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Kathleen Wider

In this paper I examine the role of emotions in the initial development of self-awareness through intersubjective communication between mother and infant. I argue that the empirical evidence suggests that the infant's ability to communicate is initially an ability of the infant to share emotions with the mother. In section one I examine the biological foundations that allow infants from birth to interact with others of their own kind, focusing on the abilities which allow them to engage in emotional relationships with others. These include an infant's ability to express, share, and regulate emotions as well as her brain's ability to imitate the neuronal activity of another. In section two, I explore the fit between Sartre's phenomenologically-based account of intersubjectivity in Being and Nothingness and the accounts from psychology and neuroscience that I've examined in section one, focusing on his phenomenology of the Look and the emotional response he claims it elicits. In section three I examine the explanatory gap objection that Sartre among others could raise to my attempt to understand phenomenological accounts of human reality and scientific ones in light of each other. I don't have any final answer to this objection, but I offer some thoughts on why I think it's less of a problem than it might first appear to be.

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For the Sake of the Friendship

Relationality and Relationship as Grounds of Beneficence

Thaddeus Metz

I contend that there are important moral reasons for individuals, organisations and states to aid others that have gone largely unrecognised in the literature. Most of the acknowledged reasons for acting beneficently in the absence of a promise to do so are either impartial and intrinsic, on the one hand, being grounded in properties internal to and universal among individuals, such as their pleasure or autonomy, or partial and extrinsic, on the other, being grounded in non-universal properties regarding an actual relation to the agent, such as common membership in a family or culture. In contrast, I articulate and defend the existence of two unrecognised reasons for beneficence that can take the form of being impartial and extrinsic. One is that a being's capacity to be part of a sharing relationship with us can provide some reason to help it, and another is that a sharing relationship qua relationship is an end-in-itself that can provide some reason to help another. I differentiate these considerations from one another and from the more standard reasons for beneficence, provide arguments for thinking that they are central to beneficence, and rebut objections that are likely to be offered by friends of the more standard reasons.

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Re-conceptualising Political Alienation

On Spectators, Spectacles and Public Protests

Anthony Lawrence A. Borja

Politics usually takes the form of brawls ranging from the verbal and civilised, to the physical and savage, if not deadly encounters. These public engagements are political spectacles projecting narratives that are attractive to people who share the sentiments made public in these spectacles, and a following of spectators that, in sustaining their spectatorship, keeps the spectacle in its status. I note that spectators are attached and concerned with the narratives (i.e.from the causes and actors involved to the eventual results) behind and projected by such spectacles, and that this attachment in turn defines and sustains their spectatorship. Political alienation is a condition shared by both the apathetic and spectators. However the case of spectators is more complex and merits closer analysis in order to attain an encompassing understanding of political alienation. In this article, I will argue and illustrate that political alienation must be understood as a sustainable process constituted and driven by sustained spectatorship (i.e.sustained relationship between spectators and a political spectacle) made possible by a habitus of disempowerment in everyday life.

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Carl A. Maida and Sam Beck

The community of practice is an organisational form that complements the current knowledge economy, which since the late twentieth century has accelerated with advances in information production and dissemination (Wenger 2000). Communities of practice ensure greater engagement for sustainability by the public as local and global actors. A paradigm that arose through the anthropological imagination, the community of practice is an organisational form that complements the current knowledge economy (Lave 1988). A community of practice provides a framework for understanding social learning in complex organisations, specifically the notion of knowing. For novices and experts alike, knowing within a community of practice is based upon socially defined competence, or the ability to act and to be viewed as a competent member. Belonging to a particular community is based upon engagement, imagination and alignment within a social learning system that supports and sustains members and the community itself. Communities of practice provide the framework for social learning, because members: share a sense of joint enterprise, indicative of the level of learning energy within the community; interact on the basis of mutuality, which points to the depth of social capital generated by mutual engagement; and share a repertoire of resources, indicating the degree of participants’ self-awareness (Lave and Wenger 1991). This framework – of knowing, belonging, and social learning through more informal styles characteristic of a community of practice – provides members with the skills to engage meaningfully in knowledge production, exchange and transformation in complex organisations by creating new ways of ‘being in the world’.

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Cultivating Civic Ecology

A Photovoice Study with Urban Gardeners in Lisbon, Portugal

Krista Harper and Ana Isabel Afonso

Urban gardens are a form of self-provisioning, leisure and activist practice that is cropping up in cities around the world (Mougeot 2010). We present the history and contemporary terrain of Lisbon’s urban gardens and discuss the cultural values that gardeners attach to the practice of growing food in interstitial urban spaces. We present initial findings from our research with an urban gardeners’ association as it attempts to transform informal or clandestine garden spaces into an ‘urban agricultural park’. This coalition of gardeners from diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds is reclaiming land and using a participatory design process to create a shared space. They hope to grow vegetables and to re-grow ‘community’ by forging shared experiences in the neighbourhood. We describe how we used Photovoice as a process for exploring residents’ motivations in planting informal and community gardens on public land. What visions of sustainability and the contemporary city emerge from the practice of urban gardening? What kinds of urban gardening practices produce ‘communities of practice’ that cross ethnic, socioeconomic, and generational lines? The Photovoice approach allowed us to examine how gardeners conceptualise their use of urban space as they build new civic identities around gardening and make political claims to gain access and control over vacant land.

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Richard Kearney

One of the most innovative proposals of the Good Friday Agreement of April 1998 struck between the British and Irish governments was, I believe, the new ‘Council of Isles’. What this effectively acknowledges is that the citizens of Britain and Ireland are inextricably bound up with each other – mongrel islanders from East to West sharing an increasingly common civic and economic space. In addition to the obvious contemporary overlapping of our sports and popular cultures, it is worth recalling just how much of our respective histories were shared: from the Celtic, Viking and Norman settlements to our more recent entry to the European community. For millennia the Irish sea served as a waterway connecting our two islands, only rarely as a cordon sanitaire keeping us apart. And this is even truer in our own time with over 25 000 trips being made daily across the Irish sea, in both directions. It is not surprising that over eight million citizens of the United Kingdom today claim Irish origin, with over four million of these having an Irish parent. Indeed a recent survey shows only 6 per cent of British people consider Irish people living in Britain to be foreigners. And we don’t need reminding that almost a quarter of the inhabitants of the island of Ireland claim to be at least part British.

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Anne Sophie Refskou

This article explores examples of emotion and perception in a number of Shakespearean dramas. It discusses compassionate perception as a process of synaesthesia, referring to recent theoretical strands from fields such as the cultural history of emotions and historical phenomenology, and consults early modern sources, such as Thomas Wright's The Passions of the Minde in Generall (first published in 1601). Focusing especially on the relation between compassion – here literally defined as shared emotion – and tactility, it discusses what the familiar notion of being emotionally 'touched' (or 'moved') implies in an early modern context. Locating 'touching experiences', potentially produced by performances of plays such as Titus Andronicus, the article, at the same time, places such experiences in the context of contemporaneous contesting cultural discourses on whether such experiences might be considered beneficial and instructive to the minds and bodies in the auditorium or whether they might have the reverse effect as both morally and physically corruptive.

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Bringing Lebanon’s Civil War Home to Anglophone Literature

Alameddine’s Appropriation of Shakespeare’s Tragedies

Yousef Awad

In I, The Divine (2001) and An Unnecessary Woman (2013), Arab American novelist Rabih Alameddine borrows lines, characters, themes, motifs and tropes from Macbeth and King Lear to portray the horrendous experiences his protagonists undergo during and after Lebanon’s fifteenyear civil war. In An Unnecessary Woman, traumatic memories of the war leave Aaliya Saleh reclusive and isolated, sharing a building with three other women whom she dubs ‘the three witches’; in I, The Divine, Sarah Nour El-Din, the youngest of three daughters of a Lebanese-American couple, feels alienated and displaced and eventually chooses self-imposed exile. Alameddine frames Aaliya’s and Sarah’s stories within narratives of chaos, anarchy and sweeping violence reminiscent of Macbeth and Lear. Reading Alameddine’s novels as appropriations of Shakespeare’s tragedies valorizes the novelist’s contrapuntal vision and demonstrates how Arab writers in diaspora, writing in English for an international readership, strategically draw on Western canonical texts to represent the experiences of Arab characters.

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Becoming Healthy, Free and Physically Active

Medical Discourse on Girls in Sweden c. 1880-1930

Anna-Karin Frih

The sick girl was a popular stereotype in Swedish medical discourse around 1900. It was established by medical authorities at the time that a substantial number of Swedish girls suffered from various diseases and ailments. However, at the beginning of the twentieth century, at a time when the welfare state was gradually evolving in the Nordic countries, the scientific opinion of girls changed. The new girl was represented as healthy and active. This article examines the medical discourse on girls, and their activity and health in Sweden during circa 1880 to 1930. It reveals patterns of the medicalization of girls as well as categorizations and constructions of girlhood that corresponded with contemporaneous notions of gender. It reveals a recurring, if inconstant, problematization of girls' illness and lack of adequate physical activity. In this article I will show how the discussions about girls around 1900 share several similarities with current ones.

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Amy Adele Hasinoff

Sexualization might seem like a sympathetic explanation for sexting because it positions girls as innocent victims of mass culture. However, there are problematic unintended consequences with understanding sexting, the practice of sharing personal sexual content via mobile phones or the internet, in this particular way. One troubling implication is that it provides a rationale for holding girls who sext criminally responsible for producing child pornography. A second is that when girls' acceptance of sexualization is positioned as a key social problem, the solution that emerges is that girls must raise their self-esteem and gain better media literacy skills. Despite the value of such skills, a focus on girls' deficiencies can divert attention from the perpetrators of gender- and sexuality-based violence. Finally, discourses about sexualization often erase girls' capacity for choice, relying instead on normative assumptions about healthy sexuality. Interrogating the pathologization of girls' apparent conformity to sexualization and mass culture highlights the complexity of agency.