Soundings

Articles from No. 52, September

A Farewell from Jonathan Rutherford
This is my final issue of Soundings as I have stepped down as editor after eight years. I will also be leaving the Soundings editorial board. It has been a tremendous education. When I took over Soundings it had a reputation as an eclectic and open-minded...
Continuity through Change: North Korea's Second Succession: New Leadership in a Number of Key Countries Offers a Window of Opportunity for North Koreans
After the death of Kim Jong Il in December 2011, North Korea was called on to orchestrate only the second leadership transition in its sixty-five year history. The previous time, in 1994, the situation had been bleak. The 'Arduous March' period was...
Contributory Welfare: Could the Concept of Contributions-Based Welfare Help Re-Galvanise Support for the System?
Since the last election one of the explanations offered for Labour's defeat has been that the party lost touch with the public on welfare. This case is often made from a variety of perspectives, but one idea that has emerged strongly in response is...
Editorial
Feminism was one of the most successful movements of the twentieth century, and the changes that have been achieved in women's lives over the last forty years have been massive. Feminism's cultural and social effects are seen everywhere, every day....
Feminism and Democratic Renewal: What Are the Lessons We Can Learn from the History of Feminism over the Last Forty Years?
It is often said that the aspirations and opportunities available to women have increased dramatically over the past century. Once excluded from university, educational achievement is now higher among young women than their male contemporaries. Female...
Healthy Ageing, Unhealthy Politics: How Can We Redesign Funding and Services to Keep Up with Demographic Change?
Hardly a week goes by without one or other section of the media presenting us with bad news about older people and the National Health Service. The stories are about chemical coshes, neglect and the erosion of dignity. The ageing of society is overtly...
Must the Ex-Industrial Regions Fail? Central Government Is Part of the Problem Not the Solution for the Regions, So It Is Time for New Regional and Local Guerrilla Strategies
The financial crisis has thrown many inequalities into sharp relief, and one of the issues it has highlighted is the worsening regional problem in the UK and Europe, which is now increasingly centred on the relative economic decline of the ex-industrial...
Not Loving the Alien
Ash Amin, Land of Strangers, Polity Press 2012 The old adage of not judging a book by its cover, or its title, is particularly apposite for Ash Amin's Land of Strangers. The blurry, black and white picture of faceless people in the rain and the...
Reflections on the 'Living Wage': The Living Wage Has Clarity as a Campaign Call-But Complexity as a Concept
In 2009, Jane Wills, writing in Soundings, examined the campaign for a 'living wage' in Britain, comparing this with earlier incarnations of the same idea. (1) The contemporary campaign had been in existence for eight years, and had already achieved...
Tales from the Frontline of Regeneration: How the London Borough of Enfield Is Changing the Rules of the Game
One of the main policy priorities for the Labour administration that has been running the London Borough of Enfield since May 2010 has been to determine ways in which a local authority might be able to reverse the downwards spiral that has affected...
The Contributory Welfare Debate: We Need a Clear Understanding of Which Parts of the Welfare State Should Be Contributory, and the Context in Which Any Contributory System Will Operate
While Graeme Cooke's article in this issue offers a useful taxonomy of the current debate around contributory welfare, and we too are keen to move to concrete policy suggestions, we differ from Graeme in a number of ways, both in our view of the possible...
The Double Crisis of Governability and Governmentality: Potential Political Responses to Living in a Risky Global Environment
Recent election results across Europe have seen growing disenchantment with incumbent governments, which have been perceived as being unable or unwilling to deal with the financial crisis while also maintaining the living standards of ordinary people....
The Girlfriend Gaze: Women's Friendship and Intimacy Circles Are Increasingly Taking on the Function of Mutual Self-Policing
Popular culture marketed to women has always positioned the female body as an object of scrutiny and anxiety, offering consumers the aspirational possibilities of image change, makeover and reinvention. Here, however, I want to focus on the role played...
Toxic Medicine
Eyal Weizman, The Least of All Possible Evils: Humanitarian Violence from Arendt to Gaza, Verso 2011 A complex equation (Q=1-[q In q + 1/q In 1/q) adorns the first page of Eyal Weizman's The Least of All Possible Evils, partially obscured by a middle-aged...
We Need to Talk: How to Renew the State: We Need to Recognise That Every State Action Always Takes Place within a Concrete, Particular and Local Situation
The other day I looked the force of the state in the eye. I was stopped by a police officer for cycling through a red light. I'd cycled over a pedestrian crossing after the people crossing the road had passed. The policeman pulled me over and told...
What Is British National Identity and How Do We Get It? Is It Still Possible to Speak of a British Identity?
Over the past few years there has been a remarkable revival of interest in the subject of British national identity New Labour came to it eventually, but when they did, Gordon Brown talked in platitudes and failed to convince. After a year in office...
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