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Alain Vaillant

Abstract

During the nineteenth century, not only did the extraordinary development of the printed press transform the cultural environment, but it also brought about major formal changes in literature. This article explores these trasnformations through a focus on the contemporary use of the concept of “modernity.” The word dates back to 1688 at least, but it was mostly employed during the nineteenth century to describe post-revolutionary France and especially to criticize its consumerism and materialistic “bourgeoisie.” Nineteenth-century media culture embodied the triumph of “modernity,” especially in the form of the petite presse (“small press”). Born in a world where censorship still compromised the freedom of speech, the petite presse was an illustrated, satirical, ironical, and wisecracking medium. It aspired to a generalized non-seriousness which would, for a long time, be viewed as the “Parisian spirit.”

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Uffe Jakobsen

This article traces the uses of the concept of citizenship in Danish public discourse in light of the theoretical framework of conceptual history. The author draws upon parliamentary debates, media articles, and debates on political subjects that are part of the textual corpus that served to create The Danish Dictionary in order not only to identify the different usages and conceptual changes of “citizenship” but also to identify the actors using the concept. In addition to mapping the use of “citizenship” in its traditional meanings, such as the entitlement to rights, political identity, civic virtue, and political participation, the Jakobsen encounters a new meaning, namely, citizenship as “free consumer choice.” This conceptual change, however, is only espoused by elected politicians, while ordinary people tend to preserve the traditional meanings of citizenship.

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The Appropriation of Bicycles in West Africa

Pragmatic Approaches to Sustainability

Hans Peter Hahn

Bicycles have a wide range of functions and roles in West Africa. They have vital functions for everyday necessities, but they also constitute prestige objects. The appreciation of bicycles in Africa started very early, almost simultaneously with their diffusion as consumer goods in Europe. However, the adoption of bicycles followed a specific pathway, which is explained in this article within the conceptual framework of appropriation. Cultural appropriation highlights the significant modifications of bicycles in Africa and the abandonment of some functions like braking. In spite of the technical simplifications, modified bicycles are perceived as having higher value, by virtue of their fitness for the tough roads and their increased reliability. Appropriation results in a specific “Africanized“ bicycle, which makes possible a prolonged usage. This essay argues that the “Africanized“ bicycle constitutes a model of sustainability in matters of transport, one which is not sufficiently recognized in current debates about sustainable innovations.

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William T. van Markham and C.S.A. (Kris) Koppen

This article investigates the messages about climate change that ten nature protection organizations in Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States communicate to their members and the public through their Internet sites, member magazines, and annual reports. Based on analysis of this content, we conclude that all the organizations address climate change, but to varying extents and in differing ways. All of the organizations note that climate change is a major problem, has a significant impact on nature, and should be addressed mainly via mitigation. With the partial exception of the Dutch groups, all also inform their members about domestic climate change politics. Other themes, including international dimensions of climate change, adaptation to climate change, consumer behavior, collaboration with and criticism of business, and efforts to pressure business or government received less emphasis overall. How much emphasis the organizations gave these themes was conditioned by their traditions, constituencies, national context, and international affiliations.

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Greening British Businesses

SMEs and the New Wave of the Environmental Social Movement

Curtis Ziniel and Tony Bradley

This article examines relationships between a new wave of radical green activism and an increase in greening businesses in Britain. We examine the spread of the movement through the formation of businesses implementing more environmentally sustainable practices. Our empirical data, combined with Office for National Statistics data, are drawn from both the supply and the demand side of the economy. Our analysis tests key individual-level determinants (education, energy conscientiousness, localism) and area-level determinants (party politics, population density). Our findings indicate the main factors in determining the growth of the ethical marketplace. We draw conclusions about relationships between environmental social movements and SME business sectors. Our results have implications for research on ethical business development and consumerism and for literature on social movements and political geography.

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Anne Allison

Emerging from the defeat of the Second World War, Japan shifted its national lens from empire building abroad to productivity and prosperity at home. Organized around a particular form of sociality and capitalist economics, citizens worked hard for 'myhomeism' - the attachments (of men at the workplace, women to the household, children to school) that fuelled fast-growth economics and rising consumerism. In the last two decades of economic decline and more irregular employment, the 'nestling' of family and corporate capitalism has begun to unravel. In the 'lost decade' of the 1990s, many young Japanese assumed the ranks of what activist Karin Amamiya calls the 'precariat' - those precariously un(der)employed, unable to assume the social citizenship of my-homeism, and existentially bereft. How are people not only surviving hard times but also remaking their ties of social connectedness and their calculus of human worth?

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From American Girls into American Women

A Discussion of American Girl Doll Nostalgia

Molly Brookfield

The American Girl brand of historical dolls and books celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2011. The girls who first played with American Girl dolls in the 1980s and 1990s are now grown women; their nostalgia for the brand is passionate and complicated, and reminiscences from nineteen such women are the focus of this study. Their nostalgic responses are thoughtful and reflective, at turns unabashedly admiring and astutely critical. The women fondly recall American Girl whilst simultaneously criticizing the company for its consumerism and its representations of American history and American girlhood. Their memories show how nostalgia can be ambivalent and contradictory, and how adults can use childhood nostalgia to reinforce and construct identity narratives.

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Rebecca Hardin

Relationships emerging between corporate actors and environmental conservation organizations range from partnerships in field operations to gifts brokered at the upper echelons of corporate and nongovernmental organization (NGO) management. Drawing on Mauss’s original formulation of “the gift,” I consider the social consequences and contexts of these relationships, over various territorial and temporal scales. I argue that recent critiques of conservation NGOs for having “sold out” to corporate interests obscure a more nuanced view of such relationships, their roots in the history of wildlife conservation under colonial circumstances, and their connections to new modes of hybrid environmental governance. These latter include transformations in corporate practice vis-à-vis consumer preference, processes of certification, and educational impacts on professional training for industry personnel, as well as the adoption by many NGOs of terminologies and planning processes from the corporate world. These relational norms and institutional transformations make any oversimplified notion of corporate responsibility insufficient with respect to environmental sectors.

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Miniature Bride or Little Girl Religious

First Communion Clothing in Post-war Spanish Culture and Society

Jessamy Harvey

The tradition of religious clothing for children is relatively unexplored: this article develops the premise that debates about the links between the sacred and the market go deeper than concern about consumption, and bring to the surface issues of identity. Through exploring the historical development of the First Communion, not as religious ritual but as Catholic consumer culture, the article turns to analyse girls' communicant dress in Spain between the 1940s and 1960s which were the early decades of a dictatorial Regime (1939 to 1975) marked by an ideology of National-Catholicism. General Francisco Franco y Bahamonde, leader of the military rebellion against the elected government in 1936, ruled Spain until his death. One of my aims is to correct a tendency to make the little girl dressed in bridal wear the most visible sign because to do so disregards the cultural practice of wearing clothing to perform piety, signal a vocation or express gratitude for religious intercession.

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Alice H. Cooper and Paulette Kurzer

The puzzle explored in this article is why Germany, in spite of its

superb record in environmental policy and health care, has systematically

thwarted measures to reduce smoking rates. At this point,

thousands of large-scale epidemiological findings demonstrate a relationship

between smoking and disease. Moreover, unlike alcohol,

there is no safe amount of smoking. Cigarettes kill, and smoking is

the single largest source of preventable death in advanced industrialized

states. By various estimates, tobacco kills 500,000 Europeans

per year, including 120,000 Germans. Globally, in the years 2025 to

2030, smoking will kill 7 million people in the developing world and

3 million in the industrialized world. No other consumer product is

as dangerous as tobacco, which kills more people than AIDS, legal

and illegal drugs, road accidents, murder, and suicide combined.