The Unifying Aspects of Cultures


Ethnicity, Migration, Aesthetics

Chair of the section/Suggestions, Abstracts, Papers to:
Email: Michael John (Linz)

ABSTRACT: It belongs to the "classics" of xenophobic and racist views, to attribute to other ethnic groups, immigrants, people of other nationalities or nations a foul odor or other qualities connected with aesthetic qualities. Yet diametrically opposed categorizations such as especially good appearance, physical strength, interesting outlook, etc. are also to be found. The body builder, Mister Austria und Mister World Arnold Schwarzenegger found recognition as the "Styrian oak" not only in the USA, but also worldwide, just as Marilyn Monroe or the German beauty Verona Feldbusch caused a sensation when they first appeared in beauty contests. Precisely beauty contests even aroused national controversy, when it became a matter of accepting a black immigrant as Miss Italy in Italy, an Indian woman in South Africa and in the "Holy Land" a Palestinian woman as Miss Israel. In the media societies of the 20th century, moreover, aesthetic interests have come to be regarded very highly. Thus it could happen that the utterances of a well-built boxer would call more attention to the physical merits of people of one or the other skin color than the pronouncements of scientists, that the racist remarks of an East European beauty queen would become much more widely known than similar comments of a Minister or also that the peace-making gesture of the trip of a Miss Germany to Baghdad was carried worldwide in the media.

We welcome in this section all contributions (panels, individual presentations, posters, etc.), which deal theoretically with the connection between migration, ethnicity and aesthetics. Norbert Elias's Theory of Civilization as well as Pierre Bourdieu´s "symbolic capital" can be mentioned here as examples as well as linguistic starting points. We also expressly encourage the presentation of historical or contemporary cases studies, which deal concretely with this phenomenon.