2nd Global Conference
Friday 12th March – Sunday 14th March 2010
Acculturation of a Cult Figure : The Infusion of Sonia Gandhi as a Matriarchal Figure into the Indian National Congress as well as the Multicultural / Multilingual Political Space of India
HSST English, Govt. V&HSS, Karakulam, Trivandrum, Kerala, India
Born in Orbassano, Turin, Italy, on December 9 th, 1946, Sonia Maino became Sonia Gandhi in 1968 after her marriage to Rajiv Gandhi, who later became the Prime Minister of India. A conglomerate of varied cultural streams, languages and religions, the conventional Indian society, could accept this European ‘bahu’ (daughter-in-law) with ease. Sonia did not have any political ambition for almost thirty years after entering the Indian political scene and remained a passive onlooker, a shadow, to both her mother-in-law and her husband. Though the death of Rajiv Gandhi dumped the Congress party into the ditch of desolation, Sonia did not make any effort to retrieve it and chose to remain indoors. She broke seven years of her long silence (after the death of her husband in 1991) and entered politics formally in 1998. It is from this year that the Congress party revived itself from the shambles it was in, and Sonia could rise and establish herself as a matriarchal power within no time. Though she was offered Prime Ministership in the year 2004, after a sweeping victory in the Lok Sabha elections, she declined it, and chose to remain the charioteer of the INC.
This paper proposes to analyse the way this cult figure of Indian National Congress got her name engraved in the political history of India. It also envisions to dissect the ways of the multicultural/multilingual Indian society that once accepted her wholeheartedly as its ‘bahu’ or daughter-in-law, raised huge opposition when it came to giving her the position of the Prime Minister. Another interesting fact is that even a huge section within the Congress was opposed to the proposed anointment of Sonia as the Prime Minister. What Sonia did was not a cultural invasion, but a cultural infusion. She slid into the Indian social set up with ease and now is figured a matriarchal (goddess-like) figure and has become a charismatic ‘crowd-puller’. This poses a great question to us. Is Culture a central terrain in politics? Is it her administrative abilities or the readiness to shed her European identity that helped Sonia ascend the raft of the biggest political entity in the largest democracy of the world?
A Reformulated Orientalism: The Impact of Cultural Visions on Reconstruction of Turkey’s Tourism and Cultural Heritage Policies
Neslihan Binatli Hekimoglu
Eastern Mediterranean University, Cyprus
This paper discusses the contestation over Turkey’s heritage and how its multiple pasts are reworked in the tourism politics of the present; the ways in which cultural heritage and exoticized features of the Ottomans are used as a capital in order to reconstruct a destination by different groups for both local and global audiences. Turkey has often been analyzed within the terms of different oppositions. The geographical as well as cultural “in-between position” of Turkey, such as being at the crossing point of East and West, being traditional and modern, progressive and reactionary, has not allowed the traveler to construct an established image of the country. In order to examine the contradiction between the fantasized images originated, Istanbul, the city of crossroads has been chosen as the central field of study in terms of visual representations.
Through analysis of different western perceptions and visual representations of Turkey, both propagated and contested in films, advertisements, travel writing, and 19th century orientalist paintings, the paper will explore the idea of orientalism or ‘exotic otherness’ in its pluralistic manifestations as a socio-political, geographical, and psycho-sexual construction. Drawing on text and image, emphasis will be placed on the diffusion of increasingly fantasized types associated with the country, and also on the impact of such perceptions on current realities in Turkey. The paper is intended to scrutinize the meaning of “cultural vision” as a construct, to analyze the cultural codes operating in the nineteenth-century and their influences on today’s politics. The comparative method will be tested via analysis of the cultural visions and representations of three different cultures: French, English and Ottoman.
Sociological Examination of the Relationship between Democracy and Secularism: Case Study of France Great Revolution and Islamic Revolution of Iran
Purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between democracy and secularism. The main question is that “is there any correlation between democracy and secularism? Or from sociological point of view, there are other factors effective in secularizing the democracy? To answer this question, this hypothesis is used that the most important determinant factor in relation between democracy and secularism is ideological trends of community’s dominant social forces. This hypothesis is examined by case study and historical investigation methods, so, Iran and France democratic experiences have been considered, obtained results confirm above mentioned hypothesis. So that, in France in 18 century, Bourgeoisie Class as dominant social force, considering teachings and thoughts of relief Enlighteners like Voltaire, Rousseau, Montesquieu and …wanted a secular and without religious principal democracy and this led to creation of a secular democracy. Whereas in Iran, the clergy and religious- enlighteners as dominant social force had the most effect on creation of a also religious regime. So it can be said that there is no correlation between democracy and secularism and creation of secular democracy needs the existence of special social theme. Interpretation of this finding also shows that what causes development of correlation idea of democracy and secularism and dominance of secular democracy discourse to other kinds of democracy is the relation of this discourse with power relations. That is, real power of secular democracy regimes has been effective in creation of Idea of correlation between democracy and secularism.