Introduction Alexander Kurunczi, Sandra Marzinkowski, Kenneth Rösen, Vivian Sper, Cornelia Wächter
Complicity and the Representation of Sex Workers: The ‘Fallen’ Women of Holbeck in the BBC Documentary Mini-Series Vivian Sper
Marginal Marginalities Escaping the Double Bind: Double Complicity and Non-Monosexual Non-Complicity Sandra Marzinkowski
Reassessing the Riots: Navigating Capitalism, Complicity, and Resistance Alexander Kurunczi
Alienating Alienating Education: On the Possibility of Resistant Pedagogy in Neoliberal Society Alexander Kurunczi, Kenneth Rösen
Zu dieser Ausgabe
Die Sonderausgabe des onlinejournal kultur & geschlecht „Social Representations: Between Complicity and Resistance“ wird von Cornelia Wächter, Juniorprofessorin am Englischen Seminar der Ruhr-Universität Bochum, gemeinsam mit Beteiligten der Studierendenkonferenz „Complicity and the Politics of Representation“ (Bochum, Juni 2017), herausgegeben.
Wir freuen uns sehr über die Kooperation und die anregenden Untersuchungen zu Komplizenschaft aus der Perspektive von Cultural Studies, sowie Gender und Queer Studies.
Alexander Kurunczi, Sandra Marzinkowski, Kenneth Rösen, Vivian Sper, Cornelia Wächter
Complicity and the Representation of Sex Workers: The ‘Fallen’ Women of Holbeck in the BBC Documentary Mini-Series
Holbeck, an area of Leeds, has been declared Britain’s first legal red light zone in 2014. Otherwise illegal activities associated with sex work are now allowed during the night time. This step towards decriminalisation has been welcomed by sex workers and their advocates. BBC Three released a mini-series about Holbeck and its street prostitutes, called Sex, Drugs and Murder: Life in the Red Light Zone (2016-2017). This paper will investigate how media frames and their narrative constructions of subjects and spaces associated with sex work are complicit in forming the social imagination, policies and the construction of ‘ordered’ and ‘unordered’ spaces. The analysis will inspect the series’ representation of Holbeck and its street sex workers with regard to narrative conventions and a realist aesthetic style common to documentaries. It will be argued that Holbeck’s female sex workers are presented as ‘fallen’, degenerate victims. These notions of personal decay are narratively and aesthetically linked to the area where the women work. The district is portrayed as unordered and polluted as a result of the legalisation of sex work. The series is thus complicit in the reproduction of discourses which have informed stricter anti-sex work policies before. This paper further exemplifies how complicity can serve as a useful concept in the analysis of media frames and genre conventions.
Marginal Marginalities Escaping the Double Bind: Double Complicity and Non-Monosexual Non-Complicity
The present paper investigates the (non-)representation of non-monosexualities, an umbrella term covering bisexualities, pansexualities, sexual curiosities, fluidities, and other forms of non-monosexual queerness, in contemporary British and US-American culture. It will be argued that both the heteronormative mainstream and LGBT+ culture are complicit in the spatio-discursive exclusion of non-monosexualities by denying the latter access to a valid identity category. Additionally, this paper seeks to illustrate that non-mononormative sexual identities show themselves to be anti-complicit in the maintenance of their epistemic erasure. This non-complicity manifests itself culturally and linguistically. More and more young adults define themselves as neither completely heterosexual nor completely homosexual, thereby positioning themselves on a spectrum rather than within rigid categories. Linguistically, there has been a recent surge of new terms to describe one’s sexuality that defy both the gender binary and the inalterability of one’s sexual orientation, such as pansexuality and heteroflexibility/homoflexibility. By questioning the heterosexual/homosexual binary a new binary opposition is created: bisexualities, pansexualities, pluralities, fluidities, and polarities are juxtaposed with mono-categories. The analysis is rounded off with the suggestion to incorporate hitherto largely undertheorised identity categories such as non-monosexualities into intersectional analyses and the exploration of normalizing processes.
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri conceive of neoliberal biopolitics as a deterritorialised and deindividualised instrument of influence on society in general and its subjects in particular. They postulate that complicity with neoliberal economic imperatives is inevitably induced by the forms of subjectivisation. In response to these analyses, which delineate the ineluctability of commodification and consumerist logic, this paper suggests that the London Riots of 2011 offer an anti-complicit – and local – protest which disavows the parameters of contemporary capitalist epistemology. In their specific disruption the riots respond to processes of subjectivisation; they cannot be limited to a mode of “destructive violence” (Žižek), bereft of any political dimension. The riots defied the logics of racial, class-related, and gendered intelligibility so pivotal for neoliberal regimes of power and punishment, while offering both, the perspective and the voice of the abjected and socio-economically stigmatised underclass. Their divergence from established hierarchically organised forms of protest, therefore, further enabled a conceptualisation of the members of this so-called underclass as potentially revolting subjects of a newly constituted “class for itself.” Transcending leftist male-dominated discourses, the protests demonstrate the heterogeneity of marginalised subaltern groups, instead of letting a particular group represent them and speak for them
Alexander Kurunczi, Kenneth Rösen
Contemporary education has become increasingly complicit with neoliberal ideals; it is subjugated to economic criteria. Following meritocratic ideals it cements the privileges of socio-economic class structure. Yet, because of its utterly relevant position in the reproduction and naturalisation of ideology, pedagogy might offer the opportunity to prise open new horizons of possibility. In order to spark this counter-hegemonic endeavour and to re-direct pedagogical practice towards its immanently critical aim, this paper asks about the possibility of incorporating psychoanalytic approaches of Critical Theorist Erich Fromm into a contemporary analysis of (post-)modernity, as emblematically virulent in Zygmunt Bauman’s influential concept of liquid modernity. We particularly stress the importance of affective and vulnerable subjectivities and argue in favour of an education that seeks to incorporate them into its practice and theoretical reflection. Bildung, then, forms the bedrock upon which new forms of social life and solidarity can be erected and which strives for re-imagining social relations of acceptance, inclusion, and humanity. Consequently, this form of Bildung has to strive for autonomy and reflect upon its own potential enmeshment in complicit relations in order to be capable of establishing practices of freedom and transgression.