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Research Projects and Networks

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The Ecology of Images

Seeing and the Study of Religion

David Morgan

Opening with a review of leading accounts of the image as an object with agency, this article proposes to study religious images within the webs or networks that endow them with agency. The example of a well-known medieval reliquary serves to show how what I refer to as 'focal objects' participate in the creation of assemblages that engage human and non-human actors in the social construction of the sacred. Focal objects are nodal points that act as interfaces with the network, particularly with invisible agents within it. As participants in a network, images are like masks, offering access to what looks through the mask at viewers engaged in a complex of relations that constructs a visual field or the ecology of an image.

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Les journaux francophones au dix-neuvième siècle

Entre enjeux locaux et perspective globale

Guillaume Pinson

This article discusses the circulation of francophone news, information, and literary content between Western Europe and North America in the nineteenth century. During this period, big metropolitan cities (Paris, Brussels, Montreal, New Orleans) were forming a dense media network. For the western Atlantic region, New York City and the Courrier des États-Unis (1828–1938) served as the hub of this network. Francophone readers on both sides of the Atlantic shared a large common corpus, including works such as Eugène Sue’s Mystères de Paris (1842–1843), which was distributed in North America by the literary supplement of the Courrier. By providing a general overview of this French-speaking network, this article invites scholars to explore how texts, and literature in particular, operated through an interlinked dynamic system of publication rather than as independent unconnected works.

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Iberoamerican Network of Político-Conceptual and Intellectual History (RIAHPCI). Coordinators: Elías Palti (UNQui-Argentina), João Feres Júnior (IUPERJ-Brasil), Alexandra Pita (COLMES-México), and Javier Fernández Sebastián (UPV-España).

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Responsible Doubt and Embodied Conviction

The Infrastructure of British Equestrian Horse/Human ‘Partnership’

Rosie Jones McVey

Horse care practices and equestrian pedagogy are being reconfigured within a contemporary ‘revolution’ in British horsemanship. This is both instigated by, and instigates, horse owners’ attitudes of responsible doubt and self-critique. At the same time, embodied conviction is honed, because the rider’s mindful body is foregrounded as an integral part of the communication channel between horse and human. In this article, responsible doubt and embodied conviction are shown to emerge from, and contribute to, different ways in which horse riders can cut the network in their endeavours to achieve ‘true partnership’ with their horses.

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“Forging New Malay networks”

Imagining global halal markets

Johan Fischer

This article explores Malaysia’s bid to become the world leader in rapidly expanding halal (literally, “lawful” or “permitted”) markets on a global scale through the embedding of a particular global Islamic imagination. The Malaysian state has become central to the certification, standardization, and bureaucratization of Malaysian halal production, trade, and consumption. The vision is now to export this model, and for that purpose the network as a strategic metaphor is being evoked to signify connectedness and prescriptions of organization visà- vis more deep-rooted networks. I argue that an imagined global halal network conditions the halal commodity form. This imagination is at least as important as halal commodities themselves for the emergence of a novel form of globalized halal capitalism.

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Humans, Plants, and Networks

A Critical Review

Laura Calvet-Mir and Matthieu Salpeteur

In recent years, Social Network Analysis (SNA) has increasingly been applied to the study of complex human-plant relations. This quantitative approach has ennabled a better understanding of (1) how social networks help explain agrobiodiversity management, and (2) how social relations influence the transmission of local ecological knowledge (LEK) related to plants. In this paper, we critically review the most recent works pertaining to these two lines of research. First, our results show that this fast-developing literature proposes new insights on local agrobiodiversity management mechanisms, as well as on the ways seed exchange systems are articulated around other social relationships, such as kinship. Second, current works show that inter-individual connections affect LEK transmission, the position of individuals in networks being related to the LEK they hold. We conclude by stressing the importance of combining this method with comprehensive approaches and longitudinal data collection to develop deeper insights into human-plant relations.

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Cross-Border Networks

Labour Migration from Iran to the Arab Countries of the Persian Gulf

Shahnaz R. Nadjmabadi

This article examines migration between the Iranian coastal regions of the Persian Gulf and the nearby Arab countries. At the centre of the research are questions about cross-border relationships, the construction of transnational spaces in border migration and strategies for maintaining networks in both the home and host countries. The transnational space connecting the Iranian coastal region and the Arab countries resembles other cases of border migration. However, unlike previous studies on border migration, this analysis situates the development of transnational spaces of migrants' lives within the deep-rooted common and historical perspectives in the countries on both sides of the Persian Gulf.

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The articles in this European Journal of Social Quality have resulted from a European Network Project on Indicators of Social Quality, carried out between 2001 and 2005 and supported by the Fifth Framework Programme by DG Research of the European Commission and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The network was coordinated by the European Foundation on Social Quality. The full national reports, on which these articles are based, as well as the Final Report of this project by Dr. Laurent van der Maesen, Prof. Alan Walker and Drs Margo Keizer, can be downloaded from www.socialquality.eu.