BSJ

The Butler Scholarly Journal

Category: Current Affairs

  1. The problem with the Turner Prize: Deciphering criticism of Britain’s most prestigious art competition

    Ever since its conception in 1984 the Turner Prize has long been a source of controversy, both within and outside of the artistic sphere. Many specific works have provoked a strong public reaction; Tracey Emin’s bed, Damien’s Hurst’s formaldehyde shark and Anthea Hamilton’s recent sculpture, have all excited and appalled in equal measure. However, it is not the controversial nature of the pieces that will be discussed here, it is the debate surrounding the very nature of the prize itself. The right-wing press, particularly the Daily Mail, has long been critical of the prize. Quentin Letts, Mail correspondent, described this…

  2. The Rendition Dystopia

    ‘Power is not a means; it is an end.’ – George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty Four. The date 11 September 2001 is undoubtedly identified among the global population as one of the most significant dates in modern history. The acts of terror committed in the United States on that day continue to resonate with countless others across the world. Attacks such as those upon Paris in November 2015 and the Brussels bombings in March 2016 serve as stark reminders of the capabilities of human beings in causing harm to others. However, almost 15 years since the start of the War on Terror,…

  3. Beyond the Olympic Spectacle: Displacement for Development

    As the first South American host, the 2016 Olympics in Rio are eagerly anticipated as an opportunity to attract tourists and business, as well as providing employment and training to assist the city’s economic growth. However, beyond the spectacle and perceived benefits of the event lies a darker interpretation, which implies that the Olympic games are an opportunity for cities to justify removing the poor to enable the accumulation of capital. The large-scale and forced displacement of Rio’s informal ‘favela’ settlements demonstrates how Olympic development enables cities to justify the removal of undesirable, poor and marginalised groups. After hosting the…

  4. Fractured Society: France and Islam

    France is still reeling from the horrendous attacks on its capital which left 130 dead. It asks itself: why us? While Islamist terrorism is a much worse scourge in countries across Africa, the Middle East and Asia, in our Western bubble it is France that has suffered most: from Mohammed Merah’s murderous rampage in Toulouse and Montauban in 2012, to the Charlie Hebdo attacks at the beginning of this year, to the recent massacre in Paris. Meanwhile, a report by the French Senate in April estimated that of the 3000 plus Europeans who have left to fight for ISIS, at…

  5. Polari: How Bona to Vada Your Eek!

    After the global media caused uproar at the Sochi Olympics regarding Russia’s new legislation condemning non-traditional relationships, almost an echo of the English 1885 Labouchere Amendment, Ireland has become the newest country to vote for the freedom to marry among homosexual couples by a popular vote. Occurring less than a year apart, both events have shown how complex the ongoing debate about the role and the rights of homosexuality is in today’s society. In linguistic terms, however, homosexuality seems to be old news. Deemed an ‘endangered language’ in 2010 by the World Oral Literature Project established between Yale University and…

  6. The Economic Case for Open Borders

    Ever since the human race evolved in Africa some 200,000 years ago, humans have spread to all corners of the globe in search of better living conditions. This global spread of humanity is what distinguishes humans from most other living species. Of course, it is evident that movement of peoples did not end with complete migration to all parts of the world. Today, humans are tightly packed into a global economy that links all parts of the world through a complex economic and social system in which everyone is dependent on strangers from across the globe. In fact, Canada has…

  7. Scottish Labour: An Obituary

    Whatever the result of the referendum on 18 September, Scottish Labour will never be the same. Over the past two years it has caused irreparable damage to its own reputation, estranging and insulting both its target middle-voters and its most loyal supporters. Many of the once proudly Labour Scottish left are divorcing themselves in favour of pastures new in the Scottish Greens, SNP and, curiously, UKIP. Labour’s adamant, almost ruthless determination to remain with the union has come at an unprecedented cost. It is the only remotely left-wing party which has sided with the No campaign, and its public image…

  8. Homophobia – What’s the big issue?

    To quote a line from Lily Allen’s song ‘Hard out Here’: ‘Inequality promises that it’s here to stay. Always trust the injustice ‘cause it’s not going away’. When considering homophobia on an international scale, just how much can one read into these lyrics? Countless stories of homophobic and transgender abuse litter the headlines of mainstream news every week. Although the numbers of these types of crime classed as ‘homophobic hate crimes’ are falling, they are becoming increasingly publicised in today’s society. A 2013 survey by Stonewall has reported that one in six LGBT people in the UK (630,000) identify that…

  9. Debate: Should Scotland become an independent country?

    Scotland has been part of the United Kingdom since 1707. On 18th September 2014, citizens will have the chance to vote on whether Scotland should become an independent country in its own right, but opinions on the subject are polarised. Here, two Butlerites present either side of the argument for Scottish independence, a debate which has divided the nation. Yes: Kieran Devlin explores the reasons why Scotland should become independent… In this conflict of sneering demonising and contrived one-upmanship, where one “camp’s” mantra is fundamentally petulant fear-mongering, and the other’s fundamentally naïve uber-nationalism; rationality and objectivity is a myth. It’s…

  10. Longing for “Home”: A Critical View of Asylum Seekers.

    “I long for home, long for the sight of home.” – The Odyssey, Homer At the core of our collective imaginary, lays the image of the exile and their transformative journey in search of a place that can offer some type of emotional and spiritual stability; a place we call, often not sure of what we mean, “home”. Whether it be Odysseus battling against the inclement Aegean Sea or Moses leading his people across the never-ending Sinai, our culture appears to be obsessed with the expatriate, that person who inhabits the “liminal”, who is neither here nor there. Forced migration…