Three elements dominated scholarship on Israeli water politics and policymaking in the 1950s: (1) the state is often taken to be a fully established actor since its inception in 1948; (2) Israeli water policymaking was dominated by geopolitical and regional concerns over security and access to shared water resources; (3) water was, and continues to be, a scarce resource. This article argues that these elements result in the depoliticization of Israeli water policies and offers three counterarguments. First, the totality of any state is an ever-illusive construct. Second, Israeli water politics had an internal dimension that has to be investigated in its own right. Third, scarcity did not acquire the status of a "fact" until the mid-1950s. In fact, the struggle over the notions of water abundance and scarcity was an essential part of working through the political conflicts over the meaning of Jewish subjectivity, the boundaries of the state, and its right to intervene in civil society.
Lam Yee Man
Many people believe risk drives change. Environmental degradation, depletion of the ozone layer, and global warming all help advance global environmental development. However, why do some countries react promptly while some are slower to react to environmental risk? Reasons vary, but this article focuses on how the specific way risk was formulated and introduced in Hong Kong impeded drastic and swift environmental development. Tracing back to the time when the notion of pollution was first formulated in Hong Kong, this article argues that pollution was not defined as what it was. Instead, pollution was defined and introduced to the public as a problem of sanitation, turning pollution into a problem of categorization—a risk that could be easily resolved. This article contributes to the study of both pollution and risk by studying pollution as a social construct in the unique case of Hong Kong. A warning from Hong Kong—instead of addressing and resolving it, risk could be discreetly displaced.
In Far North Queensland, a region in the northeast of Australia, cyclones are an annual risk. As a result of this frequency of cyclonic activity, different forms of cyclone knowledge exist ranging from disaster management information to local conceptualizations. For the people that inhabit this region, cyclones are a lived reality that are known in different, seemingly contradictory ways. Drawing on fifteen months of ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Far North Queensland from 2012 to 2015, this article explores how local cyclone knowledge is assembled from a variety of heterogeneous factors that change and fluctuate through time, and are subject to an ongoing process of evaluation.
Stefan Heiland, Silke Spielmans and Bernd Demuth
The article examines the relevance of demographic change for the development of rural landscapes, especially in Germany's shrinking regions. To date, no empirical investigations have undertaken the matter. Thus, the article is mainly based on literature analysis and the findings of expert workshops. The research indicates that demographic change does not have as strong impact on landscapes as other factors such as agricultural policy, climate change, and the promotion of renewable energies. Nonetheless, from the perspective of nature conservation, there might be some indirect effects caused by structural and institutional changes of administrations, which could lead to a decline in importance of landscape-related concerns. In addition, changes in environmental consciousness due to rising cultural diversity could lead to a different societal attitude toward landscapes and their values.
Moral Reckoning in Post-GFC Iceland
Mary Hawkins and Helena Onnudottir
Land is central to Icelandic identity. It is birthright, heritage, a site of memory and belonging; mountains and fjords are the stuff on which Icelandic dreams are made. Land is made culture through story and song, told at family gatherings, and sung at schools and on hiking trips. Icelandic identity was built on this imagining, coupled to a vision of Icelanders as an exceptional people, a Viking race. The events of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), which exposed institutional corruption, caused many Icelanders to doubt the Viking image. At the same time, Iceland has been invaded by tourists. This article, based on participant observation, a survey and interviews, argues that one significant effect of the post-GFC foreign invasion has been a transformation of the cultural and moral order in Iceland, away from the boasting Viking and towards a new set of values within which land and nature occupy an even more central place.
The unwieldy career of a Swedish rail tunnel project
Large-scale technological projects are born as visions among politicians and leaders of industry. For such visions to become real, they must be transformed from a virtual existence in the minds of their creators to a reality that can be accepted, even welcomed, by the public, not least by the communities who will become neighbors to those projects. Democracy implies that political decisions over the expenditure of public funds should answer not merely to the partial interests of stakeholders but should be accountable to the 'greater good' of society at large. Since a technological project materializes in what Latour calls a 'variable ontology-world', the greater good associated with it can be expected to be dynamic and shifting. The Hallandsås railway tunnel in southwestern Sweden illustrates how the very premises of the project's organizational logic have changed over time, the discourse of the greater good moving from an economical focus to an environmental one.
Ellen Bal, Erella Grassiani and Kate Kirk
This article is based on our own experiences and that of several of our colleagues teaching social and cultural anthropology in different Dutch institutions for higher learning. We focus in particular on teaching and learning in two small liberal arts and science (LAS) colleges, where anthropology makes up part of the social science curriculum and/or is part of the core curriculum. The data collected from our own critical reflections developed during informal discussion and from formal interviews with colleagues, together with literature on recent changes in academia, leads us to argue that neoliberal individualism, shaped by management tactics that constantly measure individual performance and output, is making academia an increasingly insecure place in which to work and study. The consequences of this insecurity include increasing mental health problems among both students and staff, intensifying competition at the expense of collegiality and collaboration and an overall decrease in the quality of academic jobs and teaching. Although the discipline of anthropology can help us better understand our own conditions, the personalisation of problems and the focus on success obscure the anthropological lens, which looks at social and cultural structures of power and depends on critical reflexivity.
Citizenship and environment-as-common-property in highland Peru
Mattias Borg Rasmussen
Since the early 1990s Peru has experienced an expansion in mining activities and an expansion in what the Peruvian ombudsman defines as socioenvironmental conflicts. This article examines the dynamics through which an environmental issue is transformed into a matter of citizenship and social belonging during a weeklong uprising in defense of Lake Conococha. Highlighting the collective actions and personal narratives from participants in the region-wide blockade, the article therefore seeks to understand how dispossessions of environmental resources perceived as common property are cast in terms of individual rights that move well beyond the site of conflict. It is therefore argued that the actions to reclaim Lake Conococha were not only a battle for natural resources and clean water, but more fundamentally an attempt to repossess a citizenship that may be constitutionally secured but all too often fails to be a lived reality in the high Andes of Peru.
Materialism with and without Marxism
Penny McCall Howard
What are Marxists to make of the new wave of materialism that has become influential in anthropology and across the social sciences and humanities? An ethnography of fishing in coastal Scotland and an analysis of Tim Ingold’s ecological anthropology demonstrates both the usefulness and gaps in contemporary ecological and materialist anthropology. It finds that the reduced role for political economy, human intentionality, and material results in this literature significantly reduces their explanatory power. Efforts to unite analysis of humans and nonhumans have led to a lack of attention to the divisions within human societies, particularly the alienation of labor and therefore of ecological relations in capitalism. Understanding these dynamics is essential to contending with the current planetary ecological crisis.
'Informacy', the learning of information technology skills, is now a key element of all Social Work curricula in the U.K. following the General Social Care Council's accreditation requirements. These stipulate that all undergraduates acquire computer literacy skills to the level of the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) or its equivalence and require that all accredited Social Work courses assess students to ensure that this is achieved. However, many universities do not have the support of information technology departments in order to ensure that their students are taught how to use a computer. Nor do they have access to interactive web-based packages that assist the students in teaching themselves IT skills to the high levels required by the European Computer Driving Licence. The research suggests that an integrated e-learning teaching and assessment strategy can help to promote computer literacy among Social Work students. This paper explores some of the challenges that arise from integrating e-learning into the teaching and assessment of a Social Work degree, based on the experience of the Social Work Department at Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College (now Bucks New University).