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Cary J. Nederman

During the Latin Middle Ages, as today, “tyranny” connotes the exercise of power arbitrarily, oppressively, and violently. Medieval thinkers generally followed in the footprints of early Christian theologians (e.g., Gregory the Great and Isidore of Seville) and ancient philosophers (especially Aristotle) regarding the tyrant as the very embodiment of evil rulership and thus as the polar opposite of the king, who governed for the good of his people according to virtue and religion. However, examination of the writings of some well-known and influential authors from ca. 1150 to ca. 1400—including John of Salisbury, Ptolemy of Lucca, William of Ockham, Bartolous of Sassoferrato, and Nicole Oresme—reveals three very diverse and distinct conceptions of tyranny, each of which justified the tyrant in one way or another.

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Times of Democracy

The Unavoidable Democracy of Mid-Nineteenth-Century Denmark

Anne Engelst Nørgaard

Democracy became a popular and highly contested concept in the Danish-speaking parts of the Danish monarchy in 1848. For a brief time, it went from being an occasional guest in political language to a popular concept in the constitutional struggle of 1848–1849. This article argues democracy became attached to an equally popular concept of the time, movement, when introduced into everyday political communication in Denmark. In this context, democracy became a name for the movement observed in Europe and in the Danish monarchy. The article identifies three main interpretations of democracy that occurred in the Danish constitutional struggle of 1848–1849 and argues the battle over the constitution was essentially a battle over how one interpreted the past, the present, and the future. Democracy became a key term in this battle in 1848 Denmark.

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Marilyn Strathern

This stimulating collection puts agriculture into current conversations on the Anthropocene. In particular it relates, as an effect of the impetus toward defining responsibility, the contemporary sense of urgency that makes “us” find new reasons for thinking of humankind as a whole. The articles carefully unpick this holism, both in terms of people’s varying relations to the circumstances of cultivation or marketing and in terms of populations being divided through offsetting or knowledge-distribution strategies. It is a small extrapolation to observe that the same must be true of the particularity of crops: no more than persons can they be lumped together.

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Toward a Naturalized Aesthetics of Film Music

An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Intramusical and Extramusical Meaning

Timothy Justus

In this article, I first address the question of how musical forms come to represent meaning—that is, the semantics of music—and illustrate an important conceptual distinction articulated by Leonard Meyer in Emotion and Meaning in Music between absolute or intramusical meaning and referential or extramusical meaning through a critical analysis of two recent films. Second, building examples of scholarship around a single piece of music frequently used in film—Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings—I follow the example set by Murray Smith in Film, Art, and the Third Culture and discuss the complementary approaches of the humanities, the behavioral sciences, and the natural sciences to understanding music and its use in film.

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Transforming the matryoshka

Merger of Russian regions

Igor Yu. Okunev, Petr V. Oskolkov and Maria I. Tislenko

English abstract: This article assesses the 2000s reforms of the Russian administrative divisions and the implications of the reforms for the institutional structure and related discourse through institutional and discourse analysis. The authors reach the conclusion that the “special status” of the newly formed territorial entities remains undefined, while the representation norm is highly uneven, since the competences of governing bodies in the merged entities lie predominantly in the ethnic and cultural sphere. The reform was not a single and coherent policy measure but rather a number of incoherent initiatives. This can be seen from the presence of different (re)integration models in respective amalgamation cases, different models of a “special status” and a variety of reactions to the reform emanating from the population.

Spanish abstract: Este artículo evalúa las reformas del 2000 en las divisiones administrativas rusas y las implicaciones de dichas reformas en la estructura institucional y el discurso relacionado, a través del análisis institucional y del discurso. Los autores llegan a la conclusión de que el “estatus especial” de las entidades territoriales recién formadas permanece indefinido, mientras que las normas de representación son desiguales, ya que las competencias de los órganos rectores en las entidades fusionadas residen predominantemente en la esfera étnica y cultural. La reforma no fue una medida política única y coherente, sino una serie de iniciativas incoherentes. Esto se puede ver por la presencia de diferentes modelos de (re) integración en los respectivos casos de amalgamación, diferentes modelos de un “estatus especial” y una variedad de reacciones a la reforma que emanan de la población.

French abstract: Cet article analyse les réformes des divisions administratives russes de l’année 2000 et leurs implications pour la structure et le discours institutionnels, en utilisant les méthodes institutionnelle et discursive. Les auteurs concluent que le « statut spécial » des entités territoriales nouvellement formées reste indéfini, tandis que la norme de représentation demeure très inégale, les compétences des organes directeurs des entités fusionnées étant principalement concentrées dans les domaines ethnique et culturel. La réforme ne constitue pas une mesure politique cohérente, mais un certain nombre d’initiatives incohérentes. La présence de différents modèles de (ré)intégration dans les cas de fusion évoqués, les divers cas de « statut spécial » et la variété des réactions populaires face à cette réforme en témoignent.

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"We Are Not Dead Souls"

The Good Petroleum Fairies and the Spirits of the Taiga in Subarctic Siberia

Dominique Samson Normand de Chambourg

Through the example of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug–Yugra, which has become one of the country’s main energy hubs (accounting for 62 percent of Russian oil production) and a pioneer in matters of native rights, this article sheds light on what is at stake in the Siberian taiga of the early twenty-first century between two worlds that, over the years, have variously clashed, assisted each other, and ignored each other. Based primarily on fieldwork carried out between 2013 and 2018, as well as on interviews with local cultural and economic actors, the article outlines a local aspect of a history in movement that is still to be written.

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The Weatherman

The Making of Prepared Farmers and the Postcolonial Predictive State in Kenya

Martin Skrydstrup

This article explores weather forecasting as an emergent technology of governmentality through a detailed ethnography of the ways in which the relationships between weather and crops are rendered knowable in a two-day “participatory scenario planning” (PSP) workshop in Naromoru in the Central Highlands of Kenya. Farmers were “made into meteorologists” and developed their preparedness for hazards, impacts, opportunities, strategies, and responsibilities within the context of facing El Niño. The ethnography targets seemingly novel ways of preparing farmers for El Niño. I argue that the PSP served two principal functions: (1) to redistribute responsibilities of the farmers themselves by making them into “meteorologists”; and (2) to integrate “scientific expertise” with “local knowledge” to generate public trust in the metrological institutions of the postcolonial predictive state.

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Hélène Périvier and Rebecca Rogers

This article considers how women adopted a “scientific” statistical language at the end of the nineteenth century to draw attention to their role in the moral and social economy. It explores in particular the messages contained in La Statistique générale de la femme française, a series of eighteen murals that the moderate feminist Marie Pégard sent for exhibition at the Woman’s Building at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The article begins by considering the place statistics held in France in the final decades of the century within the context of universal exhibitions. It then examines Pégard’s choice of quantified categories of social analysis to convey a sustained argument about the comparative weight of women in a modernizing French economy. The article seeks to understand how contemporaries read and interpreted the graphs, and how this mode of rendering visible the issue of women’s work played into the politics of an emerging feminist movement.

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Fieldwork at sunset

Visual representations of anthropology online

Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins and Hannah Gould

Most institutional anthropology departments have a website, to tout credentials, attract students, and offer information. These websites also take up the visual task of disciplinary representation, but their images have skipped the scrutiny that is necessary and overdue. Th is article analyzes online images of sociocultural anthropology across one hundred high-ranking universities worldwide. We show how, online, a discipline defined by diversity becomes readily reducible to “exotic” geographies and objectified “others.” While the urban serves as an unattractive foil, frequent images of children recall charity campaigns. Such visual tropes—which comprise a significant, public interface for anthropology—are not just awkwardly dated but also do disservice to ambitions for public anthropology. Change, we suggest, must begin at (the) home(page).

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The Academic Reserve

Israel's Fast Track to High-Tech Success

Gil Baram and Isaac Ben-Israel

Why is Israel world-renowned as the ‘start-up nation’ and a leading source of technological innovation? While existing scholarship focuses on the importance of skill development during Israel Defense Forces (IDF) service, we argue that the key role of the Academic Reserve has been overlooked. Established in the 1950s as part of David Ben-Gurion’s vision for a scientifically and technologically advanced defense force, the Academic Reserve is a special program in which the IDF sends selected high school graduates to earn academic degrees before they complete an extended term of military service. After finishing their service, most participants go on to contribute to Israel’s successful high-tech industry. By focusing on the role of the Academic Reserve, we provide a broader understanding of Israel’s ongoing technological success.