On Youth and Sustainability in Bogotá

One of the greatest hurdles to global sustainability is inequality in life opportunities. Kai Whiting examines Colombia’s capital city Bogotá, and looks at how the quality of life offered by the city contributes to the mass exodus of educated Colombians from their rural home towns. Whiting proposes two political strategies to get educated youth to stay and play a role in sustainable development.

Jacqueline Rose on Women in Dark Times

Katrina Zaat and Ina Linge met with Jacqueline Rose to discuss her most recent book, Women in Dark Times. She describes it as ‘a series of love letters’ to exceptional women of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It is also a clear-eyed critique of the sadistic perfectionism to which women are held in imperfect societies. Katrina’s and Ina’s reflections on the interview follow in the form of letters.

Happiness and Aging: Why Things Don’t Look Awful Cold

Old age is not really necessarily a time of coldness and unhappiness as The Who proclaimed in the 1960s. Eric Larson gives an overview of how knowing oneself and one’s expectations, helping others and being active in fact can make aging a time of the greatest wellbeing.

African Dawn

A long history of coups d’état dating back to the respective Independence days, have not delivered political or economic stability in sub-Saharan African. Mary Serumaga argues that the pattern is for an elite class of politicians and their collaborators capturing the organs of state for their own benefit and to the detriment of what are variously called the urban and rural poor living on a dollar a day.

Silicon Valley Might Be Sexist, But Its Feminism Is Not The Answer

Sexual harassment lawsuits and executive women leaving the industry:  this year, sexism in Silicon Valley has made the front-page news. In June, a former executive and co-founder of the popular dating-app Tinder filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the company. Whitney Wolfe was allegedly stripped of her co-founder title because she was just a “girl” that would “make the company look like a joke”. Earlier this year, former engineer at […]

There will be blood: Expecting violence in Egypt, 2011-2013

What in 2011 was described as Egypt’s peaceful revolution (which it never really was), two years later resulted in a counter-revolution that has left behind a trail of violence, death, polarisation and hatred. Trying to understand how it could happen, Samuli Schielke looks at the moral dimension of political violence, grounded as it is in the desire to fight evil by all means necessary and to establish purity and clarity – and purity is a very dirty business.

The Scourge of Caste

Arundhati Roy recounts the political legacy of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, a leader of India’s national movement, and Gandhi’s greatest political adversary. Roy argues that Gandhi was in fact a “great defender” of the caste system, “a system that can only be maintained through the egregious application of violence”, and which is “the engine that runs India”.

O mother, mother what have you done?

Reflecting on years of experience as a psychotherapist, Jane Haynes draws on a wide range of sources from film and literature to reflect on mothers and mother-figures. She also gives voice to some of her own patients, offering unique glimpses of the psychological significance of mothers.

Speaking of African Politics, Without the Politics

Let’s talk about ethnic conflict and national politics. Take the example of one country, where an ethnic group makes up 80% of the population, yet the remaining four ethnic groups exert considerable political influence. These minority ethnic groups together have access to strategic locations and their historically entrenched claims to political power make them powerful. The second largest ethnic group—a tribe mostly living in the Northern part of the country’s […]

Co-operation

“The ideal of social cooperation has come to be treated as high-sounding flabbiness,” Pat Bateson writes, “while individual selfishness is regarded as the natural and sole basis for a realistic approach to life. Competition is now widely seen as the mainspring of human activity. The process can be reversed if we work actively against a style of thought that places all the emphasis on confrontation. If we don’t, the building up of enormous arsenals of weapons will lead inexorably to the use of those arms in some moment of blind irrationality.”

We Want Free Higher Education: What Our Parents Had

Eric Lybeck sympathizes with the thousands of students who are going to be on the streets of London today protesting for ‘Free Education’. While declining public funding for universities and student debt are serious problems, Lybeck argues that the root of the injustice is not that wealth defines who can go to university or that working class students suffer over proportionately from paying back the debt. For him, the problem is that future generations will have to pay for what we think is a collective good.

The Allure of Real Work

While some might celebrate the decline of hard physical labour across “post-industrial” service-based economies, one of the prices we have paid has been greater uncertainty and anxiety about the ultimate worth of the work we do. Tom Barker questions the assumptions underlying talk of “non-jobs” and “bullshit jobs”, and in doing so asks us to interrogate our own definitions of what constitutes “real” work.

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