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The Rule of Law as a Condition for Development Toward Sustainability

Toward a New Legally Oriented Environment at a Global Level

Giovanni Tartaglia Polcini

Abstract

This article, conceived on an open-process approach, explains the Italian rule of law’s model promoted by Italy in multilateral and bilateral fora. The rule of law aims to counter the abuse of power by the authorities and to build a new legally oriented environment in a multilevel order. (The rule by law, however, may be used to oppress or discriminate against people and to avoid accountability under the guise of formality, legality, and legitimacy.) Furthermore, the rule of law is instrumentally valuable to economic sustainable growth in delivering concrete development. The Italian achievements are demonstrated by the experiences acquired in G20 anti-corruption initiatives that vouch for Italy’s legitimacy and credibility on priority areas related to the struggle against global crime, drugs, money laundering, and terrorism. Moreover, Italian juridical diplomacy for promoting the rule of law at the multilateral level is framed according to the guidelines of sustainable development and the protection of human rights.

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Xu Yanhui and Gong Ziyu

Abstract

Poverty is generally viewed in traditional understandings as merely lowness of income, so its noneconomic aspects and dynamic characteristics are neglected. Conversely, Amartya Sen has argued that poverty must be seen as the deprivation of basic capabilities—the substantive freedoms a person enjoys to lead the kind of life they have reason to value. Based on Sen’s capability poverty theory, this article examines the influence of social quality and community capacity on Chinese urban residents’ capability poverty. The social quality perspective assesses societal progress and refers to four conditional factors: socioeconomic security, social inclusion, social cohesion, and social empowerment. Our data analysis from a survey undertaken in Shenzhen indicates that socioeconomic security, social cohesion, and social empowerment can effectively alleviate capability poverty. Community capacity was also an influential factor for capability poverty of urban residents. According to these findings, future anti-poverty projects should focus on improving social quality and community capacity.

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Society, Morality, Embodiment

Tracing Durkheim's Legacy

Sondra L. Hausner

This issue of Durkheimian Studies presents the collective efforts of the participants of a workshop held in late 2017, the centenary anniversary of Émile Durkheim’s death, at the University of Oxford. The articles that emerged from it, published together in this special issue for the first time along with some new material, demonstrate a continuation of classic Durkheimian themes, but with contemporary approaches. First, they consider the role of action in the production of society. Second, they rely on authors’ own ethnographies: the contributors here engage with Durkheimian questions from the data of their own fieldsites. Third, effervescence, one of Durkheim’s most innovative contributions to sociology, is considered in depth, and in context: how do societies sustain themselves over time? Finally, what intellectual histories did Durkheim himself draw upon – and how can we better understand his conceptual contributions in light of these influences?

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Toward Comprehensive Conceptualizations of Contemporary Public Health

Participation as the Cornerstone of Appropriate Methodologies

Harry Nijhuis

Abstract

This article explores the development of appropriate conceptualizations of public health, and, more importantly, adequate practices and methodologies to be applied in today’s societal context. Popular concepts like “positive health,” “comprehensive approaches,” and “participation” represent only specific components of larger complexities. My intention is to come up with useful notions for a more holistic comprehension of public health. First, two strands of reasoning, on which my argument is based, are discussed: (1) interpretations regarding major public health discourses of the past two centuries; (2) critical appraisal of influential societal tendencies (to be able to identify what today is “appropriate”). Then, based on these interpretations, notions are developed regarding ontological, epistemological, and societal aspects of public health. This leads us to the discussion of adequate methodologies for today’s practice of public health. I argue that emancipated participation of citizen communities—organized as cooperatives—ought to be a cornerstone in elaborations of contemporary public health.

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What Do Religions Actually Fight About?

A Durkheimian Perspective

Bruno Karsenti

In this article, I use a reading of The Elementary Forms of Religious Life to show the relevance of the sociological point of view developed by Durkheim in the analysis and understanding of issues related to the religious conflicts that affect contemporary societies. In particular, I focus on the definition of the critical social function of religion, based on a certain conception of the necessities of action in society and on a gradual transformation of the idea of salvation into a secular context.

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What of Effervescence?

Durkheim in the Cathedral

Simon Coleman

In this article I explore the continued salience of Durkheimian effervescence through an examination of ritual activities contained within contemporary English cathedrals. My argument focuses less on collective occasions of creative or destructive tumult and more on ritualised forms of action where modalities of engagement and participation are nuanced, reflexively negotiated and small-scale. My aim is to render more subtle – and potentially productive – our understandings of gradations in ritual intensity.

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The Limits to Cheating History

Changing the Reference for Accounting

Peter Herrmann

Abstract

The article outlines some challenges for accounting, which is increasingly under pressure. Accounting tries to enhance its meaning by widening its approach, including issues that fall under headings like environmental or social corporate responsibility. However, the article aims to make clear that such strategies are not sufficient to answer challenges that emerge from social quality thinking. The two main challenges are (1) to merge accounting on the micro- and the macro-level and (2) to introduce a thorough qualitative perspective.

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Rolf Dieter Hepp

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In our society, the relationship between periphery and center is changing. Questions discussed under the conditions of outsiders and suspended social groups penetrate the center of society and systematically determine the social correlations. Inequality, poverty, social insecurity, and precariousness are equated with changes in social change when the risk of social exclusion is undermined by unskilled activities. This is, for example, very much the case in the German discussion so that outsider groups are defined in Germany, which have themselves maneuvered into a corresponding social situation through wrong biographical decisions. The French approach of Pierre Bourdieu, Robert Castel, and Luc Boltanski and Ève Chiapello differed decisively in this respect, since they reoriented social uncertainties and precariousness in a reorganization of the work structure. This article shows how precariousness is shifted to the center of society and how qualified work develops into unsafe and precarious working conditions within the framework of the reorganization in project activity.

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Ananta Kumar Giri

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Mainstream discourse and practice of development mainly focus on what can be called the prose of development: the hard-core and hardware issues of economics, politics, and infrastructure. There is very little poetics in the mood and methods of its advocates. This article, referring among others to Indian philosophers, argues that we should turn this approach around in a transformative way, by putting what is usually considered the lowest at the top. Poetics of development builds upon inner and shared transformations in prose and poetics, as it seeks to express the suffering and joys of souls and societies. It offers a new dimension to the social quality idea about “the social” as the outcome of the dialectic between processes of self-realization of human beings and the formation of collective identities. The article argues that this shift in focus is essential to meaningful development.