In 2003, anthropologist and poet Michael Jackson went to French Catalonia with the intention of crossing the Pyrenees on the anniversary of Walter Benjamin's fateful journey on 25-26 September 1940. Retracing Benjamin's steps over a tortuous terrain of vineyards, stony paths and Mediterranean maquis, Jackson meditates on the life and work of the great twentieth-century philosopher, critical theorist, and essayist, as well as on the ways that events beyond our control or comprehension impact on and shape the course of our individual journeys through life.
Michael D. Jackson
This paper analyzes public understanding and moral reasoning with regard to regulating nature, specifically, societal efforts to control an insect population. It presents a study of a Swedish case in which a biological insecticide has been used to fight mosquitoes to reduce the nuisance to the local population. This case involves conflicting values regarding environmental protection. People's right to outdoor life is placed in opposition to long-term risks to biodiversity. Through interviews with local residents, their deliberations on the spraying are analyzed, particularly concerning to what extent and how they describe the situation in moral terms, but also how they acknowledge and use scientific findings in their argumentation.
Following our special issue on culture, we are pleased to present an
open issue of German Politics and Society. Our lead article by James
Ryan Anderson investigates a woefully underresearched area of German
politics and policy making: the Bundestag’s role in shaping the
country’s foreign policy. While the bulk of Anderson’s empirical
data hail from the 1950s and 1960s, the article does an excellent job
in looking at the German Bundestag’s constitutional role as overseer
of the executive and controlling the administration in foreign affairs
by using what the author calls “formal instrumentalities.”
Robert B. Marks
In nature, tigers have existed only in Asia. Over the millennia, Asian peoples have had much interaction with tigers, and those experiences have come to influence the patterns of everyday life, especially for villagers. In short, humans and tigers have a long history in Asia. Through case studies of China, the Malay world, and India from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries, this article argues that Asian rulers used tigers—or more properly, their control of tigers—to enhance their political power, further the reach of central states, and inform their understanding of colonizing European powers.
Thoughts on the Humanities at Home and Abroad
The place and future of the Humanities is under scrutiny in many parts of the world. The diminution in the university commenced in the 1980s with the rise of free-market thinking associated with Thatcher and Reagan. It was the end of the Cold War, however, with the rise of globalisation that control was tightened in higher education under the guise of increased freedom. The increasing emphasis on utilitarian forms of knowledge needed for economic growth further imperilled the Humanities. In South Africa, upon which the argument draws for illustration, policy-makers paid increasing lip service to academic freedom and institutional autonomy while directing policy interest and resources away from the Humanities.
Narratives of Girlhood
In this article I focus on the narratives of girls who describe the events that shape their lives and get them into trouble. The narratives are explored against Darrell Steffensmeier and Emilie Allan’s (1996) proffered Gender Theory, to consider whether it offers an adequate explanatory framework. The article adds to the body of knowledge about girlhood, gender norms, and transgression and provides fresh insight into the relevance of physical strength to girls’ violence. I conclude that girls are defining girlhood as they live it and it is the disjuncture with normative concepts that leads them into conflict with institutions of social control.
Yoram Peri and Paul L. Scham
The crisis of liberal democracy affecting a large number of Western countries is, unsurprisingly, also manifesting itself in Israel. Yet it is noteworthy that the extensive literature describing these processes in countries where illiberal regimes have developed and populist leaders now govern, such as Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and others, does not mention Israel in this unholy list. This is the case even though in Israel in recent years one cannot but notice a relentless battle against ‘elites’, undermining the rule of law and the justice system, taking control of independent media, weakening civil and social rights organizations, narrowing civil society, and developing signs of authoritarian rule.
While there exist many instances in the Tanakh of characters who are 'fraught with background' and whose internal workings are hidden, Saul could not be described as one of them. It is not just that his thoughts and feelings become public knowledge in the sense that the reader understands them clearly. In addition his internal life seems to be at the mercy of others, beyond his control. Such is his transparency that psychologists have found it easy to analyse his turmoil. Furthermore, there are literary devices that serve to highlight his openness and exposure compared to the opaqueness of other characters, in particular David.
Climate Change, Gender Relations, and Situational Analysis
Jonas Østergaard Nielsen
Since the major Sahelian droughts and famines of the early 1970s and 1980s, international development and aid organizations have played a large role in the small village of Biidi 2, located in northern Burkina Faso. This article explores how a visit by a development 'expert' to the village can be analyzed as a social situation in which normal social control is suspended and negotiated. Focusing on gender relations, the analysis shows how the women of Biidi 2 involved in the event were relatively free to construct alternative definitions of their identity and social position vis-à-vis the men.
Taking Amazonian Climate Science Seriously
Drawing on fieldwork with researchers and technicians involved in a scientific project in the Brazilian rainforest, this article explores specific aspects of climate science in the Amazon. It suggests that taking science seriously anthropologically requires an investigation into the relation between endo-anthropology and exo-anthropology. This is done recursively by exploring a particular way in which what is 'inside' and what is 'outside' are achieved and negotiated in the scientific practice under study. Researchers and technicians 'do' some crucial distinctions with data, and the article points to the importance of the flux of data and the boundaries and sides that emerge from the control of that flux.