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We build connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. Arts is a cornerstone of the British Council’s mission to create a friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and the wider world. We find new ways of connecting with and understanding each other through the arts, to develop stronger creative sectors around the world that are better connected with the UK. Find out more ...
 
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All regions and places are unique in their own way, but the Ozarks have an enduring place in American culture. Studying the Ozarks offers the ability to explore American life through the lens of one of the last remaining cultural frontiers in American society. Perhaps because the Ozarks were relatively isolated from mainstream American society, or …
 
Drawing from forty years of experience, Julia Brannen offers an invaluable account of how research in family studies is conducted and 'matters' at particular times. Social Research Matters: A Life in Family Sociology (Bristol UP, 2019) covers key developments in the field and vital issues which remain of pressing concern to Britain and the world. B…
 
To envision and create the futures we want, society needs an appropriate understanding of the likely impact of alternative actions. Data models and visualizations offer a way to understand and intelligently manage complex, interlinked systems in science and technology, education, and policymaking. Atlas of Forecasts: Modeling and Mapping Desirable …
 
Howard speaks to Juha Kaakinen, CEO of Y-Foundation, a global leader in implementing the "Housing First principle" and a clear example of how genuine progress can be made in concretely addressing homelessness. Howard Burton is the founder of Ideas Roadshow, Ideas on Film and host of the Ideas Roadshow Podcast. He can be reached at howard@ideasroads…
 
The COVID-19 pandemic is changing how we think about care. Care work has long been devalued – the daily labors of sustaining the well-being of individuals and community members were seen as natural duties belonging to women, and did not receive recognition as labor. However, with the COVID-19 crisis, the popular media is increasingly valorizing car…
 
In The Cultural Impact of RuPaul's Drag Race: Why are we all Gagging? (Intellect, 2021) Cameron Crookston has compiled chapters from scholars in theatre and performance studies, English literature, cultural anthropology, media studies, linguistics, sociology, and marketing. The collection analyzes the global impact of RuPaul's drag race on local, l…
 
Despite promises from politicians, nonprofits, and government agencies, Chicago's most disadvantaged neighborhoods remain plagued by poverty, failing schools, and gang activity. In Building a Better Chicago: Race and Community Resistance to Urban Redevelopment, Dr. Teresa Irene Gonzales shows us how, and why, these promises have gone unfulfilled, r…
 
Resolving the Contemporary Tensions of Regional Places: What Japan Can Teach Us offers a fresh and unique view of regional society, regional economies and the future of regional places. Anthony S. Rausch takes up contemporary and fundamentally universal regional-place tensions-regional relocation, local finance, and leadership, local economies toge…
 
Each summer, tens of thousands of American Jews attend residential camps, where they may see Hebrew signs, sing and dance to Hebrew songs, and hear a camp-specific hybrid language register called Camp Hebraized English, as in: “Let’s hear some ruach (spirit) in this chadar ochel (dining hall)!” Using historical and sociolinguistic methods, Hebrew I…
 
How do religious groups reinvent themselves in order to attract new audiences? How do they rebrand their messages and recast their rituals in order to make their followers more diverse? In Branding Bhakti: Krishna Consciousness and the Makeover of a Movement (Indiana UP, 2021), Nicole Karapanagiotis considers the new branding of the Hare Krishna Mo…
 
Tanya Jakimow's book Susceptibility in Development: Micropolitics of Local Development in India and Indonesia (Oxford UP, 2020) offers a novel approach to understanding power in development through theories of affect and emotion. Development agents - people tasked with designing or delivering development - are susceptible to being affected in ways …
 
Stigma about mental illness makes life doubly hard for people suffering from mental or emotional distress. In addition to dealing with their conditions, they must also contend with social shame and secrecy. But by examining how mental illness is conceived of and treated in other cultures, we can improve our own perspectives in the Western world. In…
 
In Entitled: How Male Privilege Hurts Women (Penguin Random House, 2021), Cornell philosopher Kate Manne offers a radical new framework for understanding misogyny. Ranging widely across the culture, from Harvey Weinstein and the Brett Kavanaugh hearings to “Cat Person” and the political misfortunes of Elizabeth Warren, Manne’s book shows how privil…
 
Over the past five years, medical aid-in-dying (also known as assisted suicide) has expanded rapidly in the United States, and is now legally available to one in five Americans. This growing social and political movement heralds the possibility of a new era of choice in dying. Yet very little is publicly known about how medical aid-in-dying laws af…
 
Home to over 730,000 people, with close to four million people living in the metropolitan area, Seattle has the third-highest homeless population in the United States. In 2018, an estimated 8,600 homeless people lived in the city, a figure that does not include the significant number of "hidden" homeless people doubled up with friends or living in …
 
Anthropologist Devaka Premawardhana arrived in Africa to study the so-called explosion of Pentecostalism, the spread of which has indeed been massive. It is the continent's fastest growing form of Christianity and one of the world's fastest growing religious movements. Yet Premawardhana found no evidence for this in the province of Mozambique where…
 
Every year millions of high school seniors in China take the gaokao, China’s standardized college entrance exam. Students, parents, and head teachers all devote years, sweat, and tears to this consequential and chancy exam — even though the ideal of the gaokao as a fair, objective, and scientific measure of individual merit is known to be something…
 
Do you trust corporations? Do you trust politicians? Do you trust the science? Does anyone trust anyone anymore? In Why Trust Matters: An Economist's Guide to the Ties That Bind Us (Columbia UP, 2021), Professor Ben Ho reveals the surprising importance of trust to how we understand our day-to-day economic lives. Starting with the earliest societies…
 
Ella L. J. Bell Smith and Stella M. Nkomo, Our Separate Ways: Black and White Women and the Struggle for Professional Identity (Harvard Business Press, 2021) Ella Bell Smith is a professor of business administration at the Tuck School of Business. She’s also the founder and president of ASCENT: Leading Multicultural Women to the Top. Stella M. Nkom…
 
Why We Lost the Sex Wars: Sexual Freedom in the #MeToo Era (University of Minnesota Press, 2021) helps us to understand not only the history of the “sex wars” in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, but it also helps to guide our understanding of the contemporary #MeToo Movement and the complexity of critiques about sex positivity in historical and current…
 
Andrea Ballestero and Brit Ross Winthereik's edited volume Experimenting with Ethnography: A Companion to Analysis (Duke UP, 2021) collects twenty-one essays that open new paths for doing ethnographic analysis. The contributors—who come from a variety of intellectual and methodological traditions—enliven analysis by refusing to take it as an abstra…
 
How is it possible for a town to exist where the median household income is about $73,000, but the median home price is about $4,000,000? In Aspen and the American Dream: How One Town Manages Inequality in the Era of Supergentrification (U California Press, 2021), Dr. Jenny Stuber digs into the "impossible" math of Aspen, Colorado by exploring how …
 
In Everything Ancient Was Once New: Indigenous Persistence from Hawai‘i to Kahiki (U Hawaii Press, 2021), Emalani Case draws on her own life experiences to explore the politics and ethics of being Native Hawaiian today. Drawing on her own experiences as an activist on the Big Island of Hawai‘i, as well as her academic work on the Hawaiian concept o…
 
One of the most fundamental aspects of modern life is that much of it is lived on and through social media. We create profiles, post pictures, update stories, and even find new careers and lovers on various sites and apps. But is all this good for us? Our always-online way of living has been called into question for quite some time now, with many p…
 
It is a familiar story: A recipient of public assistance funds is caught buying expensive steaks, seafood, or other luxury foods with food stamps at the grocery store. Or they wear designer clothes and drive extravagant cars, belying the need for government assistance. Or they game the system in order to buy drugs or alcohol. Or they continue to be…
 
This innovative coursebook introduces students to interdisciplinary theoretical tools for understanding contemporary religiously diverse societies--both Western and non-Western. Using a case-study model, the text considers: A wide and diverse array of contemporary issues, questions, and critical approaches to the study of religion relevant to stude…
 
Noted for their haunting melodies and enigmatic lyrics, Bauls have been portrayed as spiritually enlightened troubadours traveling around the countryside in West Bengal in India and in Bangladesh. As emblems of Bengali culture, Bauls have long been a subject of scholarly debates which center on their esoteric practices, and middle class imaginaries…
 
American society is rapidly secularizing – a radical departure from its historically high level of religiosity–and politics is a big part of the reason. Just as, forty years ago, the Religious Right arose as a new political movement, today secularism is gaining traction as a distinct and politically energized identity. Secular Surge: A New Faultlin…
 
In The Family Firm: A Data-Driven Guide to Better Decision Making in the Early School Years (Penguin, 2021), Brown University professor of economics and mom of two Emily Oster offers a classic business school framework for data-driven parents to think more deliberately about the key issues of the elementary years: school, health, extracurricular ac…
 
Increasingly we live through our personal screens; we work, play, socialize, and learn digitally. The shift to remote everything during the pandemic was another step in a decades-long march toward the digitization of everyday life made possible by innovations in media, information, and communication technology. In The Digital Environment: How We Li…
 
As ongoing controversies over commercial sex attest, the relationship between capitalism and sexuality is deeply contentious. Economic and sexual practices are assumed to be not only separable but antithetical, hence why paid sex is so often criminalized and morally condemned. Yet, while sexuality is highly politicized in moral terms, it has largel…
 
Translocas: The Politics of Puerto Rican Drag and Trans Performance (U Michigan Press, 2021) focuses on drag and transgender performance and activism in Puerto Rico and its diaspora. Arguing for its political potential, Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes explores the social and cultural disruptions caused by Latin American and Latinx “locas” (effeminate m…
 
What is creativity? While our traditional view of creative work might lead us to think of artists as solitary visionaries, the creative process is profoundly influenced by social interactions even when artists work alone. Hannah Wohl speaks with Pierre d’Alancaisez about Bound by Creativity: How Contemporary Art Is Created and Judged (U Chicago Pre…
 
Rewriting Our Stories: Education, Empowerment, and Well-Being (Atrium, 2020) harnesses the therapeutic power of storytelling to convert feelings of fear and powerlessness into affirmative life narratives. Rather than seeing fear as an outcome, we can view it as a feeling in the moment largely governed by narratives. Many of our fears are stories we…
 
Today I talked to David Potter about his new book Disruption: Why Things Change (Oxford UP, 2021). Disruption is about radical change-why it happens and how. Drawing on case studies ranging from the fourth century AD through the twentieth century, we look at how long-established systems of government and thought are challenged, how new institutions…
 
Richard Alba, Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, has written an intriguing new book on our understanding of American demographic data, and how we, as citizens, see each other as part of the fabric of the United States. The Great Demographic Illusion: Majority, Minority, and the Expanding Americ…
 
Most development histories focus on large-scale projects and multi-year plans. But how would we understand development differently if we chose a different starting point? In Village Work: Development and Rural Statecraft in Twentieth-Century Ghana (Ohio UP, 2021), Alice Wiemers exchanges the center for the periphery. Writing outwards from Kpasenpke…
 
Why has secularism faced such challenges in the Middle East and in Lebanon in particular? In light of dominating headlines about the spread of sectarianism and the so-called death of Arab secularism, Mark Farha addresses the need for a thorough examination of the history of secular thought and practice in the region. In Lebanon: The Rise and Fall o…
 
Historic preservation is typically regarded as an elitist practice. In this view, designating a neighborhood as historic is a project by and for affluent residents concerned with aesthetics, not affordability. It leads to gentrification and rising property values for wealthy homeowners, while displacement afflicts longer-term, lower-income resident…
 
The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is iconic in the landscape of Indian healthcare. Established in the early years of independence, this enormous public teaching hospital rapidly gained fame for the high-quality treatment it offered at a nominal cost; at present, an average of ten thousand patients pass through the outpatient depar…
 
In the mid-1990s, experts predicted that India would face the world's biggest AIDS epidemic by 2000. Though a crisis at this scale never fully materialized, global public health institutions, donors, and the Indian state initiated a massive effort to prevent it. HIV prevention programs channeled billions of dollars toward those groups designated as…
 
Property rights are important for economic exchange, but many governments don't protect them. Private market organizations can fill this gap by providing an institutional structure to enforce agreements, but with this power comes the ability to extort group members. Under what circumstances, then, will private organizations provide a stable environ…
 
Welcome to Cover Story, a podcast by New Books Network devoted to long form journalism. Today, we are talking to Texas-based writer Sarah Hepola. Hepola is most known from her brave writing about drinking and the 2015 bestselling memoir Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget. She's appeared on NPR’s Fresh Air and published in The New Yo…
 
How are peoples' ideas about languages, ways of speaking and expressive styles shaped by their social positions and values? How is difference, in language and in social life, made - and unmade? How and why are some differences persuasive as the basis for action, while other differences are ignored or erased? Written by two recognised authorities on…
 
Set in the eastern state of Odisha in a district known as the “Somalia of India,” Everyday State and Politics in India: Government in the Backyard in Kalahandi (Routledge 2018) studies a development project in a region iconic for development failure. Drawing on rich fieldwork with a watershed development project in district Kalahandi, anthropologis…
 
While i find it pretty easy to recognize when i'm reading articles in complexity science, i've never been satisfied by definitions of complexity and related concepts. I'm not alone! Researchers' own attempts to define complex systems incorporate a mix of folk wisdom and fraught assumptions anchored to a menagerie of contested examples. The field wa…
 
What Is Religious Authority?: Cultivating Islamic Communities in Indonesia (Princeton UP, 2021) by Ismail Fajrie Alatas draws on groundbreaking anthropological insights to provide a new understanding of Islamic religious authority, showing how religious leaders unite diverse aspects of life and contest differing Muslim perspectives to create distin…
 
As projects like Manhattan's High Line, Chicago's 606, China's eco-cities, and Ethiopia's tree-planting efforts show, cities around the world are devoting serious resources to urban greening. Formerly neglected urban spaces and new high-end developments draw huge crowds thanks to the considerable efforts of city governments. But why are greening pr…
 
The Value of Voice is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Nick Couldry, Professor of Media, Communications and Social Theory in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics. This wide-ranging conversation explores how the media can be used as a filter to examine power structures, politi…
 
Hijras, one of India’s third gendered or trans populations, have been an enduring presence in the South Asian imagination—in myth, in ritual, and in everyday life, often associated in stigmatized forms with begging and sex work. In more recent years hijras have seen a degree of political emergence as a moral presence in Indian electoral politics, a…
 
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