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The Siberian Curse

A Blessing in Disguise for Renewable Energy?

Indra Overland

This article examines the prospects for the development of renewable energy in Russia, concentrating on remote northern settlements as a possible market niche. The article discusses conducive factors and obstacles to the development of renewable energy in Russia as a whole. It starts by noting many factors conducive to renewable energy in Russia and then goes on to identify some major obstacles that nonetheless make it difficult to develop renewable energy in the country. The author further examines how these obstacles might be overcome and an initial foothold be established by replacing the northern freight system (severnyi zavoz) with locally produced renewable energy. The article draws on interviews with Russian scholars, government officials, and business people related to energy and/or the north, as well as written materials on severnyi zavoz and renewable energy in Russia.

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Road against Rail

The Debate on Transport Policy in Belgium, 1920-1940

Donald Weber

When new motorized means of transport, such as buses, vans, and lorries, captured part of the transport market in Belgium in the interwar period, the rail companies engaged in a political fight to restrict the new modes of road transport. Attempts were made to introduce fiscal and administrative measures aimed at limiting road transport. This coincided with an intense debate on transport policy, both in the press and in parliament. The article focuses on the discourse driving this debate. It is argued that the positions taken were motivated by economic issues, but that there were underlying cultural motivations, different perceptions of what transport should represent in the lives of the users and the whole of society. The focus on the so-called coordination debate is widened beyond the conflict between trains and vans in the 1930s, to include the conflict between automobiles, buses, and trams in the 1920s.

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Electoral and Intellectual Exercises in Validation

The Ebbing Wave in Southern Africa

Stephen Chan

Huntington's third wave of democracy was no such thing. It neither ushered in a democratic era nor was it a wave in any acceptable historical sense. What it did do was to highlight a contrast and competition among norms and values, so that what we automatically regard as undemocratic practice that is norm-free is no such thing. They might perhaps, and with a freight of contingencies, be bad norms—but they are still norms.

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The Headscarf

A Political Symbol in Comparative and Historical Perspective

Elisa Wiygul

The headscarf has become a cultural flashpoint, a freighted symbol of many of the central social, cultural, political, and religious tensions of this first decade of the twenty-first century. When I first began to research the French controversy surrounding the Muslim headscarf in 2001, it was little known in the United States. Since then, the issue has attained global prominence. In late 2003, the Stasi Commission, which Prime Minister Jacques Chirac had appointed several months earlier, recommended a ban on wearing the Muslim headscarf in public primary and secondary schools.1 The legislature promptly passed such a ban, which became law on 15 March 2004.2 Since then, Germany, Turkey, and Britain, among other countries, have wrestled with their own headscarf controversies. The debate reached international proportions when the European Court of Human Rights upheld Turkey’s ban on the headscarf in universities, in the 2005 case of Sahin v. Turkey.

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The High Line

An Exhibit Review of New York's

Tracy Nichols Busch

An abandoned freight track on Manhattan’s West Side, considered by local businesses to be nothing more than an eyesore and an impediment to development, became the cause célèbre of New Yorkers in the early twenty-first century. Efforts to “save the High Line” resulted in one of the largest creations of public space in New York history. The 8.8 metertall High Line, which stretches 12 blocks between Ganesvoort Street and 20th Street, features both permanent and temporary art installations that inform visitors of their movement through space and its implication for the natural and constructed worlds. A post-industrial yearning for a more harmonious relationship between humans and the natural world can be detected in New Yorkers’ affection for the High Line. The elevated nature of this raised railroad track creates an ethereal and otherworldly sensation. The traffic below becomes an abstraction and pedestrians, always vulnerable on the streets, are lifted above the fray.

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Julie Sanders

There is much current interest in walking as a social and physiological practice in disciplines from literature to geography, from anthropology to performance studies. 'Walking Studies' impact Shakespearean scholarship and in particular work relating to Shakespeare-freighted sites such as Stratford-upon-Avon, where the loaded discourses of tourism and personal encounter are predominant in the practical experience of visitors. This article asks what it might mean, either for the individual or the collective, to 'walk with Shakespeare' and whether the 'Shakespeare' that we locate in these experiences is always already a construct, fashioned to feed the demands of a national economy and the gross national product by drawing millions of visitors to an otherwise fairly nondescript Midlands market town. It explores the possibility that walking with 'Shakespeare' may mean walking with an available icon but not with the complex textual, performative, and historical Shakespeares at the heart of academic scholarship.

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George Revill

As the articles in this special section show, railways mark out urban experience in very distinctive ways. In the introduction, Steven D. Spalding makes plain there is no clear relationship between railway development and the shape and size of cities. For many cities, suburban rail travel has been either substantially insignificant or a relative latecomer as a factor in urban growth and suburbanization. Walking, tramways and the omnibus may indeed have had a much greater impact on built form, yet the cultural impact of railways on the city life should not be minimized. Iconic city stations are both objects of civic pride and socially heterogeneous gateways to the promise of a better urban life. The physical presence of substantial tracts of infrastructure, viaducts, freight yards and warehousing, divide and segregate residential districts encouraging and reinforcing status differentials between communities. Subways, metros, and suburban railways open on to the often grubby quotidian underbelly of city life whilst marking out a psychic divide between work and domesticity, city and suburb. Railways not only produced new forms of personal mobility but by defining the contours, parameters, and possibilities of this experience, they have come to help shape how we think about ourselves as urbanized individuals and societies. The chapters in this special section mark out some of this territory in terms of, for example: suburbanization, landscape, and nationhood (Joyce); the abstractions of urban form implicit in the metro map (Schwetman); the underground as a metaphor for the topologically enfolded interconnections of urban process (Masterson-Algar); and the competing lay and professional interests freighting urban railway development (Soppelsa). In the introduction Spalding is right to stress both the multiple ways that railways shape urban experience and the complex processes that continuously shape and re-shape urban cultures as sites of contest and sometimes conflict. As Richter suggests, in the nineteenth century only rail travel demanded the constant and simultaneous negotiation of both urban social disorder and the systematic ordering associated with large technological systems and corporate business. Thus “the railroad stood squarely at the crossroad of the major social, business, cultural and technological changes remaking national life during the second half of the nineteenth century.”

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Beth Gutelius, Janet Gibson, Dhan Zunino Singh, Steven J. Gold, Alexandra Portmann, Peter Cox, Rudi Volti, Adrian Drummond-Cole and Steven D. Spalding

Matthew Heins, The Globalization of American Infrastructure: The Shipping Container and Freight Transportation (New York: Routledge, 2016), 222 pp., $145 (hardback)

Lesley Murray and Susan Robertson, eds., Intergenerational Mobilities: Relationality, Age and Lifecourse (London: Routledge, 2017), 194 pp., 14 illustrations, $145 (hardback)

Sebastián Ureta, Assembling Policy: Transantiago, Human Devices, and the Dream of a World-Class Society (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2015), 224 pp., 22 illustrations, $39 (hardback)

Yuk Wah Chan, David Haines, and Jonathan H. X. Lee, eds., The Age of Asian Migration: Continuity, Diversity, and Susceptibility, vol. 1 (Newcastle on Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014), 450 pp., £54.99

Robert Henke and Eric Nicholson, eds., Transnational Mobilities in Early Modern Theater (Farnham: Ashgate, 2014) 320 pp., 22 illustrations, $117 (hardback)

Ruth Oldenziel and Helmuth Trischler, eds., Cycling and Recycling: Histories of Sustainable Practices (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2016), 256 pp., 18 illustrations, £67 (hardback)

Margo T. Oge, Driving the Future: Combating Climate Change with Cleaner, Smarter Cars (New York: Arcade, 2015), xv + 351 pp., $25.99 (hardback)

Thomas Birtchnell, Satya Savitzky, and John Urry, eds., Cargomobilities: Moving Materials in a Global Age (New York: Routledge, 2015), 236 pp., 16 illustrations, $148 (hardback)

Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette, Snowpiercer 1: The Escape, trans. Virginie Sélavy (London: Titan Comics, 2014), 110 pp., $19 (hardback)

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Roger Karapin

Germany has reduced its emissions of greenhouse gases more than almost any other industrialized democracy and is exceeding its ambitious Kyoto commitment. Hence, it is commonly portrayed as a climate-policy success story, but the situation is actually much more complex. Generalizing Germany's per-capita emissions to all countries or its emissions reductions to all industrialized democracies would still very likely produce more than a two-degree rise in global temperature. Moreover, analyzing the German country-case into eleven subcases shows that it is a mixture of relative successes and failures. This analysis leads to three main conclusions. First, high relative performance and high environmental damage can coexist. Second, we should see national cases in a differentiated way and not only in terms of their aggregate performances. Third, researchers on climate policies should more often begin with outcomes, work backward to policies, and be prepared for some surprises. Ironically, the most effective government interventions may not be explicit climate policies, such as the economic transformation of eastern Germany. Moreover, the lack of policy-making in certain areas may undercut progress made elsewhere, including unregulated increases in car travel, road freight, and electricity consumption. Research on climate and environmental policies should focus on somewhat different areas of government intervention and ask different questions.