28,310 research outputs found

    Metaphors of London fog, smoke and mist in Victorian and Edwardian Art and Literature

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    Julian Wolfreys has argued that after 1850 writers employed stock images of the city without allowing them to transform their texts. This thesis argues, on the contrary, that metaphorical uses of London fog were complex and subtle during the Victorian and Edwardian periods, at least until 1914. Fog represented, in particular, formlessness and the dissolution of boundaries. Examining the idea of fog in literature, verse, newspaper accounts and journal articles, as well as in the visual arts, as part of a common discourse about London and the state of its inhabitants, this thesis charts how the metaphorical appropriation of this idea changed over time. Four of Dickens's novels are used to track his use of fog as part of a discourse of the natural and unnatural in individual and society, identifying it with London in progressively more negative terms. Visual representations of fog by Constable, Turner, Whistler, Monet, Markino, O'Connor, Roberts and Wyllie and Coburn showed an increasing readiness to engage with this discourse. Social tensions in the city in the 1880s were articulated in art as well as in fiction. Authors like Hay and Barr showed the destruction of London by its fog because of its inhabitants' supposed degeneracy. As the social threat receded, apocalyptic scenarios gave way to a more optimistic view in the work of Owen and others. Henry James used fog as a metaphorical representation of the boundaries of gendered behaviour in public, and the problems faced by women who crossed them. The dissertation also examines fog and individual transgression, in novels and short stories by Lowndes, Stevenson, Conan Doyle and Joseph Conrad. After 1914, fog was no more than a crude signifier of Victorian London in literature, film and, later, television, deployed as a cliche instead of the subtle metaphorical idea discussed in this thesis

    Building body identities - exploring the world of female bodybuilders

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    This thesis explores how female bodybuilders seek to develop and maintain a viable sense of self despite being stigmatized by the gendered foundations of what Erving Goffman (1983) refers to as the 'interaction order'; the unavoidable presentational context in which identities are forged during the course of social life. Placed in the context of an overview of the historical treatment of women's bodies, and a concern with the development of bodybuilding as a specific form of body modification, the research draws upon a unique two year ethnographic study based in the South of England, complemented by interviews with twenty-six female bodybuilders, all of whom live in the U.K. By mapping these extraordinary women's lives, the research illuminates the pivotal spaces and essential lived experiences that make up the female bodybuilder. Whilst the women appear to be embarking on an 'empowering' radical body project for themselves, the consequences of their activity remains culturally ambivalent. This research exposes the 'Janus-faced' nature of female bodybuilding, exploring the ways in which the women negotiate, accommodate and resist pressures to engage in more orthodox and feminine activities and appearances

    Towards a sociology of conspiracy theories: An investigation into conspiratorial thinking on Dönmes

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    This thesis investigates the social and political significance of conspiracy theories, which has been an academically neglected topic despite its historical relevance. The academic literature focuses on the methodology, social significance and political impacts of these theories in a secluded manner and lacks empirical analyses. In response, this research provides a comprehensive theoretical framework for conspiracy theories by considering their methodology, political impacts and social significance in the light of empirical data. Theoretically, the thesis uses Adorno's semi-erudition theory along with Girardian approach. It proposes that conspiracy theories are methodologically semi-erudite narratives, i.e. they are biased in favour of a belief and use reason only to prove it. It suggests that conspiracy theories appear in times of power vacuum and provide semi-erudite cognitive maps that relieve alienation and ontological insecurities of people and groups. In so doing, they enforce social control over their audience due to their essentialist, closed-to-interpretation narratives. In order to verify the theory, the study analyses empirically the social and political significance of conspiracy theories about the Dönme community in Turkey. The analysis comprises interviews with conspiracy theorists, conspiracy theory readers and political parties, alongside a frame analysis of the popular conspiracy theory books on Dönmes. These confirm the theoretical framework by showing that the conspiracy theories are fed by the ontological insecurities of Turkish society. Hence, conspiracy theorists, most readers and some political parties respond to their own ontological insecurities and political frustrations through scapegoating Dönmes. Consequently, this work shows that conspiracy theories are important symptoms of society, which, while relieving ontological insecurities, do not provide politically prolific narratives

    Globalisation and pollinators: pollinator declines are an economic threat to global food systems

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    1. Trade in animal-pollinated crops plays an important role in global food systems: in many low-income countries, export of pollinated crops such as coffee and cocoa plays a significant role in livelihoods, while food systems in many higher income nations depend on international trade in these crops to satisfy their local demands. Losses of pollination services therefore pose a significant risk to economies beyond the area directly affected. 2. Using a simple extension of a common economic model, we explore which countries are most affected by a loss of pollination services in three case study groups of 25 countries that are vulnerable to different risks: pesticide use, natural disasters and economic debts. 3. In all three cases, large, developed economies such as the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan, are estimated to suffer the greatest economic losses, even if pollinator losses only affect smaller, less-developed economies. 4. In cases where higher income countries are affected by pollinator losses, there is a significant shift in the value of global pollinated crop production towards other large, unaffected countries. 5. Our findings highlight the need for richer countries to invest in pollinator conservation beyond their own borders to maintain resilient food systems. We provide suggestions for further economic research to better understand and identify system vulnerabilities to pollinator losses

    Coloniality and the Courtroom: Understanding Pre-trial Judicial Decision Making in Brazil

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    This thesis focuses on judicial decision making during custody hearings in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The impetus for the study is that while national and international protocols mandate the use of pre-trial detention only as a last resort, judges continue to detain people pre-trial in large numbers. Custody hearings were introduced in 2015, but the initiative has not produced the reduction in pre-trial detention that was hoped. This study aims to understand what informs judicial decision making at this stage. The research is approached through a decolonial lens to foreground legacies of colonialism, overlooked in mainstream criminological scholarship. This is an interview-based study, where key court actors (judges, prosecutors, and public defenders) and subject matter specialists were asked about influences on judicial decision making. Interview data is complemented by non-participatory observation of custody hearings. The research responds directly to Aliverti et al.'s (2021) call to ‘decolonize the criminal question’ by exposing and explaining how colonialism informs criminal justice practices. Answering the call in relation to judicial decision making, findings provide evidence that colonial-era assumptions, dynamics, and hierarchies were evident in the practice of custody hearings and continue to inform judges’ decisions, thus demonstrating the coloniality of justice. This study is significant for the new empirical data presented and theoretical innovation is also offered via the introduction of the ‘anticitizen’. The concept builds on Souza’s (2007) ‘subcitizen’ to account for the active pursuit of dangerous Others by judges casting themselves as crime fighters in a modern moral crusade. The findings point to the limited utility of human rights discourse – the normative approach to influencing judicial decision making around pre-trial detention – as a plurality of conceptualisations compete for dominance. This study has important implications for all actors aiming to reduce pre-trial detention in Brazil because unless underpinning colonial logics are addressed, every innovation risks becoming the next lei para inglĂȘs ver (law [just] for the English to see)

    Human Impact on Planetary Temperature and Glacial Volume: Extending a Toy Climate Model to a New Millennium

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    Starting with a toy climate model from the literature, we employ a system of two nonlinear differential equations to model the reciprocal effects of the average temperature and the percentage of glacial volume on Earth. In the literature, this model is used to demonstrate the potential for a stable periodic orbit over a long time span in the form of an attracting limit cycle. In the roughly twenty five years since this model appeared in the literature, the effects of global warming and human-impacted climate change have become much more well known and apparent. We demonstrate modification of initial conditions to understand how human activity could affect the model results. Although we too see the attracting limit cycle that yields a periodic orbit, we demonstrate that small perturbations in initial conditions can lead to extreme outcomes due to the presence of a nearby saddle point. We simulate the results over time to to highlight the critical nature of perturbations that in effect change the initial conditions and to determine how soon drastic climate events might take place

    Integrating Soundscape Criteria in Urban Sustainable Regeneration Processes: An Example of Comfort and Health Improvement

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    This paper reports an example of an urban sustainable regeneration process in a small open square following the soundscape approach in urban design and involving a transdisciplinary team. The renovation of this urban public space brought changes in its acoustic environment and improved soundscape perception as much more pleasant (enhanced comfort). The rehabilitation broadened the use of the square and enhanced users’ wellbeing and health, showing a significant positive impact of sound: reduction in negative emotions and perceived stress while increasing positive feelings. To conclude, the implications of the results about restorative environments in urban sound planning and future areas of research are discussed.This research received no external funding
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