Reappropriation is the cultural process by which a group reclaims—re-appropriates—terms or artifacts that were previously used in a way disparaging of that group. For example, since the early 1970s, much terminology referring to
homosexuality—such as " gay", " queer" and (to a lesser extent) "faggot"—has been reappropriated. Another example of reappropriation would be an African Americancollecting lawn jockeys or other artifacts of darky iconography. The term "reappropriation" can also extend to counter-hegemonic re-purposing, such as citizens with no formal authority seizing unused public or private land for community use.
The term "reappropriation" is an extension of the term "appropriation" or "
cultural appropriation" used in anthropology, sociologyand cultural studiesto describe the hegemonic action of reabsorbing subcultural styles and forms, or those from other cultures, into mass culture through a process of commodification: the mass-marketing of alternate lifestyles, practices, and artifacts.
There are many recent English-language examples of linguistic reappropriation in the areas of
human sexuality, gender roles, sexual orientation, etc. Among these are:
* "butch", in a
cunt". The earliest citable example of reappropriation of this word is remarkably early: the Wife of Bath in Geoffrey Chaucer's " The Canterbury Tales: "For certeyn, olde dotard, by youre leve, / Ye shul have queynte right y-nough at eve" ("queynte" being a Middle Englishspelling of "cunt").
* "dyke", and such variants as "bulldyke", "diesel dyke", "baby dyke", or "femme dyke"
* "faggot" or "fag"
slut" and, to a lesser extent, "slag"
In some cases, this reappropriation is so successful as to turn a previously disparaging word into the preferred term: for example, "
gay", previously an insult, is now strongly preferred to " homosexual", both as an adjective and a noun.
To a lesser extent, and more controversially among the groups referred to, the same has happened with many racial and ethnic terms:
heeb" and (to a lesser extent) " kike" as terms for Jews
nigger" as a term for African Americans
* "redneck" as a term for rural people (and, to some extent, others) from the
Southern United States
* "flip" as a term used by
Kara Walkerhas attempted to reappropriate the word Negress.
handicappedpeople have reappropriated "crip", "cripple" and "gimp".
However, the phenomenon is much older, especially in politics.
Yankeeis one example of an epithet reappropriated as self-identification: Tory(orig. from Middle Irish word for 'pursued man' " Tóraidhe" ) and Whig (from 'whiggamore' (See the Whiggamore Raid)) are British examples. The Dutch and German languages actually have a separate word for such a term, " [http://nl.wikipedia.com/wiki/Geuzennaam geuzennaam] " (Dutch, commonly used) and " [http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geusenwort Geusenwort] " (German, used among linguists). These words derive from the geuzen, i.e., Dutch opponents to Spanish rule in the 16th century, who eventually created the Netherlandsunder William of Orange. Being derisively called 'beggars' ('gueux' in French of the era) by their opponents, they appropriated a Dutchified form of the word as their own 'battle name'.
Recontextualization of material objects
A closely related phenomenon is the recontextualization of material objects, as for example when the anti-racist
Jim Crow Museum[http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/] at Ferris State Universitydisplays such Jim Crow Era artifacts as golliwogmarbles or Sambomasks. Another such example would be the display of an anti-Semitic poster in a Holocaustmuseum.
Reappropriation of land, etc.
While the previous examples are largely symbolic, another type of reappropriation is far more material, while still also involving an important symbolic dimension. The many battles over People's Park in
Berkeley, Californiahave centered on community activists' intent to reappropriate as public space a piece of land that the University of California, Berkeleyoriginally wanted to turn into a parking lot. The space has been a site of contention since 1969.
Reclaiming— a term with a similar meaning
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Réappropriation — La réappropriation connaît diverses acceptions. Dans les domaines politique et social, les différentes pratiques et théories de réappropriation relèvent des cadres anarchiste et autogestionnaire. Suivant une acception élargie et descriptive, le… … Wikipédia en Français
reappropriation — n. * * * … Universalium
reappropriation — n. redivision, reallocation, redistribution … English contemporary dictionary
reappropriation — re·appropriation … English syllables
reappropriation — re ap•pro pri•a′tion n … From formal English to slang
reappropriation — “+ noun : the act of reappropriating * * * n. * * * reapprōpriāˈtion noun • • • Main Entry: ↑reappropriate … Useful english dictionary
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Pede — Pédé Pédé ou PD (abréviation phonétique) est un terme servant à désigner une personne homosexuelle. En soi péjoratif, ce terme est la plupart du temps utilisé comme insulte homophobe. Il est aussi de plus en plus fréquemment repris par la… … Wikipédia en Français
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