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Higher education in the paradigm of speed

Student perspectives on the risks of fast-track degree completion

Laura Louise Sarauw and Simon Ryberg Madsen

Studies often highlight how standardisation and consent are manufactured through the European Bologna Process (Brøgger 2019; Gibbs et al. 2014; Lawn and Grek 2012). This article shows how students’ conduct is still governed by multiple logics and dilemmas. The context for the article is the Bologna Process and the way it has been applied by the Danish government in the 2014 reforms that sought to fast-track the completion of student degrees. It analyses the impact of changes on students’ conduct through a series of focus group interviews with students who were confronted with the new demands to speed up their progress through their degrees. To illustrate the complexity of this standardisation, the analyses are framed within theoretical ideas of ‘risk’ (Beck 2006) and ‘translation’ (Latour and Callon 1986).

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Speed and Smoothness

Identity Production and Reproduction of Portuguese MEPs

Andre Novoa

This article examines identity production and reproduction of a group of Portuguese members of the European Parliament (MEPs) through a set of ethnographic vignettes. Literature on European mobility has been underpinned by an assumption that the more we move, the more European we become. But who are these movers exactly? And how do they become European? These questions guide this article, which presents a case study of three Portuguese MEPs who maintain strong relations with their country of origin whilst having to create new attachments to Brussels and Strasbourg. The MEPs have to insert themselves into a culture of speed and smoothness. They have to redesign themselves as figures of speed. The article argues that this process makes them European. They identify with Europe because they maintain a strong relation with their country of origin, which means moving more, which in turn means being a modern European citizen.

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Combustion, Hydraulic, and Other Forms of Masculinity

An Essay Exploring Dominant Values and Representations of the Driver in Driverless Technology

Sarah Redshaw

social space without the aggression of bursting power, intimidation of size, and temptation of increasing speed that currently characterize them. Great speed has been an achievement of the car’s first hundred years, and there is widespread expectation

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Culture Constraints of High-Speed Rail in the United States

A Perspective from American Exceptionalism

Zhenhua Chen

The development of high-speed rail (HSR) infrastructure in the United States faces a great challenge given concerns of economic viability and political complexity. However, an in-depth investigation reveals that some of these challenges and complexities regarding high-speed rail mobility can be elucidated by historical and cultural characteristics that affect daily behavior, lifestyle, and public attitudes in U.S. society. This essay discusses the debate on the U.S. high-speed rail development policy from the perspective of American exceptionalism. Through an exploration of the four traits of American exceptionalism, the essay argues that the stagnation of U.S. federal high-speed rail initiatives can be explained by U.S. cultural constraints: individualism, antistatism, populism, and egalitarianism. Unless more solid evidence is provided to convince the public about the benefits of HSR mobility, the HSR debate is likely to continue in the United States.

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Etienne Faugier

Two quotations, two periods of history. While the lines were written a century apart, their divergent sentiments reflect more than just the passage of time. They also show how, in the space of a century, the very concept of speed has become more complex, mainly because different kinds of speed are available thanks to new technologies in communications and mobility. The juxtaposition of these two quotations show a rupture: it seems that we are slowly shifting from a status where speed was both wish and choice to one where limited movement may be forced upon us by declining fossil fuels and growing pollution.

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Mauro Tebaldi

On 5 December 2009, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, together with

the director-general of the Ferrovie dello Stato (FS), Mauro Moretti,

officially opened the new high-speed/high-capacity railway line, linking

Turin, Milan, and Salerno at the central station in Milan. The

work, which had taken almost 40 years to complete, had involved

the laying of just less than 1,000 kilometers of track that is specially

designed to carry high-speed trains. The following day, the high-speed

train service provided by Trenitalia began operating on the line with

the latest ETR (Elettro Treno Rapido) 500 Frecciarossa and ETR 600

Frecciargento trains. The year 2010, therefore, marked the official

operational start of the project that had first been drawn up by FS in

the early 1960s with the aim of providing high-speed rail links for the

main Italian cities along a north-south axis in response to two clear

challenges—the growing competition from airlines and an increasing

preference for road use.

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Introduction

GMOs—Global objects of contention

Birgit Müller

Genetically modified organisms in agriculture have become objects of contention, crystallizing some of today’s major political and social controversies. As human-made objects that are alive and have agency, they invite the anthropologist to follow their trajectories and to analyze the power relationships and political economies of meaning in which they are inscribed. Taking as a point of departure Hans Jonas’s principle of responsibility for the unknown effects of technological developments, this article questions why a culture of urgency is attached to GMOs in spite of the unpredictable consequences that may arise when they are set free into the environment. As naturally reproducing objects that have intellectual property rights attached to them they raise issues of political governance and of economic power and control. They provoke not only repertoires of contention but also silences that speak about the link between technology and policy in con- temporary societies.

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Women’s Rights and Sovereignty/Autonomy

Negotiating Gender in Indigenous Justice Spaces

Shannon Speed, María Teresa Sierra, Lynn Stephen, Jessica Johnson and Heike Schaumberg

In recent years in both the United States and Latin America, indigenous peoples have taken increasing control over local justice, creating indigenous courts and asserting more autonomy in the administration of justice in their tribes, regions, or communities. New justice spaces, such as the Chickasaw District Courts in Oklahoma and the Zapatista Good Governance Councils in Chiapas, work to resolve conflict based largely on indigenous ‘customs and traditions.’ Many of the cases brought before these local legal bodies are domestic cases that directly involve issues of gender, women’s rights and culture. Yet the relationship between ‘indigenous traditions’ and women’s rights has been a fraught one. This forum article considers how these courts emerged in the context of neoliberalism and whether they provide new venues for indigenous women to pursue their rights and to challenge gendered social norms or practices that they find oppressive.

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Masculinity and Autonomous Vehicles

A Degendered or Resegregated Future System of Automobility?

Dag Balkmar and Ulf Mellström

of motor vehicles more generally has historically been related to masculinity through associations with wild, untamable animals (i.e., anthropomorphization), as well as through the car’s associations with power, speed, driving pleasure, and technical

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Four Dimensions of Societal Transformation

An Introduction to the Problematique of Ukraine

Zuzana Novakova

transition is, perhaps far too frequently, limited to assessing the (state of) implementation of the reforms in various sectors. In other words, the study of changes remains centered on the speed, progresses, or regresses of institution building and the