Soc. Sci.2015, 4(3), 655-667; doi:10.3390/socsci4030655 (registering DOI) - published 28 August 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In this paper, I argue that we need to rethink how we conceive of death as “inevitable”. There are two main strands to my analysis. First, I use the work of Stengers to trace the complex and, occasionally, contradictory ways in which the concept of entropy was developed within physics in the 19th and 20th century. I argue that this has led to a general but ill-conceived notion of the universe as wasting away, as dying. This is a form of inevitability which has infected our understanding of what constitutes the death of individual humans. I then turn to the contrast that Whitehead draws between creativity and “perpetual perishing”. I suggest that this contrast might help us to develop a wider, more coherent, approach to thinking about the status of death, and its supposed inevitability. In the final section, I reflect upon my father’s death in 2013 in light of some of the concepts and problems raised throughout the paper.
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to describe the postgraduate course in “Railway Infrastructure and Systems Engineering” at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, funded by rail companies operating in Italy. It represents a successful example of cooperation between academia and industry in the field of railway transport. The success of the program is attested by its placement (the 90% of the graduates find an employment within six months in the companies which support the course; this percentage reached the 98% in the last three editions) and by the fact that every year it receives many more applications (almost 400 last year) than the maximum number of students that can attend the course (30). The main factors that make this course successful are its multidisciplinary training and the very close collaboration between the University and partner companies. In fact, the program of each module is designed both by academics and by managers of the companies in order to ensure an up-to-date teaching, which provides both the academic and the industrial point of view of any rail subject; this enables students to obtain a complete vision of the railway system, so to be able to work in any of the partner companies.
Abstract: Scholars generally are in agreement that the pace of globalization is rapidly accelerating. Globalization’s impact, beyond the socio-economic and political discourses, is affecting conceptions of culture and cultural studies, and changing and restructuring spaces, global, national and personal interactions and relationships. The “texts” and artifacts borne of culture—activities, events and our conception thereof are a mechanism for the propagation of culture. Simultaneously Westernization/Americanization impacts local cultures through consumerism, which obfuscates local traditions, knowledge and experiences. This research argues that culture is a dynamic, adaptive concept and practice, “borrowing” liberally from ideological and technological innovations of other cultures and integrating these borrowed aspects into the construction and modification of culture across spatial and geographical divides to ensure particular cultures’ survival. The research shows that the local affects the global, and vice versa. It selects local communication “texts” to show that cultures are not “victims” of globalization or the proliferation of mass media. Cultures actively adopt and integrate globalization’s technological artifacts. Globalization’s positive effects are dynamic and span cultural interactions and permeate structures of authority at personal, national and global levels.
Abstract: This paper sets out to explore the thinking and the direct and often indirect influence of the social theorist Philip Rieff on later generations of social theorists, especially in regard to the key sociological concept of community. It is argued that the work of this culturally-conservative social theorist has had a powerful, if somewhat shadowy, influence on such key radical critics of modern societies such as Christopher Lasch and Richard Sennett, revealing the need to acknowledge the significant resources of a Rieffian cultural sociology for critical thought.
Abstract: This article discusses the lack of knowledge and awareness that hampers end of life experiences, for both the dying and those left behind. It draws on personal experiences, and explores working creatively with dying people, using observations, painting and writing to communicate ideas. Asking the dying to tell us and show us what it is like is very successful in raising awareness, and the article concludes that less separation within our communities from the dying would normalise the process and lessen the fear.
Abstract: My analysis places the assertions of political presence by non-citizen immigrant youth in the U.S. (often referred to as DREAMers) within a rapidly globalizing world; this placement re-frames the DREAMers’ movement from a fight for U.S. citizenship to a broader critique of the limits and impossibility of liberal democratic citizenship, which claims to be all-inclusive. Increased transnational migration has brought into stark relief the inequality that current frameworks of nation-state citizenship, as a caste-system of rights, have codified. I am interested in the activism of immigrant youth as a place to explore where immigrants themselves are reasserting the right to politics. This reassertion privileges the social embeddedness of family ties and community above the notion of individual choice or individual rationality. In doing so, this articulation of politics is a critique of the liberal order by forcing the consideration of the contexts and structures that create migration, exploitation, and transnational communities of belonging.