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Bernard Matolino

The disagreement over what was responsible for arriving at consensual positions, in traditional African polities, is best captured in the classic debate between Kwasi Wiredu and Emmanuel Eze. The former holds that rational persuasion was the sole informant of decision-making while the latter argues that non-rational factors played a crucial role in securing a consensual decision. If Wiredu is correct then consensus could work in modern society as it can be argued that it does not rely on traditionalistic scaffoldings. If, on the other hand, Eze is correct, then consensus cannot work in modern largely urbanised Africa as its traditional underpinnings have largely disappeared. While Emmanuel Ani’s intervention in this debate is welcome for its earnest search for a system that could work, his support for Eze is not bold enough to undermine Wiredu’s rationalistic orientation in consensus.

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Marcelo Hoffman

New protest movements have recently occasioned debates about the party form on the left. Jodi Dean contributes to these debates through her theorisation of the party as an organisation for making the egalitarian impulses of the crowd durable. In this endeavour, Dean acknowledges anxiety about the party form on the left, yet she dilutes its complexity through recourse to generalities and abstractions. This article seeks to reclaim the complexity of anxiety about the party form on the left through the reflections of three major thinkers in radical political theory: Frantz Fanon, Michel Foucault and Alain Badiou. These thinkers suggest that anxiety about the party can spring from highly variegated sources and lend itself to equally variegated positions. These sources and positions capture the complexity of sources of anxiety about the party on the left. They also enable us to take stock of the forms of the betrayal of radical politics by the party.

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Ezekiel S. Mkhwanazi

The African intelligentsia played a pivotal role in the anti-colonial and anti-apartheid struggle in Africa. Not only did it provide intellectual resources to the political struggle leaders but also took active part in the political leadership. Since independence, this role has diminished tremendously, as some of the intelligentsia are ‘silenced’ and others become ‘captured’ by the newly independent states. As a result, a wedge is driven between the intelligentsia and the political leadership. However, given that there is a deficit in efforts to reconstruct Africa, the pan-African intelligentsia are called upon to reinvigorate and reposition themselves to assist in developing organisations and institutions to serve African people worldwide. This call challenges them to take a creative, innovative role in the reconstructive task of Africa, thereby bidding farewell to intellectual isolationism. The article draws from Kwame Nkrumah’s ideas, thereby affirming the relevance of his political ideas in contemporary Africa.

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Jacqui Close

In the U.K., ‘student engagement’, and the related ‘student experience’, are increasingly measured, interpreted and then marketed to students as a basis on which to choose the ‘best’ place for their higher education. This article summarises and reflects on presentations from five panel members at a conference on their experience of university life after that choice had been made. The panel included non-traditional students who embodied some of the characteristics (such as age, social class and ethnicity) that have become performance indicators in relation to widening participation and engagement in higher education. This article captures how students themselves understand a concept that occupies such a prominent, if contested, position in contemporary higher education. This analysis invites one to take a closer look at the identity work necessary for students to thrive (and for some just to survive) at university against a backdrop that tends to homogenise both ‘experience’ and ‘student’.

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Ageeth Sluis and Elise Edwards

Many opportunities for more integrated teaching that better capture the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary scholars' work and better achieve the aims of liberal arts education still remain untapped, particularly at smaller schools where combined departments are often necessary. The disciplinary boundaries between history and sociocultural anthropology have become increasingly blurred in recent decades, a trend reflected in scholarly work that engages with both fields, as well as dual-degree graduate programmes at top U.S. research universities. For many scholars, this interdisciplinarity makes sense, with the two disciplines offering critical theoretical tools and methods that must be used in combination to tackle effectively the questions they pursue. This article asks why this interdisciplinarity, so central to professional pursuits of both historians and anthropologists, is significantly less present in the undergraduate classroom. Housed in one of the only joint History and Anthropology departments in the U.S., we detail our own efforts to make the chance joining of our disciplines pedagogically meaningful.

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‘But Isn’t It the Baby That Decides When It Will Be Born?’

Temporality and Women’s Embodied Experiences of Giving Birth

Joanna White

This article explores the intermeshing of different forms of time in contemporary childbirth, including the ways in which pregnant women are embedded within, informed by and resist institutional categorizations of reproductive time. While each parturient who participated in my ethnographic study described their own, unique relationships with birthing and time, all women employed clock time to anchor critical phases of their labour. This article puts forward ‘phenomenological time’ as a means of capturing the embodied outcome of the complex relationships amongst the social and institutional times which each woman inhabits, her own individual physiology and her ongoing response throughout the birthing experience. My analysis suggests that further phenomenological studies of birth could lead to a more sophisticated understanding of the relationships between human beings and time, including alternative temporal forms such as multitemporality and ‘reverse progression’ during labour.

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Eleanor Sterling, Tamara Ticktin, Tē Kipa Kepa Morgan, Georgina Cullman, Diana Alvira, Pelika Andrade, Nadia Bergamini, Erin Betley, Kate Burrows, Sophie Caillon, Joachim Claudet, Rachel Dacks, Pablo Eyzaguirre, Chris Filardi, Nadav Gazit, Christian Giardina, Stacy Jupiter, Kealohanuiopuna Kinney, Joe McCarter, Manuel Mejia, Kanoe Morishige, Jennifer Newell, Lihla Noori, John Parks, Pua‘ala Pascua, Ashwin Ravikumar, Jamie Tanguay, Amanda Sigouin, Tina Stege, Mark Stege and Alaka Wali

Measuring progress toward sustainability goals is a multifaceted task. International, regional, and national organizations and agencies seek to promote resilience and capacity for adaptation at local levels. However, their measurement systems may be poorly aligned with local contexts, cultures, and needs. Understanding how to build effective, culturally grounded measurement systems is a fundamental step toward supporting adaptive management and resilience in the face of environmental, social, and economic change. To identify patterns and inform future efforts, we review seven case studies and one framework regarding the development of culturally grounded indicator sets. Additionally, we explore ways to bridge locally relevant indicators and those of use at national and international levels. The process of identifying and setting criteria for appropriate indicators of resilience in social-ecological systems needs further documentation, discussion, and refinement, particularly regarding capturing feedbacks between biological and social-cultural elements of systems.

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Simon Tormey and Jean-Paul Gagnon

In reinterrogating core concepts from his 2015 book, The End of Representative Politics, Simon Tormey explains the nature of emergent, evanescent, and contrarian forms of political practice. He sheds light on what is driving the political disruption transpiring now through a series of engaging comments from the field on well-known initiatives like Occupy, #15M, and Zapatistas and also lesser-known experiments such as the creation of new political parties like Castelló en Moviment, among others. Postrepresentative representation, it is argued, is not an oxymoron; it, like the term antipolitical politics, is rather a provocative concept designed to capture the radically new swarming politics underway in countries like Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, and Iceland. Citizens are tooling up with ICTs, and this has led to resonant political movements like #15M in Spain or Occupy more broadly. Key takeaways from this interview include the double-edged nature of representation and the fact that new forms of political representation are breaking the mould.

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Michael Hilton

Since the mid-1980s, interfaith issues have been arguably the major theme of European Judaism. Public events reflected in these pages have been commented on from an interfaith perspective. President Ronald Reagan's visit to German war graves in 1985 provoked a bitter Jewish-Christian argument about forgiveness after the Holocaust. The humanitarian crisis in Bosnia in 1993, the massacre in Hebron in 1994, Rabin's assassination in 1996, the millennium and the 9/11 terrorist attacks all provoked much comment. The back issues of this journal must be regarded as a major resource for the modern history of dialogue between Jews, Christians and Muslims. Few of the articles were written specially; nearly all are conference papers, recorded speeches or reprinted from other publications. In spite of that, the editors have managed to capture all the big events and issues.

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The Household in Flux

Plasticity Complicates the Unit of Analysis

Kelly A. Yotebieng and Tannya Forcone

The household is a ubiquitous unit of analysis across the social sciences. In policy, research and practice, households are often considered a link between individuals and the structures that they interact with on a daily basis. Yet, researchers often take the household for granted as something that means the same thing to everyone across contexts. As the household has never truly been a static unit of analysis, we need to revisit the household to ensure that we are still capturing what it means to be part of a household – especially if we are engaging in research where we aim to compare households across time and space. We analyse how the concept of the household has been used over time and identify areas, such as migration and urbanisation, where we need to ensure conceptual clarity. We use our field notes and ethnographic interviews to show the challenges of such an analysis.