The scope, compass and nature of the United States of America’s power in the post-9/11 context has run as a thematic thread through recent issues of Theoria.
Susy Monica Lelli
The documentary appendix presented in the following pages provides
the economic, political and social context for the events presented
in this volume. This year’s edition is organised in three
sections, each of which is dedicated to a specific thematic area.
This article reviews an extensive study of Israeli secondary school general history curricula and textbooks since the establishment of the state in 1948 until the present day. By analyzing the way in which Germany is presented in various contexts, the findings of the study indicate that, while the textbooks reflect a shift from an early censorious attitude to a factual approach, the curriculum continues to present national Jewish Zionism as the metanarrative. In this context, Germany is framed as a victimizer.
The contributions to this issue of Theoria address, among other issues, the broad themes of trust, democracy and justice. In particular, they focus on the nature of, and the problems associated with the transition to, and consolidation of, liberal democracy in the contemporary global context. They address, too, some aspects of this context that bear upon the roles of, and challenges that confront, both the university as an institution and the endeavours of scholarship and research.
Issues Raised by Miscegenation in Portugal (Late Nineteenth to Mid-Twentieth Centuries)
Patrícia Ferraz de Matos
This article analyses the issue of miscegenation in Portugal, which is directly associated with the context of its colonial empire, from late nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries. The analysis considers sources from both literary and scientific fields. Subsequently, aspects such as interracial marriage, degeneration and segregation as well as the changes brought about by the end of World War II and the social revolutions of the 1960s are considered. The 1980s brought several changes in the attitude towards Portuguese identity and nationality, which had meanwhile cut loose from its colonial context. Crossbreeding was never actually praised in the Portuguese colonial context, and despite still having strong repercussions in the present day, lusotropicalism was based on a fallacious rhetoric of politically motivated propaganda.
Social theories are heavily context-embedded, and their creation is naturally interwoven with particular contexts. Once they are disseminated within a new societal landscape, adjustments and adaptation should be made. This paper investigates the entangled contexts of the social quality theory and its applicability to Asian societies. rough a comparative analysis of the key questions that this theory purports to answer, as well as its proposed answers and solutions, the study evaluates the purpose, features and functions of the theory. Moreover, in relation to four sorts of 'conditional factors', this article also proposes extending social quality studies into four approaches that should lead the studies beyond the level of description into new forms of theory. The article also explores the theory's power to explain the Asian social quality systems and their implications for global social development.
From Vermin to Conservation Emblem
Margarida Lopes-Fernandes and Amélia Frazão-Moreira
Not much is known about how the cultural image of predators has been constructed in Western contexts and changed through time. This article reviews representations of lynx in Western Europe. A ‘cultural map’ of lynx in historical contexts is presented, and the ‘social visibility’ of the Iberian lynx in Portugal explored. Since prehistoric times the lynx has been an inspiration, an amulet, a creature gifted with extraordinary capacities but also a food item, and a ‘vermin’ to eliminate. Recently, the Iberian lynx has become a global conservation emblem; once a noxious predator, it is now a symbol of wilderness. Examples show how the species acquired visibility and has been appropriated in contemporary contexts such as logos, ‘green’ marketing, urban art or political campaigns. There is also evidence of a new identity construction in Portuguese rural areas where lynx is being reintroduced, exemplifying a process of objectification of nature.
Transnational higher education is the term that is most commonly used to describe programmes that allow students to obtain a degree from an overseas university in their local context. Such programmes are often marketed on their similarity with those offered at home by the overseas university. Perhaps as a consequence, the related literature focuses on 'problems' that are encountered in the 'other' environment, particularly when academic staff travel to the host country to deliver the teaching. Transnational programmes, however, offer rich opportunities for developing cultural capability in students and academics through a sensitively internationalised curriculum. This article uses an autoethnographic approach to discuss teaching and learning in transnational programmes that are delivered in a postcolonial context (Hong Kong) by a university that is in the former colonising country (U.K.). Its aim is to illustrate how, by embracing the complexities, transnational higher education programmes can enrich learning and teaching in both the host and the home context.
Constructions of Theft and Stealing
Ada I. Engebrigtsen
A proverb common in Romania, generally referring to gypsies, claims that 'your heart is not warm unless you steel'. During the author's fieldwork in a village in Transylvania it was, obvious, however, that the moral judgement on theft and stealing varies greatly according to context. The article discusses the social construction of theft in different empirical contexts and historical periods from wartime looting in India to theft of state property in Romania and how the definition and judgement in each case are embedded in social relations and social structures. The article's main objective is to unmask social relations of power and domination that are often hidden behind definitions and judgements concerning the acquisition of the property of others. Thus theft cannot be understood as either legal or moral; instead, it ties together the moral and the legal, the collective and the individual, objects and persons in different ways in different contexts.
History, Practice and Future Challenges
The article contextualizes the educational, political and social context in which the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma programme was established and describes the place of social anthropology within the general aims of the diploma programme as a whole. The article then discusses the current diploma curriculum for social and cultural anthropology and the issues arising from this for the teaching and learning of anthropology in a global context, including teacher support and comparisons with other national pre-university educational qualifications. Some of the perceptions of the IB diploma among teachers, students and parents are also briefly discussed.