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Bridge over the Sabarmati

An Urban Journey into Violence and Back

Parvis Ghassem-Fachandi

A strange contradiction haunts the urban experience of Ahmedabad, a city strongly divided along class and communal lines. The city's Sabarmati river is traversed by seven modern bridges, which, instead of being a solution to the problem of separation, have assumed its very form. In ordinary life, as well as during extraordinary events, residents of the city use these bridges not only to span space and gain access to the other half of the city, but also to escape and confine, project and expiate, and even to remain hidden while in full view. This article describes experiences of separation in Ahmedabad and how these experiences become expressed in reference to its bridges. In other words, urban structures, intended to overcome physical space and represent the modern promise of connectivity, become, instead, embodiments of division.

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Walking Without Purpose

Sensations of History and Memory in Nagasaki City Rupert Cox

Rupert Cox

This article engages with two well-known episodes in Nagasaki's history by examining the everyday relationships between the discursive space of museums and the embodied space of walking. It is an examination of the exhibitive strategies and image conventions of sixteenth-century painted screens, namban byôbu, which depict the contact between Iberian visitors and city residents, and photographs of the trauma inflicted on victims of the atomic bombing of 1946. These two images collide in the presentation of the city to tourists, and I examine the ways that a new program of guided walks creates the opportunity for participants to experience commonplace sounds as the ephemeral residue of history. These sensations are made possible by the peripatetic routes that the guides, being long-term residents of the areas, create out of their own experiences.

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Daniel O'Shiel

Sartrean conceptions of the Ego, emotions, language, and the imaginary provide a comprehensive account of "magic" that could ultimately give rise to a new philosophical psychology. By focusing upon only one of these here—the imaginary—we see that through its irrealizing capabilities consciousness contaminates the world and bewitches itself in a manner that defies simple deterministic explication. We highlight this with an explication of what Sartre means by "nihilation" and the "analogon," and introduce a concrete example of nostalgia, hoping to lay the scene for a detailed study into the dynamic between our ontological freedom and its constitution and experience of phenomena as enchanting and bewitching. "Magical being" must therefore involve a deep, Sartrean analysis that explicates ontological freedom as becoming concretely engaged in both the real and irreal alike, whereby the imaginary as magic can lead to the most insane, as well as the most artistic, incantations.

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Jozef Keulartz

Over the past decade a shift can be noticed from ecological restoration to ecological design, where ecological design stands for a technocratic approach that courts hubris and mastery rather than humility and self-restraint. Following Eric Higgs, this shift can be seen as a “hyperactive and heedless response“ to global environmental change, especially climate change. The new technocratic approach may be best characterized as enlightened (or prudential) anthropocentrism, where nature is only allowed that degree of agency which is required to deliver the services that are essential for human well-being. It is not only questionable if we have the scientific and technical abilities to purposeful design ecosystems that will serve our needs, but also if the new approach will be sufficient to protect biodiversity in the long run.

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Susanne Bregnbaek

This article is based on anthropological fieldwork undertaken at two elite universities in Beijing. It addresses the paradoxical situation of the many instances of suicide among Chinese elite university students in Beijing, which constitute a public secret. The pressure of education weighs heavily on the shoulders of China's only child in each family, known as the generation of little emperors and little empresses. Since the 1980s, the suzhi jiaoyu reforms (education for quality) have involved various attempts to reduce the pressure of education. However, simultaneously the aim is to increase the competitiveness of individuals. Drawing on existential and phenomenological thought, I suggest that the discourse seems to objectify and quantify a concern for well-being, rather than recognising its intersubjective character. Finally, I argue that the suicides are controversial since they are seen as a form of social criticism.

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In this open issue of German Politics and Society we are pleased to present

a number of contributions that address major aspects of current

debates in Germany. In our lead article, Helga Haftendorn sheds

light on the critical foreign policy triangle of Bonn, Paris, and Washington.

Always essential to the well being of each of these three

countries during the postwar period (indeed, an absolute cornerstone

to the flourishing of liberal democracies of the West), this triangular

relationship is about to experience major shifts in the years to

come. With the French openly challenging the Americans on all

fronts of public life—political, strategic, economic, cultural, even

moral—diplomacy will certainly become a good deal more complicated

for the new German government, as it tries to walk this

increasingly strained tightrope between Washington and Paris.

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Rory Conces

Political realism remains a powerful theoretical framework for thinking about international relations, including the war on terrorism. For Morgenthau and other realists, foreign policy is a matter of national interest defined in terms of power. Some writers view this tenet as weakening, if not severing, realism's link with morality. I take up the contrary view that morality is embedded in realist thought, as well as the possibility of realism being thinly and thickly moralised depending on the moral psychology of the agents. I argue that a prima facie case can be made within a thinly moralised realism for a relatively weak ally like Bosnia to enter the war on terrorism. An inflationary model of morality, however, explains how the moral horror of genocide in an ally's past may lead to a thickened moralised realism such that allied policy-makers question their country's entry into the war.

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'Repaying the National Debt to Africa'

Trusteeship, Property and Empire

William Bain

This article explores the way in which the idea of trusteeship shaped questions relating to property and possession in nineteenth-century sub-Saharan Africa. Trusteeship is distinctive insofar as it sanctioned European dominion over territories in Africa while preserving an indigenous right in the wealth contained in these territories. The article illuminates the character of this relationship, first, by arguing that a narrative that reduces empire to a story of domination and exploitation ends up obscuring the complex property relations entailed by trusteeship. Second, it describes the introduction of trusteeship into the political, economic and social life of sub-Saharan Africa, focusing mainly on the experience of British colonial administration and the Berlin Conference of 1884-5. Third, it clarifies a relationship of unequal reciprocity that joined European commercial interests with the well-being of the so-called 'native' tribes of Africa.

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Because I am a Girl

In the Shadow of War

Nikki van der Gaag, Sarah Henriks and Feyi Rodway

Conflict affects girls differently from boys—their rights are ignored, their responsibilities changed, and their lives altered forever by war. Girls face discrimination on at least two counts: because they are young and because they are female. We focus here on the changing nature of war and conflict and what this means for girls' health, economic well-being, physical security and protection, and also for their resilience and empowerment. We examine how girls are uniquely affected by, and respond to, conflict, its build-up and its aftermath. We assess the role of the institutions that have a duty to protect and support girls in conflict-affected states, and explore the reasons why policy actors do not take girls into account in their responses to violent conflict. We outline recommendations for action in terms of girls' education, harnessing girls' resilience and encouraging their empowerment.

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Remaking Oceans Governance

Critical Perspectives on Marine Spatial Planning

Luke Fairbanks, Noëlle Boucquey, Lisa M. Campbell and Sarah Wise

Marine spatial planning (MSP) seeks to integrate traditionally disconnected oceans activities, management arrangements, and practices through a rational and comprehensive governance system. This article explores the emerging critical literature on MSP, focusing on key elements of MSP engaged by scholars: (1) planning discourse and narrative; (2) ocean economies and equity; (3) online ocean data and new digital ontologies; and (4) new and broad networks of ocean actors. The implications of these elements are then illustrated through a discussion of MSP in the United States. Critical scholars are beginning to go beyond applied or operational critiques of MSP projects to engage the underlying assumptions, practices, and relationships involved in planning. Interrogating MSP with interdisciplinary ideas drawn from critical social science disciplines, such as emerging applications of relational theory at sea, can provide insights into how MSP and other megaprojects both close and open new opportunities for social and environmental well-being.