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Notes around Hospitality as Inhabitation

Engaging with the Politics of Care and Refugees’ Dwelling Practices in the Italian Urban Context

Camillo Boano and Giovanna Astolfo

Hospitality has become a dominant notion in relation to asylum and immigration. Not only is it often used in public and state discourses, it is also prevalent in social analysis, in its ambivalent relationship with hostility and the control and management of population. Grounded in the Derridean suggestion of hospitality as “giving place” (2000: 25), we offer a reflection on hospitality centered around the notion of inhabitation. Framing hospitality as inhabitation helps to move away from problematic asymmetrical and colonial approaches to migration toward acknowledging the multiplicity of transformative experiences embedded in the city. It also enhances a more nuanced understanding of the complex entanglements of humanitarian dilemmas, refugees’ struggle for recognition and their desire for “opacity.” This article draws on five years of teaching-based engagement with the reality of refugees and asylum seekers hosted in the Sistema di Protezione Richiedenti Asilo e Rifugiati in Brescia, Italy.

Open access

Christine Moderbacher

More than a year aft er the Brussels district Molenbeek came to international attention as “ISIS’s European capital,” an unplanned encounter during a visit at my former field site leads to a conversation about the struggles and concerns that people are facing in this much-talked-about place. The discussion on a small restaurant terrace wanders off into disappointments and adjustments during research and life and is marked by a shared feeling of uncertainty that mirrors the atmosphere of a city that has seldom been portrayed beyond ephemeral media descriptions.

Open access

Rafael Guendelman Hales

“Objects Removed for Study” is a creative remaking of a fraction of the Library of Ashurbanipal (part of the Assyrian collection of the British Museum) by a group of women from the Iraqi Community Association in London. Inspired by the main role of the library as a guide for the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal, and considering the current situation in Iraq, the women were invited to rewrite and re-create a series of ceramic books and artifacts. This project aims to critically rethink both the identity and the role of these old artifacts in the articulation of new sensitivities and possibilities in today’s context of displacement.

Open access

Simone Toji

This is a story about the disturbed perception of an elderly person of Polish origin who is living through the effects of dementia. Throughout his discontinuous flashes of consciousness, the text plays with senses of alterity and the invisibility of different groups who lived or are still living in Bom Retiro, a neighborhood in the city of São Paulo. The story refers symbolically to a sense of “discovery” of new migration patterns in the city when south-south migration flows became prominent. The existence of different groups of nationalities is also represented in the narrative by the characters’ use of terms borrowed from various languages. While Polish is recovered by the main character in order to explore a sense of belonging, words in Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese are appropriated by him and other figures to establish a certain degree of alterity in relation to the migrants who are native speakers of these three languages.

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Overconsumption as Ideology

Implications for Addressing Global Climate Change

Diana Stuart, Ryan Gunderson and Brian Petersen

In response to climate change projections, scientists and concerned citizens are increasingly calling for changes in personal consumption. However, these calls ignore the true relationship between production and consumption and the ongoing propagation of the ideology of overconsumption. In this article, we draw from Western Marxist theorists to explain the ideology of overconsumption and its implications for addressing global climate change. Drawing from Herbert Marcuse and Guy Debord, we illustrate how production drives consumption, how advertising promotes false needs and excess, how these power relations are concealed, and how they undermine social and ecological well-being. Specific to climate change, continued widespread support for increasing levels of production and economic growth will undermine efforts to reduce carbon emissions and limit global warming. Given the relationships between production and carbon emissions, effective mitigation efforts will require significant systemic changes in work, production, consumption, advertising, and social norms.

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Park Spaces and the User Experience

Reconsidering the Body in Park Analysis Tools

Eric A. Stone and Jennifer D. Roberts

As a strategy for combating physical inactivity, obesity, and other health conditions, the apperception of greenspace and importance of human-nature relationships have increased in recent decades. With this raised awareness in greenspace, the development of park auditing tools has been positioned primarily in the material conditions (e.g., physical environmental conditions) of parks. An examination of existing park auditing tools has shown that by focusing on particular material conditions, built environment and active living scholars have set aside other characteristics, namely, those that consider the user (e.g., the active human), as a separate concern from the focus of these tools. We have sought to engage with these tools to examine how they can be more effective in analyzing both the physical and human elements of parks and other natural environments.

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Passing the Talking Stick

Resilience-Making through Storytelling

Tammy Williams

Young Indigenous Women’s Utopia. 2019. Treaty 6 Traditional Homeland of the Metis People (Saskatoon, SK): Self-published with support from York University, McGill University, and Networks for Change and Well-being: Girl-led ‘from the ground up’ Policy Making to Address Sexual Violence in Canada and South Africa. To order a copy email yiwutopia@gmail.com.

Free access

Personal, Powerful, Political

Activist Networks by, for, and with Girls and Young Women

Catherine Vanner and Anuradha Dugal

“Today I met my role model,” tweeted climate change activist Greta Thunberg on 25 February 2020, captioning a picture of herself with girls’ education activist Malala Yousafzai, who also tweeted the picture, proclaiming that Greta was “the only friend I would skip school for.” The proclamations of mutual admiration illustrate a form of solidarity between the two most famous girl activists, who are often pointed to as examples of the power of the individual girl activist in spite of their intentionally collective approaches that connect young activists and civil society organizations around the world. These girl activists have garnered worldwide attention for their causes but have also been subject to problematic media representations that elevate voices of privilege and/or focus on girl activists as exceptional individuals (Gordon and Taft 2010; Hesford 2014), often obscuring the movements behind them. For this reason, this special issue explores activism networks by, for, and with girls and young women, examining and emphasizing girls’ activism in collective and collaborative spaces.

Open access

Places of Otherness

Comparing Eastleigh, Nairobi, and Xiaobei, Guangzhou, as Sites of South-South Migration

Neil Carrier and Gordon Mathews

This article looks at two urban landscapes critical for mobility within the Global South: Eastleigh, Kenya, and Xiaobei, China. While different, they are both centers of global trade that attract migrants seeking livelihoods, and are also regarded with great ambivalence within the countries that host them. We explore this ambivalence, showing how it links to fear of the “others” who animate them, and to broader politics in which migrants become caught. Such places often simultaneously attract members of the host society for a taste of the other, or business opportunities, yet also repel and induce fear as places of danger. For the migrant population, there is also ambivalence—as they are places that offer both opportunity for social mobility, yet also places of hard lives and immobility. In short, both are critical nodes in patterns of South-South mobility where dynamics of such mobility and reaction to it can be understood.

Open access

Plastic Packaging, Food Supply, and Everyday Life

Adopting a Social Practice Perspective in Social-Ecological Research

Lukas Sattlegger, Immanuel Stieß, Luca Raschewski and Katharina Reindl

This article presents practice-theoretical conceptions of societal relations to nature as a fruitful alternative to common system approaches in social-ecological research. Via the example of plastic food packaging, two different practice-theoretical approaches to food supply are discussed regarding their suitability for relating the material properties of packaging to their everyday use by producers, retailers, and consumers: (1) the network approach (portraying food supply as a network of practices; these practices include material elements that interrelate with other elements like competence or meaning) and (2) the nexus approach (investigating the interrelation between social practices and material arrangements in which they take place). Depending on the given research interest, both perspectives have their pros and cons: the network approach is stronger in understanding the everyday use of technologies, while the nexus approach encourages the integration of infrastructures and environmental contexts that are not directly observable within the practice.