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Anat Herbst

This study applies critical discourse analysis to examine the relationship between the imagery and the legitimacy attached to single mothers, as well as the social policy designed for them. The correlation between images, legitimacy, and policy was examined during three decades (the 1970s, 1990s, and 2000s) of extensive legislation pertaining to single-parent mothers. The data have been drawn from a diversity of sources, including Knesset debates, Knesset committee discussions, women's organizations, the media, and semi-structured interviews. The study shows that welfare policy necessarily encapsulates cultural perceptions and basic assumptions pertaining to certain segments of society. These beliefs anchor justifications for the expansion or limitation of social rights and reveal how the development of social rights is linked to cultural and social apprehension.

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Michèle Lamont and Nicolas Duvoux

This essay considers changes in the symbolic boundaries of French society under the influence of neo-liberalism. As compared to the early nineties, stronger boundaries toward the poor and blacks are now being drawn, while North-African immigrants and their offsprings continue to be largely perceived as outside the community of those who deserve recognition and protection. Moreover, while the social reproduction of upper-middle-class privileges has largely remained unchanged, there is a blurring of the symbolic boundaries separating the middle and working class as the latter has undergone strong individualization. Also, youth are now bearing the brunt of France's non-adaptation to changes in the economy and are increasingly marginalized. The result is a dramatic change in the overall contours of the French symbolic community, with a narrowed definition of cultural membership, and this, against a background of growing inequality, unemployment, and intolerance in a more open and deregulated labor market.

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Jason Hickel

Participation in development projects in the Global South has become one of the most sought-after activities among American and British high school graduates and college students. In the United States this often takes the form of Alternative Spring Break trips, while in Britain students typically pursue development work during their 'gap years'. Development projects offer students a way to craft themselves in an alternative mould, to have a 'real experience' that marks them off from the cultural mainstream as 'authentic' individuals. The student development craze represents an impulse to resist consumerist individualism, but this impulse has been appropriated and neutralised by a new logic of consumption, transforming a profoundly political urge for change into a form of 'resistance' compatible with neoliberal capitalism. In the end, students' pursuit of self-realisation through development has a profoundly depoliticising effect, shifting their attention away from substantive problems of extraction and exploitation to the state of the inner self.

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City Sterilization and Poverty Management

Examining a Mobility Hub in the “Redevelopment and Enhancement” of Downtown Tallahassee

Christopher M. McLeod, Matthew I. Horner, Matthew G. Hawzen and Mark DiDonato

People experiencing homelessness use service centers, shelters, missions, and other voluntary organizations to access material resources and social networks. Because these service hubs have a dense array of resources, people sometimes incorporate them into their daily movements around urban space, which results in patterns or tendencies called mobility systems. Drawing on participant observation, document analysis, and spatial analytics via geographic information systems (GIS), we describe the mobility system organized around one homeless services center in Tallahassee, Florida. Moreover, we present a case study of how this homeless services center was moved away from downtown to an upgraded facility to show how city administrators manage homeless mobility systems when they are deemed unsafe for downtown redevelopment. The case supports previous studies that found punitive and supportive strategies are used together, but adds how mobility and “network capital” can be used to evaluate center relocations in the future.

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Invisible Cyclists and Disappearing Cycles

The Challenges of Cycling Policies in Indian Cities

Rutul Joshi and Yogi Joseph

Cycles are fast disappearing from the urban landscape, popular culture, and everyday life in India. The marginalization of cycling is seen in the backdrop of an emerging automobile culture linked with rising incomes, post-liberalization and skewed notions of modernity. The continued dominance of motorized modes seeks to claim a larger share of road space mirroring the social power structure. The majority of urban cyclists in India are low-income workers or school-going children. Despite the emergence of a subculture of recreational cycling among higher-income groups, everyday cycling confronts social bias and neglect in urban policies and public projects. The rhetoric of sustainability and equity in the National Urban Transport Policy 2006 and pro-cycling initiatives in “best practice” transit projects are subverted by not building adequate enabling infrastructure. This article presents an overview of contentious issues related to cycling in Indian cities by examining the politics of inclusion and exclusion in urban policies.

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Mobility Stopped in Its Tracks

Institutional Narratives and the Mobile in the Australian and New Zealand Colonial World, 1870s–1900s

Catharine Coleborne

This article examines the interpretive framework of “mobility” and how it might usefully be extended to the study of the Australasian colonial world of the nineteenth century, suggesting that social institutions reveal glimpses of (im)mobility. As the colonies became destinations for the many thousands of immigrants on the move, different forms of mobility were desired, including migration itself, or loathed, such as the itinerant lifestyles of vagrants. Specifically, the article examines mobility through brief accounts of the curtailed lives of the poor white immigrants of the period. The meanings of mobility were produced by immigrants' insanity, vagrancy, wandering, and their casual movement between, and reliance on, welfare and medical institutions. The regulation of these forms of mobility tells us more about the contemporary paradox of the co-constitution of mobility and stasis, as well as providing a more fluid understanding of mobility as a set of transfers between places and people.

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Welfare Systems in Europe and the United States

Conservative Germany Converging toward the Liberal US Model?

Martin Seeleib-Kaiser

This article demonstrates how the Conservative system of social protection in Germany has been converging toward the Liberal American model during the past two decades, focusing on social protection for the unemployed and pensioners. In addition to public/statutory provisions, occupational welfare is also covered. Despite an overall process of convergence, we continue to witness stark dissimilarities in the arrangements for social protection outsiders: whereas Germany continues to constitutionally guarantee a legal entitlement to minimum social protection for all citizens, such a guarantee does not exist in the United States. The lack of such legal entitlement for poor people of working age, combined with the criminalization of the "dangerous class," is a key differentiating characteristic of the US model at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The findings confirm but also qualify Franz-Xaver Kaufmann's analysis of the United States as "capitalism," which lacks collective welfare responsibility for all citizens, as compared to Germany's "welfare state."

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For the Sake of the Friendship

Relationality and Relationship as Grounds of Beneficence

Thaddeus Metz

I contend that there are important moral reasons for individuals, organisations and states to aid others that have gone largely unrecognised in the literature. Most of the acknowledged reasons for acting beneficently in the absence of a promise to do so are either impartial and intrinsic, on the one hand, being grounded in properties internal to and universal among individuals, such as their pleasure or autonomy, or partial and extrinsic, on the other, being grounded in non-universal properties regarding an actual relation to the agent, such as common membership in a family or culture. In contrast, I articulate and defend the existence of two unrecognised reasons for beneficence that can take the form of being impartial and extrinsic. One is that a being's capacity to be part of a sharing relationship with us can provide some reason to help it, and another is that a sharing relationship qua relationship is an end-in-itself that can provide some reason to help another. I differentiate these considerations from one another and from the more standard reasons for beneficence, provide arguments for thinking that they are central to beneficence, and rebut objections that are likely to be offered by friends of the more standard reasons.

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Family on the Edge

Neblagopoluchnaia Family and the State in Yakutsk and Magadan, Russian Federation

Lena Sidorova and Elena Khlinovskaya Rockhill

This paper addresses the notion and category of neblagopoluchnaia family in Yakutsk, Russian Federation, analyzing the ways in which this category is constructed and reproduced. Although this term is not defined in any jural and legal documents, it is widely applied in practice. The authors follow the process of marginalization of families through their increasing symbolic and geographic remoteness. These families constitute the category of neblagopoluchnaia family and include former village dwellers and urban families, irrespective of their ethnicity and gender, although the vast majority are mothers. As soon as such families become visible and fail to meet criteria for “good” parenting, they are demonized using the category of neblagopoluchnaia family as a tool, and their children are taken away. Personal and family difficulties due to symbolic and structural violence are not taken into consideration. Scapegoating parents facilitates social exclusion, expelling parents from moral community, and increasing, but justifying, the production of children without parental care.

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Poverty in Freedom versus Opulence in Chains

Satirical Exposé of the Postcolonial Dictatorships in Kourouma's Waiting for the Wild Beasts to Vote

Isaac Ndlovu

In my examination of Ahmadou Kourouma's satirical 'historiographic metafiction' (Hutcheon 1988: 93) Waiting for the Wild Beasts to Vote [1998] (2004), I argue that this narrative shows that in postcolonial Africa freedom from colonial rule has resulted neither in privilege nor power for the majority of African citizens. In the novel, Kourouma employs but also subverts the style of donsomana or praise poetry in his satirisation of postcolonial African ways of wielding political power. Largely narrated by Bingo, a satirical griot, the novel adopts a mock-epic mode as a way of acknowledging but also subverting both traditional African and European modernistic conceptualisations of the historical and literary. Among other things, the title of the novel satirises the inadequacy of electoral processes imposed by the Western nations to bring about smooth power transitions and genuine freedoms to the African populace. The novel's title also mocks African rulers for undermining democracy and those who are ruled for their inability to seize the voting opportunities, which in the novel are sometimes presented as moments of genuine civil power, to rid themselves of the emasculating dictators.