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Introduction

Higher education reform in the ‘periphery’

Mariya Ivancheva and Ivo Syndicus

In recent years, an increasing body of work has addressed the ‘corporatisation’ and ‘commodification’ of universities, as well as higher education sector reforms more broadly. This work refers mostly to the traditional core hubs of higher education, such as the Anglo-American research university. In the emerging anthropology of higher education policy, accounts of the implementation and negotiation of reforms in more ‘peripheral’ contexts often remain absent. This collection of articles addresses this absence by focusing on the interplay between narratives of global policy reform and the processes of their implementation and negotiation in different contexts in the academic ‘periphery’. Bringing together work from a range of settings and through different lenses, the special issue provides insights into the common processes of reform that are underway and how decisions to implement certain reforms reaffirm rather than challenge peripheral positions in higher education.

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Edith Kauffer and Carmen Maganda

English abstract: This note presents an account of transboundary basins on a global and regional scale throughout history. The authors introduce the special section on transboundary basins, presenting their constant increase and profound complexity. Regions & Cohesion has shown a permanent interest in this subject, from its first publications and, in particular, with the 2014 special issue that addressed different theoretical, methodological, and case studies in different continents. The three readings that make up this section address contemporary water border contexts and Mexico–U.S. policy where multi- and transdisciplinary challenges continue.

Spanish abstract: Esta nota presenta un recuento de las cuencas transfronterizas a escala global y regional a través de la historia. Las autoras introducen la sección especial de cuencas transfronterizas exponiendo su constante aumento y su profunda complejidad. La revista Regiones & Cohesión ha demostrado un interés permanente por este tema, desde sus primeras publicaciones y en particular con el número especial de 2014 que abordó distintas problemáticas teóricas, metodológicas y estudios de caso de cuencas transfronterizas en diferentes continentes. Las tres lecturas que componen esta sección abordan contextos contemporáneos de la frontera hídrica y política México-Estados Unidos donde el reto multi- y transdisciplinario continúa vigente.

French abstract: Cette présentation aborde les bassins versants transfrontaliers à l’échelle globale et régionale à travers l’histoire. Les auteures introduisent la section spéciale sur les bassins transfrontaliers en signalant leur constante augmentation et leur profonde complexité. La revue Regions & Cohesion a démontré un intérêt permanent pour ce thème depuis ses premières parutions en particulier avec la publication du numéro spécial de 2014 qui a evoqué diverses problématiques théoriques, méthodologiques et des études de cas dans différents continents. Les trois lectures qui composent cette section spéciale se centrent sur les contextes contemporains de la frontière hydrique et politique entre le Mexique et les États-Unis où le défímultidisciplinaire et pluridisciplinaire est toujours d’actualité.

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Ana B. Amaya and Philippe De Lombaerde

English abstract: This introduction to the special section explores the nexus between global health governance and international health diplomacy. In these dynamic governance spaces, particular attention is paid to the multi-level and multi-actor character of global health governance and how health diplomacy functions in such a complex context. It is pointed out that the regional level plays both vertical (i.e., as an intermediary between the global and national levels) and horizontal (i.e., interregional) roles. The contributions to the special section develop the conceptual understanding of those interactions and analyze a number of concrete cases, including the African Union, ASEAN, the European Union, SADC, and UNASUR.

Spanish abstract: Esta introducción a la sección especial explora el nexo entre la gobernanza global de la salud y la diplomacia internacional de la salud. En estos espacios dinámicos de gobernanza, se presta especial atención al carácter multi-nivel y multiactor de la gobernanza sanitaria mundial y al funcionamiento de la diplomacia sanitaria en un contexto tan complejo. Se señala que el nivel regional desempeña funciones verticales (es decir, como intermediario entre los niveles mundial y nacional) y horizontales (es decir, interregionales). Las contribuciones en la sección especial desarrollan la comprensión conceptual de esas interacciones, así como analizan una serie de casos concretos, incluyendo la Unión Africana, la ASEAN, la Unión Europea, la SADC y la UNASUR.

French abstract: Cette introduction à la section spéciale explore le lien entre la gouvernance mondiale de la santé et la diplomatie internationale de la santé. Dans ces espaces dynamiques de gouvernance, une attention particulière est accordée au caractère multi-niveaux et multi-acteurs de la gouvernance mondiale de la santé et au fonctionnement de la diplomatie de la santé dans un contexte très complexe. Il est souligné que le niveau régional joue un rôle à la fois vertical (c’est-à-dire en tant qu’intermédiaire entre les niveaux mondial et national) et horizontal (c’est-à-dire interrégional). Les contributions à la section spéciale développent la compréhension conceptuelle de ces interactions et analysent un certain nombre de cas concrets, notamment l’Union africaine, l’ASEAN, l’Union européenne, la SADC et l’UNASUR.

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Medical Ethnography over Time

Penetrating “the fog of health” in a Nigerian community, 1970–2017

Murray Last

Too often, research into the health of a particular community is brief and superficial, focusing only on what is public and leaving the private health of women and children ‘foggy’. By contrast, long-term anthropology can offer access to processes taking place within a local culture of illness. Here, an account of a community’s experience of health over the past 50 years not only outlines the key changes as seen anthropologically but also shows how even close ethnography can initially miss important data. Furthermore, the impact of a researcher – both as a guest and as a source of interference – underlines how complex fieldwork can be in reality, especially if seen through the eyes of the researcher’s hosts.

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The politics of affect

Perspectives on the rise of the far-right and right-wing populism in the West

Sindre Bangstad, Bjørn Enge Bertelsen and Heiko Henkel

This article is based on the transcript of a roundtable on the rise of the far-right and right-wing populism held at the AAA Annual Meeting in 2017. The contributors explore this rise in the context of the role of affect in politics, rising socio-economic inequalities, racism and neoliberalism, and with reference to their own ethnographic research on these phenomena in Germany, Poland, Italy, France, the UK and Hungary.

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As the Editors’ Note to this inaugural 2019 issue has noted, the Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion (RISC approaches this new year with optimism. However, as 2018 came to a close, RISC suffered an immeasurable loss, which we wish to acknowledge here. Professor Robert VH Dover of the Instituto de Estudios Regionales (INER) at the Universidad de Antioquia in Medellín, Colombia, passed away in December, leaving holes in both the consortium’s leadership and the hearts of its members.

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Putting Anthropology into Global Health

A Century of Anti–Human African Trypanosomiasis Campaigns in Angola

Jorge Varanda and Josenando Théophile

This analysis of over a century of public health campaigns against human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) in Angola aims to unravel the role of (utopian) dreams in global health. Attention to the emergence and use of concepts such as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and ideas about elimination or eradication highlights how these concepts and utopian dreams are instrumental for the advancement of particular agendas in an ever-shifting field of global health. The article shows how specific representations of the elimination and eradication of diseases, framed over a century ago, continue to push Western views and politics of care onto others. This analysis generates insight into how global health and its politics of power functioned in Angola during colonialism and post-independence.

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Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

In any region of the world, in any country, each beginning of the year offers us a scenario for potential changes, purposes, goals and hopes, and 2019 does not have to be the exception. Despite various forecasts of slower global economic growth in the coming year (World Bank, Forbes, Reuters), and despite the latest reports from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on stressful atmospheric conditions, among other environmental discomforts around the planet, we cannot limit our human capacity to see the future with courage and optimism.

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Edith Kauffer

Regions & Cohesion is proud to present two photographs by Edith Kauffer that are related to the journal’s special section on transboundary waters and river basins. The section includes three articles with focus on water issues at the border between Mexico and the United States in a context of scarcity, with bilateral agreements eventually contested and relatively tense. At the complete opposite of these realities, the following images show the heterogeneity of transboundary river basins at the Mexican borders, particularly in the case with Guatemala.

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Adaptation Lived as a Story

Why We Should Be Careful about the Stories We Use to Tell Other Stories

Nicole Klenk

Within the field of climate change adaptation research, “stories” are usually simply mined for data, developed as communication and engagement technologies, and used to envision different futures. But there are other ways of understanding people’s narratives. This article explores how we can move away from understanding stories as cultural constructs that represent a reality and toward understanding them as the way in which adaptation is lived. The article investigates questions such as the following: As climate adaptation researchers, what can and should we do when we are told unsolicited stories? How can storytelling, as a way of life rather than as a source of data, inform and elaborate scientific approaches to adaptation research and planning? In this article, I move away from the literature that seeks to develop narrative methods in adaptation science. Instead, I focus on stories that we do not elicit and the world-making practice of storytelling.