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Girls in Transition

Negotiating, Constructing and Re-constructing Girlhood after the “Fall” in Rural Kenya

Christine Oduor-Ombaka

This article discusses problems of childbearing as experienced in rural Kenya by girls in their adolescence—a powerfully formative time of transition to adulthood. Findings reveal that girls face unique challenges and harsh choices when they are faced with pre-marital pregnancy such as emotional violence and abuse, early marriage, expulsion from school, unsafe abortion and poverty. Many Kenyans are calling on the government and communities to put into place policies and programs necessary for empowering girls with enough information to make a healthy and safe transition to adulthood.

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Ruth Scott

Determining when religious language is being used or abused is notoriously difficult, not least because the orthodox line on usage may well have more to do with power politics and prejudice than truth. Ruth ventures to suggest the term 'God' is widely abused since people of faith try to pin down what it means when in reality it signifies that which is beyond understanding. She also notes that the desire for clear definitions may result from a need in an insecure world for simple security rather than complex truth. She discusses how the language of faith is more like the language of art rather than that of science and explores the power of imaginative language to convey truth. She concludes that religious language may well say more about our journeys as human beings than the reality we call 'God'.

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Shane Harrison

Gartner, Richard B., ed. 2018. Understanding the Sexual Betrayal of Boys and Men: The Trauma of Sexual Abuse. Oxon: Routledge. 368 pp. $44.95. ISBN 978-1-138- 94222-6 (paperback) Gartner, Richard B., ed. 2018. Healing Sexually Betrayed Men and Boys: Treatment for Sexual Abuse, Assault, and Trauma. Oxon: Routledge. 352 pp. $44.95. ISBN 978-1-138-94225-7 (paperback)

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Colin Eimer

Language has the potential to be used for good or for bad. Even at the best of times, when words are treated with care and respect for that potential, translating what a word means in one language into another is fraught with difficulty. When language is underpinned by darker concerns and motives, religious zeal, fanaticism and the like can turn potential into actual. Religions know how inadequate words can be to describe ultimate experience and have a particular responsibility to use language with great care. They have been at the receiving and giving ends of the ability of language to inflame passions, arouse anger which spills over into destructive action. Tsedakah, Charity and Sadaqa may not mean exactly the same thing - but exploring together what they mean helps us to build bridges between us.

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Timely Meditations on the Use and Abuse of History

Léon Werth's Déposition: Journal de guerre 1940-1944

Nathan Bracher

This article studies the question of history during the dramatic moments recorded in Léon Werth's Déposition: Journal de guerre 1940-1944. Analyzed in reference to Nietzsche, Descartes, and Lévinas, Werth's journal approaches history in a manner timely for then and now. Probing his own knowledge of and relation to France's unsettling defeat and Occupation by Nazi Germany,Werth undertakes his own version of a Cogito that leads not to some linear chain of syllogisms, but instead to an acute sense of implication in and even responsibility for history. Werth's lucidity, engagement, and ethics constrast favorably with Nietzsche's elitist, exclusionary vitalism as well as with the rationalist solitude of the Descartes' Discours de la méthode. His probing reflexions on his relation to historical events offer significant parallels to the philosophical project of Emmanuel Lévinas.

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Chiara Goretti and Luca Rizzuto

The short, albeit intense, history of spending review in Italy ranks it as a primary tool of fiscal consolidation on the expenditure side. This chapter highlights the plurality of meanings given to the term “spending review” (SR), which include, on the one hand, analyses and procedures linked to the search for efficiency in the production of public services and, on the other hand, the reprioritization of public action and expenditure programs in light of the new, stricter budget constraints. In the Italian public debate, the introduction of SR procedures is closely related to the wider frame of budgetary and public management reforms that have been under way for a long time, yet are not fully implemented. The chapter analyzes the link between SR (whatever meaning it may have in Italy) and the comprehensive fiscal discipline that is required in the new European framework.

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Zvi Jonathan Kaplan

The Dreyfus Affair evolved into a vital symbol for the proponents of the separation of church and state. While the clerical anti-Dreyfusards turned the arrest and conviction of Alfred Dreyfus into an attack on both Jews and the Republic, the anticlerical Dreyfusards successfully used the Dreyfus Affair to achieve their political objectives. While for practical purposes Jewish leaders were more aligned with the anticlerical camp, they did not enthusiastically welcome the law on separation. If one applies the label “Dreyfusard” to those who cloaked their anticlericalism in their battle to rehabilitate Dreyfus, then the representatives of French Jewry, who did not have a radical position to cloak, were not genuine Dreyfusards. They were not driven by ideology but rather by pragmatic political and social considerations resulting from the rise of anti-Semitism emanating from clerical corners. For Jewish leaders, separation was a byproduct of the Affair. For the anticlerical Dreyfusards, separation was the goal.

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Introduction

History, Violence, and Steven Pinker

Mark S. Micale and Philip Dwyer

In the closing months of 2011, Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker published The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and Its Causes.1 Weighing in at over eight hundred closely printed pages, Pinker’s book advances a bold, revisionist thesis: despite the relentless deluge of violent, sensationalist stories in the pervasive electronic media of our day, Pinker proposes, violence in the human world, in nearly every form, has in fact declined dramatically. Over the past several thousand years, and particularly since the eighteenth century, homicides, criminal assaults, war casualties, domestic violence, child abuse, animal abuse, capital punishment, lynching, and rape have all been steadily diminishing in frequency.

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Slave Flight, Slave Torture, and the State

Nineteenth-Century French Guiana

Miranda Spieler

This article explores the relationship between law and violence against slaves in nineteenth-century French Guiana. Drawing on unpublished sources from the colonial archives, Spieler examines the linked problems of slave abuse and slave flight to understand the evolving character of the French imperial state in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars. In the early nineteenth century, after the abolition of the slave trade, imperial administrators in Guiana contested the proprietary privileges of masters and lay claim to the right to punish slaves. During the 1820s and 1830s, slave testimony—especially the testimony of abused slaves (inside and outside the courtroom)—became unexpectedly central to this dispute between masters and administrators about the source of legitimate violence and the meaning of imperial sovereignty.

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Crimen Sollicitationis

Tabooing Incest after the Orgy

Diederik F. Janssen

Late modernity’s binary intrigue of child sexuality/abuse is understood as a backlash phenomenon reactive to a general trans‐Atlantic crisis concerning the interlocking of kinship, religion, gender, and sexuality. Tellingly dissociated from 1980s gay liberation and recent encounters between queer theory and kinship studies, the child abuse theme articulates modernity’s guarded axiom of tabooed incest and its projected contemporary predicament “after the orgy”—after the proclaimed disarticulation of religion‐motivated, kin‐pivoted, reproductivist, and gender‐rigid socialities. “Child sexual abuse” illustrates a general situation of decompensated nostalgia: an increasingly imminent loss of the child’s vital otherness is counterproductively embattled by the late modern overproduction of its banal difference, its status as “minor.” Attempts to humanize, reform, or otherwise moderate incest’s current “survivalist” and commemorative regime of subjectivation, whether by means of ethical, empirical, historical, critical, legal, or therapeutic gestures, typically trigger the latter’s panicked empiricism. Accordingly, most “critical” interventions, from feminist sociology and anthropology to critical legal studies, have largely been collusive with the backlash: rather than appraising the radical precariousness of incest’s ethogram of avoidance in the face of late modernity’s dispossessing analytics and semiotics, they tend to feed its state of ontological vertigo and consequently hyperextended, manneristic forensics.