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Salla Sissonen

As an afterthought to the chapters in the book, this epilogue plays with the idea of looking to the future by briefly examining what is happening at earlier stages of education today. By understanding some of the objectives of the Finnish national core curriculum 2014 and taking a look at the practices at school, we can imagine the optimal skillsets that a now 12-year-old child will have when they enter higher education in a few years’ time. Optimally, we will be faced with a person with a developed understanding of how they learn best, a creative learner and problem-solver with skills in meaningful use of technology. This chapter argues that it does not mean the efficient future learners will not require teaching; on the contrary, we will continue to need competent pedagogical thinkers to guide the students on their individual paths to lifelong-learning.

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Andreas Faludi

The planners’ calling is to pursue spatial relations wherever it takes them – if need be, transgressing borders in the process. Experienced planners exhibit enough pragmatism to step over formal requirements and negotiate solutions, even where this means transgressing borders. But, as their political masters are primarily concerned with the territory and the people each of them is responsible for, planners can be involved in conflicts of loyalty. But, inevitably, their being boundary-spanners takes them beyond territorialism. They should embrace a neo-medieval or pre-modern future. Much as islands are concerned with their relations with the sea that surrounds them, they should focus on the relations of their territory with others.

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Jan Kubik

Establishing a dialogue between political science and anthropology, this chapter considers the tangled traditions of ethnographic inquiry in order to appreciate ethnography’s potential value for the study of politics. The term “ethnography” refers to at least three overlapping yet sufficiently distinct types of intellectual activity and research practice. The essence of ethnography as a specific method of data collecting is, of course, participant observation. Second, ethnographic models are built around specific theoretical assumptions about “reality”—or its fragment—to be observed (for example, holism of the social system in early, functionalist ethnographies). Finally, ethnography is a genre of writing (or, to be more precise, a set of genres) used to narrate the reality in a manner that is different from presentations of formal or statistical models. Focusing mainly on ethnography as a method of research, this chapter explores five types of ethnography: traditional/positivistic, interpretive, postmodern, global (multisited), and paraethnography. It also discusses case study as a method and its relation to ethnography.

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Andreas Faludi

The role for planning in a neo-medieval empire would be that of a meta-governor. As such, planning would have to learn to deal with soft spaces rather than territories. Coping with polycentric development, planning itself must be polycentric, as befits neo-medievalism. Without couching them in such terms, earlier proposals to invoke the Open Method of Coordination in EU territorial cohesion policy were similar. Metaphors suitable for figuring European space in ways congenial to this type of thinking are: EU states being viewed as if they were islands forming an archipelago in a sea of functional relations; or as ice floes drifting in the Arctic Ocean, on occasion changing their forms. The corresponding view of the EU is that of its institutions, each with its overlapping coverage swirling like a cloud over a space that is itself diffuse.

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Marco Inglese and Tom Binder

Chapter 5 by Marco Inglese and Tom Binder discusses the European Ombudsman. One alternative open to individual citizens to question or even challenge government decisions in Europe is provided by the institution of the European Ombudsman. This chapter introduces the institution of the European Ombudsman by means of an extensive description of general features (goals, powers, formation and functioning) and short presentation of historic figures (how often it has been used, for what purposes, with what results). What follows is an assessment of the European Ombudsman’s potential to contribute to the democratic empowerment of European Union (EU) citizens. A thorough evaluation of the institution’s reach, in terms of both plaintiffs (what type of plaintiffs address the Ombudsman, where they come from, etc.) and substance (what type of complaints are forwarded to the Ombudsman, against which institutions/agencies, on what grounds, etc.) forms part of this assessment. Another aspect that will be discussed, in this context, are potential barriers hindering citizens’ access to the ombudsman. Finally, the flip-side of the coin will also be investigated: the European Ombudsman’s negative potential to contribute to the democratic deficit of the EU. In this regard, the Ombudsman’s position within the Trias Politica is explored. In conclusion, it is argued that the European Ombudsman has a positive impact on the democratic empowerment of EU citizens while also being able to influence the legislative agenda of EU institutions, thereby increasing their democratic accountability.

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Richard Woodward

Since the Financial Crisis of 2008, there has been unprecedented interest in, and political momentum behind, reform of the international corporate tax regime. This chapter outlines the origins and subsequent failings of the international corporate tax regime and identifies the factors that, criticism notwithstanding, have made it resistant to change since its origins in the 1920s. The chapter traces the critical periods in the development of the international tax regime as it currently stands, highlighting both victories and setbacks. The analysis presented highlights the difficulties of achieving meaningful reform in collective action problems, such as international taxation, that rely upon high-level international cooperation. The recent BEPS initiative is examined (and discussed further in Chapter 2), and presented as a reminder of the pervasiveness of the obstacles to reform identified elsewhere in this chapter, and in the rest of this book. While recent reforms have showed some promising signs, history suggests that prophecies of thoroughgoing change should be treated with caution.

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John Casterline and Stuart Gietel-Basten

As home to 60% of the world’s population, population in Asia is truly a global issue. Fertility, as the primary determinant of contemporary population growth (and decline) is therefore of central importance. However, while much has been written about rates and trends in fertility – and respective macro-level causes and consequences – the underlying individual dynamics, namely fertility desires and preferences, are often overlooked. This chapter presents a state-of-the-art review of the ways by which fertility desires have (and have not) been integrated into the theoretical and empirical framework of demography in Asia. The chapter also draws out some of the key themes of the various chapters of the book, namely: son preference; whether sub-replacement fertility norms are emerging; the switch from excess to unrealized fertility; and the drivers behind the declining desire for children.

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Andrew Sanchez

This chapter first explores the reasons for the decline of class analysis in the age of neoliberalism before engaging with the arguments for the return of class. The chapter considers social anthropology’s changing relationship to the class concept by asking what ethnographers have done with the idea, why it fell out of favour during the 1980s and 1990s, and how attention to the topic has since been reinvigorated by analyses of precarity, economic crisis and social capital. The chapter concludes by considering why contemporary political anthropology must continue to engage carefully with the types of power relations described by the term ‘class’.

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Jane Millar

Family obligations can be defined and understood in different ways: as moral obligations (what we believe it is right to do in a particular situation); as everyday life in practice (how family members support and care for each other); and as external requirements (how law and public policy define the rights and duties of family members to each other). This chapter by Millar explores how family obligations have been considered in family policy research, in particular in relation to parenting and care of the elderly. Millar reviews research on the extent to which family policy acts to complement or to crowd out family solidarity. This suggests that there is a complementarity between family and state support but also that the nature and level of state support does have important implications for family, and especially for women. Millar also reviews research on the experience of receiving family support, particularly for people in poverty, where the values of reciprocity, autonomy and privacy may come under challenge. The implications of expecting families with limited resources to provide for family members can put a heavy strain on family relationships and lead to less, not more, family solidarity.

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Jonathan Bradshaw

The chapter by Bradshaw is about child benefits – cash transfers that the state makes in respect of children. Bradshaw reviews their original purposes and the recent outbreak of advocacy on their behalf by international organisations. Despite this, in rich countries they are very variable and in poor countries they still hardly exist. The author analyses the impact of child benefits packages on net income in rich countries using model family methods. Bradshaw also discusses other evidence in favour of child benefits including their influence on fertility and the purchasing power of mothers. Objections to child benefits are discussed and it is concluded that no country should be without a mechanism for transferring resources to families with children.