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On Intentionality and Motivation in Digital Spaces

A Response to Flinders and Wood

Max Halupka

Wood and Flinders posit that intentionality and motivation are critical sites of analysis when determining whether an act is, or should be made out to be, political or apolitical. I agree with this assertion—both the intention behind an actor’s act, for example, what motivates the action, must be taken into consideration before such classifications are made. Yet, intentionality and motivation are more complicated and problematic than the authors make them out to be—especially online.

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Gamed by the System

Exploring Black Male Youths’ Motivation to Participate in Sports

Deborwah Faulk, Robert A. Bennett III and James L. Moore III

Previous research contributes to our knowledge about young people’s motivation to participate in sports and athletic programs. In particular, scholarship has identified significant others (such as parents and peers) and internal drivers (for example, physical ability and skill, the desire to succeed, love of competition, etc.) as some of the forces that shape the involvement of young men in sports. The role of institutions and structures in influencing the decisions of young males to join sports, however, is neglected to some extent in the current literature. Given the history of race and gender marginalization relative to sports in the US, distinguishing an additional layer that influences motivations are important. Young black males face additional social pressures in society and in schools, in particular. In this article we suggest that schools use sports to control the behaviors and aid the character development of young black men.

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Rivca Gordon

Jean-Paul Sartre is probably the only existentialist who describes in detail, mainly in Being and Nothingness, the problems arising from the concept of 'motivation'. More precisely, Sartre describes a group of notions - motivation is one of them - that reveal the same basic ontological problem. Like these other notions, he states, the concept of 'motivation' ignores the primordial freedom that is central to human existence, that the human being is freedom, that every person is condemned to be free. I acknowledge that there may be a minor linguistic problem with the term 'motivation'. In translations of Sartre, 'motivation' is used, alongside 'motive', to render a number of terms used in the original French, such as 'motif' and 'mobile'. In this essay, however, I relate only to the English term 'motivation', as it is used in contemporary psychological and educational research. In short, in what follows I do not relate to the other possible translations of the French term for motivation, but rather to its accepted scholarly use in English-speaking countries.

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Henry Bacon

Evolution has equipped us with the ability to conceive of people and their actions in hypothetical, purely fictional, and fantastic scenarios. The way we conceive of real people, the way we make sense of fictional character, and the way we process needs and desires related to other people in our fantasies are all interconnected with one another. These are all instances of blending, often based on rather minimal direct information but supported by shared character-related schemata and mental simulation, the latter typically eliciting a degree of partial identification. The structural relationships and interconnectedness between these three processes can be examined in terms of the formalist notion of motivation.

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Sarah Hill

Recently, the field of girlhood studies has witnessed a growing body of research into girls’ self-representation practices, but disabled girls are largely absent from this work. In this article, I intervene in this area by asserting the need to explore how disabled girls represent themselves online in order to consider the intersections between girlhood and disability. I attempt to move away from discourses of risk that circulate around girls’ digital self-representation practices by demonstrating how these practices provide disabled girls with visibility in a postfeminist mediascape that renders them invisible, and also act as a form of social advocacy and awareness raising. I then explore how disabled girls represent themselves online in a postfeminist cultural landscape through a case study of a severely sight-impaired blogger, looking at how they must be seen as both motivated and motivational.

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Stephen Wang

This article will look at Sartre’s analysis of the human act in Being and Nothingness. In Sartre’s understanding a motive is not something that exists prior to the act as its cause. Motives and causes only come to exist through freely chosen human acts, and these choices have no foundation outside the upsurge of the act itself. This is an unusual and counter-intuitive description of human action, but it fits with the phenomenological evidence of human experience, and illuminates a number of problems that arise in deterministic accounts of action.

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Erin Ash

This research examined racial attitudes in response to viewing “white savior” films, best described as films in which a white character displays extraordinary acts of kindness and selflessness toward one or more minority characters. The results of an experiment (N = 149) revealed participants who viewed a savior film experienced moral emotion elevation, which, in turn, elicited prosocial motivations and universal orientation. Whereas prosocial motivations and universal orientation were predicted to reduce racism, findings indicated that prosocial motivations, in the absence of universal orientation, led to greater levels of both contemporary and traditional forms of racism. In addition, films portraying white saviors and those featuring black saviors were compared and shown to be invariant. Implications for understanding white privilege in light of these results are discussed.

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Resistance against the Mafia

A Civic Struggle to Defy an Uncontestable Power

Baris Cayli

This study is based on participant observation of a protest against the Mafia that occurred in Rome on 26 September 2009. First, this essay offers an analysis by using symbols and their meanings, which are illustrated through the 'pyramid of social protest'. Second, the framing and process of the protest are analysed. Two new concepts are presented: the culture of lawfulness frame and the implicit contested process. Third, this essay shows that defying the Mafia begins with individual motivation but ends with the collective motivation behind the decision to be an activist. This decision includes ethically oriented reasons rather than being based on a materialistically calculated reasoning. Finally, the struggle of anti-Mafia movement illuminates cultural anthropology through its desire for a progressive society in which strong symbolic interactionism among the activists play an important role.

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David Hall

Climate action is conventionally framed in terms of overcoming epistemic and practical disagreement. An alternative view is to treat people’s understandings of climate change as fundamentally pluralistic and to conceive of climate action accordingly. This paper explores this latter perspective through a framework of philosophical psychology, in particular Bernard Williams’s distinction between internal and external reasons. This illuminates why the IPCC’s framework of ‘Reasons for Concern’ has an inefficacious relationship to people’s concerns and, hence, why additional reason giving is required. Accordingly, this paper recommends a model of truthful persuasion, which acknowledges the plurality of people’s motivations and sincerely strives to connect the facts of climate change to people’s subjective motivational sets.

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Asiye Kaya

The year 2011 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the bilateral recruitment

agreement that the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) signed with

the Republic of Turkey in 1961. According to official figures, the immigrant

group with roots in Turkey and its offspring make the second largest

group currently after ethnic German emigrants (resettlers) in Germany.

Understanding this migration experience and the broader issues of immigration

in Germany is the motivation behind this special issue.