#géographie, #économie, #cartographie, #carte, #France, #industrie, #entreprise, #produire, #productivité, #évolution, #système_productif, #production, #recomposition, #mutation, #échelle, #secteur, #région, #usine, #travail
#géographie, #économie, #cartographie, #carte, #France, #industrie, #entreprise, #produire, #productivité, #évolution, #système_productif, #production, #recomposition, #mutation, #échelle, #secteur, #région, #usine, #travail
15-Minute Walking Distance from a Train Station: Spatial Inequality in Paris Banlieues - THE FUNAMBULIST MAGAZINE
he map presented above was made in the continuity of the four previous ones that established an inventory of Paris Banlieues’ Cités (July 2014) and a cartographic alternative to our geographical imaginary of Paris (January 2015). This map consists in a simple graphic (and probably too approximate) exercise: tracing a rough 15-minute walking distance radius around each train station (Metro/RER/Regional train) of the “Greater Paris” — a notion only in formation at the administrative level. In such a centralized city, the connection to its center is fundamental in order to exercise a potential “right to the city.” As this map and the others show, the train lines are all oriented so to reach the center of Paris, which admittedly allows a more direct path to it; yet reinforces the pre-eminence of “fortified Paris” (see past article) to the detriment of banlieue-to-banlieue exchanges. A few tram lines allowing such displacements recently opened to support the bus system; yet, these vehicles are not comparable to the trains’ speed in any way.
La revanche des #villages
Opposer la #richesse des #villes à la #pauvreté des #campagnes, c’est en fait ne pas comprendre la réalité des #inégalités_territoriales. Les villages sont aujourd’hui souvent plus attractifs qu’un grand nombre de #villes_moyennes, qui connaissent des difficultés démographiques et économiques majeures.
Le naturaliste et géographe #Alexander_von_Humboldt définissait l’objet de sa recherche comme l’étude de l’habitabilité progressive de la surface du globe. Comment les humains avaient peu à peu transformé leurs environnements pour les plier à leurs usages et former des écosystèmes au sein desquels ils étaient devenus des forces décisives. Deux siècles plus tard, une question se pose avec urgence : comment avons-nous enclenché un processus qui va rendre la Terre de moins en moins habitable ? Et comment faire pour enrayer ce mouvement ? Que s’est-il donc passé entre le constat optimiste de Humboldt et ce qui semble être le terrible échec de l’humanité ?
Comment tuer une ville
Le 29 août 2005, un #ouragan s’abattait sur La #Nouvelle-Orléans, tuant près de deux mille personnes et détruisant des dizaines de milliers d’habitations. Cette catastrophe a permis aux décideurs et aux élites économiques d’expérimenter un urbanisme de la #table_rase, visant à remplacer les pauvres par des touristes. Une méthode dont risquent bien de s’inspirer d’autres dirigeants désireux de tirer profit des tragédies climatiques…
« France périphérique », le succès d’une illusion
Le mouvement des #gilets_jaunes semble consacrer le succès d’une représentation fortement enracinée dans les champs médiatique et politique, au point d’être devenue le prêt-à-penser des discours sur la France contemporaine : celle d’un pays coupé en deux entre #métropoles dynamiques et territoires « périphériques » en difficulté. Selon la plupart des commentateurs – y compris les éditorialistes de grands quotidiens comme Le Monde ou Libération – la contestation en cours serait l’expression d’une colère, voire d’une revanche des seconds à l’égard des premières.
Eux et nous
La #France_périphérique a valu à son auteur des reproches unanimes. Son sous-titre précise le propos : il s’agit de dénoncer les élites qui ont précipité la France dans la mondialisation et n’ont pas pris garde aux conséquences négatives qu’elle a sur les classes populaires.
La France périphérique. Comment on a sacrifié les classes populaires.
Géographe, Christophe Guilluy lit ce divorce dans la dualité spatiale de la France d’aujourd’hui : aux métropoles dynamiques s’opposent les mornes espaces périurbains, les campagnes désespérées, les petites villes marquées par le chômage et la récession économique. La France périphérique : une variante géographique sur le motif poujadiste du eux et nous ?
Les CHERCHEURS d’ESO et « LA FRANCE PERIPHERIQUE »
Pierre Bergel, Jean Rivière, Éléments sur la genèse de La France périphérique. Introduction
Aliette Roux, Christophe Guilluy géographe ? Cinq rappels de méthodologie scientifique
Régis Keerle, A propos de la carte « La France périphérique qui gronde » : analyse critique et proposition d’enrichissement de la méthode cartographique standard par la mappographie
Catherine Laidin, Le rural, cet espace périphérique ?
Xavier Michel, Dépasser le contraste métropoles/périphéries pour analyser les mobilités
Après plusieurs décennies de #désertification, certaines zones #rurales sont réinvesties par des populations #urbaines. Mais parfois, le partage d’un territoire par ses #habitants ne suffit plus à construire une #identité commune. Qu’en pensez-vous ?
“A #Femifesto for Teaching and Learning Radical Geography”
The Athena Co-Learning Collective is a group of graduate students and faculty at the University of Georgia who are committed to living and learning differently in the academy and our communities. We came together in the wake of the 2016 election with various needs for community, praxis, and feminist theory in our work and lives. Our purpose is to work together in active resistance to white supremacist heteropatriarchy and toxic masculinist practices that have underpinned knowledge production and instruction at our universities. We seek to engage, share, and learn from a diversity of knowledges, experiences, hopes, and fears as a means to rehumanize our relations and learning communities. We are inspired by the many feminist collectives who have formed inside and outside the academy before us.
Recently, many decolonial, anti-racist, and feminist scholars have expanded radical geography and related fields to include a greater diversity of thinkers, writers, and activists. Yet, few of these interventions have materialized as changes to the practices of the academy, or even the discipline of geography (de Leeuw and Hunt 2018). In this, our own intervention, we describe the Athena Co-Learning Collective’s efforts to reject the traditional and enduring graduate seminar format and to structure a seminar based instead on intentionally feminist, anti-racist, and decolonial theory, pedagogy, and praxis. Our work begins in the classroom because it is a key location in the perpetuation of hegemonic ways of thinking and doing that have remained largely the same for centuries (Mohanty 2003). We collaboratively craft the content of our shared learning space, and focus on transforming the oppressive social relationships that were laid bare in new ways for many (but not all) the members of our collective in the wake of the Trump election. By centering the ideas of scholars who build theory for liberatory praxis, we can change how we know ourselves and each other, and how we act within these intimate and broader relations. Furthermore, we intentionally create a “collective” (as opposed to a classroom) as a way to name and define our project as something that is intended to be more than a learning experience, but responsive to emotional needs as individuals and in our community.
As a means of undoing white supremacist heteropatriarchy, we began by undoing the toxic masculinist practices that materially and metaphorically make the traditional graduate seminar space possible. These masculinist performances typically involve one or more “expert” faculty determining the important scholars to read, then overseeing class “discussion” (often structured as debate) where students seek to prove they have learned something (ideally more than their peers). It includes, furthermore, the privileging of totalizing narratives frequently emanating from the work of Eurocentric male scholars (e.g. Marx, Heidegger, Althusser, Foucault); the performance of competitive behavior (i.e. individualized performances that prioritize speaking out loud, debating, correcting); the enactment of microaggressions (i.e. talking over, ignoring, minimizing the contributions of women, queers, and people of color); and the deployment of reductive logics (i.e. finding one thesis or explanation in a text).
We believe that liberation from white supremacist heteropatriarchy requires that: 1) we conduct ourselves differently in the teaching and learning process with new feminist, anti-racist, and de-colonial practices and agreements; and 2) we give women, POC, queer people, Indigenous people, and other thinkers the same seriousness and focus we might afford the historical objects of our disciplinary canons. To put this into practice, we began our collective with several key principles and goals: to enact non-hierarchical power relations among all in the room (including faculty); to do away with hypercompetitive performativity; to keep realistic workloads and expectations through “slow” scholarship (Mountz et al. 2015), while also recognizing that faculty, across racial identifications, experience very different time and labour pressures that we must collectively be conscious of; to learn with one another to collectively understand the multiple meanings in the texts we read; to create a space to learn free of shaming; to imagine what radical potential can emerge through this work. This begins to constitute what we understand as the rehumanization of our collective efforts to teach and learn.
Furthermore, by engaging with feminist, Black, Indigenous, Chicana, and decolonial epistemologies and theorists, we learned that we must not deny or artificially tidy up incommensurabilities, conflicting truths, and uncomfortable subjects. In seeking hard boundaries and sharp gulfs between subjects and objects, us and them, fact and fiction, white supremacist heteropatriarchal forms of knowledge production have violently erased difference and replaced it with hierarchy (Gilmore 2002). Therefore, our politics of knowledge production include:
1) Generating Collective Solidarity: The first step is to relate to one another – and to support each other – as complex human beings embodying a number of subject positions. None of us enters the classroom as only student or only teacher. Rather, we are also parents, children, partners, laborers, survivors, and so on. Feminist, anti-racist, and queer theory is personal to us all. We cannot engage it in a disembodied or individualistic way. This means allowing time and space to discuss personal, emotional, and non-academic issues as part of the learning process. This also includes being honest about why we may not be fully present or prepared for class activities; getting to know one another outside of the classroom; acknowledging how our own experiences shape our understandings of texts and ideas; engaging in hard conversations about difference and disagreement; kindly confronting misogynistic, racist, or homophobic actions or words among one another; “staying with the trouble” (Haraway 2016) and working through the discomfort individually and collectively.
2) Engaging in Co-Learning Praxis: We make a commitment to learning with and from each other. We learn more when we cooperate, and we gain power through collectivizing the work of learning. Rather than keeping our knowledge and education to ourselves, we share – share accountability for each other’s learning and share our ideas and knowledge with each other. For example, in the context of the seminar, we collectively chose texts to read, generated shared class notes, collaboratively engaged with texts in large and small groups, and wrote final papers as a class based on our collective (not individualistic) engagement with the readings. We frequently revisited and adjusted course expectations, activities, and assignments to support these efforts.
3) Enacting Our Ideas through Real World Politics: We believe that it is essential to practice applying this knowledge within our real lives. We develop skills and personal practices for confronting sexism, racism, and unquestioned settler futurity in our workplace and in our communities. We advocate for “radical vulnerability” (Nagar 2014) in communication practice to help realize this aspirational goal. This means modeling intentional courage with each other to raise and navigate difficult topics in our shared workspace, establishing group agreements and conflict mediation norms, and accepting that conflict or difference do not render relationships disposable. While we were not always able to fully enact the principles of feminist collective praxis, we committed to the ongoing task of working through the messiness, especially during critical moments of feedback about the class process and politics. We defined success by our ability to create openings and to keep moving forward.
Given these political commitments, we present the following principles that all scholars (teachers and students) can implement in their own classrooms and relationships to transform teaching and learning practices to rehumanize ourselves, the academy, and society.
1) Find Promise and Potential in Affirming Ambiguities: Refuse to submit to the myth of the totalizing rigidity of any one concept and the masculine construction of “realness” which attempts to “stabilize meaning” (Rose 1996: 68), and, thereby, to divide. Seek to explore those multiple narratives and spaces on the outskirts – those unruly contradictions and relentlessly rich complexities of socionatural life, of working-class life, of Black life, Mestiza life, Indigenous life, queer life, of lives in solidarity. Gloria Anzaldúa (1987) taught us that we must embrace internal contradictions, incommensurabilities, conflicting truths, and the uncomfortable subjects they might introduce as sites of radical possibility and struggle. Commit to the always ongoing work of fostering spaces where “hybrid” or “mestiza” ways of being in the world can flourish free from the fetters of categorization.
2) Embrace the Ethical Task of Uncovering “Absented Presences”: Model Katherine McKittrick’s (2006) unapologetic commitment to honoring the geographies, lives, histories, ideas, and languages held by Black, female, Indigenous, Chicana, queer, and other subjugated peoples (see also Anzaldúa 1987; Lugones 2007; Sandoval 2000; Simpson 2014; Tuck and Yang 2012). While women, POC, and queers have been reluctantly admitted to the ivory tower, their historical absence has simultaneously been a presence. The practice of maintaining these absences is one of “death-dealing displacement of difference into hierarchies that organize relations” (Gilmore 2002: 16) and justifies the ongoing presence of white supremacist heteropatriarchy and toxic masculinist practices. Disrupting this means making changes to the spaces of knowledge production to accommodate multiple ways of knowing and being in the world. Claim the absented presences as spaces of legitimation of multiple narratives, non-settler futures, and difference as a life-giving, not death-dealing, way to organize social relations.
3) Mobilize toward Collective Rehumanization: See and treat each other as full and complex human beings. Work with and through the troubling and uncomfortable moments. Conducting participatory research, honing perfect politics, and even taking to the streets are not enough to rehumanize our theory and practice. It is time to confront how structurally isolating academic labor is, and to value practices of care work, mentorship, conflict mediation, vulnerability, ambiguity, “presenting the absences”, subverting hierarchical social relations, and relationship-building at the “speed of trust” (brown 2017). When you transform your classrooms into “more humanly workable” spaces (McKittrick 2006: xii), the work to transform society becomes more clear.
What we offer here is an invitation to all teachers and students, but especially to those successful, well-known, and structurally empowered scholars who profess liberatory politics, to re-evaluate your own teaching and learning practices. We, as the Athena Co-Learning Collective, are still learning how to be in the academy as a woman, as a person of color, as working class, as queer identified, as a feminist. Being radically vulnerable together is a constant struggle, sometimes uncertain and messy. It must be a collective enterprise, which prefigures, engages, and speaks across multiple communities, and insists upon the inseparability of knowledge and action to reject the hegemony of white supremacist heteropatriarchy and toxic masculinist practices. Our feminist collective is but one distillation of these commitments; it represents a form of initial rupture, alongside many other ruptures instigated by feminist comrades the world over. The hard labor yet remains: to rend the curtain fully and step out, together, into a new space.
#manifeste #femineste #géographie_radicale #enseignement #géographie #université #résistance #féminisme #vulnérabilité
La #mondialisation n’est pas qu’une affaire de #riches. Mais la place des #pauvres est souvent oubliée, minorée ou expliquée de manière simpliste. Or les pauvres portent aussi la mondialisation… tout en la subissant.
#mondialisation, #riche, #richesse, #pauvre, #pauvreté, #acteur, #espace, #inégalité, #population, #consommateur, #commerce, #commerçant, #Yiwu, #chine, #OMC, #soie, #Afrique, #urbanisation, #campagne, #continent, #géographie
La couleur des gilets jaunes, par Aurélien Delpirou - La Vie des idées
Les premières analyses du mouvement des gilets jaunes mobilisent de nombreuses prénotions sociologiques. Ce mouvement cependant ne reflète pas une France coupée en deux, mais une multiplicité d’interdépendances territoriales.
Lancement d’un Groupe de Recherche de #Géographie_Féministe au sein de l’Association Suisse de Géographie (ASG)
Ce nouveau groupe thématique vise avant tout à créer des liens entre géographes féministes de toutes les universités et instituts de recherche en Suisse, au-delà des barrières linguistes et quel que soit le niveau d’avancement de carrière des personnes intéressées. Il souhaite favoriser le partage d’expériences et de pratiques académiques, de recherche et d’enseignement en géographie féministe au travers de la mise en place de réseaux et de collaborations scientifiques reposant notamment sur des approches de genre, queer, postcoloniale et antiracistes.https://dl.dropbox.com/s/j3jjw8yljoviu00/Capture%20d%E2%80%99%C3%A9cran%202018-11-24%20%C3%A0%202https://seenthis.net/#message7383012.50.21.png?dl=0
La session « Bodies, space and difference in the global intimate », du Symposium de Géographie Humaine de la 16è édition du Swiss Geoscience Meeting, se trouve dans ce cadre être le premier évènement organisé par le Groupe de Géographie Féministe de l’ASG ! Il se déroulera à Berne, le samedi 1er décembre 2018 en après-midi. Vous trouverez le programme de la journée ici :
Pour plus d’information sur le Groupe de recherche de Géographie Féministe de l’ASG - poster joint - ou sur la session organisée pour le Symposium de Géographie Humaine du Swiss Geosciences Meeting, vous pouvez prendre contact avec :
Karine Duplan (firstname.lastname@example.org) ou Elisabeth Militz (email@example.com)
Nous comptons sur vous pour diffuser cette information dans vos réseaux et espérons vous accueillir très bientôt !
Karine & Elisabeth
En moins de deux ans d’ouverture, il était devenu, à l’image de son slogan, le symbole d’une culture « métissée et populaire » à Grenoble, une ville toujours en manque de #lieux_alternatifs. Mercredi 7 Novembre, le #bar_associatif l’Engrenage a été fermé administrativement sur arrêté municipal. Une fermeture qui intervient alors que la mairie avance sur la réhabilitation du quartier. Un projet facteur de gentrification pour une partie des habitants.
À Grenoble ce soir, tout est calme rue Jean Prévost. Pourtant depuis deux ans, au numéro 27 de la rue, le vendredi, c’est soirée Soundsystem au bar associatif l’Engrenage. On y croise des punks à chiens, des étudiant·e·s en quête de sensations, des cadres supérieurs, des artistes, des chomeur·euse·s, des gens au RSA… Tous les fêtards de Grenoble. Mais ce soir, rien. Pas un bruit.
L’Engrenage est fermé comme tous les soirs depuis le Mercredi 7 Novembre. « Fermeture administrative » a décidé la mairie. En pleine projection d’un documentaire sur la crise grecque, la police municipale débarque et met tout le monde dehors. Le local n’est pas aux normes. Résultat : le rideau est baissé, indéfiniment. Pour Riad, l’un des membres de l’équipe bénévole qui a fondé et géré le lieu, c’est une démarche « extrêmement brutale de la part de la mairie ». Il ajoute : « Une mairie comme celle de Grenoble (NDLR : écologiste) ne peut pas virer une association qui prône nos valeurs ».
Ces valeurs sont la marque de fabrique de l’Engrenage, un lieu auto-géré qui accueille des concerts, des conférences, des projections, des cours de boxes ou de Zumba. Le tout « à prix libre et avec zéro subvention » lance Riad. À ses yeux l’Engrenage « c’est un lieu de réappropriation du pouvoir. En deux ans, on a redistribué plus de 15 000 euros aux associations du quartier. »
Fermeture et réaménagement du quartier
Cette fermeture administrative coïncide avec l’avancée du projet de réhabilitation du quartier. Pourtant, la mairie affirme qu’il « n’y a aucun rapport » entre les deux faits. Principal lieu concerné : le square de la place Saint-Bruno, lieu emblématique de ce quartier populaire. Dans ce jardin, selon l’heure de la journée, les enfants jouent ou les dealers dealent. Un condensé des contradictions de ce quartier populaire tout proche du centre ville réputé lui plus « bobo ».
Avec la réhabilitation, une partie des habitants craignent de voir Saint-Bruno devenir une annexe de « boboland », comme le nomme une habitante. C’est Lucille Lheureux, adjointe au maire en charge des espaces verts et de la nature qui porte le projet de réaménagement de la place. ‘« C’est normal que le changement fasse peur », admet-elle, « mais on mène depuis 2014 de nombreuses consultations et on a constaté une attente des habitants pour un meilleur cadre de vie ». Concernant la fermeture de l’Engrenage, l’élue l’affirme « la fermeture du bar s’est faite pour des questions de sécurité uniquement ». L’équipe du bar évoque plutôt une pétition contre le bruit lancée par des habitants arrivés récemment dans le quartier. Une initiative qui aurait poussé la mairie à agir. Face aux inquiétudes pour les structures alternatives du quartier, Lucille Lheureux se veut rassurante : « On ne vise pas la suppression de ces lieux, des endroits comme l’Engrenage, ils sont symboliques pour le quartier. Ça a du sens que ce genre de lieu reste ouvert mais dans les conditions nécessaires de sécurité ».
« On rentre dans un rapport de force avec la mairie »
L’équipe de l’Engrenage doit bientôt rencontrer les représentants de la mairie de Grenoble. L’objectif : parler de l’avenir. « Dans ce local, on ne peut pas répondre aux exigences de sécurité. Elle doit donc nous proposer un autre lieu pour exister » estime Riad. « On rentre dans un rapport de force avec la marie. » Pour soutenir cette lutte, des soirées de soutien au bar sont prévues et une pétition est disponible sur la page Facebook de l’Engrenage. Elle a réuni, à ce jour, plus de 3300 signatures.
Délaissées au profit des métropoles, les villes moyennes comptent leurs plaies : #isolement, faibles ressources, exil des jeunes et des diplômés, #chômage, #pauvreté. Pour leurs élus, l’#égalité_des_territoires prévue par la Constitution n’est plus qu’un souvenir. Comme à #Montluçon (Allier), où le combat pour une desserte ferroviaire décente en conditionne beaucoup d’autres.
Un rapport très attendu sur l’avenir du ferroviaire a été rendu, ce jeudi 15 février au matin, par Jean-Cyril Spinetta au Premier ministre et à la ministre des Transports. On promettait un "big bang", une vision amenant à une profonde refondation du système ferroviaire ; le rapport confirme un certain nombre de craintes.
Tout d’abord, les lignes les moins fréquentées pourraient fermer. « Le réseau comme les dessertes s’étendent souvent au-delà du domaine de pertinence du transport ferroviaire, alors qu’ils peinent à répondre efficacement aux besoins dans les zones denses », souligne l’introduction du texte.
« Sur les 10,5 milliards d’euros de contributions publiques annuelles au système ferroviaire français, 17 % sont consacrés à la partie la moins circulée du réseau (...) L’État et les régions consacrent plus de 2 milliards par an à des lignes qui ne supportent que 2 % des trafics », observe le rapport.
Les petites lignes régionales appartiendraient ainsi à un « temps révolu ». Les premières propositions du rapport incitent ainsi à faire un état des lieux des parties les moins utilisées du réseau et à fermer les lignes dont le maintien n’est pas justifié d’un point de vue « socio-économique ».
Le remplacement par des cars est envisagé : « Pour l’exploitation des trains, le transfert sur route d’un service ferroviaire de voyageur en zone peu dense permet une économie de 70 à 80 % selon le niveau de service retenu pour les autocars, soit 700 à 800 M€ (millions d’euros), auxquels il faudrait encore ajouter les économies sur le renouvellement des matériels roulants. »
Autres propositions :
la reprise progressive de la dette de SNCF Réseau par l’État,
la création d’une filiale dédiée au fret,
la mise en concurrence progressive des réseaux régionaux, y compris le réseau francilien,
ouvrir les lignes voyageurs longue distance à la concurrence sous le principe de "l’open access" (chaque concurrent de la SNCF peut faire circuler librement les trains sur les lignes),
permettre le transfert de personnels dans le cadre de l’ouverture à la concurrence (les cheminots garderaient les mêmes conditions en changeant d’entreprise, mais seraient obligés d’accepter soit le changement d’entreprise, soit une mutation sous peine de perdre leur emploi),
autoriser la SNCF à recourir à des plans de départ volontaires,
faire de SNCF mobilités une « société nationale à capitaux publics ».
–-> article qui date de février 2018...
De la France périphérique à la France des marges : comment rendre leur juste place aux territoires urbains marginalisés ? – Mathilde Girault, Carnet des études urbaines
Le Ministre de l’Intérieur Gérard Collomb, interrogé sur les ondes de France Inter le 28 mars 2018 au sujet de la politique de la ville en France, a déclaré que « le véritable enjeu pour notre pays, ce sont ces quartiers. On a beaucoup focalisé ces derniers mois sur le rural et l’urbain. Non : le vrai problème, c’est les quartiers, où finalement un certain nombre de jeunes désespèrent ». Cette réflexion venait répondre à la démission très médiatisée du maire de Sevran (Seine-Saint-Denis) qui entendait ainsi protester face aux difficultés de sa commune de banlieue parisienne et à la faible efficacité de l’action publique en faveur des quartiers prioritaires. Mais la phrase mentionne aussi, plus fondamentalement, une remise en question de la lecture binaire du territoire national opposant les métropoles, bien intégrées à la mondialisation, et la « France périphérique ». Cette théorie, développée par l’essayiste populaire Christophe Guilluy (2010 ; 2014), a été largement reprise derrière lui par les acteurs politiques les plus variés – la France périphérique désignant tous ces territoires à distance des métropoles, composés des petites villes de province et des espaces ruraux délaissés à la fois par la croissance économique et par l’action publique.
Il est en effet temps de dénoncer avec force ce schéma de pensée dichotomique, tant il fausse la lecture des enjeux territoriaux en France et produit une sélection idéologique néfaste entre espaces en difficulté. La #France_périphérique, c’est une triple erreur intellectuelle.
Edit article signalée par @lydie il y a 7 mois.
Il est intéressant de constater que dans cette france dite périphérique,
ils semble courant de pouvoir obtenir un rendez vous chez le médecin, le samedi matin.
Je ferai l’essai samedi prochain, on doit pouvoir croiser beaucoup de journalistes dans leur salle d’attente.
Le pire des faux intellectuels nationalistes, c’est sans doute le géographe #Christophe_Guilluy, incapable de repérer que les communes où le #FN ne fait pas une seule voix sont situées sur la « diagonale du vide ».
Des singes en hiver, partie 2
Vers le XIXème siècle le colonialisme s’approprie massivement les terres du monde entier. Une étrange image accompagne cette démarche : l’idée que ces terres sont un #désert, et que seules les techniques et l’économie occidentale peuvent faire fleurir le désert. En Argentine le massacre des indiens et le vol de leur terres s’appelle officiellement la conquête du désert. Mais on retrouve cette image aux Etats-Unis, en Algérie, en Palestine…
Ce n’est pas un manque d’information, les colons savent très bien qu’il y a des gens, des animaux, des plantes, des minéraux précieux, de l’eau… dans ces déserts. Mais « désert » est une manière d’envisager le rapport à la terre.
Parallèlement, lors de ces conquêtes, et c’est aussi une nouveauté de l’humanisme du XIXème siècle (les Espagnols ou les Portugais ne s’étaient pas (...)
v. aussi cet article signalé par @fil :
Oceans as empty spaces ? Redrafting our knowledge by dropping the colonial lens
Il existe une image archaïque de la colonisation, qui la fait passer pour une réalité d’un autre temps : c’est une image chargée d’inquisition, de religion, de baroque, de lourdes administrations. Elle en éclipse, avec ses couleurs criardes, une autre plus terne, qui ne demande d’ailleurs qu’à passer inaperçue. Une image moderne, fabriquée par des savants, des humanistes, des artistes, qui s’est particulièrement développée à la fin du XIXe siècle dans les conquêtes du désert, proliférant ensuite dans toutes sortes de territoires. C’est peut-être en la regardant de plus près qu’apparaitra la continuité du colonialisme.
- Hantise (dé)coloniale
– L’#ego_conquiro comme fondement de la #subjectivité
– Conquérir le désert. De l’actualité du colonialisme
– « La colonisation n’aura été qu’une (énorme) parenthèse ». #Colonialité et #rapports_postcoloniaux
– L’impensé de la #Belgique_noire : points de vue situés sur l’oblitération de l’autre
– Le #féminisme_islamique au prisme de la décolonialité. - Dépasser l’horizon postcolonial pour envisager un #féminisme pluriversel ?
La ville faite par et pour les hommes
Des noms d’hommes sur les plaques à tous les coins de rues. Des loisirs qui profitent en priorité aux garçons. Des offres de transport insensibles aux spécificités de genre. Sans oublier la culture du harcèlement.La ville se décline surtout au masculin. Plusieurs études récentes le confirment. L’auteur décrit comment la cité renforce les inégalités entre les femmes et les hommes et en crée de nouvelles, et montre qu’il est possible de la rendre plus égalitaire. L’usage de la ville est mixte, et travailler sur le mieux vivre des femmes, n’est-ce pas travailler pour tous ?
Pour une pratique féministe de la visualisation de données
Sinon, il n’y a pas si longtemps, j’ai entendu de mes oreilles entendues un directeur affligeant - que je ne dénoncerai pas ici - dire en pleine réunion qu’il fallait maintenant "mettre ses couilles sur la table, comme on dit en amérique du Sud, et crever tous les abcès". Les obscénités sexistes, c’est encore ici et maintenant.
Le même quelques jours plus tard me disait qu’il était aussi nécessaire de "jeter la rancœur à la rivière" citant Giscard avec conscience :)
Voilà ce contre quoi il faut se battre.
#Lecteurs, vous suivez #Mondes_Sociaux. Vous estimez comme nous que les recherches en #Sciences_humaines_et_sociales doivent être mieux partagées dans le monde académique et surtout au-delà ? Dans ce cas, pourquoi ne deviendriez-vous pas #contributeurs de Mondes Sociaux, #magazine numérique multidisciplinaire et multithématique ?
#SHS, #histoire, #sociologie, #économie, #sciences_politiques, #information, #communication, #gestion, #géographie, #écrire, #contribuer, #diffuser, #savoir, #partager, #film, #documentaire, #entreprise, #recherche, #diffusion, #etc.
La France périurbaine a-t-elle été abandonnée ? | Alternatives Economiques
Surtout, les trois quarts des catégories populaires ne vivent pas dans la France périphérique, comme l’affirme Christophe Guilly, mais bien dans les villes. C’est ce qui ressort des calculs de Violaine Girard, maître de conférence à l’université de Rouen, à partir de données de l’Insee : 54 % des ouvriers et 62 % des employés vivent dans des pôles urbains, contre respectivement 28 % et 25 % dans les couronnes périurbaines (c’est-à-dire l’ensemble des communes de l’aire urbaine à l’exclusion de son pôle urbain).
Le marronnier des #milliardaires :
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.
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.
#Droit_à_la_Ville, cahier des 2ème Rencontres de géopolitique critique
Pas inclus dans le pdf, il y a un texte qui a été glissé dans la version papier —> un témoignage d’une personne sensible aux #ondes_électromagnétiques. Très beau texte du collectf #BOEM (« OEM vaut pour Ondes Electro-Magnétiques. Le B est resté à l’humeur du jour », peut-on lire...). Malheureusement, je ne le trouve pas en ligne.
Cartothèque Paris 8 —> vidéo online
Les documentaires et films achetés par les bibliothèques et cartothèques de géographie pour leurs lecteurs le sont à des tarifs très élevés, l’exemple le plus frappant étant les émissions du Dessous des cartes, 11 minutes pour 22 euros. C’est pourquoi il est intéressant d’avoir connaissance des documentaires gratuits, en ligne sur internet.
Sur ce lien, la cartothèque de Paris 8 met à disposition un petit catalogue (143 vidéos à ce jour) avec 3 modes de recherche.
Une fois la référence choisie, il suffit de cliquer sur la photo pour atteindre la page internet contenant la vidéo. Celle-ci peut alors être projetée en cours ou signalée aux étudiants.
Les #chantiers à Yaoundé et Douala, poétique des villes camerounaises en construction, par Mathilde Jourdam-Boutin