In an earlier paper, written in reaction to those who argued that the African National Congress (ANC) had no alternative but to implement neoliberal economic policies in the context of the ‘Washington Consensus’, I discussed the strategic choices and ideological pitfalls of the ‘political class’who took over state power in South Africa after the end of apartheid and implemented its own homegrown structural adjustment programme (Gibson 2001). Much of this transition has been scripted by political science ‘transition literature’ and much of it is proactive, mapping out what should be done to establish a ‘pacted’, ‘elite’ democracy overseeing neoliberal economic policies (O’Donnell, Schmitter & Whitehead 1986). From another vantage point, I argued that Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth is perhaps one of the most perceptive critiques of the transition literature available. This paper continues the discussion.
Fanon, Marx, 'the Poors' and the 'new reality of the nation' in South Africa
Participating in and Witnessing Fair Trade and Women’s Empowerment in Transnational Communities of Practice
The popularity of fair trade products has engendered new possibilities for consumer citizens in the global North to demonstrate solidarity with producers in the global South. Fair trade enthusiasts not only buy labelled products as an act of solidarity with producers in Darjeeling’s tea plantations; but also extend their affective solidarity by voluntarily visiting certified production sites to witness how fair trade affects workers’ livelihoods. Fair trade as transnational praxis has inadvertently pushed justice seeking and delivery to a non-state sphere that is not accountable to the workers in terms of citizenship rights; however, it must address the bargaining power of producers since wages and benefits are baseline determinants of quality of life. Fair trade-engendered solidarity practices erase the complex history of workers’ struggle with the state and established systems of power through collective bargaining. These acts in turn produce new kinds of transnational praxis affecting the plantation public sphere.
Social Quality Perspectives
Rachel Kurian and Chihiro Uchiyama
This article argues that the social quality approach can be usefully applied to studying “models of elderly care“ that enhance the wellbeing of the elderly and empower them to participate in social activities. Examining three cases in Japan and another three cases in e Netherlands, the study identifies actors, institutions and processes that have provided services for the elderly, highlighting the importance of history and culture in influencing the “social“ of the elderly. The article deals with a range of opportunities and possibilities for optimizing care for the elderly, both as individuals and as a group, through promoting their social inclusion, social cohesion, socio-economic security and social empowerment. Grounded in community networks, as well as in social and intergenerational interaction, these “models“ demonstrate how care-givers, including nurses and family members, are also empowered in these processes. These discussions, reflecting empirical reality and conceptual insights, provide the basis of sustainable welfare policies that improve the social quality of the elderly.
In the Shadow of War
Nikki van der Gaag, Sarah Henriks and Feyi Rodway
Conflict affects girls differently from boys—their rights are ignored, their responsibilities changed, and their lives altered forever by war. Girls face discrimination on at least two counts: because they are young and because they are female. We focus here on the changing nature of war and conflict and what this means for girls' health, economic well-being, physical security and protection, and also for their resilience and empowerment. We examine how girls are uniquely affected by, and respond to, conflict, its build-up and its aftermath. We assess the role of the institutions that have a duty to protect and support girls in conflict-affected states, and explore the reasons why policy actors do not take girls into account in their responses to violent conflict. We outline recommendations for action in terms of girls' education, harnessing girls' resilience and encouraging their empowerment.
Transparency, risk, and good governance in Indonesia
Early childhood education and care programs in Indonesia developed rapidly in the aftermath of the 2006 earthquake centered south of Yogyakarta. The newly empowered self-directed learner at the center of these programs seemed to follow from the emergence of another child in this devastated landscape: the traumatized child in need of healing. The appearance of these images of childhood along with Indonesia’s neoliberal democratization reiterates the long-standing relationship between childhood and rule. Grounded in long-term ethnographic work in the Yogyakarta area, this article traces a conceptual link between the shift to transparent and accountable good governance in post-Suharto Indonesia and the desire to produce a newly transparent childhood ready for intervention. The generative power of history, trauma, and the interior self is contrasted with risk management, nongovernmental governance, and the exteriorization of self and state to challenge the unquestioned good of empowerment and transparency.
Feminism and Nationalism in Romania, 1880-1918
This essay explores feminism's relations with nationalism and liberalism by examining specifically how feminists in late-nineteenth-century Romania understood citizenship and how they articulated views about women's empowerment starting from specific assumptions about individual rights and responsibilities in the community (as regulated by the state through citizenship). This perspective enables me to explain the eagerness of many feminist activists to work within the dominant paternalist/patriarchal context not as a paradox, but rather as an outgrowth of locally grounded, powerful contexts that worked together to afford specific choices to women struggling against patriarchy. In the case I discuss below feminists understood women's empowerment in terms of validating and increasing women's civic duties and responsibilities, rather than struggling for individual rights. These arguments built upon a well-established, albeit not clearly articulated, concept of republican citizenship, and reconstructed it most often in the language of nationalism (frequently ethno-nationalism), which had wide currency in Romania in the late nineteenth century.
Xu Yanhui and Gong Ziyu
Poverty is generally viewed in traditional understandings as merely lowness of income, so its noneconomic aspects and dynamic characteristics are neglected. Conversely, Amartya Sen has argued that poverty must be seen as the deprivation of basic capabilities—the substantive freedoms a person enjoys to lead the kind of life they have reason to value. Based on Sen’s capability poverty theory, this article examines the influence of social quality and community capacity on Chinese urban residents’ capability poverty. The social quality perspective assesses societal progress and refers to four conditional factors: socioeconomic security, social inclusion, social cohesion, and social empowerment. Our data analysis from a survey undertaken in Shenzhen indicates that socioeconomic security, social cohesion, and social empowerment can effectively alleviate capability poverty. Community capacity was also an influential factor for capability poverty of urban residents. According to these findings, future anti-poverty projects should focus on improving social quality and community capacity.
Instructional Practice through Feminist Pedagogical Media Literacy
In this article I discuss a theoretical intervention—feminist pedagogical media literacy (FPML)—that has practical application. I argue for the advancement of this multi-faceted media and new literacies form as a mode of empowerment for girls and young women. Using examples from feminist theoretical scholarship; DIY media and other new literacies frames; classroom examples and anecdotes; and educational perspectives on curriculum and policy, I advocate for a feminist pedagogical media literacy that enables critique and/or action stances.
A Jew in the Street as Well as in Shul
This workshop ranged from the level of the individual to that of national Jewish movements. In challenging the extent to which rabbis and synagogues empower Jews to express their Judaism in their working relationships and outside of the Jewish community, we considered how we could fulfil Rabbi Dr Leo Baeck's exhortation that 'Judaism must not stand aside when the great problems of humanity struggle in the minds of men to gain expression and battle in the societies of mankind to find their way.'
Negotiating, Constructing and Re-constructing Girlhood after the “Fall” in Rural Kenya
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.