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Open access

Nikolai Goncharov

This article proposes a view of the Allaikhovskii district (Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)) located in the Russian Arctic as a “laboratory” in which various actors (the state, regional authorities, local communities) have been actively working on the production of food security. Based on both field experience and published literature, I describe a multilayered process of foodscape formation in this region. The unique elements that characterize the foodscape of the district are the nonautomated modes of food production caused by territorial isolation, unsatisfactory infrastructure, the high price of food delivery, and environmental changes. All these factors create fragile foodscape; the life of local residents can be characterized as “being with risk,” which inspires certain compensatory measures implemented by different layered actors. The impossibility of creating a consistent and reliable system of subsistence thus reinforces a “laboratory” regime of permanent experiments to maintain food security. The Arctic laboratory is not located in separate place with specialists (as in the case discussed by Bruno Latour) but distributed throughout the actors and their activities connected with their lifestyles in this specific territory.

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Bato-Dalai Ochirov

A Buryat Activist at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

Robert W. Montgomery

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a native intelligentsia took shape among Siberia’s Buryat Mongols that, combining indigenous and Russian influences, pursued cultural survival alongside social, political, and economic modernization. One of its significant, yet relatively unsung, members was Bato-Dalai Ochirov (1874 or 1875–1913). He is best known as the only Buryat ever to serve in the Russian State Duma (in the short-lived Second Duma in 1907). Yet over the course of his short life, Ochirov also was an administrator, political activist, author, philanthropist, and supporter of culture and science. This article provides an overview of Ochirov’s life and seeks to elucidate his worldview, which stressed the defense of Buryat interests using the possibilities available within the existing autocratic order.

Open access

Ellen A. Ahlness

Once Upon the Permafrost: Knowing Culture and Climate Change in Siberia, by Susan Alexandra Crate. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2021, x +327 pp. ISBN: 978-0-8165-4155-3

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Gregory Mahler, Ami Pedahzur, Ilan Peleg, Morrie Fred, and Louis A. Fishman

Alan Dowty, Israel (Medford, MD: Polity Histories Series, 2021), 224 pp., $14.95 (paperback).

Devorah S. Manekin, Regular Soldiers, Irregular War: Violence and Restraint in the Second Intifada (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2020), 264 pp., $39.95 (hardback).

Raphael Cohen-Almagor, Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism: Liberalism, Culture and Coercion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021), 250 pp., $29.99 (paperback).

Ian McGonigle, Genomic Citizenship: The Molecularization of Identity in the Contemporary Middle East (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2021), 220 pp., $75.00 (paperback).

Liora Halperin, The Oldest Guard: Forging the Zionist Settler Past (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2021), 368 pp., $28.00 (paperback).

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Bringing Politics Back In

Embedded Neoliberalism in Israel during Rabin’s Second Government

Arie Krampf, Uri Ansenberg, and Barak Zur

This article makes an empirical and historical contribution regarding the role of the Labor Party government between 1992 and 1996—Yitzhak Rabin’s government—in shaping the Israeli path to neoliberalism. The article argues that Rabin’s government developed a new neoliberal political-economic logic that differed from the political-economic logic of the Emergency Stabilization Plan as well as from the political-economic logic of Sharon’s government in the post-Intifada era. It argues that Rabin’s government’s political-economic logic conforms to the notion of ‘embedded neoliberalism’ (Bohle and Greskovits 2012). The article also argues that political parties had greater impact on the Israeli neoliberal path than is conventionally claimed. The historical analysis is based on qualitative and quantitative research in six policy areas: supply-side, demand-side, welfare and redistribution, development, depoliticization and democratization.

Open access

Case Study

The ‘Deep Believer’ 30 Years On, 1926–2008

Reinhold L. Loeffler

In my book Islam in Practice (1988), I showed the great variety of religious beliefs in Sisakht, a village of Luri-speaking tribal people in the province of Kohgiluye/Boir Ahmad in Iran. I gave one of the 21 men I presented, Mr. Husseinkhan Sayadi, the epithet ‘Deep Believer’ to reflect his firm belief in God and Shi'a traditions. We became close friends, and revisiting his life again 14 years after his death, I will continue to use his first name to reflect and honour our friendship.

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“The Chain of Hebrew Soldiers”

Reconsidering “Religionization” within an IDF Bible Seminar

Nehemia Stern, Uzi Ben-Shalom, Udi Lebel, and Batia Ben-Hador

This article presents an ethnographic analysis of the educational and religious tensions that emerged during a five-day biblical seminar run by the Israel Defense Forces’ Identity and Jewish Consciousness Unit. We argue that despite the official focus on professionalization as a pedagogical parameter, the seminar participants themselves reacted to biblical narratives in ways that indicate a distinct kind of personal and individualized discourse. By focusing on this disjuncture, we highlight the very real limitations larger (governmental or civilian) institutional entities face as they attempt to shape religious attitudes within the Israeli public arena. Examining how seminar participants interpret biblical narratives can enable scholars to portray a more nuanced account of how religion and “religionization” function within the Israel Defense Forces.

Free access

Oded Haklai and Adia Mendelson-Maoz

We are pleased to introduce the second issue of 2022. Several of the articles in this issue are marked by their policy relevance. The article by Arie Krampf, Uri Ansenberg, and Barak Zur examines the role played by the Labor Party government between 1992 and 1996 to guide Israel onto a neoliberal economic path. The authors coin the term “embedded neoliberalism” to explain the interaction between pro-market and anti-market influences, yielding a peculiar type of neoliberal order in Israel. Examining social work education of Palestinian female students in Israel, the article by Haneen Elias and Ronit Reuven Even-Zahav identifies the significance of context-informed education that integrates the intersectional position of Palestinian students. Finally, Erez Cohen’s article identifies incompatibilities between existing public policy pertaining to post-retirement employment and the real-life needs of elderly people, suggesting a need for reform.

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Sarit Alkalay, Anat Itzhak-Fishman, and Ohad Marcus

This study investigates empathy toward Israeli Arabs among Jewish students in Israel. Our model shows that elevated levels of attachment-related anxiety are associated with greater personal distress elicited by Arab suffering. Perceptions of the national narrative as traumatic had a negative effect on empathy toward Arabs, while attachment-related anxiety and perceptions of the national narrative as traumatic were positively linked and empathy and personal distress toward Arabs were positively linked. Political views mediated the link between perceptions of the national narrative as traumatic and empathy toward Arabs. We propose that diminishing the traumatic intensity of the Jewish national narrative may serve to increase intergroup empathy.

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Jenanne Ferguson

Once again, this issue of Sibirica is diverse and disparate. We move from understanding food security as a laboratory in the northern districts of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) all the way to a brief yet trilingual Tuvan geological glossary, with stops along the way to learn about an influential yet little-known Buryat activist, as well as cultural developments in Magadan in the 1950s and 1960s. However, what unites these varied pieces is a central theme of creativity, and the effects of approaching problems with fresh eyes and new ideas even amid restrictive conditions or systems—whether political or infrastructural.