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Research in the Dark

Explorations into the Societal Effects of Light and Darkness

Nona Schulte-Römer

Edensor, Tim. 2017. From Light to Dark: Daylight, Illumination, and Gloom. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Bille, Mikkel. 2019. Homely Atmospheres and Lighting Technologies in Denmark: Living with Light. New York: Bloomsbury Academic.

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Books

Tiziana Soverino, Evgenia Mesaritou, Thomas M. Wilson, Steve Byrne, Dino Vukušić, Fabiana Dimpflmeier, Eva-Maria Walther and Eva Schwab

Aníbal Arregui, Gesa Mackenthun and Stephanie Wodianka (eds.) (2018), DEcolonial Heritage: Natures, Cultures, and the Asymmetries of Memory (Cultural Encounters and the Discourses of Scholarship, vol. 10) (Münster: Waxmann), 278 pp., Paperback €34.90, ISBN 9783830937906.

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HUGO BONIN and ALEKSANDRA KONARZEWSKA

Pasi Ihalainen, The Springs of Democracy: National and Transnational Debates on Constitutional Reform in the British, German, Swedish and Finnish Parliaments, 1917–1919 (Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society, 2017), 586 pp.

Gregor Feindt, Auf der Suche nach politischer Gemeinschaft: Oppositionelles Denken zur Nation im ostmitteleuropäischen Samizdat 1976–1992 [Seeking political community: Oppositional political thought toward the nation in Eastern Central European samizdat] (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2015), 403 pp.

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Ana B. Amaya, Stephen Kingah and Philippe De Lombaerde

Health governance has become multi-layered as the combined result of decentralization, regional integration and the emergence of new actors nationally and internationally. Whereas this has enhanced the installed capacity for health response worldwide, this complexity also poses serious challenges for health governance, health diplomacy and health policy-making. This article focuses on one of these challenges, namely the organization of statistical information flows at and between governance levels, and the emerging role that regional organizations play therein. Regional to national-level data flows are analyzed with the use of two case studies focusing on UNASUR (Bolivia and Paraguay) and SADC (Swaziland and Zambia). The results of the analysis lead to several policy recommendations at the regional and national levels.

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Sectarianism and Recognition in Iraq

From Consociationalism to Deliberation?

Nicolas Pirsoul

This article uses the theory of recognition to analyze sectarian conflicts in Iraq. After describing the sectarian and historical background of contemporary Iraqi politics, the article critiques the implementation of consociationalism and policies influenced by liberal multiculturalism in deeply divided societies. It argues that these policies lead to a dangerous reification of identities. The article argues that a progressive implementation of deliberative democracy practices could improve identity-related issues in Iraq and explains how democratic practices are legitimized by the most influential Islamic religious figure in Iraq.

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Verena Stürmer

The ban on almost all previously approved textbooks in occupied Germany in 1945 brought about a turning point in the history of reading primers in this country. This article examines the requirements that textbooks had to fulfill in order to be approved by the authorities of the various occupation zones. In spite of differing sociopolitical and pedagogical attitudes and conditions, reading primersin all occupied zones shared the theme of children’s play and harmonious everyday life. However, a comparative analysis of the primers reveals significant differences that cannot be explained exclusively as a consequence of influence exerted by occupying powers. Rather, these differences resulted from the context in which each primer appeared.

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Soviet Russian Primers of the 1940s

The War after the Victory

Vitaly Bezrogov and Dorena Caroli

What changes did the content, structure, and production of Russian primers published in the Soviet Union undergo between 1941 and 1948—that is, during the Second World War and its aftermath? This article answers this question by analyzing language, content, iconography, and the printing process. The first section addresses key characteristics of primers printed between 1941 and 1944, while the second section focuses on the content of postwar primers printed between 1945 and 1948. The final section addresses challenges facing the textbook approval and circulation process experienced by the State Pedagogical Publishing House of the Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic (RSFSR) from 1945 to 1948.

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Vasiliki P. Neofotistos

Using the Republic of North Macedonia as a case study, this article analyzes the processes through which national sports teams’ losing performance acquires a broad social and political significance. I explore claims to sporting victory as a direct product of political forces in countries located at the bottom of the global hierarchy that participate in a wider system of coercive rule, frequently referred to as empire. I also analyze how public celebrations of claimed sporting victories are intertwined with nation-building efforts, especially toward the global legitimization of a particular version of national history and heritage. The North Macedonia case provides a fruitful lens through which we can better understand unfolding sociopolitical developments, whereby imaginings of the global interlock with local interests and needs, in the Balkans and beyond.

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STICKING TO HER GUNS OR GOING WITH THE FLOW

Assessing Rigidity and Flexibility in Angela Merkel’s Political Decision Making

Christian Schnee

This paper investigates levels of rigidity and flexibility in Angela Merkel’s decision making during her first three governments from 2005 to 2017. The study is a contribution to understanding German politics in the era of Merkel who has regularly been criticized for allegedly lacking a transformative agenda and ideological consistency. Methodologically this study draws on Jonathan Keller’s framework that differentiates between internally and externally validated leaders, with the latter seeking to appease and curry favor with stakeholders and the former committed to their personal believes. The study assesses Merkel’s decisions on fiscal and economic policies, zooms in on her u-turn on nuclear energy, touches upon her dithering during the Euro crisis and discusses at some length her protracted coming to terms with the refugee crisis. Findings suggest her flexibility to be predominantly a reflection of political expediencies and intended to preserve her party’s political compatibility with potentially supportive stakeholders. Her approach thus is in line with the agenda to manage coalition governments successfully, moderate and conciliate divergent interests and thus secure their position in power.

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“Stop it, f*ggot!”

Producing East European Geosexual Backwardness in the Drop-In Centre for Male Sex Workers in Berlin

Victor Trofimov

In this article I examine the negotiations of national and sexual belonging of a Romanian gay sex worker in Berlin in the contemporary geosexual context defined by binarism between ‘modern’, ‘liberal’ and ‘tolerant’ Western Europe and its ‘traditionalist’ and ‘homophobic’ East European Other. I analyse how, by means of an overt display of his own homosexuality, the sex worker symbolically distances himself from his native country. By extension, this reinforces the image of the East and its inhabitants as inherently homophobic and, therefore, backwards. The article is based on ethnographic research in the drop-in centre for male sex workers in Berlin, an environment that reveals how deeply contemporary geosexual differences are anchored in the cultural logic of everyday life.