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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
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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
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

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.

Irish republican media activism since the Good Friday Agreement
Author: Paddy Hoey

Newspapers, magazines and pamphlets have always been central, almost sacred, forms of communication within Irish republican political culture. While social media is becoming the primary ideological battleground in many democracies, Irish republicanism steadfastly expresses itself in the traditional forms of activist journalism.

Shinners, Dissos and Dissenters is a long-term analysis of the development of Irish republican activist media since 1998 and the tumultuous years following the end of the Troubles. It is the first in-depth analysis of the newspapers, magazines and online spaces in which the differing strands of Irish republicanism developed and were articulated during a period where schism and dissent defined a return to violence.

Based on an analysis of Irish republican media outlets as well as interviews with the key activists that produced them, this book provides a compelling long-term snapshot of a political ideology in transition. It reveals how Irish Republicanism was moulded by the twin forces of the Northern Ireland Peace Process and the violent internal ideological schism that threatened a return to the ‘bad old days’ of the Troubles.

This book is vital for those studying Irish politics and those interestedin activism as it provides new insights into the role that modern activist media forms have played in the ideological development of a 200-year-old political tradition.

Space, identity and power

This volume aims to disclose the political, social and cultural factors that influenced the sanitary measures against epidemics developed in the Mediterranean during the long nineteenth century. The contributions to the book provide new interdisciplinary insights to the booming field of ‘quarantine studies’ through a systematic use of the analytic categories of space, identity and power. The ultimate goal is to show the multidimensional nature of quarantine, the intimate links that sanitary administrations and institutions had with the territorial organization of states, international trade, the construction of national, colonial, religious and professional identities or the configuration of political regimes. The circum-Mediterranean geographical spread of the case studies contained in this volume illuminates the similarities and differences around and across this sea, on the southern and northern shores, in Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Italian, English and French-speaking domains. At the same time, it is highly interested in engaging in the global English-speaking community, offering a wide range of terms, sources, bibliography, interpretative tools and views produced and elaborated in various Mediterranean countries. The historical approach will be useful to recognize the secular tensions that still lie behind present-day issues such as the return of epidemics or the global flows of migrants and refugees.

Author: Zoë Thomas

Women Art Workers constitutes the first comprehensive history of the network of women who worked at the heart of the English Arts and Crafts movement from the 1870s to the 1930s. Challenging the long-standing assumption that the Arts and Crafts simply revolved around celebrated male designers like William Morris, this book instead offers a new social and cultural account of the movement, which simultaneously reveals the breadth of the imprint of women art workers upon the making of modern society. Thomas provides unprecedented insight into how women – working in fields such as woodwork, textiles, sculpture, painting, and metalwork – navigated new authoritative roles as ‘art workers’ by asserting expertise across a range of interconnected cultures so often considered in isolation: from the artistic to the professional, intellectual, entrepreneurial, and domestic. Through examination of newly discovered institutional archives and private papers, and a wide range of unstudied advertisements, letters, manuals, photographs, and calling cards, Women Art Workers elucidates the critical importance of the spaces around which women conceptualised alternative creative and professional lifestyles: guild halls, exhibitions, homes, studios, workshops, and the cityscape. Shattering the traditional periodisation of the movement as ‘Victorian’, this research reveals that the early twentieth century was a critical juncture at which women art workers became ever more confident in promoting their own vision of the Arts and Crafts. Shaped by their precarious gendered positions, they opened up the movement to a wider range of social backgrounds and interests, and redirected the movement’s radical potential into contemporary women-centred causes.