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Vying for credibility in the US Congress

Legitimating symbols in the debate over immunization and autism

Maya Ponte

Throughout the debate in the United States Congress over whether vaccines cause autism, legitimizing symbols that index cultural values have played a prominent role in the establishment of credibility. While both sides sanctify the role of science in producing credibility, they draw on different images of what science is and where its legitimacy stems from. Those who favor the vaccine hypothesis frame science as a populist endeavor, the results of which are open to critique by all. Those against the vaccine hypothesis frame science as an elitist endeavor, the results of which may only be critiqued by fellow scientists. While both of these images derive their significance from the cultural history of the United States, they have a markedly different impact on the interpretation of evidence. From within the populist frame, personal experience and direct observation are highly valued. From within the elitist frame, epidemiological evidence trumps personal experience. Due to the incorporation of dueling images of science, the US debate over autism may be viewed as a debate between rival cultural values.

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Israeli Ultra-Orthodoxy

Credit and Credibility

Hadas Weiss

In recent decades, members of Israeli ultra-Orthodoxy have been exhibiting self-denial, stringency, and unwillingness to enter the workforce despite material hardships. Public discourse has long considered theirs an 'intentional poverty', yet the parsimoniousness attributed to them and its presumed intentionality are losing credibility. I use the concept of credit—in both its economic and its normative sense—to analyze social regulation among Israeli ultra-Orthodoxy. I look at the community's efficiency in redistributing its members' resources through interconversion of social and material goods. I go on to identify the limits that self-regulation comes up against under capitalist pressures and show how these pressures express themselves in ultra-Orthodox norms and practices. Finally, I relate credit and credibility to the larger issue of excess in the present day.

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William Matthews

Any form of divination can be intuitively compelling without the need for ontological elaboration, but practices like Chinese six lines prediction involve complex ontological accounts, raising the question of what effect this has on divination’s authority and persuasiveness. The explicit ontology of six lines prediction appears to make it especially persuasive, because it provides a coherent model of epistemology and causation that is readily comparable to scientific observation and description based on constant principles. Meanwhile, six lines prediction’s mathematical character adds to its intuitive authority. By relying on a predetermined system of correlates, it creates the impression that the diviner is not the source of the divinatory result or its interpretation. This likely allows six lines prediction to flourish in an environment in which it is officially classified as ‘superstition’.

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Matthew Binney

giving his narrator a consciousness, Campbell stresses how his travel account departs from previous travel works that rely upon the externally determined credibility of a biblical narrative or ancient texts. At once rejecting these external validations

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Travel, Authority, and Framing the Subject

Elizabeth Justice’s A Voyage to Russia and Amelia

Matthew W. Binney

the credibility of Justice’s travel account reflect “an inherent problem” with travel writing, as noted by Judy Hayden (2012: 17) . Scholarship indicates that this problem partly stems from excessive autobiography or “subjective” description. Charles

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The Rule of Law as a Condition for Development Toward Sustainability

Toward a New Legally Oriented Environment at a Global Level

Giovanni Tartaglia Polcini

-corruption initiatives vouch for the country’s legitimacy and credibility as it engages with other multilateral fora on priority areas related to the struggle against global crime, drugs, money laundering, and terrorism. With the G20 group as the premier world economic

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Alessandro Baroncelli

The sporting news1 that received the most media attention in the summer

of 2006 was not the Italian victory at the World Cup but rather the

Calciopoli scandal2 that shook the world of calcio (soccer). A distinctive

characteristic of the scandal was that it involved principally the

major clubs, in particular, Juventus, the richest and most successful

club in Italian soccer. Although not the first crisis in its history, it was

undoubtedly treated as one of the most serious catastrophes ever

recorded in Italian soccer, portending the end of the credibility and

sustainability of a model of business that, with its rules and its system

of consolidated relations among its main actors, had until then characterized

Italian professional soccer.

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Roger Karapin

Most explanations that have been advanced regarding the recent

successes of far-right parties in Western Europe suggest that these

parties should have also done well in Germany. With a high percapita

income and a strong export-oriented economy, Germany has

experienced large-scale immigration, a shift toward postindustrial

occupations, economic restructuring, unemployment, and social

marginalization of the poorest strata. These socioeconomic developments

have been accompanied by political responses which

should also benefit the far right: political parties have lost credibility, non-voting has increased, and ecological parties have become

established and have spurred environmental, feminist, and proimmigrant

policies.

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Vicos as Cold War Strategy

Anthropology, Peasants and 'Community Development'

Eric B. Ross

This article examines how anthropology's emphasis on the traditional values of peasants reflected the general precepts of 'modernization theory', the dominant development discourse of the Cold War era. It explores how such ideas lent credibility to the U.S. strategy of 'community development' as a central part of its response to radical rural change. Special attention is paid to the Cornell-Peru Project at Vicos in the Peruvian highlands, which attained legendary status as a case of applied anthropology, but is here examined in relationship to the strategies of the U.S. power elite and Cold War government policies.

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Francesco Stolfi

Having inherited high and increasing interest rates on public debt from its predecessor, the Monti government had to bring these yields down to sustainable levels and to push through the reforms that the Berlusconi government had abandoned. This article discusses the strategies that the Monti government employed to achieve these goals. It also analyzes the government?s international actions and finds that its international credibility was a subtle but significant asset. Although it did not necessarily acquire greater flexibility in its dealings with Italy?s international partners, the Monti government engaged in negotiations with the German government and the European Central Bank in an effort to help to defuse the Italian (and European) government debt crisis.