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Sustainable Development as a Goal

Social, Environmental and Economic Dimensions

Vera Mignaqui

Scholars are researching how to assess a country's sustainable development performance. However, not many proposals differentiate the performance via the three dimensions of sustainable development: social, economic and environmental. This article proposes to assess a country's sustainable development performance in general as well as in each of the dimensions. It pursues three objectives: (1) identifying sustainably developed countries; (2) assessing the best performers in terms of sustainable development; and (3) understanding the relations between the dimensions. Results show a globally bad sustainable development performance, with no sustainably developed countries. They also show that the economic dimension is not the best performing dimension at a global level and that very high levels of gross national income (GNI) per capita usually imply a bad environmental performance.

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Mind the Gap

Seventeen Sightings of the “Social” in Economic Development Policy Writing

Ramond Apthorpe

Semantic codes constitute the world (or parts of it), not in a mechanistic “cause-and-effect” sense but through another type of linkage. This article explores some of the semantic code, the “semantic DNA,” of mainstream neoclassical economic development policy thinking and writing and looks at what that mode of thinking incorporates into its discourse as “social.” The various forms of the “social” in economics discourse add up, from a sociologist’s viewpoint, to disappointingly little: they mainly consist of a miscellaneous set of noneconomic aspects that mainstream economic thinking can use to blame for the policy-performance gap between what such thinking promises and what it often actually delivers.

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Children's Sociality

The Civilizing Project in the Danish Kindergarten

Karen Fog Olwig

The increasing institutionalization of childhood in Western societies has generated concern in the social sciences regarding the disciplinary and regulating regimes of institutions and their presumed constraints on children's social interaction. This article argues that institutions for children can also enable such social interaction. Drawing on Norbert Elias's proposal that child rearing entails a civilizing project, this article contends that being 'not-yet-civilized' enables children to draw on a wide range of emotions and bodily expressions that are unavailable to adults. Through an analysis of life stories narrated by Danish youths, it is shown that common grounds of interaction were established in early childhood, allowing them to turn this adultconstructed institution into a place of their own where they could develop a sense of sociality.

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Social Analysis

The International Journal of Cultural and Social Practice

Kingsley Garbett

Social Analysis was published for 23 years by the Department of Anthropology, University of Adelaide. From January, 2002 it will now be published in New York by Berghahn Books of New York and Oxford. In recent years, it has encouraged a dialogue within anthropology and especially in that interface between anthropologists and other scholars in the social sciences and humanities. However, the restructuring of the journal and the constitution of a new international editorial committee is intended to situate the journal strongly within debates and issues affecting human populations in all parts of contemporary globalized realities. More than ever the journal is concerned to intervene in the formation of an anthropological critical and empirical gaze relevant to contemporary realities. This intervention is directed to explore the horizons of the possibilities of anthropological analysis and understanding, of what might be described as the anthropological attitude which consistently problematizes every aspect of human social life and existence. The journal in this way seeks to break out of anthropology in a narrow disciplinary sense and to encourage contributions which express an open yet simultaneously rigorous approach to the crises of being human and which are enabled to draw from a great diversity of relevant fields of enquiry.

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Social Quality

Opening Individual Well-Being for a Social Perspective

Peter Herrmann

The article presents the application of the Social Quality Approach in order to develop a clear understanding of the European Social Model. For this Social Quality is understood as both a normative approach and an analytical tool. The article allows an insight into the actual meaning of the statement frequently made that the course of European integration falls short when it comes to social policy. The problem, however, is not the lack of responsibility for social policy. Rather, the author emphasises that the real problem is the specific interpretation of the social.

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Social Quality

The French Case

Denis Bouget and Frederic Salladarré

The objective of this study is to establish a set of indicators capable of forming the empirical basis of the concept of social quality for European citizens. Social quality is defined as the extent to which citizens are able to participate in the social and economic life of their communities under conditions which enhance their well-being and individual potential (Beck et al. 2001: 6). Before analysing the four social quality conditional factors, we will describe some facts surrounding the French situation. Firstly, the general social and economic situation will be described through characteristics which are particularly outstanding in France, i.e., in the first place unemployment and flexibility (in a negative sense comprising working poor, involuntary part-time workers, etc.). In the second place, certain striking features in the four conditional factors of social quality will be emphasised.

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Social Gerontology

Concepts and Concerns in the U.S. and Europe

Anne Jamieson

Two recent publications, one American (Minkler and Estes, 1999) and one European (Arber and Attias-Donfut, 2000), provide a good opportunity to reflect on some of the issues and challenges in current social gerontology. Social gerontology is an area of study concerned with ageing and age-related social issues. Its strengths are its multidisciplinarity and the imaginative ways in which it successfully combines a range of perspectives and approaches in exploring the processes and experience of ageing. Within this broad field are widely different interests and concerns, and indeed differences of opinion as to what gerontology should be about. Whether such differences are clear-cut and perhaps even constitute ‘schools of thought’ is debatable. Judging from the discussion by the editors of Critical Gerontology: Perspectives from Political and Moral Economy, critical gerontology constitutes a field or enterprise, which appears as distinct from mainstream gerontology (Minkler and Estes, 1999).

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The "Social"

The Global Career of an Idea

Lutz Leisering

This special issue assembles contributions from the global North and South to inquire into the future of the “social” from an interdisciplinary perspective, drawing on sociology, political science and law. What does “social” mean, and do social policy and the welfare state have a future in a global age? The issue is published on the occasion of the eightieth birthday of Franz-Xaver Kaufmann, who is considered the doyen of the sociology of social policy in Germany (see his recent books, translated into English, Kaufmann 2012, 2013a, 2013b).

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Enwinding Social Theory

Wind and Weather in Zulu Zionist Sensorial Experiences

Rune Flikke

This article discusses the theoretical potential of air, winds, and atmosphere as they place flux, transience, and motion at the center of the human predicament. Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted among urban Zulu Zionists, it is argued that the winds blowing across the landscape of KwaZulu-Natal also blew through bodies and in the process restructured subjectivities. Through a general discussion of the phenomenal aspects of air, I argue that we need to approach our sensory relations to weather and atmosphere with a diachronic focus on changing local body-worlds. This is, I argue, a leap of the imagination that is needed in order to challenge the material and visual that implicitly underpin much social theory. Such a theoretical move is needed in order to properly approach weather-worlds.

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Islam and Pious Sociality

The Ethics of Hierarchy in the Tablighi Jamaat in Pakistan

Arsalan Khan

Pakistani Tablighis, practitioners of a transnational Islamic piety movement, the Tablighi Jamaat, insist that only their own form of face-to-face preaching (dawat) is capable of spreading Islamic virtue. Tablighis dismiss the efforts to spread Islam by a diverse array of Islamist actors, including political parties, corporations, NGOs, and popular televangelists. This highlights a central cleavage within the Islamic revival in Pakistan. While Islamists have adopted a modernist conception of religion associated with egalitarian individualism, Tablighis understand dawat to be a religious practice that entails an ethics of hierarchy in which one becomes virtuous by submitting to the authority of pious others. In dawat, Tablighis create a hierarchically structured world of pious sociality against the threat of egalitarian individualism in liberal and Islamist varieties.