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Robert Lee

Australian railway historiography, like its railway history and indeed like Australia itself, poses a curious paradox. Why is such a fortunate and civil polity so parochial and so divided geographically? It is now more than 230 years since British colonisation began. Ever since, Australia has been prosperous; relatively egalitarian, at least for its white population; generally free from civil strife; and efficiently and effectively governed. The temperature of its debates and conflicts rarely has risen above levels characterised by civil disobedience and strikes, which have been controlled by police and courts within usual legal frameworks.

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M. Maksudur Rahman and Md. Assadekjaman

Rickshaw pullers are key to sustaining urban mobility in Dhaka city. Yet they are among the most marginalized members of society. Pullers live in precarious urban environments and struggle to rise out of a chronic poverty trap. In their work they face the daily challenges of restrictions on their activities, harassment from passengers and the traffic police, traffic jams and accidents. This article explores the factors which contribute to the unsustainable lifestyles of rickshaw pullers in Dhaka city. It suggests that rickshaw pullers might be supported better through licenses, economic incentives, and by prioritizing their contribution to improving Dhaka's traffic system.

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The Book of Leviticus

What Are This Book's Implications for Today's (Political) Thinking

Christiane Thiel

To begin with, I would like to ask some questions. Can you understand how someone could think that a war will bring peace? Do you understand the thinking that is behind the decision to deliver weapons to regions where that region’s own people will then fight against other human beings with those same weapons? (Not to mention the question of principle where the thinking behind the production and trade with weapons is concerned …) Do you understand how it is possible to have qualified German people train the military and the police of countries that are officially branded as terrorist or dictatorial?

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Allen Feldman

Loader concludes his analysis of the trend in Britain and elsewhere toward private security systems by suggesting that “the value of other more deliberative ways of addressing the crime question and structuring the relationship between the police and the ‘publics’ they serve; ways that seek to subject ‘consumer’ demands for particular kinds of policing and security to the test of public discourse oriented to the common good, and so temper with democratic reason the passions that consumer culture threatens to unleash” (1999: 389). The privatization of public services and the undermining of professionalism have taken hold in many countries on the advice of international monetary agencies. In New Zealand, a provincial reading of new right philosophy within the close-knit circle of the New Zealand Business Roundtable generated a power lobby group that served as a conduit for free market libertarian ideas. This article traces the response to these trends as a measure of the strength of civil society and public life in Auckland City, with a specific focus on the resistance by the New Zealand firefighters to restructuring and downsizing the fire service.

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The Temperate Passion of Democratic Reason

The New Zealand Firefighters' Struggle against Restructuring, Downsizing, and Privatizing

Eleanor Rimoldi

Loader concludes his analysis of the trend in Britain and elsewhere toward private security systems by suggesting that “the value of other more deliberative ways of addressing the crime question and structuring the relationship between the police and the ‘publics’ they serve; ways that seek to subject ‘consumer’ demands for particular kinds of policing and security to the test of public discourse oriented to the common good, and so temper with democratic reason the passions that consumer culture threatens to unleash” (1999: 389). The privatization of public services and the undermining of professionalism have taken hold in many countries on the advice of international monetary agencies. In New Zealand, a provincial reading of new right philosophy within the close-knit circle of the New Zealand Business Roundtable generated a power lobby group that served as a conduit for free market libertarian ideas. This article traces the response to these trends as a measure of the strength of civil society and public life in Auckland City, with a specific focus on the resistance by the New Zealand firefighters to restructuring and downsizing the fire service.

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A Disciple of Whitman and Ruskin

William Harrison Riley, Transatlantic Celebrity, and the Perils of Working-Class Fandom

Mark Frost

This article focuses on attempts by working-class intellectual, William Harrison Riley, to act as a transatlantic bridge connecting John Ruskin and Walt Whitman, and on what this reveals about nineteenth-century celebrity culture. Despite contrasting attitudes to fame, Ruskin and Whitman both constructed public profiles as generational prophets with broad appeal to the working classes, at the same time pursuing rhetorical strategies stressing their own exceptionalism. Because their lofty elevation depended upon the existence of disciples, their public outreach only seemed to offer disciples opportunities to transcend the hierarchical structures underpinning celebrity culture. Riley is of particular interest as a marginalized working-class writer who sought equality with Ruskin and Whitman by joining Ruskin's Utopian Guild of St George, and by attempting to negotiate Ruskin's support in raising Whitman's profile. The costly failure of these enterprises suggests that celebrity culture often reflects, reinforces, and polices prevailing social divisions of late nineteenth-century capitalism.

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Alison Fyfe

Early twenty-first century North American journalists often claim that social changes such as women's liberation and civil rights have had a dark side for girls. For supposedly abandoning the safety of their traditional role in the home, girls are disproportionately characterized as being at risk of victimization, while also being increasingly cast as risks to themselves and others. Using mixed-methods content analysis, this article demonstrates that the social construct of risky girls crystallized for Toronto news after the 1997 murder of Reena Virk in British Columbia through a raced, classed, and gendered moral panic over bad girls. Discourses changed from talk of youth violence before the murder to talk of risky girls after it. By conflating victimization with offending, risky girl discourses prioritize risk management over needs. This conflation results in the increased policing and incarceration of girls and youth of color, ultimately reinforcing social inequalities like racism and patriarchy.

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On “tribes” and bribes

“Iraq tribal study,” al-Anbar's awakening, and social science

Roberto J. González

The concept of the “tribe” has captured the imagination of military planners, who have been inspired partly by social scientists. Interest in tribes stems from events in Iraq's al-Anbar province, where the US military has co-opted Sunni “tribal” leaders. Some social scientists have capitalized on these developments by doing contract work for the Pentagon. For example, the “Iraq tribal study”—prepared by a private company consisting of anthropologists and political scientists among others—suggests employing colonial-era techniques (such as divide and conquer) for social control. It also advocates bribing local leaders, a method that has become part of the US military's pacification strategy. Such imperial policing techniques are likely to aggravate armed conflict between and among ethnic groups and religious sects. Observers report that the US strategy is creating a dangerous situation resembling the Lebanese civil war, raising ethical questions about social scientists' involvement in these processes.

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Dissenting Voices?

Controlling Children’s Comics under Franco

Rhiannon McGlade

The installation of the Franco dictatorship sparked an inadvertent boom in the production of comics. While many cartoonists hailing from Barcelona’s rich satirical tradition went into exile or clandestine publication, still more turned to the children’s comics market that had become firmly rooted in the Catalan capital since the 1920s. Until the 1950s, comics remained relatively free from censorial intervention, and the development of characters such as La Familia Ulises, Carpanta and Doña Urraca offered cartoonists an outlet for covert critique. However, in 1952, the Junta Asesora de la Prensa Infantil was established to police children’s publications for ‘inappropriate’ content, marking a turning point in the history of Spain’s comics genre. This article discusses the implications of specific legislation for editors, artists and their comic strip characters, focusing on the publications Pulgarcito, TBO and DDT.

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Beware of Bandits!

Banditry and Land Travel in the Roman Empire

Lincoln H. Blumell

This paper considers the perils of travel by focusing on banditry, a conspicuous, yet oft-neglected, feature of the Roman Empire. Appearing at different times and at various locations it was thoroughly entrenched in Roman society and affected both the rich and poor alike. But the primary victim of banditry and the one to whom it posed the greatest threat was the ancient traveller since brigands tended to operate mostly along roads and rural highways in search of prey. The very real danger brigands posed to the ancient traveller can be detected from a number of diverse sources including tombstones on which was inscribed 'killed by bandits'. While the government took some measures to curb and even stamp out banditry, given the administrative and policing handicaps inherent in the Empire it remained fairly widespread.