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Ringa Raudla, Aleksandrs Cepilovs, Rainer Kattel and Linda Sutt

Abstract

Our paper explores how a rule prescribed by the European Union can bring about changes in the policy discourse of a member state. Drawing on the literatures of discursive institutionalism and Europeanization, the theoretical part discusses the factors that influence discursive shifts. The empirical part examines the discursive impacts of the introduction of the structural budget deficit rule, required by the Fiscal Compact, in Estonia and Latvia. It demonstrates how the discursive shifts have been shaped by the localized translations offered by civil servants, the entrance of additional actors to the policy-making arena, crisis experience, and the strategic interests of policy actors.

Open access

Ondřej Hora

Abstract

In this article, we evaluate ‘Professional traineeships for young people up to 30 years’, an active labour market policy measure implemented in the Czech Republic. Professional traineeships were one of the possibilities for suitable offer to young people within Youth Guarantee in the Czech Republic in 2014 and 2015. First, we conducted a process evaluation (document analysis and interviews) to uncover the design and implementation aspects of the program. Next, we followed the counterfactual impact evaluation approach towards the estimate of returns to unemployment (competing risk analysis) based on individual administration data from public employment services. We have found that professional traineeships were successful in attracting the interest of both young people and employers. Mainly young people with middle and high level education have entered the program. Most of them have been provided with on-the-job subsidies in the private sector. When considering the impact of the program on the unemployment of participants and a control group, it was shown that after two years, the measure was effective only for young people with long pre-program Employment Office registration. When we consider the reasons for leaving Employment Office registration, the measure seems to be more effective, since many young people in the control group left the Employment Office register in favour of options that were outside of the labour market.

Open access

David A. Kideckel

Abstract

This essay considers how transportation and mobility model the character of Romanian-American interaction during fieldwork from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. Transportation in socialist Romania was a register of modernization and regime legitimation as well as an absolute threat to that legitimation. Official suspicions of movement and political concern about transportation translated into differentially restricting, policing, and limiting availability of transportation. In contrast anthropological fieldwork is predicated on movement while Western culture also claimed free mobility as a cultural good. These different teleologies provoked diverse disjunctures in my interactions with Romanians. While I engaged with Romanians naively, my travelling together with people either gave them cover for resistance or provoked their fear of political exposure. Sharing transportation resources with Romanians encouraged others’ concerns about my alleged political bias or was used to affirm socialist superiority. In other words, transportation during socialism was never neutral, but freighted politically and culturally confrontational.

Open access

Cornel Ban

Open access

Emmanuel O. Olamijuwon and Clifford O. Odimegwu

Abstract

The demographic changes occurring in Mali, evident in high fertility but declining mortality rates have raised optimism about the prospects of reaping demographic dividend. However, it remains unclear how soon and what policy scenario would yield the largest demographic dividend in the country. We used a demographic-economic model “DemDiv” to assess the prospects of reaping a demographic dividend in Mali by 2050. We illuminate this further by examining the cost and implications of different combination of education, family planning and economic policies. The results show that by increasing access to education, family planning services coupled with strong economic reforms, Mali’s GDP per capita will be $27,044 by 2050. This high per capita GDP is almost thrice the benefit of prioritising only economic reforms. Mali would also have a GDP of $977 billion. These findings highlight the need for sound demographic and market-oriented economic policies for Mali to reap a large demographic dividend by 2050.

Open access

Jasmine Fledderjohann and Celia Roberts

Abstract

Although reproduction involves (at least) two sexed bodies, men are often missing from in/fertility research. Surveys such as the widely-used Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) engage in often unintentional yet highly consequential practices of gendering. Here we identify two processes through which surveys have the potential to render male infertility invisible: defining the population at risk of infertility in an exclusionary way; and designing survey instruments to select out some groups/issues. Compiling information about survey samples and inclusion criteria in the DHS, and combining this with a qualitative examination of instrument design, we identify areas of men’s invisibility across time and place. While inclusion of men in DHS samples has increased over time, some men (e.g. single and divorced, transgender) remain missing in many survey settings. This is problematic from a reproductive justice perspective. Survey results, which both reflect and contribute to men’s invisibility, are widely used as an evidence-base for family and population policies. Moreover, reproductive health services are only made available to those whose reproductive health needs are recognized; men’s exclusion from the reproductive discourse contributes to the stratification of reproduction. Men’s underrepresentation in in/fertility data also reinforces the notion that reproduction is a woman’s domain, and so contributes to a system that places responsibility for reproduction on women. It is vital to explore how gender is enacted or ‘done’ in such research.

Open access

Gayle Clifford, Gill Craig and Christine McCourt

Abstract

Existing guidelines (WHO, 2011) advise caretakers and professionals to disclose children’s and their caretakers’ HIV status to children, despite a lack of evidence concerning the potential implications in resource-constrained settings. Our research uses feminist Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to explore the experiences of HIV positive mothers in Kingston, Jamaica, focusing on their lived experiences of talking to their children about maternal HIV. This paper will focus on the concept of mothering at a distance and how this presents additional challenges for HIV positive mothers who are trying to establish emotional closeness in relation to talking to their children about their HIV. Using Hochschild’s concept of emotion work and examples from the interviews, we highlight the difficult contexts informing women’s decisions when negotiating discussions about their HIV. Women may choose full, partial or differential disclosure or children may be told their mother’s HIV status by others. Disclosure policy, we argue, reflects Anglo-Northern constructions of the family and parenting which may not adequately reflect the experiences of poor urban mothers in low and middle income countries. We argue that policy needs to recognise culturally-specific family formations, which, in Jamaica includes absent fathers, mothering at a distance and mothering non-biological children. This article reflects on the experiences of an under-researched group, poor urban Jamaican women practising mothering at a distance, using a novel methodological approach (IPA) to bring into relief unique insights into their lived experiences and will contribute to the global policy and research literature on HIV disclosure.

Open access

Ágota Ábrán

Abstract

Part of the raw material accumulation for the medicinal plant industry in Romania is reliant on gathering plants from the so-called spontaneous flora. The imagery of medicinal plants played upon by medicinal plant product manufacturers is often abundant in visions of either wilderness or traditional peasant landscapes such as pastures. This article aims to present instead two different spaces where medicinal plants come from: wild pansy from within an oil seed rape cultivation, and elderflowers and nettles from the ruins of a former socialist orchard. These spaces of spontaneous flora highlight the process of capital’s appropriation or salvage of the ‘free’ reproductive labour (spontaneous growth) of weeds often at odds and against other capitalist processes. Moreover, salvaging or scrounging is done through the cheap labour of a family whose livelihood depends on work both inside and outside of this capitalist process. These places, therefore, highlight the tension between the spontaneous flora and scroungers on the ground and Nature with its ancestral peasants on the supermarket and nature shop shelves.

Open access

Sergiu Novac

Abstract

This article explores how sustainability was staged in the context of EXPO 2000, the first and only world exhibition organized by Germany. The notion seemed to gain ground around the turn of the millennium in global political and policy circles, especially through such documents as the ‘Agenda 21’ and the ‘Millennium Development Goals’. These were also the main source of inspiration while organizing EXPO 2000, which, under the motto ‘Humankind, Nature, Technology’ claimed to put forward a radically different vision for the 21st century. However, throughout the paper I argue that sustainability ended up performing a quite different ideological function. In Germany, the staging of sustainability took place as an activation of expertize, meant to fix a crisis of the economy and to open up new grounds for capitalism’s search for profit, ultimately deepening the environmental crisis that it was meant to alleviate in the first place.

Open access

Cornelia Mureşan

Abstract

Women are spending an ever longer part of their lives enrolled in education programs. A crucial question in this context is how motherhood can be reconciled and correlated with continued investment in human capital. A related question concerns the role the socioeconomic context plays in the education/family life balance. In the present study we account for the finding that a pregnancy resulting in a first birth usually triggers the termination of formal education, and, conversely, that the completion of education is often followed by a first birth. We use a simultaneous-hazard two-equation model, controlling for common potential but unobserved determinants. Relative to work already done on these matters, our study extends previous investigations to Eastern European countries which have not been adequately researched so far. To strengthen comparison, we have additionally included two Western European countries. This allowed us to assess the importance of political context. The results show that despite efforts to offer women the possibility of choosing both motherhood and being enrolled in education, the educational policies which were introduced in some Eastern European countries after the fall of communist political regimes could not counteract the negative effects of the transition to a market economy. In these formerly communist countries, the continuation of studies in parallel with childbearing and family formation has become more difficult.