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Table of contents

No. 11 - Volume 7 (2019)
(Body-) Politic
Edited by Imke Schmincke

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Imke Schmincke: Einführung: (Körper‐)Politik – politisierte Körper
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Imke Schmincke: Body Politic – Biopolitik – Körperpolitik. Eine begriffsgeschichtliche Rekonstruktion der Body Politics
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This article explores the connection of body and politics as
it is captured in the idea of body politics. Therefore the text first traces the
notion of body politics back to the tradition of the concept of body politic. In
the history of political thought the changing meanings and usages of the concept
indicate different ideas of understanding society, power and the relation
between individuals and collectives. The body as metaphor in political history
has yet to be examined with respect to the historicity of the body. The new
social movements in the 1970s, first and foremost the feminist movement, ‘invented’
body politics as a way to both criticize politics and the control of the
(female) body and its reproductive capacities and to create a new notion of
the political as well as activist politics. At the same time Michel Foucault developed
the concept of biopolitics which later has been used by others to refer
to the state and how it regulates and monitors the individual as well as collective
bodies. Now it was the concrete material body which came to the fore
in theoretical analysis as well as political activism. Feminism aimed at transforming
the understanding of the political by calling the attention to the bodily
aspects of power and politics. Body history is itself an effect of body politics but
it also opens up new perspectives on the body as a crucial dimension of social

Barbara Duden / Imke Schmincke: „Die Geschichtlichkeit der Körperwahrnehmung in der Tiefe ausbuchstabieren.“ Ein Interview mit Barbara Duden
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In this interview the well‐known historian Barbara Duden explains
how she ‘dicovered’ in her research the historicity of the body and the
senses. She reflects upon the fact that corporeal experiences are linked to social
and cultural contexts, yet not identical with concepts and models of specific
epochs. According to Duden it is the aim of body history to understand
and historicize corporeality of past epochs and to make them an object and
orientation of historical inquiry. As she points out in this interview she used
the insights in the historicity of the body and senses also for analyzing contemporary
changes around the female body and pregnancies and how they
are managed by risk oriented medicine. As someone involved in the second
wave of feminism her intention was to improve the situation of women but
she formulates also a critical stance on feminist body politics and its paradoxical

Armin Langer: “A Barbaric, bloody act”. The anti‐circumcision polemics of the Enlightenment and its internalization by nineteenth‐century German Jews
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“Nothing will come of it; As long as the Jews remain Jews and
will be circumcised, they will never become more useful than harmful in civil
society,” Kant said. The German Enlightenment demanded the Jews to abandon
their religious identity expressions, most notably the circumcision. As a
result of non‐Jewish discussions about rituals, the core role of circumcision
was challenged for the first time in Jewish history by supporters of the Jewish
Enlightenment movement. Jewish laymen condemned the “scary, unenlightened”
traditional rabbis. Their anti‐circumcision campaign also found support
among some Reform rabbis. Indeed, many Jews gave up the circumcision–but
the existing resentment towards them did not disappear. The following article
provides a case study in the genealogy of “secular” attitudes towards the
body. The paper traces this genealogy from Early Christian positions on circumcision
through historic Protestantism towards discussions about the Jewish
ritual in the Age of Enlightenment. The article wishes to highlight the continued
relevance of the matter and show how both having a “German body”
and being part of the “German nation” were seen as incompatible with being
circumcised–and are up to debate until the present day.

Gundula Ludwig: Körperpolitiken und Demokratie. Sozialhygienische Wissensregime als Techniken der Demokratisierung in der Weimarer Republik
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The article focuses on the Weimar Republic and reveals that
body‐ and biopolitics played a key role in the genealogy of democracy in Germany.
The point of departure is that the transformation from the German Empire
to a democratic state was not completed with the proclamation of parliamentary
democracy. Rather, after democracy had been formally instated, various
political discourses continued to define what this new democracy should
look like. Here medical doctors and in particular social hygienists were crucial:
They acted as public experts and brought democracy into people’s everyday
lives. The paper is based on a historical discourse analyses of monographs
and handbooks written by social hygienists along with influential social hygienic
journals. I delineate how social hygienic regimes of knowledge operated
as technologies of democratization and helped to transform a specific understanding
of democracy into the every‐day‐lives of the people, an understanding
of democracy that also entailed authoritarian elements and limitations,
as I argue. The aim of the article is to highlight that a theoretical perspective
that goes beyond an institutionalist understanding of democracy also allows
to bring the subtle social foundations of a political order to light.

Leander Diener: Krieg und Frieden im vegetativen Nervensystem. Körpermodelle der experimentellen Physiologie im 20. Jahrhundert
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This paper examines the circulation of political metaphors in
the context of war and peace in mid‐twentieth‐century experimental physiology.
The vegetative (or autonomic) nervous system provided fertile ground for
the interpretation of bodily organization against the backdrop of and in dialogue
with the current political situation. Walter Bradford Cannon and Walter
Rudolf Hess, both prominent figures in experimental physiology in the US and
in Europe, represented two sides of the vegetative in their scientific and literary
work. Apart from their scientific contributions, they paved the way for specifically
‘vegetative’ body images (‘Körpermodelle’) between emergency and security.
To examine the emergence of these body images, both based on the
idea of internal regulation and balance, allows to put recent and contemporary
concerns about such images in medicine in perspective.

Michael Zok: Körperpolitik, (staatstragender) Katholizismus und (De‐)Säkularisierung im 20. Jahrhundert. Auseinandersetzungen um Reproduktionsrechte in Irland und Polen
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The article deals with the question of bio‐politics in Catholic
states in the 20th century. At its centre, it looks at the differences in the developments
of two of these countries (Ireland and Poland) that have historically
and culturally a lot in common. The author argues that a decrease in authority
of the Catholic Church can be observed in the Irish case that has enabled farreaching
changes in law and attitudes in recent years. Its origins can be traced
back to the 1960s when the modernization of Ireland began. The anti‐climax
took place in the years from 1990s onwards, when scandals about paedophilia
in the Church’s ranks became a main issue. It was also the time when different
pro‐choice‐pressure groups came forward to question the ban on abortion that
was introduced after a referendum in 1983. This ban caused deaths of women
and was therefore lifted after a newly referendum in 2018, allowing women
for the first time in Irish history to get an abortion on request. Irish scholars
interpret these developments as a proof of society’s trust in Irish women. The
developments in Poland evolved into the opposite direction. While abortions
were legal during Communist reign, they became widely restricted after its
fall. This was the result of a long‐term development. Catholic pressure groups
had been trying to restrict the law since its introduction in 1956 and succeeded
finally in 1993. But the theme of abortion remained a main cleavage in Polish
society in the 1990s, when pro‐choice groups demanded a nationwide referendum.
This demand was ignored, and therefore, this can be interpreted as a
sign of distrust in (women’s) decision‐making as the decisive body – the Polish
Parliament – was and is dominated by men putting restrictive body politics
into law. Since the election of the national‐conservative party Law and Justice
in 2015, body politics have become an ideological battlefield once again.

Clara-Sophie Höhn: Putting My Body on the Line. Joan Trumpauer Mulholland und das Jackson Woolworth Sit‐In von 1963
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This article debates the physical involvement of the white
southern civil rights activists Joan Trumpauer Mulholland in a sit‐in at a
Woolworth lunch counter in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1963. Working with Imke
Schmincke’s analytical approach to examine the political implication of the
body in social protest movements, the author presents Trumpauer Mulholland’s
physical participation in various perspectives regarding the purpose
(Zweck), medium (Mittel), and resource (Ressource) of her body as well as her
body as a protest body (Protestkörper) itself. The author argues that with her
actions Trumpauer Mulholland openly demonstrated her solidarity with the
black protesters as well as her rejection of the racists system of segregation.
Furthermore, just by sitting together with black students her actions were
a visible and physical revolt against the racialized and glorified notion of
white womanhood, which had been instrumentalized for centuries to brutally
oppress the black population in the South.

Željana Tunić: Zur (Nekro‐)Politik der Körper auf der Straße. Protest und öffentliche Trauer in Serbien um das Jahr 2000
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This paper explores the relation between bodies on the street
and politics by putting emphasis on vulnerability as the core of sovereignty. In
doing so it brings together Judith Butler’s concept of “Politics of the Street”
and Achille Mbembe’s approach of “Necropolitics”. The analysis concentrates
on two scenes: Firstly, the political resistance against the (semi‐)authoritarian
regime of Slobodan Milošević in Serbia during the period of 1997 to 2000, and
secondly, practices of public mourning after the assassination of the Serbian
Prime Minister and former leader of the resistance Zoran Đinđić.

Simon Strick: Reflexiver Neofaschismus: gouvernementale Affekt‐ und Körperpolitiken in der ‚Alternativen Rechten‘
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This article looks at online manifestations of the so‐called
Alt‐Right and their perplexing analogy to contemporary governmental genres
of self‐help. From ‚white identitarian’ discourse to male anti‐masturbationgroups
on the internet, this article charts the affective body politics of rightwing
agitators and orbiters to argue that their racist, sexist and xenophobic
rhetoric has changed registers from exclusion/superiority‐languages towards
a neoliberal body politics of white male self‐improvement and minoritarianism.
Drawing on queer affect theory to elucidate the quotidian aspects and virtual
performances of this metapolitical shift from ‚white power’ to ‚white empowerment’,
the article argueds that historical scholarship needs to move beyond
pointing out the obvious parallels between contemporary and historical
fascism, and acknowledge the fully neoliberal, consumerist, and self‐reflexive
aspects of neofascism.

Tena Mimica / Lukasz Nieradzik / Elisabeth Timm: Embellyshing Pictures, Gifting Welfare. Mapping Contemporary Pregnancy Photography between Popular and Municipal Uses in Vienna
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“Belly pictures” have become part of public and commercial
use as well as of domestic visual and material culture. Our combination of
ethnographic and historical perspectives locates such photographs between
the desire of the women who ordered them to generate beautiful memories
of their pregnancy today, and healthcare strategies of the Vienna municipality,
which began to materialize welfare for infants as a gift for mothers in the
interwar period. We flag out a photo voucher as a link between the realms
of reproduction, family life, and citizenship: Belly pictures have continued and
renewed the convention of visualizing the bourgeois variant of a happy family
since the late 19th century. In the meantime, they literally familiarize the
medicalization of pregnancy, which in this local variant encourages to take a
belly picture. Such images circulate between individual pleasure, the welfare
state’s biopolitical dimensions, and consumerism.