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Discourses of Choice and Experiences of Constraint

Analyses of Girls' Use of Violence

Marion Brown

Girls who use violence are marginalized as the worst of the mean girls, disrupting conventional femininity codes and causing panic in the streets. Twenty two girls participated in a qualitative study in Nova Scotia about what it means to be a girl and use violence. Interpretations presented here suggest that their reasoning can be contextualized through an analysis of neoliberalism, racism, heterosexism and classism, as they navigate discourses of choice and experiences of constraint.

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Maurizio Carbone and Simona Piattoni

In 2015, Matteo Renzi’s government continued to elicit contrasting reactions while dealing with both internal and external constraints. Some say it passed crucial reforms for economic development in fields such as the labor market, the banking system, education, and public administration, in addition to passing a new electoral law. However, others criticize the substance and, even more, the way reforms were passed by constructing variable parliamentary majorities according to the vote at hand, thus avoiding the need to build consensual decision-making relationships with interest groups and further centralizing power in the office of the prime minister. Be that as it may, the government was able to impose its own agenda in domestic affairs. Although the success of the 2015 Universal Exposition in Milan helped to bolster the image of the country, Italy continued to play a marginal role in key international areas, such as migration, European austerity policies, and the fight against terrorism.

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Matthew Eshleman

Although most of the contemporary debates around subjectivity are framed by a rejection of the metaphysical subject, more time needs to be spent developing the implications of abandoning the meta-physics of constraint. Doing so provides the key to approaching our pressing problem that concerns freedom, and only once invisible, ideal "constraints" have been adequately understood will all of the contemporary puzzlement that concerns intentional resistance to power be assuaged. While Sartre does not solve the problem of freedom bequeathed to us by Foucault, it is clear that he struggled with similar issues, and that his work sheds important light on the issue of ideal constraint. Once more, on Sartre's second view, power and freedom are not mutually exclusive, and in this he advances over much contemporary liberal thought. Thus, on the approach of what would be Sartre's hundredth birthday, I invite others to take this opportune moment to reevaluate the early work of this once shining philosophical star, only recently and perhaps prematurely eclipsed by anti-humanism, and recognize that now, more than ever, Sartre's thought is relevant to our very pressing concerns.

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Anand Menon

Since 1966 and even before, the policies pursued by France toward NATO have been both the object of a certain amount of Gallic pride and the source of considerable confusion, not to say irritation, among France’s partners. Why have these policies been pursued? The aim of this article is to address this question by means of an examination of the domestic pressures and constraints that have helped to shape France’s policies toward NATO. It reveals a striking paradox: the decision-making arrangements that developed around and emerged out of de Gaulle’s single-minded quest to achieve international independence for France were specifically designed to provide him with the freedom to pursue policies of his own choosing.

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Culture Constraints of High-Speed Rail in the United States

A Perspective from American Exceptionalism

Zhenhua Chen

The development of high-speed rail (HSR) infrastructure in the United States faces a great challenge given concerns of economic viability and political complexity. However, an in-depth investigation reveals that some of these challenges and complexities regarding high-speed rail mobility can be elucidated by historical and cultural characteristics that affect daily behavior, lifestyle, and public attitudes in U.S. society. This essay discusses the debate on the U.S. high-speed rail development policy from the perspective of American exceptionalism. Through an exploration of the four traits of American exceptionalism, the essay argues that the stagnation of U.S. federal high-speed rail initiatives can be explained by U.S. cultural constraints: individualism, antistatism, populism, and egalitarianism. Unless more solid evidence is provided to convince the public about the benefits of HSR mobility, the HSR debate is likely to continue in the United States.

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Adam Reed

This afterword is not a direct response to individual essays; it is instead a response to the spirit of the 'Afrinesia' experiment as a whole. It is prompted by a desire to imagine a return on the goodwill of the contributors to this special issue: Africanists thinking through the lessons and limits of Melanesian anthropology. In considering what Melanesianists might gain from thinking through Africanist anthropology, I speculate on potential openings. This includes an appreciation of the way that the experiment produces an effect of conventionality in the (Melanesianist) reader.

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Vincent Della Sala

The areas of policy and politics that captured the notion that Italy was

“saved by Europe” and “condemned to success” were budgetary politics

and the state of Italy’s public finances. During the dark days of the currency

crisis of September 1992, few would have expected that by the

end of the decade Italy’s public finances would have managed to correct

themselves to settle below the ceilings set by the Maastricht convergence

criteria. Justifiably, political, economic, and social leaders trumpeted

Italy’s entry into the euro economy as a great policy achievement

and as a sign that its commitment to fiscal discipline could never be

questioned again. Moreover, the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) would

guarantee that any relapse would be corrected by a healthy dose of EU

medicine. This narrative of Italy’s spendthrift ways being reformed by

the discipline of Europe was seriously questioned in 2005 when the

European Commission and Council initiated the excessive deficit procedure

in response to Italy’s violation of the terms of the SGP. Had the vincolo

esterno (external constraint) that shaped Italian macro-economic

policy in the 1990s lost its grip? Were Italian policy-makers breaking

free of European constraints, or were they simply adjusting to a more

elastic framework for the control of public finances in the EU?

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Emiliano Alessandri

Despite Silvio Berlusconi’s much-publicized friendship with US President

George W. Bush, the election of Barack Obama in November 2008

did not lead to any appreciable deterioration of US-Italy relations. The

clash of personalities and “ideologies” that some had predicted did not

materialize. The two leaders soon established a cordial and pragmatic

relationship. The emphasis on continuity, however, did not deter

change. In fact, the shift in priorities and approach brought about by

the Obama administration during its first year in office altered the context

within which Italian foreign policy was carried out. New opportunities

opened up as Italy’s engagement with Russia and Iran, which

had attracted criticism in the past, also became the stated goal of the

US government. At the same time, Italian foreign policy was faced

with new constraints as Obama’s new course combined US leadership

with coordination, expecting European allies to consult with Washington

on dossiers having both national and transatlantic dimensions.

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Contingency and Constraint

African-American Migration as Seen through Jacob Lawrence's “Migration” Series

Deborah Breen

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) 11 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019 http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2015/onewayticket/ Admission: USD 25/18/14 “I pick up my life, / And take it with me, / And I put it down in Chicago, Detroit, / Buff alo, Scranton, / Any place that is / North and East, / And not Dixie.” Th ese are the opening lines from “One-Way Ticket,” by African-American poet, Langston Hughes (1902–1967). Th e poem provides the emotional and historical core of the “Migration” paintings by Jacob Lawrence (1917–2000), a series that depicts the extraordinary internal migration of African Americans in the twentieth century. Not coincidentally, the poem also provides the title of the current exhibition of the sixty paintings in Lawrence’s series, on display at MoMA, New York, from 3 April to 7 September 2015.1 Shown together for the first time in over twenty years, the paintings are surrounded by works that provide context for the “great migration”: additional paintings by Lawrence, as well as paintings, drawings, photographs, texts, and musical recordings by other African-American artists, writers, and performers of the early to mid-twentieth century.

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Jeffrey Kopstein

Gareth Pritchard, The Making of the GDR: From Anti-Fascism to Stalinism, 1945-1953 (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2000)

M.E. Sarotte, Dealing with the Devil: East Germany and Ostpolitik, 1969-1973 (Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 2001)