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Back in Time Yet of His Time

Marty McFly as a 1980s Teenage Boy Role Model

Daniel Smith-Rowsey

to films about teenage boys that were set and made in the 1980s, because, however incidentally, they offer role models for those of us who hope to raise slightly less overscheduled boys. (I confess to personal interest; I have two small sons.) When we

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Wesley Gunter

Sartre's thoughts on the eighteenth century are ambiguous and schematic at best but they do contain an interesting analysis of materialism that continues from this period through to the early 1940s. Even though Sartre refers to the eighteenth-century as a paradise soon-to-be lost, it is argued here that his condemnation of atomistic materialism as it was conceived during this period is directly linked to his rejection of the dialectical materialism of the Communist Party and bourgeois ideology. This article examines the relationship between these different modes of thought and seeks to demonstrate how Sartre's take on the eighteenth century provided a stern warning to the communists about the pitfalls associated with basing a revolution on materialist doctrine.

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Organising Modern Synagogues

A Case of Multiple Models

Margaret Harris

Synagogues are organisations. For those who associate the word ‘organisation’ with business, industry or public bureaucracies this statement may be shocking. Nevertheless, when we move beyond the private world in which individuals and small groups of family and friends work together totally informally, we enter the world of organised activity (Hillis, 1989). This world includes synagogues.

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Inam Hüsseyin

I was only a few years old when I went into hospital for the first time. As we are a religious family, my parents worried about the food we would be served there. Since they could hardly expect the hospital to observe all the rules of the Halal diet my father simply asked the nurse not to give us pork. A few meal times later we were given sausages. I bit off a piece, but then got a bad conscience and spat it out. In order to avoid a confrontation with the nurse, I secretly dropped the sausages into the dustbin. That afternoon I told my parents about it. When my father called the nurse to account she answered in all seriousness ‘What harm is there in it?’

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Judith Rosen-Berry

During the summer of 2006 I was in the West Bank. Israel was at war in Lebanon and making incursions into Gaza, and, whilst in Bethlehem and East Jerusalem, I was told that several Palestinians had been arrested as suspected suicide bombers. I travelled to Ramallah, stopping between checkpoints; I walked beside and in the shadow of the security wall, looked out from one hill that is Israel towards another that is Palestine and thought of this poem.

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Richard Vokes

This article responds to Michael Herzfeld's call for anthropologists to develop a new form of 'reflexive comparison' by imaginatively casting the peoples of the African Great Lakes as part of Melanesia. Specifically, it explores how notions of personhood and sociality in this African setting might be understood through interpretative approaches developed in the New Melanesian Ethnography of the 1970s and 1980s. It finds that this sort of thought experiment yields key insights by focusing analytical attention upon concepts of shared vital substances, upon practices intended to control the flow of these substances, and upon the agency of non-human actors (especially cattle) in shaping these processes. An examination of these features suggests new perspectives on a range of ethnographic 'problems', from condom use to Rwanda's ubuhake cattle exchange.

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The Swiss Paradox

Egalitarianism and Hierarchy in a Model Democracy

Marina Gold

The Swiss system of direct democracy is in many ways paradoxical. The federal structure counteracts the formation of centralizing state hierarchies and protects the egalitarian representation of local political interests. Simultaneously, local political structures can have hierarchical and exclusionary effects, especially when democratic processes are turned into values. This article considers the tensions between egalitarian and hierarchical values in Swiss democratic structures in the wake of the rise of anti-foreigner and anti-EU passions harnessed by extreme right-wing parties. These tensions are heightened in the context of global processes that are transforming the structures of the state, as corporate power undermines state apparatuses with the potential to subvert democratic practices.

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Hannah Landecker, Charis Thompson, and Sarah Franklin

What’s in the Dish? Comments on Franklin’s In Vitro Anthropos Hannah Landecker

Conceptual Clarity for Conception Frameworks: Comments on Franklin’s In Vitro Anthropos Charis Thompson

Reply Sarah Franklin

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Stephen Thornton

Information literacy, the concept most associated with inculcating the attributes necessary to behave in a strategic, thoughtful and ethical manner in the face of a superfluity of information, has been part of the information specialist scene for many years. As the United Kingdom’s QAA benchmark statements for Politics and International Relations highlight, many of the competences associated with this concept are vital in the honourable struggle to become a successful graduate of those disciplines. This article presents a longitudinal study of a survey used to expose the information literacy levels of two groups of first-year Politics/IR students at a British university and, using the logic of ‘most similar design’, make informed inferences about the level of students’ information literacy on coming into tertiary education.

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Dugald Monro

This article argues that democracy requires citizens to have confidence that their interests and concerns will be seriously considered by their elected representatives. Drawing on a case study of one municipality, the ability of citizens in small communities to have local issues considered by Council was examined. The nature of the municipality, the Council structure, and the ethos that required Councilors to take a “corporate” view of representation—representing the municipality as a whole rather than any particular community—were all factors limiting citizens' confidence that their concerns would be taken seriously by Council. This shortcoming in democracy at the local level is only partially offset by the municipality's Community Consultative Bodies. These aim to allow local communities to bring their issues before Council, however they operate unevenly and in parts of this municipality and in many other municipalities do not exist at all.