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Historical Textbook Research

Textbooks in the Context of the

Carsten Heinze

This piece defends the hypothesis that methodologically well-grounded historical textbook research is only possible if one has an understanding of the context in which textbooks acquire meaning. Based on the theory of a “grammar of schooling” (Tyack/Tobin; Cuban), the article develops a concept on the basis of which it is possible to describe particular contexts and the way in which they relate to teaching materials. Textbooks are thus understood as an element of the “grammar of schooling” and, from the perspective of discourse and theory, as a “point of intersection” between discourse and its corresponding teaching practice.

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Jan Ifversen

The article explores the object and the methodology of conceptual history, by elaborating on Reinhart Koselleck's idea of key concepts, and proposes to study them according to two different aspects of meaning: The representational aspect, which touches upon the relations between words and concepts and studies words and concepts within semantic fields, and the referential aspect, which brings in both the social history reflected in semantic changes and the contexts in which the concepts serve as factors, and which make the use of the concepts possible. The article concludes with a methodological suggestion for the use of digitized textual databases for diachronic as well as synchronic histories of concepts.

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Judicial Review in Context

A Response to Counter-majoritarian and Epistemic Critiques

Marcus Schulzke and Amanda Carroll

This essay defends judicial review on procedural grounds by showing that it is an integral part of American democracy. Critics who object to judicial review using counter-majoritarian and epistemic arguments raise important concerns that should shape our understanding of the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, critics often fail to account for the formal and informal mechanisms that overcome these difficulties. Critics also fail to show that other branches of government could use the power of Constitutional interpretation more responsibly. By defending judicial review in the American context, this essay demonstrates that judicial review is not inherently undemocratic.

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Changing Contents in Shifting Contexts

An Essay on the Status of Socio-cultural Anthropology in the German-speaking Countries

Andre Gingrich

In response to the fine initiative by Alexei Elfimov, the present essay discusses the status of socio-cultural anthropology in the German-speaking countries in shifting contexts of past and present. I will focus here on three main themes, namely, socio-cultural anthropology as seen by a wider non-academic public, its status and terminology within wider academic contexts, and the internal differentiations among anthropologists in the German language zone with their unequal access to the public.

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Michael J. Lorr

Urban sociology and urban studies increasingly employ the idea of sustainability to explain, analyze, and critique city redevelopment. While the ambiguous and oxymoronic nature of sustainability goals has been extensively covered in the past, the current resurgence and popularity of the term “sustainability,“ especially under the aegis of “urban sustainability“ or “green“ cities, requires us to rethink the usefulness of sustainability as a concept for understanding and evaluating urban redevelopment. Confronting this challenge, this article reviews three of the most common theoretical approaches to sustainability, problematizes those approaches in the context of North American cities, and then provides a working definition of urban sustainability. Finally, the article recommends four plausible research hypotheses to guide future research on urban sustainability.

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Katja Hujo

English abstract: International migration is driven by development processes and, at the same time, it impacts development through labor market effects, remittance flows, knowledge transfers, social change in households and communities and responses at the policy and institutional levels. Although the development potential of migration is now widely recognized, we still observe that migration, and in particular, the free movement of people and the access of migrants to sociopolitical rights, remains a highly contested and sensitive political issue. This is not only the case with regard to migration from developing countries to industrialized countries in the North, but also for migration at a regional level and within regional integration projects such as common markets or political and monetary unions. This article discusses the linkages between migration, development, social policy and regional integration. The focus is on migration in sub-Saharan Africa, its impact on development and migrants' rights and implications for public policies including new forms of migration governance.

Spanish abstract: La migración internacional es impulsada por los procesos de desarrollo y, al mismo tiempo, tiene un impacto en el desarrollo a través de sus efectos en el mercado de trabajo, los flujos de remesas, las transferencias de conocimientos, el cambio social en los hogares y en las comunidades, así como las respuestas a nivel político e institucional. Aunque actualmente el potencial de desarrollo de la migración es ampliamente reconocido, todavía observamos que la migración y, en particular, la libre circulación de personas y el acceso de los migrantes a más derechos sociopolíticos, sigue siendo una cuestión política muy controvertida y sensible. Este no es sólo el caso con respecto a la migración de los países en desarrollo a los países industrializados del Norte, también ocurre en la migración a nivel regional y en los proyectos de integración regional tales como los mercados comunes o uniones políticas y monetarias. Este artículo analiza los vínculos entre la migración, el desarrollo, la política social y la integración regional. La atención se centra en la migración en el África Subsahariana, su impacto sobre el desarrollo y los derechos de los migrantes, así como sus implicaciones en las políticas públicas, incluyendo nuevas formas de gobernanza de la migración.

French abstract: La migration internationale est pilotée par les processus de développement et, dans un même temps, impacte sur le développement à travers ses effets sur le marché du travail, les transferts de fonds des migrants, les transferts de connaissances, le changement social dans les ménages et les communautés, ainsi que les réponses qu'elle occasionne au niveau politique et institutionnel. Bien que le potentiel de développement des migrations soit désormais largement reconnu, nous observons encore que la migration, et en particulier la libre circulation des personnes et l'accès des migrants aux droits socio-politiques, reste une question politique très controversée et sensible. Cela ne concerne pas seulement le cas des flux migratoires des pays en développement vers les pays industrialisés du Nord, mais également les flux migratoires générés au niveau régional et dans les contextes d'intégration régionale tels que les marchés communs ou les unions politiques et monétaires. Cet article examine les liens entre la migration, le développement, la politique sociale et l'intégration régionale. L'accent est mis sur la migration en Afrique sub-saharienne, son impact sur le développement et les droits des migrants, ainsi que leurs impacts sur les politiques publiques, y compris les nouvelles formes de gouvernance migratoires.

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W(h)ither New Age Studies?

The Uses of Ethnography in a Contested Field of Scholarship

Matthew Wood

Since the 1980s, there has existed a field of scholarly inquiry into a range of phenomena termed New Age. The relative lack of ethnographic studies in this field was identified several years ago, in response to research that focused merely on the discourses within alleged key writings. However, the employment of ethnographic methods does not by itself resolve the problems inherent in other modes of research; attention also has to be paid to how ethnography is used in practice. This article examines ethnographies of the New Age in terms of the extent to which they contextualize data within their immediate social frames, by paying attention to actors' practices and interactions, and to the ways in which beliefs and discourses are constructed and contested. The article demonstrates the strong tendency among New Age ethnographic studies to veer from 'the social' and to rest instead on analytically problematic conceptualizations of agency. It argues that epistemological revision is required to form the basis of a more sociologically adequate understanding of the phenomena addressed.

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Konstantin Klokov

In recent decades the number of domestic reindeer stock across indigenous communities in the Siberian taiga have fallen dramatically. While this has been viewed as a crisis, this paper discusses how reindeer herders are adjusting their traditional herding strategies to modern conditions. A methodology of contextualization is used to evaluate five reindeer herders’ communities situated in different regions of Eastern Siberia. Changes in Siberian reindeer herding are analyzed according to three main types of contexts differing as to the period of their formation: a) traditional contexts that pre-existed the Soviet system, b) contexts formed in the Soviet time; and c) contexts created by post-Soviet reforms. Under modern conditions reindeer stock reduction is important relative to the economic context, but the role of reindeer herding in cultural and political contexts is increasing. The slow formation of “buffer” social contexts makes the taiga reindeer herding communities’ condition vulnerable.

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Veronika Honkasalo

This article examines multiculturalism and gender equality in the light of ethnicity, gender, and agency so as to illustrate how gender equality is used as a marker of Finnishness in various youth work contexts. The data presented consists of interviews with youth workers (n=42) and ethnographic fieldwork carried out from 2003 to 2005. The results illustrate that questions related to multiculturalism have enhanced the visibility of gender equality in youth work. The identification of gender-based inequality is connected, in particular, to girls from migrant backgrounds whose education and well-being are of social concern. Youth work itself is often seen as gender-neutral and equality-based. However, this illusion of gender equality reflects more the ideals of equality which are not being concretized in the practices of youth work. Equality in this context is defined as a purely quantitative concept: the solution to any possible inequalities is, therefore, that everyone should be treated in the same way.

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Julia Baird, Ryan Plummer, Diane Dupont and Blair Carter

Drinking water quality problems are persistent and challenging for many of Canada's First Nations communities despite past and ongoing initiatives to improve the situation. These initiatives have often been employed without consideration for understanding the social context that is so critical for the development of appropriate water governance approaches. This article offers insights about the relationship between institutions for water governance and perceptions in three Ontario First Nations communities. Similarities among communities were particularly noticeable for gender where women valued water more highly and were less content with water quality. The findings presented here highlight potential impacts of displacement, gender, and water sources on perceptions of water quality and offer initial insights that indicate the need for further research to consider the potential for adaptive governance approaches that enhance fit between problem and social contexts.