Other social sciences
quarter of a century has passed since the Constitution of the Russian Federation was adopted in 1993, yet the issue of the results and the prospects for constitutional transformation has not disappeared from the political agenda. For some, the Constitution signifies an ultimate break up with the communist past and a legal foundation for the advancement of the Russian society toward democracy and the rule of law; for the others, it is exactly the Constitution that is the culprit for the authoritarian trend that has prevailed, and for the sustained stagnation in Russia’s economic, social and political development. The author of this chapter is in the middle of these extreme viewpoints. He believes that the Constitution has truly played a pivotal role in Russia’s move toward democracy by establishing the basic principles of civil society and the rule of law, and in this respect, it remains of everlasting and paramount importance. Nevertheless, that does not mean that it should be utterly inaccessible for changes, especially given the elapsed time and the negative experience of the authoritarian transformation of the political regime, the amendments that were introduced between2008 and 2014, and the current objectives of the democratic movement. The rationale for changes is to return to the constitutional principles, reaffirm their initial democratic meaning by rejecting the excessive concentration of the Presidential power, the results of counter-reforms and the adulteration through legislative and regulatory compliance practices. Some of the proposed remedies aim to establish a new form of government (Presidential - Parliamentary), which would necessitate Constitutional amendments — adjustments that would regulate the separation of powers and redistribution of authority. Others seek to transform the system without changing the text of the Constitution through legislative reforms, judicial interpretation and the policy of law. Yet, the third approach prioritizes institutional reforms. Not everything in social development depends on the provisions of the law, political improvisation and practice can prove just as critical. In their cumulative entirety such initiatives can help avoid the two extremes: that of constitutional stagnation gravitating toward the bureaucratic asphyxiation, and that of constitutional populism which has a tendency to destabilize the political system. In its practical activities to transform the political regime, the opposition ought to remember the maximum repeatedly confirmed by experience, — the further a party is from power, the more radical tend to be its constitutional proposals. Conversely, empowered groups tend to be more moderate in their initiatives.
While workers movements have been largely phased out and considered out-dated in most parts of the world during the 1990s, the 21st century has seen a surge in new and unprecedented forms of strikes and workers organisations. The collection of essays in this book, spanning countries across global South and North, provides an account of strikes and working class resistance in the 21st century. Through original case studies, the book looks at the various shades of workers’ movements, analysing different forms of popular organisation as responses to new social and economic conditions, such as restructuring of work and new areas of investment.
This book offers a comparative analysis of value and identity changes in several post-Communist countries. In light of the tremendous economic, social and political changes in former communist states, the authors compare the values, attitudes and identities of different generations and cultural groups. Based on extensive empirical data, using quantitative and qualitative methods to study complex social identities, this book examines how intergenerational value and identity changes are linked to socio-economic and political development. Topics include the rise of nationalist sentiments, identity formation of ethnic and religious groups and minorities, youth identity formation and intergenerational value conflicts
This report presents the results of an ESRC-funded research project that examined the behavioural and attitudinal impacts of the English plastic bag charge that was introduced in October 2015. The project used a mixed-methods longitudinal approach, and included a national survey, a diary-interview study, and supermarket observation study. Overall, the research has shown that the English plastic bag charge has made a strong and positive impact on people’s behaviours and attitudes. The research found that the charge was eff ective at breaking old habits, and that it became more popular as people adapted to the policy. Evidence was also found that the charge increased environmental awareness and the acceptability of other environmental policies. The success of the plastic bag charge in eff ectively changing plastic bag use and increasing support for other charges to reduce waste suggests that similar policies could also be successfully implemented, such as a deposit return scheme on plastic bottles or a charge on disposable coff ee cups.
Background and aims. This research reported here presents findings from an evaluation of the development and implementation of the Healthy Community Challenge Fund (otherwise known as the ‘Healthy Towns’ programme). A key aim of the research has been to inform the development of future environmental and systems‐based ‘whole town’ approaches to obesity prevention. The overall aim of the Healthy Towns programme was to pilot and stimulate novel ‘whole town’ approaches that tackle the ‘obesogenic’ environment in order to reduce obesity, with a particular focus on improving diet and increasing physical activity. Through a competitive tender process, nine towns were selected that represented urban areas across England ranging from small market towns to areas of large cities. The fund provided £30 million over the period 2008‐2011, divided amongst the nine towns. The amounts awarded ranged from £900,000 to £4.85 million. Towns were instructed to be innovative and were given freedom to develop a locally‐specific programme of interventions. This report supplements local process and impact evaluations undertaken by each town (not reported here) by taking an overall view of the programme’s development and implementation. Our evaluation therefore addressed the following research questions: 1. What kinds of interventions were delivered across the Healthy Towns programme? 2. Were environmental and infrastructural interventions equitably delivered? 3. How was the Healthy Towns programme theorised and translated into practice? 4. How was evidence used in the selection and design of interventions? 5. What are the barriers and facilitators to the implementation of a systems approach to obesity prevention?
Plastic bags create large amounts of waste and cause lasting environmental problems when inappropriately discarded. In 2015, England introduced a mandatory five pence (US$0.06/€0.06) charge to customers for each single-use plastic bag taken from large stores. Combining a longitudinal survey (n=1,230), supermarket observations (n=3,762), and a longitudinal interview study (n=43), we investigated people’s behavioural and attitudinal responses to the charge. We show that all age, gender, and income groups in England substantially reduced their plastic bag usage within one month after the charge was introduced, with interviewees highlighting the ease of taking their own bags. Support for the bag charge also increased among all key demographic groups. Increased support for the plastic bag charge in turn predicted greater support for other charges to reduce plastic waste, suggesting a ‘policy spillover’ effect. Results indicate a broad and positive effect of the bag charge, which appears to have catalysed wider waste awareness among the British public. This may facilitate the introduction of other policies to eliminate avoidable single-use plastics and packaging.
Items presented in large font are rated with higher judgments of learning (JOLs) than those presented in small font. According to current explanations of this phenomenon in terms of processing fluency or implicit beliefs, this effect should be present no matter the type of material under study. However, we hypothesized that the linguistic cues present in sentences may prevent using font size as a cue for JOLs. Experiment 1, with short sentences, showed the standard font-size effect on JOLs, and Experiment 2, with pairs of longer sentences, showed a reduced effect. These results suggest that linguistic factors do not prevent font size from being used for JOLs. However, Experiment 3, with both short and long sentences, showed an effect of font size only for the former and not the latter condition, suggesting that the greater amount of to-be-remembered information eliminated the font-size effect. In Experiment 4, we tested a mechanism to explain this result and manipulated cognitive load using the dot-memory task. The short sentences from Experiments 1 and 3 were used, and the results replicated the font-size effect only in the low-cognitive load condition. Our results are consistent with the idea that perceptual information is used to make JOLs only with materials such as words, word pairs, or short sentences, and that the increased cognitive load required to process longer sentences prevents using font size as a cue for JOLs.
To date the research of Orientalism in Russia did not present the whole mosaic palette of its competing schools and disciplines. The influential missionary Orthodox Orientology remains understudied. Even less known is contribution in the making of intolerant discourse on Islam by state atheist associations (League of Militant Godless (1925–1947) succeeded by the Knowledge Society), who seized its niche under the Soviet rule. This article attempts to integrate applied missionary and atheist schools of Oriental studies into the general debates on Orientalism in twentieth-century Russia. The focus is on agents and networks of the Soviet propaganda, as well as on its changing language, topics and messages. A special attention is paid to continuities in the Orientalist imagination of Islam between pre-Soviet Orthodox missionaries, Soviet militant atheists, post-war philosophers and dissident Muslim preachers of the post-socialist Islamic appeal (da‘wa).
To understand decision making processes in the field of public ethics, legal policy and e-government regulation it is important to understand the factors that promote, restrict, and distort the processes. This in turn requires an analysis of the failure to establish in the behaviour of institutions and individuals such values as ethics in the public IT-policy as factors for sociocultural changes, the respect for e-government legal regulation and procedures standards, and an acknowledgement of the decisions of courts as dispute resolution mechanisms. This strategy presumably provides the possibility to offer a prognostic approach, involving an analysis of the correlation between the beliefs, norms and reality, and based on previous experience of e-government regulation in national and comparative perspective.
The article demonstrates that the extent and mode of adolescent participation in social networks have changed with the rapid development of social media technologies. If, at the time when they were first introduced, social networks complemented direct communication and were studied as a separate additional space, now, because of the development of mobile technologies, direct and indirect communications have merged to form a single space. This is reflected in the fact that adolescents have a hard time distinguishing between these spaces in their responses to surveys. This reality, which we discovered during the course of our study, indicates that the methodology that is used to study both the communication of adolescents and the social networks themselves should be revised. Social networks have integrated themselves into the lives of schoolchildren, though their potential for education and the question of how they can be integrated into the education system have been totally ignored. In fact, our study has confirmed the existence of a new, third wave of the computerization of education. This one is not being conducted from the top down, as was true of the two previous ones (which occurred in the 1980s and 2000s), in which state goals for the computerization of the school system led to transformations at the level of the individual schools. Rather, users are instigating this new revolution, and the formal structures are being forced to respond. It has turned out that the system of education is not prepared for such a situation, and as a result teachers and administrators are imposing unjustified and easily violated bans on the use of personal devices. As a consequence, students are becoming increasingly alienated from school.
Abstract Most studies have shown that when men have higher levels of education they are less likely to beat their wives. Some have also shown that consumption of alcohol tends to be a negative catalyst in provoking inebriated males to commit domestic violence against their intimate partners. Thus, understanding the likely causes and/or associated factors of intimate partner violence with ever more concentrated studies is imperative. Studies in the past have not examined four possible categories of husbands to determine a correlation to intimate partner violence: those that are educated and tend to be alcoholics, those that are educated and tend not to drink alcohol, less-educated individuals who tend to be alcoholics, or those that are less educated and tend to not to be alcoholics. Employing the Demographic and Health Survey data for Nigeria, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, this study has shown the likelihood of each category of husband to perpetrate domestic violence on intimate female parnters in Nigeria, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan using the multivariate logistic regression at a 95% confidence interval. From the research it has been found that a husband’s educational level in and of itself offers no significant correlation to IPV perpetration in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, whereas in Nigeria, educated men were a little more likely to perpetrate IPV compared to men with less education as seen in the following: AOR 1.14, CI 1.02- 1.27; p-value < 0.001. In all, alcoholic men were at least 3 times more likely to commit IPV than nonalcoholic men as suggested in the formula of: CI 3.08-5.56; p-value < 0.001. In Nigeria, men with little or no education, who lived in rural areas and were non-alcoholics were less likely to perpetrate IPV compared to their counterparts in urban areas as suggested by AOR 0.75, CI 0.61-0.93; p-value < 0.01, while alcoholic men with little or no education, who lived in rural areas, showed the strongest proclivity to beat their wives as suggested in AOR 4.37, CI 3.5-5.42; p-value < 0.001. Alcohol seems to outweight the effects of education as an instigator of domestic violence. Its introduction consistently increases the likelihood of IPV and strengthens its statistical significance across sites.
Keywords: Intimate partner violence; husband; education; alcohol; Nigeria; Kyrgyzstan; Tajikistan
Ambiguity plays an important role in our everyday cognitive experience. Since the 1980s, the neural bases for the perception of ambiguous information have been investigated but remains poorly understood. In our previous research, an increase of the N400 ERP component was found to be a common response for the perception of two different types of ambiguous stimuli: “canned” verbal jokes and ambiguous figures (Shcherbakova, Filippova, 2016; Filippova, Shcherbakova, Shtyrov, 2018). The current experiment aimed to understand the relationship between the error related negativity (ERN) component arising from jokes and ambiguous figures mistaken for non-humoristic texts and non-ambiguous figures.
Fourteen participants (9 females) went through two similar experimental procedures with 36 ambiguous and 36 non-ambiguous figures; 14 verbal jokes and 14 similar but non-humoristic short stories. Firstly, participants were presented with figures of both types and asked to identify whether each figure was ambiguous or non-ambiguous. We recorded ERPs that were timelocked to each answer about ambiguity/non-ambiguity of the figure presented. Secondly, participants were presented with the verbal stories and asked to identify whether each story was a joke or not. In this case, ERPs were time-locked to each answer about the key phrase of a joke/non-joke presented word-by-word on the computer screen after the whole text.
But we found an increase of the ERPs’ negativity in ambiguous figures that were mistaken for non-ambiguous ones in the ERN time window (Fz (F(3,622) = 12,6; p b 0.00) and Cz (F(3,625) = 6,96; p b 0.00)). Also, the results revealed no increase of the ERPs’ negativity in verbal jokes that were mistaken for non-jokes in the ERN time window. The results show that participants appeared to be sensitive (without awareness) to ambiguous figures that were identified as non-ambiguous ones. The level of this unconscious sensitivity is therefore reflected by the increases in negativity.
When a participant cannot correctly identify ambiguous stimulus at a conscious level, increases in negativity may be indexing greater violations of incongruence within an internal representation of meaning. These violations may precede semantic reversion of ambiguous figures and the understanding of a joke’s meaning.
Supported by RFBR (Dpt of Humanities and Social Sciences) grant #17-06-01014 А and RFBR grant #18-013-01086.
Motor sequence learning is considered the result of the outflow of information following cognitive control processes that are shared by other goal-directed behaviours. Emerging evidence suggests that focused-attention meditation (FAM) establishes states of enhanced cognitive control, that then exert top-down control biases in subsequent unrelated tasks. With respect to sequence learning, a single-session of FAM has been shown to entrain stimulus-dependent forms of sequential behaviour in meditation naïve individuals. In the present experiment, we compared single-session effects of FAM and a computerised attention task (CAT) to test if FAM-induced enhanced top-down control is generally comparable to cognitive tasks that require focused attention. We also investigated if effort, arousal or pleasure associated with FAM, or CAT explained the influence of these tasks on sequence learning. Relative to a rest-only control condition, both FAM and CAT resulted in shorter reaction time (RT) in a serial reaction time task (SRTT), and this enhanced RT performance was associated with higher reliance on stimulus-based planning as opposed to sequence representation formation. However, following FAM, a greater rate of improvement in RT performance was observed in comparison to both CAT and control conditions. Neither effort, arousal nor pleasure associated with FAM or CAT explained SRTT performance. These findings were interpreted to suggest that the effect of FAM states on increased top-down control during sequence learning is based on the focused attention control feature of this meditation. FAM states might be associated with enhanced cognitive control to promote the development of more efficient stimulus-response processing in comparison to states induced by other attentional tasks.
The aim of this study is to develop and examine a scale that measures three components of perceived political efficacy: personal, collective and external. Twelve statements were formulated based on four abilities: 1) ability to influence the enactment of new laws and political decisions, 2) ability to facilitate the election of a political leader, 3) ability to demand that existing laws and political decisions be observed and 4) ability to express any political opinions freely and publicly. Data was collected online via social media from Russian, Kazakh and Ukrainian samples (N = 2,184) between 2015 and 2017. The scale’s structural validity was tested using confirmatory factor analysis. Results showed that with some modification the short version of the proposed model exhibits good fit indexes across all samples. Configural, metric and scalar invariance of the short version of the Perceived Political Efficacy Scale was also successfully tested. Additionally, differences in political efficacy between certain age groups were discovered, as well as between countries. Namely, people in the 30+ age bracket exhibited higher political efficacy than those in the 18–19 age bracket. Ukrainian respondents showed significantly higher personal and collective efficacy when compared to Russian and Kazakh respondents. Kazakh respondents exhibited the highest level of external efficacy.