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Limits and Limitlessness

Exploring Time in Scientific Practice

Antonia Walford

This article explores some of the ways that time figures in the scientific practices of instrumental micrometeorology and climatic and weather modeling. It draws on ethnographic work done with the Large-Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA), an international scientific project that aims to assess the role of the Amazon forest in the global carbon cycle and to provide sustainable techniques for the future management of the region. An examination of the knowledge practices that have emerged from this ethnography (such as calibration and prediction) provides an opportunity to rethink the relation between 'natural time' and 'social time(s)'. This allows for a discussion of the roles that certainty, uncertainty, finiteness, and limitlessness play in both scientific and ethnographic practice.

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Hyeong-ki Kwon

The German model of political economy that had been an enviable

alternative to the liberal market until the late 1980s in the literature of

political economy was under serious structural crisis throughout the

1990s, causing serious doubts about its viability. Many neoliberals

and industrial experts in Germany began to doubt whether Germany

was an attractive place for business activity, initiating the Standort

Deutschland debate. Even German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder conceded

“the end of German model.”1 Many political economists and

journalists expected and recommended imitating the American

model of a liberal market. Prominent German newspapers and magazines

such as the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Der Spiegel, and Die

Woche ran articles titled “The Discovery of America” and “Jobwunder

in Amerika.” Wolfgang Streeck, one of the main proponents of the

German model, expected the convergence of the German economy

toward an American-led liberal market economy under globalization

because of “a secular exhaustion of the German model.” Streeck

believed that the postwar German model was based on the politics

between labor and capital within a national boundary, but globalization

represents a fluidity of financial and labor markets that extricates

whatever coordination has been nationally accomplished.

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Gendered Models of Resistance

Jansenist Nuns and Unigenitus

Mita Choudhury

In the decades following the promulgation of the anti-Jansenist bull Unigenitus, scores of nuns and convents resisted the efforts of authorities to make them acquiesce to the Bull. Male Jansenist authors writing from a figurist perspective transformed this female dissent into the model for all forms of spiritual resistance against Unigenitus. Their gendered constructions represented a challenge to the church hierarchy, forging nuns into a political weapon against the ultramontane episcopacy. The controversy over the Religieuses Hospitalières during the 1750s reveals how Jansenist lawyers and magistrates deployed the controversies over these “model” nuns to censure episcopal despotism and to legitimate parliamentary intervention in religious affairs, thereby opening the way to prescribing constitutional limits on the monarchy itself.

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European Models, Domestic Hesitance

The Renewal of the Italian Road Network in the 1920s

Massimo Moraglio

Looking beyond motorways plans, this essay focuses on the role of the Italian "road" lobby in the 1920s in shaping the national transport policy. Contractors like Puricelli were the driving forces of surface transport modernization, with visionary plans but also facing a lack of sympathy by the automobile industry. Those programs were nevertheless carried out with the strong support of the Touring Club and provincial councils. In this context, it seems that the fascist dictatorship, with its hesitance, slowed—rather than hastened—road modernization. Only in 1928, feeding off the ideas of Puricelli and others, did the Mussolini government develop a proper road renewal program. Finally, framing the Italian experience in the European contexts, it emerges that despite the extreme success of American car culture, England is depicted as a more suitable model.

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Liberal Values and Socialist Models

Reply to Darrel Moellendorf

Anton D. Lowenberg

In a recent issue of this journal, Darrel Moellendorf evaluates three socialist models of economic organisation in terms of their efficiency and equity attributes (Moellendorf 1997). From the perspective of the cogency of the arguments made within the worldview accepted by Moellendorf, his contribution must certainly be judged a scholarly and thoughtfully written piece. However, as a free’market economist I find the central claim of his article – that any of the three socialist models discussed can successfully reproduce or even approximate the individual freedom and economic efficiency of a private-property rights system – implausible to say the least.

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Luke Ulaş

This paper argues that the two models of collective responsibility David Miller presents in National Responsibility and Global Justice do not apply to nations. I first consider the 'like-minded group' model, paying attention to three scenarios in which Miller employs it. I argue that the feasibility of the model decreases as we expand outwards from the smallest group to the largest, since it increasingly fails to capture all members of the group adequately, and the locus of any like-mindedness becomes too abstract and vague to have the causal force the model requires. I thereafter focus on the 'cooperative practice' model, examining various ways in which the analogy Miller draws between an employee-led business and a nation breaks down. In concluding I address the concern that my arguments have worrying consequences and suggest that, on the contrary, the rejection of the idea of national responsibility is a positive move.

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The Traveling Model That Would Not Travel

Oil, Empire, and Patrimonialism in Contemporary Chad

Stephen P. Reyna

This article concerns a type of change involving implementation of 'traveling models'—procedural cultural plans of how to do some-thing done somewhere elsewhere. Specifically, it concerns the World Bank's traveling model of oil revenue distribution in support of Chadian development. It finds that this model is failing and that dystopia is developing in its stead. A contrasting explanation, which examines the contradictions and consequences of Chadian patrimonialism and US imperialism, is proposed to account for this state of affairs. Finally, the analysis is shown to have implications for conceptualizing patrimonialism and planning development.

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Erin Newcomb

Sarah Rothschild. 2013. The Princess Story: Modeling the Feminine in Twentieth-Century American Fiction and Film. New York: Peter Lang.

Amy S. Pattee. 2011. Reading the Adolescent Romance: Sweet Valley High and the Popular Young Adult. New York: Routledge.

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Vodou, Illness and Models in Haiti

From Local Meanings to Broader Relations of Domination

Nicolas Vonarx

Anthropological research concerning the relationship between Haitian vodou and illness shows that vodou practitioners' explanatory models of illness contain two levels of causality. One presents the sick as victims of magical-religious procedures and illness as being the result of agents directed at the victims. The meanings for the origins of such illnesses are rooted in Haitian social reality, which Haitians perceive as dangerous and threatening. A certain representation of self and social reality underlies these illness models in vodou and in vodou-inspired Haitian folk knowledge. An anthropological analysis of illness must identify local meanings that may shed light on certain cultural constructions of illness, as can be achieved by examining explanatory models structured around origins, causes, disease agents and other sources of illness found in Haiti. But the analysis must go beyond local meanings and question the representation of self and of social reality that goes along with these models and makes them intelligible for Haitians. In doing so, we note that this representation is the result of a process of subjectivation that is bound up in power relations between Haiti and the West. A cultural approach to explanatory models of illness in vodou is incomplete without a critical anthropological approach that addresses the relations of domination to which Haiti has been subjected. This article draws on these two anthropological perspectives in analysing illness in Haiti. It demonstrates how a meaning-oriented micro-social analysis of illness can be combined with a critical, macro-social approach in medical anthropology.

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Elena Khlinovskaya Rockhill

The six UK Genetics Knowledge Parks (GKPs) were shaped and governed by two frameworks: a 'need' to harness 'new genetics' and the relations of accountability as seen in the context of entrepreneurial government. The remit of the Cambridge GKP (CGKP) was to develop public health genetics by building on the concepts of partnership and interdisciplinarity. In the course of its work, the CGKP emphasized the virtues of 'change management', seen as distinct from, and opposed to, an academic model of knowledge production. However, the model that the CGKP actually created was a research/management hybrid that resisted quality assurance checks developed for each model (research and management), presenting a formidable challenge for the evaluation and assessment of the CGKP's work.