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Catherine Butler, Karen Anne Parkhill, Fiona Shirani, Karen Henwood and Nick Pidgeon

It is widely recognized that a major challenge in low carbon transitioning is the reduction of energy consumption. This implies a significant level of transformation in our ways of living, meaning the challenge is one that runs deep into the fabric of our personal lives. In this article we combine biographical research approaches with concepts from Bourdieu's practice theory to develop understanding of processes of change that embed particular patterns of energy consumption. Through an analysis of “case biographies” we show the value of biographical methods for understanding the dynamics of energy demand.

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Mariano González-Delgado and Manuel Ferraz-Lorenzo

This article explains the approach to mass consumption developed in social studies textbooks in the early years of the transition to democracy in Spain. It begins by examining the way in which school textbooks represented consumer society and mass media in the late 1970s. This is followed by an in-depth explanation of the reasons that led the authors of these textbooks to choose one theoretical framework over another. Above all, this article emphasizes the complexity and variety of the historical materials used to represent consumer society, and how this process of social construction is reflected in the textbook content of the time.

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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?

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Pierre Bonte

Kinship and alliance studies are a significant part of anthropological work related to the Arab and Muslim world, but they tend to focus primarily on rural and tribal societies rather than on contemporary evolutions (urbanisation, migrations, etc.). This article centres on the construction of these new anthropological objects and uses multidisciplinary data to define its field of study: Muslim family law reforms, demographic transition, the evolution of women's condition, etc. The rising age of first-time brides is an important variable. It is one of the general aspects of reforms in current Muslim states, and these reforms are having a certain impact on the French statute law. At stake, as is often the case in anthropological research, is the question of women's choice regarding marriage. In contemporary contexts, the fact that women continue to commit to proximity consanguinity marriages underlines the persistence of the social and cultural determinations of marriage.

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Menno W. Straatsma and Reinier J.W. de Nooij

Integrated river management is heralded as the new style of river management, but it has been preceded by a number of previous styles, and is unlikely to be the last. This article presents the first analysis of the evolution of river management using Spiral Dynamics (SD). SD provides a growth hierarchy of value systems (vMemes), reflecting increasing complexity and inclusiveness ranging from instinctive to holistic. Based on an interpretation of literature and policy documents, we conclude that (1) SD provides a broad interpretative framework that can be applied in all river basins, (2) river management in the Netherlands shows the subsequent dominance of the blue, orange, and green vMeme, yellow is at the take-off phase, (3) further transition to yellow integrated river management requires identification of barriers to change. We give an overview and policy implications. Further research should be oriented towards quantification of vMemes in stakeholders and landscaping measures.

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Marina Niznik

This study focuses on adolescents who immigrated to Israel between 2000 and 2002. The aim of the survey on which the article is based was to investigate the determinants of cross-cultural transition, focusing on family problems, identity crises, educational achievements, and language behavior. Since the beginning of the mass immigration from the former Soviet Union, the Israeli educational system has not managed to reorient itself to accommodate the newcomers. Among the main reasons are differences in the Russian and Israeli educational systems and the changing character of the immigration itself. Despite existing problems, the younger generation of these recent immigrants wants to be integrated into Israeli society. It is the task of the formal education system to provide them with support and guide them on a path toward successful adjustment.

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Continental Collaboration

The Transition from Ultranationalism to Pan-Europeanism by the Interwar French Fascist Right

Sarah Shurts

This article considers the emergence of pan-European discourse and the creation of transnational networks by the intellectual extreme Right during the interwar and occupation years. Through a close reading of the essays, speeches, and texts of French fascist intellectuals Abel Bonnard, Alphonse de Châteaubriant, and Pierre Drieu la Rochelle, the author contends that it was during the interwar and wartime decades that the French extreme Right transitioned from its traditional ultranationalism to a new concept of French national identity as European identity. More importantly, these three leading fascist intellectuals worked to distinguish their concept of European federation and transnational cultural exchange as anterior to and independent of submission to Nazi Germany. It was, therefore, in the discourse and the transnational socio-professional networks of the interwar period that we can find the foundation for the new language of Europeanism that became ubiquitous among the postwar Eurofascists and the Nouvelle Droite today.

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Carol Hager

The energy revolution poses a fundamental challenge to the German corporatist institutional model. The push for renewables in Germany arose almost entirely outside the prevailing channels of institutional power. Eventually, federal legislation helped support the boom in local energy production that was already underway, and it encouraged the further development of new forms of community investment and citizen participation in energy supply. Recently, the federal government has tried to put the genie back in the bottle by shifting support to large energy producers. But, as this article shows, the energy transition has provided a base for local power that cannot easily be assailed. The debate over German energy policy is becoming a contest between centralized and decentralized models of political and economic power. Prevailing institutionalist theories have difficulty accounting for these developments. I analyze the local development of renewable energy by means of a case study of the Freiburg area in southwestern Germany, which has evolved from a planned nuclear power and fossil fuel center to Germany's “solar region”. Incorporating insights from ecological modernization theory, I show how the locally based push for renewables has grown into a challenge to the direction of German democracy itself.

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Katy Fox

This is a new year’s letter written by the founder of the Centre for Ecological Learning Luxembourg (CELL) to the executive board on the occasion of a journey to India. CELL is an independent, volunteer-led grassroots nonprofit organization founded in 2010 and based in Beckerich. CELL’s scope of action is the Greater Region of Luxembourg, hence its mode of operating through decentralized action groups in order to establish and maintain community gardens, food co-ops, and other social-ecological projects in different parts of Luxembourg. CELL also develops and organizes various courses, provides consultancy services for ecological living, participates in relevant civil society campaigns, and does some practical research on low-impact living. The broad objective of CELL is to provide an experimental space for thinking, researching, disseminating, and practicing lifestyles with a low impact on the environment, and learning the skills for creating resilient post-carbon communities. CELL is inspired by the work of the permaculture and Transition Towns social movements in its aims to relocalize culture and economy and, in that creative process, improve resilience to the consequences of peak oil and climate change.

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Kira Mahamud Angulo and Yovana Hernández Laina

In this article we analyze knowledge about economics conveyed via primary school textbooks published during the late Franco dictatorship and the years of transition to democracy in Spain. Starting from the premise that the process of political socialization and identity construction is based partly on economic factors, we examine the evolution of the content of economics in textbooks during and after the technocratic phase of planning and development. We elucidate ways in which economic culture is transmitted in schools, identifying certain values, principles and patterns of sociopolitical thought that this culture upholds and projects.