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Ming-Lun Chung

Abstract

This article explores the formation of school anti-bullying policy in Taiwan with the development of democratization, and draws on critical realism to explain how generative mechanisms activate policy making under the operation of party politics within the Taiwanese school system. The article describes the planning and practice of Taiwanese anti-bullying policy, and argues how critical realism can help bridge the gap between empirical analysis and generative mechanisms in critical policy analysis. Light is shed on an empirical inquiry into anti-bullying policy, which analyzes different ideological debates over the policy and power struggles between different policy stakeholders. A crucial attempt is to identify the generative mechanisms behind the anti-bullying policy making and elaborate on how the “generative mechanisms” embedded in Taiwanese top-down governance make social control possible in the schooling system. The conclusion reflects on the possibility of democratic schooling through the critical realist approach and praxis of collective agency for social change and human emancipation between political governance, policy research, and school practice.

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Searching for a New Way of Thinking about Society

A Noospheric Social Quality Orientation for Development toward Sustainability

Vyacheslav Nikolayevitch Bobkov and Nikolay Vyacheslavovich Bobkov

Abstract

The currently accepted global wisdom holds that the most important and decisive challenge for humankind is to reach sustainable circumstances; societal, geophysical, and biophysical. However, there is little readiness to go beyond the inherited fundamental assumptions of a “modern industrial capitalist market society.” This is oriented on the commodification and marketization of natural and cultural resources for making profit. Seen from a Russian perspective, this article argues that this approach causes a destruction of sustainable living conditions. The social quality approach, the Russian interpretation of quality of life approach, and the noosphere paradigm of global societal development offer space for considerations that questions the dominant socioeconomic and financial societal practices not only on the phenomenological level. Instead, the authors name gnoseological, ontological, and axiological prerequisites of sustainable global societal development. This will contribute to the wider and diverse debates on what can be called people’s humanistic socialism.

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Antipoverty Measures

The Potential for Shaming and Dignity Building through Delivery Interactions

Erika Gubrium and Sony Pellissery

Abstract

The special issue focuses on the impact of antipoverty measures—accounting for social and structural dimensions in the poverty experience and moving beyond an income-only focus—in five country cases: China, India, Norway, Uganda, and the United States. Particularly, we focus on the implications of shame in the delivery of antipoverty measures, as an individual and social phenomenon that relates to feelings of self-inadequacy, as well to a lack of dignity and recognition. We analyze delivery interactions through an analytic framework of rights, discretion and negotiation, as this enables us to parse out how policy delivery interactions presumed or enabled individual choice, ability, control, and voice. We suggest social citizenship can structure the relationships between welfare recipients and administrators. As a concept, it expands the objects of social rights beyond the materiality of human life (e.g., housing, pensions) to include intangible processual elements (e.g., dignity) in the construct of rights.

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Marine Dhermy-Mairal, Jean-François Bert, and Baudry Rocquin

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Building Dignity?

Tracing Rights, Discretion, and Negotiation within a Norwegian Labor Activation Program

Erika Gubrium, Leah Johnstone, and Ivar Lødemel

Abstract

Within a Norwegian labor activation program for social assistance, we explore how the presence of a work-oriented ethos shapes and changes the balance of rights, discretion, and negotiation available to and marking the interactions between service providers and program participants. We trace connections between changed delivery interactions and heightened shame or enhanced dignity for participants. Two themes emerge, the first related to an imagined institutional trajectory of progress attached to labor activation in which participants were offered “more” and the second to whether participants and caseworkers had a meaningful voice in co-negotiating the terms of activation. Unrealistic optimism and an institutional focus placed on individual participants’ new responsibilities fueled a longer-term negative impact. Descriptions of enhanced rights, new possibilities for negotiation, and reported feelings of shame and frustration depended both on the participant’s distance to the labor market and on the point at which respondents were interviewed.

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A Dignified Meal

Negotiated Spaces in India’s School Meal Program

Sony Pellissery, Sattwick Dey Biswas, and Biju Abraham

Abstract

In human rights literature, human dignity is the foundation of human rights. Thus, scholarly literature has focused on rights to further enhance dignity. In this article, we argue that rights alone provide only a minimum of dignity. We examine India’s right to food legislation and its implementation in school meal programs. Based on our observations, we argue that discretion and negotiation are complementary institutional spaces that can be developed for the meaningful enjoyment of rights and thus dignity. The negotiations that take place between school management committees and schoolteachers determine the dignity of the midday meal by improving meal quality and nutritional content, infrastructural facilities, and working arrangements for the cooking and delivery of meals. The findings are based on a study of four schools in the states of Kerala and West Bengal and on a review of studies on the midday meal programs in other Indian states.

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Nicolas Sembel

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Durkheim et Buisson

Un rendez-vous manqué ?

Matthieu Béra

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