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Lecture 6

Lecture 6 July 20.docx

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SOC367H1S: EMPIRE AND TRANSNATIONAL MOTHERWORK 20 JULY 2011 WEEK SIX Empire and Transnational Motherwork England & Stiell (2008) example of essentialisation (Last week) Who employs domestic workers – middle upper class (Frankenberg link) McClintock (1995) McCLINTOCK (1995: 209-10) ―To begin a social history of soap … is to refuse … to accept the erasure of women‘s domestic value under imperial capitalism.‖ - Imperial: colonizing missions - Capitalism: rise of class society (Britain) - Erasure of women‘s domestic value (evident in Collins, Frankenberg, Anderson* ―As domestic commodities were mass-marketed through their appeal to imperial jingoism, commodity jingoism itself helped reinvent and maintain British unity in the face of deepening imperial competition [with Germany and the US] and colonial resistance. The cult of domesticity became indispensible to the consolidation of British national identity, and at the centre of the domestic cult stood a simple bar of soap.‖ - The idea of the domesticated women and domestic space is crucial to strengthening Britain and unifying the national identity Very important Quotes: ―Victorian advertising reveals a paradox, however, for as the cultural form that was entrusted with upholding and marketing abroad those founding middle-class distinctions—between private and public, paid work and unpaid work—advertising also from the outset began to confound those distinctions. Advertising took the intimate signs of domesticity (children bathing, … women laced in corsets, maids delivering nightcaps) into the public realm, plastering scenes of domesticity on walls, buses, shop-fronts and billboards … Advertising took scenes of empire into every corner of the home, stamping images of colonial conquest on soap boxes, matchboxes, biscuit tins, whiskey bottles, tea tins and chocolate bars. - Advertising ripped these distinctions apart - All these private things, socially reproductive in nature, are in the public sphere, covering grimy metropolis … Victorian advertising took explicit shape around the reinvention of racial difference. Commodity kitsch made possible, as never before, the mass marketing of empire as an organized system of images and attitudes. Soap flourished not only because it created and filled a spectacular gap in the domestic market but also because, as a cheap and portable domestic commodity, it could persuasively mediate the Victorian poetics of racial hygiene and imperial progress.‖ (McClintock, 1995: 209) - Ex: organized attitudes: Jerry Springer, embedded in our society, structure our understandings of race class and gender - Racial hygiene (Stasiulis and racial power) “… Imperial kitsch as consumer spectacle … could package, market and distribute evolutionary racism on an hitherto unimagined scale” (McClintock, 1995) - Evolutionary racism- the monkey- convey understandings of human progress- see science as more rational - Use monkey image- natural scientific order to racism, not just by God, it makes it more impactful, socially constructed too of course- nature and culture • Racialism (Stasiulis, 1999) – Taxonomies or racial classification of ―races, breeds and stocks‖ of humans based on phenotypical differences • Precise measurements of skulls, lips, eyes, brains, genitalia, body ratios, etc., to measure imprecisely defined human qualities • Intelligence, moral virtue, rational capacity, culture, civilization – Scientifically ―respectable‖ ideas, populist in tone, instills ―normative gaze‖ • ―…valorized white European male physical features, ethical values, and aesthetics as the yardstick against which all humankind would be measured.‖ (Stasiulis, 1999: 31) - Imperial kitsch- always draws back to European beauty - Linking racialized populations, poor, working class – as ape like it is saying they are not as human! ―In his shop, Pears made and sold the powders, creams and dentifrices used by the rich to ensure the fashionable alabaster purity of their complexions. For the elite, a sun-darkened skin stained by outdoor manual work was the visible stigma not only of a class obliged to work under the elements for a living but also of far-off, benighted races marked by God‘s disfavour. From the outset, soap took shape as a technology of social purification, inextricably entwined with the semiotics of imperial racism and class denigration … Advertising‘s chief contribution of the culture of modernity was the discovery that by manipulating the semiotic space around the commodity, the unconscious as a public space could also be manipulated … Advertising draws on subterranean flows of desire and taboo, manipulating the investment of surplus money … to invest the aesthetic space around the domestic commodity with the commercial cult of empire.” (McClintock, 1995: 212-3) - White skin would mean privilege and wealth, not having to work, not having to be out in the sun working hard - Semiotics: signs and symbols - If surrounded by signs and symbols- we are manipulated in terms of our desires and what is taboo and where money is invested - Empire and domesticity are connected ―The Victorian bathroom is the innermost sanctuary of domestic hygiene and by extension the private temple of public regeneration. The sacrament of soap offers a reformation allegory whereby the purification of the domestic body becomes a metaphor for the regeneration of the body politic … The magical fetish of soap promises that the commodity can regenerate the Family of Man by washing from the skin the very stigma of racial and class degeneration.‖ (McClintock, 1995: 214) - All the ads in the home - Connect family politics and what is going on in the home to state building - Regenerating the metropolis in Britain at that time, conglomeration of the elite, emerging middle class and entire underclass - Black or anything less than white acts as a detrimental mark to the body – same way poverty marks the body and thus poverty is racialised - Pg. 208 – emerging class values - Pears Soap advertising- now has no people in advertising compared to back then where the black was always being washed… o Function of male children in ads: children progressing to adulthood, who is the heir to the progress, who is beneficiary of imperial progress and capitalism (obviously white boy, not racial hybrid) o No women in the picture, women‘s space was the home SOC367H1S: EMPIRE AND TRANSNATIONAL MOTHERWORK 20 JULY 2011 WEEK SIX o Women absence in ad- function to masculinized home, soap has to be understood as masculinized- imperial kitsch is about fetish invested with magical powers, that can transform things, and why they can transform racial o Anxiety in Britain- reason why commodifies act for racial and class regeneration o Benevolence, white child washing his white brother to get something better? – not a function for good, saving someone poorer than you, Claire Treviso went across Mexican border to save those people unknown implying someone dominant and one marginal ―The appearance of monkeys in soap advertising signals a dilemma: how to represent domesticity without representing women at work. The Victorian middle-class house was structured round the fundamental contradiction between women’s paid and unpaid domestic work. As women were driven from paid work in mines, factories, shops and trades to private, unpaid work in the home, domestic work became economically undervalued and the middle-class definition of femininity figured the ‘proper’ woman as one who did not work for profit. At the same time, a cordon sanitaire of racial degeneration was thrown around those women who did work public and visibly for money. What could not incorporated into the industrial formation (women‘s domestic economic value) was displaced onto the invented domain of the primitive, and thereby disciplined and contained.‖ (McClintock, 1995: 216) - Proper woman: how woman represented post WWII - The women who had to work, became less feminine, similar to Hill Collins notions of woman being de-feminine because only femininity available to white women Image of black monkey on street- ―Monkey Brand‖ – a racial hybrid, like the boy who emerges out of baths with white body and black face. Domestic work is also masculinized, which was work done by racialised poor (taken over by Black man) The best lady in England? = ―lady in waiting‖ - Monkeys legitimize social boundaries, between private and public, also legitimizes racial purification (aspiring to be one of dominance) - It is a fetish because this monkey image cannot actually exist, soap helps straddle humans as natural and non-human based on women, class… ―In the Monkey Brand advertisement, the monkey‘s signature of labour (―My Own Work‖ signals a double disavowal. Soap is masculinized, figured as a male product, while the (mostly female) labour of workers in huge, unhealthy soap factories is disavowed. At the same time, the labour of social transformation in the daily scrubbing and scouring of the sinks, pans and dishes, labyrinthine floors and corridors of Victorian domestic space—refigured as anachronistic space, primitive and bestial. Female servants disappear and in their place couches a phantasmatic male hybrid. Thus, domesticity—seen as the sphere most separate from the marketplace and the masculine hurly-burly of empire—takes shape around the invented ideas of the primitive and the commodity fetish … In Victorian culture, the monkey was an icon of metamorphosis , perfectly serving soap‘s liminal role in mediating the transformations of nature (dirt, waste and disorder) into culture (cleanliness, rationality and industry).‖ (McClintock, 1995: 217) -Soap is masculinized, soap labeled ―my own‖ those making soap implied to be men even though they were actually women! As McClintock notes -Soap is the agent of history, a magical element to human history and erases a historical context of women‘s exploitation -More frying pan images, the gleaning surface – the house as reflective, wife as exhibition, gleaning surface is like a mirror multiplying, accumulating of stuff integral to emerging middle class -What is the labour that made it gleam? Labour never shown -Private sphere as collection of men‘s work - Racial iconography of evolutionary progress - Iconography of colonial rule ―Mirrors glint and gleam in soap advertising, as they do in the culture of imperial kitsch at large. In Victorian middle-class households, servants scoured and polished every metal and wooden surface until it shone like a mirror … The mirror became the epitome of commodity fetishism: erasing both the signs of domestic labour and the industrial origins of domestic commodities. In the domestic world of mirrors, objects multiply without apparent human intervention in a promiscuous economy of self-generation … Why the attention to surface and reflection? The polishing was dedicated, in part, the policing the boundaries between private and public, removing every trace of labour, replacing the disorderly evidence of working women with the exhibition of domesticity as veneer, the commodity spectacle as surface, the house arranged as a theater of clean surfaces for commodity display … to embody a twofold value: the man‘s market worth and the wife‘s exhibition status. The house existed to display femininity as bearing exhibition value only.‖ (McClintock, 1995: 218) ―More than merely a symbol of imperial progress, the domestic commodity becomes the agent of history itself. The commodity, abstracted from social context and human labour, does the civilizing work of empire, while radical change is figured as magical, without process or social agency.‖ … ―The working women, both black and white, who spent vast amounts of energy bleaching the white sheets, shirts, frills, aprons, cuffs and collars of imperial clothes are nowhere to be seen. It is important to note that in Victorian advertising, black women are very seldom rendered as consumers of commodities, for, in imperial lore, they lag too far behind men to be agents of history. Imperial domesticity is therefore a domesticity without women.‖ (McClintock, 1995: 221-3) - Black women seldom consumers of commodity -Agents of history- merely only white men ―…assumed split between ―public‖ sphere of paid employment and ―private‖ sphere (Hill Collins 2000: 47) - Who does cleaning: it is a fetish, the monkey, always clean, happy cleaning! Why include McClintock and England & Stiell- both talk about commodification, also about invisibility, what iconographies of colonial rule value and undervalue… ENGLAND & STIELL (2008: 181-2) ―We contend that one of the factors that can influence the experience of paid domestic work for particular women is their specific combination of ‗race‘/ethnicity, class and national identity. Given that domestic work is racialized and has been ‘the most prototypical job for racial-ethnic women’ it is not surprising that the difference ‘race’/racism makes to the experience of domestic work has been a predominate theme in a number of studies of domestic workers in Canada … However, most previous literature tends to concentrate on the ‗race‘ … issues experienced by one ethno-cultural group of domestic workers … Few have looked at differences among domestic workers.”  Differentiation on race TRANSNATIONAL MOTHERWORK IN CANADA • 19C: Canadian Immigration Department early ―assisted passage‖ of domestic works from Britain – Considered the right racial/ethnic ―stock‖ (link to Stasiulis 1999) – Nation-building project SOC367H1S: EMPIRE AND TRANSNATIONAL MOTHERWORK 20 JULY 2011 WEEK SIX - Ruby Dala in Brampton (the agency or employers keep hold of domestic workers passports and identification) based on race, class gender work of domestic labours • Rather than socialize childcare, improve rates of pay for domestics, or rework system so that Canadian women could work as domestics, Canadian government continues to develop (im)migration policies to recruit female domestics – Racially restrictive immigration policies circumvented – 1973 on: domestics enter Canada with temporary work authorizations rather than landed immigr
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