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Frédéric Sawicki

Why is the Socialist Party (Parti socialiste, PS) the first political party in France to implement a systematic and “scientific” door-to-door canvassing for the 2012 presidential campaign? What internal changes led the PS to adopt this practice? This innovation is not just technical; it is profoundly transforming the roles and activities of party members. As Rémi Lefebvre has pointed out, “rationalized canvassing prioritizes electoral efficiency. In the traditional partisan culture of the PS, campaigns were mostly about conviction and political conflict. Canvassing was a way for members to assert their identity and ‘fight’ together. It was mostly about belonging to a group of party members. Rather, scientific door-to-door canvassing is oriented by an electoral rationality.”

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Miles Groth and Diederik F. Janssen

With far too many scholarly journals out there now, why launch yet another? Hurried readers may never recognize what THYMOS is about unless they get past the first word to what follows: Journal of Boyhood Studies. That may happen in quite a few cases at first, but we are convinced that once underway, THYMOS will take its place among the best interdisciplinary journals in English. Boys, we believe, have something to teach us about the body, sexuality, spirituality and the imagination and, for that reason, without wishing to be excessive, we want to emphasize our conviction that the subject matter of THYMOS—boys and boyhood—is central to everyone’s self-understanding as a human being in what will very soon be a thoroughgoing global culture.

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Interview avec Prof. Boubacar Barry, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar

Mobilité des nomades et des sédentaires dans l'espace CEDEAO

Laurence Marfaing and Boubacar Barry

*Full interview is in French

Cet entretien avec Boubacar Barry, historien et professeur d'histoire à l'Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, est en quelque sorte le prolongement d'un échange qui a eu lieu lors d'un colloque sur la mobilité dans l'espace Sahara-Sahel qui s'est tenu en 2011 à Bamako. Depuis ses premières publications dans les années 1970, Boubacar Barry défend l'idée d'une grande Sénégambie des peuples et n'a cessé de travailler sur l'intégration régionale en Afrique de l'Ouest pendant toute sa carrière de chercheur. Son savoir et ses convictions, qui ont inspiré tout le colloque et surtout le panel sur l'intégration régionale dont il fut le président, se retrouvent dans l'interview que Laurence Marfaing a réalisée avec lui quelques mois plus tard et que nous publions ici.

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A Good Straight Road

Reflections on the Development of Pre-university Anthropology in the U.K.

Bob Simpson

The articles assembled in this collection provide a timely focus upon a critical issue for the reproduction of anthropology as an institutionalized form of knowledge in the U.K. and more widely. Simply stated, the problem they identify is as follows: anthropology is a relatively small discipline with low visibility beyond the sites in the academy where it is taught and where research is carried out; there are currently significant threats to the future of anthropology as practised within British higher education and in other countries too (e.g. in terms of its funding, sustainability, perceptions of relevance, the current nature of evaluation and audit); one of the main areas of vulnerability, in this regard, is the recruitment of new generations of students into the discipline, which is variable and volatile across the sector; and, finally, a significant factor here is the virtual absence of anthropology in curricula at pre-university level, particularly in the U.K. In addition, the papers show a strong conviction that anthropology has something valuable and engaging to off er at this level and into employment possibilities beyond.

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Warmth and Light and Sky

Niall Griffiths in Conversation

Ian Peddie and Niall Griffiths

Born in Toxteth, Liverpool, in 1966, Niall Griffiths lives in the west Wales town of Aberystwyth. Now with seven novels to his credit, Griffiths originally arrived on the literary scene in 2000 with his first book, Grits, much of which was based on personal experience. Incorporating a narrative style critics frequently describe as ‘uncompromising’, Griffiths’s convincing regional vernacular lends his work a good deal of its authenticity, or, as the author puts it, the argot of place and class ‘carries a weight of nonestablishment, marginal knowledge’ (see page 102). This conviction is akin to shibboleth, to the recovery of custom and place and language that dominates his work. To see his fiction in this light necessitates acceptance that the vast multitude so often unrecognised in literature have a story to tell. Yet critics unwilling to comprehend the world inhabited by Griffiths’s characters invariably reach for adjectives such as ‘stark’, ‘raw’ and ‘uncompromising’ – the accustomed synonyms attributed to his work – as a means of explaining away a view of society at odds with their own.

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Jean-Christophe Marcel

Les études qui se sont penchées sur l'histoire de la sociologie française présentent les années 1945-1960 comme une période de 'refondation' qui marque la rupture avec la période précédente dominée par la sociologie durkheimienne, désormais considérée comme dogmatique, trop peu empirique, indissociable d'une morale laïque associée à la IIIe République, et donc à la guerre et à l'holocauste. Dans ce contexte historique de guerre froide en effet, les acteurs en présence insistent sur la nécessité de comprendre la société contemporaine pour rebâtir la France (et l'Europe), et partagent tous la conviction que la discipline sociologique est en crise, qu'elle n'a plus de paradigme unifié, et qu'il faut reconstruire l'explication en sociologie, selon les termes de Gurvitch (1956). Aussi les sociologues français, et en particulier ceux qui ont commencé leur carrière dans ces années, se considèrent-ils comme des 'pionniers', ainsi que le rappelle Pollak (1976:108ff)-les premiers 'vrai sociologues' dont le travail véritablement empirique rompt avec les débats épistémologiques et philosophiques, jugés stériles.

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Gergely Rosta

This essay analyses the changing religiosity of the Hungarian youth population between the ages of 15 and 29 after the millennium. The basis for this empirical investigation is provided by the three waves (2000, 2004, 2008) of the National Youth Study. From their results, a similar picture emerges on the religiosity of the youth as from other nation-wide surveys, in relation to the whole adult population. Since the first Youth Study a slow but steady decline has been witnessed in different dimensions of religiosity (practice, faith, self-classification). It is especially salient for institutionalised religiosity. At the same time, the vast majority of the Hungarian youth confess to believing in some kind of supernatural instance, though not necessarily a traditional Christian one.

The socio-demographical background to the differences in religiosity can be partly explained by the secularisation theory, but the effects of an expanded religious education are present too. In contrast to the secularisation thesis, however, the transmission of traditional religious conviction is much more likely in families with better educational backgrounds than other parts of the society, a phenomenon which points to a more and more elite type of church religiosity in Hungary.

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Pascal Bourdeaux

Indochina played a pioneering role during the decolonization of the French empire, and the religious issue proved important to the process. Even to this day, state-church relations bear signs of this contentious and painful past. The historiography of the Indochina War, as well as that of the Vietnam War, clearly call attention to the activism of religious leaders and religious communities, especially Buddhists and Catholics, who fought for independence, peace, and the needs and rights of the Third World. And religion was put to the service of shaping public opinion both in Vietnam and internationally. Naturally, ideological convictions during the era of decolonialization account for the dominance of political analysis of this subject. But with the passage of time we can now develop a more sociological understanding of people's religious motivations and practices and the role they played in the conflict between communism and nationalism. The historian can also re-examine the secularization process in decolonized societies by analyzing, on the one hand, the supposed loss of ascendancy of religions in society and, on the other hand, the appearance of new religious movements that tended to adapt to modernity. This essay explores these politico-religious dynamics in the context of the decolonization of Vietnam.

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Derek Edyvane and Demetris Tillyris

‘The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing’. -Archilochus quoted in Berlin, The Hedgehog and the Fox, 22

The fragment from the Greek poet Archilochus, quoted in Isaiah Berlin’s essay ‘The Hedgehog and the Fox’, serves as a metaphor for the long-standing contrast and rivalry between two radically different approaches to public ethics, each of which is couched in a radically different vision of the structure of moral value. On the one hand, the way of the hedgehog corresponds to the creed of value monism, reflecting a faith in the ultimate unity of the moral universe and belief in the singularity, tidiness and completeness of moral and political purposes. On the other hand, the way of the fox corresponds to the nemesis of monism, the philosophical tradition of value pluralism, to which this collection of essays is devoted. This dissenting countermovement, which emerges most clearly in the writings of Isaiah Berlin, Stuart Hampshire, Bernard Williams and John Gray, is fuelled by an appreciation of the perpetuity of plurality and conflict and, correspondingly, by the conviction that visions of moral unity and harmony are incoherent and implausible. In the view of the value pluralists, ‘there is no completeness and no perfection to be found in morality’ (Hampshire 1989a: 177).

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Dismantling the Monolith

Southern Places – Past, Present, and Future

Barbara Ladd

Most of us in southern literary studies have taken for granted the idea that southern literature is grounded in a ‘sense of place’, but questions about the meaning and significance of that sense of place have been troubling, particularly when linked in U.S. literature (as seems always to be the case) with the idea of ‘regionalism’. Is a literature ‘grounded in place’ necessarily a ‘regional’ literature? Many – including Eudora Welty – would say that it is not: ‘“Regional” is an outsider’s term’, she writes, which ‘has no meaning for the insider who is doing the writing, because as far as he knows he is simply writing about life …’ Nevertheless, for Welty, ‘Location [italics mine] is the ground conductor of all the currents of emotion and belief and moral conviction that charge out from the story in its course’.1 ‘Place’, in other words, is a matter of ‘location’, of ‘situation’, a ‘conductor’ of the currents that move and move through a literary text; and unlike ‘region’ as it has usually been understood, ‘place’ and ‘location’ are subjective, experiential, insiders’ terms. If this is so, why has the sense of place been so closely linked with regionalism in U.S. literary history? It is especially odd when one considers that the sense of place suggests something that ‘centres’ whereas regionalism evokes ideas of the periphery, so that the literatures of the periphery are often said to be ‘centred’ in that famous ‘sense of place’, whereas those literatures of the ‘centre’ are presumably unplaced. The answer probably has something to do with the fact that Americans imagine change and possibility in terms of a flight from, or liberation from, place. This has been one very powerful version of the American Dream. But change and possibility, those forces that move narrative, might be more accurately imagined as a transfiguration of – rather than as a flight or liberation from – place.