For as long as national records have been kept, Indigenous rural girls in Mexico have spent the least amount of time in school (aside from some people with disabilities). An innovative social program was designed in the 1990s that aimed to stop the intergenerational transmission of poverty through the provision of cash transfers (higher for girls than for boys) to families, conditional upon their children’s attendance at school and health clinics. We set out to assess whether or not the program had closed these gender and ethnicity gaps and found that it did narrow substantially pre-existing inequalities among rural indigenous poor girls and their families and, in some instances, reversed them. We recognize that the program does not eliminate other structural forces discriminating against indigenous Mexican girls and that prolonged education is an instrument for mobility only if these other forces are counterbalanced by more comprehensive social strategies.
A Success Story?
Mercedes González de la Rocha and Agustín Escobar Latapí
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The November 2005 riots in France brought new attention to debates over the situation of underprivileged areas. Rather than analyzing what happened in these areas, this article examines how this social problem was constructed and publicized and has since become an object of public policy since the end of the 1980s. The political focus on underprivileged areas was not primarily or only an effect of increasing concrete problems, like unemployment, poverty, or juvenile delinquency. Instead, it resulted from and contributed to a fundamental restructuring of the French welfare state, by authorizing a recentering of public action on specific urban spaces—rather than across the nation—and on social ties, rather than economic reality. This constructivist study seeks to understand why politicians, experts, or civil servants have associated the question of ?underprivileged areas? with certain problems (like lack of communication and the weakening of social ties) while ignoring others (such as ethnic discrimination).
Crisis and the Emergence of the Corporate State
The argument focuses on the corporate state as an increasingly significant political assemblage that has enabled new configurations of power with related social effects. Here the discussion proceeds from Karl Polanyi's thesis in The Great Transformation. A critical idea that Polanyi pursued related to the state production of economism and individualism, which prepared the ground for the expansion of capital in its globalizing form. The essay develops this idea, indicating that the nationalist capitalism of the state led to a radical change in the political and social orders of states, gradually giving rise to the corporate state assemblage. The emphasis here is on the corporate state as a socio-political order that places radically distinct structural dynamics into impossible conjunction, leading to progressively disastrous social effects concerning poverty and the emergence of new configurations in which war and violence take specific shapes.
Oligarchic Corporations and New State Formations
Current configurations of global, imperial, and state power relate to formations of oligarchic control. A major feature of this is the command of political organizations and institutions by close-knit social groups (families or familial dynasties, groups of kin, closed associations, or tightly controlled interlinked networks of persons) for the purpose of the relatively exclusive control of economic resources and their distribution, these resources being vital to the existence of larger populations. For many theorists, the state, throughout history and in its numerous manifestations, was born in such processes and continues to be so. Moreover, the oppressive powers of state systems (e.g., the denial or constraining of human freedoms, the production of poverty and class inequalities) and the expansion of these in imperial form are a consequence of oligarchic forces.
Sociological Research in the Regions of Eastern and Western Siberia
Valentin G. Nemirovskiy and Anna V. Nemirovskaya
This paper analyzes feelings of insecurity and fear amongst the population of Siberian regions in the face of various perceived dangers, based on research conducted in the Krasnoiarsk and Altai Territories, Novosibirsk and Omsk Regions, and the Republics of Khakassiia and Buriatiia, in the context of the general Russian situation. Quantitative methods—frequency, correlation, and factor analysis on survey data obtained from formalized face-to-face interviews—are used to gain an understanding of what factors respondents feel are “ugrozhaiushchie zhiznedeiatel'nosti” (activities threatening to social life). Siberians feel especially vulnerable to gender- and age-related discrimination, as well as governmental abuse of power and the threats inherent in economic development: chronic poverty, environmental threats, officials' arbitrariness, and crime and law enforcement authorities themselves. They also feel threatened by the presence of migrant groups and social minorities. However, an internal locus of control reduces their fears of threats to social life activities.
From Slave Catchers to Petty Sovereigns
Though states are founded in and dependent on successfully claiming a monopoly on the use of violent force and the certification of citizenship, these means suggest particular ends: the production of the social order. Police have the primary mandate to produce order and administer poverty. From a new abolitionist perspective, the particular social order of the U.S. is unique. The white race was founded through the production and maintenance of the color line and performed through a cross-class alliance of whites. Policing is deeply implicated in these processes. A historical account of police during the Herrenvolk era is provided. Finally, the persistence of racist policing is explained in light of a now officially color-blind political order, with officers functioning as petty sovereigns in a neoliberal era.
Marc Saperstein, Daniel H. Weiss, Rory Miller, Amanda Golby, Jonathan Romain and David Janner-Klausner
Levie Bernfeld, Tirtsah, Poverty and Welfare among the Portuguese Jews in Early Modern Amsterdam, Oxford, Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2012, xvii + 590 pp., ISBN 978-1-904113-57-7 (hb).
Batnitsky, Leora, How Judaism Became a Religion: An Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2011, x + 211 pp. (cloth).
Lainer-Vos, Dan, Sinews of the Nation: Constructing Irish and Zionist Bonds in the United States, Cambridge, Polity, 2013, 240 pp., ISBN 13-978-0- 7456-6265-7 (pb).
Ofer, Dalia, Francoise S. Ouzan and Judy Tydor Baumel-Schwartz, Holocaust Survivors: Resettlement, Memories, Identities, New York, Berghahn Books, 2012, 345 pp., ISBN 978-0-85745-247-4 (hb).
Baumel-Schwartz, Judith Tydor, Never Look Back: The Jewish Refugee Children in Great Britain 1938–1945, West Lafayette, IN, Purdue University Press (Shofar Supplements in Jewish Studies), 2012, 286 pp., ISBN 978-1- 55753-612-9 (pb).
Bernard, Philippa, A Beacon of Light: The History of West London Synagogue, West London Synagogue, 2013, 229 pp., ISBN 978-0-9576672-0-4.
Pinto, Diana, Israel Has Moved, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 2013, 215 pp., ISBN 978-0-674-07342-5 (hb).
Singing in Yiddish about London: 1880-1940 is the story of six Yiddish songs that tell of mainly East End people and places and experiences; these snippets of history give insights into what was happening in London at the time. They tell of poverty and work, of street life and of love. They tell of characters; an old fiddler, a bagel seller, a prostitute. They tell of places, the Pavilion Theatre, Victoria Park, Morgan Street. They sparkle with life, whether deeply moving or comic. This article explores Jewish history through the songs, as well as exploring the history of the songs themselves. The songs were collected in Denmark, Canada, Germany, Liverpool and London. The article describes some of the people who sung them, who collected them and who wrote them. There is a lot unknown about the songs and why they were written, so there is much to conjecture by London Yiddishists and folk collectors. These answers throw more light onto the politics and issues of the day. Today these songs are being performed by Vivi Lachs and Klezmer Klub, a London-based band who are seeking to revive them and imbue in them a sense of their meaning for today.
The Case of Social Suffering in the French Caribbean
Structural violence has become a central concept in critical medical anthropology. It emphasises the importance of structural health determinants such as poverty, political violence and other collateral aspects of globalization. Diseases and epidemics are viewed as being pathologies of power. The goal of anthropology is no longer to analyse the influence of culture on illness and disease, but rather to engage in pragmatic efforts to remedy social inequalities that express themselves through ill-health. Such opposition between culture and politics may not be consistent with the need for a comprehensive anthropology that emphasizes the subtle and complex articulations between the multiple dimensions of health. Based on an analysis of depression and social suffering in postcolonial Martinique (French Caribbean), a plea is made for a new understanding of the relationship between local idioms of distress on the one hand and intermediate social, political and economical factors on the other. There is also a discussion of some of the pitfalls related to an exclusive focus on the political economy of health.
Gijs Mom and Nanny Kim
How topsy-turvy can the world of mobility become? Th e London cab has recently been revived by a Chinese automotive group,1 General Motors had to be rescued by the American taxpayer, and BMW is converting its cars to electricity. In Delhi, after a rape and murder of a woman in a bus, rickshaw pullers introduced “safe for women” rickshaws.2 In Brazil riots against corruption and poverty started in a bus, out of outrage at increased ticket prices.3 In Rio de Janeiro there are three bus accidents per day, in part caused by drivers racing against each other.4 How can we understand the plethora of confusing messages from a world of mobility that seems to spin out of control, more so with every new decade? New Mobility Studies tries to make sense of this turbulence and as editors of Transfers we seek fresh approaches that are not afraid of transgressing boundaries. Th is issue, in which we present scholarship beyond the immediate reach of Western mainstream mobility studies, is an example of such boundary crossing.