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The Theatre of Human Trafficking

A Global Discourse on Lao Stages

Roy Huijsmans

Using the Lao PDR as a case study, this paper analyses human trafficking as discourse. Human trafficking is identified as a global discourse that is globalized through a set of powerful relations and actors. Following Appadurai, it is argued that this global discourse is not passively received by local actors such as the Lao state. This demonstrated by unravelling the global–local interactions through which it has entered the Lao social landscape. This is complemented with an analysis of a series of events in which the human trafficking discourse is staged on Lao soil. On this basis, the paper argues that the global human trafficking discourse is actively indigenized through, amongst other things, the social practice of staging. In addition, the paper argues that this indigenized discourse is employed by actors in more localized power struggles; in this case, by the Lao state as a response to boundary crises triggered by the phenomenon of cross-border migration into Thailand as an important manifestation of the overarching process of transition.

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Bodies in Transition

Girlhoods in Post-Communist Balkan Cinema

Ana Bento-Ribeiro

In this article, I explore how post-Communist teenagers are represented in cinema, especially in relation to consumption, by examining the Serbian film, Klip and the Romanian film, Ryna. In so doing, I analyze the representation of fatherhood in relation to these teenagers, and the representation of teenage sexuality. I examine these teenage bodies in transition within the broader scenario of countries in transition, thus making a comparison between the relationship to the West of the individual and of the region.

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Daniel Newman, Peter Wells, Paul Nieuwenhuis, Ceri Donovan and Huw Davies

This article considers electric cars as socio-technical experiments in meeting mobility requirements. There have been numerous trials and government incentives to promote such vehicles, but with a notable lack of success. The article thus seeks to address an urgent need to understand such “transition failure,” which may ultimately impact upon how progress is measured in sociotechnical transitions. Presenting results from a recent research project, it is suggested that shared usage models hold greater potential for achieving sustainable personal mobility. It is concluded, however, that multiple niche experiments present a highly complex situation in which cumulative learning is problematic.

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Patrick Lenta

The following paper is a discussion of justice as a sign in transition, a sign whose meanings in post-apartheid South Africa must be legitimated by appeal to conditions radically different from those that prevailed under apartheid. I wish to explore the nature of the transformation of justice from the context of apartheid to emergent postapartheid conditions and to do so by focusing on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (the TRC) as an example of what can be called ‘transitional justice’. A common view of the TRC is that its rules for the implementation of amnesty and other related matters should be evaluated in the light of ‘ideal types’ of justice. The TRC must fall short of such ideal types, since its offer of qualified amnesty to perpetrators of gross human rights violations in exchange for complete honesty about such violations will be understood as an exigency which dispenses with a crucial feature of justice, namely retribution.

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Truces

What They Mean, How They Work

Nir Eisikovits

In previous work I developed an account of truces focused on 'truce thinking' – the moral and psychological commitments made by those who seek to manage and reduce conflict rather than permanently end it. In this article I further develop that theory by placing truce thinking in conceptual context and by exploring a case study. Part 1 rehearses the main features of truce thinking. Part 2 situates it against the related concepts of political reconciliation and containment. Part 3 takes up Spain's transition to democracy as an example of how truce thinking works in practice.

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Andrea Sabbadini

Film studies inspired by the theories of British psychoanalyst Donald W. Winnicott are scanty. Although this may be partly explained by Winnicott's own somewhat unenthusiastic attitude toward cinema, it should be fruitful to approach film, in both its form and content, by taking into consideration the relevance of some of his ideas. These include in particular the concepts of mirroring and transitional space, especially in relation to the idea of a bridge space connecting external reality to its filmed representation, as well as the latter to reality as perceived by the viewer's gaze. Winnicott's developmental model of mental processes could prove useful for an understanding of the structural and functional characteristics of cinema, as well as for providing original interpretations of individual films.

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Four Dimensions of Societal Transformation

An Introduction to the Problematique of Ukraine

Zuzana Novakova

Four years after the Revolution of Dignity, the Ukrainian society is passing through multiple parallel transitions. More often than not, the problematique of Ukraine is framed as a discussion of the speed and extent of reforms’ adoption. This article highlights the need to look in a more organic, interrelated manner, with attention to the sociospatial context that embeds all of the potential institutional change targeted by reforms. Using interviews and group discussions with public servants and civil society actors actively involved in the ongoing reform processes, this article zooms out from the rather fragmented reforms discussion to embed it in a broader societal context. It highlights crucial developments in the four quadrants of the social quality debate: the socioeconomic, the sociopolitical, the sociocultural/welfare, and the socioenvironmental dimension of societal life in postrevolution Ukraine.

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Girls in Transition

Negotiating, Constructing and Re-constructing Girlhood after the “Fall” in Rural Kenya

Christine Oduor-Ombaka

This article discusses problems of childbearing as experienced in rural Kenya by girls in their adolescence—a powerfully formative time of transition to adulthood. Findings reveal that girls face unique challenges and harsh choices when they are faced with pre-marital pregnancy such as emotional violence and abuse, early marriage, expulsion from school, unsafe abortion and poverty. Many Kenyans are calling on the government and communities to put into place policies and programs necessary for empowering girls with enough information to make a healthy and safe transition to adulthood.

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Perpetrators and victims

Local responses to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

Johanna Mannergren Selimovic

This article juxtaposes local understandings and narratives on justice and reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina with those of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). By looking at notions of collective innocence/guilt, the development of victim identities, and the relativization of the suffering of the other, it explores the failure of the ICTY to offer a convincing model of transitional justice in Bosnia. Although the ICTY disciplines the boundary between victim and perpetrator through measures for shared truth and individual justice, local discourses resist or transform these representations, thus tending to entrench rather than transcend national divisions. The findings of this article challenge prevalent instrumentalist understandings of transitional justice and its role in facilitating reconciliation. The article focuses on the communities of Konjic and Srebrenica and the ICTY outreach conferences held in these towns in 2004 and 2005.

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Kira Mahamud Angulo and Anna Ascenzi

This special issue examines textbooks in countries undergoing political transition, change, and convulsion. The articles consider textbooks from countries shifting from one political regime to another, “at different speeds and with different priorities,”1 in the second half of the twentieth century. The articles raise a number of questions. What happens to textbooks during the intervals between one form of government and another? How does the information contained in textbooks change during these intervals of instability and uncertainty, and during the phases of the construction and consolidation of a new political regime?