• The Everyday Consumption of “#Whiteness”: The #Gaikokujin-fū (Foreign-Like) Hair Trend in Japan

    In feminist literature, the beauty and the fashion industries have at times been criticized for being one of the means through which women are objectified.1 Likewise, Critical Race Studies have often pinpointed how the existence of a global beauty industry has the effect of propagating Eurocentric beauty ideals.2 Throughout this article I aim to explore the complicated ways in which beauty and racialized categories intersect in Japan through an analysis of the female-targeted hair trend of the gaikokujin-fū (foreigner-like) hair.

    Essentialism is what prompts us to divide the world into two, “us” versus “them,” negating all that is in between the two categories or even changes within the categories themselves. Although this binary thinking has been subject to criticism by various disciplines, such as Critical Race Studies and Postcolonial Studies, it is still among the dominant ways in which human relations are performed in Japanese society. The essentialistic opposing duality between Foreignness and Japaneseness has been constructed in post-war Japan through widespread discourses known by the name nihonjinron (lit. the theories on the Japanese).3 Even though it could be understood as a powerful reply to American racism towards the Japanese, nihonjinron only confirms stereotypes by reversing their value, from negative to positive. Moreover, these theories have had the effect of emphasizing Japanese racial and cultural purity through the alienation and exoticization of the other, most often represented by the white “Westerner”4 (obeijin, seiyōjin, hakujin).

    The ambivalent exoticism that surrounds the foreigner (gaikokujin) has made it possible for racialised categories and consumerism to intersect in the archipelago. The beauty industry is particularly susceptible to the segmentation between “self” and “other,” and the global white hegemony has a certain influence over it. However, as Miller rightly observes, dominant beauty standards in Japan are equally influenced by local values of “Japaneseness.”5 Torigoe goes even farther: in her essay, she positions whiteness as a power relation and through her analysis she demonstrates how white women are constructed as Others in Japanese media representations, thus creating “a racial ladder that places Japanese people on top.”6 The link between whiteness and widespread beauty practices has been criticized also in studies of the neighbouring country of Korea, with scholars arguing that cosmetic surgeries in the country are successful only if they enhance the body’s natural “Koreanness.”7

    My aim in this paper is to tackle the capitalistic commercialization and fetishization of whiteness in contemporary Japan. As it will become clear throughout the analysis, the Japanese beauty industry is creating a particular image of whiteness that is suitable to the consumers’ needs and desires: this toned-down, less threating way of becoming “foreigner-like” is marketed as an accessory that far from overriding one’s natural features, is instrumental in accentuating and valorizing them. Investigating the peculiar position of this beauty trend, which has been affected by the influence of the two contrasting hegemonic discourses of white supremacy and the purity/superiority of the Japanese race, might be helpful in shedding some light on the increasingly complicated ways the concept of race is being constructed in a setting that has been often considered “other” to the Eurocentric gaze.

    Whiteness and the Global Beauty Industry

    Beauty is an important practice in our daily life, and as such it has been at the center of animated discussions about its social function. Seen as one of the practices through which gender is performed, it has been put into scrutiny by feminist literature. The approach used to analyze beauty has been dualistic. On the one hand, the beauty and fashion industries have been criticized for being among the reasons of women’s subordination, depriving them financially8 and imposing on them male normative standards of beauty.9 On the other, it has been cited as one of the ways in which female consumers could express their individuality in an oppressive world.10

    The increasingly globalized beauty and fashion industries have also been subjects of criticism from the viewpoint of Critical Race Studies. It is not uncommon to hear that these industries are guilty of spreading Eurocentric tastes, thus privileging pale-skinned, thin women with light hair.11 The massive sale of skin-whitening creams in Asia and Africa as well as the creation of new beauty standards that privilege thinness over traditionally preferred plump forms are often cited to defend this argument. At the same time, there have been instances in which this denouncing of Eurocentrism itself has been charged guilty of the same evil. Practices such as plastic surgery in South Korea and Japanese preference for white skin have been often criticized as being born out of the desire to be “Western”: these analyses have been contested as simplistic and ignoring the cultural significance of local standards of beauty in shaping beauty ideals.12

    Answers to these diatribes have not been yet found.13 It is nonetheless clear that beauty practices articulate a series of complex understandings about gender and race, often oscillating between particularisms and universalisms. Throughout this article I would like to contribute to this ongoing discussion analyzing how pre-existing notions of race and gender intersect and are re-shaped in a newly emerging trend aptly called gaikokujin-fū (foreigner-like) hair.

    Us/Others in Japan: The Essentialization of the Foreign
    Japan and the tan’itsu minzoku

    It is not uncommon to hear that Japan is one of the most ethnically homogenous countries in the world. In Japanese, the locution tan’itsu minzoku (single/unique ethnic group, people, nation), was often used as a slogan when comparing the archipelago with significantly multi-ethnic countries such as the USA.14 The notion of Japan as a mono-ethnic country is being starkly criticized in recent years:15 minorities such as the zainichi Koreans and Chinese who have been living in the country since the end of the second world war, the conspicuous populations of foreign immigrants from Asia and Latin America, as well as mixed-race people, who were thought of as a social problem until these last ten years,16 have been making their voices heard. In the following paragraphs, I will trace how the idea of a racially homogeneous Japan was constructed.

    The word minzoku (ethnic group, people, nation) first appeared in the Japanese language in the Taishō Period (1912-1926), as an alternative to the term jinshū (race).17 The concept of race did not exist prior to the Meiji period (1868-1912), when it was introduced by scholars as one of the ideas from the “West” that would have helped Japan become a modernized nation.18 It could be argued that while the opening up of Japan after the sakoku period was not the first time that the Japanese government had to interact with people of different racial features,19 it was the first time that the idea of racial hierarchies were introduced to the country. Japanese scholars recognized themselves to be part of the ōshoku jinshū (“yellow race”), hierarchically subordinate to the “white race.”20 With rising nationalism and the beginning of the colonization project during the Taishō period, the need arose for a concept that could further differentiate the Japanese people from the neighboring Asian countries such as the newly annexed Taiwan and Korea:21 the newly created minzoku fit this purpose well. Scholar Kawai Yuko compared the term to the German concept of Volk, which indicates a group whose identity is defined by shared language and culture. These traits are racialized, as they are defined as being “biological,” a natural component of the member of the ethnic group who acquires them at birth.22 It was the attribution of these intrinsic qualities that allowed the members of the naichi (mainland Japan) to be assigned in a superior position to the gaichi (colonies). Interestingly, the nationalistic discourse of the pre-war and of the war period had the double intent of both establishing Japanese supremacy and legitimizing its role as a “guide” for the colonies grounding it in their racial affinities: unlike the conquerors from Europe, the Japanese were of similar breed.

    These hierarchies were ultimately dissociated from the term minzoku after the end of the Second World War, when it was appropriated by Leftist discourse. Opposing it to ta-minzoku (multiethnic nation or people)23

    that at the time implied divisions and inequalities and was perceived as a characteristic of the Japanese Empire, Left-leaning intellectuals advocated a tan’itsu minzoku nation based on equality. The Leftist discourse emphasized the need of the “Japanese minzoku” to stand up to the American occupation, but the term gradually lost its critical nuance when Japan reached economic prosperity and tan’itsu minzoku came to mean racial homogeneity as a unique characteristic of Japanese society, advocated by the Right.24


    The term minzoku might have “lost his Volk-ish qualities,”25 but homogeneity in Japan is also perceived to be of a cultural nature. Sociologists Mouer and Sugimoto26 lament that many Japanese people believe to be the carriers of an “unique” and essentialized cultural heritage, that renders them completely alien to foreigners. According to the two scholars, the distinctive qualities that have been usually (self-)ascribed to Japanese people are the following: a weak individuality, the tendency to act in groups, and the tendency to privilege harmony in social situations.27 Essentialized “Japaneseness” is a mixture of these psychological traits with the products of Japanese history and culture. The perception that Japaneseness is ever unchanging and a cultural given of each Japanese individual was further increased by the popularity of the nihonjinron discourse editorial genre, which gained mass-media prominence in the archipelago after the 1970s along with Japan’s economic growth.28 Drawing on Said’s notion of Orientalism,29 Miller states that “in the case of Japan, we have to deal […] with the spectacle of a culture vigorously determined to orientalize itself.”30 According to Roy Miller, Japan has effectively constructed Japaneseness through a process of self-othering, which he refers to as self-Orientalism. The nihonjinron publications were very much influenced by cultural anthropologist Ruth Benedict’s highly influential “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword,” published in 1946. Benedict’s study of the “Japanese people” is based on the assumption that the USA and Japan are polar opposites where the former stands for modernity and individualism whereas the latter is characterized by tradition and groupism.31

    Japanese anthropologists and psychoanalysts, such as Nakane and Doi32 further contributed to the study of Japaneseness, never once challenging the polar opposition between the “Japanese” and the “Westernerners.”

    It would seem contradictory at first for a large number of people in Japan to have this tendency to think and consume their own culture through stereotypes. However, Iwabuchi draws attention to the fact that Japan’s self-Orientalism is not just a passive acceptance of “Western” values but is in fact used to assert the nation’s cultural superiority. It remains nonetheless profoundly complicit with Euro-American Orientalism insofar that it is an essentializing and reifying process: it erases all internal differences and external similarities.33 This essentialization that Japan is capitalizing on proves fundamental for the “West,” as it is the tool through which it maintains its cultural hegemony.

    Images of the Foreigner

    Images of the foreigner are not equal, and they form an important node in the (self-)Orientalistic relations that Japan entertains with the rest of the world. An essentialized view of both the Euro-American and Asian foreigner functions in different ways as a counterweight to the “we-Japanese” (ware ware Nihonjin) rhethoric.

    In the Japanese language, gaikokujin (foreigner) refers to every person who doesn’t have the same nationality as the country she/he lives in.34 The term gaikokujin does not have racial connotations and can be used to effectively describe anyone that is not a Japanese citizen. However, the racially-charged related term gaijin35 refers especially to the “white” foreigner.36 Written very similarly to gaikokujin, the word gaijin actually has a different origin and the double meaning of “foreigner” and “outsider.” The word carries strong implications of “othering,” and refers to the construction of the Europe and America as other to the young nation-state in the Meiji period, during which knowledge was routinely imported from the “West.”37 Thus, gaijin and the representation of foreigners-as-other came to reflect the dominant hierarchies of nineteenth-century “Western” knowledge.38

    Putting every white-skinned individual in the same category functions as a strategy to create the antithetical “West” that is so important as a marker of difference in self-Orientalism: it serves to create an “Other” that makes it possible to recognize the “Self.”39 At the same time, it perpetuates the perception of whiteness as the dominant position in America and Europe. In her analysis on the use of foreigner models in Japanese advertisements, Creighton notes that representation of gaijin positions them both as a source of innovation and style and as a potential moral threat.40

    This splitting is not uncommon when dealing with representations of the Other. What generates it is the fetishistic component that is always present in the stereotype.41 Bhabha argues that this characteristic allows the Other to be understood in a contradictory way as a source of both pleasure and anxiety for the Non-Other. Stuart Hall draws on Bhabha’s theories to state that the stereotype makes it so that this binary description can be the only way in which is possible to think of the Other–they generate essentialized identities.42 In the Japanese context, the gaijin, fulfilling his role as a racially visible minority,43 is thus inscribed in the double definition of source of disruption and person to admire (akogare no taishō).

    Whiteness in the Japanese Context

    Akogare (admiration, longing, desire) is a word that young women44 in Japan often use when talking about the “white, Western” foreigner. Kelsky explains that the word indicates the longing for something that is impossible to obtain and she maintains that “it is a rather precise gloss […] of the term “desire” in Lacanian usage. […] Desire arises from lack and finds expression in the fetish. The fetish substitutes the thing that is desired but impossible to obtain.”45 Fulfilment of this unattainable desire can be realized through activities such as participation in English conversation classes and engaging in conversation with “Western” people.46 The consumption of “Western” images and representations as well as everyday practices associated with the Euro-American foreigner could also be considered a fetish that substitutes the unattainable object of desire. In this sense, the gaikokujin-fū hairstyle trend might be for the producers one such way of catering to young Japanese women’s akogare for the “Western” world.

    Gaikokujin-fū is inextricably connected to gaijin, “white” foreigners. For instance, the Hair Encyclopedia section of the website Hotpepper Beauty reports two entries with the keyword gaikokujin-fū: gaikokujin-fū karā (foreigner-like color) and gaikokujin-fū asshu (foreigner-like ash). The “color” entry states the following:

    Gaikokujin-fū karā means, as the name suggests, a dye that colors the hair in a tint similar to that of foreigners. The word “foreigner” here mostly stands for people with white skin and blond hair that are usually called “American” and “European.”47

    Similarly, the “ash” entry explains the following:

    The coloring that aims for the kind of blond hair with little red pigments that is often found among Americans is called gaikokujin-fū asshu.

    Asshu means “grey” and its characteristic is to give a slightly dull (dark?) impression. It fits well with many hairstyles ranging from short cuts to long hair, and it can be done in a way to make you look like a “western” hāfu (mixed race individual).

    It is clear from these descriptions that the term gaikokujin-fū is racially charged. What hairdresser discourse is trying to reproduce is a kind of hair color associated with America and Europe’s Caucasian population. They are selling “whiteness.”

    Writing from the viewpoint of multicultural England, Dyer writes that the study of the representation of white people is important because “as long as white people are not racially seen and named, they/we function as a human norm.”49 White discourse is ubiquitous, and it is precisely this unmarked invisibility that makes it a position of dominance. The representation of people belonging to minority groups is inevitably marked or tied to their race or skin color, but Caucasians are often “just people.” At the base of white privilege there is this characteristic of universality that is implied in whiteness.

    The marked positioning of the white foreigner in Japanese society would seem an exception to this rule. Torigoe, while acknowledging that the Japanese media “saturated [her] with images of young white females as the standard of beauty,”50 analyzes in her article how white beauty actually embodies values such as overt sexual attractiveness that would be considered deviant or over the top by standard societal norms.51 Likewise, Russell points to the scrutiny that the bodies of the white female woman receive on Japanese mass media, dominated by a male gaze. White females become subject to the sexual curiosity of the Japanese male, and being accompanied by one of them often makes him look more sophisticated and competitive in a globalized world.52 As the most easily, less controversially portrayed Other through which Japanese self-identity is created, the white individual is often subject to stereotyping and essentialization. Russell notes this happening in both advertisement and the portrayal of white local celebrities, that assume even “whiter” characteristics in order to better market their persona in the Japanese television environment.

    However, it is my opinion that we must be careful to not be exceedingly uncritical of the marginality that Caucasians are subject to in Japanese society. I argue that whiteness is in an ambiguous position in the Japanese context: it would be wrong to say that in the archipelago white people do not benefit from the privileges that have accompanied their racialization up to the present times. The othering processes that whites are subject to is more often than not related to them being brought up and representing a different culture than to their racial difference.54 The word hakujin (lit. white person) is barely used in everyday conversation, whereas it is more common to hear the term kokujin (lit. black person): white people are not reduced to their racial characteristics in the same way as black people might be.55 Whiteness might not be the completely hegemonic in the Japanese context, but the country does not exist in a vacuum, and its standards have been influenced by the globally hegemonic white euro-centric values to some extent.

    To reiterate, white people in the Japanese archipelago experience the contradictory position of being a visible minority subject to reifying “othering” processes while at the same time reaping many of the benefits and privileges that are usually associated with the color of their skin. They are socially and politically located at the margins but are a hegemonic presence in the aesthetic consciousness as an ideal to which aspire to. In the following sections, I will expand on gaikokujin’s ambiguous location by looking at the ways in which whiteness is consumed through the gaikokujin-fū hairstyle trend.

    Producing Whiteness: Selling gaikokujin-fū Hair
    Creating the “New”

    In order to understand the meanings shaping the catchphrase gaikokujin-fū, I have used a mixture of different approaches. My research began by applying the methods of Visual Analysis56 to the latest online promotional material. I have tried to semiotically analyze the pictures on the websites in relation to the copywriting. In addition, I have complemented it with fieldwork, interviewing a total of seven hairdressers and four girls aged from 20 to 2457 in the period between April and June 2017. It was while doing fieldwork that I realized how important social networking is for the establishment of contemporary trends: this is frequently acknowledged also in the press by textually referencing hashtags.58 Instagram is a very important part of Japanese girls’ everyday life, and is used both as a tool for self-expression/self-promotion as well as a compass to navigate the ever-growing ocean of lifestyle trends. Japanese internet spaces had been previously analyzed as relatively closed spaces created and accessed by predominantly Japanese people, and this had implications on how online discourses about races were carried on.59 However, being a predominantly visual medium, Instagram also functions as a site where information can, to a large extent, overcome language barriers.

    The gaikokujin-fū hashtag counts 499,103 posts on Instagram, whereas 381,615 pictures have been tagged gaikokujin-fū karā.60 Most of them are published by professional whose aim is to publicize their work, and it is not uncommon to find pricing and information for booking in the description.

    Scrolling down the results of the Instagram search, it is easy to notice the high number of back and profile shots; what the hairdressers are trying to show through these pictures is their hairdressing skills. By cutting out the face they are putting the hair itself at the center of the viewer’s attention and eliminating any possibility of identification. The aim here is to sell “whiteness” as an object. The trendsetters are capitalizing on a term (gaikokujin-fū) that has already an appealing meaning outside the field of hair coloring, and that is usually associated with the wider desire or longing (akogare) for “Western” people, culture and lifestyle.

    To the non-initiated, the term gaikokujin-fū might indicate anything that is not “Japanese like” such as curly hair, or blonde hair. However, it became clear when speaking to my hairdresser informants that they only used the term referring to the ash-like coloring. Professionals in the field are reclaiming it to define a new, emerging niche of products that only started appearing a couple of years ago.61 In doing so, Japanese hairdressers are creating a new kind of “whiteness” that goes beyond the “Western” cultural conception of white as blonde and blue-eyed, in order to make it more acceptable to Japanese societal standards. In fact, fair hair is considered extremely unnatural.62 The advantage that ash brown hair has over blonde is the relatively darker shade that allows consumers to stand out without being completely out of place.63

    However, gaikokujin-fū hair comes at a cost. All of my informants told me during the interviews that the colors usually associated with this trend involve dyes have a blue or green base, and are very difficult to recreate on most people of the East Asia whose naturally black hair has a red base. The difficulty they experienced in reproducing the Ash (asshu) and Matt colors on Japanese hair constituted a fundamental charm point for hair technicians, and precisely because of this being able to produce a neat ash coloring might be considered synonymous with keeping on pace with the last technology in hair dying. The Wella “Illumina Color”64 series came out in September 2015, while Throw,65 a Japanese-produced series of hair dyes that eliminate the reddish undertones of Japanese black hair, went on sale very recently in June 2016.66 Another Japanese maker, Milbon, released its “Addichty Color”67 series as recently as February 2017. The globally dominant but locally peripheral whiteness has been “appropriated” and domesticated by Japanese hairdressers as a propeller of the latest trends, as a vital tool in creating the “new.”

    To summarize, the technological developments in hair dyes certainly gave a big push to the popularizing of the gaikokujin-fū hairstyle trend. Moreover, in a very chicken-and-egg-like fashion, the technological advancing itself was at the same time motivated by the admiration and desire towards Euro-American countries. However, this desire for “Westerness” does not entail adopting whiteness in its essentialized “purest” form,68 as that would have negative implications in the context of Japanese society. Rather, Japanese trendsetters have operated a selection and chosen the variant of whiteness that would be different enough to allow the creation of the “latest” while minimizing its more threatening aspects.
    Branding the “New”

    In the previous section I mentioned the fact that most of pictures posted on the social network Instagram serve to amplify and diffuse existing values for consumption, and constantly refer to a set of meanings that are generated elsewhere reifying them. Throughout this section I will examine the production of these values through the branding of the aforementioned hair dye brands: Wella’s “Illumina Color,” THROW, and Milbon’s “Addichty Color.”

    Wella’s “Illumina Color” offers an interesting case study as it is produced by an American multinational brand. Comparing the Japanese website with the international one, it is clear that we have before our eyes a prime example of “glocalization.”69 While on the international webpage70 the eye-catch is a picture of a white, blue-eyed blonde woman that sports an intricate braided hairstyle with some purplish accents in the braid, the Japanese71 version features a hāfu-like72 young woman with long, flowing straight dark brown hair. The description of the product also contains the suggestive sentence “even the hard and visible hair typical of the Japanese [can become] of a pale, soft color.” The keywords here are the terms hard (katai) and soft (yawaraka). Hardness is defined as being a characteristic typical of the Japanese hair texture (nihonjin tokuyū) and it is opposed to the desired effect, softness. The sentence implies by contrasting the two terms that softness is not a characteristic of Japanese hair, and the assumption could be taken further to understand that it is a quality typical of the “foreign.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, the international webpage contains no such reference and instead vaguely praises the hair dye’s ability to provide a light color. The visuals of the latter are consistent with Dyer’s definition of whiteness.

    Unlike Wella, Milbon and beauty experience are Japanese companies, and their products ORDEVE Addichty and THROW are only geared to the Japanese marketplace. Milbon’s ORDEVE Addichty dye series is the most recent of the two. The product’s promotional webpage is almost entirely composed of pictures: the top half features 14 moving pictures, two for each of the seven colours available. The pictures slide in a way that shows the customer all the four sides of the model’s bust up, and each one of the girls is holding a sign with the name of the product. To the center left, we see a GIF image with the name of the brand in the roman and Japanese alphabet, accompanied by the catchphrase hajimete mitsukaru, atarashii watashirashisa (“I found it for the first time, a new way of being myself”), that slides into another text-filled picture that explains the concepts behind the branding.

    Occidental-like (ōbeijin) voluminous hair with a shine (tsuya) never seen before. This incredible feeling of translucence (tōmeikan) that even shows on your Instagram [pictures], will receive a lot of likes from everybody. Let’s find the charm of a freer myself with Addichty color!

    The red-diminishing dyes are here associated with both physical and ideological characteristics identified as “Western,” like the “feeling of translucence” (tōmeikan)73 and “freedom” (jiyū). The word tōmeikan is a constant of technical descriptions of gaikokujin-fū and it is generally very difficult for the hairdressers to explain what does it mean. My hairdresser informant N. quickly explained to me that having translucent hair means to have a hair color that has a low red component. Informants H. and S., also hair professionals, further explained that translucency is a characteristic typical of hair that seems to be semi-transparent when hit by light. While in the English-speaking world it would certainly be unusual to positively describe somebody’s hair as translucent, tōmeikan is a positive adjective often used as a compliment in other different contexts and it indicates clarity and brightness. In fact, the Japanese Daijisen dictionary lists two definitions for translucent, the second of which reads “clear, without impurities.”74 It is perhaps in relation to this meaning that the melanin-filled black core of the Japanese hair is considered “heavy” (omoi) and strong. Reddish and lighter brown colors are also defined in the same way. What is more, even hair colors at the other end of the spectrum can be “muddy”(nigori no aru): blonde hair is also described as such.75 It is clear that while tōmeikan is a quality of “occidental hair,” it is not a characteristic of all the shades that are usually associated with whiteness.

    In the last sentence, “freedom” is linked to charm (miryoku) and the individual. These three concepts are also very often associated with the foreigner. The freedom of the gaijin is a freedom from social constraints and from the sameness that pervades dominant representations of Japaneseness.76 Individualism is further emphasized by the pronoun “myself,” which in the original Japanese is a possessive pronoun to the word “charm” (miryoku). As a word, miryoku has an openly sexual connotation, and because of this it might be linked to the concept of “foreignness.” As Torigoe found out in her analysis of Japanese advertisements, white women are often represented as a sexualized counterpart to the more innocent Japanese woman.77 Gaikokujin-fū hair offers customers the possibility to become closer to obtaining this sexiness, that distances the self from the monotone standards of society.

    Of the three, THROW is possibly the most interesting to analyze, mostly because of the huge quantity of content they released in order to strengthen the brand image. In addition to the incredibly detailed homepage, they are constantly releasing new media contents related to gaikokujin-fū coloring on their “THROW Journal.”78

    The “story” page of the website serves as an explanation of the brand identity. It is a vertically designed page heavy on images, possibly designed to be optimally visualized in mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The first image that the viewer encounters is that of a girl whose brown hair is flowing in the wind, which results in some strands covering the features of her pale-white face. This makes it hard to understand her nationality and makes it so that all the attention is focused on the light, airy qualities of the hair. As I said before, “lightness” (karusa) is associated to translucency and is one of the characteristics at the center of the marketing of gaikokujin-fū. This picture very clearly renders those sensations in a way that is very pleasant to the eye and indeed invites consumption.

    Under the picture we find a very short narration that complements it. In bigger characters, the words dare de mo nai, watashi ni naru, that roughly translates as “I’ll become a myself, that is nobody else.” Here again we find an emphasis on individuality and difference. Scrolling down, we find the following paragraph written in a smaller font:

    I leave my body to the blowing wind.

    My hair is enveloped in light, and is filled by the pleasant air.

    What I needed was this [facial] expression.

    I got rid of what I did not need, and refreshingly freed my mind.

    Gracefully, freely.

    I should just enjoy myself more.79

    Unlike the tagline in the Addichty webpage, THROW’s brand identity is here described in ideological terms only. Once again, “freedom” is the central theme, and is associated with a sensation of freshness (kaze, “the wind”; also, the onomatopoeia sutto, here rendered as “refreshingly”). The image of release is further emphasized by the fact that “I” of this text is in close contact with nature: her skin feels the wind, she is shrouded in light and breathes pure air. But what is the subject being released from? The fourth and the last line would suggest that she is being trapped by social constraints, something akin to the Freudian super-ego, that somehow renders her unable to enjoy herself for what she really is. My literal translation of the sixth line makes it hard to understand the hedonistic implications of its meaning: what the original Japanese implies is not simply that she should “have fun,” but she should be finding pleasure in what she is and not what she is expected to be. It is perhaps strange to the eyes of the Euro-American observer accustomed to the discourse of white supremacy that the consumption of whiteness comes with an invitation to spontaneity. The whiteness being sold here is certainly perceived in a radically different way from the Eurocentric “West,” where it is associated with self-constraint.80 It is being marketed to the Japanese public in a way that reminds the portrayal of minorities in the white-dominated world,81 and that makes it particularly appealing to the archipelago’s consumers.

    Listening to the producers’ interviews, it becomes clear for them that the red pigments of the hair, as a symbol of this self-Orientalistically represented “Japaneseness” are represented as a further constraint. Producer Kimura Naoto speaks of a “liberation from redness for the women who hate it”;82 fellow member of the production team Horiuchi brings up the ever-present desire in Japanese women to “become like foreigners,”83 but neither of the two explains the connection between the deletion of red pigments from the hair and the possibility of becoming foreigner-like. It is perhaps this lack of an explicit connection in an explanation from an expert that makes it perceived as an “obvious truth.” In fact, nobody seems to refer to the fact that red undertones are common overseas as well, not to mention the existence of redheads in predominantly Caucasian regions. By hiding these facts, the red pigments are constructed as something that is peculiarly Japanese and juxtaposed to the exclusively foreign blue pigments, further contributing to the essentializing of the gaikokujin that propels self-Orientalism.

    Consuming Whiteness: Gaikokujin-fū and Everyday Life

    To understand the ways that gaikokujin-fū was being interpreted and consumed I conducted fieldwork for two months (April-June 2017) in Tokyo. Engaging in participant observation proved to be relatively easy, since superficial conversation about beauty trends is one of the most common ways that young women around my age use to socialize. Most of my peers were very quick to react every time I lightly introduced the subject. However, due to the perceived “lightness” of the topic, not many people showed to be willing to talk prolongedly about it. This prompted me to supplement the fieldwork with semi-structured interviews I conducted with four people aged 20-22.

    The general reaction to the gaikokujin-fū buzzword was one of recognition–the existence of the trend was acknowledged both by people who were actually familiar with it as well as by others who were not really interested but had seen the phrase and recognized a more general idea behind it. As the reader might expect after having gone through the previous chapter, consumers of gaikokujin-fū hair all brought up the difficulties they had in obtaining the desired results. When I first contacted K., a 23-year-old university student in Tokyo, she told me to wait till the following week for the interview since she had an appointment to dye her hair of an ash-like color. Seven days later, I was surprised to see that her hair had not changed much. Turns out that her virgin hair was a very difficult base to work with: having never bleached it, it proved to be very resistant to blue-green dyes. Dying the hair of an ash-like color would have been impossible as the naturally red pigments of the hair would have completely nullified the effect.

    Whiteness as Empowerment, Whiteness as Difference

    K. was nonetheless very accommodating and answered my questions very enthusiastically. To her, the word gaikokujin had indeed a very positive meaning, and she specifically associated it to difference. My informant used a very harsh word when talking about her fellow Japanese: to her, Japanese style equals mass-production. Her image of Japan was perfectly congruent with those described by Mouer and Sugimoto in their critique of Nihonjinron. “Ordinary” Japanese girls were, in her opinion, the cutesy and quiet girls with straight black hair and bangs covering their foreheads. Why did she feel attracted to gaikokujin-fū in the first place? K. felt that the “traditional” Japanese image was constraining, and she had both very physical and empirical reasons (she does not like face with bangs) as well as a specific ideological background. It is worth nothing here that K. has had since her childhood a very strong akogare towards “Western countries”: she has studied English since she was a small child and is now studying Italian, which led her to spend a year abroad in the University of Venice. Moreover, she attended a very liberal protestant high school in Tokyo, where students were allowed to dye their hair and had no obligation to wear the school uniform. She herself stated that the liberal environment she was brought up in had a huge influence on her view of the world and thus she did not feel the need to “conform.” K. speaks from a privileged position that allowed her to glimpse a “different” world, in which she is promised freedom. In a similar fashion to the representations I analysed in the previous chapter, “Western” foreign becomes a symbol of liberation from the societal constraints of a traditionalistic society.

    The liberating qualities of the akogare towards the essentialized “Western” foreign have been brought up in previous research as a space for young women to astray themselves from the hierarchies of everyday life. The link between freedom and diversity was indeed particularly strong in K., who feels somehow “oppressed” by certain aspects of society. However, this is far from being a universal mode of consumption: in fact, the other three girls never even mentioned anything ideological. To S., a 22-year-old girl I met while studying in Tokyo two years ago, dying her hair of an ash-like hue was an act genuinely finalized to the enhancement of her beauty: she thought the color made her face look brighter. While she too stated during the interview that foreigners are viewed as cool and fashionable, she did not allude to a desire to “become” one nor she mentioned any ideological values associated with them that she emphasized with. In her everyday practice, whiteness is consumed as a tool regardless of its hegemonic signified. Informants A. and H. talked about the trend in a similar way. H. initially dyed her hair because she liked how cute ash hair looked on her favourite model, and had little more to say other than that. Her friend A., who recently graduated from a fashion school, confessed that in her environment standing out was more the rule than a subversive act. Her ash phase was brief and followed by even more explosive hues such as blue and pink. S., A., and H., were very much less conscious of their ways of consumption, but, as French theorist Michel de Certeau argues,84 it is precisely the aimlessness of their wandering that make their practices subvert the hegemony established by the global white supremacy. Having gaikokujin-fū hair is one of the strategies that Japanese women have at their disposition to attain beauty, and while it is trendy, it is far from being superior to different styles. Whiteness becomes an accessory that enhances the natural beauty of the self, and it is not employed to override one’s original racial features but rather to enrich them through the display of individuality. Under this light, it is possible to see the consumption of foreign-like hair as an unconscious tentative of overcoming the racialized barriers that might generate uncanny feelings in the eyes of the “white” spectator.

    Subdued Subversion and the Ambiguities of Consumption

    There are however at least two factors that complicate the consumption of gaikokujin-fū hair, making it a multifaceted and complex process. Firstly, during my interview with K. we discussed the differences between this and other fashion trends that tend to refuse the stereotypical sameness of the constructed Japanese image. K. suggested the existence of an even more individualistic trend–Harajuku–style fashion. The Harajuku district of Tokyo is famous world-wide for hosting a wide range of colourful subcultures,85 which my interviewee described with terms such as dokusouteki (creative) and yancha (mischievous). Harajuku fashion is individuality taken to such a level in which it becomes even more openly contestant of society. S. described these subcultures as referencing the image of “an invented fantasy world, completely out of touch with reality.” The gaikokujin-fū hair colour is indeed a way to break out of the “factory mould,” but it is a relatively tame way of doing it as it is the consumption of a domesticized otherness. As I also pointed out during the analysis of the production processes, the aesthetics of the trend are largely shaped in relation to societal norms and purposely do not excessively break out of them. Especially in its darker tones, foreign-like ash hair is visually closer (albeit chemically harder to obtain) than platinum blonde, and it is precisely in these shades that the hue is being consumed by girls like K. and S.

    Furthermore, one could say that Gaikokujin-fū hues can at times be experimentations instrumental to the formation of one’s identity. H. and S. both explained that they tried out ash dyes as a phase, only then to move on to something that they thought better reflected their own selves. In both cases, that meant going back to their natural black color and to darker tones. H., in particular, after spending her three years of freedom in university experimenting with various hues, finally concluded in her fourth and final year that natural black hair was “what suits Japanese people best.”. After trying out the “Other” and recognizing it as such, her identification acted as what Stuart Hall might have called a suture between her as an acting subject and the discursive practices of “Japaneseness.”86 As “foreignness,” and whiteness as one of its variants, cannot be easily conceived outside the dominant self-Orientalistic discourses, even gaikokujin-fū is inevitably bound to the essentialized “Japaneseness” of the Nihonjinron. This is only worsened by the fact that foreign-like hair colors are a product in the beauty market: they need to be marketed to the consumers, and this necessitates simplification. Essentialization and the reinforcement of self-Orientalism are the high prices that one must pay for the consumption of the other, and constitute a big limitation of its subversive power.


    I have attempted to analyse the ways in which whiteness is produced and consumed in Japan, a country with significant economic and cultural power that does not have a significant Caucasian population. I have chosen as the topic a feature of the human body that is usually considered peripherical to the construction of racialized categories, and I have attempted to demonstrate how it becomes central in the production of an occidentalistic image of “whiteness” in the Japanese Archipelago.

    What this trend helps us to understand is the complexities and multiplicities of whiteness. By shedding some light on the way that hairdressers in Japan construct and sell the gaikokujin-fū trend we become aware of the fact that an aspect such as hair color that we do not usually pay much attention to in relation to this racialized category can be central when the same is consumed in a different setting. It is significant that what is being marketed here it is a slightly different paradigm from the Eurocentric or conventional idea of “white” people, that sees at its center blonde-haired, fair-skinned people with blue or green eyes: whiteness is mitigated and familiarized in order to make it more desirable to wider audiences. Its localized production and its consumption as a disposable accessory might be taken as challenging to the global dominance of Caucasian aesthetic.

    Acting in the (locally) ambiguous field of racial representations,87 hairdressers in Japan are creating their own whiteness, one that is starkly defined by what is socially acceptable and what is rejected.88 It thus becomes apparent the fact that racialized categories are nothing but discourses, constantly morphing in relation to time and space. The existence of a different whiteness created by and for the use of people who are not considered as belonging to this racialized category creates conflict with the discourse of a global, hegemonic whiteness by demonstrating its artificiality and construction.

    However, the use of the word gaikokujin inevitably generates ambivalent meanings. The trend becomes linked to the discourse of “foreignness” and the desires associated with it. Eventually, it ends up reproducing the essentialist and reifying stereotypes that are creating through the occidentalistic (and self-Orientalistic) practices of nihonjinron. The trend potentially reinforces the “us/them” barriers that are at the basis of essentialistic thought by juxtaposing the desired “foreign hair” as a polar opposite of the more conservative and traditional “Japanese hair.”

    To reiterate, gaikokujin-fū might be subversive on the global scale, but it is nonetheless an expression of the oppressive mainstream on the local level, as it restates notions of difference and exclusivity that form the basis for social exclusion of phenotypically alien foreigners. Unfortunately, the practices of marketing necessitate simplifications, and makes it is hard to achieve what I believe would be the most subversive action: the elimination of these reifying barriers. It is imperative that we start to think about ways to talk about race and culture in a non-essentializing manner while maintaining an anti-white-centric stance.

    Although the problem of essentialization cannot be resolved by looking at representation only, by looking at how the product is effectively consumed in everyday life we might find that these semi-conscious practices already offer some hints on how to overcome the barriers that reification builds around us. It is indeed true that consumers answer to the “call” of the marketers, and that they identify themselves to some extent with the images of racialized whiteness created by the beauty industry. However, what the interviews revealed is that often times the link between image and product is broken in the immediacy of consumption. By using whiteness as an accessory, some of the consumers open up a space in which they contest the seriousness and rigidity of racialized categories–a space that allows hybridity to exist.

    #corps #beauté #femmes #géographie_culturelle #japon #cheveux #identité #altérité #orientalisme #blancheur #hakujin #blancs #représentation

  • Le Kosovo, notre canton

    Environ 200 000 Albanais vivent en Suisse. La plupart d’entre eux sont originaires du Kosovo. Les liens entre la Suisse et le Kosovo sont si étroits que ce petit pays apparaît comme le 27e canton suisse.


    Lire cela dans la revue officielle du Département fédéral des affaires étrangères... c’est pour le moins surprenant !
    J’aimerais bien voir la tête de certains votant·es UDC en lisant ce titre !!!!

    #identité #altérité #géographie_culturelle #Kosovo #Suisse #migrations #asile #réfugiés #réfugiés_kosovars

  • «S’è fatta notte, e i #barbari non sono più venuti. Taluni sono giunti dai #confini, han detto che di barbari non ce ne sono più. E adesso, senza barbari, cosa sarà di noi? Era una #soluzione, quella gente»


    Ici le #poème (#poésie) complet
    K. KAVAFIS, “#Aspettando_i_barbari

    Che aspettiamo, raccolti nella piazza?
    Oggi arrivano i barbari.
    Perché mai tanta inerzia nel Senato?
    E perché i senatori siedono e non fan leggi?
    Oggi arrivano i barbari.
    Che leggi devon fare i senatori?
    Quando verranno le faranno i barbari.
    Perché l’imperatore s’è levato
    così per tempo e sta, solenne, in trono,
    alla porta maggiore, incoronato?
    Oggi arrivano i barbari.
    L’imperatore aspetta di ricevere
    il loro capo. E anzi ha già disposto
    l’offerta d’una pergamena. E là
    gli ha scritto molti titoli ed epiteti.
    Perché i nostri due consoli e i pretori
    sono usciti stamani in toga rossa?
    Perché i bracciali con tante ametiste,
    gli anelli con gli splendidi smeraldi luccicanti?
    Perché brandire le preziose mazze
    coi bei caselli tutti d’oro e argento?
    Oggi arrivano i barbari,
    e questa roba fa impressione ai barbari.
    Perché i valenti oratori non vengono
    a snocciolare i loro discorsi, come sempre?
    Oggi arrivano i barbari:
    sdegnano la retorica e le arringhe.
    Perché d’un tratto questo smarrimento
    ansioso? (I volti come si son fatti serii)
    Perché rapidamente le strade e piazze
    si svuotano, e ritornano tutti a casa perplessi?
    S’è fatta notte, e i barbari non sono più venuti.
    Taluni sono giunti dai confini,
    han detto che di barbari non ce ne sono più.
    E adesso, senza barbari, cosa sarà di noi?
    Era una soluzione, quella gente.

    #altérité #identité

    cc @albertocampiphoto

  • Les routes de l’#esclavage (1/4)
    476-1375 : au-delà du désert

    Domination, violence, profit : le système criminel de l’esclavage a marqué l’histoire du monde et de l’humanité. Au fil de ses routes, cette série documentaire retrace pour la première fois la tragédie des traites négrières. Captivant et implacable. Premier volet : de la chute de Rome en 476 à la fin du XIVe siècle.

    Après la chute de Rome en 476, les peuples (Wisigoths, Ostrogoths, Berbères, Slaves, Byzantins, Nubiens et Arabes) se disputent les ruines de l’Empire. Tous pratiquent l’asservissement – « esclave » viendrait du mot « slave ». Mais au VIIe siècle émerge un Empire arabe. Au rythme de ses conquêtes se tisse, entre l’Afrique et le Moyen-Orient, un immense réseau de traite d’esclaves, dont la demande ne cesse de croître et qui converge vers Bagdad, nouveau centre du monde. Après la révolte des Zanj – des esclaves africains –, qui s’achève dans un bain de sang, le trafic se redéploie vers l’intérieur du continent. Deux grandes cités commerciales et marchés aux esclaves s’imposent : Le Caire au nord, et Tombouctou au sud, place forte de l’Empire du Mali d’où partent les caravanes. Au fil des siècles, les populations subsahariennes deviennent la principale « matière première » de ce trafic criminel.


    #film #documentaire #Afrique #Empire_romain #histoire #pratique_généralisée #traite #Fustat #économie #Nubie #guerre #violence #butins_de_guerre #Bagdad #main-d'oeuvre #Islam #Berbères #dromadaires #Sahara #Tombouctou #Empire_du_Mali #or #altérité #Touareg #essentialisme #fatalité #Basora #Le_Caire #esclaves_domestiques #paternalisme #négation_de_l'être #domination #esclavage_doux #oasis #Atlas_catalan

    #Catherine_Coquery-Vidrovitch :

    Dans l’Empire arabo-musulman, « l’#esclave n’était pas différencié par sa couleur, ça ne comptait pas. L’esclave était différencié par sa #culture. Il n’avait pas la culture du dominant »

    #géographie_culturelle #domination

    #Ibrahima_Thioub, université Cheickh Anta Diop, Sénégal :

    « Pour mettre en esclavage un individu, un des phénomènes importants c’est de le construire comme autre, de construire une #altérité. Les sociétés humaines ont des registres assez larges. On peut utiliser la différence de #couleur_de_peau, la différence de #religion. Dans la #traite_trans-saharienne, on va combiner les deux ».


    Ibrahima Thioub :

    « L’intérêt des maîtres, c’est de faire croire à l’individu qu’il est esclave non pas parce qu’un jour on lui a opposé un rapport de force qui est réversible, mais parce que, par sa nature, il est destiné à être un esclave. C’est une #idéologie extrêmement forte. Si votre sang est considéré comme un sang servile, et que cette nature vous la transmettez à votre descendance, il devient impossible de sortir du phénomène esclavagiste »

    Selon ce qui est dit dans ce reportage, 3,5 millions d’Africains ont circulé sur les routes de l’esclavage entre le 7ème et le 14ème siècle.

  • Frontières en tous genres. Cloisonnement spatial et constructions identitaires

    Beaucoup de groupes ne préexistent pas aux frontières qui semblent les séparer. Ce sont les frontières, qui, par leurs inscriptions, leurs représentations, leurs usages, cloisonnent l’espace, différencient et souvent opposent les groupes concernés. L’ouvrage présente l’originalité de montrer ce processus de cloisonnement à l’œuvre à différentes échelles : de la distinction des genres de part et d’autre de la limite entre l’espace domestique et l’espace public à la distribution des « races » par continents, en passant bien sûr par la détermination des nations par des frontières interétatiques.


    Table des matières :

    #frontières #identité #construction_sociale #géographie_politique #ressources_pédagogiques #livre #altérité #performativité #cloisonnement #genre #espace_public #femmes #ghettos #ségrégation #quartiers_réservés #gated_communities #apartheid #bonne_frontière #mauvaise_frontière #Afrique_du_Sud #essentialisme #frontières_communautaires #paysage #identités_collectives #mondialisation #globalisation #continents #civilisations #aires_culturelles #nature #géographie_culturelle

  • Brexit and bias? The framing of immigrants in the media · Global Voices


    Recently, Facebook’s confirmed sharing of 50 million profiles with Cambridge Analytica has made big headlines, especially in connection to the US. But reports of this collusion have been in the news for some time in the UK, particularly in relation to the 2016 national referendum to leave the European Union otherwise known as “Brexit.” In journalist Carole Cadwalladr’s words last year, democracy itself was “hijacked” through Cambridge Analytica operations; her report called it the “Great British Brexit Robbery” (a report that is still the subject of legal complaints).

    To what extent technological platforms have been used to shape public response is a matter of strong concern, as with the case of Brexit. Anyone who has been paying attention to Britain’s departure from the European Union next year knows that it is a topic that provokes intense emotion. So, is there something in the topic of Brexit that disinformation efforts can take advantage of? What perspectives might a high-level, data-driven analysis of Brexit news provide?

    #royaume-uni #altérité #brexit #migration #asile

  • "Les métis, forcément suspects"

    Un très intéressant article de Fred Eboko - et qui ne parle pas que de footballeurs !

    #métis #métissage #France #Afrique #identité #altérité

    "Si les débats autour de ceux que l’on nomme – parfois abusivement – « les binationaux » occupent les médias, le cas spécifique des métis de naissance – et leur place dans nos sociétés – est un sujet peu abordé. Entre racisme, rejet assumé ou inconscient, admiration et fantasmes, les métis suscitent des sentiments contradictoires, les non-dits le disputant aux discours ambigus."

    "Parce que cette « identité métisse » doit s’accommoder du regard particulier des sociétés africaines et occidentales."

    "Mais, ici, on n’hésite pas à gommer la part blanche des métis, ce qui est parfois mal vécu. « Mon père est noir  ; j’en suis fier. Mais dire que je suis noir revient à nier l’existence de ma mère », confie Pierre, un cadre franco-gabonais. « Français de souche » par l’un de ses parents, le métis devrait être perçu comme français quel que soit son lieu de naissance."

  • Les portes de la #nation

    Comment la République considère-t-elle ses « autres » ? À partir d’une étude ethnographique des dispositifs de lutte contre les discriminations raciales et de la procédure de naturalisation, Sarah Mazouz s’interroge sur les « politiques françaises de l’altérité ».

    Livres & études

    / #discrimination, nation, #racisme, égalité

    #Livres_&_études #_égalité_

  • Migration Statistics and the Making of an International Point of View in the Interwar Period

    In the first week of October 1932, an International Conference on Migration Statistics was held in Geneva. Over the course of five days, some thirty statisticians from twenty-six countries discussed how to produce more reliable international migration statistics. This kind of methodological discussion about statistical standardization was not at all unusual in the new world of international organization. Since 1920, the standardization of statistics had become an ordinary activity in the “Palace” of the International Labour Organization and the League of Nations in the hills above Lake Geneva.

    The International Conference on Migration Statistics offers particularly interesting insights into the historical attempt by international organizations to measure the world. On the one hand, “international migration” was not yet a category in scholarship and policy making. It was an international invention intended to bring together the existing categories of “emigration” and “immigration.” Before this time, these last two categories were perceived as two fundamentally separate phenomena. Perhaps more plainly than other objects targeted by statistical analysis, “international migration” was connected to the effort to construct a new international understanding of the world after the Great War.

    On the other hand, the discussions among the statisticians at the conference also revealed barriers to and complications for the creation of an international consensus on the subject under consideration. The biggest problem was that the statistical object “international migration” touched on delicate political questions concerning the significance of territories, borders, and belonging in a world organized substantially along colonial lines whose legitimacy faced increasingly serious opposition. Focusing not only on the statistical knowledge itself but also on the context in which it was produced, the discussion of statistical problems in Geneva in 1932 manifested contemporary international political tensions and genuine ambivalence about the role of international organizations and their new international point of view.

    #migrations #statistiques #histoire #chiffres #monde #ILO #organisations_internationales #statistiques_historiques #BIT
    cc @reka @simplicissimus

    • The statistical construction of alterity: Governing national population by numbers in France and Germany (1860-1900)

      This paper is aimed to contribute to the history of statistics as science but also as governing tool (Foucault 2004). It explores the role of official statistics in the nation building process in the second part of the 19th century in France and Germany. Following the analyses of Desrosières and Foucault the study asks how science produced “imagined communities” (Anderson 1983) by using and constructing statistical categories on migration. By doing that, official statistics contributed to produce differentiations between national and foreign populations, which both aim to be governed differently. In the first step I will argue that the historical development of official statistics in the 19th century in France and Germany led to its use in both countries as a governing tool to administrate population, but in different national ways. In the second step the paper recontextualizes and deconstructs the statistical categories of foreigners and citizens, to show how official statistics took part in the historical process of nation building. Scientific journals (Journal de la Société de Statistique de Paris, Zeitschrift des königlich preussischen statistischen Bureaus and Allgemeines Statistisches Archiv) between 1860 and 1900 form the empirical basis of the study. About 160 articles on migration statistics have been qualitatively analysed in order to sketch the statistical discourse about migration as well as the discursive construction of German and French nations by statisticians.

      #Allemagne #France #catégorisation #altérité #classification

  • Touching the ‘Other’

    This becomes particularly pertinent when talking about migration and xenophobia in Morocco but in any other country facing similar issues: if we want to imagine a multi-ethnic, multicultural society, then we also need to imagine the spaces required to foster familiarity via physical contact and interaction with the various ‘Others’. The matter then expands beyond creating opportunity in terms of socioeconomic means: it must include provisions for shared spaces, and an infrastructure that facilitates moving about and around such spaces.


    #espace #géographie #rencontres #altérité #xénophobie #racisme #espace_public #radicalisation #Maroc #Casablanca

    Ce texte est tirée d’une critique du #film #Horses_of_god (en français : #Les_chevaux_de_dieu) :

    Yassine a 10 ans lorsque le Maroc émerge à peine des années de plomb. Sa mère, Yemma, dirige comme elle peut toute la famille. Un père dépressif, un frère à l’armée, un autre presque autiste et un troisième, Hamid, petit caïd du quartier et protecteur de Yachine. Quand Hamid est emprisonné, Yachine enchaîne les petits boulots. Pour les sortir de ce marasme où règnent violence, misère et drogue, Hamid, une fois libéré et devenu islamiste radical pendant son incarcération, persuade Yachine et ses copains de rejoindre leurs « frères ». L’Imam Abou Zoubeir, chef spirituel, entame alors avec eux une longue préparation physique et mentale. Un jour, il leur annonce qu’ils ont été choisis pour devenir des martyrs…


  • Una guerra contro le donne

    Chi stupra è sempre l’Altro: i neri per i bianchi, i poveri per i ricchi, gli stranieri per gli autoctoni, e viceversa. Lo stupro è ciò che distingue “il noi”, gli uomini che sposiamo, da “gli altri”, gli uomini che stuprano. Lo stupro, nonché l’accusa di stupro, segna un confine. Un confine, tuttavia, tra gli uomini: noi e loro si riferisce infatti al modo prevalente, sia nell’immaginario sia nelle pratiche e nelle norme, con cui lo stupro è visto e vissuto dagli uomini. E da alcune donne, certo, visto che partecipiamo di questa cultura. Da cui si evince che misoginia e sessismo sono sempre intrecciate a razzismo e xenofobia.

    Le politiche e le retoriche della sicurezza tendono a una specie di sterilizzazione del territorio urbano, mirano a rendere invisibili povertà e disagio, a recintare più o meno simbolicamente lo spazio dei perbene a difesa dai permale. Ma, benché esse si avvalgano spesso dell’evocazione del femminile (bisogna proteggere donne, vecchi, bambini: i cosiddetti soggetti vulnerabili), sono del tutto cieche e inutili, se non controproducenti, rispetto al contrasto delle violenze contro le donne. Le quali, come dicevo, non avvengono solo e nemmeno soprattutto negli angoli bui delle vie cittadine. Ho detto e scritto più volte che, se seguissimo fino in fondo la logica delle politiche di sicurezza, allora, per proteggere le donne, dovremmo cacciare tutti gli uomini da ogni casa, città, Paese, continente, universo mondo.

    Una città, un Paese, un continente sono “sicuri” per tutti se le donne, tutte le donne, possono attraversarli liberamente, di giorno, di notte, vestite come vogliono, ubriache o sobrie. La libertà, per le donne, è un esercizio ancora difficile e contrastato, praticamente ovunque. Ci muoviamo, più o meno consapevolmente, con prudenza, ci neghiamo, più o meno consapevolmente, molte delle libertà di cui gli uomini godono senza rendersene conto. Gesti, atteggiamenti, parole, comportamenti maschili ci ricordano tutti i giorni che dobbiamo stare attente (non serve proprio che ce lo ribadiscano sindaci, ministri, poliziotti), l’aggressione e la violenza sono sempre in agguato.


    #viol #altérité #féminicide #machisme #sexisme_ordinaire #patriarcat #racisme #xénophobie #misogynie #géographie #espace #territoire #nuit

  • Marylène Patou-Mathis : « Je me suis attachée à #Néandertal parce qu’il était victime d’un délit de sale gueule » - Libération
    Super entretien avec Marylène Patou-Mathis, préhistorienne. Je ne la connaissais pas et ne suis pas du tout familière de son sujet d’étude mais son parcours et son positionnement valent le détour. C’est toujours émouvant de voir les liens profonds entre les histoires de vie des chercheurs-ses et leurs sujets de recherche.
    #préhistoire #histoire #altérité #genre #recherche #paléolithique

  • Traumatized Borders : Subversive Narratives of B/Order and Other. 2016 - 2020


    Un nouveau programme de recherche à l’université d’Helsinki, à suivre !

    #frontières #cartoexperiment #narrations

    The research project, Traumatized Borders: Reviving subversive narratives of B/order, and Other, studies oral and written trauma narratives at various topographic and symbolic borders in Finnish, Russian, Ukrainian, Estonian and North-American context. The study focuses on the time era from the 1920s to the present day and places the writing and reception of trauma narratives in different historical and cultural contexts. Traumas of the individuals and small communities have often been silenced by the dominating cultural and political discourses. The study seeks to explicate the relationship between the border related trauma narratives and the dominating narratives in five different cultural and historical contexts. The study applies the methods of cultural studies, folklore and literature research and is conducted by researchers from the University of Eastern Finland and University of Tartu.

  • Jet d’encre | Repenser notre rapport aux migrants

    Les migrants nous font peur. Pourquoi ? Car, par leur simple présence sur notre sol, ils semblent menacer à la fois ce que nous sommes et ce que nous avons. Venus d’un Ailleurs par nature hostile, ils mettent en péril nos valeurs, nos coutumes, nos modes de vie. Dans leurs bagages, seules régression et désolation. Ils […]

  • De la nécessité et du danger du retour sur soi

    Mis en ligne le 1 février 2016 Il est des fois où le repli est nécessaire. Des fois où l’identité a été fragilisée, où l’extérieur s’est infiltré trop fort, trop intensément, fissurant le socle sur lequel elle repose. Il est des fois où protéger son espace, se l’approprier, en redéfinir les contours est salutaire, et […]

    • Il est des fois où le #repli est nécessaire. Des fois où l’#identité a été fragilisée, où l’extérieur s’est infiltré trop fort, trop intensément, fissurant le socle sur lequel elle repose. Il est des fois où protéger son espace, se l’approprier, en redéfinir les contours est salutaire, et soulageant. Ce retour sur soi permet d’analyser les mécanismes, de comprendre ce qu’il s’est passé. Il permet de passer d’un mouvement accusant l’« Autre » à l’extérieur de tous les maux à un questionnement sur soi, dans un espace délimité, sans menace. Il permet de saisir que les responsabilités sont partagées, et que toute interaction est le fait de deux parties. Qu’il n’y a jamais un fautif absolu comme il n’y a jamais d’innocent absolu. On pourrait reprendre l’analogie animale : il n’y a jamais de mouton totalement noir comme il n’y a jamais de blanche brebis.


  • Une nouvelle #revue sur les #migrations (avec des textes qui peuvent être soumis en beaucoup de langues, mais pour cette première édition c’est surtout l’allemand qui domine —> pour en savoir plus sur la revue : http://movements-journal.org/issues/01.grenzregime/01.editorial.html) :

    Les articles de ce premier numéro (sommaire ici : http://movements-journal.org/issues/01.grenzregime) :

    Editorial : Europäisches Grenzregime

    Back to the future :

    Abstract: This article discusses the current and on-going crisis of Schengen in the context of the economic and financial crisis in Europe, the uprisings in Northern Africa and the crisis of legitimacy after the 3rd of October 2013 of Lampedusa. The irreversibility and openness of the Schengen process is demonstrated with two examples, #Frontex/#Eurosur and #Dublin/#Eurodac. We end with a discussion of the current developments of the European Border Regime.


    Reflections on Migration and Governmentality

    Abstract: This paper seeks to advance the already productive encounter between governmentality-oriented research and migration studies. It makes three arguments. First, the article calls for a more variegated and recombinant understanding of the governmentality of migration. Second, it takes issue with the rather automatic way in which questions of migration and borders have become woven together, and calls for a more eventalized and contingent understanding of bordering. Finally, it reflects on the rather presentist focus of much governmentality scholarship about migration, while joining others who call for the inscription of migration research in genealogies of postcolonial government. The paper concludes that as an inessentialist and flexible framework of power analysis governmentality is well suited to making sense of the new territories of power that migration is bringing into the world.


    Fremde — eine europäische Obsession

    Kämpfe ums Recht

    Abstract: The struggle for and against migration in the european context is not least reflected in the written law and its interpretation of authoritites and courts. This also can be shown by the recent reform program of the common european asylum system. On the one hand different progressive improvements can be stated for example in the reform of the Qualification Directive, the Asylum Procedure Directive, the Reception Directive. On the other hand the abolition or a real reform of the Dublin system could not be enforced. Especially the reform of the Eurodac regulation and the amendments of the border regulation norms are, in addition to that, legalizing a strong criminalization and illegalization of migration and migrants. Besides the objective of really harmonizing the European Asylum Policy is still very far away as lots of norms are still giving a wide leeway to the member states by executing the european standards.


    Zwischen nützlichen und bedrohlichen Subjekten

    Abstract Starting from the perspective of critical migration regime studies, this article analyzes the Stockholm Programme, a five-year plan outlining the EU’s justice and home affairs policy from 2010 to 2014. Inspired by studies of governmentality and their focus on the relation of power/knowledge, the article elaborates on the ways in which mobility is problematized in order to make it an object of government. It argues that by producing different categories and ‘figures of migration’ as other, an EU citizen is created as a subject, while at the same time a need to regulate migration is presented as a necessary measure. It further contends that the authors of the Stockholm Programme aim at installing a differentiated regime of regulation, combining juridical, neoliberal and humanitarian rationales under the label of ‘migration management’. After pointing out some key technologies of government, the article finishes with the assumption that the EU document is driven by a strategy of de-indivualizing a proclaimed ‘illegal migration’, thus legitimizing restrictive migration controls.


    Remote Control ?

    Abstract: European Migration management has been extended from the control of the own territory to countries of origin and transit, thus creating new spaces of border surveillance and the disciplining of migrants and migration in Africa. This also remodeled the relations between Europe and the sending or transit states concerned, and left traces in the social, political and economic life of these countries, as well as the ways people conceive and organize mobility. Bargaining over bordering practices increasingly conditions development assistance, soft tools like visa facilitation and circular migration schemes are used both as incentives and to keep targeted groups in their place. Though with the Global Approach on Migration Europe brought forward a comprehensive framework, the practical outcomes in terms of agreements, inter-state cooperation and consequences on the societal level show remarkable differences.


    Wissen, (Selbst)Management, (Re)territorialisierung

    Abstract The aim of this article is to highlight the discursive lines that structure the current hype about migration&development. It is argued that there are three lines. Knowledge, management and reterritorialization and that the notion of development is strikingly mostly underdefined within the hype. The three discursive lines furthermore add up to one single effect — the notion of migration is further pushed into and reduced to an economic dimension.


    #frontière #régime_frontalier #gouvernance #Etienne_Balibar #Balibar #étranger #altérité #droit #système_d'asile_européen #directive_qualification #criminalisation #illégalisation #externalisation #Mali #Mauritanie
    cc @reka

  • Déni d’altérité et production sociale de psychopathes. À propos d’Andreas Lubitz et du crash de la German Wings.
    Prélude : http://seenthis.net/messages/166218
    Analyse du cas actuel dans son contexte social :

    je sais pas comment vous expliquer que les fous d’amour sont pires que les fous de dieu. on va tenter.
    le fou de dieu se place en DISCIPLE. en inférieur à sa cause. le fou d’amour se place en DETENTEUR du sacré, tu vois l’écart ?
    le fou de dieu quand il tue il a conscience de tuer ses congénères. il tue l’Autre dont il sait qu’il lui est semblable mais qu’il estime coupable inférieur ou impur ou que sais je. le fou d’amour lui quand il tue il ne tue pas l’Autre. il n’y a PAS d’Autre dans son système.
    le fou d’amour est le seul détenteur du sacré, en l’occurrence l’amour, et il tue PARCE QU’il est seul (=dépit amoureux) justement.
    il tue des objets qu’il ne considère pas comme des semblables une seule seconde, qu’il ne considère même pas comme vivants.
    là cui là il a tué 150 personnes qui pour lui n’étaient rien de plus que les sièges de l’avion mais vraiment.
    y’avait un mec hurlant de désespoir et tapant à la hache derrière lui ça n’a même pas modifié sa respiration.
    ces mecs (déso, la plupart c’est des mecs) tuent froidement, le + souvent la femme qui ne les a pas aimés selon leur trip de l’amour et/ou les enfants nés de cette union (qui ne sont rien si ils ne sont pas les fruits de l’amour selon le taré, tu suis ?)
    on n’est plus dans la souffrance ou ans la croyance à ce stade. on est au niveau #psychopathe/ #sociopathe. zéro #altérité.

    ce que jte dis là ça fait des lustres que les #femmes victimes de ces gens le disent sur tous les tons
    et pour toute réponse on n’a jamais obtenu que des analyses de merde tentant à démontrer que NOUS étions des espèces de victimes nées
    alors qu’en réalité le délire de ces mecs se construit sans personne et pourrait s’appliquer sur n’importe qui.
    d’ailleurs je vous en veux pas mais la plupart font plusieurs #victimes femmes au cours de leur vie.
    (et en suivant à chaque fois la mm construction délirante et le mm mode opératoire) (psychopathie point final)

    maintenant demandons nous d’où vient le #délire amoureux de ces mecs, silteplé.
    d’où vient ce trip de l’amour qui tolère tout se sacrifie en tout point, est total, toujours fidèle et ne faillit pas SINON ce n’en est pas.
    (et dans la tête de ces mecs si ce n’en est pas alors ça ne mérite pas de vivre ce n’est rien de plus qu’un animal au mieux )
    (on est dans un cas qui se rapproche du #pervers narcissique, là)
    (mais avec passage à l’acte public au lieu de privé comme on a d’habitude le plus souvent)
    (c’est pas à prendre en compte amha. c’est juste une question de moyens, ça. nimporte quel PN pourrait faire pareil s’il était pilote)

    bref vraiment les psys si vous voulez servir à quelque chose considérez la dimension de privation d’altérité parce que c’est flagrant, là.
    (et on se tue à vous le hurler depuis des décennies alors il serait temps) (je vous hais toujours, notez)
    dimension de privation d’altérité qui soutient non seulement ce cas précis de meurtre de masse mais aussi tellement de souffrances sociales.

    (routine : devriez écouter les concernées. qui mieux que celles qui ont vécu avec ces tarés peuvent vous décrire leur fonctionnement, hein)
    (au lieu de nous considérer comme de braves victimes inertes limite des paillassons humains, vous pourriez ptète imaginer que rien que pour essayer de pas crever on a mené l’étude de terrain qui manque aux psys et jte jure BIEN SERIEUSEMENT)
    (il manque peut être à la plupart d’entre nous les vocabulaires et concepts mais jte jure on a pigé et bien pigé)
    (enfin celles qui sont pas mortes...)

    franchement on a un audio qui prouve que le gars est au niveau d’entendre hurler taper etc SANS MODIFIER MEME SON SOUFFLE il vous faut quoi ?
    c’est pas un dépressif, ça. c’est un putain de psychopathe complètement vrillé au dernier stade, merde.
    ya un moment va falloir reconnaître qu’on arrive à les fabriquer. pis bien, bordel. bien au point bien capables.

    Sources :
    #narcissisme #barbarie #cynisme #individualisme #néolibéralisme

  • Sois mes yeux - Quartz

    L’application Be My Eyes (sois mes yeux) demande aux gens de faire exactement ce qu’elle indique : être les yeux de personnes aveugles. Les volontaires et bénévoles qui s’y inscriront seront les yeux de malvoyants qui recevront de ces derniers photos, vidéos ou messages pour leur transcrire ce qu’ils ne voient pas. Via Quartz. 


  • Une société de données, ce n’est pas comme une société de statistiques - Information - France Culture

    « Et la hiérarchie entre les critères, me direz-vous, il y a des critères qui sont plus déterminants que les autres : être un homme ou une femme, c’est plus déterminant que préférer le bleu au rouge ! ». A cela, Manovich répond : « mais la hiérarchie est un concept de l’ancien monde ». D’abord, les bases de données rompent la hiérarchie en mettant tous les chiffres au même niveau. Mais, au-delà, le Web abolit les hiérarchies. En nous permettant de passer d’un contenu à l’autre, d’une publicité à Proust, de Proust à un roman populaire, d’un roman populaire à Barack Obama, le Web nous prépare, en quelque sorte à accueillir ces nouvelles représentations de notre société, où les hiérarchies anciennes n’ont plus cours. Tout converge donc à l’avènement d’une société qui ne soit plus la société disciplinaire des statistiques, mais une société des données, qui reste à caractériser.


  • La construction de l’#Autre

    Dans cet entretien initialement paru dans Migrations et sociétés, #Christine_Delphy revient sur la question des « autres », ou plutôt, pour reprendre le sous-titre d’un de ses livres, sur « qui sont les autres » [1]. Car ce que sont les autres n’est pas une réalité objective. Les « uns » construisent les « autres », et les construisent par le pouvoir de les nommer, de les catégoriser, de disserter sans fin sur elles et eux, qu’il s’agisse des femmes, des homosexuel-les ou encore des personnes racisées. Cette question, qui constitue un fil rouge de la pensée et des engagements de Christine Delphy, sera longuement traitée dans un documentaire réalisé par Florence Tissot et Sylvie Tissot, qui sortira fin 2014 [2]. Le documentaire de 52 minutes sera accompagné d’un abécédaire abordant différentes thématiques, d’Amitié à Sexualité, de Beauvoir à Wittig.