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Editorial

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.

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Editorial

Social Quality, Environmental Challenges, and Indicators

Laurent J. G. van der Maesen

The first three articles of this issue are dedicated to aspects of the current debate about and the praxis of environmental questions, and thus of the ecosystems. The fourth article concerns the application of social quality indicators in China. The gaining hypothesis is that a disconnection of the social quality approach of daily circumstances in Japan, Russia, China, Europe, the Americas, Africa, or India from environmental processes results into anachronisms. Without a global consciousness of the unequal consequences of these environmental processes, people in rich countries may be tempted to positively judge the nature of the social quality of their localities or country “as such.” Unknown remains that, seen from a global perspective, macrodetermined reasons for the positive outcomes in rich countries may go at the expense of ecosystems. They may cause, also because of the exportation of substantial elements of problematic (and partly environmental) aspects of the dominant production and reproduction relationships, serious forms of exploitation. Under the same conditions (ceteris paribus), this attack on ecosystems, as well as this exportation and exploitation cause increasingly declining social quality of daily circumstances in poor countries and regions. This will also result into an increase of “climate refugees.” Because of advancing technologically driven transformations—especially regarding communications systems—the interdependencies of countries between the West and the East, as well as between the North and the South, accelerate. Autarkic situations are becoming, or have already been for a long time, a myth.

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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.

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Environmental Expertise as Group Belonging

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.

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Extended Sites of Action

In and Out of Marginality

Narmala Halstead

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.

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Ted Nannicelli

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.

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The Household in Flux

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.

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In Memoriam

Tribute to Joyce Canaan

Shirin Housee

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’.

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Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh and Mette Louise Berg

Throughout history, migration has been at the heart of the transformation of societies and communities. At the same time, changing dynamics across social, economic, political, cultural, and environmental realms have influenced processes of migration and (im)mobility around the world in different ways, including by facilitating, forcing, preventing, normalizing, criminalizing, and securitizing the movement of diverse people and objects. As academic, political, policy, and popular interest in migration has increased in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, so too has the need to remain attentive to the long histories, wide-ranging geographies, and multiple directionalities of different forms of migration. Indeed, the growing interest in migration makes it important to continue to interrogate how, why, and with what effect different people and institutions study, teach, and respond to migration. This includes posing questions such as: how do we, and could we, conceptualize and resist particular ways of framing migration and mobility; whose vantage points are centralized and whose are erased from view and ignored in migration studies and policies; who counts as a migrant in the first place; and to what extent and how can a focus on migration stimulate more nuanced and engaged ways of being in and responding to the world around us?

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Uliana Vinokurova

The article provides a review of various strategies the peoples of Siberia undertake to reestablish their identity, their cultural identity, and rights to their land. The article aims to analyze the modern challenges that the indigenous peoples of Siberia face and their responses to such challenges. The article presents five models of survival strategies used by the peoples of Siberia.