This chapter reflects the main ‘lesson’ I drew from the experience of doing a PhD in Bailey’s department at Sussex – the lesson being the virtues of understanding ‘big level’ phenomena by ‘soaking and poking’ at street level. I’ve written a lot about the World Bank with this approach. My chapter starts with reference to Tomas Piketty’s recent Capitalism and Ideology, in which he gives ‘ideology’ (or ‘mindset’ or ‘world view’) much more causal role – in income/wealth inequality trends – than other economists do. Then on to the Washington Consensus ideology, dominant in western capitals since 1980s, about appropriate public policies for developing countries. My interest is in how its dominance has been protected, via ‘the social construction of reality’. Then to ethnography – of a particular two-day meeting at UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade & Development, based in Geneva) I attended in 2012, on ‘rethinking trade policy’ with some 30 people (as I recall, offhand). I bring out how little rethinking there was, by design. The ‘rethinking’ meeting confirmed the Washington Consensus – which is all the more striking, because UNCTAD is the one UN development agency meant to be run by and for developing countries.
Infrastructures, borders, (im)mobility,
or the material and socialconstruction
of new Europe
The pathos of all bourgeois monuments is that their material strength and
solidity actually count for nothing and carry no weight at all, that they are
blown away like frail reeds by the very forces of capitalist development
that they celebrate. Even the most beautiful and impressive bourgeois
buildings and public works are disposable, capitalized for fast depreciation and planned to be obsolete, closer in their social functions to tents
and encampments than to
Neutrality as a concept and practice has long been conceptualised in IR theory as problematic. Broadly seen as the tool of small and weak states with dubious moral credentials, a limited understanding of neutrality has persisted from the Peloponnesian War to the ‘war on terror’. Furthermore, as globalisation and non-traditional security problems animate international politics, neutrality is seen as a policy of the past. This book argues that neutrality has been a neglected and misunderstood subject, limited to realist understandings of war and viable statecraft, and in doing so aims to uncover the normative strands of neutrality that mesh with identity, security and alternatives to the anarchic international order. Using Sweden as a case study, it explores the domestic roots of neutrality via a constructivist analysis, examining how neutrality is embedded in ideas of self, and part of a wider Social Democratic vision of active internationalism. Identity, however, is malleable and subject to change, and this analysis also considers the impact of globalisation and European integration, the end of bipolarity, and new security threats such as global terrorism on neutrality as an idea and a practice.
In this article I use conceptual frames drawn from autobiography studies and
feminist theory to examine the relationships between bodily experience and the
social construction of sex, gender and class as they play themselves out in a
selection of womens medical consultation letters written to the eminent Swiss
physician, Samuel-Auguste Tissot, during the second half of the eighteenth
century. My analysis of a selection of consultation letters - all of which are
situated and read in the context of a rich archival collection of some 1,200
letters - considers the role that bodily experience plays in the construction of
self and suggests that not only the experience, but also the textual
articulation of the body, were imagined both through and against accepted
understandings of sex, gender and class during this period.
socio-cultural embeddedness and its restorative and conciliatory potential. 14 The gacaca practice went against the grain of these socio-cultural practices. Other, mainly non-judicial approaches on dealing with the past in Rwanda have demonstrated much more success by imbuing programme activities with the endogenous principles underlying the socialconstruction of personhood in Rwanda, especially in the domains of socio-therapy ( Richters et al. , 2010 ; Richters, Rutayisire and Dekker, 2010 ; Richters, 2010 ) or community-level reconstruction and conflict
Identity is contingent and dynamic, constituting and reconstituting subjects with political effects. This book explores the implications of Protestant and 'British' incursions for the development of Irish Catholic identity as preserved in Irish language texts from the early modern period until the end of Stuart pretensions. Questions of citizenship, belonging, migration, conflict, security, peace and subjectivity are examined through social construction, post-colonialism, and gendered lenses from an interdisciplinary perspective. The book explains the issue of cultural Catholicism in the later middle ages, by way of devotional cults and practices. It examines Catholic unionism vis-a-vis Victorian politics, military and imperial service, the crown, and the position of the Catholic Church with relation to the structures of the state in Ireland. In particular the North American experience and especially the importance of the USA for consolidating a particular interpretation of Irish Catholic nationalist identity, is explored. Children studied in English Catholic public schools like Stonyhurst and Downside where the establishment Irish Catholics and rising mercantile classes sought to have the characteristics of the Catholic gentleman instilled in their progeny. The book sets out to detect the voices of those Catholic women who managed to make themselves heard by a wider audience than family and friends in Ireland in the years between the Act of Union of 1800 and independence/partition. It considers what devotional interests both Gaelic Irish and Anglo-Norman actually shared in common as part of a wider late medieval Catholic culture.
Conventions, reification, the sacred and essentialism
of fine art.
The ideas of exhibiting a urinal as fine art and defacing the Mona Lisa were considered brilliant interventions and were foundational to the Dadaist art movement. While there is some dispute over the meaning of Dada , in my interpretation the obvious inference is that the sound dada is one of the commonest sounds that an infant makes when they are pre-linguistic, therefore pre-conventional. Dadaism signals the abandonment of all convention as arbitrary socialconstruction. Exhibiting the urinal as art and defacing a copy of the Mona Lisa were ways
and developmental patterns will have been in existence in the Middle Ages. The genetic and physiological causes of ID will have changed little, historically, thus ID cannot simply be dismissed as a purely ‘modern disorder’.
Socialconstructionism and ID
At this point it is apposite to briefly introduce a philosophical critique, primarily expounded by Hacking, of the preponderance in Western academia to claim that nigh on everything, whether people, objects or ideas, is socially constructed. The question of social
For institutions such as the Magdalen Laundries to exist, Irish society was required to co-construct powerful interpretations of Catholic notions of guilt, sin, silence, and the potential threat of an unrestrained female sexuality. These institutions operated at the nexus of interrelated socialconstructions of gender, nationalism, and class. The idealised construct of a Catholic, nationalist, Irish woman, pure of race and virtue, provided a societal measurement, which was closely policed within Irish culture
subjective suffering is added with Moran’s marriage to Rose, a match that
serves only to show how his self-imprisonment can be extended to others.
The critical focus on Amongst Women has concentrated on the socialconstruction of the novel and its implications for mid-twentieth-century
Irish society.8 Sampson takes up this theme in part through McGahern’s
reference to the living stream,9 which is the novelist’s gesture towards a
key sequence in Yeats’s meditation on rebellion, ‘Easter, 1916’: ‘Hearts
with one purpose alone / Through summer and winter seem / Enchanted