This article argues that democracy requires citizens to have confidence that their interests and concerns will be seriously considered by their elected representatives. Drawing on a case study of one municipality, the ability of citizens in small communities to have local issues considered by Council was examined. The nature of the municipality, the Council structure, and the ethos that required Councilors to take a “corporate” view of representation—representing the municipality as a whole rather than any particular community—were all factors limiting citizens' confidence that their concerns would be taken seriously by Council. This shortcoming in democracy at the local level is only partially offset by the municipality's Community Consultative Bodies. These aim to allow local communities to bring their issues before Council, however they operate unevenly and in parts of this municipality and in many other municipalities do not exist at all.
The financial woes experienced by the Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) and by a handful of other Italian banks in which foundations have played a prominent role offer an opportunity to reflect on three interrelated topics. The first issue is the evolution of the Italian banking system and banking legislation over the past decades to explain the rather distinctive governance structure of these banks. The second issue is the unfolding of the sovereign debt crisis in the euro area, which set the broader context in which the MPS scandal and the subsequent financial troubles of other banks took place. The third issue is the main response of the European Union and euro area to the sovereign debt crisis, namely, the proposal to create an EU banking union, which in turn triggered strong supervisory actions by the Bank of Italy in preparation for the handover of banking supervision to the European Central Bank.
Information literacy, the concept most associated with inculcating the attributes necessary to behave in a strategic, thoughtful and ethical manner in the face of a superfluity of information, has been part of the information specialist scene for many years. As the United Kingdom’s QAA benchmark statements for Politics and International Relations highlight, many of the competences associated with this concept are vital in the honourable struggle to become a successful graduate of those disciplines. This article presents a longitudinal study of a survey used to expose the information literacy levels of two groups of first-year Politics/IR students at a British university and, using the logic of ‘most similar design’, make informed inferences about the level of students’ information literacy on coming into tertiary education.
A Possible Model ('The Regina Jonas Memorial Lecture')
Isaiah Berlin's famous essay about Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, called 'The Hedgehog and the Fox' takes its title from a tag by an ancient Greek poet, who said something like 'The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing'. Berlin used it to talk more about temperament and preoccupation than about knowledge. That's how I'd like to use it now, and 'come out' to you as an unabashed hedgehog who, in various (and sometimes wildly divergent modes), has had one thing on my mind all my life.
Utopia, Critique, and Muslim Role Models in Secular France
Jeanette S. Jouili
This article examines the work and public reception of two, outspokenly Muslim, French rap artists. While both promote similar visions of a cosmopolitan French nation inclusive of its racial and religious (in particular Muslim) minorities, they express very different kinds of affective attachments to the French nation. I show that it is these affective attachments rather than their piety that explains their different reception within France?s media and political landscape. My claim in this article is that while secularity can be considered to be more lenient than often expected towards religion, it does not show the same flexibility towards the political commitments that go along. Thus, the legitimate secular subject, especially when of immigrant and Muslim background, must be loyal to the nation-state and display the corresponding affective structures.
Tensions between Ideologies of Authenticity and Anonymity
This article looks at the historicisation of the native speaker and ideologies of authenticity and anonymity in Europe's language revitalisation movements. It focuses specifically on the case of Irish in the Republic of Ireland and examines how the native speaker ideology and the opposing ideological constructs of authenticity and anonymity filter down to the belief systems and are discursively produced by social actors on the ground. For this I draw on data from ongoing fieldwork in the Republic of Ireland, drawing on interviews with a group of Irish language enthusiasts located outside the officially designated Irish-speaking Gaeltacht.
John C. Ryan
Since the eighteenth century, the study of plants has reflected an increasingly mechanized and technological view of the natural world that divides the humanities and the natual sciences. In broad terms, this article proposes a context for research into flora through an interrogation of existing literature addressing a rapprochement between ways to knowledge. The natureculture dichotomy, and more specifically the plant-to-human sensory disjunction, follows a parallel course of resolution to the schism between objective (technical, scientific, reductionistic, visual) and subjective (emotive, artistic, relational, multi-sensory) forms of knowledge. The foundations of taxonomic botany, as well as the allied fields of environmental studies, ethnobotany and economic botany, are undergirded by universalizing, sensorylimited visual structuring of the natural world. As the study of everyday embodied interactions of humans with flora, expanding upon the lens of cultural ecology, "cultural botany" provides a transdisciplinary research approach. Alternate embodied cultural engagements with flora emerge through a syncretic fusion of diverse methodologies.
My Ethnography of the University (EUI) course 'Muslims in America' introduces undergraduate students to the racialisation of Islam and Muslims in the U.S. at large, and in the University in particular. In this article, I describe how an anti-racist pedagogy coupled with student ethnographic research can yield a rich learning process. Beginning with one of the key debates in the scholarship on Muslims in the United States, I introduce students to the productive ways in which a multiracial history of American Islam can inform their ethnographic research. Additionally, I elaborate the potential for student research to transform university policy. The University offers a valuable ethno- graphic site for the critical study of the history and place of Muslims in U.S. society, politics and culture.
Gal Raz and Talma Hendler
This article reviews significant developments in affective neuroscience suggesting a refinement of the contemporary theoretical discourse on cinematic empathy. Accumulating evidence in the field points to a philogeneticontogenetic-neural boundary separating empathic processes driven by either cognitive or somato-visceral representations of others. Additional evidence suggests that these processes are linked with parasympathetically driven mitigation and proactive sympathetic arousal. It presents empirical findings from a functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) film viewing study, which are in line with this theoretical distinction. The findings are discussed in a proposed cinematographic framework of a general dichotomy between eso (inward-directed) and para (side by side with)—dramatic cinematic factors impinging on visceral representations of real-time occurrences or cognitive representations of another's mind, respectively. It demonstrates the significance of this dichotomy in elucidating the unsettling emotional experience elicited by Michael Haneke's Amour.
Susan Brin Hyatt
As a political and economic philosophy, neoliberalism has been used to reshape schools and universities, making them far more responsive to the pressures of the market. The principles associated with neoliberalism have also extended to programmes for urban economic development, particularly with respect to the largescale gentrification of neighbourhoods rendering them amenable to investments aimed at creating spaces attractive to white, middle-and-upper class consumers. In this article, I discuss how universities themselves have come to play a significant role as urban developers and investors, promoting commercial retail development and building upscale housing in neighbourhoods adjacent to their campuses. My entry point into this discussion is through describing an ethnographic methods class I taught in 2003, whereby students carried out collaborative research in the African-American neighbourhood surrounding Temple University's main campus in Philadelphia. As a result of their work, we produced a neighbourhood newspaper that sought to disrupt the commonplace assumptions about 'rescuing' the neighbourhood from what was presented as an inexorable spiral of decline; rather, our work showed that actions taken by the university, itself, had helped to produce the very symptoms of decline that the new development project now purported to remedy.