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The Rise of the "Global Social"

Origins and Transformations of Social Rights under UN Human Rights Law

Ulrike Davy

The article explores how national social policy ideas and UN-sponsored international social rights interrelate, historically and recently. Based on UN documents of the 1940s and 1950s, the article argues that UN-sponsored social rights – the "global social" – originally did not primarily reflect welfare statism (as taken for granted today), but drew on competing ideas (liberal welfare statism, developmental thinking, socialism). Based on an analysis of the state reports under the Social Covenant from 1977 to 2011, the article also argues that the states' reading of the UN social rights became more homogeneous over time. Only from the 1990s did essentials of welfare statism spread globally. This recent reading of the "global social" focuses on poverty and basic rights, such as the right to food and housing, with instruments like social assistance and measures enabling access to health services, education and land. The article draws on a global database of UN documents created by the author.

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Raw liver, singed sheep's head, and boiled stomach pudding

Encounters with traditional Buriat cuisine

Sharon Hudgins

Indigenous to Inner Asia, Buriats are a formerly nomadic people who now reside in southern Siberia, in the areas east and west of Lake Baikal. Although settled members of the Russian Federation, their traditional cuisine reflects their nomadic roots. Milk and meat products - from horses, cattle, sheep, and goats - are still the two main components of the Buriats' diet, supplemented by wild and cultivated plants (primarily hardy grains and root vegetables). Despite living within the dominant Russian culture, some Buriats still retain their shamanistic beliefs and make offerings to deities or spirits when drinking alcohol or eating certain foods. They have also preserved their ritual methods of slaughtering and butchering livestock, as well as traditional ways of processing the meat.

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The (In)visibility of the Iberian Lynx

From Vermin to Conservation Emblem

Margarida Lopes-Fernandes and Amélia Frazão-Moreira

Not much is known about how the cultural image of predators has been constructed in Western contexts and changed through time. This article reviews representations of lynx in Western Europe. A ‘cultural map’ of lynx in historical contexts is presented, and the ‘social visibility’ of the Iberian lynx in Portugal explored. Since prehistoric times the lynx has been an inspiration, an amulet, a creature gifted with extraordinary capacities but also a food item, and a ‘vermin’ to eliminate. Recently, the Iberian lynx has become a global conservation emblem; once a noxious predator, it is now a symbol of wilderness. Examples show how the species acquired visibility and has been appropriated in contemporary contexts such as logos, ‘green’ marketing, urban art or political campaigns. There is also evidence of a new identity construction in Portuguese rural areas where lynx is being reintroduced, exemplifying a process of objectification of nature.

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Marjorie Harness Goodwin

Making use of videotaped interactions of lunchtime conversations among multi-ethnic preadolescent peers (based on three years of fieldwork in LA) this ethnographically based study investigates the embodied language practices through which girls construct friendship alliances as well as relationships of power and exclusion. Girls display “best friend” relations not only through roles they select in dramatic play, such as twins married to twins in “house,” but also through embraces and celebratory handclaps that affirm alliances. Older (sixth grade) girls assert their power with respect to younger fourth grade girls through intrusive activities such as grabbing food from lunchboxes, insults, and instigating gossip; younger girls boldly resist such actions through fully embodied stances. Relations of exclusion are visible not only in seating arrangements of a marginalized “tagalong” girl with respect to the friendship clique, but also highlighted in the ways she is differentially treated when an implicit social norm is violated.

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Sarah D. Harris

In using metaphors including trees, food, land and house to invoke the power of intergenerational memory, Paco Roca’s La casa (2015) shifts a national obsession with memory to an intimate scale. The book’s intimacy invites reconsideration of notions of ‘giving voice’ and ‘sites of memory’ that several other recent and groundbreaking Spanish comics have explored. This article situates the visual and verbal metaphors in La casa within the larger context of comics and memory, and the consistent attention to memory in Roca’s oeuvre. The characters’ discussions about tending to the land they have inherited, especially via Roca’s impeccably sophisticated use of the medium, demand that we tend to a new generation taking up its ancestors’ struggles, including the silent struggles of a repressed (or buried) generation.

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Kuwait and Iran

Mutual Contact in the Pre-oil Era

Yacoub Y. Al-Hijji

This article examines the relations and interaction between Kuwait and Iran before the export of oil from Kuwait in 1946. It begins with a short account of the establishment of Kuwait as a small maritime community, the ramifications of its location amongst its three large neighbours, and Iran's role in helping Kuwait to establish its roots as a seafaring community by providing its earlier inhabitants with basic food requirements. The article then goes on to review several aspects of the interaction between Iran and Kuwait and the influence that these communities have had on one another. It concludes by emphasising that the relationship of mutuality between the two countries must continue in this age of oil and globalisation for the benefit of both peoples.

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Wulf Kansteiner

Since the 1960s, Germany’s historical culture has continually reprocessed

the Nazi past and later the Holocaust for the purposes of education,

remembrance, and entertainment. The objective of this process,

Vergangenheitsbewältigung, is the self-centered and self-designed

therapeutic treatment of the descendants of the perpetrators and

bystanders of Nazism. It seems that Germans, who were better fascists

than other Europeans, are also determined to excel at the task of

working through Nazism and the World War II era. Therefore,

attempts at mastering the past have given rise to hectic cultural activity

as the field of contemporary history illustrates: “[I]ncessantly the

German business for contemporary history generates fast-food products.

It is based on a perpetual mobile of commissions, projects and

mini-grants, temporary employment and welfare-to-work subsidies,

conferences and lecture series—a perpetual mobile of pedagogical historiography

and history obsessed pedagogy.”

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Nature’s Market?

A Review of Organic Certification

Shaila Seshia Galvin

As organic food becomes more widely available, great faith is placed on the seal or logo that certifies organic status. This article treats the mark of certification as a starting rather than an end point, critically reviewing literature from diverse national and regional contexts. Exploring questions concerning the extent to which organic certification assists or undermines the goal of ecological sustainability, abets the advance of large-scale agricultural capital, and supports the livelihood of smallholder farmers, the article considers the theoretical foundations, methodologies and modes of inquiry that have guided studies of organic agriculture and certification. It brings this research into conversation with literatures on audit cultures, quality, and with ongoing nature-culture debates. Through critical review of the literature and the author's extensive fieldwork with organic smallholders in northern India, the article suggests possible directions in which the literature may be expanded and advanced.

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W. Brian Newsome

At the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Society for French Historical Studies, Willa Silverman and Kyri Claflin delivered presentations for a session entitled “Eating and Edifying: Perspectives on the Culinary History of the Third Republic.” Chaired by Janet Horne and with commentary by Paul Freedman, the panel offered innovative perspectives on French food history. Refined in response to Freedman’s suggestions, the contributions of Silverman and Claflin form the nucleus of the present forum. Michael Garval has joined Silverman and Claflin with an article of his own, and all three have benefited from the recommendations of two double-blind peer reviewers. The finished product—now two years in the making—is one that Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques is pleased to present to its readers.

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Anna Horolets

Travel is one of the important modes of identity construction. It is influenced by individual choices as well as by macro-contexts of institutional practices and changes. Based on the study of the accounts of young middle-class Polish travellers to the former Soviet Union countries, this article attempts to demonstrate the ways in which macro-processes of systemic transformation and European integration affect the identity-building processes. After offering a discussion of the cultural meanings of emphasising the uniqueness of their experience and difference from 'mainstream tourists' by the travellers, the article turns to the interpretation of the role of the encounter with local dwellers as an important identity-formation related experience. The analysis of the acceptance or rejection of food from local dwellers demonstrates the ambiguous attitude of travellers to the local dwellers and attempts to place this ambiguity in the macro-context.