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From Ecuador to Elsewhere

The (Re)Configuration of a Transit Country

Soledad Álvarez Velasco

Unlike other transit countries, Ecuador’s position as a transit country has just begun to be publicly addressed, having been more of a strategic public secret than a topic of public interest. Based on 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork conducted between 2015 and 2016, this article discusses the dynamics of the (re)configuration of Ecuador as a transit country used by both immigrants and Ecuadorean deportees mainly from the United States to reach other destinations. It argues that this process should be interpreted in light of a series of historical and political elements in tension. The article suggests that the subtle presence of the United States’ externalized border, together with national political inconsistencies, have a repressive as well as a productive effect, which has functioned to produce a systemic form of selective control of transit mobility.

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Ted Nannicelli

I would like to start off this issue’s note by thanking everyone who has been part of a really impressive team effort to keep Projections running even while ordinary life has been upended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes referees and authors, who have had to juggle deadlines with a variety of other commitments, associate editors Tim Smith and Aaron Taylor (as well as acting associate editor Katalin Bálint—more on which soon!), and Janine Latham and the production team at Berghahn. Thank you all for going out of your way to continue working on the journal in spite of everything else that has been going on, including some significant personal challenges for some of you.

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Gauging the Propagandist’s Talents

William Le Queux’s Dubious Place in Literary History: Part One

A. Michael Matin

Shortly after the outbreak of World War One, Charles Masterman was appointed by Prime Minister Asquith to oversee a covert literary propaganda campaign in support of the British war effort. Although William Le Queux had been one of the most prominent British anti-German writers during the prewar years, he was not recruited for this governmental endeavour that included many of the nation’s best-known writers. Nonetheless, he continued on his own to publish anti-German propaganda throughout the war. These two articles assess Le Queux’s national security-oriented writings within that broader context, and they offer a methodology for gauging the potential efficacy of such texts based on recent developments in the field of risk-perception studies. Part One provides a historical and methodological foundation for both articles and assesses a number of Le Queux’s pre-1914 works. Part Two (published in Part II of this issue) examines Le Queux’s career and writings from 1914 through to his death in 1927.

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Gauging the Propagandist’s Talents

William Le Queux’s Dubious Place in Literary History: Part Two

A. Michael Matin

Shortly after the outbreak of World War One, Charles Masterman was appointed by Prime Minister Asquith to oversee a covert literary propaganda campaign in support of the British war effort. Although William Le Queux had been one of the most prominent British anti-German writers during the prewar years, he was not recruited for this governmental endeavour that included many of the nation’s best-known writers. Nonetheless, he continued on his own to publish anti-German propaganda throughout the war. These two articles assess Le Queux’s national security-oriented writings within that broader context, and they offer a methodology for gauging the potential efficacy of such texts based on recent developments in the field of risk-perception studies. Part One (published in Part I of this issue) provides a historical and methodological foundation for both articles and assesses a number of Le Queux’s pre-1914 works. Part Two examines Le Queux’s career and writings from 1914 through to his death in 1927.

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Getting by or getting ahead

State social spending and financialization in Peru

Susan Vincent

Peru’s economy is booming because of natural resource extraction, without providing formal employment. Instead, increased state revenues fund social spending. This case study shows how cash transfers are integrated into intergenerational reciprocities that are essential to social reproduction in ways that promote financialization: their inadequacy may necessitate loans which the regular disbursements can repay. Recipients hoping to get by tend to have few kin obligations and use state aid to sustain themselves, while those hoping to get ahead use them to leverage investment in productive enterprises for themselves or their families. For people from Allpachico, for whom male migrant work in the regional mining sector was the economic mainstay three decades ago, this constitutes a new relationship to the state, mining, and the economy.

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Claudia Mitchell

In March 2019, I had the pleasure of giving a talk at Peter Green College at the University of British Columbia that I called “The Politics and Possibilities of Girl-led and Youth-led Arts-based Activism to Address Gender Violence.” I wanted to highlight in particular the activist work of numerous groups of Indigenous girls and young women in a current project and the youth AIDS activist work of the Fire and Hope project in South Africa but I also wanted to place this work in the context of girls’ activism and youth activism more broadly. To do this I started out with a short activity called “Know your Girl Activist” during which I showed PowerPoint photos of some key girl and young women activists of the last few years, and asked the audience if they could identify them. The activists included two Nobel Prize Peace Prize winners, Malala Yousafzai (2014) and Nadia Murad (2018) along with Autumn Pelletier, the young Indigenous woman from Northern Ontario, Canada, well known for her work on water activism, and, of course, Greta Thunberg, now a household name but then, in 2019, already well known for her work on climate change activism. To my surprise only some of these activists were recognized, so, during the Q and A session, when I was asked if there is a history of girls as activists I could see that this question indicated clearly the urgent need for this special issue of Girlhood Studies which was only just in process then. Now, thanks to the dedication of the two guest editors of this special issue, Catherine Vanner and Anuradha Dugal and the wide range of superb contributors, I can point confidently to girls’ activism as a burgeoning area of study in contemporary feminism rooted in feminist history.

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Samuel Moyn and Jean-Paul Gagnon

Samuel Moyn provides insight into how the history of democracy can continue its globalization. There is a growing belief that the currently acceptable fund of ideas has not served the recent past well which is why an expansion, a planetary one, of democracy’s ideas is necessary – especially now as we move deeper into the shadow of declining American/Western imperialism and ideology. Deciding which of democracy’s intellectual traditions to privilege is driven by a mix of forced necessity and choice: finding salient ground for democracy is likely only possible in poisoned traditions including European ones.

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God's Delivery State

Taxes, Tithes, and a Rightful Return in Urban Ghana

Anna-Riikka Kauppinen

Middle-class Christians in Ghana’s capital Accra voice ambivalence about paying taxes: some claim that the government wastes their hard-earned money, while others consider taxes a Christian duty enshrined in the scripture. By contrast, most Christians in Accra esteem tithes to churches as contributions that yield infrastructural ‘development’ and divine favor. Drawing on the explicit comparisons that Ghanaian Christians make between the benefits of paying taxes vis-à-vis paying tithes, this article argues that taxes exist as part of a wider conceptual universe of monetary transfers. The efficacy of such transfers is evaluated in relation to what I call a ‘rightful return’. The unveiling of tithes as the counterpoint to taxes ultimately elicits an emergent Ghanaian conception of the public good between the state and God’s Kingdom.

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James E. Cutting

Much of aesthetics is based in psychological responses. Yet seldom have such responses—couched in empirically based psychological terms—played a central role in the discussion of movie aesthetics. Happily, Todd Berliner’s Hollywood Aesthetic: Pleasure in American Cinema does just that. This commentary discusses some history and some twists and turns behind Berliner’s analysis.

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James Gerber

English abstract: US cities and towns on the border with Mexico tend to have below-average incomes, while Mexican border cities and towns tend to be above the average of Mexico. Social scientists have not explained these differences from national averages in a convincing way. Nor have they described the characteristics of border cities and towns in ways that differentiate them from cities and towns in the interiors of their respective nation. The key to both puzzles is the fact that the institutional environment in the US–Mexico border region is binational in origin. Mexican institutions create externalities in the United States and vice versa. Recognition of this fact is a first step in dealing with the international public goods and common pool resources of the border region.

Spanish abstract: Ciudades y pueblos a ambos lados de la frontera México–EE. UU. comparten características que las hacen diferentes de las comunidades en el interior de sus respectivas naciones. Por ejemplo, las diferencias de ingresos transfronterizos son más pequeñas que las diferencias nacionales y cada lado está fuertemente influenciado por políticas y eventos que se originan en el otro lado. Hay tres razones principales para estos efectos: proximidad, redes y externalidades. Este ensayo utiliza la perspectiva de economía institucional para argumentar que el ambiente institucional de las ciudades y pueblos fronterizos es binacional. El reconocimiento de este hecho es un primer paso en la gestión de los bienes públicos internacionales y los recursos comunes de la región fronteriza.

French abstract: Villes et villages des deux côtés de la frontière américano-mexicaine partagent des caractéristiques qui les différencient des communautés à l’intérieur de leurs nations respectives. Par exemple, les écarts de revenu de part et d’autre de la frontière sont plus réduits que les différences nationales, et chaque côté est fortement influencé par les politiques et les événements qui proviennent de l’autre côté. Trois raisons principales expliquent ces effets : la proximité, les réseaux et les externalités. Cet essai utilise la perspective de l’économie institutionnelle et soutient que l’environnement institutionnel des villes frontalières est binational. Cette reconnaissance est une première étape pour la gestion des biens publics internationaux et des ressources communes de la région frontalière.