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When the Future Is Hard to Recall

Episodic Memory and Mnemonic Aids in Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival

Hannah Chapelle Wojciehowski

Puzzle films like Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival (2016) present challenges not only for viewers, but also for scientists seeking to understand brain functions such as memory formation, because these films deliberately scramble the temporal and spatial contexts that viewers normally rely on to create mental narratives and to form episodic memories. The strategic shuffling of multiple plotlines and chronologies in Arrival ultimately builds to an illusion of clairvoyance in the viewer, the imaged sensation of being able to see into the future, alongside the protagonist, Louise Banks. In order to create this “special effect” within viewers’ memories—a false memory of the narrative’s future—Villeneuve seeds the film with key pieces of information that viewers must hold in memory before ultimately solving the puzzle at the end and enjoying a special form of catharsis in the process.

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What Am I Still Doing Here?

Travel, Travel Writing, and Old Age

Robin Jarvis

This article offers preliminary thoughts on travel writing from a gerontological perspective. Gender, race, and sexuality have provided important analytical frames for travel writing studies, but age has yet to function as a topic or point of reference. Through a consideration of five travel books by respected modern authors—Jan Morris, Dervla Murphy, V. S. Naipaul, Paul Theroux, and Colin Thubron—the article asks what motivates travel writers to stay “on the road” into their seventies and beyond, and what the distinctive features of travel narratives written at this life stage might be. The article aims to demonstrate the intrinsic fascination of travel books in which a strong abiding curiosity about the world coexists with an acute—and often melancholy—awareness of the passing of time and personal mortality.

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War without Citizens

Memorialization, War, and Democracy in the United States

Stephen J. Rosow

Contestation over war memorialization can help democratic theory respond to the current attenuation of citizenship in war in liberal democratic states, especially the United States. As war involves more advanced technologies and fewer soldiers, the relation of citizenship to war changes. In this context war memorialization plays a particular role in refiguring the relation. Current practices of remembering and memorializing war in contemporary neoliberal states respond to a dilemma: the state needs to justify and garner support for continual wars while distancing citizenship from participation. The result is a consumer culture of memorialization that seeks to effect a unity of the political community while it fights wars with few citizens and devalues the public. Neoliberal wars fought with few soldiers and an economic logic reveals the vulnerability to otherness that leads to more active and critical democratic citizenship.

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Two Worlds of Environmentalism?

Empirical Analyses on the Complex Relationship between Postmaterialism, National Wealth, and Environmental Concern

Jochen Mayerl and Henning Best

This article examines cross-cultural differences in the value cluster of environmentalism and postmaterialism. Based on an extension of Ronald Inglehart’s “objective problems–subjective values” hypothesis, we posit different sources of postmaterialism and environmental concern in wealthy versus poor countries. We test hypotheses on the relationship between national wealth, postmaterialist values, and environmental concern using empirical data from the World Values Survey waves 5 and 6 and the International Social Survey Program 2010. Using multilevel regression models with cross-level interaction terms and country fixed effects, we show that the effect of postmaterialism on environmental concern is indeed moderated by national wealth: whereas there is a weak or even no effect in poorer countries, the relationship is substantial in wealthy countries. Therefore, we argue that individual postmaterialist values and environmental concern do in fact form a coherent structure in wealthy countries, but should be considered as isolated constructs in poorer countries.

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Maureen Mulligan

This article contrasts two accounts by women written between 1936 and 1939 describing their experiences of Spain during the Spanish Civil War. The aim is to question how far travel writers have a political and ethical relation to the place they visit and to what extent they deal with this in their texts. The global politics of travel writing and the distinction between colonial and cosmopolitan travel writers affect the way a foreign culture is articulated for the home market through discursive and linguistic strategies. The texts are Kate O’Brien’s Farewell Spain (1937) and Gamel Woolsey’s Death’s Other Kingdom: A Spanish Village in 1936 (1939). The conclusions suggest women adopt a range of positions toward the Spanish conflict, depending on their personal commitment and their contact with local people, but their concern to articulate the experience of others in time of crisis has a strong ethical component.

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Socialisms in the Tsarist Borderlands

Poland and Finland in a Contrastive Comparison, 1830–1907

Wiktor Marzec and Risto Turunen

This article presents a conceptual history of socialism in two Western borderlands of the Russian Empire—namely, the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Finland. A contrastive comparison is used to examine the birth, dissemination, and breakthrough of the concept from its first appearance until the Revolution of 1905. The concept entered Polish political conversation as a self-applied label among émigrés in the 1830s, whereas the opponents of socialism made it famous in Finland in the 1840s in Swedish and in the 1860s in Finnish. When socialism became a mass movement at the turn of the century, socialist parties (re)defined the concept through underground leaflets and brochures in Poland, and through a legal labor press in Finland. In both cases, the Revolution of 1905 meant the final democratization of socialism, attaching more meanings to the concept and making it the most discussed ism of modern politics.

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Social Protest and Its Discontents

A System Justification Perspective

Vivienne Badaan, John T. Jost, Danny Osborne, Chris G. Sibley, Joaquín Ungaretti, Edgardo Etchezahar and Erin P. Hennes

Psychological factors that encourage—as well as discourage— participation in social protest are often overlooked in the social sciences. In this article, we draw together recent contributions to the understanding of the social and psychological bases of political action and inaction from the perspective of system justification theory. This perspective, which builds on theory and research on the “belief in a just world,” contends that—because of underlying epistemic, existential, and relational needs to reduce uncertainty, threat, and social discord—people are motivated (to varying degrees, as a function of personality and context) to defend, bolster, and justify the legitimacy of the social, political, and economic systems on which they depend. We review evidence that, alongside political conservatism and religiosity, system justification helps to explain resistance and acquiescence to the status quo in sociopolitical contexts as diverse as Lebanon, New Zealand, Argentina, and the United States.

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The Silent Spring

Why Pro-democracy Activity Was Avoided in Gulf Nations during the Arab Spring

Charles Mitchell, Juliet Dinkha and Aya Abdulhamid

This article explores the Arab Spring uprisings that started in late 2010, and investigates why pro-democracy movements were circumvented in most Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Our research is qualitative in nature, and looks into the antecedents of the revolts in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Algeria, and Yemen to ascertain why revolutionary activity was precluded in Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Oman. Through the utilization of academic research, news sources, governmental, intergovernmental organization, and international nongovernmental organization reports and policy papers, we conclude that the generous allocations of public goods and the extant and reactive government policies during the Arab Spring period successfully preempted revolutionary activities in the Gulf. In this article, we also examine the only Gulf country outlier, Bahrain, by investigating what policies and conditions led to outbreaks of large-scale pro-democracy demonstrations in that nation.

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Scandinavianism

Mapping the Rise of a New Concept

Ruth Hemstad

In the historiography describing the pan-Scandinavian movement that started gaining ground in the late 1830s, Scandinavianism has been widely employed as a historical category, usually without any discussion regarding the actual emergence of the concept itself. This article discusses when and why Scandinavianism entered into political language as a powerful new concept capable of setting a future-oriented agenda. After analyzing digitized newspaper material and other relevant publications in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark and after using a combination of distant and close reading, it concludes that Scandinavianism as a neologism only appeared as late as 1843. This article aims to contribute to a conceptual transnational history of Scandinavianism by examining its emergence, reception, and discursive context in the early 1840s.

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The Role of Naturalness in Ecological Restoration

A Case Study from the Cook County Forest Preserves

Nicole M. Evans and William P. Stewart

While ecological restoration may help bridge the nature-culture gap, restoration still holds relevant meanings for naturalness, as demonstrated in this case study of staff and volunteers in the Cook County Forest Preserves (CCFP) in Illinois, United States. Translating naturalness as an agency policy into restoration goals for sites, CCFP integrated historical evidence, ecological science, and human values. Naturalness was constructed as historical fidelity, a scientific designation to be objectively discovered, while the scales at which people interpreted historical fidelity, namely, species, communities, processes, and practices, were sites of value deliberation. The multiple renderings of naturalness can be a strength that provides flexibility to restore what is locally valued, constructing restoration projects that acknowledge, rather than attempt to overcome, the constructed nature of naturalness.