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Editorial

The Evolution of 20 Years of Social Quality Thinking

Laurent van der Maesen

This and the next issues of the International Journal of Social Quality are the outcome of the support by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) to develop this journal globally, delivering an opportunity to present a more extensive editorial in order to summarize the state of social quality work and to indicate essential challenges at this stage and in the near future. To reflect our new collaboration with CASS and our other growing international links, we welcome five new members from all over the world to the editorial board. We also welcome our new vice-chair to the international advisory committee. The preparations for the collaboration with CASS were made in 2017. In the beginning of 2018, Berghahn Books in New York, the International Association on Social Quality (IASQ) in Amsterdam, and CASS in Beijing signed a contract for the coming five years. At this stage, CASS is made up of 31 research institutes and 45 research centers oriented on a range of disciplines including economics, law, philosophy, political science, sociology, world religions, environmental science, and world politics. It applies cross-disciplinary approaches to regions such as Asia, Africa, Russia, Eastern Europe, and Western Europe.

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Editors' Note

The return of human rights

Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

Since 2015, Regions & Cohesion, like many other observers of global affairs, has focused significantly on sustainable development. The passage of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) called attention to this issue. Its “transformative” or “universal” or “interconnected” perspective on development signified a paradigm shift in how we view development strategies in terms of focus, content, structure, agency, and responsibilities. Human rights were subsumed in these discussions on many ways.

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Ted Nannicelli

The first thing I would like to do in my capacity as the new editor of Projections is to warmly thank the outgoing editor, Stephen Prince, for his outstanding stewardship of the journal over the past six years. Already a success when Stephen took over in 2012, Projections has only improved since then. It has been a great pleasure for me to work with Stephen as one of the associate editors over the past few years, and I am delighted that Stephen will remain involved with the journal in some capacity, since he has recently been elected the new president of the Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image (SCSMI).

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Claudia Mitchell

With this issue of Girlhood Studies, we recognize the tenth anniversary of the death of Jackie Kirk, one of the co-founders of the journal. While we begin the issue with a visual essay “Honoring the Legacy of Jackie Kirk,” in which we document a special international event that took place earlier this year that paid tribute to her work, as the other two co-founding editors of GHS, we, Claudia Mitchell and Jacqueline Reid-Walsh, would like to offer our own tribute to Jackie. As someone who travelled the globe, Jackie was a great emailer, and managed to remain connected to vast networks of researchers, practitioners, and members of NGOs regardless of where she was, and so it is perhaps fitting that we have found ourselves emailing back on forth about what we might say about her now.

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Fatima Khan, Claudia Mitchell and Marni Sommer

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the death of Jackie Kirk, a co-founder of Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and an incredibly effective member of the global education community who died at the hands of the Taliban in Afghanistan on 13 August 2008 while working on a project on girls’ education. As an activist and researcher Jackie had a great range of expertise, including that of dealing with education in emergencies, the challenges facing women teachers, and the menstruation-related needs of school-going girls, as well as a grasp of the importance of visual images in understanding the realm of girls’ education. She brought to her work an attention to critical theoretical concepts alongside the practical; she always placed girls and women (especially women teachers) at the center of her explorations, her analyses, and her recommendations for policy and practice.

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Introduction

Ethnographic engagements with global elites

Paul Robert Gilbert and Jessica Sklair

Anthropological interest in critical studies of class, system, and inequality has recently been revitalized. Most ethnographers have done this from “below,” while studies of financial, political, and other professional elites have tended to avoid the language of class, capital, and inequality. This themed section draws together ethnographies of family wealth transfers, philanthropy, and private sector development to reflect on the place of critique in the anthropology of elites. While disciplinary norms and ethics usually promote deferral to our research participants, the uncritical translation of these norms “upward” to studies of elites raises concerns. We argue for a critical approach that does not seek political purity or attempt to “get the goods” on elites, but that makes explicit the politics involved in doing ethnography with elites.

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Introduction

Mobility in doctoral education – and beyond

Corina Balaban and Susan Wright

This special issue emerged as a result of Universities in the Knowledge Economy (UNIKE), a four-year collaborative research project and training programme for early-stage researchers that investigated the dynamic relationships between universities and knowledge economies in Europe and in the Asia-Pacific Rim. The project was funded by the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Commission (EC) and included researchers based at six different universities in five European countries. Mobility was not only a widespread research interest within the UNIKE academic community but also a reality of the project, which was in itself a practical example of mobility in doctoral education, as envisaged by the European Commission. Many questions emerged as to how mobility became so central to the European Union’s policies for higher education, but also as to how the portrayal of mobility on a policy level compared to the actual lived experiences of mobile students and researchers. ‘Mobility’ can refer to many different things: geographical mobility, social mobility, cross-sectoral mobility or intellectual mobility (interdisciplinarity). The academic literature mostly treats them separately, with clusters of studies around each concept. In contrast, this special issue sets out to investigate these different types of mobility collectively, with authors covering several parts or the whole spectrum of mobilities. We believe it is valuable to discuss these four different aspects of mobility together for two reasons. First, they are often mentioned together in higher education policy as ‘desirable’ characteristics of a given education programme. Second, the ideal profile of the new, flexible knowledge worker supposedly combines all these aspects of mobility in one persona. The policy literature produced by influential stakeholders in higher education such as the European Commission and the OECD focuses on how to encourage, foster and support different kinds of mobility, working on the assumption that mobility is inherently good and will benefit countries, higher education systems and individuals. Much of the academic literature has adopted a similar approach, focusing on ways to enable mobility rather than challenge it.

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Introduction

Ethnographic Engagement with Bureaucratic Violence

Erin R. Eldridge and Amanda J. Reinke

Bureaucracies are dynamic and interactive sociocultural worlds that drive knowledge production, power inequalities and subsequent social struggle, and violence. The authors featured in this special section mobilize their ethnographic data to examine bureaucracies as animated spaces where violence, whether physical, structural, or symbolic, manifests in everyday bureaucratic practices and relationships. The articles span geographic contexts (e.g., United States, Canada, Chile, Eritrea) and topics (e.g., migration, extractive economies, law and sociolegal change, and settler colonialism) but are bound together in their investigation of the violence of the administration of decisions, care, and control through bureaucratic means.

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Introduction

Understanding Experiences and Decisions in Situations of Enduring Hardship in Africa

Mirjam de Bruijn and Jonna Both

The enduring experience of hardship, in the form of layers of various crises, can become deeply ingrained in a society, and people can come to act and react under these conditions as if they lead a normal life. This process is explored through the analytical concept of duress, which contains three elements: enduring and accumulating layers of hardship over time, the normalization of this hardship, and a form of deeply constrained agency. We argue that decisions made in duress have a significant impact on the social and political structures of society. This concept of duress is used as a lens to understand the lives of individual people and societies in Central and West Africa that have a long history of ecological, political, and social conflicts and crises.

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Introduction

Politics and Power after the 2017 Bundestag Election

Eric Lagenbacher

Although it has not been that long since the articles of the previous special issue devoted to the 2017 Bundestag election and its aftermath have been published, the political situation in Germany appears to have stabilized. After almost six months without a new government, German politics has sunk back into a kind of late-Merkel era normality. Public opinion polls continue to show that the CDU/CSU is slightly above its election outcome, the SPD is still down in the 17–18 percent range, the FDP has lost about 2 percent of its support, while the AfD, Greens and Left Party are up 1–2 percent.