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Returning (to) Communities

Theory, Culture and Political Practice of the Communal


Edited by Stefan Herbrechter

Returning (to) Communities offers an innovative collection of examples and case studies into what has become a hotly disputed topic. The chapters present a wide-ranging series of interventions into the new debates over the concepts and practices of “community” and the communal. For this book, scholars have been gathered from across Europe and Australia as well as from the United States, and several contributors are involved in community practice. Returning (to) Communities is essential reading to researchers and students in social policy, sociology, ethnic studies, cultural analysis, media studies, and across all of the social sciences and humanities concerned with the communal and the collective.


Edited by J. Peter Burgess

The present volume assembles essays from a broad cultural and professional spectrum around the question of European cultural identity. The heterogeneity of the contributors — their differing points of departure and methods — attests to a tension in intellectual communities which today is more intense than ever. Europe’s identity crisis is not merely an empirical matter. It reflects a far deeper, and far older, discursive crisis. The mandate of Europe’s traditional intellectual institutions to preserve and police their own cultural heritage has proved incapable of evolving in a manner sufficient to account for the mutation in its object: European culture. It is not merely that Europe’s identity, like any identity in the flux of history, has changed. Rather, the notion of identity, the very basis of any questions of who we are, where we are going, and the appropriate political forms and social institutions for further existence, all rely on a logic of identity which has, at best, become extremely problematic. It is this problematization which provides the common thread unifying the following essays. Each contributor, in his/her own way and with respect to his/her own research object, confronts the adequacy of the concept of cultural identity. The hidden presuppositions of this concept are indeed remarkable, and the logic of cultural identity prescribes that they remain undisclosed.

Edited by Catherine Armstrong and Jaya Priyardarshini

Dikmen Yakalı Çamoğlu

Edited by Kelly Gardiner and Sina V. Pfister

Elena Xeni

This volume explores childhood in today’s settings, e.g., family, media, labour, literature, law, etc., from and interdisciplinary perspective. While encouraging trans-disciplinary dialogues, contributions hosted in this volume, invite readers to become aware of the multi-dynamic profiles of childhood at present and in the past, creating promising research avenues in the future.

Perspectives on the Bird's Head of Irian Jaya, Indonesia

Proceedings of the Conference, Leiden, 13-17 October 1997

Edited by Jelle Miedema, Cecilia Odé and Rien A.C. Dam

The Bird's Head Peninsula of Irian Jaya has long been an area neglected by New Guinea Studies. Only in the late seventies, interest began to focus more intensively on this scientifically important border area between Austronesian and Papuan languages and cultures. In the early nineties, this led to the creation in The Netherlands of the Irian Jaya Studies programme ISIR, which organizes and coordinates multi-disciplinary research on the Bird's Head Peninsula. Within this framework, study of the peninsula has reached a peak, with research being conducted in the area by scientists from different disciplines: anthropology, archaeology, (ethno)botany, demography, development administration, geology and linguistics. The diverse perspectives of these disciplines are subject to constant internal debate. Through ISIR and other research initiatives, there is a growing body of data on and insights into the various disciplines concerned with this fascinating area, with each discipline developing its own specific perspectives on the Bird's Head. These perspectives were presented during the First International Conference Perspectives on the Bird's Head of Irian Jaya, Indonesia, organized by ISIR in cooperation with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences LIPI (Jakarta) and the International Institute for Asian Studies ILAS (Leiden) and held at Leiden University, 13-17 October 1997. Researchers were informed on current perspectives in many disciplines to facilitate integration of findings into wider, interdisciplinary frameworks and to stimulate international debate within and between disciplines. As a result of the Conference, the forty-two contributions in these Proceedings present a wealth of recent developments from various disciplines in New Guinea Studies.

Maria José Pires 

A myriad of fresh possibilities is offered when researching in food studies. Just like any other area of knowledge, researchers here breathe the present because they have already absorbed the past and can easily try to devise the future. As the question of authenticity and adaptability rises urgently, we gain knowledge of the specificities where cultural heritage faces assimilation from other lifestyles, in an effort to save and reshape the community and its cultural identity. Food researchers have also struggled with the constructions and measuring of tastes within diverse communities by comparison to other references, even though it has become harder to discern matters from expert advice and controlled mediation. Therefore, we invariably come across the power of representations, in deep association with culture and the society that produces them, for there are increasingly complex food systems bearing diverse layers of meaning.

Anna Maj

At present cyberculture is a dominating cultural paradigm and nothing seems to be able to replace it. We globally share the same cyberspace but there is a question whether we all together–the whole humankind–are really living in the same cyberculture? This book proves that we rather tend to define the contemporary state of culture as cybercultures. The process of spreading technologies, trends and ideas is not the same in all parts of the world. The varying speeds of this process and cultural diversity of its forms are created by different social, political, economic and cultural contexts. By representing different perspectives the authors depict a wide spectrum of the most important current problems connected with networked life, global sharing of data, loss of privacy, new meanings of community and developments in narrative structures and social behaviours arising from new communication possibilities, instantaneity of information and global viral sensitivity.