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Waste and Powers

Political and Symbolic Effects Due to Privatisation of Urban Sanitation Services

Agnés Jeanjean

I would like to submit to you the idea that an anthropological approach to urban wastes and their corresponding techniques provides an understanding of the social mechanisms of articulation between the different spaces which exist in a city, as well as the construction mechanism or legitimisation of social positions. The continuing privatisation of public services, including urban sanitation services, for the pro t of big Western companies, highlights the consequences of globalisation through the imposition of technical systems.

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Instead of a Defence

Thoughts on the Humanities at Home and Abroad

Peter Vale

The place and future of the Humanities is under scrutiny in many parts of the world. The diminution in the university commenced in the 1980s with the rise of free-market thinking associated with Thatcher and Reagan. It was the end of the Cold War, however, with the rise of globalisation that control was tightened in higher education under the guise of increased freedom. The increasing emphasis on utilitarian forms of knowledge needed for economic growth further imperilled the Humanities. In South Africa, upon which the argument draws for illustration, policy-makers paid increasing lip service to academic freedom and institutional autonomy while directing policy interest and resources away from the Humanities.

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Vytis Čiubrinskas

The Centre of Social Anthropology (CSA) at Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) in Kaunas has coordinated projects on this, including a current project on 'Retention of Lithuanian Identity under Conditions of Europeanisation and Globalisation: Patterns of Lithuanian-ness in Response to Identity Politics in Ireland, Norway, Spain, the UK and the US'. This has been designed as a multidisciplinary project. The actual expressions of identity politics of migrant, 'diasporic' or displaced identity of Lithuanian immigrants in their respective host country are being examined alongside with the national identity politics of those countries.

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David P. Shankland and Soraya Tremayne

The consideration of faith and ethnic minorities in the Middle East remains today, as it has been for some time, immensely relevant. In this issue, we see this subject approached from a refreshingly wide perspective. Yet, in spite of their diversity, the topics addressed by the contributors reflect many shared situations in today’s Middle East, and possibly beyond, which often have their roots in mass migration, war and conflict, and globalisation. Through their work, we see once more the way that anthropology is uniquely qualified to reflect upon the reformulation of cultures in the modern world whilst simultaneously highlighting the fate of those who fall between the interstices of dominant political paradigms.

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Tajik Male Labour Migration and Women Left Behind

Can They Resist Gender and Generational Hierarchies?

Mary Elaine Hegland

Poverty and unemployment send at least one million Tajiks to Russia for low-level labour migration. The migrants, mainly male, leave women behind to manage on their own. As a result, women have to work all the harder to try to feed themselves and their children, often against great odds. Male migrant labour to Russia, along with unemployment, alcoholism, drug dependency and other problems, also results in a shortage of marriageable males. This is a serious problem because Tajiks expect girls to marry early. Globalisation, poverty and male labour migration serve to exacerbate existing gender and generational hierarchies.

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Couples in the Global Margins

Sexuality and Marriage between Egyptian Men and Western Women

Nadeem Karkabi

This article examines relations between older Western women and younger Egyptian men in South Sinai, Egypt. Eschewing the label 'female sex tourism', it analyses the practices that these couples adopt in order to legitimate their relationships and further refers to alternative modifications of urfi marriages and polygenic relations. The article argues that these partnerships, as practised in the Sinai periphery, have come into existence in an effort to overcome changes caused by globalisation in the original cultures of these men and women and present alternatives to the otherwise difficult choices that they face in their mainstream societies.

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Editorial

Social Quality, Values, Convergence and the European Social Model

David Phillips

Unlike the last issue of the European Journal of Social Quality, which dealt entirely with social quality in individual nations, this issue focuses exclusively on the European dimension with particular emphasis on values associated with social quality in both an historical and comparative context. A central question running through several papers relates to convergence: are European societies converging and, if so, then to what are they converging? Is the European Social Model still viable or is the enlarged EU moving inexorably towards a ‘race to the bottom’ in the context of trying to reach the Lisbon goal of becoming the world’s most dynamic and competitive economy in the dog-eat-dog political economy of an unstoppable globalisation?

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Richard Westra

All communities of practice must face questions relating to the material economic foundations of future sustainable societies. David Graeber, Karl Polanyi and Karl Marx each have produced typologies of possible types of economy, synthesised as: (1) the principle of individual reciprocity, (2) the market principle of capitalism, and (3) the planning principle of the state. I apply this synthesis to recent proposals for community change advanced by Bill McKibben and David Korten concerning economic scale and the re-localising of production and consumption sundered by globalisation, focused on the local exchange and trading system (LETS). The operationalising of LETS draws upon Adam Smith’s view of markets as face-to-face exchanges of goods taking place in small morality-bound communities. Smith, McKibben and Korten conflate two different meanings of the term ‘exchange’. To understand the role LETS may play in future sustainable economies in communities of practice demands treatment of this problem.

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Democratising Global Governance

Democratic Theory and Democracy beyond Borders

Anthony G. McGrew

The prospect of a global economic recession, in the wake of the financial crises in the world’s emerging economies, has injected a sense of renewed urgency into longstanding discussions about the reform of global economic governance. But the calls for greater transparency and openness in the deliberations of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank are largely symptomatic of a deeper legitimation crisis which afflicts all the key institutions of global governance, including the United Nations itself. For there is a growing perception that existing mechanisms of global governance are both ineffectual in relation to the tasks they have acquired, especially so in managing the consequences of globalisation, whilst also being unaccountable sites of power.

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Zygmunt Bauman

A bizarre adventure happened to space on the road to globalisation: it lost its importance while gaining in significance. On the one hand, as Paul Virilio insists,1 territorial sovereignty has lost almost all substance and a good deal of its former attraction; if every spot can be reached and abandoned instantaneously, a permanent hold over a territory with the usual accompaniment of long-term duties and commitments turns from an asset into a liability and becomes a burden rather than a resource in power struggle. On the other hand, as Richard Sennett points out, ‘as the shifting institutions of the economy diminish the experience of belonging somewhere special … people’s commitments increase to geographic places like nations, cities and localities’.2 On the one hand, everything can be done to far away places of other peoples without going anywhere. On the other, little can be prevented from being done to one’s own place however stubbornly one holds to it.