Nature and culture

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Network rethinking of nature and society

Network rethinking of nature and society

In general, ANT advocates organize their thought about entities in a similar way to system ecologists. They consider social and natural agents in a common framework and simultaneously adopt a conceptual distinc- tion based unavoidably on the assumption that between objects and subjects or natural and social agents, there is a difference. Nevertheless, the two network theories conceive the above “difference” divergently. According to system ecologists, the distinction living-non living has the status of an ontological dualism and leads to methodological differentia- tions, although all eco-systems obey to the same set of natural principles (Patten et al. 1997). On the contrary, ANT advocates argue that every distinction generated between nature and culture is not ontological; na- ture-culture dualism does not exist a priori but it is produced ex post. The latter means that the classification of entities into the social or the natural domain results from co-constructionist processes occurring in networks, where objects or subjects act. In other words, “networks are sets of relations which give rise to the objects and dualisms that make up our world: ‘machines, people, social institutions, the nature world, the di- vine—all are effects or products’ (Law and Mol 1995: 277)” (Murdoch 1997a, p. 743). Thus, regarding again the paradigm of grazing, the natural scientist and the soil chemical materials do not preexist. They are associ- ated, mutually modified and co-constructed during scientific practices that take place in the laboratory. As Latour puts it, natural and social agents “mutually exchange and enhance their properties” (Latour 1999, p. 125).
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28 Lee mas

Nature in a box: ecocriticism, Goethe’s ironic Werther, and unbalanced nature

Nature in a box: ecocriticism, Goethe’s ironic Werther, and unbalanced nature

Rethinking boundaries brings an awareness that nature’s borders are in flux, even though specific life forms do exist in specific ecological niches. A long-term and broad view of the biosphere through eons of time demonstrates that nature is not a static place in contrast to the radical changes and “progress” of human culture. Rather, balance is an issue of scale. In fact, there is an increased ecological emphasis on “unbalanced nature” that replaces outdated notions of nature’s holistic stability, as John Kricher describes in The Balance of Nature: Ecology’s Enduring Myth. Kricher debunks the long-held values of balanced nature, stasis, and climax states: “The balance of nature paradigm is of little value within evolution and ecology. It has never been clearly defined and is basically misleading. But the balance of nature is esthetically pleasing, a fact that is largely responsible for its continued vigor through the ages” (Kricher 23). Furthermore, Kricher notes that the balance of nature is a teleological belief system wherein all parts fit neatly together in their place as if by design. This belief system is not scientific, though it has long been included in ecological theories and its siren call still reverberates in many environmental discussions. It is a challenge not to see the tremendous beauty and seeming longevity of natural landscapes as sites of harmony and stability in contrast to radical and rapid human changes. Yet even though the anthropogenic devastation of so many ecosystems is taking place at an unprecedented pace, that does not mean that nature has only recently, and only because of us, become unbalanced. The particular form of these changes is different, but not the imbalance.
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17 Lee mas

Architecture as Nature

Architecture as Nature

In the circumstances, how can one address questions concerning the relationship between nature and culture? For instance those, until now mostly unanswered, relating to climate change. For sure there have been exceptions. Paolo Portoghesi, the postmodern architect responsible for the Strada Novissima at the Venice Biennale, tried to answer some of them. In his book Nature and Architecture, he looks for archetypes with which to express, through symbols, the origin of archi- tectural forms in nature. Thus streets would have originated in canyons carved by rivers. “The house origins”, he writes, “lie in the tree, the cave and the nest of birds, but it also relates to the archetype of prenatal life in the womb” 3 . Need one continue?
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10 Lee mas

Using ICT to contact the target culture: teachers’ view

Using ICT to contact the target culture: teachers’ view

Although still within an institutional structure, the relatively informal and ‘class-independent’ nature of this exchange 'has avoided many of the problems which telecollaborative teachers often encounter' (Ibid, p. 74). If language teaching has become more exciting, it has also become considerably more complex (Kern and Warschauer, 2005). Organizing and implementing telecollaboration projects in foreign language curricula is not an easy endeavour (Belz and Thorne, 2006; Guth and Helm, 2010), as pedagogical, organizational and technical issues have to be addressed before cross-cultural interaction sessions can be carried out (O'Dowd and Ritter, 2006; O'Dowd, 2011; Thorne, 2003). These issues make many teachers reluctant to integrate telecollaboration in their teaching, as they are more aware of the burden such initiatives might impose than of the benefits they might have for language learners (Canto, Jauregi, and van den Bergh, 2013).
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15 Lee mas

CULTURE AND PUBLIC ACTION

CULTURE AND PUBLIC ACTION

The fi rst, Mary Douglas, in her work on cosmology (Douglas 1973/1982), later on commodities and budgets, and later still on risk and nature (Douglas and Wildavsky 1982), has repeatedly argued for seeing ordinary people as operating through cultural designs for anticipation and risk reduction.This is a line of thought that helps us to investigate the broader problem of aspiration in a systematic way, with due attention to the inter- nal relations of cosmology and calculation among poorer people, such as those members of the English working classes studied by Douglas in some of her best work on consumption (Douglas and Isherwood 1979/1996). Finally, James Fernandez has had a long-term interest in the problem of how cultural consensus is produced. In this exercise, he has reminded us that even in the most “traditional”-looking cultures, such as the Fang of West Africa whom he has written about extensively, we cannot take con- sensus for granted. His second major contribution is in showing that through the specific operations of various forms of verbal and material rit- ual, through “performances” and metaphors arranged and enacted in speci fi c ways, real groups actually produce the kinds of consensus on fi rst principles that they may appear to take simply for granted (Fernandez 1965, 1986).This work opens the ground for me, in my own examinations of activism among the poor in India and elsewhere to note that certain uses of words and arrangements of action that we may call cultural, may be especially strategic sites for the production of consensus.This is a crit- ical matter for anyone concerned with helping the poor to help them- selves, or in our current jargon, to “empower” the poor.With Fernandez, we can ask how the poor may be helped to produce those forms of cul- tural consensus that may be best advance their own collective long-term interests in matters of wealth, equality, and dignity.
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458 Lee mas

Cultural ”nature” and biological conservation

Cultural ”nature” and biological conservation

Each of the four concepts of nature appeals to different motivations for support. Thus, the biodiversity concept highly esteems the existence value of species and ecosystems, and it may also acknowledge the instrumental value of species to science and future technology (e.g., pharmacology). With these great natural assets in the treasury of the earth, it behooves humankind to act as good stewards, with an eye to our own future and that of future human generations. The historic countryside looks both forwards and back over the generations. It values human self-under- standing and addresses the common need for a sense of rootedness, to know where we have come from. In nostalgia we acknowledge the past in order to receive permission to build a different future, but this has to be done secretly from ourselves. There are two separate compartments of life, in one we laud the romanticized past, in the other we adopt the latest technology and fashion. It is important to us that we keep evidence of our old relationship with nature, demonstrating that it is possible to incorpo- rate nature into culture and that this can be done creatively and aestheti- cally. The wilderness concept, in contrast, emphasizes the value of the ‘otherness’ of nature. This is a spiritual value in that we recognize that humans, however wonderful and competent, are incomplete on their own. We need the reminder of our limits and our mortality to be sane. We accept that we are not the only things on this planet of intrinsic worth, then our own intrinsic worth would be questionable, “Whence this intrin- sic value? Why are humans singled out for its reception?” In comparison, it is value of the ordinariness in nature that is prized in the notion of nature as companion. It is not exceptional places alone that hold spiritual value, though they may help us to recognize it more easily when we get back home. The respect and compassion we desire others to give to us we can only receive if we are also givers and not receivers only. This applies to the more-than-human in nature as much as to our fellow humans. Respect includes a commitment to a sustainable lifestyle that the world is not to be messed with. Compassion is a heart-felt care for what is around us. There is a double attentiveness, both to how the world experiences us and to how we are blessed by the earth and its creatures.
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18 Lee mas

The benefits of reflective blogs in language neutral translator education

The benefits of reflective blogs in language neutral translator education

another problem was how many katakana to use as in Japanese, with loanwords, the choice is either to translate the foreign loanword, or to transcribe it into katakana. He felt that using a mixture of these would be best, as exclusively using either would be strange, since ‘mixing things up’ was more common in written Japanese. He cautioned that translators should be aware of the slight semantic differences between loan words represented as loan translations or katakana, and gave as examples the Source Text words ‘tropical’ and ‘peach’. In addition, he felt that maintaining some of the near synonym repetitions in the ST (e.g. ‘winning and keeping’, ‘good health and vitality’, ‘preventing and combatting’) would sound unnatural in the TT. He advocated using an adverbial phrase where the ST had an inanimate subject as in ‘taking a moment to savour the pleasure of…’ adding that such constructions were seldom used in Japanese. A considerable number of students identified the use of the word ‘cocktail’ in the phrase ‘a cocktail of tropical flavours’ as a challenge, with a majority choosing to translate ‘cocktail’ as ‘mixture’ or ‘combination’, to avoid the undesirable association with alcoholic beverage. This again showed some appropriate reflection on both the nature of the text, the culture specific issues identified, and the need to take into account the perceived target audience when producing a culturally appropriate translation.
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14 Lee mas

CULTURE, LANGUAGE AND REPRESENTATION

CULTURE, LANGUAGE AND REPRESENTATION

In Dusklands (1974), Coetzee exposes the process of ideological con- struction of historical narrative by showing that the nature of our knowledge is determined by the representation and interpretation of historical events. He juxtaposes fictional and documentary texts to emphasize the role of myth and mythmaking involved in the production of ideological beliefs that do not need any factual justification. The novel comprises two parts: «The Vietnam Pro- ject» and «The Narrative of Jacobus Coetzee». In both of them the author expo- ses colonial self-representation by incorporating in the first part what seem to be documents based on facts. The second part parodies the claim of historical narrative for truth by contrasting Jacobus Coetzee’s account of his journey with the appendix consisting of the «original» deposition of 1760 by Jacobus Coetzee. «The Narrative of Jacobus Coetzee» is edited, with an Afterword, by S. J. Coetzee and translated by J. M. Coetzee. Teresa Dovey (1987: 18) argues that «J. M. Coetzee’s stance as a translator of the three accounts of Jacobus Coetzee’s journey is a means of drawing attention to the work of reconstruction going on here [... ]». To support her argument she quotes Coetzee (in Dovey, 1987: 18), who claims that «just like the process of translation, the process of reading is a process of constructing a whole for oneself out of the datum of the printed text, of constructing one’s own version of the poem». The motif of the translator as a metaphor of the power of discourse in creating history is also present in Waiting for the Barbarians (1980) when the Magistrate translates for Colonel Joll the unfamiliar script written on the surface of wooden slips belong- ing to the people inhabiting the area «long before the western provinces were annexed and the fort was built» (Coetzee, 2004 a: 15). That moment reminds of Linda Hutcheon’s (1992: 24) idea that «the only ‘genuine historicity’ becomes that which would openly acknowledge its own discursive, contingent identity». Our reading determines the way we acquire knowledge about history. That is what the Magistrate means when he tells Colonel Joll that
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242 Lee mas

Culture, communication and environment |

Culture, communication and environment |

this way of thinking has a symbolic parallel in the functionalist school of communication represented by lerner and schramm. they believed culture and mass media to be agents of modernization. media would influence the social change needed to reach development. that would mean leaving behind traditions and introducing modern thought patterns. modern thinking, as op- posed to traditional thinking, was related to urbanization, literacy, and even to learning new ways of behavior which would cause institutional changes. these changes would sustain the modernization process. modernization, the- refore, was synonymous with “going to school, reading papers, receiving a salary, buying goods, casting votes and having an opinion about different to- pics” (mowlana and wilson, 1994: 8).
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10 Lee mas

Culture, competition, and happiness

Culture, competition, and happiness

Drawing on individual data from the World Values Surveys, this paper estimates the importance of cultural differences in determining the relation between individual feelings about competition and self-reported happiness. Cultural differences are measured by the ethnic origin: Asians, Blacks and Whites. In general, people who think competition is good are associated to the same (high) level of happiness as do people who think competition is harmful. Blacks, however, appear to shy away from competition probably because they are not the winners in the competitive process of capitalism. Results among blacks within different countries show similar patterns. These findings are different than and complement previous research which shows a positive or negative relation between competition and well-being. The paper improves over previous research in that it approximates competitive environment by using individual-level measures and considers the relevance of cultural differences. Instrumental variable analysis suggests that there may be a relation of causality stemming from competition to happiness. The paper conjectures about the reasons why individuals who find competition as harmful report higher levels of happiness.
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34 Lee mas

Gender, identity and tradition in meera syal, Nisha minhas and B.K. Mahal: Lights and Shadows in unwritten rules of conduct

Gender, identity and tradition in meera syal, Nisha minhas and B.K. Mahal: Lights and Shadows in unwritten rules of conduct

During my very first stay in London, I came in contact with very different ethnic groups for the first time in my life. Not only did I regard it as an enriching experience but it also awoke my curiosity as to the way the so called ethnic minorities would think, behave and regard their relationships with other groups either British or non British. Every time I go back and think about this experience-which changed my life in many ways-I can not help thinking about one thing. One evening while watching the film A Time to Kill based on one of John Grisham´s novels I wondered how black people would feel watching it. At that time I was living in an area where most of the citizens belonged to an ethnic minority. This adaptation of John Grisham's bestseller takes place in the small town of Canton, Mississippi, where two White rednecks kidnap, rape and savagely beat a young Black girl. The men are caught, but the child's deeply enraged father, Carl Lee Hailey, takes justice into his own hands by killing the thugs himself. Now Carl Lee Hailey is the one on trial, a highly controversial and fiery proceeding that begets numerous racial issues and incidents, some involving the Ku Klux Klan and the NAACP 1 . At the centre of this storm is White lawyer Jake Brigance, who not only faces an all-White jury, but personal attacks on his life should he win the case. Brigance, Hailey and Ellen Roark, a rich law student aiding Jake, face a tough road ahead of them, one that will change their lives forever. Three years later I decided to do my PhD. In one of the papers for my doctoral courses I analysed the British talk show Parkinson, broadcast on BBC1. Among other issues, I analysed the social and ideological role of the talk show in relation to racism and Critical Discourse Analysis. The interviewees on that occasion were Halle Berry, Natalie Cole, Rod Stewart and Pierce Brosnan. In one intervention, Halle Berry referred to the fact that in order to stop racism the black community had to embrace themselves first. The whole interview made me think about racism once more and be more interested in the topic. Shortly after that, I watched a programme about Hanif Kureishi, a very important and representative Asian writer in England whom I found fascinating and became the cherry on the cake regarding my decision for my thesis. By the time I thought about the project for my thesis not many British-Asian born women were writing or at least they did not have the same media and academic reception like other writers such as Hanif Kureishi, Salman Rushdie or Meera Syal, the latter as the exception to the rule. As I will argue later not many books
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425 Lee mas

PURPOSE, STRATEGY AND CULTURE

PURPOSE, STRATEGY AND CULTURE

The role of the board is to establish not only the right culture and behaviours but also the right incentives and disincentives. In doing so, the board must be credible in the eyes of employees and stakeholders. The new Code therefore states that boards are responsible for workforce policies and practices which reinforce a healthy culture. Employees are expected to display the right behaviours, and the board should set the standards, observe those behaviours and critique them if necessary.

5 Lee mas

Digital culture as a converging paradigm for technology and culture : challenges for the culture sector

Digital culture as a converging paradigm for technology and culture : challenges for the culture sector

It may not seem such a big deal for a cultural institution to make its photographic collections available in a photo-sharing site and to allow users to add tags or comments and to share content. Nonetheless, many cultural institutions still face difficul- ties in allowing users to interact with their collections and share their experiences with others. Sharism has emerged as a new phenomenon that responds to the new opportunities offered by the networked environment. Social networking combined with mobile technologies has had a major impact on how information is exchanged and how knowledge is constructed. Cultural content needs to be part of this process if it is to adapt to the reality de- scribed by Foresta (cited above): “Culture is a memory, collective memory, dependent on communication for its creation, extension, evolution and preservation”. The culture sector needs to transfer content to where people are online —whether in social networking sites, photo- and video-sharing sites, etc— and to seize the op- portunities arising in the context of digital networks. This does not imply abandoning the institutional website, but extending reach by using networks and recognizing that the impact potential of an online network is greater than the impact of any single node in a network (Barabási, 2003). Cultural institutions should not wait for users to visit institutional websites but should attract the user’s attention in the sites they already visit.
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7 Lee mas

Democracy, innovation and digital culture

Democracy, innovation and digital culture

With the appearance of the internet, and thanks particularly to the possibilities for democratisation that it offers, the words participation and collaboration began to be included in the domi- nant vocabulary of social organisations and movements. Another word that has gained in power in this context is transparency. This is a concept based on the idea that every democratic system has the duty to supply the public with the greatest amount of information possible, so that they may make decisions. Without transparency, channels for participation and collaboration may be reduced to a mere artifice for neutralising disputes. However, over the last fifteen years, debate has focused more on theories and hopes than on practical action, with the exception of some pilot projects. However, everything points to this trend reversing and innovation beginning to gain ground.
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5 Lee mas

TítuloPerforming Culture and Breaking Rules

TítuloPerforming Culture and Breaking Rules

civilizations are different growths, pursue different goals, embody different ways of living, are dominated by different attitudes to life; so that to understand them one must perform an imaginative act of ‘empathy’ [Einfühlung] into their essence, understand them ‘from within’ as far as possible, and see the world through their eyes» (Berlin: 210). What Herder called «Einfühlung» Vico called «fantasia» (ibid: xix): the mental exercise of imaginative recrea- tion with the intention of penetrating other cultures from within. Both Vico and Herder share with Nietzsche and Foucault «the cardinal truth that all valid explanation is necessarily and essentially genetic» (ibid: 34). A Deweyan analysis of the shapes and meanings of experi- ence would be the appropriate parallel, and a Peircean combinatory analysis of «habit» and «tradition» would illuminate the contours of an interpretative tradition (such as Christian exegetics or neo-Romantic poetry) better than a simple historiological analysis of cultures and languages. But whatever the method used, the context remains the same: never to give up the singularity of the experience in favour of some retroactively justifed or ideologically coloured story about how things ought to have been as opposed to how things actually were, or seemed, in all their richness, through the prism and prison of the world view and culture we want to understand, deeply.
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12 Lee mas

Meet our Experts STRP 2013-2015

Meet our Experts STRP 2013-2015

Guéladio Cissé is a sanitary engineer, public health and environmental epidemiology researcher at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) in Basel, Switzerland. He is currently the head of the research group “Ecosystem services, climate and health,” within the Ecosystem Health Sciences Unit of the Epidemiology and Public Health Department. He holds a M.Sc. and a Ph.D. from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). He has been, from 2001 to 2009, the West Africa Regional Coordinator of the National Centre of Competence in Research North-South (NCCR-North- South), a 12 year Swiss international partnership research programme on sustainable development. For more than 20 years, his field of research has covered mainly environment and health risks assessment in urban areas. His current interests and projects include investigations on the ecosystem health ap- proach, applied to assessments in an integrative way to climate variability and climate change effects, vulnerabilities, adaptation challenges and disaster risk reduction.
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6 Lee mas

TítuloFashion and digital culture

TítuloFashion and digital culture

Such crossbreedind is constantly done through the infinite possibilities in digital for- mate. Therefore, what seems to be a problem for our global society appears from this intense hybridization — our reality is, in a way, the difficulty to classify one from another. We are fated to live with the ‘strange’, with that ones which scape from this polarity that we are used to deal with. The ‘strange’ is indeterminated. It is placed between or, better, beyond ‘friend’ and ‘enemy’. As Bauman says, the indefinables are all those understood as nor something neither something else. Their indetermination is their strenght: because they can be everething. They put an end on the organizational power of oposition; the opositions make possible knowledge and action while the indefinitions, paralised them. The indefinables expose the artfices, fragili- ties in a brutal way from the most vital separation. They put what is given as external inside, poison the confort of the order with the suspition of caos. [16]
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8 Lee mas

Evaluation of Sustainability Standards in the Hotel Sector of the Biosphere Reserve Sumaco in the Amazon Region of Ecuador

Evaluation of Sustainability Standards in the Hotel Sector of the Biosphere Reserve Sumaco in the Amazon Region of Ecuador

Abstract. Tourism plays an important economic role worldwide but has negative environmental, social and cultural impacts. The study examined the sustainability standards in the hotel sector of the Biosphere Reserve Sumaco (BRS) in Ecuador to deduce recommendations for good tourism practices from the status quo and therefore minimize negative effects and optimize current practices of tourism in the future. The study shows (a) a low extent of efforts in the environmental, economic and cultural dimension and (b) partial work in the social dimension of sustainable tourism in the BRS. The sustainability standards, which are valued along sustainable tourism criteria, are neither implemented nor consciously pursued. As well, the analysis illustrates (c) the unconsciousness of the hotel industry according to the importance of the BRS.
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9 Lee mas

Language and culture

Language and culture

I also knew something about the way in which Bantu languages organize words into sentences and sentences into texts, so I arranged to meet the translator, who had learned Yipounou as the son of missionaries living in West Africa. Actually he had been asked to make the translation of the New Testament into Yipounou, but he was told to make his translation as close as possible to the standard French text. This was a typical kind of mistake, and the young man fully recognized the absurdity of such an approach to communicating. Accordingly, he was glad to be able to redo his translation and in this way produce a text that would be more accurate, understandable, and acceptable, because the revision could be so much better understood by the local people.
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8 Lee mas

TítuloKnowledge culture and communication culture

TítuloKnowledge culture and communication culture

The need to memorize the entire tradition belongs to the oral culture. The knowledge or erudition culture demands traditional references and logical proof — you have to indicate sources, you have to make quotations. Now, there is only the communicational flux which isn’t interrupted by external proof need. Communication differs from knowledge on that: in the communicational process, which is based on analogical signs, the flux is continuous and self sufficient, without resorting to external proof. The meta-language of knowledge appeared starting with the Renaissance and became more effective with the Reform and Counter-Reform, in the same time with the erudition culture due to the encounter between the Christian and the Antique culture in the educational environment. Now, in the postmodern globalizing times, the encounter between occidental and extra-occidental cultures doesn’t need intellectual erudition because mass media utilizes analogical signs. Nowadays mass media doesn’t need knowledge erudition because it is analogical, self-instructive and functions at a high speed. It is truth, knowledge erudition culture belongs to the printed book and the mechanical industrial era and it hasn’t got a rapid consumption. But immediate consumption of nowadays real mass media leads to the irrational acceptance because they don’t allow for enough time for assimilation and conscious reflection.
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7 Lee mas

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