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Oscar A. Gómez

Recognizing the influence crises have in shaping global governance nowadays, the present work explores the possible contribution of human development thinking countering the perverse effects of shock-driven responses to major emergencies. This is done by focusing on contributions by Sen, Dreze, Haq and Stewart related to famines, violent conflict and the idea of human security, analyzed using a selection of four criteria, namely, describing the position of crisis inside human development thinking, issues of modeling and measurement, the stance toward agency, and the actors gathered around the discourse. After strengths and weaknesses are considered, the article suggests a tangential involvement through other human concepts, so human development ideas do not get muddled by the logic of shocks and fulfill the great responsibility of helping us avoid the many shortfalls of a security-obsessed view of humanity.

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The Sibirica Editorial Team

This second issue of volume 7 marks the completion of three volumes of Sibirica under the current editorship and with our publisher, Berghahn Books. We have been working to improve the content and delivery of the journal, organizing several issues around special themes, often as the result of interdisciplinary conferences related to the region. Our partnership with Berghahn has been great from the start and is only gaining strength. They have been expanding the electronic infrastructure for web access to subscribers, and Sibirica is accessible through Ingenta via links on Berghahn’s own website. We are in the process of digitizing all the back issues of Sibirica, all the way to its first incarnation as photocopied typescripts in the 1980s. This will give subscribers and others easy access to important scholarly material on Siberian studies.

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Kenneth Margerison

The French monarchy's determination to suspend the trading rights of the Compagnie des Indes in 1769 stimulated a lively public debate over the establishment of commercial liberty in the Indies trade. Since mid-century, Vincent de Gournay and his disciples had advocated increased liberty in French commerce, and the Compagnie des Indes' privileged trading monopoly offered a tempting target for these reformers. Working on behalf of the ministry, the abbé Morellet undertook the task of convincing public opinion of the benefits that liberty of commerce in the Indies trade would bring to France. However, the company's principal banker Jacques Necker and physiocrat Pierre-Samuel Dupont raised serious doubts concerning both the feasibility and the value of such reform. These critiques challenged any expectation that commercial liberty would increase French strength in the Indies trade or contest British political hegemony in India after the Seven Years' War.

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Feminist Anthropology Anew

Motherhood and HIV/AIDS as Sites of Action

Pamela J. Downe

Ongoing discussions about feminist anthropology as an active and relevant sub-discipline largely rely on historical comparisons that pit the political fervour of the past against what is deemed to be the less defined and increasingly disengaged feminist anthropology of today. In this paper, I argue that the prevailing tone of pessimism surrounding feminist anthropology should be met with a critical response that: (1) situates the current characterization of the sub-discipline within broader debates between second- and third-wave feminism; and (2) considers the ways in which the supposed incongruity between theories of deconstruction and political engagement undermines the sub-discipline's strengths. Throughout this discussion, I consider what an ethnographic study of motherhood in the context of HIV/AIDS can offer as we take stock of feminist anthropology's current potential and future possibility.

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Christine Hobden

Citizens increasingly engage with political issues in new ways by addressing politicians via social media, campaigning at international forums, or boycotting corporate entities. These forms of engagement move beyond more regulated electoral politics and are rightly celebrated for the ways they increase representation and provide new channels of accountability. Yet, despite these virtues, political engagement beyond voting inevitably tends to entrench and amplify inequality in citizen influence on political decision-making. The tendency toward inequality undermines relational equality between citizens and muddies the channels of political accountability and responsibility. This article unpacks the ostensible tension and argues that it reveals to us another strength in views which hold the state to be citizens’ collective project and provides argumentative resources to motivate democracies to give due attention to ensuring that democratic participatory channels remain fit for purpose in an ever-changing society.

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Matthew J. Sherman

Ideations of corporeality are situated at the crux of "muscular Judaism" in early twentieth- century Europe. The sporting event was viewed as a battlefield for equalization. In the ideological context of Muskeljudentum, the apathy of Talmudjudentum (Talmudic Judaism) was replaced by exercise, in which the strengthening of the corporeal would rejuvenate the psychical. Jewish strongman Siegmund Breitbart capitalized on his masculine feats of strength and aesthetic appeal by creating public performances, which displayed not only militarized corporeality, but also provided a stage for the promotion of "muscular Judaism," through both symbolic and literal representations of Zionist ideology. Breitbart reappropriated masculine Jewish corporeality, embodied corporeal notions of reciprocity at the core of Muskeljudentum, and found individual agency through the militarized aesthetic and motion of his body.

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Le Rallye Méditerranée-le Cap

Racing towards Eurafrica?

Megan Brown

Abstract

The retired military officers who organized the Rallye Méditerranée-le-Cap, a biennial car race from Algiers to Cape Town, did so to promote Eurafrica. Eurafrica, an idealized geopolitical fusion of the continents, would be a site of European partnership, with the rally literally paving the way. When its wealthy participants first took to the road in 1951, France, Belgium, and Britain administered much of the course. This article argues that the organizers viewed tourism as the best method for upholding European sovereignty in Africa. However, they did not account for new ways of doing empire in the postwar era, most notably the strength of anti-imperial activism and the advent of technologies that did not require direct access to large swathes of land. By the time of the fifth and final rally in 1961, organizers contended with realities they preferred to ignore: newly independent African states and the ongoing Algerian War of Independence.

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Peter Marcuse

This article examines the conceptual structure of the Social City Program as it has been formulated in legislation and applied in practice. It raises serious questions as to the actual impact of the program as formulated, and suggests that conceptual clarity may help both to expose its flaws and to propose alternate positive potentials. The program has a complex intellectual underlay, and clarity in the concepts used can avoid some potential dangers in its implementation. More specifically, integration is not the opposite of exclusion, and inclusion is not the same as reducing poverty. Spatial clustering can either support or weaken solidarity. Enclaves and ghettos are not the same thing, although both reflect a clustering of population groups. Finally, emphasizing "social capital" can be a way of highlighting the strength of the oppressed or blaming them for their own oppression-and these distinctions are loaded with consequences for policy.

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“SpiritS Follow the words”

Stories as Spirit Traces among the Khmu of Northern Laos

Rosalie Stolz

Abstract

A general conundrum for the Khmu of northern Laos is the persistent unknowability of spirits. The locals gauge the potency of spirits by keeping track of spirit stories. Spirit narratives can be conceived of as transient traces of intangible spirit phenomena, as will be exemplified by the story of a young man’s spirit affliction. Sharing and silencing spirit stories are a means of determining the strength of spirits, as well as an efficacious way to evoke them. Using works that embark from the fragmentary and experiential character of animist cosmologies, it will be shown that approaching spirit stories as traces of spirits will be a suitable way to address the perspectives of those who navigate a world that is not inhabited by humans alone.

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Zhuoyao Li

Recent discussions by Martha Nussbaum and Steven Wall shed new light on the concept of reasonableness in political liberalism and whether the inclusion of epistemic elements in the concept necessarily makes political liberalism lose its antiperfectionist appeal. This article argues that Nussbaum’s radical solution to eliminate the epistemic component of reasonableness is neither helpful nor necessary. Instead, adopting a revised understanding of epistemic reasonableness in terms of a weak view of rationality that is procedural, external and second-order rather than a strong view that is substantial, internal and first-order can help political liberalism maintain an epistemic dimension in the idea of reasonableness without becoming perfectionist. In addition, political liberalism can defend a stronger account of respect for persons against liberal perfectionism on the basis of the revised understanding of epistemic reasonableness. Both arguments serve to demonstrate the strength of the political liberal project.