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Open Access (free)
Digital Bodies, Data and Gifts
Kristin Bergtora Sandvik

data’ ( Ruckenstein and Schüll, 2017: 262 ). There is thus a knowledge gap regarding the development and deployment of wearables in emergencies, where there are deep, extra-democratic power differences between beneficiaries and structurally unaccountable humanitarian actors, donors and private-sector actors. This article suggests that humanitarian wearables have a structural dimension that risks being overlooked when the deployment of ‘wearables for good’ is

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
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Private greed, political negligence and housing policy after Grenfell

As the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire of 14 June 2017 has slowly revealed a shadowy background of outsourcing and deregulation, and a council turning a blind eye to health and safety concerns, many questions need answers. Stuart Hodkinson has those answers. Safe as Houses weaves together Stuart’s research over the last decade with residents’ groups in council regeneration projects across London to provide the first comprehensive account of how Grenfell happened and how it could easily have happened in multiple locations across the country. It draws on examples of unsafe housing either refurbished or built by private companies under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) to show both the terrible human consequences of outsourcing and deregulation and how the PFI has enabled developers, banks and investors to profiteer from highly lucrative, taxpayer-funded contracts. The book also provides shocking testimonies of how councils and other public bodies have continuously sided with their private partners, doing everything in their power to ignore, deflect and even silence those who speak out. The book concludes that the only way to end the era of unsafe regeneration and housing provision is to end the disastrous regime of self-regulation. This means strengthening safety laws, creating new enforcement agencies independent of government and industry, and replacing PFI and similar models of outsourcing with a new model of public housing that treats the provision of shelter as ‘a social service’ democratically accountable to its residents.

James Goodchild

This chapter charts the evolving role of the Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA) to the Cabinet Office of the British Government – from its unaccountable inception under Churchill through to interim termination of the role by the Conservative government led by Edward Heath. The respective personalities, skills, scientific interests, politics, and expectations of each GCSA ensured that, unlike any other definitive role in government, the GCSA job description remained fluid. It was the fundamental flexibility of the GCSA role which enabled respective GSCAs to adapt to contemporary conditions, and advise on how to best solve the issues faced by the respective governments of the mid-to-late twentieth century

in Scientific governance in Britain, 1914–79
Tom Stoppard’s The Dog It Was That Died
Jonathan Bolton

This chapter reads Stoppard’s radio play, The Dog it Was That Died, in the context of the playwright’s political activism on behalf of free speech and individual rights that began in the mid-1970s. The play features the suicidal impulses of an MI6 operative who has been a double agent for so long that he has forgotten which side he is spying for, leaving him adrift in a state of moral indecision. This comic situation addresses serious moral and institutional problems raised by the Blunt Affair, including the opacity of British intelligence and the forfeiture of moral agency among its workers. In response to these concerns, Stoppard formulates what he called Catastrophe Theory (“catastrophe” meaning, in its etymological sense, a “sudden turning”) to illustrate ways in which moral decisions go awry. Stoppard had formerly used this theory to challenge the ideological support of totalitarian systems from within, such as the willingness of large segments of the population in Soviet bloc nations to abide human rights violations in the interests of preserving a system perceived to be virtuous. In The Dog It Was That Died, Stoppard turned this forceful critique on the “unsavoury” practices of Britain’s intelligence services by satirizing the potential for eccentricity, incompetence and unaccountability go unchecked in autonomous government agencies in ways that align with the Right-to-Know movement’s challenge of the Official Secrets Act. Long regarded as a minor Stoppard work, this chapter makes a case for the historical and cultural value of this neglected work.

in The Blunt Affair
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The fall of the House of Porter
Peter Jones

The corruptions of Dame Shirley Porter, the Tesco heiress, and leader of Westminster City Council regarded by Conservatives as flagship council were not the only instances of corruption in London but they were the most sensational and they were regarded as gerrymandering. Her use of the right to buy scheme to gentrify particular electoral wards within Westminster City Council under the guise of ‘Building Stable Communities’ was judged by the District Auditor, John Magill, to be improper. Porter’s lack of political guile was exposed by Ken Livingstone and the new urban left. However, the Porter case was unusual: corruption in London stemmed from the immobilisme generated by the division of responsibilities between the London Boroughs and The Greater London Council. Prior to the Porter case corruption had embarrassed Labour in Whitechapel, Stepney, Lambeth and Haringey which were all Labour controlled and where local Labour leaders often acted in the style of T. Dan Smith as unaccountable political bosses. Porter’s disgrace caused her to leave the country and she fought a long legal battle without success to avoid the surcharge that was levied upon her.

in From virtue to venality
Race and nation in twenty-first-century Britain

Nationalism has reasserted itself today as the political force of our times, remaking European politics wherever one looks. Britain is no exception, and in the midst of Brexit, it has even become a vanguard of nationalism's confident return to the mainstream. Brexit, in the course of generating a historically unique standard of sociopolitical uncertainty and constitutional intrigue, tore apart the two-party compact that had defined the parameters of political contestation for much of twentieth-century Britain. This book offers a wide-ranging picture of the different theoretical accounts relevant to addressing nationalism. It briefly repudiates the increasingly common attempts to read contemporary politics through the lens of populism. The book explores the assertion of 'muscular liberalism' and civic nationalism. It examines more traditional, conservative appeals to racialised notions of blood, territory, purity and tradition as a means of reclaiming the nation. The book also examines how neoliberalism, through its recourse to discourses of meritocracy, entrepreneurial self and individual will, alongside its exaltation of a 'points-system' approach to the ills of immigration, engineers its own unique rendition of the nationalist crisis. There are a number of important themes through which the process of liberal nationalism can be documented - what Arun Kundnani captured, simply and concisely, as the entrenchment of 'values racism'. These include the 'faux-feminist' demonisation of Muslims.

The well-being of Europe’s citizens depends less on individual consumption and more on their social consumption of essential goods and services – from water and retail banking to schools and care homes – in what we call the foundational economy. Individual consumption depends on market income, while foundational consumption depends on social infrastructure and delivery systems of networks and branches, which are neither created nor renewed automatically, even as incomes increase. This historically created foundational economy has been wrecked in the last generation by privatisation, outsourcing, franchising and the widespread penetration of opportunistic and predatory business models. The distinctive, primary role of public policy should therefore be to secure the supply of basic services for all citizens (not a quantum of economic growth and jobs). Reconstructing the foundational has to start with a vision of citizenship that identifies foundational entitlements as the conditions for dignified human development, and likewise has to depend on treating the business enterprises central to the foundational economy as juridical persons with claims to entitlements but also with responsibilities and duties. If the aim is citizen well-being and flourishing for the many not the few, then European politics at regional, national and EU level needs to be refocused on foundational consumption and securing universal minimum access and quality. If/when government is unresponsive, the impetus for change has to come from engaging citizens locally and regionally in actions which break with the top down politics of ‘vote for us and we will do this for you’.

Challenges and opportunities

This book explores the evolving African security paradigm in light of the multitude of diverse threats facing the continent and the international community today and in the decades ahead. It challenges current thinking and traditional security constructs as woefully inadequate to meet the real security concerns and needs of African governments in a globalized world. The continent has becoming increasingly integrated into an international security architecture, whereby Africans are just as vulnerable to threats emanating from outside the continent as they are from home-grown ones. Thus, Africa and what happens there, matters more than ever. Through an in-depth examination and analysis of the continent’s most pressing traditional and non-traditional security challenges—from failing states and identity and resource conflict to terrorism, health, and the environment—it provides a solid intellectual foundation, as well as practical examples of the complexities of the modern African security environment. Not only does it assess current progress at the local, regional, and international level in meeting these challenges, it also explores new strategies and tools for more effectively engaging Africans and the global community through the human security approach.

Given the significant similarities and differences between the welfare states of Northern Europe and their reactions to the perceived 'refugee crisis' of 2015, the book focuses primarily on the three main cases of Denmark, Sweden and Germany. Placed in a wider Northern European context – and illustrated by those chapters that also discuss refugee experiences in Norway and the UK – the Danish, Swedish and German cases are the largest case studies of this edited volume. Thus, the book contributes to debates on the governance of non-citizens and the meaning of displacement, mobility and seeking asylum by providing interdisciplinary analyses of a largely overlooked region of the world, with two specific aims. First, we scrutinize the construction of the 2015 crisis as a response to the large influx of refugees, paying particular attention to the disciplinary discourses and bureaucratic structures that are associated with it. Second, we investigate refugees’ encounters with these bureaucratic structures and consider how these encounters shape hopes for building a new life after displacement. This allows us to show that the mobility of specific segments of the world’s population continues to be seen as a threat and a risk that has to be governed and controlled. Focusing on the Northern European context, our volume interrogates emerging policies and discourses as well as the lived experiences of bureaucratization from the perspective of individuals who find themselves the very objects of bureaucracies.

Open Access (free)
Postcolonial governance and the policing of family

Bordering intimacy is a study of how borders and dominant forms of intimacy, such as family, are central to the governance of postcolonial states such as Britain. The book explores the connected history between contemporary border regimes and the policing of family with the role of borders under European and British empires. Building upon postcolonial, decolonial and black feminist theory, the investigation centres on how colonial bordering is remade in contemporary Britain through appeals to protect, sustain and make family life. Not only was family central to the making of colonial racism but claims to family continue to remake, shore up but also hide the organisation of racialised violence in liberal states. Drawing on historical investigations, the book investigates the continuity of colonial rule in numerous areas of contemporary government – family visa regimes, the policing of sham marriages, counterterror strategies, deprivation of citizenship, policing tactics, integration policy. In doing this, the book re-theorises how we think of the connection between liberal government, race, family, borders and empire. In using Britain as a case, this opens up further insights into the international/global circulations of liberal empire and its relationship to violence.