Key Debates (key + debate)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Spaces of Utopia and Dystopia: Landscaping the Contemporary City

Gordon MacLeod
Some of the most recent literature within urban studies gives the distinct impression that the contemporary city now constitutes an intensely uneven patchwork of utopian and dystopian spaces that are, to all intents and purposes, physically proximate but institutionally estranged. For instance, so,called edge cities (Garreau, 1991) have been heralded as a new Eden for the information age. Meanwhile tenderly manicured urban villages, gated estates and fashionably gentrified inner,city enclaves are all being furiously marketed as idyllic landscapes to ensure a variety of lifestyle fantasies. Such lifestyles are offered additional expression beyond the home, as renaissance sites in many downtowns afford city stakeholders the pleasurable freedoms one might ordinarily associate with urban civic life. None,the,less, strict assurances are given about how these privatized domiciliary and commercialized ,public' spaces are suitably excluded from the real and imagined threats of another fiercely hostile, dystopian environment ,out there'. This is captured in a number of (largely US) perspectives which warn of a ,fortified' or ,revanchist' urban landscape, characterized by mounting social and political unrest and pockmarked with marginal interstices: derelict industrial sites, concentrated hyperghettos, and peripheral shanty towns where the poor and the homeless are increasingly shunted. Our paper offers a review of some key debates in urban geography, planning and urban politics in order to examine this patchwork,quilt urbanism, In doing so, it seeks to uncover some of the key processes through which contemporary urban landscapes of utopia and dystopia come to exist in the way they do. [source]

A Tale of Two Solitudes: Comparing Conflict and Development-induced Internal Displacement and Involuntary Resettlement

Robert Muggah
Development projects and war regularly lead to the internal displacement and involuntary resettlement of tens of millions of people each year. Though most "internally displaced people" settle spontaneously, a significant proportion is involuntarily resettled into planned "camps" and "settlements". This article is primarily concerned with a relatively understudied category of forced migration studies: resettlement. It contends that until very recently, the theory, policy, and practice of resettlement for people internally displaced by development and war have been treated as intellectually and practically exclusive. Decision makers and scholars working on the subject are frequently beholden to narrow disciplinary and bureaucratic interests and are unable or unwilling to look across institutional boundaries. As a result, policies and programmes intended to resettle populations have been clustered into two discrete (and disparate) narratives. Each of these draw from distinct normative moorings, government and non-governmental interpretations of "success" and "failure" and a division of labour closely tailored to the disciplines and expertise of those in the development and humanitarian communities. Though arising from separate traditions and conceived exclusively by donors, policy makers, and scholars, this article contends that they actually share many common features. Drawing on a vast and rapidly growing literature, this article seeks to frame the key debates on development and war-induced internal displacement and resettlement. It begins with an overview of definitional issues , including "internal displacement" and "resettlement", two concepts that are regularly contested and misunderstood. The article observes that the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement have, to some extent, clarified the rights of development and conflict-induced internally displaced people, as well as the responsibilities of states. It notes that in practice, however, resettlement of both types of populations is treated separately. The article then turns to a number of seminal theoretical contributions to the study of development and conflict-induced internal displacement and involuntary resettlement (DIDR and CIDR, respectively). The article highlights their separate evolution in theory and practice over time. It closes with a brief treatment of some of the common features of DIDR and CIDR, including their political economy, their institutional and bureaucratic logic, and similar patterns of impoverishment risks. [source]

Feminist Approaches to Middle English Religious Writing: The Cases of Margery Kempe and Julian of Norwich

Nancy Bradley Warren
Feminist study of Middle English religious writings is a relatively new field, but it is a rich and well-developed one. Although the work of such pioneers as Eileen Edna Power set the stage in the early twentieth century, feminist scholarship of the corpus of medieval religious texts in English only emerged as a truly vibrant area of inquiry in the past twenty years. Indeed, the entry of such figures as Margery Kempe and Julian of Norwich into the canon, marked iconically by their entries into the Norton Anthology of British Literature in 1986 and 1993 respectively, suggests at once how recent a scholarly development such work is and how strong an influence such scholarship has had on the study of Middle English literature. Using the cases of Margery Kempe and Julian of Norwich as test cases, this essay explores the key debates that have driven and shaped feminist scholarship on Middle English religious texts over the past two decades, and it explores newly emergent trends. It examines the impact of psychoanalytic criticism on medieval feminist scholarship and interrogates the contributions made by scholars who embrace French feminist approaches. It addresses the paradigm shifts enacted by the ground-breaking work of Caroline Walker Bynum as well as the questions concerning gender and essentialism raised by her work. The importance of New Historicism in the field is also a key concern in the essay, as are new takes on historicist research, especially the work of scholars who are rethinking questions of historical periodization. [source]

On Genes, Brains, and Behavior: Why Should Developmental Psychologists Care About Brain Development?

Joan Stiles
Abstract, The past several decades have seen tremendous progress in understanding mammalian brain development. The models that have emerged suggest that this development is dynamic and, from the very beginning, involves the continuous interaction of genetic, organismic, and environmental factors. The central question posed in this article is whether these models of brain development should be of import to developmental psychologists. It is argued that the key debates in psychology are founded on assumptions that are integrally related to questions of biology and biological inheritance. The construct of innateness, in particular, is central to these debates, and the biological system most critically implicated in claims about innate behaviors is the brain. However, as this article attempts to show, the underlying assumptions of contemporary psychological models reflect largely outdated ideas about what it means for something to be innate. Contemporary models of brain development challenge the foundational constructs of the nature versus nurture formulation, emphasizing that the processes of brain development engage both inherited and environmental factors and rely upon their continuous interaction. These models also emphasize that the relationship between brain and behavioral development is one of interdependence and reciprocity: Behaviors influence brain development and the brain mediates all behavior. Thus, the key to understanding the origins and emergence of both the brain and behavior lies in understanding how genetic, organismic, and environmental factors are engaged in the dynamic and interactive processes that define development of the neurobehavioral system. [source]