29,208 research outputs found

    How does firm ownership concentration and female directors influence tax haven foreign direct investment? Evidence from Asia-Pacific and OECD countries

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    The literature on tax havens utilization by multinational enterprises (MNEs) has largely focused on determinants that are financial or technological in nature. We contribute to this literature by showing important corporate governance determinants for tax haven utilization by Asia-Pacific and OECD country MNEs. Theoretically, we show that ownership concentration and female board membership influence tax haven utilization. Empirically, we show negative associations between ownership concentration and female board membership and the likelihood of owning a subsidiary in a tax haven. Based on our results, we draw a number of implications for theoretical and empirical work, which also opens the door for further investigation in this area

    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

    The cultural center of the world : art, finance, and globalization in late twentieth-century New York

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    This article explores why New York City’s municipal government, together with private benefactors, poured an unprecedented amount of money into the arts during the 1980s, a time of broader austerity. While other public expenditures saw dramatic cuts, the arts were considered essential to the city’s future as a center for global capital—as a way to lure financial elites and young professionals to the city, create new forms of revenue-raising consumption, and cement New York’s reputation as the ultimate global city. New York had always had a vital arts scene. But in the 1980s, the arts were monetized in new ways to serve capital—and capitalists. Arts and culture were central to the new urban lifestyle that helped produce the explosion of global finance. But as arts and culture increasingly came to be associated with a luxury lifestyle, the arts themselves became a luxury, inaccessible to most New Yorkers

    RNA pull-down-confocal nanoscanning (RP-CONA), a novel method for studying RNA/protein interactions in cell extracts that detected potential drugs for Parkinson’s disease targeting RNA/HuR complexes

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    MicroRNAs (miRNAs, miRs) are a class of small non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression through specific base-pair targeting. The functional mature miRNAs usually undergo a two-step cleavage from primary miRNAs (pri-miRs), then precursor miRNAs (pre-miRs). The biogenesis of miRNAs is tightly controlled by different RNA-binding proteins (RBPs). The dysregulation of miRNAs is closely related to a plethora of diseases. Targeting miRNA biogenesis is becoming a promising therapeutic strategy. HuR and MSI2 are both RBPs. MiR-7 is post-transcriptionally inhibited by the HuR/MSI2 complex, through a direct interaction between HuR and the conserved terminal loop (CTL) of pri-miR-7-1. Small molecules dissociating pri-miR-7/HuR interaction may induce miR-7 production. Importantly, the miR-7 levels are negatively correlated with Parkinson’s disease (PD). PD is a common, incurable neurodegenerative disease causing serious motor deficits. A hallmark of PD is the presence of Lewy bodies in the human brain, which are inclusion bodies mainly composed of an aberrantly aggregated protein named α-synuclein (α-syn). Decreasing α-syn levels or preventing α-syn aggregation are under investigation as PD treatments. Notably, α-syn is negatively regulated by several miRNAs, including miR-7, miR-153, miR-133b and others. One hypothesis is that elevating these miRNA levels can inhibit α-syn expression and ameliorate PD pathologies. In this project, we identified miR-7 as the most effective α-syn inhibitor, among the miRNAs that are downregulated in PD, and with α-syn targeting potentials. We also observed potential post-transcriptional inhibition on miR-153 biogenesis in neuroblastoma, which may help to uncover novel therapeutic targets towards PD. To identify miR-7 inducers that benefit PD treatment by repressing α-syn expression, we developed a novel technique RNA Pull-down Confocal Nanoscaning (RP-CONA) to monitor the binding events between pri-miR-7 and HuR. By attaching FITC-pri-miR-7-1-CTL-biotin to streptavidin-coated agarose beads and incubating them in human cultured cell lysates containing overexpressed mCherry-HuR, the bound RNA and protein can be visualised as quantifiable fluorescent rings in corresponding channels in a confocal high-content image system. A pri-miR-7/HuR inhibitor can decrease the relative mCherry/FITC intensity ratio in RP-CONA. With this technique, we performed several small-scale screenings and identified that a bioflavonoid, quercetin can largely dissociate the pri-miR-7/HuR interaction. Further studies proved that quercetin was an effective miR-7 inducer as well as α-syn inhibitor in HeLa cells. To understand the mechanism of quercetin mediated α-syn inhibition, we tested the effects of quercetin treatment with miR-7-1 and HuR knockout HeLa cells. We found that HuR was essential in this pathway, while miR-7 hardly contributed to the α-syn inhibition. HuR can directly bind an AU-rich element (ARE) at the 3’ untranslated region (3’-UTR) of α-syn mRNA and promote translation. We believe quercetin mainly disrupts the ARE/HuR interaction and disables the HuR-induced α-syn expression. In conclusion, we developed and optimised RP-CONA, an on-bead, lysate-based technique detecting RNA/protein interactions, as well as identifying RNA/protein modulators. With RP-CONA, we found quercetin inducing miR-7 biogenesis, and inhibiting α-syn expression. With these beneficial effects, quercetin has great potential to be applied in the clinic of PD treatment. Finally, RP-CONA can be used in many other RNA/protein interactions studies

    Detection of Hyperpartisan news articles using natural language processing techniques

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    Yellow journalism has increased the spread of hyperpartisan news on the internet. It is very difficult for online news article readers to distinguish hyperpartisan news articles from mainstream news articles. There is a need for an automated model that can detect hyperpartisan news on the internet and tag them as hyperpartisan so that it is very easy for readers to avoid that news. A hyperpartisan news detection article was developed by using three different natural language processing techniques named BERT, ELMo, and Word2vec. This research used the bi-article dataset published at SEMEVAL-2019. The ELMo word embeddings which are trained on a Random forest classifier has got an accuracy of 0.88, which is much better than other state of art models. The BERT and Word2vec models have got the same accuracy of 0.83. This research tried different sentence input lengths to BERT and proved that BERT can extract context from local words. Evidenced from the described ML models, this study will assist the governments, news’ readers, and other political stakeholders to detect any hyperpartisan news, and also helps policy to track, and regulate, misinformation about the political parties and their leaders

    Why Was There a Hard Brexit? The British Legislative Party System, Divided Majorities and the Incentives for Factionalism

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    The UK parliament of 2017–2019 had to decide what form of Brexit, if any, it would accept in the government’s negotiations with the EU over a withdrawal agreement. Despite a large majority of MPs having supported Remain in the 2016 referendum, with most opposed to a ‘hard’ Brexit of looser ties between the UK and the EU, all attempts to pass a ‘soft’ Brexit failed. The final withdrawal agreement reflected a hard Brexit that was closer to the preferences of a 28-strong group of Eurosceptic Conservative MPs than to those of any other party or faction in a 650-seat parliament. This article identifies the two-party system for government as a crucial variable in explaining this unexpected outcome. Governments seek majorities from among their own MPs rather than relying on the uncertain support of the opposition. This not only makes party cohesion vital, but also creates leverage for organised factions to hold sway

    Balancing the urban stomach: public health, food selling and consumption in London, c. 1558-1640

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    Until recently, public health histories have been predominantly shaped by medical and scientific perspectives, to the neglect of their wider social, economic and political contexts. These medically-minded studies have tended to present broad, sweeping narratives of health policy's explicit successes or failures, often focusing on extraordinary periods of epidemic disease viewed from a national context. This approach is problematic, particularly in studies of public health practice prior to 1800. Before the rise of modern scientific medicine, public health policies were more often influenced by shared social, cultural, economic and religious values which favoured maintaining hierarchy, stability and concern for 'the common good'. These values have frequently been overlooked by modern researchers. This has yielded pessimistic assessments of contemporary sanitation, implying that local authorities did not care about or prioritise the health of populations. Overly medicalised perspectives have further restricted historians' investigation and use of source material, their interpretation of multifaceted and sometimes contested cultural practices such as fasting, and their examination of habitual - and not just extraordinary - health actions. These perspectives have encouraged a focus on reactive - rather than preventative - measures. This thesis contributes to a growing body of research that expands our restrictive understandings of pre-modern public health. It focuses on how public health practices were regulated, monitored and expanded in later Tudor and early Stuart London, with a particular focus on consumption and food-selling. Acknowledging the fundamental public health value of maintaining urban foodways, it investigates how contemporaries sought to manage consumption, food production waste, and vending practices in the early modern City's wards and parishes. It delineates the practical and political distinctions between food and medicine, broadly investigates the activities, reputations of and correlations between London's guild and itinerant food vendors and licensed and irregular medical practitioners, traces the directions in which different kinds of public health policy filtered up or down, and explores how policies were enacted at a national and local level. Finally, it compares and contrasts habitual and extraordinary public health regulations, with a particular focus on how perceptions of and actual food shortages, paired with the omnipresent threat of disease, impacted broader aspects of civic life

    The applied psychology of addictive orientations : studies in a 12-step treatment context.

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    The clinical data for the studies was collected at The PROMIS Recovery Centre, a Minnesota Model treatmentc entre for addictions,w hich encouragesth e membership and use of the 12 step Anonymous Fellowships, and is abstinence based. The area of addiction is contextualised in a review chapter which focuses on research relating to the phenomenon of cross addiction. A study examining the concept of "addictive orientations" in male and female addicts is described, which develops a study conductedb y StephensonM, aggi, Lefever, & Morojele (1995). This presents study found a four factor solution which appeared to be subdivisions of the previously found Hedonism and Nurturance factors. Self orientated nurturance (both food dimensions, shopping and caffeine), Other orientated nurturance (both compulsive helping dimensions and work), Sensation seeking hedonism (Drugs, prescription drugs, nicotine and marginally alcohol), and Power related hedonism (Both relationship dimensions, sex and gambling. This concept of "addictive orientations" is further explored in a non-clinical population, where again a four factor solution was found, very similar to that in the clinical population. This was thought to indicate that in terms of addictive orientation a pattern already exists in this non-clinical population and that consideration should be given to why this is the case. These orientations are examined in terms of gender differences. It is suggested that the differences between genders reflect power-related role relationships between the sexes. In order to further elaborate the significance and meaning behind these orientations, the next two chapters look at the contribution of personality variables and how addictive orientations relate to psychiatric symptomatology. Personality variables were differentially, and to a considerable extent predictably involved with the four factors for both males and females.Conscientiousness as positively associated with "Other orientated Nurturance" and negatively associated with "Sensation seeking hedonism" (particularly for men). Neuroticism had a particularly strong association with the "Self orientated Nurturance" factor in the female population. More than twice the symptomatology variance was explained by the factor scores for females than it was for males. The most important factorial predictors for psychiatric symptomatology were the "Power related hedonism" factor for males, and "Self oriented nurturance" for females. The results are discussed from theoretical and treatment perspectives

    Pontus in Antiquity: aspects of identity

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    The purpose of this thesis is the presentation of the interaction between the successive inhabitants of Pontus in antiquity, indigenous Anatolians, Greeks, Persians and Romans. Limited archaeological evidence cannot determine the precise extent of interaction, although the available information substantiates the notion of a slow, but steady amalgamation. Initially, the intermingling was based on mutual trading links. Although the Hellenic cultural element tended to surface, Eastern factors remained visible. The Mithridatic dynasty was established around the vicinity of Pontus, creating the 'Kingdom of Pontus' which reached its height under Mithridates VI. His administrative and military policy appears to have placed the foundations for the later, Roman corresponding structures. His policies-propaganda reflected the GraecoEastern image of a king, which appealed to the Greek and Persian-Eastern inhabitants of his kingdom, Asia Minor and, to a lesser extent, mainland Greece. This GraecoEastern image might have nourished the concept of a shared history among the inhabitants of Pontus. Their interactions appear to have given rise to an unnamed, local culture, which was enriched with the relevant Roman practices. Around the third century A.D., the Roman administrative patterns might have established an externally defined appellation. During Roman times, Christianity started to be established in Pontus. Although it was not yet a socio-political factor, its non-racial nature prevailed in later centuries. The influence of the Roman-Christian elements can still be observed in the modern Ponti an identity. In antiquity, (lack of) evidence indicates that no group defined themselves as 'Pontics' or 'Pontians' and an internally defined Pontic identity is unlikely to have existed. However, people associated themselves with the geographical area of Pont us, cultural and religious concepts were frequently amalgamated, while the notion of a common descent and a shared history might have been unconsciously fostered. These factors can assist in the understanding of the 'Pontians' today
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