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Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka

Since 1996, Nepal has increasingly been drawn into a violent conflict between Maoist rebels and the state, leading to a severe crisis. Thousands of civilians have been killed, and most people in the countryside live in constant fear. Economic hardship has seriously increased. Despite repeated efforts to bring the parties together for peace talks, there is little hope that the violent situation will be resolved in the near future. This article analyzes the complex causes of the emergence of the Maoist insurrection and its success, and sketches the problems impeding a democratic solution to the current situation.

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Departheid

The Draconian Governance of Illegalized Migrants in Western States

Barak Kalir

This article proposes the term Departheid to capture the systemic oppression and spatial management of illegalized migrants in Western liberal states. As a concept, Departheid aims to move beyond the instrumentality of illegalizing migration in order to comprehend the tenacity with which oppressive measures are implemented even in the face of accumulating evidence for their futility in managing migration flows and the harm they cause to millions of people. The article highlights continuities between present oppressive migration regimes and past colonial configurations for controlling the mobility of what Hannah Arendt has called “subject races.” By drawing on similarities with Apartheid as a governing ideology based on racialization, segregation, and deportation, I argue that Departheid, too, is animated by a sense of moral superiority that is rooted in a fantasy of White supremacy.

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Jenny Wüstenberg

The memory landscape in Germany has been lauded for its pluralism: for reckoning with the past not only critically but in its many complex facets. Nevertheless, particularly victims of repression in East Germany lament that their plight is not adequately represented and some have recently affiliated themselves with the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and other groups on the far-right spectrum. This article seeks to explain the seeming contradiction between existing pluralism in German public memory and dissatisfaction with it by tracing how memory activists have shaped memory policy and institutions. Based on extensive interview and archival research, I argue that the infiltration of civil society into the institutions that govern memory in large part explains the strength of critical memory in unified Germany and the country’s ability to accommodate a variety of pasts. However, there is also a distinct lack of pluralism when it comes to the rules of “how memory is done,” to the exclusion of more emotional and politicized approaches that are sometimes favored by some victims’ groups. Using the case of the recent debate about the Hohenschönhausen Memorial, I contend that this explains some of the attraction felt by these groups towards the right.

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Manuela Ciotti

This article explores histories of social separation, impermanent encounters, and lasting political alliances between Dalit (“untouchable”) Chamar male youth and members of the upper-caste Brahman community in a village in eastern Uttar Pradesh, North India. The entry of young Chamar people into educational institutions followed by political mobilization and, for some, the transition into employment, has led them to appropriate spaces often beyond the purview of previous generations. Against the backdrop of Chamar histories as agricultural laborers, powerless political subjects, and actors of religious marginality, new forms of masculinity, sociality, and class formation have come into being. The article focuses on young Chamar men’s involvement in village politics, particularly during the 2005 local elections. It is argued that village politics—rather than inter-caste friendships, which remain short-lived as a result of caste discrimination—has engendered an arena of sociality where caste-driven interest produce more durable social links between young low-caste men and members of the upper-caste community. As India’s political history illustrates, the episode of electoral politics analyzed in this article brings together differently situated communities within the nation, highlighting how the unresolved question of caste discrimination conflates with the compulsion to political power. If young Chamar men are the new protagonists in this history, their role is the outcome of broader changes in the consciousness around political participation and the opening up of democratic possibilities for minority populations in a postcolonial setting.

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Le bassin transfrontalier

Emergence, construction et itinéraire d'un concept

Stéphane Ghiotti

*Full article is in French

English abstract: This article presents a critical analysis and a historical perspective on the transboundary river basin concept. It focuses on two key moments based on an analysis of the publications on the topic on the web of science database. The first one illustrates the emergence of the concept in the early 1990s and its place in the literature which emphasizes the internationalization of the water management process. In order to demonstrate this phenomenon, the article follows an itinerary among several scientific disciplines from hard sciences (hydrology, ecology) and soft sciences (law, political sciences). The second part of the article is devoted to explaining how the territory of transboundary basins is a social and political construct that illustrates profound changes in the development of international river basins and the influence of international donors, and finally promotes the model of integrated water resources management (IWRM) at the international level.

Spanish abstract: Este artículo presenta un análisis crítico del concepto de cuenca transfronteriza (transboundary river basin) usando una perspectiva histórica. Gracias al desarrollo de un análisis cuantitativo realizado a publicaciones que abordan esta temática, disponibles en el portal Web of Science, el texto determina dos conclusiones principales. En primer lugar, a través de un análisis crítico sobre la literatura referente al proceso de internacionalización de la gestión del agua, el artículo encuentra que la emergencia del concepto tuvo su origen a principio de los años noventa. En un segundo lugar, el artículo explica el territorio de la cuenca transfronteriza como una construcción social y política mostrando así los cambios profundos en la valorización de los ríos y de las cuencas internacionales, la influencia de los organismos e instituciones y, en esta escala, la promoción del modelo de la Gestión Integrada de los Recursos Hídricos (GIRH)..

French abstract: L'article présente une analyse critique et une mise en perspective historique du concept de bassin versant transfrontalier (transboundary river basin). Il se propose de privilégier deux moments clés en s'appuyant sur une analyse quantitative des publications concernant cette thématique sur le site Web of science. Le premier temps illustre l'émergence du concept au début des années 1990 ainsi que sa place dans la littérature pour témoigner du processus d'internationalisation de la gestion de l'eau. Pour ce faire, l'article retrace son itinéraire et sa circulation entre diverses disciplines scientifiques relevant à la fois des sciences dites dures (hydrologie, écologie) et des sciences humaines et sociales (droit, sciences politique). La seconde partie se consacre à expliquer en quoi le territoire du bassin transfrontalier est une construction sociale et politique illustrant à la fois les profonds changements dans la mise en valeur des cours d'eau et des bassins, l'influence des organismes et des institutions internation aux, et enfin la promotion à cette échelle du modèle de la Gestion intégrée des ressources en eau (GIRE).

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The Good Citizen

problematising citizenship in the social sciences curriculum

Judith Burnett and Erika Cudworth

This article explores the critical pedagogical issues that emerge when attempting to develop active citizenship among undergraduates as an integral part of the student experience. It presents part of the findings from a C-SAP-funded project (Gifford et al. 2006) that we undertook with a partner higher education institution. This article explores our particular contribution carried out in a post-1992 London higher education institution. Our innovations in the social sciences undergraduate curriculum aimed at creating situations in which students would explore the diversity of citizenship in educational settings, namely, a local school, a further education college, and Summerhill School (founded by A.S. Neill). The research leads us to conclude that citizenship is a problem of praxis influenced and shaped by the local-global contexts of communities with diverse heritages of meaning, stratified social settings, and specific local and historical characteristics. This challenges the notions underpinning the Crick curriculum with its national orientation, and demonstrates the need to sensitise citizenship learning experiences to the needs of students and staff embedded in their social contexts. Such an approach can be understood as a form of situated citizenship characterised by active engagement with an assumption of heterogeneity which is positively sensitive to diversity.

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The rule of soft law

An introduction

Filippo M. Zerilli

This introductory article aims to clarify why soft law is an interesting field to explore from a legal anthropological perspective and to point out a number of issues this theme section suggests taking into consideration. The article provides the context for the theme section, inserting soft law within global legal concerns and processes. It outlines the emergence of the notion of soft law, and summarizes the controversies it has raised among legal scholars and law practitioners. Then it explains why, despite the elusive character of the notion and its uncertain normative status, as soon as we move beyond a number of emblematic concerns for law practitioners, soft law mechanisms and practices appear to be a vantage point to explore the emerging transnational legal order, and particularly the relations among state, supra-state, and non-state (private) forms of regulation. Finally, the article introduces the articles in the special section of this issue by highlighting the ways in which they empirically deal with soft law practices and global legal pluralism in a variety of social fields and contexts, using ethnographic sensitivity and imagination.

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Whose Reality Counts?

Emergent Dalitbahujan Anthropologists

Reddi Sekhara Yalamala

Abstract

The low caste, Dalit and Tribal social movements in India have reconfigured the fabric of Indian society in significant ways over the past decade. Likewise, the movement of these same groups into anthropology, a discipline previously dominated in India by upper-caste intellectuals, has created a dynamic force for change in the academy. At a time when India is vying with the global economic powers for supremacy, the people severely affected are low caste, Dalits and Tribal peoples, who see their lands being lost and their lifestyles in rapid transformation. Some from these same groups are also witnessing some of their daughters and sons pursuing higher studies and entering into the social sciences. The entry of these young scholars not only challenges the caste-based status quo in the academy, but it also forces these scholars to question their own position in relation to these social movements and in relation to Indian society more broadly.

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'Father Mao' and the Country-Family

Mixed Feelings for Fathers, Officials, and Leaders in China

Hans Steinmüller

What does it mean when Mao Zedong is called 'Father Mao' and when ordinary people in central China put a poster of Mao in the place of their ancestors and the emperor? This article analyzes ordinary affection for the Chinese state and explores changing ideas of the leader as a father and the country as a family. The first part deals with the historical transformation of these metaphors from the late Qing dynasty to the Communist Revolution and Maoism, describing the vernacularization and sentimentalization of the 'Confucian order of the father/son' in twentieth-century China. Against this historical background and based on fieldwork material from central China, the second part deals with the 'mixed feelings' that people in the present day now have for fathers at home, for local officials, and for national leaders.

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Beyond the American culture wars

A call for environmental leadership and strengthening networks

Kate A. Berry

Abstract

This article focuses on the United States (US), looking at the American culture war specifically as it relates to environmental issues. Looking at the US today is a reminder that the culture wars are as overtly political as they are culturally motivated, and they diminish social cohesion. The term “culture wars” is defined as increases in volatility, expansion of polarization, and obvious conflicts in various parts of the world between, on the one hand, those who are passionate about religiously motivated politics, traditional morality, and anti-intellectualism, and, on the other hand, those who embrace progressive politics, cultural openness, and scientific and modernist orientations. The article examines this ideological war in contemporary environmental management debates. It identifies characteristics of environmental leadership and discusses how networks can act as environmental leaders.