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Frauke Annegret Kurbacher

Abstract

In reflecting and discussing philosophical approaches on migration (almost Flusser, but also Weil, Arendt, Kant and Waldenfels) - migration could be understood (not as an extraordinary case, but) as a ‘conditio humana’ and touches the limits and possibilities of human beings. As existential experience it is in between ‘rootedness’ and ‘groundlessness’ and has therefore also a critical potential for our views of the world and our standpoints and could enlighten them as a new form of cosmopolitanism

Open access

Gabriele Dürbeck

Abstract

The Anthropocene concept originates from earth system sciences and conceptualizes humanity as a planetary geophysical force. It links current action-oriented time horizons to Earth historical deep time and implies non-separability of natures-cultures. The Anthropocene concept has resonated in debates in natural and social sciences, the humanities and the broader public, serving as an inter- and transdisciplinary bridging concept. Based on an analysis of numerous texts from multiple scientific disciplines and media, this contribution distinguishes five narratives of the Anthropocene: the disaster narrative, the court narrative, the Great Transformation narrative, the (bio-)technological and the interdependence narrative. The five narratives articulate very different perspectives and experiences and transport divergent political, economic, ethical and anthropological values and interests; this is also shown in alternative conceptualizations such as Eurocene, Technocene, Capitalocene or Plantationocene. The analysis reveals that the narratives share significant structural characteristics concerning story, plot, protagonists, spatial and temporal structure and action-oriented emplotment which together can be referred to a meta-narrative of the Anthropocene. Since the partly overlapping, partly contradictory narratives compete for legitimation and dominance in science and the broader public, the findings raise the question whether this struggle will stabilize or undermine the Anthropocene meta-narrative in the long run.

Open access

Eva Toulouze and Nikolai Anisimov

Abstract

The authors had the opportunity, during their fieldwork, to attend spring rituals in Varkled-Böd’ya village. The week before the Great Day (Bydjynnal, coinciding with Orthodox Easter) is a dense ritual week: there are young people to be initiated, boys first and girls at the concluding ritual, who thus become adults; there are evil spirits to be chased away from the space of the living; there are kin relations to be reinforced through reciprocal visits, prayers and ritual deeds. These four rituals are the focus of this article, which provides an ethnographic account as well as a general analysis of the critical dimensions observed.

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

Notes and Reviews

Cultural Trauma and Diversity in Museums: A Report from São Paulo

Kirsti Jõesalu and Ene Kõresaar

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.

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

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.