Comment from: Sarah [Visitor]
Thank you for this Lorenz! Most interesting as usual. xoxo
PS: are you on Twitter ?
Comment from: [Member]
Thanks Sarah. I know twitter is somehow “compulsory” for bloggers, but I’ve stayed away from it so far. The day has only 24 hours and I’m already struggling enough with keeping the three antropologi.info blogs updated
Great Post- Here is a paragraph from my reflection on widespread Islamophobia where I wrote about the NY Times coverage of the attacks in Oslo
today I woke up to NYTimes.com alert about an apparent Jihadi attack in the heart of a European capital. The newspaper offered the name of the Jihadi organization and gave an extensive rationalization on why the attack might have taken place:
So how did they (NY Times) respond later when it turns out (to great relief of millions of Muslims, black and brown immigrants in Europe-America bracing themselves for another round of Xenophobic backlash) that the terrorist was indeed ‘native’, white and not Muslim. Well first goes the language of terrorism and the entire blame is individualized, its all about the person who carried out the bombing or perhaps a few Nazi nutters but they have nothing to do with European culture. Unlike Jihadists who of course represent the ‘real’ of Islam. At the end of the day we are left with the sorry rationalization that such terror acts might not have been perpetrated by Jihadis but rather inspired by them, as if there is no history of terrorist violence in the West. Alas we forget: Timothy McVeigh, Columbine and countless shootings at schools, Churches, Offices. I am not even going back to WWII here.
Its really a shame that such a biased newspaper carries so much influence and weight when it comes to framing the world to Americans.
I knew when the news said the shooter was wearing a police uniform this was not the work of extremist “Muslims". And yet I had to listen to NPR drone on and on about how the shootings/bombing was possibly done by “Islamic Extremism".
Ideologies can shoot/bomb people???
As a Muslim Anthropology student, I’m constantly having to battle the latent Orientalism and Othering that’s still present in my field. I’ve had to live through the knee-jerk reactions of professors against me wearing hijab, as if a piece of cloth was oppressing me!
My issue is I converted to Islam while I was working on my Associates degree, and therefore I should “know better” about “going native” and becoming “a consumer of cultural appropriation".
To be fair, I’ve had more professors react positively than negatively. But it’s always the negative reactions that stick with us the longest, isn’t it? Otherwise these jingoistic calls to action would not have inspired Breivik to commit such atrocious crimes in the name of religious genocide/xenophobic sentiments.
Comment from: Noel from Ireland [Visitor]
Firstly, I have to disagree with you that no one in Social Sciences cares. Many years ago I was a Christian fundamentalist, but I came to my senses. Now I have an MA in Sociology and I have been talking about the seriousness and danger posed by the Christian right wing for years. Apart from that, great article.
Immediately after news of the shootings in Norway broke I began tweeting about Breivik’s Christian fundamentalism and was promptly attacked by a few tea-baggers. I also highlighted the inconsistencies in reporting especially with regard to the use of terrorist for Islam versus extremist for a Christian. IMO we only have ourselves to blame for this mess. No one will stand up to the USA (and to a lesser extent the UK) and reject their never-ending war on terror (which is a ridiculous term in and of itself).
The USA has made Islam into a bogeyman and most of the world has gone along with them. I also can’t help but say that the constant dumbing down of news (Fox and Sky anyone?) and debates around these issues has contributed massively to the general fear and ignorance.
On top of all that there is a zeitgeist of ‘if you’re not with us you’re against us’ that has silenced a lot of debate because it has become unacceptable to even question certain dogmas and doctrines of the West (and especially the USA).
Israel tramples all over Palestine and ignores numerous UN Security Council resolutions and you’re labelled anti-semitic if you say a word against them.
Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales etc. are lampooned and derided by Western media on a regular basis (I’m not saying I support them, I’m just pointing this out) - in fact when typing this I had to remind myself to add their forenames - you’ll notice that most Western media call the US president and the UK PM by their full names but almost always shorten ‘certain’ people’s names to just their surnames (a subliminal signal that they don’t deserve any respect maybe?).
There seems to be an atmosphere being created worldwide that in fact terrorizes those who want to challenge the (artificially created) status quo of them vs us (them being muslim and us being christian) - some people are actually afraid to speak out, you immediately get labelled as a fanatic or a leftie, a socialist, or even a ‘commie’. Police forces around the world have unparalled powers of search and seizure and arrest and constantly abuse peaceful protestors and deny citizens even the opportunity to protest. We are on the verge of a ‘Minority Report’ scenario where people will be arrested pre-emptively to prevent them from having their voices heard.
Having said all that I know of one sociology department here in Ireland that has effectively been taken over by right-wing gnostic-type ‘doctrines’ where critical thinking is frowned upon and discouraged so what hope is there for academia?
Comment from: [Member]
Thanks so much for the comments!
@Mubbashir, I added the Colbert Report video that sums it up very well!
@modestgrrl: Yes the latent Orientalism is really a problem in our field. I hope Mwenda Ntarangwi’s book Reversed Gaze. An African Ethnography of American Anthropology will become mandatory reading!
@Noel: You’re right. There are of course social scientists who care, and I do know some of them. But compared to the massiv interest in islam and terror, it’s nearly like zero. Especially in Norway. Today, Norwegian newspaper Klassekampen has a story about research on right wing extremism and anti-islam ideologies. “Only interested in islamism” is the title. “No, there is nobody who is researching right-wing and anti-islam groups", is the answer the journalist receives from Norways leading terror reserch center, the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI). Similar answers at the University of Oslo. “Nearly no research at all in Norway, there’s a lot more in Sweden and England", Anders Ravik Jupskås, expert in right wing parties, says.
In debates on integration etc, the focus has always been on the imagined other” (immigrants, muslims etc), hardly on Norwegian mainstream society and the elites (Marianne Gullestad and Thomas Hylland Eriksen are exceptions that prove the rule). I hope and suppose, this is going to change now.
PS: Here a story about research on Scandinavian right-wing parties - A symptom of large societal changes (by a former right-wing activist who changed sides…)