There has rarely been a writer and thinker who saw his writing as more tied to his age than Jean-Paul Sartre. His notion of committed literature argued that writing and thought are anchored first and foremost in their “situation,” the period and context in which they are first produced, disseminated and discussed. One writes for one’s era, he maintained; that is when a piece of writing has its greatest impact. Almost forty years after his death, there is some irony in the fact that Sartre’s writings and thought continue to be invoked in so many different contexts far removed from their immediate cultural moment and situation. And this despite the legion of detractors on both sides of the Atlantic for whom the end of the Berlin wall and Soviet Russia sealed Sartre’s failed legacy and any possibility of his continued relevance.
John Ireland and Constance Mui
How important are regional foci in a world that is defined by transfers and mobilities? This issue of Transfers features a special section that addresses this question and provides varied answers on the role regions play in the understanding of modernity, power, and practices of moving. The call for the special section, “Asia on the Move,” went out in spring 2017. Since then, questions of mobilities, migration, and transfers have not only gained increasing attention and importance, they have also been met with resistance by local groups, in politics and social development—often, in the global point of view, from quite unexpected directions, as in the case of Myanmar and Rohinga migration in 2018.
Girlhood Studies in (and with) a History
This Special Issue of Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal highlights a unique moment in history in two ways. First, it offers a collection of articles based on presentations made at the inaugural International Girls Studies Association (IGSA) conference hosted by the University of Norwich in April 2016. I thank the guest editors, Victoria Cann, Sarah Godfrey, and Helen Warner, who, in keeping alive the spirit of this amazing international event, have worked to produce a collection of articles and an interview with a filmmaker, all of which focus specifically on media as a critical axis of feminist research and activism, and the reviews editor, Marnina Gonick, for three excellent book reviews.
African Philosophy and Rights
Motsamai Molefe and Chris Allsobrook
A useful way to approach the discourse of rights in African philosophy is in terms of Kwasi Wiredu’s (1996) distinction between cultural particulars and universals. According to Wiredu, cultural particulars are contingent and context-dependent. They fail to hold in all circumstances and for everyone (Wiredu 2005). Cultural universals are transcultural or objective (Wiredu 2005). Examples of cultural particulars include dress styles, religious rituals, social etiquette and so on. One example of a cultural universal is the norm of truth. One may imagine a society with different methods of greeting, dress, and raising children, but one cannot imagine a robust society which rejects the norm of truth as the basis of social practices.
Yoram Peri and Paul L. Scham
An academic journal, naturally, cannot deal with current affairs. The research process requires time and perspective and is always lagging behind the actual events. This is all the more applicable when it comes to a period of accelerated changes, as has happened in recent years in the Western world. Even those who do not subscribe to Heraclitus’s notion of panta rhei (everything flows) or his adage that “you cannot step twice into the same river” cannot ignore the rapid, deep, and dramatic changes that are taking place in many countries—especially in Europe, but in Asia and the United States as well. Similar occurrences are also taking place in Israel, the research arena in which ISR operates.
Environmental Sociology Meets Science and Technology Studies
Rolf Lidskog and Göran Sundqvist
What is environmental expertise? The background to this question is that many scholars consider environmental expertise crucial for discovering, diagnosing, and solving environmental problems but do not discuss in any depth what constitutes expertise. By investigating the meaning and use of the concept of expertise in three general theories within environmental sociology—the treadmill of production, risk society, and ecological modernization— and findings from science and technology studies (STS), this article develops a sociological understanding of environmental expertise: what it is and how it is acquired. Environmental expertise is namely about group belonging and professional socialization around specialized skills; that is, it concerns both substantial competence and social recognition. The implications of this general view on expertise are then used to enrich theories in environmental sociology.
In and Out of Marginality
The forum in this issue, reflecting on the problematics of the relationship between anthropology and law, as a timely focus is also indicative of how these debates revolve around disciplinary and cross-disciplinary issues. That such co-presence of anthropology and law, incorporating research in informal and formal settings, various kinds of collaboration and, in some instances, sceptical views about its value, continues to merit close attention also signals how views of differences animate a well-populated and extended field. The concerns are often articulated around an epistemic divide between anthropology and law, and allow for questioning both within and across disciplinary areas, even as much is made of the richness of an ethnographic approach to law alongside other methods and analyses, as indicated. Lawrence Rosen, in his response to the commentators in the forum, notes ‘our special area of interest is actually a great doorway into many key issues for both disciplines’, as he identifies the spaces where it is incumbent for anthropologists to act to address these cross-disciplinary challenges.
Before introducing this bumper issue of Projections, I have some exciting news to announce. At the most recent meeting of the Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image (SCSMI), the Board of Directors voted to approve a proposal to commence publishing Projections three times per year starting in 2019. This change is indicative of a steady trend of increasing, high-quality submissions, which not only allows us to publish more and publish more often, but also sends us a positive sign that our reputation for pioneering, interdisciplinary research is attracting attention from more and more scholars.
Plasticity Complicates the Unit of Analysis
Kelly A. Yotebieng and Tannya Forcone
The household is a ubiquitous unit of analysis across the social sciences. In policy, research and practice, households are often considered a link between individuals and the structures that they interact with on a daily basis. Yet, researchers often take the household for granted as something that means the same thing to everyone across contexts. As the household has never truly been a static unit of analysis, we need to revisit the household to ensure that we are still capturing what it means to be part of a household – especially if we are engaging in research where we aim to compare households across time and space. We analyse how the concept of the household has been used over time and identify areas, such as migration and urbanisation, where we need to ensure conceptual clarity. We use our field notes and ethnographic interviews to show the challenges of such an analysis.
Tribute to Joyce Canaan
For my dear friend, colleague and comrade Joyce. I write this with great sadness. Joyce fought a strong and brave battle against cancer for nearly two years, hoping that the treatments would finally end so she could get on with her life. This was my hope, too, because Joyce has so much ‘unfinished business’ – the book to complete, the articles to write and her contribution to the struggles of the land movement in Brazil to make. In a truly Freirean sense, she was building a movement with this community of farmers, teachers and academics. Joyce struggled against capitalism and its many violences and oppressions – imperialism, racism, sexism, ableism. ‘Fuck them all,’ she would say. ‘Fuck them all and let us build a better world’.