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Global Express

Global Express offers individual articles for additional insights, which are available in their original language.

Debt Crisis and the Welfare State in Greece

by Theodoros Sakellaropoulos

Global Express

The current Greek fiscal or debt crisis -putting at risk the euro and the modern welfare state- as well as the policies developed as a response to the crisis can be understood only when taking into consideration firstly some specific characteristics of the development model adopted in Greece since the 19th  century and secondly those phase of the international capitalist system over the past 20 years which took  the form of globalization and in particular its European “version”, i.e., the Economic and Monetary Union. In relation to the first point: A study of Greece’s economic history during the 19th and 20th centuries shows that the development model followed was a capitalist modernization “pushed” from abroad and characterized by...
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The War of the Walls: The Ongoing Struggle for Cairo’s City Center

by Mona Abaza

Global Express

A year has elapsed since the January revolution, which indisputably led to drastic transformations in street politics. In this short note, I argue that the revolution did trigger a new public culture that has re-appropriated public spaces, in a fascinating manner but which remains precarious. It is a precarious situation because the entire year of 2011 witnessed a drastic escalation of violence with the military junta’s continuation of Mubarak's politics without Mubarak. “Hosni went and Hussain came” (meaning Hosni Mubarak/Hussain Tantawi). This is the running joke that best describes the overwhelming feeling of “plus ça change plus c´est la même chose.” If the junta's rhetoric maintains that it has protected the revolution...
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On the history of the connection between Francophone Sociology (AISLF) and ISA

by Edward A. Tiryakian

Global Express

In Global Dialogue 2.4, AISLF president André Petitat and Professor Jennifer Platt provide factual data about one of the most vigorous national organization of sociologists linked to ISA. As an American sociologist with life membership in both (I joined AISLF in 1965, and ISA in 1974), I’d like to offer a few remarks based on personal experience and observations. In the reconstruction of French sociology after WWII, Georges Gurvitch was the charismatic intellectual leader, holding Durkheim’s chair at the Sorbonne, much like Parsons at Harvard. Gurvitch, who had spent WWII in New York, quickly felt that the theoretical/philosophical/qualitative tradition of continental sociology risked being submerged from the attraction of empirical/quantitative research coming...
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From Culprits to Saviors: The triumph of green capital at the Rio+20

by Herbert Docena

Global Express

Much of the post-conference analysis has centered on what words or phrases were included omitted in the final document, thus missing what can only be read between the lines. THE MOOD INSIDE THE WINDSOR BARRA HOTEL seemed more buoyant than in many of the over 3,000 other side-meetings taking place parallel to the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD). Here, at a suburb far from the favelas shadowing Copacabana or Ipanema, CEOs and other top officials from some of the world’s largest corporations patted each other’s back and exhorted each other to be even more ambitious. Speaker after speaker spoke of how indispensable business is to building the “green economy”—the new economic model that UN officials and developed-country...
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Report from Syria – a Sociologist’s View

by Volkmar Kreissig

Global Express

The following reflections are based on my experiences in Syria, where I lived and worked for almost 3 years in Homs and Damascus. This included work-based visits to different towns (Al Sweida, Aleppo, Lattakia, Tartous, Hama) and to different villages, enterprises, universities and vocational training-centers, religious centers, and offices of state administration, ministries. I had an uncountable number of interviews and conversations with ordinary people, employers, workers, foreign experts, military persons, professors, students, and families. Talks were conducted with religious believers including Alevis, Sunnies, Christians, Druses, Kurds, as well as with Communists, with members of Al-Baath Party including high ranking functionaries, ministers, businessmen and administrators, with...
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We have it all, but do we have anything? Further confirmation of the lamentable state of Russian Sociology

by Victor Vakhshtayn

Global Express

My article  “On the lamentable state of post-Soviet Sociology” published in Global Dialogue 2.3 is a short excerpt from a broader research project on the cognitive styles of sociological explanations. The question I’m particularly interested in is “Why certain sociological narratives are so viable and lasting even if explanations they provide are so poor and tautological?” Present-day Russian (or it might be better to say “Post-Soviet”) sociology is an instant source and inexhaustible supply of such everlasting narratives. In my paper “Beyond Post-Soviet Sociology: Paradoxes and Tautologies” (2009) I...
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The State of Sociology in Nepal

by Uddhab Prasad Pyakurel

Global Express

Sociology and anthropology are  two distinct disciplines.  Anthropology is ‘the study of man’, whereas sociology is ‘the study of the human society’. Till the second half of the 19th century, both the disciplines were  similar, due to the common acceptance of the evolutionary theory as intrinsic to an understanding of man, society and culture (Voget 1975; Beals and Hoijer 1965;  Carneiro 1973; and Dahal 1984). But Nepal seems to be the unique country which is yet to separate sociology and anthropology into two distinct departments. Rather we find both the disciplines under the same roof in the name of “department of sociology/anthropology”. One may raise a question asking why it is so. And what was the reason behind it? Prof...
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The Violence of Counter-Revolution: Disfiguring, Mutilating and Denuding in Egypt

by Mona Abaza

Global Express

A large number of Egyptians keep on wondering how they are surviving with the vertiginous daily violence perpetrated by the regime of the Muslim Brotherhood. This has made many give second thoughts to their views of the past two years since January 2011. Many seem to be flirting with the idea that a military junta might be more bearable than the present regime of the Muslim Brothers that merely reproduces corrupt Mubarakist practices, but with beards. The designation of the regime as Muslim fascists has been circulating in numerous articles, commentaries and talk shows to remind us that there are repertoires and analogies with European history that need to be reflected upon. This said, be it the military junta or the Islamists, be it that both parties still rule through a negotiated...
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Le elezioni italiane del 24/25 febbraio 2013

by Alberto Martinelli

Global Express

I risultati dalle elezioni del 24/25v febbraio 2013 emerge un sistema politico polarizzato e frammentato che, a causa della pessima legge elettorale, non configura una maggioranza coerente al Senato, con grave rischio di ingovernabilità. La coalizione di centro-sinistra di Bersani arriva prima alla Camera per soli 120.000 voti (0,4%) ottenendo il 29,55% a fronte del 29,13% della coalizione  di centro-destra di Berlusconi, ma in virtù dell’eccessivo premio di maggioranza calcolato su base nazionale ottiene 345 deputati su 630 che le assicurano il controllo della Camera, mentre la coalizione di centro-destra di Berlusconi ottiene 125 seggi, il movimento Cinque stelle di Grillo 109 (che tuttavia è, sia pur con un vantaggio minimo, il singolo partito più...
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German Sociologists Boycott University Rankings

by German Sociological Association

Global Express

Scientific Evaluation, Yes – CHE Ranking, No Methodological Problems and Political Implications of the CHE University Ranking German Sociological Association Statement June 2013 (long version) The results of the CHE (Centre for Higher Education Development) University Ranking, a subject-level classification covering a range of academic disciplines, have been published each spring since 1998. The ranking has acquired high public visibility by virtue of the fact that it has been published in the weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT and in the annual ZEIT Studienführer (Study Guide) since 2005. Doubts about the professional quality of the CHE Ranking have been voiced repeatedly within the field of sociology...
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Brazil within the Geopolitics of Global Outrage

by Breno Bringel

Global Express

Indignation or outrage is not a social movement. It is a state of being. As such, it can be expressed in a variety of ways. In Southern Europe, for example, the feeling of social indignation over the last two years had multiple sources, but one of the main themes was the refusal to pay for the direct consequences of the crisis, which should instead be assumed by those responsible. Bankers and speculators thus became the main targets of the social mobilizations. In the United States, “occupiers” directed their outrage at these same actors, bolstered by the argument that the 1%— far removed from the concerns of the general populace—ought not determine the future of the 99%. In Brazil today (and the state of affairs is changing rapidly every day), the indignation...
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Brazil: the Great Opportunity

by Boaventura de Sousa Santos

Global Express

History shows – and current events confirm – that periods of acute crisis or deprivation are typically not the times when citizens will rise against an unjust state of affairs, forcing institutions and those with political power to significantly change the course of government. Although comparisons are always difficult to make, one would expect young people in Greece, Portugal and Spain, ruled by conservative governments that are hijacking their future in terms of employment as well as health and education, to take to the streets and rebel more forcefully than Brazilian youth, ruled by a progressive government that has pursued social inclusion policies, even though the latter government is undermined by corruption and occasionally equivocated with regard to the relative priority...
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Death by Metrics

by John Holmwood

Global Express

The issue of metrics has come to the fore recently following the refusal by German sociologist, to forward data to the Centre for Higher Education Development (a Think Tank, seeking to, “develop models for the modernisation of higher education systems and institutions”) to be used in the ranking of universities and subjects. Since then other subject areas and universities in Germany have followed suit. I shall return to the significance of this moment of resistance. Most academics have direct experience of metrics used to assess performance and their use has grown apace since the first introduction of management practices and accountability regimes into universities in the 1980s. Metric data are constructed and gathered on almost all activities conducted by academics...
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L'association française de sociologie: défense et illustration de la disciplin

by Dan Ferrand-Bechmann

Global Express

Les sociologues à l'instar de l'AIS ont constitué des associations dans de nombreux pays soit sur une base territoriale en générale nationale soit sur une base d'identité linguistique. Mais toutes ont pour objectif de défendre la discipline et les sociologues. Avant de parler de l’Association Française de Sociologie (AFS) : nous allons proposer quelques réflexions et clés pour mieux comprendre ce que sont les associations en France. En France, un million d'associations réunit des personnes bénévoles qui agissent pour un projet commun, librement, sans rémunération. Leur légitimité repose sur leur gestion désintéressée. Nous...
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Uruguay: Fútbol, Mística e Identidad

by Adriana Marrero

Global Express

Nos guste o no a los uruguayos, si por algo es conocido este pequeño país sudamericano, es por el fútbol. Anfitrión y campeón de la 1ª. Copa Mundial de Fútbol en 1930, Campeón de la Copa Mundial en 1950, y semifinalista en 1954, 1970 y 2010, Uruguay, con sus 3,3 millones de habitantes, ocupa, hoy, en el mundo del fútbol, un lugar que no es comparable con su tamaño. Jugadores como Luis Suárez, -hoy en el Liverpool y Máximo Goleador 2012-2013 de este equipo, elegido por la CONMEBOL como el mejor jugador de la Copa América del 2011, -entre personalidades como Messi, Neymar, y Falcao-, Botín de Oro en la Premier League (2013)-, Diego Forlán –hoy en el Inter de Brasil, Balón...
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A Proposal for a South-South Agenda

by Paulo Henrique Martins

Global Express

Our interest is to address the following question: Can sociology constitute itself as a global phenomenon without considering the diversity of social and cultural contexts and without contributing to the formation of activist intellectuals and mediation networks that make the link between the global and the local? Globalization is not only an economic, financial or technological phenomenon but, perhaps above all, an intellectual process expanded to the whole world. On the one hand the hegemony of the neoliberal intellect has been imposed and on the other, it reveals in its cracks the still subsisting potentiality of the intellect of resistance. Thus, globalization of sociology (or global sociology), is the result of these paradigm changes in the areas of academic and critical life...
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The Commercialisation of Borderless Knowledge and the Role of Professional Associations

by John Holmwood

Global Express

Open Access is changing the landscape of academic publishing with potentially serious consequences for professional associations like the ISA and its linked national associations. The changes are not uniform across all ‘jurisdictions’ and are, perhaps, happening most quickly in English-language area, especially the UK and USA. However, given the role of English as a global academic language, the ‘knock-on’ effects are potentially considerable. This has come to a head by the announcement that Sage, together with the ASA, will launch a new OA journal, Sociology Open. A number of contradictory factors are involved in the development of OA publishing. First, is the role of digital media in reducing the cost of publishing and providing a new print-free platform. Second...
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Global intelligence, fairness and the social sciences in an unequally changing world

by David Tàbara

Global Express

What, we might ask – in the age of big data, automation and artificial intelligence – can the social sciences and humanities contribute to dealing with global environmental change? While the global challenges of climate change, escalating social inequality, mega-urbanisation, shifting geopolitics, and so on, are closely interconnected, our abilities to understand and to deal with such complex and strongly interrelated problems remain limited. Despite the technological innovations and smart gadgets that flood our contemporary world, what is urgently needed is to realise how unfit for purpose our perceptual, cognitive and even moral collective capacities are to conceive and deal with the rapidly changing global situation. It is only by acknowledging how much we don’t know...
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In Memory of Professor Ulrich Beck

by Sang-Jin Han

Global Express

An Asian saying states that life and death are said to be divided by a line as thin as the front and back pages of an empty paper. I ask with pain whether our lives are really so transient. Indeed, the finitude of life is an unavoidable destiny. But when I heard of Professor Beck’s sudden and unexpected passing, my heart ached with deep sadness and sorrow. When we met last December for our Paris conference, he was full of vigor and spirit. During our video call on December 22nd, he showed great enthusiasm for the “Seoul Project for a Safe City”, which we had agreed to start this year. He had led the frontier of new theories with never-ending passion and vision. How can I believe that such a man of full energy suddenly left us? I can hardly accept it. His kind eyes and warm...
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Power and Principle: The Vicissitudes of a Sociologist in Parliament

by Walden Bello

Global Express

For most of my life, I have been both a sociologist and an activist. After obtaining a PhD in sociology from Princeton in 1975, I plunged into full-time activism, first as part of the movement to overthrow the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines, then as a militant in the international movement against corporate-driven globalization. I returned to academic life in 1994, spending the next 15 years as a professor of sociology at the University of the Philippines at Diliman. In 2009, I became a legislator for a progressive political party in the House of Representatives of the Philippines. The progressive record of the party to which I belong, Akbayan, was forged during its first decade of existence, 1998 to 2009, when it was for the most part in the opposition. In the legislative...
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Social Science and Democracy: An Elective Affinity

by Dipankar Gupta

Global Express

Ever wonder why social sciences, including philosophy, flourish today only in democratic societies? There are many rich countries in the world; Saudi Arabia, China, and Russia, for example, but their social sciences are in a miserable condition. Interestingly, there has been a resurgence of social sciences with the return of democracy in many Latin American nations, such as Mexico, Chile, and even Colombia. Now that Cuba is opening up somewhat, let us see, if in the years to come, it becomes a significant contributor to this sphere of knowledge. What makes this issue even more interesting is that many of these rich and powerful, but non-democratic states, have indeed made great strides in the exact sciences. China and Russia can match the advances in electronics, physics, medicine...
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Returning to Positivism? A Polemical Response to Ivan Szelenyi’s Article "Triple Crisis of US Sociology"

by Piotr Smirnov

Global Express

Abstract: This polemical comment expresses agreement with the key statements of the above-mentioned article by Ivan Szelenyi - in particular, the crisis of sociology (not only in the US) in the field of theory and methodology; and the necessity to return to a time when sociology confronted BIG issues. However, the author of this comment sees the solution not in transformation of our science toward a «critical neo-classical sociology» but rather in returning to positivism. There are two basic theoretical tools that can be used to return. The first tool is Pitirim Sorokin’s statement that qualitatively different types of interaction create qualitatively different unions of people. The second tool is Max Weber’s ideal types as a means of cognition. Specifically...
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The Crisis of Democracy in Japan

by Shujiro Yazawa

Global Express

Japan at a critical crossroad What do you know about Japan? Answers to this question vary, depending on where people live, their social characteristics, and so on—but I can guess how familiar someone is with Japan by paying attention to the Japanese loanwords he or she uses. I am sure you know the following words: sukiyaki, tofu, tempura, sushi (foods), karaoke, bonsai, manga, otaku (cultural terms), kaizen, kanban, karoshi (business terms), and various other words such as tsunami, kamikaze, and hikikomori. Japan’s delicious foods, interesting culture, management, hard work, and sometimes even its disasters and discord are the main components of its image in other countries. Unfortunately democracy and social movements in Japan have rarely been...
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“There is a lot of work to be done”: Cuban activist Norberto Mesa Carbonell Speaks on Racism and the Revolution

by Luisa Steur

Global Express

Interviewed by Luisa Steur, University of Copenhagen From its start in 1959, the Cuban revolution has been dedicated to racial equality. In a country where slavery was abolished only as recently as 1886, the revolution had a tremendous impact – for many, it was the first time they got access to land and education (see Espina Prieto and Rodriguez Ruiz 2010). Partly as a consequence of universal egalitarian policies, these achievements were also due to the revolutionary government’s explicit commitment to eliminating racial discrimination. Even critical scholars like the political scientist Mark Sawyer (2006) argue that, though it so far has fallen short of becoming a racial democracy, Cuba has done more than any other society to eradicate racial...
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The Refugee Issue: Between “Fortress Europe” and Solidarity

by

Global Express

In the summer of 2015 some of the Aegean Islands (mainly Lesvos, Chios, Kos, Leros, Samos) received a huge influx of refugees, which by far exceeded existing capabilities in reception and hospitality. Typically, only last July Lesvos received nearly 55,000 refugees/migrants, while the number of arrivals on the island in 2014 was almost 12,000 and in 2013 less than 4,000 refugees/migrants! (http://www.astynomia.gr/images/stories/2014/statistics14/allod2014/statistics_all_2014_methorio.pdf). This summer we experienced a real humanitarian crisis, a situation that could have led to an unprecedented tragedy if hundreds of volunteers hadn’t...
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The End of the World, the End of Capitalism, and the Start of a New Radical Sociology

by Leslie Sklair

Global Express

Fredric Jameson once wrote that someone once wrote: ‘It is easier to imagine the end of the world, than to imagine the end of capitalism’. Whoever actually said it first to me it expresses a profound truth about the era of capitalist globalization. There has been a great deal written and said about the evils and dysfunctions of capitalism over the last few centuries, but relatively little written or said about what a non-capitalist world might look like. This is partly due to the peculiar problems of historical semantics—it is almost impossible to discuss socialism let alone communism today without being smothered by the actually existing or recently defunct so-called socialisms and communisms of the past. So, we have to begin again to think through global capitalism, social...
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Statement of the International Sociological Association concerning academic freedom and violence in India

by ISA Executive Committee

Global Express

We, the members of the Executive Committee of the International Sociological Association, express solidarity with students, teachers, writers, creative artists and activists in India fighting for the rights to freedom of expression, life and liberty, in the context of increasingly virulent attacks and mob violence against all opposition to right wing fundamentalist violence and discrimination. We are particularly concerned about mob attacks on minorities and the curtailment of food freedoms (falsely posited as a “beef ban”) in India. The conversion of a large section of the electronic media into propaganda machines in support of right wing majoritarian nationalism and the systematic and violent targeting of intellectuals, students and advocates through unethical reporting and...
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Remettre en cause la réalité : Un entretien avec le sociologue français Luc Boltanski

by Luc Boltanski

Global Express

Remettre en cause la réalité : Un entretien avec le sociologue français Luc Boltanski [1] Luc Boltanski est l’un des sociologues contemporains les plus reconnus. Il a collaboré avec Pierre Bourdieu au début de sa carrière et est actuellement directeur d’études à l’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) à Paris. Dans les années 1990, il a étudié l’organisation du capitalisme et les nouvelles formes de domination. En 1999, il publie Le Nouvel Esprit du Capitalisme [2] co-écrit avec Ève Chiapello, diffusé en...
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Media and Communication in Post-Factual Age: An Interview with Bajram Mjeku

by Bajram Mjeku

Global Express

Bajram Mjeku was born in the Republic of Kosova. He studied at the Faculty of Philology, University of Prishtina and has published articles on media culture, journalism, the sociology of literature, and the sociology of memory. He has a long experience as a publicist, journalist, and editor and has documented and contextualized important social facts in a scientifically critical way. From 1991 to 1999, he was the co-founder, journalist, and editor of the Kosova Information Center (KIC). He is the author of two books, editor of four books, and edited over 30 various scientific and literature textbooks, including university textbooks. This interview is conducted by Labinot Kunushevci, ISA Junior Sociologists Network associate member, who holds an MA in Sociology...
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