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The Mutable, the Mythical, and the Managerial

Raven Narratives and the Anthropocene

Thomas F. Thornton and Patricia M. Thornton

The Anthropocene is rooted in the proposition that human activity has disrupted earth systems to the extent that it has caused us to enter a new geological age. We identify three popular discourses of what the Anthropocene means for humanity's future: the Moral Jeremiad admonishes the transgression of planetary boundaries and advocates reductions to live sustainably within Earth's limits; the Technofix Earth Engineer approach depicts the Age of Humanity as an engineering opportunity to be met with innovative technological solutions to offset negative impacts; and the New Genesis discourse advocates re-enchantment of humanity's connections to earth. By contrast, we find that in many indigenous and premodern narratives and myths disseminated across the North Pacific and East Asia, it is the trickster-demiurge Raven that is most closely linked to environmental change and adaptation. Whereas Raven tales among northern Pacific indigenous communities emphasize a moral ecology of interdependence, creative adaptation, and resilience through practical knowledge (mētis), robustly centralizing Zhou Dynasty elites transposed early Chinese Raven trickster myths with tales lauding the human subjugation of nature. Raven and his fate across the northern Pacific reminds us that narratives of environmental crisis, as opposed to narratives of environmental change, legitimate attempts to invest power and authority in the hands of elites, and justify their commandeering of technological xes in the name of salvation.

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‘No More Let Life Divide…’

Victorian Metropolitan Confluence in Penny Dreadful

Sinan Akıllı and Seda Öz

In Penny Dreadful, John Logan creates a ‘confluent’ and urban diegetic world which is characterized by the merging of dualities. While seamlessly bringing together characters from such classical works of Victorian Gothic fiction as Frankenstein, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Dracula, and through the references by these characters to the Romantics such as Shelley and Blake, the series also provides a retrospective vision of the dark aspects of the urbanization of Victorian London. With reference to London’s representation in Penny Dreadful, this article explores the shaky ground of the metropolis that creates a duality in almost every other element of the show, including the representation of the city and its social realities, the identities of the characters, and the adaptation and ‘confluence’ of Victorian literary works in a single world that is paradoxically characterized by stark contrasts and dualities.

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Victoria C. Ramenzoni and David Yoskowitz

After Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, governmental organizations have placed the development of metrics to quantify social impacts, resilience, and community adaptation at the center of their agendas. Following the premise that social indicators provide valuable information to help decision makers address complex interactions between people and the environment, several interagency groups in the United States have undertaken the task of embedding social metrics into policy and management. While this task has illuminated important opportunities for consolidating social and behavioral disciplines at the core of the federal government, there are still significant risks and challenges as quantification approaches move forward. In this article, we discuss the major rationale underpinning these efforts, as well as the limitations and conflicts encountered in transitioning research to policy and application. We draw from a comprehensive literature review to explore major initiatives in institutional scenarios addressing community well-being, vulnerability, and resilience in coastal and ocean resource management agencies.

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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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Bande dessinée and the Cinematograph

Visual Narrative in 1895

Lance Rickman

The Lumière brothers' L'Arroseur arrosé ['The Sprinkler Sprinkled'] of 1895 was probably the first staged fiction film to be shown in public, but also the first cinematic adaptation of a comic strip, previous treatments of the subject including an Imagerie Quantin broadsheet by Hermann Vogel, a cartoon by Christophe in Le Petit Français Illustré and an illustrated sequence by Uzès in Le Chat Noir. What emerges from direct comparison is an appreciation of the sophisticated narrative devices that French comic illustrators employed by the 1880s, namely a dynamic combination of shot scales, angles and heights that still conforms to the diegetic demands of consistent spatial continuity. In short, these were the techniques that, perversely, would come to be known as 'cinematic'.

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De Luca and Hamlet

Thinking Outside the Box

Paul Gravett

Gianni De Luca's 1975 adaptation of Hamlet converted 30,000 words into 48 pages of graphic novel. One of the key techniques De Luca drew upon was that of 'continuous narrative', a historically tested method of 'thinking outside the box', whereby the same character, at different stages of the action, can appear several times on a single page. De Luca mastered the technique, making limited use of panel borders, whilst avoiding reader confusion. Nonetheless the method had been used previously, not just in Little Nemo and Gasoline Alley, but as far back as Botticelli's illustrations for Dante's Divine Comedy, or even the fifteenth-century Cent nouvelles nouvelles ['The Hundred New Stories']. Subsequently De Luca's technique was to influence graphic novelists as diverse as Fred, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Frank Miller, Joe Sacco and Killoffer.

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Editorial

European Comic Art Reaches Its Tenth Year

The Editors

With this issue, European Comic Art, the first peer-reviewed academic journal on comics, moves into its tenth year of existence. Over the past few years, the field has become more crowded, as scholarly interest in comics has expanded, but the quality and quantity of submissions that we receive is ever increasing. We are proud to have published articles by major comics theorists, as well as by emerging young researchers, and to have contributed to debates on formal, graphic and narrative resources of the medium; temporality and duration in comics; adaptation and the mutual influence between comics and other arts, including the novel, film, fine art (especially modernism) and the performing arts; and the diverse influences on the development of comics, including caricature and satirical prints.

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Mondialisation et cultures locales

De la MIFERMA à la SNIM – L'exemple d'une société minière saharienne (Mauritanie)

Pierre Bonte

This article revisits, after a period of thirty years, the materials of two field researches that relate to an iron-mining company in the north of Mauritania. The MIFERMA, which had inherited the colonial past, meanwhile has become the SNIM, a nationalised company, employing exclusively Mauritanian workers. The ‘mauritanisation’ of the employees is the object of the analysis. This process has social and political features, underlying the demands of the local workers, but also symbolic and identity aspects that are of anthropological interest with regard to globalisation. The culture of the sacs à dos evident in the company underlines solidarities that are close to those of tribal society, illustrating a local adaptation of modernity in the world system. The anthropologist’s memory is here crossing the workers’ memory.

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Jobst Conrad

The article provides a general overview of social sciences perspectives to analyze and theorize climate research, climate discourse, and climate policy. First, referring to the basic paradigm of sociology, it points out the feasible scope and necessary methodology of environmental sociology as a social science concerning the analysis of physical nature. Second, it illustrates this epistemological conception by few examples, summarizing main results of corresponding climate-related social science investigations dealing with the development dynamics of climate research, the role of scientific (climate impact) assessments in politics, varying features and changes of climate discourses, climate policy formation, and knowledge diffusion from climate science. The receptivity of climate discourse and climate policy to the results of problem-oriented climate research is strongly shaped and limited by its multifarious character as well as by their own (internal) logics. The article shows that social sciences contribute their specific (conceptual) competences to problem-oriented research by addressing climate change and corresponding adaptation and mitigation strategies.

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Making a Community Embedded in Mobility

Refugees, Migrants, and Tourists in Dharamshala (India)

Natalia Bloch

This case study of Dharamshala (India), a community that emerged as an outcome of mobility just a few decades ago and is constantly fueled by refugees, migrants, and tourists, aims to challenge the conceptual boundary between a receiving society and mobile Others, and to pose questions about community making in the context of postcolonial mobility. The history of Dharamshala reflects both the legacy of colonialism and the modern processes of mobility in postcolonial Asia. The town’s highly fluid and heterogeneous community consists of people of different nationalities, ethnicities, religions, and castes from Tibet, Nepal, the Global North, and various Indian states. Most are seasonal migrants attracted by the success of Tibetans in turning this in fact refugee settlement into a popular tourist destination, while some have already settled there. Communities embedded in mobility—for which mobility is an everyday lived experience—reshape our thinking about adaptation processes and social coexistence.