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Modernisation and Social Change

The Impact on Iranian Elderly Social Networks and Care Systems

Mary Elaine Hegland, Zahra Sarraf, and Mohammad Shahbazi

Anthropological field research in Iran, mainly in the village of Aliabad and in nearby Shiraz in south-west Iran, has documented radical social, cultural, religious and economic change over the last 28 years. Increasing emphasis on the nuclear rather than the extended family and pressures for geographic and social mobility have profoundly influenced the lives of the elderly. The traditional family system of support for elders - with regard to emotional and social needs, as well as financial assistance and physical care - is breaking down. Social scientists, social workers and health personnel must focus on adequately addressing the needs and concerns of the Iranian elderly in the twenty-first century and on developing alternative systems to deal with key elderly issues of health, well-being and social incorporation.

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Natalie K. Eschenbaum

An NPR review of Vinegar Girl states that Anne Tyler's modernisation of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew is a ‘fizzy cocktail of a romantic comedy, far more sweet than acidic, about finding a mate who appreciates you for your

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The Fate of 'Backwardness'

Portuguese Expectations over Modernisation

Catarina Frois

In Portugal, terms such as 'modernisation', 'progress' and 'development' are continually invoked by a wide range of social actors, representing the right path and ultimate goal of all political and social change, but on the other hand conceal the actual truth that, to use Latour's expression: 'We have never been modern'. The result is that the demand for modernisation is accompanied by the parallel reification of 'backwardness'. Alluding to Portugal's peripheral condition, to its distance from the rest of Europe and so forth, is part of common everyday discourse, and the country is typically portrayed as a kind of European backwater, forever lagging behind more advanced states. This article aims to present and discuss how backwardness and modernisation are recurrently present in political discourse as a leitmotiv for social, economic and cultural change and the way it is incorporated into a broader and rooted self-representation of the Portuguese modus vivendi and national features.

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Kenneth Christie

The emergence of an ‘Asian’ form of democracy in distinction to a liberal Western one has called into question longstanding assumptions that economic development leads to democracy, which was a mainstay of modernisation theory from the early 1960s to the present day (i.e. Lipset 1959; Diamond 1992).2 This article will examine some of the assumptions behind Asian democracy (sometimes called ‘illiberal democracy’), its relationship with economic development and the difficulties and tensions between these propositions in Southeast Asia in relation to modernisation and political change.

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Aliabad of Shiraz

Transformation from Village to Suburban Town

Mary Elaine Hegland

Anthropological participant observation, in-depth, open-ended interviewing and oral history reveal aspects of social change and modernisation that have taken place in Aliabad, Iran, over more than half a century. These developments have transpired in interplay with economic, political and cultural processes. As a result of economic transformation from sharecropping and trading to urban-style jobs, and due to outside influences as a consequence of advances in transportation, communication, education and travel, villagers have been able to make other choices. Through bottom-up social and political change, relationships in all areas of life have become less authoritarian and hierarchical and more egalitarian and subject to negotiation and individuation.

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Modernising Pastorals?

The Olive Field and Thirties Leftist Pastoral

Chris Hopkins

William Empson famously suggested in his book Some Versions of Pastoral (1935) that ‘good proletarian art is usually Covert Pastoral’.1 This comment, and the discussion which follows it, has a good deal of characteristic Empsonian provocation and idiosyncrasy, and has rarely been pursued with seriousness by 1930s critics. Thus Valentine Cunningham says that this ‘cheeky dodge’ of Empson’s is at least half-serious, but is more inclined to emphasise the playful half of the intention

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Aftandil Erkinov

For centuries poetry was the most important arts genre in Central Asia. In order to be recognised as a member of the educated classes, it was obligatory to learn hundreds of poems. Even the Soviet regime (1922-1991) exploited the Uzbek people's love of poetry for its own political ends - the propagation of communist ideology. However, linked to the processes of globalisation, interest in poetry has diminished considerably in Uzbekistan over the past several years. People have become less attracted to the romance of poetry than to actual business, benefits and material values. To modern Uzbek society, poems come only in the form of lyrics for popular music. Globalisation has made poetry a minor genre among the Uzbek arts. To be a poet had been a respected profession for centuries. Now it has lost its prestige, as former poets turn to other occupations.

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The Making of Modern Afghanistan

Reconstruction, Transnational Governance and Gender Politics in the New Islamic Republic

Julie Billaud

This article seeks to characterise the nature of the post-Taliban 'reconstruction' project in Afghanistan through an analysis of observations and interviews collected in the Ministry of Women's Affairs (MoWA) in 2007. Based on a case study of a 'gender empowerment' training programme administered by the MoWA and funded by an international aid agency, I underline some intricacies in the relationships that are built in development encounters. I argue that the current efforts to include gender issues in politics are part of a broader cultural project aimed at setting up the conditions of possibility for the creation of a modern Afghan state. I show how reconstruction does not simply consist in the formation of a bureaucratic apparatus based on Western models of liberal democracies but primarily involves cultural and symbolic production.

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Jean During

This article presents a survey of Persian music known as ‘learned’ – or better yet, ‘literate’ – that is currently practised, but from a perspective acquired over the past three decades. e subject is approached here not from a ‘scientifically neutral’ point of view, but rather in a subjective and narrative manner, through anecdotes, observations, personal reflections and especially aesthetic judgements. These are based on the author’s familiarity with Persian musical culture and on the broad consensus that his analyses and his critical approach have received among the community of Iranian artists and amateurs. is point of view emphasises the ‘post-modern’ character of the contemporaneous musical culture, thus surpassing the ancient-modern dispute while at the same time acknowledging certain requirements for quality.

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The Third Sector and the Process of Modernisation

Reflections on the Perspectives of NGOs in the Process of European Intregration

Peter Herrmann

The perception by the public, politicians or academics of the role of NGOs with regard to social policy in general, and social quality in particular, is often incoherent. Although these organisations are widely appreciated and supported, there are no clear views on their often contradictory role in the democratic process, and they are defined in narrow, yet widely differing ways. NGOs are usually not addressed in the analysis of broader approaches of social-policy arrangements, and their study is mainly concerned with organisational perspectives, sometimes viewing them as economic entities rather than as social actors. NGOs have also been largely ignored in the analysis of social quality. This is clearly shown in the first publications to come out of the 'Social Quality Initiative', in which most of the contributions fail to regard NGOs as a specific subject, and the few which do mostly look at organisational issues.