Abstract: This article adds to recent literature in the study of religion and marriage by examining older couples’ use of religion as a cultural repertoire in enduring marriages. The study includes qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews with 43 married, Christian couples. Couples reported four predominant social contexts that gave sacred meanings to their marriage: prayer, worship services and sermons, first-rite rituals and communion. These social contexts magnify sacred meanings within religious cultural repertoires by enhancing older couples’ perceptions of their marriages as sacred through formal and public recognition of their marriage longevity, lauding their marriage longevity as a blessing from God to be emulated, promoting religious meanings of familism and giving positive marriage outcomes sacred meanings. Negative effects of religion on marriage outcomes occurred among older couples when lived experiences of religion conflicted with their cultural expectations for enduring marriages.
Abstract: The Great Recession weakened U.S. families’ abilities to make charitable gifts. Although African Americans are generally especially hard hit by these types of economic crises, they have a long and distinctive history of volunteerism and mutual assistance. Consequently, the purpose of this study is to examine African American volunteering in nonprofit organizations in the aftermath of the 2008–2009 recession. Specifically, we examined race as well as other factors with the potential to influence volunteering in four categories of organizations: poverty organizations, senior service agencies, social action groups, and religious affiliated organizations. Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) data, this secondary analysis produced significant findings regarding volunteerism among African Americans in these community-based organizations.
Abstract: This study examines how first-generation ethnic minorities respond to different types of recycling promotion and education campaigns (P&E) used by municipalities in Ontario, Canada. A total of eight focus group sessions were conducted over an eight-week period to gauge participant attitudes and responses towards print (newspaper and signs) and electronic (websites) P&E messaging. Participants were asked to comment on message “recognition”, “clarity”, “the ability to increase recycling awareness” and “the ability to affect changes in recycling behavior”. Results from the focus group sessions suggest that none of the P&E mediums tested were able to increase recycling awareness or change recycling behavior in any meaningful way. First-generation ethnic minorities struggle with recognizing the central theme and purpose of P&E advertisements. Respondents also found existing campaigns excessively complex and confusing, and were not familiar with many of the terms and symbols used in existing P&E messaging. Other findings suggest that ethnic minorities are skeptical and distrustful of the municipalities’ intentions with respect to what they do with the waste after it is collected. The findings from this study lead to the recommendation that municipalities rethink and redesign recycling promotion and education initiatives to better engage minority communities.
Abstract: One of the many disastrous consequences of the tragic events of 9/11 is the war waged by the neocolonialists in order to “liberate” Muslim women. This gender-based war stands on a series of pillars, such as the presumption that Western civilization offers women a great deal of privileges, while Muslim culture gives none. Therefore, it would be logical to suppose that, because of the many opportunities the West grants to Muslim women who reside there, the latter may have an active role in the local political process. However, Muslim women have scarce visibility in European political life, and their presence is sometimes merely instrumental to some party: in most cases, women are coopted because they are a good sample of “secular Muslims” (i.e., they do not wear the hijab, i.e., the veil and a modest attire); in others, they are appointed because they are veiled and can therefore become a good vehicle in order to win the support both of the Muslim community and of its sympathizers. In this paper, I will analyze some crucial aspects of Muslim women’s formal political participation in some European countries; in addition, I will focus on the Italian case with the help of a series of interviews with Muslim women who play an active role in local political councils. The study shows how in European politics, Muslim women can become a commodity even when they stand out as rising political individuals; but also how they fight to gain visibility and public recognition, in spite of the tense situation and of the rampant Islamophobia.
Abstract: The sale of oil and gas is one of the most important components of the Syrian economy. Unfortunately, since the discovery of these resources, the Syrian people have not benefited from the revenues earned. This study deals with the development of oil and gas production and the geographical distribution of fields, as well as production control, deterioration of production, refining and selling mechanisms, and the resulting health and environmental impacts following Islamic State’s (IS) control of the majority of oilfields in Syria. Since summer 2015, IS controls 80% of the fields with a production of 65,000 barrels per day (b/d); the Assad regime controls 8% of fields with 10,000 b/d; and Kurdish forces dominate the remaining 12% with 25,000 b/d. IS depends on oil as a major source of financing for its military and civilian activities, and has also managed to set up an extensive network of middlemen in neighbouring territories and countries, with the aim of trading crude oil for cash and other resources. IS produces and exports within its areas of control and sells part of the oil to the Assad regime, and another portion to the liberated areas, as well as to Iraq and Turkey.
Abstract: This paper aims at clarifying a timely topic of how communication strategy choices are made in evolving, complex crises, such as those caused by terrorism involving chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) agents. This is done by examining data gathered from a table-top discussion among crisis communication experts, focusing on a scenario of an anthrax attack and analysed qualitatively. The communication experts followed the evolving crisis situation by gathering inputs from various actors in the crisis management network, thereby creating situational understanding, and interpreted these inputs for decision-making on communication strategies. The underlying process of coping with complexity in evolving CBRN terrorism crises can be described as a continuous, dynamic process that can best be explained with a combination of traditional and more modern crisis communication approaches. Strategy-making in crisis situations by communication experts is still largely a black box. In this study, a novel approach of decomposing strategy-making by observing a table-top discussion is chosen to clarify the process. By identifying the core elements involved, a more detailed picture of communication strategy-making is created, thus promoting preparedness and professional resilience in the field.