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Repossession

Material Absences, Affective Presences, and the Life-Resumption Labors of Bosnians in Britain

Eleanor Ryan-Saha

Reflecting on ethnographic research undertaken in 2010–2011, I conceive of dispossession as fundamental to the individual and social experience of displacement for Bosnian former refugees residing in Britain. In this context, I pluck what I term 'repossession' from among the myriad strategies and practices that constitute life resumption after refugee displacement. Repossession is achieved through dynamic interplay between the affective influence of new material absences and presences. At the same time, it includes the reflexive construction of new rhetorical stances regarding materialism. I examine how the attainment of 'materially qualified life' through repossession contributes both to personal recovery and to the formation and consolidation of the British Bosnian diaspora. In this way, repossession achieves material certainty in the present, subsequent to the uncertainty of the past dispossession event.

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D.M.G. Sutherland

Claude Langlois's work on the French Revolution captures the experience of ordinary people in the country as a whole. Against an interpretation that sees the Revolution as resulting in a secular, modernized France, he emphasizes the ambiguity and uncertainties of the outcome. He is above all interested in assessing the impact of the Revolution on the Church. Although the Revolution had a profound impact on the personnel, landscape, finances, and politics of the Church, the Concordat created the conditions for recovery. There were restorations in pastoral care and practices but in addition, there were also ruptures, especially in the long term. Alongside a nineteenth century of unexpected piety, there were also regions and groups of low practice and indifference. The article also discusses Langlois's contributions to the political history of the coup of 1799, and to population studies.

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Climate Changing Small Islands

Considering Social Science and the Production of Island Vulnerability and Opportunity

Amelia Moore

This article argues that climate change has influenced the way in which small island nations are viewed and understood by the international climate community. Climate change has become an internationally recognized and specific language of vulnerability that is deployed in requests for international aid to fund adaptation and mitigation measures in some small islands, for population relocation plans and human rights advocacy in other islands, and for overhauling the 'tourism product' and creating new markets for travel in others. Vulnerability is a powerful idiom, especially in the contemporary climate context that has come to imply crisis, change, uncertainty, and immediacy. Importantly, vulnerability also gestures unambiguously toward seemingly limitless scientific and even commercial opportunity. These developments come with new forms of expertise in the natural and social sciences and the travel industry, as well as with new or reinstated forms of inequity. As the areas of small island expertise increasingly overlap, they come to reproduce the very context and form of small islands themselves.

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Bisan Salhi

This article first describes the unique place of emergency medicine (EM) within the American healthcare system. Second, it examines the uncertainty that underlies the practice of emergency medicine. It then describes how risk is perceived, negotiated and minimised by emergency physicians in their day-to-day practice. Finally, it explores how the management of medical risk is related to the establishment of trust within the physician–patient interaction and to the construction of the 'competent physician'. In caring for patients, the emergency physician must minimise risk and instil trust within a pressured, time-sensitive environment. Consequently, the management of risk and display of competence to patients are simultaneously accomplished by symbolic representations, the use of medical diagnostic tools in decision-making, and narrative construction within the clinical interaction.

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Shaped by Shock

Staff on the Emergency Department 'Shop Floor'

Mark Powell, Stephanie Glendinning, Vanesa Castán Broto, Emma Dewberry, and Claire Walsh

In this article we consider the impact of shock in hospital emergency departments where people seek urgent medical care and access hospital services. We define shock as an unexpected event or set of circumstances, for although emergency departments plan for uncertainty, shock moments are when protocols and procedures fail to meet operational demands. We reveal how, depending on the professional experience and personality of staff, shocks are experienced and defined in a variety of ways. On some occasions shocks result in critical departmental failure, while at other times they generate new working practices. Shocks can empower individuals through celebrating teamwork and a sense of belonging, to take personal responsibility at a range of 'shop-floor' scales. These emotional and embodied engagements contribute to the operational resilience of the department.

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‘Fight Abortion, Not Women’

The Moral Economy Underlying Russian Feminist Advocacy

Michele Rivkin-Fish

This article traces the conceptual emergence and development of feminist-oriented abortion politics in urban Russia between 2011 and 2015. Examined as an example of local adaptions of global reproductive rights movements, Russians’ advocacy for abortion access reflects commitments and tensions characterising post-Soviet feminism. Specifically, I show how calls to preserve women’s access to legal abortion have drawn on both socialist-inspired ideals of state support for families and liberal-oriented ideas of individual autonomy. Attention to the logics underlying abortion activists’ rhetoric reveals the specific historical sensibilities and shifting cultural values at stake in the ways progressive Russian activists construe justice. The analytic concept of ‘moral economy’ brings into relief how their advocacy evokes ideal visions of reciprocal obligations and uncertainties in both state-citizen relations and intimate relations. I argue that contextualised analyses of local feminist abortion politics may enrich global debates for reproductive rights and justice.

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the Sociology of Military Knowledge in the IDF

From 'Forging' to 'Deciphering'

Zeev Lerer and Sarit Amram-Katz

This article discusses the links between military knowledge production and the cultural representations of war based on the Israeli experience during the past two decades. It argues that the locus of military knowledge production has moved from what can be described as 'forging knowledge' to 'deciphering knowledge'. This transition is linked to a crisis in the classic representation of war, which is based on the congruence between three binary signifiers: enemy, arena, and violence. The article asserts that the blurring of these three signifiers has created a Bourdieuian field of military knowledge production in which symbolic capital is obtained from the production of knowledge that deciphers the new uncertainty. The article follows the relations between the binaries and the types of knowledge that have been imported and translated in the IDF with regard to four major operational settings: the Oslo redeployment, the Second Intifada, the disengagement from Gaza, and the aftermath of the Second Lebanon War.

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Arthur Mason

This article examines the practices through which Cambridge Energy Research Associates disseminates natural gas market analysis among senior-level decision makers in the Alaska state government. Cambridge Energy is a global consulting firm that provides knowledge on the future of energy markets. The US natural gas market has recently undergone a revolutionary transformation as a consequence of changing regulation. This has led to expansion in the services of consulting firms such as Cambridge Energy, who produce analysis on the uncertainties affecting the future. In fall 2000, with a rise in energy prices and renewed interest in commercializing Arctic natural gas, Alaska Governor Tony Knowles awarded a contract to Cambridge Energy to assist with market analysis slated to lead to construction of Alaska's natural gas pipeline. Drawing on ethnographic research at key sites of decision making, I show how domestication of analyses in state and news media discourses serves to govern Arctic gas development.

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‘Burying the ANC’

Post-apartheid Ambiguities at the University of Limpopo, South Africa

Bjarke Oxlund

Based on an in-depth analysis of the events that took place during a single day at the University of Limpopo, this article makes connections between current and past events in arguing that post-apartheid South Africa is underpinned by several layers of ambiguity. At one level the article seeks to demonstrate the continuing relevance of situational analysis as a research paradigm, while at another level it attempts to provide a fresh look at the dominant cleavage in South African society that was identified by Max Gluckman in 1940. Drawing on a mock funeral held for government-aligned student organizations in October 2006, which revealed strains and uncertainties in South Africa's post-apartheid society, the intent is to show how the government's failure to secure service delivery has created new lines of contestation.

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Richard J. Ladle and Paul Jepson

The concept of extinction is at the heart of the modern conservation movement, and massive resources have been spent on developing models and frameworks for quantifying and codifying a phenomenon that has been described by American researcher and naturalist Edward O. Wilson as an obscure and local biological process. Scientists, environmentalists, and politicians have repeatedly used extinction rhetoric as a core justification for a global conservation agenda that seeks to influence a wide range of human activities despite the inherent difficulty and uncertainty involved in estimating current and future rates of extinction, or even in verifying the demise of a particular species. In this article we trace the historical origins of the extinction concept and discuss its power to influence policies, agendas, and behaviors. We argue that conservation needs to develop a more culturally meaningful rhetoric of extinction that aligns scientific evidence, cultural frames, institutional frameworks, and organizational interests.