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The Decline of Rome

The Never-Ending Crisis in the Capital

Giada Zampano

The first female mayor in Rome’s history, Virginia Raggi, is faced with a dual challenge. First, she must try to solve the chronic problems of a city mired in debt and struggling with an ongoing emergency caused by chronic traffic problems and chaotic waste disposal. Then the young mayor must experiment with new ways of exercising power to establish the transparency required to restore the reputation of a political class that has led Rome to become known as the “Mafia Capital,” with its own “in-between world” made up of corrupt politicians, business people, and criminals. Since assuming office, Raggi has faced a political impasse, and her administration has suffered an embarrassing string of resignations and judicial scandals that have brought into question the city’s future prospects. Rome is now at a crossroads that may lead to either a much-awaited renaissance or a definitive meltdown.

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The Political Psychology of Israeli Prime Ministers: When Hard-Liners Opt for Peace by Yael S. Aronoff Joel Migdal

Paths to Middle-Class Mobility among Second-Generation Moroccan Immigrant Women in Israel by Beverly Mizrachi Shani Bar-On

Conscientious Objectors in Israel: Citizenship, Sacrifice, Trials of Fealty by Erica Weiss Ruth Linn and Renana Gal

Mo(ve)ments of Resistance: Politics, Economy and Society in Israel/Palestine 1931–2013 by Lev Luis Grinberg As'ad Ghanem

Arabs and Israelis: Conflict and Peacemaking in the Middle East by Abdel Monem Said Aly, Shai Feldman, and Khalil Shikaki Paul L. Scham

The Challenge of Ethnic Democracy: The State and Minority Groups in Israel, Poland and Northern Ireland by Yoav Peled Ian S. Lustick

Israeli Feminist Scholarship: Gender, Zionism, and Difference by Esther Fuchs (ed.) Pnina Peri

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Leonid M. Goryushkin

Many earlier studies of the economic development of Siberia at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries presented an oversimplified view of the reality, and did not take account of the multifarious types of economic relationships or modes of production. Two collective works on the history of the Siberian peasantry and working class, published in the 1980s, demonstrate the complex and highly varied nature of the Siberian economy during the period studied. This included both small- and large-scale enterprises, concentration of capital, rapid expansion of the agricultural sector, huge population growth, significant foreign investment, co-operative associations and private artisan workshops, and the construction of the Trans-Siberian railway. Economic relationships comprised not only capitalist, but also small-scale commodity and even feudal structures. These were to some extent inter-active and inter-dependent, but the basic direction of development was towards capitalism, though at a slower pace than in European Russia.

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Epilogue

Mapping the Topography of Oppression

Jenny White

During today’s crisis in Turkey, victimhood authorises oppression, oppressors see themselves as victims and the oppressed are not only the poor, but educated middle classes. Citizen and state are imbricated in the same political and discursive fields where people mobilise against one another, some moving up and others down, creating unexpected landscapes of victimisation and oppression that do not fit comfortably in literature that analyses ‘politics from below’. How do we conceptualise this in a way that respects people’s understanding of their coordinates in a complex landscape of power? This article interrogates some basic assumptions of this literature, including the impact of the observer’s position and the oppression/resistance framework, replacing it with a model of politics as a shared horizontal topography of action across a terrain of values.

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A Working Model of a Sacred Place

Exhibits Appearing in Dreams and Other Miracles in a Small Museum at the Edge of the World

Elena V. Liarskaya and Anna Kushkova

Based on materials from expeditions to the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug during 2006 and 2007, this article discusses the role of a small museum in the local society of a district administrative center. The article focuses on a specific class of sacred Nenets objects in the museum's collection, called locally babushka (grandmother) and a “working model“ of a sacred site that is itself a sacred site for local residents, both indigenous and Russian, to explore the social relationships forged by the museum and its collection among local residents of all ethnicities. The museum and its objects are not removed from social life and rendered dead and preserved under glass. They remain alive in a network of relationships between human and non-human persons.

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Balancing the Here and There

Transnational Mobilities of Moroccan Middle-class Professionals in Istanbul

Christian Ritter

This article explores the ways Moroccan middle-class professionals residing in Istanbul have forged transnational connections since the 2006 free trade agreement between Turkey and Morocco. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, the article finds that research participants embrace three interdependent mobilities – imaginative, corporeal and virtual. First, Moroccan television viewers imaginatively internalise images of Turkish society through Turkish programmes broadcast in Morocco. Then, Moroccan nationals engage in physical travel to Turkey, initially as tourists, but later also as job seekers. Finally, Moroccan residents of Istanbul travel virtually to keep in touch with friends and family through media such as online platforms and instant messaging applications. In this article I argue that users of virtual environments have developed into new transnational brokers, facilitating the spatial extension of border-crossing networks.

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Soraya Tremayne

This article examines the interface between modernity and traditional cultural values. It suggests that Iranian society, in spite of its Islamic theocratic regime, is on one level an open society and has shown a surprising degree of flexibility in adapting to change. Yet on another level, Iran remains a closed society with strong cultural ties that act as unifying factors controlling the boundaries of interaction between the old and the new. One of the manifestations of the deep-rooted values that determine the form and extent of the acceptance of modernity is the consideration of one’s ‘face’ in public. ‘Face’ acts as a regulating agent directing the choices people make vis-à-vis societal change. The article concludes that social interactions and decisions taken by individuals in all public aspects of their lives, regardless of class, age, ethnic origins or gender, continue to be profoundly influenced by ‘face’.

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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.

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Efraim Inbar and Ian S. Lustick

A Debate between Efraim Inbar and Ian S. Lustick

Time is on Israel's Side Efraim Inbar

From a realpolitik perspective, the balance of power between Israel and its neighbors is the critical variable in the quest for survival in a bad neighborhood. If Israel’s position is improving over time and the power differential between the Jewish State and its foes is growing, then its capacity to overcome regional security challenges is assured. Moreover, under such circumstances there is less need to make concessions to weaker parties that are in no position to exact a high price from Israel for holding on to important security and national assets such as the Golan Heights, the settlement blocs close to the “Green Line,” the Jordan Rift, and particularly Jerusalem.

With a Bang or a Whimper, Time Is Running Out Ian S. Lustick

Israel’s existence in the Middle East is fundamentally precarious. Twentieth- century Zionism and Israeli statehood is but a brief moment in Jewish history. There is nothing more regular in Jewish history and myth than Jews “returning” to the Land of Israel to build a collective life—nothing more regular, that is, except, for Jews leaving the country and abandoning the project. Abraham came from Mesopotamia, then left for Egypt. Jacob left for Hauran, then returned, then left with his sons for Egypt. The Israelites subsequently left Egypt with Moses and Joshua, and “returned” to the Land. Upper class Jews who did not leave with the Assyrians left with Jeremiah for Babylon, then returned with Ezra and Nehemiah.

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Soheila Shahshahani

Ceremonies are a very important part of Iranian life. They have definite order, ritual and objects associated with them. The political and economic situation of individuals taking part in a ceremony mark them, and if there are various classes, positions and gender, they are all markers of ceremonies. To study any topic in terms of the duality of traditional and modern versions has become banal and too simplistic. Looking at one single ceremony, indeed even looking at only a few hours of a ceremony can show how malleable are the boundaries of a ceremony, to be affected by many factors. Regarding the few hours that I am reporting about, the following factors are involved: an earthquake; the Islamic Revolution and the reactions to it; satellite television; and consumer goods; as well as changes in people’s way of life that have affected the availability of time, the availability of space, and, finally, the place of the visual, the centrality of the camera in organising a ceremony in a way that it can be recorded in an acceptable manner for later viewing. Responding to all these changes and trying to hold together a very important ceremony and a number of people who must be kept together through ceremonies is what gives the following its meaning and urgency of its reporting.