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Rebecca Sear

Abstract

Despite the tendency of some academic disciplines to assume that the nuclear family is normative, the family takes a number of different forms cross-culturally. Regardless of family form, family members typically cooperate in raising children. Intergenerational help (from grandparents to parents and children), for example, is a cross-cultural universal. Such cooperation means that the availability of kin may be one salient factor in deciding whether and when to have children. Here I consider the evidence for whether the availability of kin does influence fertility, and whether these relationships vary cross-culturally. I find evidence from middle and lower income populations that the presence of kin does increase fertility, and that these relationships are plausibly driven by cooperation between family members. In higher income contexts, associations between kin and fertility are mixed, and appear particularly sensitive to how kin availability and support is measured. There is some evidence that certain measures of support from kin (such as emotional support or help with childcare) increases the likelihood of subsequent births, but kin support is not always positively associated with fertility. Family matters for fertility, then, though these relationships may be complex and context-specific. Policy needs to take this diversity into account, and should not focus exclusively on the nuclear family model, nor neglect the roles other family members play in reproductive decisions.

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Contraceptive Decision-Making in Developing Countries

Husbands, wives or both partners jointly deciding about contracepion use according to DHS data

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Institutional Change in the Public Sphere

Views on the Nordic Model

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Andrada Tobias

Abstract

The aim of the present paper is to analyse how individuals in contemporary Romania come to adopt a new life-style centred on the self and how new forms of spirituality contribute to this project. In order to document how powerfully immersed alternative forms of spirituality (yoga practices, transcendental meditation, bioenergy, holistic medicine etc.) and subjectification techniques (personal development, motivational practices) look like for people in Romania, I have combined participant observations with semi-structured in-depth interviews. First of all I have reviewed the literature on spirituality and self-development and overviewed the specific techniques of subjectification. These techniques have the power to change the individual’s view of life and have elements that serve the neoliberal governmentality. To continue, I have attended courses and workshops centred on spiritual development to uncover the communalities between literature and discourses on change. I was mainly interested in analysing the discourse of trainers, speakers and religious guiders and outlining the participants’ experiences, while understanding how they utilise the knowledge and support given throughout these courses when trying to enhance their day-to-day lives and careers. 2

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František Ochrana, Michal Plaček and Milan Jan Půček

Abstract

The article analyses the problems of strategic governance and strategic management of the Czechoslovak Government, as well as the Government of the Czech Republic in the years 1989-2016. It seeks the causes and factors that have caused the low levels of strategic governance and strategic management at the level of the ministries of the Czech Republic. It examines the problem from genetic and historical perspective, and from the organizational and human capacity to exercise strategic governance. The study is based on two pieces of empirical research within the ministries of the Czech Republic. It identifies the main cause of failure of strategic governance and strategic management at the level of the central government of the Czech Republic. These include, in particular, the persistent distrust of the ideas of strategic governance and strategic management held by the right-wing governments and the generally low capacity of governments of the Czech Republic to engage in strategic governance. The organizational structure of the central state administration lacks the strategic units that generate ideas for supporting strategic governance. The empirical research of the ministries of the Czech Republic also revealed that policy workers in Czech ministries dedicate a large proportion of their work time to operational and administrative activities at the expense of analytical and strategic activities. The changes require implementation of reforms within the public administration, which (among other things) will eliminate the existing causes and inhibiting factors regarding the lack of strategic governance in the Czech Republic.

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Cristine Palaga

Abstract

In line with socio-anthropological theories meant to deconstruct the secularization teleology (Berger, 1997; Luckmann, 1967; Shah, 2015), this paper aims to document recent transformations in the field of Spirituality and Religion. Inheriting the analytical dichotomy between neo-liberal and anti-capitalist forms of spirituality, introduced by Carette and King (2005), I aim to emphasize both the common points and the ruptures between the subjectification technologies used within transformative self-development and self-help programmes, on the one hand, and a form of alternative Neo-Pagan spirituality, which opposes the capitalist way of organizing social, economic, political and cultural life, on the other hand. The rupture between anti-capitalist and neo-liberal forms of spirituality rests on identifying the extent to which the spiritual domain is colonized by an economically mundane ideology, in which the subject is invited to look upon spirituality as an internal resource meant to satisfy all the tropes of the neo-liberal economic imagery: optimization, efficiency, amplified productivity, abundance and prosperity. In addition to the ethnographic justification of this theoretical construct that supports the existence of two opposed poles of constituting a spiritual self, I will adjoin the cultural relationship between spirituality and capitalism to the wider problem of secularization, by arguing that spirituality is a byproduct of late modernity and a leitmotif of the power technologies through which the neo-liberal subject is produced. 2