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Governing ethnic diversity in rainbow nations

The politics of citizenship and multi-culturalism in Peninsular Malaysia—the case of Penang

Christian Giordano

The present article analyzes how, after its independence in 1957, Malaysia has been able to manage the difficult coexistence among its three numerically most relevant ethnic groups (Malay, Chinese and Indian). This complex situation, a legacy of the British colonial-like plural society, has been governed via a specific model of multi-racial citizenship, which is significantly unlike the Western European ones in which, as a rule, the equivalence between nationality and citizenship predominates. Starting from the specific example of Penang in Peninsular Malaysia, the article intends to highlight two points. Firstly, that citizenship must be perceived as an agonistic process with competition, tensions and conflicts as well as permanent negotiations. Secondly, that the Occidental agenda, based on liberal principles, can no longer be regarded as the only valid one. Therefore, believing that the Western type of citizenship could be a universalistic institution exportable anywhere is misleading. Consequently, citizenship ought to be analyzed instead as a 'concrete abstraction' that is set up in strict correlation with the specific historical contexts and with particular circumstances of a sociological nature, relative to the characteristics of each society.

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America's Forty-Niners and the Overland Trek to the California Gold Fields

Journeys of Personal Triumph and National Mission

Malcolm J. Rohrbough

Americans have always taken journeys. In the seventeenth century they moved to establish new church communities in New England and new plantations beyond the tidewater in Virginia and Maryland. In the eighteenth century individuals and families continued their searches for more fertile and cheaper lands beyond the reach of tax collectors and landlords. By 1750 they reached the crest of the Appalachian mountain range where they gazed toward the interior valleys of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. The success of the North American revolution and the establishment of an independent nation in 1783 intensified these migratory instincts, no longer blocked by London’s imperial policies. For three generations after independence, from 1776 to 1850, Americans – families long on this continent and new immigrants – settled the interior of the continent and established thriving, albeit diverse societies based on widespread availability of land, ready access to water transportation, cultivation of staple crops for a commercial economy and, in the south, the growing use of slave labour (Rohrbough 1978).

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Autonomy and control

Danish university reform in the context of modern governance

Susan Wright and Jakob Williams Ørberg

In 2003 the Danish government reformed universities to 'set them free' from the state. Yet ministers are actively trying to shape universities and even set research agendas. How does the government's notion of 'freedom' reconcile independence with control? We identify three discourses of freedom: freedom to use academic judgement over what to research, teach, publish and say publicly; a free trade discourse where universities are free to pursue profit; and a modernising state discourse where government steers universities to contribute to the knowledge economy. Danish universities were reformed as part of the modernisation of the welfare state. We explore the assemblage of administrative and funding mechanisms through which the government now steers independent organisations: a chain of contracts for outsourced services, newly appointed managers, output payments and accrual accounting. While responsibility for achieving government policy is passed downwards through the independent organisation, formal lines of accountability run back up to the government. University leaders and academics are set free to manoeuvre within the system, but their economic survival is firmly dependent on responsiveness to centralised steering mechanisms

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Durkheim

Une sociologie d’État

Catherine Colliot-Thélène

It is traditional to discuss the relation between Durkheim and Weber as ‘founders of sociology’. At first sight, it might seem odd to couple Durkheim and Hegel. But it can be instructive to compare their approach to issues involving modern individualism, society and the state. In general, they subscribe to a combination of rationalism and developmental ethics, in which the rational is immanent in the real, despite the possibility of ‘contingent’ or ‘pathological’ departures from ‘normality’. More specifically, in the case of the state, they see one of its main historical roles as the emancipation of the individual in a development of the individual personality. At the same time they picture the state as ‘the brain’ of society and insist on its relative autonomy and independence from individuals. Instead, in a critique of direct democracy, they look to a web of intermediate groups and corporations. A basic problematic in their work, and a continuing source of reflection, is how to achieve a balance between individual rights and a necessary authority and legitimacy of public power. In both cases this balance rests, as a matter of principle, on confidence in the skills and civic virtue of political leaders.

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Ezekiel

The Prophet, His Times, His Message

Carl S. Ehrlich

With the exception of a brief ‘golden age’ in the days of the United Monarchy in the tenth century BCE, ancient Israel was a minor actor on the world scene. This pattern was set by the successors of King Solomon, the latter of whose disastrous internal policies led to the split of his father David’s kingdom into the rival states of Israel and Judah (1 Kgs. 12). Caught between various mighty empires and petty national entities, the kings of Judah and Israel attempted to maintain their semi-independence through a constant game of shifting political alliances. The first to succumb was the kingdom of Israel in 721 BCE (2 Kgs. 17). It had counted on Egyptian aid in the attempt to shake off the shackles of Assyrian authority. However, as recorded in 2 Kings 18:21 and Isaiah 36:6, Egypt was a ‘broken reed of a staff, which pierces the hand of the one who leans on it’. Those deported from Israel as a consequence of its defeat were to disappear from history and to enter into legend as the ‘ten lost tribes’.

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Editorial

Age and Autonomy

Anne Showstack Sassoon and Wendy Stokes

In the first, double issue of The European Journal of Social Quality, the concept of social quality was explored from a variety of perspectives, as work in progress. Continuing this endeavour, this issue focuses on ‘Age and Autonomy’. These terms are offered as starting points rather than taken for granted concepts. The discussion of the themes of independence, dependence, and interdependence in the first issue continues here with a focus on a topic which is on the political agenda throughout Europe, North America, and elsewhere: demographic changes. Increases in life expectancy and decreases in birth rates in many countries, changes – often different for men and women – in the proportion of the life cycle in formal paid work, and the longer, more active period of older age contemplated by large numbers of people are major social challenges. With regard to older people, increased activity and participation as well as the need for support and care are aspects of a complex picture that are often obscured in political debate.

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Victoria Rowe

Through an analysis of articles and novels written by four Armenian women, which appeared in the periodical press from 1880 to 1915, this text evaluates the ways in which the trajectories of the intellectual and cultural movement known as the Zartonk (Awakening) in Armenian history facilitated women writers' emergence into the public sphere and their creation of the language and formulation of a discourse of women's rights in the Armenian socio-political context. The article provides biographical information on four women writers and examines the secular cultural institutions—such as the salon, the periodical press, the school, and the philanthropic organisation—which emerged in Constantinople and were conducive to women's participation in the public sphere. The article then problematises Armenian women writers' formulation of a specific political discourse of women's rights in the socio-political context of the Armenian millet in the Ottoman state and suggests that Armenian women writers produced a type of feminism that may have been typical of nations without independence in the context of state-sanctioned violence.

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Censorship as Freedom of Expression

The Tailor and Ansty Revisited

Maryann Gialanella Valiulis

Censorship laws were introduced in the Irish Free State in 1928 and sparked immediate controversy among intellectuals, the media, and the political classes. The issue of censorship became the center of a conversation about Irish national identity. It was, in part, an assertion of independence and a conscious rejection of colonialism, an attempt to decide what stories would be told about them, what image they would portray to the world. In 1942, one text in particular sparked a renewal of the censorship controversy: Eric Cross's book, The Tailor and Ansty, which was banned because it was a realistic portrayal of Irish peasant life that was unacceptable to post-colonial Ireland, and because the author, an English folklorist, was perceived to be trying to undermine post-colonial attempts to establish a modern identity for Ireland. Thus, the application of censorship laws in Ireland can be seen as a move to free Irish self-identity from the negative portrayals of the Irish so prevalent in the colonial period.

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Dagmar Herzog

This article analyzes the evolution of sexual politics and cultures in post-unification Germany, tracing these through three stages. First is the more immediate aftermath, in the early to mid 1990s, of ostalgische consternation over the loss of what Easterners understood to be the special qualities of GDR sexual culture, analyzing this consternation in the context of the—mutually conflicting—fantasies that Easterners and Westerners had about each other, replete with Easterners' ideas about how capitalism deforms interhuman interactions and Westerners' ideas about the deformations caused by totalitarian surveillance. A second stage runs from the mid 1990s through to the early twenty-first century, and includes both the convergence between East and West on the governmental policy level and the growing similarities identified in Easterners' and Westerners' sexual habits and mores. The third stage concerns the more recent past of the last five years and emphasizes the paradoxical coexistence of, on the one hand, strong commitment (on both the governmental and popular levels) to liberal values of individual sexual self-determination and toleration of diversity and a general sex-positive climate with, on the other, tremendous anxiety about the rise of European Islam (with its purportedly intrinsic hostility to both homosexuality and female sexual independence) and about the precipitous decline of the German birthrate. Attention is also paid to the newest policy directions with regard to adolescent sexuality and age of consent laws, abortion access, and disability rights.

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Introduction

The Concern for Sociality—Practicing Equality and Hierarchy in Denmark

Maja Hojer Bruun, Gry Skrædderdal Jakobsen, and Stine Krøijer

Equality is one of the concepts that people often associate with Scandinavia. Within anthropology, the works of Marianne Gullestad (1946–2008)—particularly, her monograph Kitchen-Table Society (1984) and the anthology The Art of Social Relations (1992a)—are among the few attempts to contribute to the theoretical debate on egalitarianism and sociality. With her concept of ‘egalitarian individualism’, Gullestad inscribes Scandinavia within broader comparative studies of ideological systems revolving around two dichotomies: hierarchyequality and holism-individualism (Béteille 1986; Dumont 1970, 1986; Kapferer 1988; Robbins 1994). Gullestad (1992b: 183) developed a theory of a specific “Norwegian, Scandinavian or Northern European variety” of modernity and of the general modern themes of individualism and equality. Exploring egalitarian individualism from different angles, she argued that equality is cast as ‘sameness’ in Scandinavia (Gullestad 1992d: 174 ff.), meaning that people develop an interactional style that emphasizes similarity and under-communicates difference in order to feel equal and to establish a sense of community. In Gullestad’s (1992b: 197) view, ‘equality as sameness’ is a central cultural idea that balances and resolves the tensions in the Norwegian ideological system between the individual and society, independence and community, equality and hierarchy.