global, postmodern, neoliberal, multicultural, multinational, etc). We proceed from the assumption that there is a number of points of correspondence and that it is possible to create a New Age genealogy that would clarify them. That would create prerequisites for the analysis of transposition of countercultural legacy in the neo-liberal narratives, and enable us to address the role of spirituality as a mediator in this process and as a specific mechanism of interpellation. In this way, we will deal with the reproduction and social functions of specific ideological forms in the dominant motifs of contemporary spirituality. Distributed across the growing market of the mind-body-spirit literature, the New Age worldview appears as a specific technology of the self and as an ideological aggregation point. In this point, the boundaries between market ideology and conception of reality as a hidden order/conscious self-organizing equilibrium disappear. The deification of being as „a market ontology“ results in theodicy and produces self-accusing subjectivity. This opens the door to engaging in political neoliberalism theology within an already wide-ranging discussion that replaces the secularization theory with the idea of history of political societies as a succession of different forms of sacralization.
Basic aim of this text is to try to give a critical analysis of the discourse of austerity measures which is manifested in intensified production of a specific type of media, public and political narratives and symbolic metaphors such as painful cuts, tightening of belts, alleged necessities in enforcement of different social diets etc, as well as similar syntagms like favourable or unfavourable business climates or devastating stormy crisis which, in the end, result in ideological and hegemonic perpetuation of the political enomy of capitalism and its pertaining power. Such discourse is approached as ideologically fabricated naturalistic discursive formations which use seemingly benign metaphors to create an illusion of alleged non-ideological crisis of recent capitalist economy and its political and social aspects. A prevailing disciplinary/case approach in analysis of the given problem motif is in the domain of rich arsenal of conceptual culture studies ie theoretical schools (structuralism, semiotics, neo-Marxism, critical discourse analysis, theory of ideology, critical social theories etc) and authors (Bahtin, Gramsci, Hall, van Dijk, Barthes, Foucault …) that were significantly used in cultural studies both substantially and methodologically. In conclusion, examples of given syntagms provide evidence that hegemony cannot simply remain in the framework of the predictable and controlled language of technocracy, and is therefore unsuccessfully searching for a way out, for an escape into the connotation, symbolic allegory, metaphor, hidden meaning.