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V. A. Skubnevskii and lu. M. Goncharov

This article traces developments in Siberian trade and manufacturing in the period between the emancipation of the serfs and the early 1900s. Particular emphasis is placed on the evolving nature and role of the guild merchants. Attention is devoted to social change among the merchants, including education and their significance in local government and philanthropy.

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David Nachmias, Maoz Rosenthal and Hani Zubida

While national government elections are perceived as first order institutions that result in relatively high turnout rates, local elections are viewed as second-order institutions and are usually characterized by low turnout rates. We claim that this behavior is conditioned by the stakes that voters associate with elections as well as the voters' relative position in the socio-ethnic stratification structure. In this article we show that such conditions may yield an inversion in voters' perspectives. In other words, voters who are alienated from national government institutions and who are effectively mobilized by leaders of their socio-ethnic groups, which have high stakes in second-order institutions, tend to invert their preference with regard to the significance of elections. In such instances, national elections become second-order elections, and local elections become first-order elections. We use ballot-box level data from two national and two local elections in Israel to test this theory.

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Marie Mahon, Frances Fahy, Micheál Ó Cinnéide and Brenda Gallagher

The urban-rural fringe in Ireland harbors diverse and often competing visions of place that unfold against a backdrop of rapid physical and socio-economic change. The desire to develop and articulate a shared sense of belonging rooted in place might be reasonably expected to lead to community-level expression through diverse local organizations. These in turn become embedded in wider institutionalized systems of governance. The importance of place vision, and the extent of civic engagement to create and protect such a vision, is the focus of this article. The ongoing and predominantly developer-led transformation of fringe locations has coincided with a shift from government to governance (particularly at local level) and associated changes in power relationships among various stakeholders. This article investigates the extent to which residents of fringe locations perceive themselves as part of local governance processes and explores the implications of such perceptions for citizenship and local democracy.

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Jaro Stacul

At a time when European cities redefine themselves through 'culture' in an attempt to attract tourists, investors and potential residents, policymakers have to negotiate different notions of 'local culture' defined by state governments on the one hand and by the EU on the other. Drawing upon research conducted in the Polish city of Gdańsk in the context of the redevelopment of its urban landscape, the article illustrates how 'local culture' is redefined as 'culture of freedom' by municipal and state institutions in order to establish a relationship of historical continuity between the time when Gdańsk was a thriving multicultural city and the post-socialist present. The article puts forward the argument that while the reformulation of local culture as 'culture of freedom' involves reconciling notions of national identity with new norms of local, regional and European integration, it does not necessarily entail the supersession of nationalism.

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Benjamin Abrams and Giovanni A. Travaglino

Social protest is not always a simple process. Social movements, activists, or political parties can attempt to change the status quo, but they do not often do so through a single, traceable process of contention. Instead, they encounter selective participation, community dynamics, dilemmas about how and where to spend their time, and interventions by governments and other elites that seriously impact their momentum. The articles in this issue assess these complicating phenomena, examining issues of system justification, local community responses to hate, the balancing of online and offline protest, and the role of government and media elites in circumventing the rise of protest movements.

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Migration and Citizenship in “Athens of Crisis”

An Interview with Vice Mayor Lefteris Papagiannakis

Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou and Nina Papachristou

In this interview with UCL’s Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou, Lefteris Papagiannakis explains his role as Athens’ vice mayor for migrants and refugees. He discusses the city’s responses to the arrival of thousands of refugees and migrants in the last few years. He reflects on the complex relationship of the municipality of Athens with non-government support networks, such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international organizations, as well as autonomous local activists, in providing support services to migrants. Papagiannakis also addresses how Athens negotiates its support for these groups in the current European anti-immigrant climate, and the relationship between the Greek economic crisis and the so-called “refugee crisis.”

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Spaces for Transdisciplinary Dialogues on the Relationship between Local Communities and Their Environments

The Case of a Rural Community in the Calchaquí Valley (Salta, Argentina)

Martha Crivos, María Rose Martínez, Laura Teves and Carolina Remorini

Our ethnographic research focuses on the perception and use of components of the natural environment in terms of routine activities carried out by the residents of a rural community in the Calchaqui Valley (Salta, Argentina). Life in this community is characterised by the presence of traditional subsistence activities – agriculture, cattle farming, textile manufacturing and ancestral medical practices – coexisting with business ventures focused on monoculture and export, tourism centred on landscape intervention and promotion of native products, and the growing key role of public policies in the areas of health and human development. In this context, a joint reflection on viability and sustainability of local and global practices and resources must be undertaken. Implementing intersectoral forums and focus-group discussions, governmental and non-governmental actors, researchers and local people must work conjointly to achieve a fresh patrimonial awareness of livelihood strategies based on their long interaction with a specific environment.

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Richard Daly

Recently, the historical validity of concepts of aboriginality has been questioned. It is argued here that aboriginality has been and remains a significant feature of identity and a source of cultural renewal in a rapidly changing world. The nature of aboriginality must always be qualified and contextualized. In Canada, a specific notion of aboriginality is an administrative tool of government that at all times is partially accepted and partially opposed by those so defined and administrated. In the example described here, the missionary William Duncan denied the concept of aboriginality presented by his Tsimshian flock as well as that enunciated by the Canadian government. Today, the descendants of these mission communities have ontological identities linked not only to Christian modernity but also to Tsimshian aboriginality defined one way by the government and quite differently by each local community.

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Social Innovation, Local Governance and Social Quality

The Case of Intersectoral Collaboration in Hangzhou City

Yong Li, Ying Sun and Ka Lin

In contemporary European policy discussion, “innovation“ is a term popularly used for finding responses to the pressure of global competition. In various forms of innovation, the accent is mainly given to technical and business innovation but less to social innovation. This article studies the issue of social innovation with reference to the local practice in Hangzhou city, which aims to strengthen the life quality of citizens in this city. These practices develop various forms of inter-sectoral collaboration, resulting in numerous "common denominator subject" (CDS) groups that are promoted by the local government. These practices follow the principles of cooperation and partnership, and thus develop a corporatist mechanism for urban development. Through discussion of these practices this article explores the nature and the features of these CDS groups, and evaluates its meaning for social innovation, local administration, life quality and social quality.

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Crisis, Power, and Policymaking in the New Europe

Why Should Anthropologists Care?

Bilge Firat

At a time when European integration faces many crises, the efficacy of public policies decided in Brussels, and in member state capitals, for managing the everyday lives of average Europeans demands scrutiny. Most attuned to how global uncertainties interact with local realities, anthropologists and ethnographers have paid scant attention to public policies that are created by the EU, by member state governments and by local authorities, and to the collective, organised, and individual responses they elicit in this part of the world. Our critical faculties and means to test out established relations between global–local, centre–periphery, macro–micro are crucial to see how far the EU's normative power and European integration as a governance model permeates peoples' and states' lives in Europe, broadly defined. Identifying the strengths and shortcomings in the literature, this review essay scrutinises anthropological scholarship on culture, power and policy in a post-Foucaultian Europe.