Durham University

Durham e-Theses
Not a member yet
    6045 research outputs found

    Structuring the State’s Voice of Contention in Harmonious Society: How Party Newspapers Cover Social Protests in China

    Get PDF
    During the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) campaign of building a ‘harmonious society’, how do the official newspapers cover the instances of social contention on the ground? Answering this question will shed light not only on how the party press works but also on how the state and the society interact in today’s China. This thesis conceptualises this phenomenon with a multi-faceted and multi-levelled notion of ‘state-initiated contentious public sphere’ to capture the complexity of mediated relations between the state and social contention in the party press. Adopting a relational approach, this thesis analyses 1758 news reports of ‘mass incident’ in the People’s Daily and the Guangming Daily between 2004 and 2020, employing cluster analysis, qualitative comparative analysis, and social network analysis. The thesis finds significant differences in the patterns of contentious coverage in the party press at the level of event and province and an uneven distribution of attention to social contention across incidents and regions. For ‘reported regions’, the thesis distinguishes four types of coverage and presents how party press responds differently to social contention in different scenarios at the provincial level. For ‘identified incidents’, the thesis distinguishes a cumulative type of visibility based on the quantity of coverage from a relational visibility based on the structure emerging from coverage and explains how different news-making rationales determine whether instances receive similar amounts of coverage or occupy similar positions within coverage. Eventually, by demonstrating how the Chinese state strategically uses party press to respond to social contention and how social contention is journalistically placed in different positions in the state’s eyes, this thesis argues that what social contention leads to is the establishment of complex state-contention relations channelled through the party press

    Governing ageing in Chile: from neoliberal hegemony to more hopeful demographic futures?

    Get PDF
    In this thesis, I explore how demographic ageing is regulated in Chile through the governing of older populations, with particularly close attention to how the ‘actually existing’ neoliberal context in Chile permeates and conditions diverse political projects and strategies implemented by central and local governments. I approach this shaping as a historical and conjunctural process realised through multiple central and local governing projects, as well as a legacy thrown into particularly sharp relief and retrospective political questioning by the unfolding of the COVID-19 pandemic and the anti-neoliberal social uprising of 2019. These intertwined conjunctural moments have unearthed the limitations of neoliberal strategies in addressing the needs of older people. To explore the governing of older populations in Chile, I undertook a hybrid on-site and online ethnography exploring a wide range of national and local policies and governing projects. In investigating local governing projects, I analysed –with different depths– the case of seven contrasting municipalities in the capital city of Santiago, Chile. With demographic ageing positioned as a risk to economic development, I suggest that the main rationale guiding Chilean policies and programs has been to avert the central state’s welfare and caregiving responsibilities toward a growing number of potentially dependent populations; economically, physically and cognitively. I argue that governing strategies directed to older populations are deeply neoliberal –sometimes deliberately and sometimes inadvertently– in that they pervasively have been designed to shift and devolve welfare and caregiving responsibilities to different (non-central state) scales such as families and charitable institutions, local governments, communities and older people themselves. In these explorations, I also consider more closely alternative governing projects that have contested, to differing extents, the central state's neoliberal neglect. Unpacking how progressive governing projects at central and local levels have sought to imprint a different common sense on state responsibility, I also consider how these alternative projects have themselves been reshaped by neoliberal ideas and strategies. In this case, I argue that neoliberal ideas and strategies, together with the material effects of Chile’s neoliberal context, are holding back the advances of progressive governing projects. Nonetheless, as hegemony is never final, I also consider how the intertwined moments of the COVID-19 pandemic and the anti-neoliberal social uprising of October 2019 also shed light on how the history of neoliberal policies directed at older populations in Chile continues to be contested. Scholarly understandings of neoliberalism as a political hegemonic project are central to this thesis’ argument. I draw on Gramsci’s notion of hegemony as a position of ‘leadership’ continuously constructed through the intertwined articulation of coercion and consent (Hall 1986, p.15), to unpack how neoliberal ideas and strategies have reached a position of leadership in the governing of demographic ageing amid opposition from alternative governing ideas and projects. Three crosscutting findings emerge from this research: 1) through a marked politics of devolution within Chilean governance, access to welfare and caregiving has been rendered deeply unequal with old age; 2) the hegemonising capacity of neoliberal ideas and strategies is revealed in the persistence of the central state’s politics of scalar devolution and ways in which would-be progressive local governing projects end up complying with neoliberal aims; 3) though neoliberal hegemony has been secured thus far in this case through multiple strategies, it continues to be subject to contestation. Such findings offer insights for building more hopeful demographic ageing futures

    Molecular tools from bacteriophages: A structural and functional characterisation of the BREX bacteriophage resistance system

    No full text
    The interminable arms race between bacteriophages (phages) and their bacterial hosts has produced an abundance of phage defence system modalities. Phage-bacteria interactions have provided a great number of the molecular biology tools routinely applied in laboratories around the world. Additionally, the re-emergence of phage therapy provides a plausible solution to the rise of multi-drug resistant bacteria. Wide-scale use of phage therapy will require a thorough understanding of mechanisms by which bacteria resist phage infection. Recently, systematic approaches to defence system discovery have unearthed a plethora of new systems and attempts to characterise defence system functions and mechanisms have fallen behind. This study aimed to provide valuable insight into the mechanisms of BREX phage resistance systems through structural and functional characterisation of a type I BREX system from Salmonella Typhimurium strain D23580. Through assaying the Salmonella D23580 system against the Durham Phage Collection alongside type I BREX systems from Escherichia coli and Escherichia fergusonii, it was shown that phage defence varies between systems against a given phage in a manner which does not correlate with the number of recognition motifs within respective phage genomes. Further, phages appear to encode mechanisms of inhibiting species specific BREX systems. Next, analysis of gene deletions demonstrated essential genes for host methylation and phage defence, again showing variation from similar studies in the literature. Unusually, deletion of brxL elicited an increase in phage defence by several orders of magnitude. To provide further insight into the function of individual components, the structure of the methyltransferase, PglX, was solved to a resolution of 3.4 Å. PglX displays distinct N and C-terminal domains joined by a central hinge, with conserved methyltransferase regions. To shed light on mechanisms of phage escape from BREX systems, the structure of PglX bound to the BREX inhibitor, Ocr, was also solved to 3.5 Å. Ocr binds along the C-terminal domain of PglX and provides insight on potential DNA binding positions. Finally, PglX was rationally mutated to alter the BREX recognition motif, both changing host methylation patterns and allowing defence against a previously resistant phage. As such, PglX is the sole specificity factor of BREX defence, despite other components encoding DNA binding functionalities. Mutations in PglX in nature would allow rapid retargeting of BREX defence against new phage threats. Together, these results will guide further studies into BREX systems towards understanding the molecular mechanisms of phage defence

    Rancière, Rwanda and the Re-Distribution of the Sensible: Performances of Equality and Recognition in Post-Genocide Space

    No full text
    This thesis explores the interconnections between the politics of state reconstruction and the aesthetics of post-genocide performance in contemporary Rwanda. The 1994 Rwandan genocide was a defining ruptural moment in Rwanda which began a decade’s long national project to cultivate unity, equality and harmony between citizens and which has been instituted by the current RPF Rwandan government and its various national programmes, strategies and institutions. Tropes of genocide memory and re-development continue to be used by the Rwandan government to construct an image of the country that was once abandoned by the international community in 1994, but which, under a new government and leadership has since made successive strides in terms of its political and economic change; an image that continues to be projected nationally and internationally. I analyse the aesthetic role of Rwanda’s post-genocide politics and performance through the recent formulation of aesthetics by the political theorist Jacques Rancière whose aesthetic sensibility signals the inter-relations of perceptible-sensible life with the politics and production of state-craft. The aim of this study is to show in this sense that Rwanda’s post-genocide state reconstruction project of ‘Ndi Umunyarwanda’ meaning ‘I am Rwandan’ is fundamentally “aesthetic” in a Rancièrean sense, both in terms of its generation/ production, national deployment, as well as its subversion and resistance through artistic performance practice. I focus on Rancière because his account of aesthetics provides us with a vocabulary in which to account for the politicality of creative performance. This, I argue, can enable a more emancipatory spectatorial and participant experience in Rwanda in ways that cause the existing aesthetic social order to appear unsettled, arbitrary and/or subject to chang

    Assessing the Alterations In Berea Sandstone Mechanical Properties Induced by the Permeation of Bentonite Gels of Varying NaCl Concentrations: A Wellbore Strengthening Perspective

    Get PDF
    Lost circulation, which is the loss of drilling fluid into a formation during drilling, is commonly induced by wellbore pressure exceeding that of the fracture initiation pressure (FIP) and fracture propagation pressure (FPP) of the formation. This expensive occurrence can be mitigated by increasing the FIP and FPP by altering the drilling fluid composition, which has a large effect on the mechanical behaviour of rock and subsequently on the FIP and FPP. Bentonite is used both as a base fluid, as well as a lost circulation material. It is therefore imperative to understand the effect that bentonite, at different swelling capacities, has on the mechanical properties of rock to optimise its use in drilling operations to better attenuate lost circulation. In this study, Berea sandstone cores, of four permeability ranges, were permeated with bentonite gels of four NaCl concentrations, using a novel apparatus. Two batches of gel-permeated cores were prepared, one set was allowed to dry, to observe an ageing effect, and the other was kept at 4°C to preserve moisture. The cores were then indented to obtain stress-strain curves. The results of the indentation testing showed a statistically significant increase in peak strength and Young’s modulus in the wet gel-permeated cores relative to the non-permeated samples, whereas the cores with the dried gel displayed a decrease in these properties compared to the control, The dry gel-permeated cores, however, exhibited a significantly longer displacement distance compared to the control, implying these cores take longer to fully fracture apart. In addition to indentation, viscometry experiments were carried out to assess the rheological properties of the gels, this, alongside SEM and CT imaging of the samples, was done in an attempt to understand potential mechanisms behind the alterations in mechanical properties caused by gel permeation. The research carried out shows an initial set of promising results for the use of bentonite gels for wellbore-strengthening applications during drilling. The work undertaken also highlights the need for future research into interactions between non-Newtonian fluids and solids, and the potential that these interactions provide in altering the physicochemical properties of materials

    Complexity and Resistance in South-eastern, Myanmar 2012-2018

    No full text
    This thesis seeks to explain how the non-armed resistance of villagers in south-eastern Myanmar between 2012 and 2018 endured, adapted, and evolved amid new forms of structural violence. This was a period of political and economic change for this part of Myanmar, catalysed by the 2012 ceasefire between the main armed group of the region – the Karen National Union – and the Myanmar government, combined with a partial political and economic liberalisation. However, this ‘ceasefire capitalism’ period, while resulting in less direct violence for villagers, also catalysed more threats, including land confiscation, destruction of environments, loss of livelihoods and negative cultural impacts. Using the theoretical lens of complexity theory, this thesis narrates how self-organised acts by villagers emerged as patterns of dispersed resistance, spreading throughout the region and adapting to this new political and economic context. The four main categories of resistance it maps are Engagement, Mobilisation, Leveraging Existing Leaders and Organisations, and Confrontation. It uses already-existing documentation from a local human rights organisation – the Karen Human Rights Group – in the form of interviews, situation updates, photographs and land confiscation forms. I apply a thematic analysis through coding to a) identify patterns of resistance and b) apply complexity concepts of emergence, adaption and self-organisation to narrate a complex adaptive system of dispersed resistance. Using this theoretical lens, the thesis finds that a) the new political context provided opportunities for new modes and dynamic forms of resistance; b) this includes the ability for more connections and interactions between people therefore more forms of dispersed resistance emerged; and c) the role of civil society and community-based organisations in facilitating these connections was vital. The thesis contributes towards a more critical strand of complexity, one which takes into account power, inequality, conflict, and resistance

    Early Christian Widows: A Study in Their Social-economic Situation, Support, and Contribution to the Church

    Get PDF
    This research focuses on the subject of early Christian widows mainly in the first two centuries (up to Tertullian) and seeks to explore the questions regarding their social-economic situation, means of support, and their contributions (if any) to the church. Through literary analyses of three different genres of early Christian texts – narrative, instruction, and apologetic texts – which exhibit similar patterns concerning the above questions, some tentative historical conclusions can be drawn, especially in light of the situation of widows in the Roman world and ancient Judaism (which provided a historical and cultural background to Christianity). In terms of the social-economic situation of early Christian widows, this study suggests that the majority of them were poor and vulnerable economically, socially and legally, although there were also well-to-do widows. As for their support, there were mainly three means of support for them – family support from children or other relatives; individual support from friends, benefactors, or patrons; and collective support from the church. The collective support additionally indicates the existence of centralised church funds through pooling of resources from the whole Christian community. Despite their poverty and vulnerability, widows in the early church should not be stereotyped as merely passive recipients of support. They played an active role in church ministry and contributed to the Christian community in various ways, such as prayer and intercession, hospitality, charity, patronage, nursing children (i.e., orphans), looking after the sick, and visiting the imprisoned. In addition, their purity and celibacy represented the peak of Christian commitment, as indicated by people’s reference to them as the ‘altar’ of God. And the establishment of the ‘order’ of widows further highlights their particular status in the early church

    Indigenous Sovereignty, Self-determination, and Rights: Normative Agency through the Rights-Based Approach in Multilevel Arctic Environmental Governance

    No full text
    This thesis revolves around the intersection of human rights, the environment, and international law as a governance tool, with a focus on managing Arctic environmental changes and promoting environmental and decolonial justice. This thesis aims to provide a new narrative by analysing the extent to which the discourse of Indigenous rights has helped Indigenous people gain normative agency in environmental governance. The primary focus of this thesis is to investigate the effectiveness of mobilising the language of Indigenous rights in fostering Indigenous normative agency within Arctic environmental governance. A fundamental assertion underlying this thesis is that embracing the paradox of employing human rights discourse beyond the confines of the nation-state can facilitate decolonisation. Additionally, this thesis develops an argument regarding Indigenous agency as the capacity to generate normative outcomes. In turn, these outcomes reshape power dynamics and control among actors engaged in environmental governance beyond the national space and state sovereignty. In an effort to explore concepts of sovereignty, self-determination, rights, and agency, this thesis conceptualises various spaces where environmental governance occurs and is shaped, encompassing physical, institutional, and legal dimensions of Arctic governance. Focusing specifically on the Arctic, this thesis analyses Arctic governance through three different levels geographical scales (i.e., global, regional, and local) and in different non-state context to assess how Indigenous rights are used to promote an aspect of self-determination and sovereignty: the ability to influence normative development with regard to the environment

    The Effect of Subgrid Physics Models on the Pattern Speed of Bars in Cosmological Simulations

    Get PDF
    The amount of dark matter in the central region of galaxies is intimately linked to the slowdown of galactic bars. Recent work has revealed a tension between bars that are observed in the local universe and those produced in cosmological hydrodynamical simulations at z = 0. Observed bars are found to be `fast', i.e. to have a small ratio between the corotation radius and bar length, while those in the simulations are `slow', i.e. the corotation radius much larger than the bar length. Recent work has been carried out in an attempt to find the root cause of this discrepancy, and indeed to explore whether fast bars can exist within a Λ\LambdaCDM universe. The ratio of stars to dark matter, along with other properties such as gas fraction and velocity dispersion, has been linked to the evolution of bars. The resolution of simulations is often cited as the underlying cause of differences between simulations. In this work, I explore the slowdown of bars in two sets of cosmological zoom-in simulations which are identical, apart from their galaxy formation model (i.e. the subgrid physics). I then study how the slowdown of bars in these two models is related to parameters such as the stellar-to-dark matter ratio, the gas fraction and velocity dispersion, all of which are determined by the subgrid physics itself. Using halos from the Auriga suite of zoom-in cosmological simulations, I rerun them with the subgrid physics model from IllustrisTNG. I find that the bars in Auriga are faster than those run with the TNG model, i.e. Auriga have a smaller ratio of the corotation radius to bar length. The bars in TNG are shorter and stronger than in the Auriga model. In terms of global halo properties, Auriga galaxies have a greater stellar mass in their disc, are more baryon dominated at 30kpc, have a greater gas fraction in the disc. They also have a lower stellar velocity dispersion within a disc of radius 6kpc and height 1kpc from the centre. All of these differences lead to the conclusion that the subgrid physics model has a profound effect on the overall properties of a galaxy, include the speed of the bar. We therefore show that the changes in subgrid physics can have a significant effect on the dynamical properties of barred spiral galaxies and, as such, the dynamical properties of bars can be used to constrain models of galaxy formation and evolution


    No full text
    Graphene has attracted the attention of the scientific community over the last decade due to its outstanding properties, such as high thermal and high electrical conductivity and remarkable mechanical properties. Intensive research has focussed on developing applications to harness these properties. The broad range of applications includes developing long-lasting batteries, flexible and transparent screens, super tough polymer composite materials, and highly selective sensors for early disease detection. Since graphene was discovered, its high conductivity inspired the development of conductive polymers and composites. Graphene platelets and their derivatives can be readily used in various polymer-based applications since they are commercially available and readily prepared in wet conditions starting from graphite. However, it has been found that uniform graphene dispersion in polymer matrices is extremely difficult. Here, we describe a novel way in which graphene can be preferentially located at the interface of immiscible polymer blends during extrusion so the polymer microstructure can be used as a scaffold for graphene to form a conductive network. Furthermore, this approach can be used to make two immiscible polymers more compatible and improve the rheological properties of the blend. In addition to platelets, graphene films synthesized by chemical vapour deposition (CVD) can be used in applications such as developing graphene-based sensors that can detect picomolar concentrations of analytes. Graphene growth on copper by CVD is the accepted method for high-quality monolayer graphene synthesis. This makes graphene transfer between surfaces an unavoidable step for any application. Although several protocols have been proposed to transfer graphene, they are difficult to reproduce, particularly over large areas. By applying a conformability concept, here we describe a protocol for a successful transfer of graphene on substrates with different roughness using Si/SiO2 as a typical rigid and flat widely used in electronic applications and the skin as an example of a highly rough and soft substrate


    full texts


    metadata records
    Updated in last 30 days.
    Durham e-Theses is based in United Kingdom
    Access Repository Dashboard
    Do you manage Open Research Online? Become a CORE Member to access insider analytics, issue reports and manage access to outputs from your repository in the CORE Repository Dashboard! 👇