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Memory, imagination, and belonging across generations

Perspectives from postsocialist Europe and beyond

Haldis Haukanes and Susanna Trnka

The last two decades have witnessed a phenomenal expansion of scholarly work on collective memory. Simultaneously, increasing anthropological attention is being paid to collective visions of the future, albeit through a range of disparate literatures on topics including development, modernity and risk, the imagination, and, perhaps ironically, nostalgia. In this introduction to this special section, we bring together analyses of postsocialist visions of pasts and futures to shed light upon the cultural scripts and social processes through which different temporal visions are ascribed collective meaning, employed in the creation of shared and personal identities, and used to galvanize social and political action.

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Aldo Di Virgilio and Claudio M. Radaelli

In an editorial published in the summer of 2011 in the Corriere della

Sera, Professor Mario Monti commented on the financial crisis of those

weeks and the pressures coming from the markets and from the European

institutions, making three points.1 The first was a criticism of the

Berlusconi government and its majority, which, “after claiming that it

had the ability to solve the country’s problems alone, and after turning

down the possibility of a shared effort alongside other political parties

to try to lift a discouraged Italy out of the crisis, … then actually

accepted … a super-national technical government.”

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Verena Stürmer

The ban on almost all previously approved textbooks in occupied Germany in 1945 brought about a turning point in the history of reading primers in this country. This article examines the requirements that textbooks had to fulfill in order to be approved by the authorities of the various occupation zones. In spite of differing sociopolitical and pedagogical attitudes and conditions, reading primersin all occupied zones shared the theme of children’s play and harmonious everyday life. However, a comparative analysis of the primers reveals significant differences that cannot be explained exclusively as a consequence of influence exerted by occupying powers. Rather, these differences resulted from the context in which each primer appeared.

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Alexander Yakobson

Is Israeli democracy in danger? One often hears nowadays that it is. It is worth recalling how often, and how confidently, this has been asserted in the past. Since May 1977, when the right-wing religious coalition first came to power, it has been claimed repeatedly that Israel’s democracy is deteriorating and some form of clerical fascism is emerging. In the aftermath of the 1977 election a member of the outgoing Labor government burned his papers, fearing what might happen if they fall into the new regime’s hands. These fears, then, were not confined to some radical fringe. In a somewhat less dramatic fashion I shared and voiced them too.

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Maarten Coëgnarts and Peter Kravanja

This article examines embodied visual meaning in film, the ways that film makes use of recurring dynamic patterns of our shared bodily interactions with the world (image schemas) to communicate abstract meaning to the viewer. Following the lead of recent discoveries in the field of neuroscience, the article argues that this metaphorical transference of abstract thought by means of image schemas is possible via the activation of embodied mirroring mechanisms in the observer. This empathetic and physical encounter of the viewer with the representational content and form of the work is crucial to the understanding of abstract conceptual thought in film.

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Daniel Newman, Peter Wells, Paul Nieuwenhuis, Ceri Donovan and Huw Davies

This article considers electric cars as socio-technical experiments in meeting mobility requirements. There have been numerous trials and government incentives to promote such vehicles, but with a notable lack of success. The article thus seeks to address an urgent need to understand such “transition failure,” which may ultimately impact upon how progress is measured in sociotechnical transitions. Presenting results from a recent research project, it is suggested that shared usage models hold greater potential for achieving sustainable personal mobility. It is concluded, however, that multiple niche experiments present a highly complex situation in which cumulative learning is problematic.

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Cosmopolitan Justice

Education and Global Citizenship

Penny Enslin and Mary Tjiattas

Darrel Moellendorf argues that duties of justice have global scope. We share Moellendorf’s rejection of statism and his emphasis on duties of justice arising out of association in Cosmopolitan Justice. Building on Moellendorf’s view that there are cosmopolitan duties of justice, we argue that in education they are both negative and positive, requiring redistribution of educational resources and transnational educational intervention. We suggest what kinds of intervention are justifiable and required, the kinds of international structures that could regulate them, and a conception of cosmopolitan citizenship to underpin education for global citizenship.

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Environmental and natural resources governance

Rethinking public-private relationships

Carmen Maganda and Olivier Petit

Talking about environmental and natural resources (ENR) governance today is generally related to the search for holistic elements to achieve sustainability. Political ecology clearly points out and debates the need to see ENR, particularly those related to vital necessities, as global public goods. It sounds like an easy equation: How can we achieve sustainability without sharing access, costs, benefits, and of course governance of ENR needed for all human activities? However, as logical as it seems, development inequalities and unregulated market relationships on the management of these resources are still predominant. Therefore, environmental governance and sustainability is still one of the major contemporary global challenges.

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Regina Franco

A World Family Portrait is a joint project of the Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion (RISC) and Regions and Cohesion. It aims to promote interdisciplinary and cross-cultural communication through images and essays on the different faces of humanity, including, but not limited to, our similarities and our differences, our strengths and our weaknesses, our hopes and our concerns, our legacies and our aspirations, as well as our interactions with each other and our world. This project seeks to establish a dialogue between human experiences, academic reflections and shared ethics, such as mutual respect, the protection of human dignity and solidarity.

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David F. Patton

In the 2009 German federal election, the small parties together captured 43.2 percent of the vote; three small parties boasted a result in the double digits. Four years later, none of the small parties finished above 8.6 percent and only two reentered the Bundestag. Notably, the FDP, one of the original West German parties, dropped out of the federal parliament for the first time. Yet, any talk of catch-all party revival and party system concentration needs qualification. As a group, the small parties received nearly a third of all votes cast—the second highest share in six decades. Those that did not make it into the Bundestag won 15.7 percent, a higher share than in any other federal election. This article examines the positioning of the leading small parties in the 2013 Bundestag election campaign and their respective electoral results; highlights party systemic as well as internal party factors to explain small party performance; reassesses the commonplace classification of small parties by whether there is an established legislative presence or not; and considers the positioning and performance of small parties in the years to come.