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Soft skills, hard rocks

Making diamonds ethical in Canada’s Northwest Territories

Lindsay A. Bell

-community partnerships. Specifically, marketing campaigns and local public relations materials stress the capacity for mine development to provide local and Indigenous people with training for high wage work. In 2008, as part of a larger ethnographic investigation of

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Introduction

Diagrams beyond Mere Tools

Lukas Englemann, Caroline Humphrey and Christos Lynteris

This special issue moves beyond an understanding of diagrams as mere inscriptions of objects and processes, proposing instead to re-evaluate diagrammatic reasoning as the work that is carried out with, on, and beyond diagrams. The introduction presents this issue’s focus on ‘working with diagrams’ in a way that goes beyond semiotic, cognitive, epistemic, or symbolic readings of diagrams. It discusses recent research on diagrams and diagrammatic reasoning across disciplines and approaches diagrams as suspended between imagination and perception—as objects with which work is done and as objects that do work. Contributions to this issue probe diagrams for the work they do in the development of disciplinary theories, investigate their reworking of questions of time and scale, and ask how some diagrams work across fields and disciplines. Other authors shift the perspective to their own work with diagrams, reflecting on the practice and performative nature of diagrammatic reasoning in their respective fields and disciplines.

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“Work pays”

Slovak neoliberalism as “authoritarian populism”

Nicolette Makovicky

Focusing on the implementation of the New Social Policy in January 2004 and the social unrest that followed, this article traces the discursive construction of welfare dependence as a “Romani” problem through the creation of a media-led “moral panic”. Situating this “moral panic” within the wider context of competing populist narratives in postsocialist Slovakia, it argues that the ethnicization of the unrest constituted a rearticulation of nationalist populist symbols into liberal political logic. Employed by the opposition, the first of these narratives posited liberalization as the dispossession of the working majority by corrupt elites. This was countered by a second narrative presented by the center-right coalition that posited welfare as a system of “just rewards” for those willing to work, while constructing the Romani minority as social deviants. As such, it appeared to be a variant of what Stuart Hall has called “authoritarian populism”: an attempt by the leading coalition to harness popular discontents in order to justify exceptional levels of government intervention into social life.

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Girls’ Work in a Rural Intercultural Setting

Formative Experiences and Identity in Peasant Childhood

Ana Padawer

’s participation in agrarian work in the daily social construction of contrasting identities. Specifically, I explore the meaning of work for girls as learning that builds their identities as peasants in the contemporary world. Regulatory definitions of children

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'Working on Holiday'

Relationships between Tourism and Work among Young Canadians in Edinburgh

Kathleen Rice

Working holiday-maker programmes have facilitated a growing cohort of mobile young people who have an ambiguous status as both worker and tourist. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted among Canadian working holiday-makers in Scotland, this paper shows how working holiday-makers are situated in an ambiguous, contradictory position as working tourists, and are streamlined towards particular social and professional fields in which work-leisure boundaries are blurred. Although these blurred boundaries seem contradictory, they benefit employers who require an educated yet temporary work-force, while also meeting the desires of working holiday-makers for a lifestyle that is flexible, social, far from the pressures of friends and family, and that puts them in regular contact with other young foreigners who, like them, are at transitional points in life.

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Joint Report Team

This paper combines two documents on employment flexibility and security prepared in the context of the research project ‘Social Quality and the Policy Domain of Employment,’ undertaken by the European Foundation on Social Quality. The first document relates to work time in Europe, its social distribution and its evolution – the crucial importance of work time for the approach of flexibility is not to be demonstrated, as it is one of the main factors, alongside other characteristics, such as skills and working conditions, that have been promoted under the general umbrella of ‘employment flexibility ’as a panacea for bringing the ‘Old Europe ’back in line with the successfully job-creating U.S. economy. At the same time, people at work themselves increasingly recognise work-time flexibility as a fundamental instrument of quality of life. To achieve such flexibility will require significant social investment, such as support from the Welfare State and a full regulation framework.

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Jane Dickson

This article discusses how agency is emergent from the asymmetrical power interactions of multiple social actors and organizations. Agency, contingent and relational, is creative even when interpreted by people as unsuccessful. I employ ethnographic research from within a local authority sustainability team who were threatened with redundancy because of funding cuts imposed during the implementation of British Prime Minister David Cameron's Big Society project. In order to manage their situation, possible futures had to be re-imagined and appropriately contained through processes of self-assessment and self-management. The ability to enable self-directing action was often evident but was frequently interpreted by people as unsuccessful. This stemmed from misrecognition, scarcity and the lack of capacity to bring about full and substantial changes. Both the sustainability team and their work emerge from this process reduced and reformed through the competing tensions of systems of political governance and technologies of the self.

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Overconsumption as Ideology

Implications for Addressing Global Climate Change

Diana Stuart, Ryan Gunderson and Brian Petersen

In response to climate change projections, scientists and concerned citizens are increasingly calling for changes in personal consumption. However, these calls ignore the true relationship between production and consumption and the ongoing propagation of the ideology of overconsumption. In this article, we draw from Western Marxist theorists to explain the ideology of overconsumption and its implications for addressing global climate change. Drawing from Herbert Marcuse and Guy Debord, we illustrate how production drives consumption, how advertising promotes false needs and excess, how these power relations are concealed, and how they undermine social and ecological well-being. Specific to climate change, continued widespread support for increasing levels of production and economic growth will undermine efforts to reduce carbon emissions and limit global warming. Given the relationships between production and carbon emissions, effective mitigation efforts will require significant systemic changes in work, production, consumption, advertising, and social norms.

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Dirty Work, Dangerous Others

The Politics of Outsourced Immigration Enforcement in Mexico

Wendy Vogt

While Mexico has been openly critical of US immigration enforcement policies, it has also served as a strategic partner in US efforts to externalize its immigration enforcement strategy. In 2016, Mexico returned twice as many Central Americans as did the United States, calling many to criticize Mexico for doing the United States’ “dirty work.” Based on ethnographic research and discourse analysis, this article unpacks and complicates the idea that Mexico is simply doing the “dirty work” of the United States. It examines how, through the construction of “dirty others”—as vectors of disease, criminals, smugglers, and workers—Central Americans come to embody “matter out of place,” thus threatening order, security, and the nation itself. Dirt and dirtiness, in both symbolic and material forms, emerge as crucial organizing factors in the politics of Central American transit migration, providing an important case study in the dynamics between transit and destination states.

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Language Ideologies at Work

Economies of Yupik Language Maintenance and Loss

Daria Morgounova Schwalbe

Using an ethnography of speaking approach, this article discusses the ideological aspects of language practices, as they are played out in a traditional Yupik (Eskimo) village in Chukotka, in the Far East of the Russian Federation. The article shows how local linguistic practices and language choices of individual speakers intersect with purist language ideologies, which frame certain beliefs about languages and ways of speaking, making them appear more normal and appropriate than others. Placing the “work of speaking” within the context of cross-cultural dynamics and purist language economies, this article challenges the basic assumption of linguistic purism about language and identity being intertwined.