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Alexandra Howson

This article reports on the incorporation of visual material as a tool for learning sociology and discusses a poster assignment introduced as a means of assessment in an academic context committed to innovative learning strategies and to teaching and learning enhancement. The article draws on an evaluation of using the poster assignment to assess student learning and argues that visual images can provide valid and insightful ways of 'telling about society' which challenge the reliance on text as a means of teaching and learning sociology. The article explores the context in which visual materials are used in teaching and learning sociology and their impact on and significance for assessment and learning.

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Kirsten Jæger and Malene Gram

This article investigates the views of quality in higher education held by two groups of international students: Chinese students at a Danish university and Danish students at Chinese universities. Given that there are no agreed international 'quality standards' in higher education, we analysed the students' understanding of the 'quality values' of their host institution and their own preferences and priorities. Representatives of the two groups participated in an interview study addressing the experience of academic quality at their study-abroad university. An intriguing trend was identified in the data. Danish students felt confident that they themselves were able to judge the academic quality of programmes, classes and lecturers both at home and abroad. The participating Chinese students tended to express themselves in slightly depreciatory terms regarding the academic quality values of their home universities. Regarding research methods and theoretical knowledge, they adopted the quality values of the Danish host university and referred to these values when evaluating their home universities.

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Paula Booke and Todd J. Wiebe

student understanding; improving the quality of the sources students draw on and greater confidence in their research skills ( Gilbert, Knutson and Gilbert 2012 ). Assessments of the effects of this training have focused on myriad issues such as improving

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An Intellectual Genealogy of the Revolt against “Esprit de Système”

From the Renaissance to the Early Enlightenment

Jeffrey D. Burson

-sixteenth-century eclectic systems fusing Hermeticism, scholasticism, and humanism represented an overweening and out-of-step confidence in the ability of humankind to perfect the natural and human orders—had broader implications for the subsequent two centuries of European

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The French Empire Goes to San Francisco

The Founding of the United Nations and the Limits of Colonial Reform

Jessica Lynne Pearson

enthusiasm at home for this repackaged vision of empire, delegates to the San Francisco conference lacked confidence that even a reformed union of France and its colonies could meet new international standards for determining what constituted “self

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Jack Corbett and Tezcan Gumus

David Runciman, The Confidence Trap: A History of Democracy in Crisis from World War I to the Present (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2013), xxiii+408 pp., ISBN: 9780691148687

Todd Landman, Human Rights and Democracy: The Precarious Triumph of Ideals (New York and London: Bloomsbury, 2013), 192 pp., ISBN: 9781849663458

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Dugald Monro

This article argues that democracy requires citizens to have confidence that their interests and concerns will be seriously considered by their elected representatives. Drawing on a case study of one municipality, the ability of citizens in small communities to have local issues considered by Council was examined. The nature of the municipality, the Council structure, and the ethos that required Councilors to take a “corporate” view of representation—representing the municipality as a whole rather than any particular community—were all factors limiting citizens' confidence that their concerns would be taken seriously by Council. This shortcoming in democracy at the local level is only partially offset by the municipality's Community Consultative Bodies. These aim to allow local communities to bring their issues before Council, however they operate unevenly and in parts of this municipality and in many other municipalities do not exist at all.

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Mauro Barisione

The fall of the government led by Silvio Berlusconi on 12 November

2011 followed the wave of unpopularity that had hit the prime minister

and leader of the Popolo della Libertà (PdL, People of Liberty) since

the beginning of the year. Decreasing confidence and satisfaction with

Berlusconi and his government had been evident in Italian public

opinion after the relative public support it enjoyed between 2008 and

2010. With a popularity rating below 30 percent, the prime minister

now lacked the necessary degree of consensus to legitimize and hold

on to the leadership of his government, as well as to make it credible

and effective on the international stage.

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James L. Newell

Gauging the effectiveness with which the challenge of the Five Star Movement (M5S) has been met by other parties, especially the Democratic Party (PD), is essential to understanding the evolution of both the M5S itself and the party system. In the case of the PD, the first strategy—attempting to co-opt the M5S—was partially successful in that its overtures to the M5S opened up significant internal divisions in Beppe Grillo's party. The second strategy—competing for votes—was more successful thanks to the superiority of the PD's organization on the ground. The third—diminishing the challenger's political resources—met with mixed success. The events surrounding the 2 October confidence motion and the election of Matteo Renzi as prime minister suggest that the fourth strategy—reinforcement of the party's own political resources—was deployed to good effect. The overall result was to contain the M5S's growth but leave the future uncertain.

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Thawilwadee Bureekul and Stithorn Thananithichot

Research from various countries demonstrates that trust builds social cohesion and conflicts may be solved as a result. Many alternatives for reconciliation in various countries have been studied and introduced to Thailand. However, the implementation of a reconciliation policy in Thailand seems to be impossible without having the atmosphere of peace building and specifically, trust building. This study aims to measure trust and discuss factors that may be problematic for establishing social cohesion, explaining why the process of reconciliation cannot be successful without trust building. The data from the Social Quality survey conducted by King Prajadhipok's Institute in late 2009 was used. This study finds that Thai society is still fragile because of the decreasing trust among people as well as confidence in various institutions, particularly political institutions.