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Showing posts from November, 2010

Our attitudes to rape may be geographically and historically atypical

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The Guardian reports  on the South African Medical Research Council publishing data relating to incidence of and attitudes related to rape. Pared down, the MRC claim that in response to their latest survey 37.4% of men stated that they had committed rape and 25.3% of women said that they had been a victim. This is consistent with a similar survey carried out by the same organisation in a different state in the country last year. The reporting on that survey also had some interesting responses indicating the prevalence of hegemonic male-male rape, which certainly could be seen as reflecting classical practice.Noteworthy from the Guardian piece is the following:Rachel Jewkes of the MRC said: "We see a situation where the use of violence is so widespread that not only is it seen as being legitimate but I think quite often women forget it. They just see it as a normal effect."This last point seems that it might be particularly salient, and that our (by which I mean mainstream ci…

Schama’s curriculum ≠ a unified national myth

Gove’s appointment of Schama to develop a “return to coherent, gripping history” in schools is an act of nostalgia.1 As with all nostalgia it is reductive, kitsch and twee.You can see the desire in it: a singular narrative of how our country developed. You can certainly see the use in it: ensuring the inception of useful citizens. Productive and patriotic citizens. But such a narrative is unsupportable nowadays. The last time it was of true relevance was in the days of empire, the story of how the map came to be coloured red. In the postcolonial world, such a teleology is quite frankly embarrassing. It plays at imperialism, leads us into believing the fictions that we weave about ourselves: how clever we are and how much better we are. How Great we are. That is a world that has gone. Globalisation, multiculturalism and the decline of our own imperial assets, influence and ambition has put paid to that. As has the experience of two global conflicts at the intersection of the national n…