Thursday, October 22, 2009

Patriarchal and masculine nature of Max Weber's social and political thinking

Love or greatness (Routledge Revivals) Max Weber and masculine thinking
By Roslyn Bologh

This work, first published in 1990, reissues the first thorough examination of the essentially masculine nature of Max Weber's social and political thinking. Through a detailed examination of his central texts, the author demonstrates Weber's masculine reading of 'social life' and shows how his work advocates a masculine form of life that poses a challenge to contemporary women and to feminism. In particular, she addresses the patriarchal implications of Weber's belief in the need to relegate the ethic of brotherly love to a private sphere in order to make possible rational action and the achievement of greatness in the public sphere. ISBN: 9780415570749 Published October 21 2009 by Routledge.

Nov 30, 2009 Women's Lives in Medieval Europe A Sourcebook
Edited by Emilie Amt

Long considered to be a definitive and truly groundbreaking collection of sources, Women’s Lives in Medieval Europe uniquely presents the everyday lives and experiences of women in the Middle Ages. This indispensible text has now been thoroughly updated and expanded to reflect new research, and includes previously unavailable source material.

This new edition includes expanded sections on marriage and sexuality, and on peasant women and townswomen, as well as a new section on women and the law. There are brief introductions both to the period and to the individual documents, study questions to accompany each reading, a glossary of terms and a fully updated bibliography. Working within a multi-cultural framework, the book focuses not just on the Christian majority, but also present material about women in minority groups in Europe, such as Jews, Muslims, and those considered to be heretics. Incorporating both the laws, regulations and religious texts that shaped the way women lived their lives, and personal narratives by and about medieval women, the book is unique in examining women’s lives through the lens of daily activities, and in doing so as far as possible through the voices of women themselves. ISBN: 9780415466844 Published November 30 2009 by Routledge.

Encyclopedic Examination of the Seemingly Mundane, June 11, 2003
By Jeffrey Leach (Omaha, NE USA) - See all my reviews (TOP 50 REVIEWER) (REAL NAME)

Fernand Braudel is probably the most distinguished historian associated with the Annales School founded by Lucien Febvre and Marc Bloch. This Annales method attempted to revamp historical inquiry by enlarging the scope of analysis to include disparate places and through different times. Annalists were not content to research political institutions; they wanted to delve deeper into the past, to look at social and economic factors in order to reach a deeper, more comprehensive understanding of humanity. In order to be so inclusive, the Annalists looked at historical forces over great arcs of time, recognizing that many human factors change slowly and are not capable of discovery in snapshots of time. The title of this book, "The Structures of Everyday Life: Civilization and Capitalism, 15th to the 18th Century" captures well these two central tenets of the Annales School. "The Structures of Everyday Life" is the first volume in a three volume series.

When Braudel refers to everyday life, he means it in the strictest sense of the word. The topics covered in this encyclopedic volume are seemingly banal because they constitute the backgrounds of our lives: corn, wheat, rice, clothing, buildings, money, and other commonplace items that we take for granted in our day to day existence. Other sections deal with discerning the population of the world in a time when census records were crude or nonexistent, the development of heavy industry and its effect on the world, diseases, and shipping. The emphasis here is on economics and how the growth (or lack of) economies increases or decreases the growth of a society and how that society or region waxed or waned in prominence.

Much of the time, the greatness of Braudel's book is in a detail, or a turn of a phrase. For example, the author concludes that the massive pyramid structures and immense jungle cities of the Mesoamerican cultures resulted not from huge markets or an intrinsic need to construct enormous edifices. Instead, he traces their societal structure to agriculture, specifically the reliance on maize as the staple crop. In the warm climates of Central America, corn does not take much work to plant or maintain. This left the indigenous populations with plenty of time on their hands to build monuments and participate in elaborate religious rituals.

"Structures of Everyday Life" appears to be a huge book, and it is, but there are so many illustrations, maps, and charts that it does not take nearly as long to get through it as one might think. I read somewhere that Braudel traveled and worked abroad in places where he could obtain copies of primary historical documents, whether they were paintings, letters, financial statements, or other relevant documents. He gathered these by the thousands over the years and used them as the basis for his wide-ranging researches. You simply must admire a historian who notices someone picking food out of a bowl with his fingers and then compares this to another painting some years later where the figures are using utensils. Most people just do not think to look at things like this.

Braudel's book is a valuable contribution to historical studies, but I don't think I will read the other two volumes in the series. The amount of information in this volume is so overwhelming that I don't think I could assimilate the vast amount of facts in the other two books. As far as "Structures of Everyday Life" go, even reading one or two chapters is enough to get the gist of what Braudel is trying to say. Reading the whole thing is like reading an encyclopedia; it is fascinating but difficult. Permalink

Friday, October 09, 2009

Are dalit women more “liberated”?

EPW Current Issue : VOL 44 No. 40 October 03 - October 09, 2009 See Full Contents>>

Violence against Women via Cyberspace Anita Gurumurthy, Niveditha Menon
A report on a consultation on women and the use of information technologies that addressed how policy choices need to avoid narratives of fear around new technologies, narratives that can effectively constrain women’s freedom to use digital spaces. [Abstract] [Full Article]

Amchya Jalmachi Chittarkatha (The Bioscope of Our Lives): Who Is My Ally?
Shailaja Paik
This paper questions the commonly-held view by mainstream feminists and some dalit men that dalit women are somehow more “liberated” than high caste women. I argue that dalit women also face patriarchal oppression, though it has a specific quality [Abstract] [Full Article]