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Neutrality in foreign aid

Shifting contexts, shifting meanings—examples from South Sudan

Elżbieta Drążkiewicz

Since the late 1990s, researchers have been predicting that the era of neutrality in aid politics is coming to an end and that foreign organizations will have to take a more engaged stance. Yet while the boundaries between humanitarianism and development are fading, in some cases the neutrality norm is actually expanding rather than giving way to an engaged paradigm. Recognizing that the principles of neutrality and independence have different meanings for different actors and that they are applied in various ways, this article examines how the humanitarian developers—small NGOs operating in Jonglei State in South Sudan—use these paradigms. The article shows that their specific variant of neutrality is not so much a pragmatic tool enabling operations in difficult settings, but instead is a structural form of identity. In this variation, neutrality is not about the absence of a political stance, but about standing apart from social structures and social immunity.

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Geoff Kennedy

This article examines the development of popular discourses of liberty as independence emerging from the struggles between peasants and landlords over the course of the late medieval and early modern periods. This discourse, relating to the aspirations of the dependent peasantry for free status, free tenure, and free labor, articulated a conception of independence that overlapped with the emerging republican discourse of the seventeenth century. However, whereas republicanism focuses almost exclusively on the arbitrary powers of the monarchical state, the popular tradition emphasizes freedom from the arbitrary powers of landlordism. After a brief introduction to the republican conception of liberty and a discussion of the dependent peasantry in England, the work of Gerrard Winstanley is presented as an innovative synthesis of popular and republican discourses of freedom as independence from the arbitrary powers of exploitation.

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Paula Kabalo

Attempts to explain the achievements of the Jewish side in the 1948 War of Independence have focused thus far on the military and political dimension and on the domestic social, economic, and ideological dimension, as reflected in the collective mobilization of the Yishuv society. This article reveals the role of additional players in the war, including institutions, organizations, and associations that provided social services; the individuals who headed them; the members who took part in operating them; and the recipients of their services. The article's underlying premise is that Jewish society largely owed its resilience during the war, and in its aftermath, to the functioning of these organizations.

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Reinhold Loeffler

The case of a remote tribal village in southwest Iran demonstrates the circumstances conducive to positive rural development. My research suggests that since the founding of this village around 1880, its people - led by a progressive, literate young chief - successfully defended their realm against incorporation into the neighbouring chiefs' reigns of lawlessness and warfare; introduced and modernised irrigation agriculture and fruit cultivation then unique in the whole region; and embraced formal education. Discussing such adaptive strategies, I argue that a strong ethos of progress and achievement, including civic awareness, motivated local people from the beginning to pursue new ways to improve their livelihood.

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On Vertical Alliances, ‘Perfidious Albion’ and the Security Paradigm

Reflections on the Balfour Declaration Centennial and the Winding Road to Israeli Independence

Arie M. Dubnov

Revisiting the Balfour Declaration, this article offers a threefold argument: first, challenging those who read the Declaration as symbolizing a new dawn of Jewish political history, the article proposes an alternative reading that considers it as a continuation of familiar patterns of Jewish political behaviour based on the forging of ‘vertical alliances’. Second, it argues that this perspective led many Jews to treat the Declaration as an unsigned ‘contract’, and it was not until the 1940s, with the rise in popularity of a discourse concerning Britain’s ‘betrayal’, that this view began to be challenged. Third, explaining how and why the vertical alliance perspective was pushed to the margins of Israeli collective memory, the article looks at the rise of the ‘security paradigm’ in Hebrew literature and examines the ways in which the creation of a Jewish army was imagined as marking the end of old forms of Jewish politics.

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‘I feel really good now!’

Emotions and independence in undergraduate supervision

Maria Zackariasson

Within Swedish higher education, there is an explicit focus on the importance of independence, not least in relation to degree projects, which makes it a significant issue within supervision. What student independence comprises and how it may be achieved, however, is rarely discussed, even though the expectations of independence may be a stressful aspect of degree projects for students. This article examines the role emotions may play in undergraduate supervision in relation to student independence through analysing recorded supervision meetings and focus group interviews with supervisors. Based in a theoretical framework centred on the concepts affective practices, anticipated emotions and anticipatory emotions, it discusses how supervisors handled students’ expressions of fear, anxiety, joy and relief, and how anticipated emotions could be used as a didactic tool.

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After the Exodus

Catholics and the Formation of Postcolonial Identity in Algeria

Darcie Fontaine

As French officials negotiated the terms of Algerian independence with the Provisional Government of the Republic of Algeria (GPRA) in 1961–62, among the issues discussed was the future of the Christian population. After colonial occupation and armed struggle, in which the defense of “Christian civilization” in Algeria had been a major ideological justification for French violence against the Algerian population, the future of Christianity in postcolonial Algeria was not self-evident. This article examines how European Catholics negotiated their position in post-independence Algeria. I demonstrate that Catholic attempts to “become Algerian” and decolonize the Church were intertwined with global religious politics, economic necessities, and colonial history. Yet their continued presence in Algeria demonstrates that the standard narratives of postcolonial rupture between the European and Algerian populations do not hold up, for, in the early years of post-independence Algeria, European Catholics played an active role in the construction of the postcolonial nation.

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Rethinking Children's Independent Mobility

Revealing Cultures of Children's Agentic and Imaginative Mobilities through Emil and the Detectives

Lesley Murray

The concept of “children's independent mobility,” which originates in a study carried out between 1971 and 1990, underpins much of the research on children's mobilities. The study used particular criteria, based on parental determination of children's abilities and freedoms, to construct a notion of independence. This article contributes to previous work challenging the assumptions underlying this conceptualization of independence and suggests a rethinking of children's mobilities to more firmly incorporate children's agency and imagination. It does so first by critically reviewing existing scholarship and second by engaging with an example of a fictional story, Emil and the Detectives, which itself sets out to privilege both of these key aspects of children's mobilities.

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Maria Goloubeva

The need to find an epistemological framework for analyzing the discourses of identity in the Baltic States since the regaining of their independence makes it necessary to examine a cross-section of Baltic perceptions of the ‘West’ evinced during travels from the 1790s to the present.

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Camus et la “littérature algérienne”

Une notion stratégique dans l’espace littéraire francophone

Tristan Leperlier

*Full article is in French

This article offers a socio-historical approach to analyzing the genesis of the notion of “Algerian literature” and its structural relationship to “French literature”— unstable notions that have been subject to fierce debate. I show how “Algerian literature” has been nationalized and ethnicized during the twentieth century. These transformations are linked to Algerian writers’ literary and political struggles with one another. Their approaches to affirming or denying the very existence of “Algerian literature” during the colonial era, or its ethnic character after Algerian independence, depended on their political convictions, but also on their recognition within the French-Algerian literary space. A structural analysis of the kind offered here allows us to see new historical continuities and ruptures between French colonial literature and the literature of post-independence Algeria. It reveals too that the figure of Albert Camus has remained in the heart of the debates even to this day.