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Open access

Maria Martelli

Abstract

This article aims to explore the ways in which power structures the learning experience in high school, detailing what kind of cultures it creates and what practices it fosters. By interviewing students (currently enrolled in the Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, Cluj-Napoca) recalling their high school years, I can tap into their reflexivity regarding the experiences of being taught to and of learning, focusing especially on how these have become legitimated and have formed the subject. Drawing on Paulo Freire’s theory of the banking model and using a post-structuralist framework, the research intends to make visible a current account of institutionalization of learning. Finally, the research shows how pupils become subjects to be categorized according to their compliance to the programme’s requirements and how they might internalize legitimized forms of learning (such as memorizing for further testing) in detriment of others.

Open access

Michal Sedlačko and Katarína Staroňová

Abstract

In the Slovak Republic, a number of internal ministerial advisory bodies, intended to provide high-quality analyses and evidence based policy making for national policy, have been established over the last two years. We have studied how the rational technocratic model of scientific policy advice as a specific mode of governing, acted out through these new institutional sites of expertise, survives in a highly politicised environment of the Slovak public administration. Central to our study was the reconstruction of an intersubjective account central to the work of organising on which the analytical centres and their staff, as well as their patrons, participate. Complementary to this, we focused on intersubjectively shared elements of the analysts’ community and subculture within the dominant CEE public administration culture. The vision of governing with expertise shared by analytical centres rests on the principles of transparency, orientation on professional merit (primarily econometric, analytical skills), voluntarism, conflict avoidance, political opportunism and institutional autonomy. Analytical centres identify themselves as a distinct professional group – in fact, they form a distinct organisational subculture around traits such as demographic characteristics (predominantly young males with economic or mathematical/IT background), symbols, hierarchies, working culture, humour, as well as artefacts. Analysts see their mission in the provision of impartial, objective analytical evidence for informed decision making, yet they negotiate the boundary between politics and expertise on a daily basis, and, as we found, in numerous aspects of analysts’ work politics cannot be entirely bracketed.

Open access

Mara Mărginean

Abstract

This article examines the part played by foreign academic literature translated into Romanian during the 1970s. Dwelling on the activity of the Centre for the Study of Youth Problems (CSYP), it aims to highlight the national authorities’ efforts to mobilize youth for a new industrialization wave as part of an encompassing global trend of making the youth into an object of professionalized knowledge and policy. To this end, it analyses how the internationalization of expertise by transnational production and circulation of knowledge changed the Romanian scientific practices and recalibrated the experts’ visibility within the state’s decision-making processes. My contribution explores the shifting relationship between public housing and industrial growth as a foundation for socialist labour politics, the transnational emergence of a ‘rule of experts’, and the political interests around research on youths and their living conditions.

Open access

Iulia Hurducaş

Abstract

Lefebvre’s 1970 prophecy of the total urbanisation of society has come true with the expansion of the urban into natural and rural territories. For Lefebvre, the question of nature is closed by its ‘steady, violent death’ (Lefebvre, 2003) and its replacement by a ‘second nature’ (Schmid, 2014; Smith, 2008). This closure accounts at an epistemic level, for the dominance of the urban (Krause, 2013; Brenner and Schmid, 2014). Far from being closed, the question of nature is renewed within the present conditions of planetary urbanisation, as the interiorised non-urban is ‘operationalised’ to sustain urban growth, thus making the non-city ‘an essential terrain of capitalist urbanisation’ (Brenner, 2016). In what follows, I present how the Romanian forest is operationalised as a territory of planetary urbanisation through forest management practices. Looking into the negotiations and manipulations on the ground provides a way to ‘pay attention’ (Stengers, 2010) to those practices that sort and select natural areas. In the face of the recorded disappearance of the forest, the effort of making visible the rationality of planning, and the challenges that are posed upon it inscribes itself within an ‘ethics of visibility’ (Roberts, 2012; Topalovic, 2016).

Open access

Marian Cosmin Gabriel

Abstract

The process of administrative decentralization of the education system in Romania proceeded in chaotic steps. It was done under the pressure, on one hand, of the EU integration requirements and, on the other hand, of the local administrations who wanted more control over how their money were used in the schools and of the parents committees that wanted to have a say in the local schools. The road was scattered with new reform legislations coming with every change in government composition and ministers. The result was a combination of local autonomy and central control that had the potential to produce confusion and conflict. The multiple and complex blend of divided responsibilities and powers turned out in the process of setting up the new form or entry grade in the Romanian primary education cycle in a rational strategic play scholarly designated as anticommons. Each separated actor tries to obtain a maximizing share of the cooperatively generated benefit for a minimum possible cost. The interactions are modeled as a Game of Chicken where, because actors calculate separately, each selects a higher price/lower quantity position than is optimal, resulting in a lower net payoff both individually and collectively.

Open access

Maria Alessandra Antonelli and Valeria De Bonis

Abstract

Based on the construction of a composite index to assess the relative performance of welfare policies, we show that the variability of performances cannot be explained only by the amount of resources devoted to social policies, but also by its composition: countries with higher shares of social public expenditure, specifically aimed at reducing income concentration, obtain better results. This associates the traditional classification of the European welfare systems to the performance obtained in the social sector.

Open access

Ágota Ábrán and Iulia Hurducaş

Open access

Željko Poljak

Abstract

The author analyses the transport policy of the rail sector in Croatia and tries to give answers regarding the policy stability and change based on the actors in the rail transport. The aim of the paper is to give an overview of the development of the rail sector in modern Croatia and to explore, in a larger period, the relations and beliefs of all types of actors in this area at the national level. As a theoretical background, the author uses an advocacy coalition framework, which states that policy actors are grouped into coalitions within a policy subsystem in which they advocate their beliefs in order to transfer them into government programs, thus provoking change and stability in the system. The author methodologically uses qualitative content analysis in the form of coding of the collected material based on transcripts of interviews with actors, official documents, and transcript of one parliamentary debate. Following is a review of the historical development of the rail sector in Croatia, with an emphasis on the post-independence Croatia period, which provides a basis for concrete research findings. The results are presented in two units: (1) identified actors and their relations, and (2) beliefs of actors. The follow-up discussion points to the existence of similar patterns of beliefs among the actors at the national level. However, the empirical material collected does not establish clear relationships that could be classified as an advocacy coalition. In conclusion, the author argues that the coded material does not give away any importance of the coalitions of actors at the national level for policy stability and change of rail sector leading to recommendations for further research in this area, where other transport sectors should be included as well as international actors.

Open access

Sasha Frade and Clifford Odimegwu

Abstract

IPV, which emanates as a severe consequence of gender inequality in society, is the most pervasive form of IPV as most cases of abuse is perpetrated by intimate partners and has major health consequences for women. Women with a history of abuse are also at increased risk of reproductive health outcomes; such as high parity, inconsistent and lower levels of contraceptive use, unintended pregnancies, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Despite concerted efforts by African governments, fertility levels in the region remain high. Africa is the region that has been least responsive to family planning programmes. This study investigates the associations between IPV and fertility in Uganda, using the Ugandan Demographic and Health Survey of 2011. Adult women of reproductive ages (15-49) that were included in the domestic violence module of the individual recode, were included in this study. Univariate, bivariate analysis, and unadjusted and adjusted Poisson Regression models were conducted for children ever born and the different forms of IPV (emotional, physical and sexual), as well as the socio-demographic and women’s empowerment variables. Both bivariate and multivariate analyses show a strong association between both these pervasive health problematics; and may therefore be one of the unexplained proximate determinants of persistently high fertility in countries such as Uganda. These results have important implications for understanding both the fertility transition in Uganda, but also for programmes and policies addressing unwanted pregnancies and unmet need for contraception that is driving fertility up, and IPV amongst women which we know from previous work has severe reproductive health outcomes but which we have now identified is a contributor to high fertility as well.