56,747 research outputs found

    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

    Patterns and driving factors of leaf C, N, and P stoichiometry in two forest types with different stand ages in a mid-subtropical zone

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    Background: Carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) stoichiometry is a key indicator of nutrient utilization in plants, and C/N/P ratios are related to the life histories and adaptation strategies of tree species. However, no consensus has been reached on how leaf stoichiometric characteristics are affected by forest type and stand ages. The relationships between leaf stoichiometry and geographical, meteorological, and soil factors also remain poorly understood. Methods: Leaf and soil were sampled from forest stands of different age groups (young, middle-aged, near-mature, and mature) in two forest types (Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata) forests and evergreen broadleaved forests). The relationships between leaf C, N, and P stoichiometric parameters and geographical, meteorological, and soil factors were analysed by using redundancy analysis (RDA) and stepwise linear regression analysis. Results: Leaf C concentrations peaked in the near-mature stands with increasing age irrespective of forest type. Leaf N and P concentrations fluctuated with a rising trend in Chinese fir forests, while decreased first and increased later from young to mature phases in natural evergreen broadleaved forests. Chinese fir forests were primarily limited by N and P, while natural evergreen broadleaved forests were more susceptible to P limitation. Leaf C, N, and P stoichiometric characteristics in Chinese fir forests were mainly affected by the soil total P concentration (SP), longitude (LNG), growing season precipitation (GSP) and mean temperature in July (JUT). The leaf C concentration was mainly affected by GSP and JUT; leaf N and P concentrations were both positively correlated with LNG; and leaf P was positively correlated with SP. In evergreen broadleaved forests, however, leaf stoichiometric parameters displayed significant correlations with latitude (LAT) and mean annual precipitation (MAP). Conclusions: Leaf stoichiometry differed among forest stands of different age groups and forest types. Leaf C, N, and P stoichiometry was primarily explained by the combinations of SP, LNG, GSP and JUT in Chinese fir forests. LAT and MAP were the main controlling factors affecting the variations in the leaf C, N, and P status in natural evergreen broadleaved forests, which supports the temperature-plant physiological hypothesis. These findings improve the understanding of the distribution patterns and driving mechanisms of leaf stoichiometry linked with stand age and forest type

    The temporality of rhetoric: the spatialization of time in modern criticism

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    Every conception of criticism conceals a notion of time which informs the manner in which the critic conceives of history, representation and criticism itself. This thesis reveals the philosophies of time inherent in certain key modern critical concepts: allegory, irony and the sublime. Each concept opens a breach in time, a disruption of chronology. In each case this gap or aporia is emphatically closed, elided or denied. Taking the philosophy of time elaborated by Giorgio Agamben as an introductory proposition, my argument turns in Chapter One to the allegorical temporality which Walter Benjamin sees as the time of photography. The second chapter examines the aesthetics of the sublime as melancholic or mournful untimeliness. In Chapter Three, Paul de Man's conception of irony provides an exemplary instance of the denial of this troubling temporal predicament. In opposition to the foreclosure of the disturbing temporalities of criticism, history and representation, the thesis proposes a fundamental rethinking of the philosophy of time as it relates to these categories of reflection. In a reading of an inaugural meditation on the nature of time, and in examining certain key contemporary philosophical and critical texts, I argue for a critical attendance to that which eludes those modes of thought that attempt to map time as a recognizable and essentially spatial field. The Confessions of Augustine provide, in the fourth chapter, a model for thinking through the problems set up earlier: Augustine affords us, precisely, a means of conceiving of the gap or the interim. In the final chapter, this concept is developed with reference to the criticism of Arnold and Eliot, the fiction of Virginia Woolf and the philosophy of cinema derived from Deleuze and Lyotard. In conclusion, the philosophical implications of the thesis are placed in relation to a conception of the untimeliness of death

    What is the importance of sperm subpopulations?

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    .The study of sperm subpopulations spans three decades. The origin, meaning, and practical significance, however, are less clear. Current technology for assessing sperm morphology (CASA-Morph) and motility (CASA-Mot) has enabled the accurate evaluation of these features, and there are many options for data classification. Subpopulations could occur as a result of the stage of development of each spermatozoon in the subpopulation. Spermatogenesis might contribute to the production of these subpopulations. Insights from evolutionary biology and recent molecular research are indicative of the diversity among male gametes that could occur from unequal sharing of transcripts and other elements through cytoplasmic bridges between spermatids. Sperm cohorts exiting the gonads would contain different RNA and protein contents, affecting the spermatozoon physiology and associations with the surrounding environmental milieu. Subsequently, these differences could affect how spermatozoa interact with the environmental milieu (maturation, mixing with seminal plasma, and interacting with the environmental milieu, or female genital tract and female gamete). The emergence of sperm subpopulations as an outcome of evolution, related to the reproductive strategies of the species, genital tract structures, and copulatory and fertilization processes. This kind of approach in determining the importance of sperm subpopulations in fertilization capacity should have a practical impact for conducting reproductive technologies, inspiring and enabling new ways for the more efficient use of spermatozoa in the medical, animal breeding, and conservation fields. This manuscript is a contribution to the Special Issue in memory of Dr. Duane GarnerS

    The need for robust critique of arts and health research: young people, art therapy and mental health

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    We describe work in progress to conduct a systematic review of research on effects of arts-based programs for mental health in young people. We are at the stage of searching for relevant studies through major databases and screening extant systematic reviews for additional research which meet our inclusion criteria. At this stage, however, concerns have arisen regarding both the quality of existing primary studies and of recently published systematic reviews in this area of arts and health. As a case in point, in this paper we focus on one research report on art therapy with adolescent girls and its inclusion in three systematic reviews. We demonstrate that the reviews fail to undertake a robust critique of the Bazargan and Pakdaman paper and that the paper and reviews are flawed. Drawing on recent criticisms of systematic reviewing, we consider the value of proceeding with our systematic review as initially planned. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2022 Grebosz-Haring, Thun-Hohenstein, Schuchter-Wiegand, Irons, Bathke, Phillips and Clift.

    The company she keeps : The social and interpersonal construction of girls same sex friendships

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    This thesis begins a critical analysis of girls' 'private' interpersonal and social relations as they are enacted within two school settings. It is the study of these marginal subordinated worlds productivity of forms of femininity which provides the main narrative of this project. I seek to understand these processes of (best) friendship construction through a feminist multi-disciplinary frame, drawing upon cultural studies, psychoanalysis and accounts of gender politics. I argue that the investments girls bring to their homosocial alliances and boundary drawing narry a psychological compulsion which is complexly connected to their own experiences within the mother/daughter bond as well as reflecting positively an immense social debt to the permissions girls have to be nurturant and ; negatively their own reproduction of oppressive exclusionary practices. Best friendship in particular gives girls therefore, the experience of 'monogamy' continuous of maternal/daughter identification, reminiscent of their positioning inside monopolistic forms of heterosexuality. But these subcultures also represent a subversive discontinuity to the public dominance of boys/teachers/adults in schools and to the ideologies and practices of heterosociality and heterosexuality. By taking seriously their transmission of the values of friendship in their chosen form of notes and diaries for example, I was able to access the means whereby they were able to resist their surveillance and control by those in power over them. I conclude by arguing that it is through a recognition of the valency of these indivisiblly positive and negative aspects to girls cultures that Equal Opportunities practitioners must begin if they are serious about their ambitions. Methods have to be made which enable girls to transfer their 'private' solidarities into the 'public' realm, which unquestionably demands contesting with them the causes and consequences of their implication in the divisions which also contaminate their lives and weaken them

    Strung pieces: on the aesthetics of television fiction series

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    As layered and long works, television fiction series have aesthetic properties that are built over time, bit by bit. This thesis develops a group of concepts that enable the study of these properties, It argues that a series is made of strung pieces, a system of related elements. The text begins by considering this sequential form within the fields of film and television. This opening chapter defines the object and methodology of research, arguing for a non-essentialist distinction between cinema and television and against the adequacy of textual and contextual analyses as approaches to the aesthetics of these shows. It proposes instead that these programmes should be described as televisual works that can be scrutinised through aesthetic analysis. The next chapters propose a sequence of interrelated concepts. The second chapter contends that series are composed of building blocks that can be either units into which series are divided or motifs that unify series and are dispersed across their pans. These blocks are patterned according to four kinds of relations or principles of composition. Repetition and variation are treated in tandem in the third chapter because of their close connection, given that variation emerges from established repetition. Exception and progression are also discussed together in the fourth chapter since they both require a long view of these serial works. The former, in order to be recognised as a deviation from the patterns of repetition and variation. The latter, In order to be understood in Its many dimensions as the series advances. Each of these concepts is further detailed with additional distinctions between types of units, motifs, repetitions, variations, and exceptions, using illustrative examples from numerous shows. In contrast, the section on progression uses a single series as case study, Carnivàle (2003-05), because this is the overarching principle that encompasses all the others. The conclusion considers the findings of the research and suggests avenues for their application

    Self-help/mutual aid groups in mental health : ideology, helping mechanisms and empowerment

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    In the last quarter of the twentieth century, self-help/mutual aid groups for mental health issues started to emerge in growing numbers, mainly in Western societies, offering and/or advocating for alternative non-traditional forms of support, and attracted the attention of many researchers and clinicians for their unique characteristics. Among the subjects of interest are typologies of groups, helping mechanisms and benefits from participation. However, there is lack of systematic research in the area and existing studies have been largely confined to the therapeutic value of these groups instead of acknowledging their socio-political meaning and subsequent psychosocial benefits for their members like personal empowerment. The present study was conducted during the transitional years from a Conservative to a newly elected Labour Government (1996 -1998), with subsequent policy shifts taking place in the welfare sector. The purpose of the study was to explore the potential of self-help groups as part of a broader new social movement, the service user movement, focussing on the English scene. It addressed this issue examining the relevance of a group typology based on political ideology and focus of change. To test the validity of this classification for members, a set of individual characteristics and group mechanisms as well as their change through time were examined. The sample consisted of fourteen mental health selfhelp/mutual aid groups from London and South East England, with a variety of structural and organisational features. The methodology used was a combination of both quantitative (self-completion questionnaires) and qualitative techniques (analysis of written material, participant observation and interviews). Measurements were repeated after a one-year interval (Time 1N=67, Time 2 N=56). Findings showed that, indeed, political ideology of self-help/mutual aid groups provided the basis of a meaningful typology and constitutes a comprehensive way of categorising them. Group ideology was related to specific helping mechanisms and aspects of personal empowerment. Specifically, conservative and combined group members reported more expressive group processes like sharing of feelings and self-disclosure, while radical group members were more empowered and optimistic. Group identification was also associated with specific helping activities and aspects of empowerment in the three group categories. The psychosocial character of group types and the beneficial outcomes for members remained stable through time. In general, prolonged participation was reflected in greater member identification with the group and resulted in improved mental wellbeing, increased social support, companionship and optimism for the future

    Reforming the United Nations

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    The thesis deals with the financial crisis that the United Nations faced starting in 1985 when the US Congress decided to withhold a significant part of the US contribution to the UN regular budget in order to force a greater say for the major contributors on budgetary issues, budgetary restraint and greater efficiency. The UN responded by the adoption of resolution 41/213 of 19 December 1986 that was based on the recommendations of a Group of High-level Intergovernmental Experts ("G-18") set up a year earlier. A new system was introduced regarding the formulation of the regular budget of the United Nations Organisation and a broader process of reform was initiated including a restructuring of the Secretariat and of the intergovernmental machinery in the economic and social fields. After an introductory chapter (Chapter I), the thesis examines the UN problems at the budgetary/financial and administrative/structural levels, the solutions proposed from within and without the United Nations established framework and the actual attempts at reform (Chapters II and ifi). The realisation that the implementation of reforms is rather disjointed and often unsuccessful (e.g. the failure to restructure the intergovernmental machi.neiy) prompts a search for the deeper causes of the UN problems at the political level and the attitudes of the main actors, namely the USA, the USSR, some up-and-coming states, notably Japan, the Third World states and, finally, of the UN Secretary-General and the Secretariat (Chapter 1V). Although the financial crisis may have subsided since 1988 and the USA seem committed to paying up their dues, the deeper UN crisis of identity has not been resolved and is expected to resurface if no bold steps are taken. In that direction, some possible alternative courses for the UN in the future are discussed drawing upon theory and practice (Chapte
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