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Rutger Henneman

In the past, land agitations have had a clear spiritual and theological dimension. The morality of ownership over land itself is often questioned. Many see land as a community resource, and community ownership is an emergent 'model' of land tenure, both in word and in practice. This project on the role of spirituality and theology in Scotland's modern land reform is linked to research into the spirituality of community regeneration, supported by WWF International in Geneva. The findings show that for contemporary Scottish land reformers spiritual and theological dimensions are very important.

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Luca Lanzalaco

At the end of March 2013, Italy's Parliament undertook an intense round of activity that was aimed at reforming the electoral system and some important aspects of the Constitution, such as the form of the state and that of the government. During this reform process, both the president of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, and the prime minister, Enrico Letta, assumed a major role. This chapter analyzes the main characteristics of this policy cycle while examining the underlying elements of continuity and discontinuity with other reform efforts that have been undertaken over the past 30 years in Italy.

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Carlo Fusaro

On 4 December 2016, a large majority of Italian voters turned down the most comprehensive and cohesive attempt to revise significant parts of the Constitution since 1948, namely, to overcome the country’s symmetrical bicameralism, to establish new state-region relations, and to streamline institutions, in part by abolishing the provinces and the National Council for Economics and Labor. This chapter offers an outline of the reform, which had been boldly approved by Parliament, and places it within its political and institutional context. It identifies the changes that the reform was set to introduce, attempts to assess the effects it would have had if it had been passed in the referendum, and considers some of the consequences of its rejection.

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Introduction

Higher education reform in the ‘periphery’

Mariya Ivancheva and Ivo Syndicus

In recent years, an increasing body of work has addressed the ‘corporatisation’ and ‘commodification’ of universities, as well as higher education sector reforms more broadly. This work refers mostly to the traditional core hubs of higher education, such as the Anglo-American research university. In the emerging anthropology of higher education policy, accounts of the implementation and negotiation of reforms in more ‘peripheral’ contexts often remain absent. This collection of articles addresses this absence by focusing on the interplay between narratives of global policy reform and the processes of their implementation and negotiation in different contexts in the academic ‘periphery’. Bringing together work from a range of settings and through different lenses, the special issue provides insights into the common processes of reform that are underway and how decisions to implement certain reforms reaffirm rather than challenge peripheral positions in higher education.

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Gianfranco Baldini and Alan Renwick

The topic of electoral reform, a recurring feature of the Italian political agenda, resurfaced in 2014. At the start of the year, a ruling by the Constitutional Court returned the country to a proportional system, similar to the one in place during the First Republic. This chapter examines the key political responses to that ruling and how the decision has spurred further electoral reforms, resulting in the most majoritarian system in Italy's democratic history.

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Stefano Sacchi

This chapter deals with two momentous structural reforms introduced by the Monti government in the social policy field: the pension reform approved in late 2011 and the labor market reform passed in July 2012. Alongside discussing the content of these two reforms and their plausible policy impact, the chapter places them in the context of the Italian sovereign debt crisis and shows how they were introduced due to pressures exerted by international and supra-national actors. The analysis focuses in particular on the policy-making process of the labor market reform, reconstructing the various stages it went through. All this took place in the context of a new policy style by the Monti government, which forced decisions in the shadow of hierarchy and even took unilateral action, pursuing its policy objectives under the legitimacy provided by the international actors and the sense of urgency stemming from the sovereign debt crisis.

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Tenure reformed

Planning for redress or progress in South Africa

Deborah James

This article explores the contradictory and contested but closely inter- locking efforts of NGOs and the state in planning for land reform in South Africa. As government policy has come increasingly to favor the better-off who are potential commercial farmers, so NGO efforts have been directed, correspondingly, to safeguarding the interests of those conceptualized as poor and dispossessed. The article explores the claim that planned “tenure reform” is the best way to provide secure land rights, especially for laborers residing on white farms; illustrates the complex disputes over this claim arising between state and NGO sectors; and argues that we need to go beyond the concept of “neoliberal governmentality” to understand the relationship between these sectors.

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Edward McInnis

This essay explores social and political values conveyed by nineteenth century world and universal history textbooks in relation to the antebellum era. These textbooks focused on the histories of ancient Greece and Rome rather than on histories of the United States. I argue that after 1830 these textbooks reinforced both the US land reform and the antislavery movement by creating favorable depictions of Tiberius and Caius Gracchus. Tiberius and Caius Gracchus (known as the “Gracchi”) were two Roman tribunes who sought to restore Rome's land laws, which granted public land to propertyless citizens despite opposition from other Roman aristocrats. The textbook authors' portrayal of the Gracchan reforms reflects a populist element in antebellum American education because these narratives suggest that there is a connection between social inequality and the decline of republicanism.

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Georgia Bianchi

Minister of Integration Cécile Kyenge, nominated in April 2013 and Italy's first black minister, has pushed for citizenship reform as the most important issue in her legislative agenda. This article provides an overview of Italian citizenship law and reform attempts, including the many draft legislations presented to Parliament in 2013. No comprehensive reform passed in 2013, due in large part to the fragile “grand coalition” between the Democratic Party and the People of Freedom party. Minister Kyenge's vocal support, a growing public consensus and municipal support, and a new governing coalition as of November 2013—all this points to a greater potential for comprehensive reform to pass in 2014.

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Contending with school reform

Neoliberal restructuring, racial politics, and resistance in post-Katrina New Orleans

Mathilde Lind Gustavussen

This article presents a study of state-imposed neoliberal education reform and resistance in post-Katrina New Orleans. In Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath, the city’s school system was dramatically reformed with most of its public schools replaced by privately administered “charter schools.” The article examines the social contradictions created by this reform and characterizes how the city’s education activists articulate their resistance to education privatization. Situating the reform within New Orleans’s post-Katrina neoliberal reconfiguration, it analyzes how simultaneous processes of education privatization and racial dispossession have made the reform lack popular legitimacy. The article concludes by considering how the neoliberal policies implemented after the storm were conditioned by race, arguing that racial politics should be considered fundamental, rather than adjacent, to the study of neoliberalization in US cities.