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The Human and the Social

A Comparison of the Discourses of Human Development, Human Security and Social Quality

Des Gasper

This paper presents a structured comparison of the social quality approach with the UNDP-led 'human development' approach and its sister work (especially in the UN system and Japan) on 'human security'. Through clarification of their respective foci, roles and underlying theoretical and value assumptions, the paper suggests that partnership of the social quality approach with these 'human' approaches appears possible and relevant for each side.

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Not so much the water as what's in it

Engineering anthropology for beginners

Michael Thompson and M. Bruce Beck

There is, it is often observed, no waste in nature; waste comes from culture. This means that if there were no human‐generated material flows – water, energy, phosphorus, nitrogen, food, carbon dioxide and so on – there would be no waste. But it does not follow from this that the more human‐generated flows there are, the more waste there will be. By re‐engineering our cities’ infrastructures in ways that enjoy the consent of their citizens – our focus in this paper is on water and its conversion into wastewater – we can progressively alter the material flows from ‘bad’ to ‘good’, with the ultimate goal of making those cities into forces for good in the environment.

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Thomas Hartmann

Why are recent attempts to give space to the rivers so unsuccessful? Floodplain management is a complex social process with many stakeholders, who pursue different rationalities before, during, and after floods. The resulting patterns of activities of the stakeholders have led to a technological lock-in. This article uses Cultural Theory to analyze the stakeholders' different framing of floodplain management. The concept of Large Areas for Temporary Emergency Retention (LATER) is then introduced as a way to create space for the rivers. Its implementation can be facilitated if the different rationalities, framing the patterns of activity in the floodplains are taken into account. Therefore, based on interviews with landowners, water managers, land use planners, and policymakers the rationalities are uncovered and different proposals for land policies are presented. The result is a land policy based on an obligatory insurance against natural hazards.

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Pertti Anttonen

All scholarly fields feed on rhetoric of praise and criticism, mostly self-praise and self-criticism. Ethnology and folklore studies are not exceptions in this, regardless of whether they constitute a single field or two separate but related ones. This essay discusses questions concerning ethnological practice and object formation, cultural theory and the theory of tradition (or the lack thereof), cultural transmission, cultural representation, and the ethics and politics of cultural ownership and repatriation. It draws on general observations as well as on work in progress. The main concern is with a discursive move: from tradition to heritage, from the ethnography of repetition and replication to cultural relativist descriptions and prescriptions of identity construction and cultural policy, from ethnography as explanation to ethnography as representation and presentation. In addition, the essay seeks to delineate other underlying tenets that appear to constitute our traditions and heritages - both as strengths and as long-term constraints and biases. Where is ethnology headed in its quest to transcend theories and practices? Less theory and more practice? More theory on practice? Or more practice on theory?

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Leila Mukhida

While public discussions about media and violence tend to be defined by the negative psychological effects attributed to exposure to mediated depictions of violence, this article argues that the mediated violence in Valeska Grisebach's 2006 film, Longing, (Sehnsucht) instead seeks to heighten viewers' sensitivity towards violent acts in moving images. Grisebach rejects the so-called MTV aesthetic and instead employs formal and narrative devices that may be read in political terms. To illuminate the connection between film aesthetics, violence, and mass (dis)engagement with politics, this article draws upon the argument rehearsed in Walter Benjamin's oft-cited essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility” (1936). Given that we are witnessing changes in the ways that we experience and re-present our reality now that are arguably as significant as the birth of the moving image itself, it is pertinent to look to early twentieth-century cultural theory in order to gain a better understanding of the significance of these transformations in a historical context. By reading the violent incidents in Longing through a Benjaminian lens, this article suggests that the film is a political act by Grisebach, as well as a key political work in the field of contemporary German-language cinema.

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Stefan Böschen, Jochen Gläser, Martin Meister, and Cornelius Schubert

Recent years have seen an increasing interest in materiality in social research. Some might say that materiality is now back on the agenda of social research. The challenges of bringing materiality back have spurred lively debates about material agency, most of which, however, are leveled at the largely dematerialized theories of the social in the social sciences, for example, in material culture studies (Appadurai 1986; Miller 1998) as well as science and technology studies (Latour 1988; Law/Mol 1995). Since the turn of the century, a marked shift towards the material has emerged (cf. Hicks 2010), ranging from questions concerning nature (Grundmann/Stehr 2000) and everyday objects (Molotch 2003; Costall/Dreier 2006; Miller 2010) to issues of cultural theory (Reckwitz 2002), post-phenomenology (Verbeek 2005), ethnography (Henare et al. 2007), distributed cognition (Hutchins 1995), and materiality in general (Dant 2005; Miller 2005; Knappett/Malafouris 2008). A perspective on materiality is now being developed in diverse fields such as archaeology (Meskell 2005), economic sociology (Pinch/Swedberg 2008), political science (Bennett 2010; Coole/Frost 2010), and organization studies (Carlile et al. 2013). Yet the status of the material remains debated in the evolving fields of various “new” materialisms (cf. Lemke 2015).

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Peter Brooker

‘And how should I begin?’ Naturally, or post-naturally enough, at the end. We have been hearing for some time recently of the end of things and this paradoxically, is where we must start. Book titles have warned us of the End of the Nation and Nation State, the End of Print, the End of Architecture, The End of Work, the End of Man, the End of Economic Man, the End of Time, the End of the Future, the End of History and yes, the End of the World. It doesn’t take a salaried cultural critic to see here the symptom of an encroaching mood, the expression on the part of marooned journalists and intellectuals of what Raymond Williams termed a ‘structure of feeling’. It expresses not so much conviction – though these scenarios of the end could not in one way be more final – as the waning of common beliefs and values. Hence the appearance world-wide of millennial sects, outcrops of New Age mysticism, the thrill of out of body experiences and the paranormal; even if, thanks to postmodernism, these tend to be more normal than para, and to come at you via the X Files or the Virgin multiplex than anywhere more distant. New media combine oddly with the new mysticism, advanced technologies with advancing teleologies. This is the way then that we are seeing in the fin de siècle, the beckoning end of century when Bakhtinian carnival will at last take to the streets, fleeing its confinement in works of cultural theory, and we shall all go belly up and dance our heads off. Or when half the world will fall into poverty, disease, and starvation and the other half wear itself out in vainglorious in-fighting, leaving a sybaritic residue to enter upon a computer-aided decadence of virtual existence. Or when we shall go up in smoke in a bang and whimper all at once.

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What Determines Individual Demand for Ecosystem Services?

Insights from a Social Science Study of Three German Regions

Sophie Peter

, which may motivate human patterns of ES demand in a globalized world ( Beck 2008 , 2016 ). Mary Douglas, Aaron Wildavsky, and others offer another theoretical approach, the cultural theory of risk ( Thompson, Ellis, and Wildavsky 1990 ; Douglas 1992

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Editorial

Boyhood Studies at 10

Diederik F. Janssen

of young sexualities; contemporary issues in education and schooling; cinema; and queer theoretical perspectives. Individual contributions have varied more widely from literature studies, cultural theory, and social history to ethnography

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Conal McCarthy

museum studies just as it was incorporating elements of social and cultural theory from related disciplines. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett spoke at the now famous conference at the Smithsonian in 1989, which led to the first Karp and Lavine edited volume