This chapter explores two of the shorter and less successful series, based on novels, that were produced in the Thatcher era – The Day of the Triffids (1981) and The Tripods (1984–85) – and assesses how each of them is responding to the Thatcherite landscape, both artistically and in terms of the new economic restrictions: the tighter budgets with which to make television. The chapter shows that The Day of the Triffids provides a kind of template for characteristics that would become front and centre in the Thatcher era – self-interest, Machiavellian behaviour, cynicism – but also remains quite faithful to the source material. The Tripods presents more of an engagement with the neoliberal tropes of the Thatcher era, updating and inventing many of its characters and scenarios to reflect this new environment.
How do contemporary political parties envision intergroup relations in South Africa? The visions of political parties are important for peace as these can either mirror or shape people’s views and behavior. The transition from apartheid to democracy was eased by the idea of the Rainbow Nation, which encapsulates a recognition of diversity and a sense of colorblindness whereby South Africa belongs to “all who live in it,” as the preamble to the constitution states. Using the relational peace framework, this chapter contributes to the literature on nation-building by investigating how contemporary political parties (the African National Congress, Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighters, and Freedom Front Plus) discuss intergroup relations of peace and violent conflict and how they describe a vision of future intergroup relations. Parties based on civic nationalism champion a common identity and aim for a society where ethnicity and race are politically irrelevant. By contrast, both multiculturalism and ethno-nationalism recognize ethnicity as important for intergroup relations. The relational peace framework helps identify which dyads are seen as important in the political party manifestos – who is seen as a legitimate counterpart and who is excluded from discussions related to nation-building and intergroup peace. The assessment of the manifestos using the framework’s elements proves fruitful in capturing the type of nation-building. The analysis of 2019 election manifestos shows a variety of competing visions. These disagreements on who belongs to the South African nation pose a challenge to the legitimacy of the state and peace.
This chapter analyses some of the most salient examples of science fiction television produced before the Thatcher era, arguing that generic science fiction television in the 1970s, the decade before Thatcher’s election, aligns itself in broad terms with modernist ideas about technological and teleological progress – the advancement of humanity; the faith in, and simultaneous dread of, technology – as well as simplified moral positions assuming a certainty and objectivity. But this chapter also shows that the moral dilemmas more commonly faced by characters in the 1980s are beginning to surface here. On ITV the spectre of ‘Americanisation’ was beginning to loom, while on the BBC science fiction was treated with a more aloof attitude. In both cases, however, there is a stable hierarchy, with the authority of the middle-class white man at the apex. There is an ethos of collectivism found in most of the series here: people work in teams, and rarely is the individual prized over the group. This reflects the social-democratic nature of the post-war consensus era. The authority of the white male leader, seen as benign, is largely taken as axiomatic. This was to radically alter in the Thatcher era, buckling under the pressure of what Stuart Hall called the ‘authoritarian populism’ that these Thatcherite series negotiate.
This chapter tackles one of the most troubling aspects of the problem of literary value – its ideological complicity, as acutely evident in, for example, colonialist, white supremacist and androcentric ideologies – examining that complicity as it is encapsulated in the phenomenon of canonicity. For this purpose it revisits the canon wars, but its main aim is to identify how, and then explore the implications of the fact that, the ineluctability of canonicity and simultaneously its inescapable complicity remain with us. Using as a springboard a pair of epigraphs taken from Henry Louis Gates Jr’s Loose Canons, it draws on the preceding chapters’ preliminary theory of literary valuing to describe several concrete manifestations of how canonicity emerges despite attempts to evade it. Examples include the response from leaders within Chaucer studies to the 2013 MLA proposal to eliminate the MLA Chaucer Division, an English departmental mission statement and a professional periodical piece. The chapter then turns, conversely, to attempts to defend canonicity, showing how the potential for ideological complicity inevitably haunts those efforts. Examples include an attempt to defend Chaucer’s canonicity specifically as well as a more general attempt, by Frank Kermode, to define an ideology-free canonicity as the grounding principle of literary criticism. The chapter concludes with an example of Chaucer pedagogy that suggests how the dilemma of canonicity might become generative rather than merely perplexing, offering a generalisation of this response that might serve as one of literary study’s distinctive disciplinary contributions.
Rebuilding relationships between different actors in societies broken by prolonged social conflict is an important part of peacebuilding. This process is particularly challenging where levels of violence are still high and state security actors continue to occupy a powerful position even after a peace accord is signed. In this difficult transition period between war and peace, military and civilian actors, in the government as well as in civil society and the communities, often struggle with the task of redefining their relationships to each other. Applying the relational peace framework, this chapter looks particularly at how representatives of the military and of different civilian state and non-state actors in post-accord Colombia perceive their relationships to each other today, how they view the military's role in post-accord peacebuilding, and what they identify as challenges to relational peace. The findings, based on field interviews conducted in 2017 and 2018, show significant differences in how the actors assess their interactions, think of each other, and evaluate their current and future relationship. Identified as a peace between agonists characterized by a lack of mutual respect, trust, and cooperation, the interaction between the actors in the dyad shows important obstacles to achieving a higher level of relational peace in the future. In the end, however, friendship might be neither attainable nor desirable as the ultimate form of relational peace for civil–military relations.
This chapter explores the significance of the ordinary in Columbo (NBC, 1971–2003). It shows how the titular detective figure is distinguished from other detectives not only by his raincoat, cigar and manner, but also by his connection to the ‘everyday’, enabling a mode of detection based on suspicious deviation from custom. Peter Falk’s embodiment of the detective as eccentric everyman is played off against the ostensibly ‘epic’ gladiatorial structure of the drama, the high-society setting, and, most markedly, the high-and-mighty villain, whose key flaw is hubris borne of self-imposed exile from normal interaction. With close reference to a single exemplary episode, ‘A Friend in Deed’ (1974), this chapter examines how stylistic choices and performance features help sing the virtues of groundedness, empathy and close attention to what people ordinarily say and do.
Draws together all the strands of the book’s analysis, and compares the series to show similarities, examining how science fiction from the Thatcher era can be explored as commentary on its political context.
This chapter examines the interplay between David Banner (Bill Bixby) and his alter ego the Hulk (Lou Ferrigno) in The Incredible Hulk (1977–82). While David is presented as an everyman in pursuit of a stable life and the Hulk a monstrous force, thus aligning David with the everyday and the Hulk with figures from epic literature, the chapter dismantles this apparent binary. The analysis maps the situation of David and the Hulk in relation to heroic mythologies, both classical and national, and the ways in which these are negotiated though ritual and variation. The Incredible Hulk’s episodic series structure is identified as a significant means through which everyday routine and epic adventures interact. Tropes that recur in each episode offer ritualistic pleasures but also sites where, through modification in how they play out, intersections between David and Hulk are traced. The chapter’s close analysis focuses on two structuring tropes of the show’s formula: the Hulk’s rampages in which the green Goliath showcases his bodybuilder physique that connotes heroes of epic literature, and the lonely David walking off into the distance at an episode’s end, evoking the Westerner of American frontier mythology. The instances of these tropes that are analysed – one of Hulk’s rampages in ‘Homecoming’ and David walking away at the end of ‘Nine Hours’– facilitate exploration of how the show negotiates ideas of masculinity, monstrosity and heroism while reflecting on the value and possibility of a stable everyday existence.
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed significant inequities around the world; from disparities of access to healthcare and vaccines, to border policies and other domestic regulations. It also exposed just how much the modern world is enmeshed in and entrapped by the digital world – not only in Russia. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that Russians share pandemic-related concerns with people around the world: they too seek to cope by buying their go-to “panic” foods, they too have their COVID memes and even surprisingly similar conspiracy theories. Everyday foreign policy during these times of the pandemic reflects similar tendencies around the world and shows how even minute consumption decisions shape who we are in times of crisis. The chapter also reflects on the history of healthcare in the Soviet Union and its continuing influence on health-related decisions in post-Soviet Russia.