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Couchsurfing Along the Trans-Siberian Railway and Beyond

Cosmopolitan Learning through Hospitality in Siberia

Dennis Zuev

This article focuses on the process of cosmopolitan learning among hosts in a hospitality couchsurfing network in Siberia. The data making up the empirical basis for the study were collected during fieldwork in Siberia: between 2007 and 2011 in Krasnoiarsk and Novosibirsk and from 2010 to 2012 in Irkutsk and Vladivostok. The article argues that the interactional dynamics between hosts and guests in cosmopolitan learning are determined by the combination of emotive and cognitive rewards. The primary emotional charge occurs as a result of the first interaction with the visitor, while a cognitive “bonus“ is represented by the opportunity to practice a foreign language in the home environment. In addition, hosts reflect on such aspects as the exchange of lifestyle ideas, the exposure to everyday habitual practices, and the realization of commonality and difference. These reflections leading to self-discovery in the comfort of one's own home constitute an important element in the process of cosmopolitan learning.

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Ibn Khaldoun

Theories on Education with Reflections on Problem-Based Learning Strategies

Abdullah A. Al Sayyari and Fayez Hejaili

Ibn Khaldoun is the recognised founder of sociology. We propose that he is also the father of education and education methodology. We reflect on how close and relevant his educational theories are to contemporary educational strategies. He emphasises three stages of teaching and abhors coercion in education. Developing the interest of the pupil in the craft that he is studying is the central theme of good education. Ibn Khaldoun describes the influence of 'emotional intelligence' as an important component of educational and personal development, and he rejects the idea that intelligence is ethnically determined.

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Elina Hytönen-Ng

Anthropology and anthropological literature have had an irreversible effect on the practice of contemporary shamanism. In this small-scale study, I look at the complex ways the literature has been recorded, initiated interest, revived and verified the shamanic practices. Over the years, anthropologists have also caused distortions in revived practices as they have left some things unrecorded. On the basis of written responses and interviews from shamanic practitioners and active drumming-group members, I demonstrate that the argument of neo-shamanism as the only form of shamanism still alive is not completely true. Attention is drawn also to the claim about the cycle of learning in contemporary shamanism. My argument is that the main part of learning in the deeper levels of shamanic practices still happens in face-to-face situations.

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Cosmologies and Lifestyles

A Cultural Ecological Framework and Its Implications for Education Systems

Phil Bayliss and Patrick Dillon

This essay critiques the majoritarian, post-Enlightenment, scientific worldview, the assumptions it makes about human cosmologies and lifestyles and how, in turn, these assumptions influence the nature of education systems. The critique focuses on how the experiences of minority cultures, particularly those cultures that are nomadic or pastoralist, challenge some of the fundamental premises of majoritarian education. There follows a cultural ecological framing which compares the ways in which Western (majoritarian) cultures and minoritarian cultures contextualise education. In Western educational situations, structures, contexts and schemata are substantially pre-defined, and we talk about things as 'context-dependent', since context is something that can be described as the backdrop to behaviour. In minoritarian cultures both meaning and context emerge from people's interactions with their environments and may subsequently be described. These are respectively relational and co-constitutional manifestations of situations. We present a cultural ecological framework in an attempt simultaneously to embrace both interpretations.

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Learning from Greverus

Pathways towards Another Aesthetic in Anthropology

Judith Laister

The emergence of modern scientific thought has been characterised by a separation from the realm of art. Among others, German anthropologist Ina-Maria Greverus since the 1970s, in the context of the worldwide critique of the discipline’s formats, pioneered new approaches to articulate anthropological work and findings with and through artistic practices.

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Ned Lazarus

Sami Adwan and Dan Bar-On, eds., Learning the Other’s Historical Narrative: Israelis and Palestinians, Parts One and Two (Beit Jalla: Peace Research Institute in the Middle East, 2003, 2006).

Robert I. Rotberg, ed., Israeli and Palestinian Narratives of Conflict: History’s Double Helix (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006).

Paul Scham, Walid Salem, and Benjamin Pogrund, eds., Shared Histories: A Palestinian-Israeli Dialogue (Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2005).

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Adina Newberg

Over the last fifteen years Israeli culture has witnessed the development of batey midrash (houses of Jewish studies) modeled after traditional batey midrash, but without regard for halakhah and open to men and women alike. They represent an attempt to connect and reconnect to the sources of Jewish learning and strive to reconcile uni- versalistic and pluralistic aspects of Israelis' identity with their Jewish identity that has been dormant since the establishment of the state of Israel. With a reflective and pluralistic educational approach the batey midrash present opportunities for exploration of students' relationship to tradition, to Israel and Zionism, God, their communities, their own spiritual path, and the 'other' in all its representations. As the continu- ing conflict with the Palestinians renders existence in Israel ever more difficult, more existential questions arise, requiring a deepening of the Jewish connection so that the two sides' worlds are in dialogue.

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Without fear and reproach

The role-playing games community as a challenge to mainstream culture

Tat'iana Barchunova and Natal'ia Beletskaia

The article describes one of the most developed networks of intellectual youth in post-Soviet Russia. This network originated in science-fiction clubs and the 'Zarnitsa game' of the 1960s to 1980s. Yet unlike Zarnitsa games, which have been used at Soviet schools as an instrument of political mainstreaming, the current role-playing games community is opposing itself to mainstream politics and popular culture. The article approaches this network as a community of practice, which is constituted by three basic elements: learning, doing, and justification of meaning. Both leaders and rank-and-file members of the community justify their agency within the community through the concept of rule. It is the rule-governed community, which according to them, helps them to feel secure and fearless in a society that they see as devoid of any strict regulations. The article closes with an analysis of the inner and outer conflicts of the role-playing games community.

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Russian Israelis and Religion

What Has Changed after Twenty Years in Israel?

Larissa Remennick and Anna Prashizky

Most former Soviet immigrants who arrived in Israel had a secular or atheistic outlook, with only a small minority leaning toward Orthodox Judaism or Christianity. To understand how 20 years of life in the ethno-religious polity of Israel have influenced their religious beliefs and practices, we conducted a survey of a national sample of post-1990 immigrants. The findings suggest that most immigrants have adopted the signs and symbols of the Jewish lifestyle. They celebrate the major religious holidays in some form, and many are interested in learning more about Jewish culture and history. We interpret these changes mainly as an adaptive response aiming at social inclusion in the Israeli Jewish mainstream rather than actually emerging religiosity. Few immigrants observe the demanding laws of kashrut and Shabbat, and even fewer attend synagogues and belong to religious communities. Their expressed attitudes toward state-religion matters reflect their ethno-nationalist stance, which is more typical for ethnic Jews than for partial or non-Jews.

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Shira Klein

edit Wikipedia articles, they achieve multiple goals: they gain critical reading skills, shape public knowledge about Israel, and engage in active learning. This article explains how to run a Wikipedia-editing assignment, outlines its pedagogical