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Kao Gong Ji: A Translation and Commentary

The First Chinese Technology Encyclopaedia

Series:

Edited by Zengjian Guan and Konrad Herrmann

In Kao Gong Ji: A Translation and Commentary, Guan Zengjian and Konrad Herrmann offer an English translation and commentary of the first technological encyclopaedia in China. This work came into being around the 5th century C.E. and contains descriptions of thirty technologies used at the time. Most prominent are bronze casting, the manufacture of carriages and weapons, a metrological standard, the making of musical instruments, and the planning of cities. The technologies, including the manufacturing process and quality assurance, are based on standardization and modularization. In several commentaries, the editors show to which degree the descriptions of Kao Gong Ji correspond to archaeological findings.

Series:

Sandrine Ruhlmann

For Mongols, sharing food is more than just eating meals. Through a process of “opening” and “closing”, on a daily basis or at events, in the family circle or with visitors, sharing food guarantees the proper order of social relations. It also ensures the course of the seasons and the cycle of human life. Through food sharing, humans thus invite happiness to their families and herds. Sandrine Ruhlmann has lived long months, since 2000, in the Mongolian steppe and in the city. She describes and analyzes in detail the contemporary food system and recognizes intertwined ideas and values inherited from shamanism, Buddhism and communist ideology. Through meat-on-the-bone, creamy milk skin, dumplings or sole-shaped cakes, she highlights a whole way of thinking and living.

Series:

Edited by William Hurst

This collection includes seven essays translated from the leading Chinese-language journal Open Times. Bringing together a wide range of leading experts across several disciplines, this book offers critical insights on some of the most important questions of contemporary urban Chinese politics and society. Drawing on extensive research across different localities and issues in China, the chapters offer rich data and fresh analyses of the shifting contours of urban governance, social mobilization and contention, and mechanisms of social control in the new Millennium. Taken together, this collection represents the most comprehensive look in some years at how urban Chinese political institutions have adapted and responded to challenges and how social actors and groups have mobilized to press for redress of substantial new grievances.

Series:

Edited by Masamichi Sasaki

Trust in Contemporary Society, by well-known trust researchers, deals with conceptual, theoretical and social interaction analyses, historical data on societies, national surveys or cross-national comparative studies, and methodological issues related to trust. The authors are from a variety of disciplines: psychology, sociology, political science, organizational studies, history, and philosophy, and from Britain, the United States, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Australia, Germany, and Japan. They bring their vast knowledge from different historical and cultural backgrounds to illuminate contemporary issues of trust and distrust. The socio-cultural perspective of trust is important and increasingly acknowledged as central to trust research. Accordingly, future directions for comparative trust research are also discussed.

Contributors include: Jack Barbalet, John Brehm, Geoffrey Hosking, Robert Marsh, Barbara A. Misztal, Guido Möllering, Bart Nooteboom, Ken J. Rotenberg, Jiří Šafr, Masamichi Sasaki, Meg Savel, Markéta Sedláčková, Jörg Sydow, Piotr Sztompka.

M. Omar Faruque

Abstract

How do disparate grievances join to form an agenda for collective action? This article analyses the articulation of movement demands and solidarity building during the formative phase of a popular mobilisation against a multinational mining company in Bangladesh. Drawing on a conceptual framework derived from Laclauian discourse theory, I explain how local community resistance inspired various social groups to support an anti-corporate social movement, ultimately defeating the mining company. I explain how the construction of an empty signifier had the capacity to connect disparate groups to oppose a common enemy. This analysis is based on a set of interviews with activists and a close reading of organisational documents. The examination of how movement demands are articulated emphasises the role of movement intellectuals and enriches the theorising of social movements in the Global South.

John Murphy

Abstract

Indonesia’s National Social Security System (SJSN) aspires to universal coverage of insurance for health, retirement, and occupational benefits, such as employment injury. This article surveys the successive layers of policy development since the 1960s, in pensions and health benefits for some, and in social assistance programmes for the poor in the Reformasi era. Clarifying the nature of prior developments helps to understand the challenges facing the SJSN. These initiatives are assessed in terms of the literature on welfare regimes, applied as an interpretative tool, rather than in the expectation Indonesia fits the often-rigid categories of welfare typologies.

Insects as Food in Laos and Thailand

A Case of “Westernisation”?

Andrew Müller

Abstract

Laos and Thailand show a decline of their diverse insect-eating traditions. Despite an urban “entomophagy” revival, respective rural practices are disappearing. In the context of a growing global interest in insects as food, this trend is being problematised as “Westernisation,” supposedly leading to food culture homogenisation. In this paper, I criticise that narrative as being over-simplified and eurocentric. In reporting qualitative empirical data, I argue that the current decline of insect-eating is rooted in local forms of “modernity,” rather than Western-dominated globalisation. In interpreting undeniable homogenisation tendencies, I also highlight the relevance of economically-driven processes, concluding that food culture transformation cannot be explained by one aspect or theory alone.