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'Too great a morsell for time to devoure'

Seventeenth-Century Surveys of the Pyramids at Giza

Angus Vine

This essay explores the responses of early modern travel-writers, primarily English, to the Pyramids at Giza. By examining a series of surveys, scholarly and otherwise, it proposes that the Pyramids became sites of overwhelming curiosity for seventeenth-century travellers. It also explores the literary, antiquarian and mathematical influences behind this curiosity, the influences which resulted in the emergence of an architectural and mensural approach to those three iconic Egyptian monuments.

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Ready for Progress?

Opinion Surveys on Women's Roles and Opportunities in Belle Epoque France

Lenard R. Berlanstein

This essay uses readers' opinion surveys in Femina, a unique, high-circulation fashion magazine that championed women's rights, to study the reception of feminist ideas. The readers were fashion-conscious and well-off provincial bourgeoises, a group that might have had conservative attitudes on gender roles. Yet, the many thousands of responses reveal a profound desire to expand women's identities beyond domesticity. About a third of the readers were even indignant that women lacked the freedoms of men. Most others looked forward to a future when society would offer women more opportunities to utilize their talents while reaffirming the satisfactions of familial roles. The surveys show that Frenchwomen were redefining femininity in a more individualistic direction though national emergencies as 1914 approached would make them hesitant about pressing their cause.

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Geoff Payne

Most undergraduates’ main, hands-on involvement in student engagement is completing satisfaction surveys, such as the U.K. National Student Survey (NSS), whose findings make significant contributions to university policy formation. It is therefore important that these surveys produce reliable and valid data, but previous and current NSS versions fail to do this. This article compares the U.K.’s model of ‘satisfaction’ with that of the U.S. National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). Whereas the NSS treats the student as a passive consumer, the NSSE treats the student as an active participant who shares personal liability for some of the educational outcomes. The NSSE’s greater use of factual rather than opinion questions, allowance for variation in types of students and student effort, and wider interpretation of ‘student engagement’ are seen as more fit for purpose and less influenced by the ideologies of neoliberalism and managerial control.

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Ehren Helmut Pflugfelder

Several recent surveys report a gap between how men and women feel about autonomous vehicles. While such binaries may have limited usefulness, female respondents rank autonomous technology as less trustworthy and are less likely than men to report feeling safe in an autonomous car. This comment frames such results within the articles for this special section on autonomous vehicles, showing how reported gender divisions are resultant from discursive formations that frame user experience and individual performed experiences. These discursive-material dynamics generate persuasive configurations of power that thoughtful research and action in autonomous vehicle development could help mitigate. After summarizing survey diff erences, this comment off ers a brief commentary on how they might be addressed, focusing on material rhetoric and vehicle design.

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Two Worlds of Environmentalism?

Empirical Analyses on the Complex Relationship between Postmaterialism, National Wealth, and Environmental Concern

Jochen Mayerl and Henning Best

This article examines cross-cultural differences in the value cluster of environmentalism and postmaterialism. Based on an extension of Ronald Inglehart’s “objective problems–subjective values” hypothesis, we posit different sources of postmaterialism and environmental concern in wealthy versus poor countries. We test hypotheses on the relationship between national wealth, postmaterialist values, and environmental concern using empirical data from the World Values Survey waves 5 and 6 and the International Social Survey Program 2010. Using multilevel regression models with cross-level interaction terms and country fixed effects, we show that the effect of postmaterialism on environmental concern is indeed moderated by national wealth: whereas there is a weak or even no effect in poorer countries, the relationship is substantial in wealthy countries. Therefore, we argue that individual postmaterialist values and environmental concern do in fact form a coherent structure in wealthy countries, but should be considered as isolated constructs in poorer countries.

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Investigating Australians' Trust

Findings from a National Survey

Samantha B. Meyer, Tini C. N. Luong, Paul R. Ward, George Tsourtos and Tiffany K. Gill

Trust has been identified as an indicator within Social Quality theory. As an important component of social quality, trust has become increasingly important in modern society because literature suggests that trust in a number of democratic countries is declining. Modern technologies and specialties are often beyond the understanding of lay individuals and thus, the need for trusting relations between lay individuals and organizations/individuals has grown. The purpose of the study was to examine the extent to which Australians (dis)trust individuals and organizations/institutions. A national postal survey was conducted with 1,044 respondents recruited using the electronic white pages directory. Findings from multivariate analyses suggest that income, age, sex, and health status are associated with trust in groups of individuals and trust in organizations/institutions. The findings highlight populations where trust needs to be (re)built. Future government policy and practice should utilize these findings as a means of facilitating social quality.

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‘I’m like a snail carrying my entire house with me’

Doctoral fellows’ experiences of a mobile life

Lisbeth Kristine Olesen Walakira and Susan Wright

EU policies promote mobility as a part of contemporary doctoral education. EU-funded doctoral candidates are expected to move country, establish international research networks; travel for workshops, conferences and research stays abroad; and collaborate across disciplines as well as work in other sectors during their doctoral training. As far as EU policies are concerned, competence in all these ‘mobilities’ is essential for future knowledge workers in a competitive, global economy. But how do doctoral fellows themselves experience mobility? A survey of 3,410 EU-funded doctoral fellows shed light on their experiences of geographical, sectoral, interdisciplinary and social mobility. It showed that many PhD candidates are excited by the opportunities they see in their doctoral programmes, but they often experience tensions between their professional and personal desires.

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Dov Waxman

The influence of the pro-Israel lobby in US foreign policymaking toward the Middle East has been a subject of great interest and fierce controversy in recent years. Yet, despite being the object of a massive amount of critical scrutiny, the pro-Israel lobby remains poorly understood. All too often it is depicted as a highly organized, cohesive political actor pursuing an agenda in line with, and even determined by, Israel's right-wing Likud party. By undertaking a detailed empirical survey of the pro-Israel community in the United States, this article shows that such a view is grossly inaccurate. The pro-Israel community is neither monolithic nor a unitary actor. It is fragmented into a number of different groups, many of which disagree sharply over their understanding of Israel's real interests. In lobbying the US government for what they believe is in Israel's interests, therefore, the pro-Israel community rarely, if ever, speaks with a single voice.

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Protest Activity, Social Incentives, and Rejection Sensitivity

Results from a Survey Experiment about Tuition Fees

Emma A. Bäck, Hanna Bäck and Gema Garcia-Albacete

People may engage in protest activity either because of collective incentives or selective incentives, or a combination of them. In this study we focus on the selective incentives part of the calculus of political participation, particularly the impact of the social dimension. We hypothesize that people will participate in demonstrations or other forms of protest, to a higher extent if they are afraid of rejection, but only if they feel that they have high social support for their own position. This hypothesis was supported in an online survey experiment where social support was manipulated. Results also revealed that individuals who were highly rejection sensitive were among the most likely to participate even though they did not believe protest activity to be an efficient way to bring about social change. This supports the notion that some individuals tend to engage in protest activity for purely social reasons. However it is still unclear whether these individuals are driven by an approach motivation to establish new social bonds or an avoidance motivation to escape possible social rejection.