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A Crystal Ball for Forests?

Analyzing the Social-Ecological Impacts of Forest Conservation and Management over the Long Term

Daniel C. Miller, Pushpendra Rana and Catherine Benson Wahlén

Citizens, governments, and donors are increasingly demanding better evidence on the effectiveness of development policies and programs. Efforts to ensure such accountability in the forest sector confront the challenge that the results may take years, even decades, to materialize, while forest-related interventions usually last only a short period. This article reviews the broad interdisciplinary literature assessing forest conservation and management impacts on biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, and poverty alleviation in developing countries. It emphasizes the importance of indicators and identifies disconnects between a rapidly growing body of research based on quasi-experimental designs and studies taking a more critical, ethnographic approach. The article also highlights a relative lack of attention on longer-term impacts in both of these areas of scholarship. We conclude by exploring research frontiers in the assessment of the impacts of forest-related interventions with long incubation periods, notably the development of predictive proxy indicators (PPIs).

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Natural Resources by Numbers

The Promise of “El uno por mil” in Ecuador’s Yasuní-ITT Oil Operations

Amelia Fiske

In 2013, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa announced the end of the Yasuní-ITT initiative. The initiative had proposed to combat climate change by not exploiting oil reserves in one section of the Yasuní National Park. Anticipating outcry, Correa promised that operations would affect less than one thousandth of the park, or “menos del uno por mil.” This article examines the role of numerical calculations in the governance of subterranean resources. Numbers do a particular kind of labor to rationalize the shift contained in the Yasuní-ITT initiative that rhetoric alone does not. Metrics such as el uno por mil constitute and translate between diverse realms of value. Yet, contrary to the assumption that numbers are derived from strictly technical, expert processes, I show how such metrics are fundamental to translations between incalculable matters of nature, the future, and the “good” when deployed in contests over the effects of oil on life.

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'What verse for it? What instance for it?'

Authority, Closure, and the Endings of Troilus and Cressida in Text and Performance

Roger Apfelbaum

Barbara Bowen’s perceptive reading revels in the relationship between Troilus’ final speeches and Pandarus’ final appearance, but many critics, bibliographers, and editors have argued that the ending printed in both Q (1609) and F (1623) may be only one of the ways the play ended. There is a long history of speculation that Troilus and Cressida was revised, and that the ending may have been altered, perhaps for different audiences. The theories of editors and bibliographers can be read alongside the play’s theatre history, revealing how the heroism and scurrility that Bowen describes have been emphasised and diminished in different literary, theatrical, and social climates. I am particularly interested in exploring the play’s multiple and disruptive movements of closure, and the ways in which changing notions of an ‘authentic Shakespeare’ have been evoked in the critical responses to originary and modern texts and performances.

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Robyn Eckersley and Jean-Paul Gagnon

Modern environmentalism, whose genesis tracks mainly from the 1960s and Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962), has forced the anthropocentric emphasis of democracy to account. Nonhuman actors like trees, ecological systems, and the climate have increasingly become anthropomorphized by humans representing these actors in politics. Aside from challenges to the anthropocentric concepts of citizenship, political representation, agency, and boundaries in democratic theory, environmentalism has warned of apocalyptic crises. This drives a different kind of challenge to mainly liberal democracies. Scientists and activists are becoming increasingly fed up with the seeming incompetence, slowness, and idiocy of politicians, interest groups, and electors. Eyes start to wander to that clean, well-kempt, and fast-acting gentleman called authoritarianism. The perfect shallowness of his appearance mesmerizes like a medusa those that would usually avoid him. Serfdom increasingly looks like a palpable trade-off to keep the “green” apocalypses at bay. Democracy’s only answer to this challenge is to evolve into a cleverer version of itself.

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Returning

Jewish Life in Antwerp in the Aftermath of the Second World War (1944–45)

Veerle Vanden Daelen

At the end of the war the German Occupier declared Antwerp Judenrein. In his Ph.D. thesis Vreemdelingen in een wereldstad, historian Lieven Saerens has demonstrated that a general anti-semitic climate had already surfaced in Antwerp in the 1930s. During the occupation, more Jews fell prey to persecution and annihilation in Antwerp than in any other Belgian city, partly due to the negligent attitude of the local authorities. Nevertheless, already in the first year after the liberation Jewish life in Antwerp was back on its feet. This contribution focuses on the settlement of the practical and legal consequences of the war and on the early reconstruction of Jewish life in Antwerp immediately after the war.

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‘Is Anthropology Legal?’

Anthropology and the EU General Data Protection Regulation

Cassandra Yuill

In May 2018, the European Union (EU) introduced the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) with the aim of increasing transparency in data processing and enhancing the rights of data subjects. Within anthropology, concerns have been raised about how the new legislation will affect ethnographic fieldwork and whether the laws contradict the discipline’s core tenets. To address these questions, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London hosted an event on 25 May 2018 entitled ‘Is Anthropology Legal?’, bringing together researchers and data managers to begin a dialogue about the future of anthropological work in the context of the GDPR. In this article, I report and reflect on the event and on the possible implications for anthropological research within this climate of increasing governance.

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Participation, Process and Partnerships

Climate Change and Long-term Stakeholder Engagement

Carrie Furman, Wendy-Lin Bartels and Jessica Bolson

As awareness of the potential threats posed by climate change increases, researchers and agricultural advisors are being called upon to determine the risks that different stakeholder groups will likely confront and to develop adaptive strategies. Yet, engaging with stakeholders takes time. It also requires a clear and detailed plan to ensure that research and outreach activities yield useful outputs. In this article, we focus on the role of anthropologists as researchers and conveners in stakeholder engagement and provide a generalised overview of a long-term engagement process proceeding in three stages: (1) fact-finding and relationship- building; (2) incubation and collaborative learning; and (3) informed engagement and broad dissemination. We conclude with a discussion of perspectives and challenges that were encountered during two engagement experiences in the south-eastern United States.

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Challenging the Status Quo

The Story of Jcoss – The Jewish Community Secondary School

Helena Miller

As early as the mid-1990s, individuals within the Jewish community in the UK were discussing the potential of setting up a pluralist Jewish secondary school in London. Until 1981, every Jewish school in the UK had operated under Orthodox auspices. By 1999, three pluralist primary schools were thriving, and the political and Jewish communal climate was ready to support the development of a new kind of Jewish secondary school. A feasibility study in 2001 led to the formation of a steering group and the project was born. Nine years later, JCoSS opened its doors in a brand new, state-of-the-art building in North London, and 150 eleven-year-olds began a new kind of Jewish secondary education. This article charts the journey of this project, from idea to reality, navigating political, economic and community challenges, and shows how one group of people changed the landscape of Jewish education in the UK.

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Peter Collins and Yulia Egorova

I (Peter) remember sitting in a departmental meeting, doodling, preoccupied with the image of a hospital chapel. I had recently been involved in a research project seeking to document and explain the construction of religious/spiritual space in National Health Service (NHS) acute-care hospitals in the north of England. What was becoming more and more obvious was the growing tension between the distinction that staff and patients were making between ‘religion’ and ‘spirituality’. Admittedly, this tension was not especially surprising; indeed, it can be understood, in principle, as a reflection of the ambient climate of religiosity in the UK, as in many other Western countries (Flanagan and Jupp 2007; Heelas 2008; Heelas et al. 2004).

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The Postwar Schoolbook as a Material Artifact

Two Greek Reading Textbooks from 1944

Niki Sioki

In contrast to the countries of Western Europe, the end of the Second World War did not bring political restoration, economic recovery, or the emergence of a new social order to Greece. Subscribing to the view that the material form of books and their typography convey meaning, this article presents a comparative study of the design and production of a reading primer and a third-year reading textbook, both of which were published in a climate of political and social disorder. Drawing on surviving copies of the books, educational laws, teachers’ recollections, and archival material, this article examines the ways in which the sociopolitical environment and technological conditions of a publication affect the ways in which texts are shaped into book form.