Rolf Gehrmann & Kevin McQuillan (Eds.): The Impact of Religious Denomination on Mentality and Behavior.
For at least 500 years, differences in denomination have helped shape social life in Europe. How have religious perspectives influ-enced the perception of the other, lifestyles, and living conditions? How do we weigh the influence of religion in relation to other social characteristics – and is religion still relevant in modern Europe? The contributions to this HSR Forum will probe these questions through different approaches and in overviews as well as in special surveys for five European countries, among which one with a Muslim majority. Most of the papers are drawn from Historical Demography, which is able to show, for relatively distant historical periods, how a religious mentality manifests itself in behavior and leads to different life-course scripts. Another article takes a close look at the results of polls, which nowadays allow a more direct access to value systems, in order to learn to what extend they are influenced directly or indirectly by religious traditions. The forum is completed by a cultural-historical contribution based on travel reports.
Christoph Bernhardt (Ed.): Spatial Dimensions of Governance in 20th Century Political Struggles.
Despite a growing interest within the historical sciences for spatial dimensions of socio-cultural interaction, research has concentrated on some subfields and problems, like theoretical challenges of conceptualizing space, urban history or spatial dimensions of everyday life. In contrast, political issues of institutional change and governance in the course of the 20th century stayed to some extent outside the “spatial turn,” apart from some explorations in the growing field of global history. This HSR Forum discusses spatial dimensions in 20th century political struggles along selected questions taken from various strands of research in different disciplines. These questions ad-dress interactions of political actors in terms of Multilevel Governance and scalar strategies in historical conflicts of the 20th century. The articles discuss cases from different political periods and countries and raise questions like governance in socialism, the role of citizens groups and NGOs like Greenpeace in different political contexts and the relevance of knowledge formation for the re-scaling of political arenas in the EU.
In the last couple of years the discussion on market classifications has received new topicality through the unbounded possibilities offered by digital technologies to track behavioral data. Understanding the social foundations of categories and classification systems is a fundamental problem in sociology. In markets, classifications are present in the variety of goods traded, in quality differentiations and their association to goods, and, also their matching with consumers. From a pure business perspective such marking of market identities is based on objective characteristics. In contrast, it is the aim of social science studies to pay attention to the formation of market categories, to examine the social construction processes underlying these classifications and to demonstrate their contingencies.
In this vein, the contributions to this HSR Special Issue, which come from various theoretical schools such as the new economic sociology or the economics of convention, present recent research across a range of economic settings: financial markets, fashion markets, consumer markets and others. Despite the varieties of markets and national institution settings, essential resemblances show. Among the topics covered: The case of the French impact investment market, arguing for a dual function of judgment devices, demonstrates the close connection between boundary-building and boundary-blurring. A study on Dutch marketing agents reveals that the same actors who promote new classifications have difficulties in implementing these differentiations in their own performances. The example of self-categorizations in the British ethical fashion industry shows that the relevance of classifications is connected to reputation and power. And, analyses into the US-credit market discuss the off-label of classifications and its adverse societal consequences.
Furthermore this HSR issue contains a Mixed Issue with two articles.
HSR Vol. 41 (2016) 4
Special Issue - Lars Vogel & Juan Rodríguez-Teruel (Eds.): National Political Elites and the Crisis of European Integration, Country Studies 2007-2014.
European Integration is currently facing tremendous challenges caused by a series of cumulating crises. Their onset was the global financial and economic crisis in 2008 that rapidly evolved into a sovereign debt crisis, further into a crisis of the Eurozone and led eventually to a political crisis of the entire EU. National political elites have been among the core actors to cope with these challenges. Their behaviour is driven by their Europeanness, i.e. their emotionally and rationally determined attitudes, cognitions and strategies regarding European Integration. To take elites’ greater influence accordingly into account this HSR Special Issue analyzes the shape and determinants of national elites’ Europeanness and the way it developed during the crises.
The analysis is based on country studies covering 10 EU Member States that represent the main regions within the EU and the salient conflict lines during these crises. It makes use of a unique research design that integrates three surveys among national parliamentarians conducted by the IntUne and the ENEC research projects in 2007, 2009 and 2014 thereby spanning the various stages of the crises. The contributions demonstrate that the crises have affected national elites’ Europeanness in complex ways that are determined by the diversing impact they had on the investigated countries and by how elites perceive the efficiency of supranational integration to cope with them. Beyond national differences, the general evaluations of Europeanness remain quite stable pro-European while preferences regarding the concrete organization of integration are rather prone to change. Elites’ Europeanness primarily shifts in countries, in which strong Eurosceptic parties gained ground during the mentioned crisis indicating that there is the still overwhelmingly pro-European elites are faced with the challenge of responsiveness to an increasingly Eurosceptic population.