494 research outputs found

    When “Knowing How to Read Texts” Means Understanding and Inferring Meanings

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    The essay aims to explore the nature of reading as a multidimensional and dynamic competence and to identify the teaching strategies necessary to put students to read successfully. His main purpose is to focus on relationships between text comprehension, skills and inferential processes and to examine the positive association between understanding reading, morphological awareness and construction of meanings, also in reference the ability to make inferences. The paper proposes a vision of reading comprehension as a dynamic process of decoding and linguistic understanding, which suggests how the relationship between decoding and linguistic understanding should be integrative rather than additional. The interconnection between the multiple linguistic-cognitive processes involved in reading implies the use of interpretative approaches belonging to different disciplinary areas. For this reason, this contribution goes precisely in the direction to look at the phenomenon of reading by combining the tools of linguistics, cognitive psychology and pedagogy, indispensable to reveal its features

    Difference and Dominance between East and West: A Plea for a Nationwide Reappraisal of the German Unification and Transformation

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    There are now thirty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the German unification. A whole generation has since then grown up in Germany, who knows the period of division only from history books. The subject of German division should be over and done with by now – should it not? The current developments in Germany would indicate otherwise. Among these developments, the success of the party Alternative fĂŒr Deutschland (AfD) in state elections has reminded us that significant differences persist between Eastern and Western Germany. This current finding is only an outward manifestation, however, of the dissatisfaction with the process of unification that still persists on the part of many East Germans. For a long time, little was heard on the topic in the public sphere, but it is still current and must be addressed publicly lest further potential social conflicts develop from it. The thesis of the present article is that the current differences between East and West Germans1 can no longer be explained merely by differences in socialization before 1989, but are also the manifestation of a West German culture of dominance arising in the course of the German unification and the ensuing process of transformation. This culture of dominance is based, as we will show in detail in the following, on a combination of economic, political and cultural dimensions. To examine this complex, I will draw on Rommelspacher’s (1995) concept of dominance culture

    The Fall of the Berlin Wall: Its Causes and Consequences

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    The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, resulted from a complex pattern of causes, including historical contingencies. One of these was GĂŒnter Schabowski’s ill-phrased announcement of free travel for GDR citizens, another Mikhail Gorbachev’s access to power in 1985 and his promise of “perestroika”. At the core of the matter lies “the German question” as the key issue of controversies, in the early phase of the Cold War. Even after 1955, when the two post-war German states had been integrated into the military blocs, the German question remained on the diplomatic agenda. The erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961, however, signified that the “German problem” had been shelved. After the Cuban crisis in October 1962, when the two superpowers refrained from nuclear confrontation, they appeared to enter into an era of dĂ©tente. Facing up to these facts, West BerlinÂŽs Mayor Willy Brandt and, foremost, his adviser Egon Bahr developed their concept of “Ostpolitik”. Its long-term perspective was to change the status quo of German division by accepting the status quo, i.e. the consequences of WW II, the Oder-Neisse border to Poland, the reality of the blocs, and the East German state under Communist rule. It was based on the assumption a) that dĂ©tente was an irreversible process and b) that the GDR, displaying economic stability at that time, while remaining an indispensable element in the Soviet bloc, would be disposed to forms of cooperation. The dialectics of history proved otherwise. Geopolitical rivalries between the superpowers continued to exist. In 1979, the Soviet Union’s military intervention in Afghanistan coincided with its opening another round in the arms race focussing on intermediate-range missiles in Central Europe. Both decisions propitiated the interior crisis of the Soviet Union, due to technological backwardness and military overburdening of its state-run economy. Gorbachev’s attempts at reform proved ineffective, his proclamation of glasnost encouraged dissident movements in Eastern Central Europe, e.g. the independent peace movement in the GDR, to resist their regimes. Gorbachev’s renunciation of the “Brezhnev doctrine” motivated reform-minded governments in Poland and Hungary to test the limits of Soviet hegemony. The decisive factor was the comprehensive crisis in the GDR: an unproductive economy based on external debts, a decrepit infrastructure, ecological damage, an oppressive dictatorship rejecting reform, dissident activists challenging the regime. All this, in the autumn of 1989, led to the mass exodus of East Germans fleeing across Hungary’s open border to Austria. The upshot of this course of events was the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Germany’s reunification in 1990 entailed the creation of the European Union, an in-between of a confederation and a federal union of states. Its raison dÂŽĂȘtre is to a) provide a structure of peace in Europe b) to avert German hegemony on the Continent based on its power potential. Nonetheless, apprehensions concerning Germany’s future role in Europe have not altogether vanished. With regard to its immigration policy, some observers speak of a new type of “moral hegemony”. Last but not least, MerkelÂŽs decision in 2015 admitting millions of migrants to Europe, tipped the scale in favour of Brexit

    In Search for the Post-Cold War Modus Vivendi in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe

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    The end of the 20th century was marked by a rather unexpected opening as the long-enduring Cold War came to the end and the Soviet Union collapsed, allowing fifteen new republics to appear on the political scene. Beyond the optimistic expectations of democratization and the expansion of free-market capitalism through the newly independent republics, the collapse of the Soviet Union created serious challenges for the international community in terms of international law, politics, economy, and security. One problematic challenge, which remains an open issue today, is the painful process of disintegration of the multi-ethnic Soviet federal state. By evaluating the current state of affairs of the non-NATO member, Kremlin disloyal post-Soviet states located on the western frontier of the Russian Federation, we can see that they have become a “bone of contention” between the West and Russia. By presenting brand new evidence from the Gorbachev period, once top-secret meetings of the CPSU Politburo and other Soviet governmental institutions, this article critically evaluates issues such as Gorbachev’s grand compromises in Central and Eastern Europe and the Russian problem in Ukraine and probable risks of its further aggravation, and tries to draw recommendations for solving current territorial problems in the region

    The Individual, Society and The Mask in the Paintings of Chaya Agur

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    The culture of consumer capitalism encourages authentic individualism on the one hand, but, on the other, also promotes the tendency towards conformity. “Identity”, has never been so “fashionable”. Consumer society allows us to change identities in an instant and, as a result, any identity we assume is subjected to a constant onslaught of scepticism and uncertainty. Consumerism puts at our disposal such a wide range of possible identities as the whole question of identity seem almost arbitrary. In this article, I will examine various examples of simulated identity, as expressed in the paintings of the contemporary artist Chaya Agur. The discussion on the role of the “mask”, as “persona” will be critical

    Toward a Cartography of Domestic Violence: A Deleuze-Guattarian Schizoanalysis on the Matter and Function of Domestic Violence Regimes

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    The theory and praxis of domestic violence were developed by feminists firstly, to describe conditions of violence within the patriarchal family and, secondly, to prescribe a means for women’s liberation. However, although the theory and praxis of domestic violence are conceptualized through a feminist lens, the anti-violence movement has served to strengthen the carceral state. Intersectional and queer theorists have criticized the role of anti-violence in the carceral system and expanded the theory and praxis of domestic violence. As a means to grasp the insights of intersectional and queer theorists on the critique of state violence, the following paper develops Deleuze and Guattari’s schizoanalysis of the four regimes of violence. These regimes include ritualized violence and struggle, criminal violence, state violence, and war violence. Where ritualized, violence and struggle represent the foundational theory of domestic violence, criminal and state violence provide two sides of a bifurcated cooptation of feminist theory. In order to turn anti-violence against the state, war violence as linked to the war machine provides a schizoanalytic frame for anti-violence praxis

    The Cold War as a Visual Conflict: Photographic Representations of the Berlin Wall

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    This article deals with the iconology of the Berlin Wall from its construction, in August 1961, to its fall, in November 1989. The Berlin Wall was the symbol of the Cold War. It was the most photographed and filmed motif of that period. In this regard, the West and the East gave each other a battle of images: some of them became world-famous. They included photographs that proclaimed the Wall to be an “antifascist rampart” on one side and a “Wall of Shame” on the other side. These photographs formed binary couples: freedom vs. peace, concrete and barbed wire vs. human flesh, victims vs. martyrs

    Representations of the Deviant Monstrous Mother in Contemporary American Poetry

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    The paper aims to characterize the image of the unconventional mother in Western culture; in other words, the bad mother as it is coined and defined by discourses of maternal deviancy. The article provides illustrations of absent, single, and monstrous mothers in contemporary American poetry. It studies how female parents subvert traditional icons of motherhood, either through being an absent or a single mom, and spotlights how such representations correlate with portraits of monstrous mothers and victimized children as well. In this vein, basing on Diana Gustafson’s view that the mother could be absent emotionally as well as physically from her children, my study gives accounts of both physical and emotional maternal absence. While Anne Sexton’s “The Children” and “The Witch’s Life” and Sharon Olds’s “Satan Says” and “I go back to May 1937” describe the image of the absent monstrous mother, Olds’s “The Victims” and Plath’s “Three Women” deal with the figure of the single child-bearer who breaks away from the principles of the institution of motherhood, particularly the ideals of the traditional nuclear family

    The Berlin Wall as a Heterotopian Site: Reflections on the Topology of the Wall as a Tourist Landmark

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    The Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas visited Berlin in the summer of 1971. Since then, he famously proclaimed that his encounter with the Berlin Wall at that time was his very first psychological confrontation with the powerful side of architecture. The Berlin Wall seemed to invert all of his expectations and perceptions of reality (Boyer 2008, 65). This powerful encounter made him affirm a well-known maxim: “Where there is nothing, everything is possible; where there is architecture, nothing (else) is possible” (Boyer 2008, 65, Koolhaas 1995)