Re-branding "Honour Killings"
#13
(24-Jan-2011, 07:42 AM)arvindiyer Wrote: Since I personally read all reports of this form of murder almost exclusively from the English media, I would imagine that 'honour-' and 'shame-' killings would evoke in me very different allusions, and to this extent, this rebranding is efficacious.

I agree. But since others have also raised issues with the term, I propose a poll. Since Richard is currently involved in this on a serious level (we've been communicating on facebook), I think we should involve him here as well. We could collect a list of suggestions and then start another thread featuring a poll to pick our favorite term. What say you all?

Quote:However I do not know what terminology was used to report these events in the Hindi media and other vernacular media. It will be great if someone who reads Indian-language newspapers on a regular basis could fill us in on that. Anyone out there who can give examples of how Dainik Jaagran or Dinathandi or Anandabazar Patrika or Loksatta reports these events?

I second this suggestion, although I doubt anyone will come forward here. But we can used our social media platforms after we have thought this through a bit.

Quote:As an aside, 'vernacularization' is indispensable if we aim at widespread memeing of freethought concepts in India. It was heartening to see the responses to calls for translation of the Out Campaign declaration here, and it would be great if this success can be replicated and surpassed in other projects, like the Pale Blue Dot translation here.

I agree and will go further by asserting that only when such scrutiny of popular terminology is taken up by the regional language media outlets will we see any significant outcomes. I must thank Manju and you for demonstrating the linguistic complexity involved in such politically-motivated re-branding, in the Indian context.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#14
Interesting thread. Seems to be a very old thread. But let me add my two cents.

1) Sure "honor killing" is an abominable act. It is much more than a homicide in that the threat of it is used to control women and their sexuality. But what would any re-branding achieve? Will it reduce the number of instances of "honor killings"? Or will it stigmatize people against "honor killings"? Is there any data on how successful similar re-branding efforts have been in reducing similar societal ill?

2) As to the word "honor" itself, I somehow do not view this word with a positive connotation anyway. I find it difficult to explain why. But my vague explanation is that I associate the word "honor" with social conservatives. And I despise social conservatives. So I am fine with the term "honor killings".
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#15
(23-Dec-2012, 11:53 AM)Captain Mandrake Wrote: 1) Sure "honor killing" is an abominable act. It is much more than a homicide in that the threat of it is used to control women and their sexuality. But what would any re-branding achieve? Will it reduce the number of instances of "honor killings"? Or will it stigmatize people against "honor killings"? Is there any data on how successful similar re-branding efforts have been in reducing similar societal ill?

Combating a social malaise is similar to disease-control in that concerted efforts at different levels are called for. Quoting from here: For instance, for an official in a Health Ministry coping with a cholera epidemic, the following prioritization of tasks seems immediately obvious (i) call in emergency medical/paramedical teams for treating victims(ii) call in a disinfecting crew (iii) undertake repairs of plumbing and waterworks (iv) increase investment in infrastructure development especially in drinking water access. We might say that the priorities would be different for municipal officials who have within their jurisdiction the waterworks but not healthcare teams. Likewise, attempts to sensitize and sanitize the popular discourse maybe viewed as measures towards 'media hygiene' that participants in electronic and social media have the wherewithal to enforce, even as law-enforcement and legislative action more directly targeted at eradicating social evils remain prerogatives of the state.

Disgust via the use of dysphemisms has been well-demonstrated as a force to reckon with in popular discourse, more often in less than benign ways. A cautionary tale from recent times from US politics is how Sarah Palin's characterization of 'reimbursement for counseling about living wills' as 'death panels' galvanized opposition to the Affordable Healthcare Act and may have had an impact on the legislative process that is hard to fully estimate. The power of dysphemisms maybe subverted towards more benign ends, like say promoting 'media hygiene' which like any other hygiene campaign is assisted by cultivating disgust for dirt. The more grating the terms used to describe a social evil in the media, the harder audiences will find it to remain inured to it. Since fighting such apathy must necessarily complement combating the evils themselves, deployment of language continues to be of relevance.

(23-Dec-2012, 11:53 AM)Captain Mandrake Wrote: 2) As to the word "honor" itself, I somehow do not view this word with a positive connotation anyway. I find it difficult to explain why. But my vague explanation is that I associate the word "honor" with social conservatives. And I despise social conservatives. So I am fine with the term "honor killings".

Rebranding, like any other task in the media, should be shaped by audience needs. It goes without saying that the audience is not composed entirely of progressives. Also in the audience are sixteen-year-olds associating honour with the Code of the Warrior from video games or film depictions, and also earnest patriots used to seeing honour writ large in the mottos of army units. They maybe viewed as 'conservatives' to the extent that traditional institutions enjoy their allegiance, but this does not mean that they are irrevocably on the side of brutality perpetrated or sanctioned by traditional institutions. Viewing them as potential allies and creating broad coalitions to further non-partisan pre-competitive causes, may in the long run be a more effective approach than confining efforts to one side of partisan faultlines.
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