To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Knowing Women is a study of same-sex desire in West Africa, which explores the lives and friendships of working-class women in southern Ghana who are intimately involved with each other. Based on in-depth research of the life histories of women in the region, Serena O. Dankwa highlights the vibrancy of everyday same-sex intimacies that have not been captured in a globally pervasive language of sexual identity. Paying close attention to the women's practices of self-reference, Dankwa refers to them as 'knowing women' in a way that both distinguishes them from, and relates them to categories such as lesbian or supi, a Ghanaian term for female friend. In doing so, this study is not only a significant contribution to the field of global queer studies in which both women and Africa have been underrepresented, but a starting point to further theorize the relation between gender, kinship, and sexuality that is key to queer, feminist, and postcolonial theories. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
Universities and public research institutes play a key role in enabling the application of scientific breakthroughs and innovations in the marketplace. Many countries – developed and developing alike – have implemented national strategies to support the application or commercialization of knowledge produced by public research organizations. Universities and public research institutes have introduced practices to support these activities, for instance by including knowledge transfer to promote innovation as a core part of their mission. As a result, a vital question for policymakers is how to improve the efficiency of these knowledge transfer practices to help maximize innovation-driven growth and/or to seek practical solutions to critical societal challenges. This book aims to develop a conceptual framework to evaluate knowledge transfer practices and outcomes; to improve knowledge transfer metrics, surveys and evaluation frameworks; and to generate findings on what works and what does not, and to propose related policy lessons. This book is also available as Open Access.
What does a probabilistic program actually compute? How can one formally reason about such probabilistic programs? This valuable guide covers such elementary questions and more. It provides a state-of-the-art overview of the theoretical underpinnings of modern probabilistic programming and their applications in machine learning, security, and other domains, at a level suitable for graduate students and non-experts in the field. In addition, the book treats the connection between probabilistic programs and mathematical logic, security (what is the probability that software leaks confidential information?), and presents three programming languages for different applications: Excel tables, program testing, and approximate computing. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
We live in a networked world. Online social networking platforms and the World Wide Web have changed how society thinks about connectivity. Because of the technological nature of such networks, their study has predominantly taken place within the domains of computer science and related scientific fields. But arts and humanities scholars are increasingly using the same kinds of visual and quantitative analysis to shed light on aspects of culture and society hitherto concealed. This Element contends that networks are a category of study that cuts across traditional academic barriers, uniting diverse disciplines through a shared understanding of complexity in our world. Moreover, we are at a moment in time when it is crucial that arts and humanities scholars join the critique of how large-scale network data and advanced network analysis are being harnessed for the purposes of power, surveillance, and commercial gain. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
The sixth Global Environment Outlook was launched in 2019 at the fourth UN Environment Assembly. It highlighted the ongoing damage to life and health from pollution and land degradation, and warned that zoonosis was already accounting for more than 60% of human infectious diseases. Since then the spread of COVID-19 has demonstrated the enormous challenges a global pandemic can cause for health care systems and the economy, as well as revealing potential environmental benefits of an altered lifestyle. This Technical Summary synthesizes the science and data in the GEO-6 report to make it accessible to a broad audience of policymakers, students and scientists. It demonstrates that more urgent and sustained action is required to address the degradation caused by our energy, food and waste systems and identifies a variety of transformational pathways for those seeking far-reaching policies for environmental and economic recovery. Also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
In modern, policy-heavy democracies, blame games about policy controversies are commonplace. Despite their ubiquity, blame games are notoriously difficult to study. This book elevates them to the place they deserve in the study of politics and public policy. Blame games are microcosms of conflictual politics that yield unique insights into democracies under pressure. Based on an original framework and the comparison of fifteen blame games in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, and the US, it exposes the institutionalized forms of conflict management that democracies have developed to manage policy controversies. Whether failed infrastructure projects, food scandals, security issues, or flawed policy reforms, democracies manage policy controversies in an idiosyncratic manner. This book is addressed not only to researchers and students interested in political conflict in the fields of political science, public policy, public administration, and political communication, but to everyone concerned about the functioning of democracy in more conflictual times. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
Chapter 3 introduces a range of multidisciplinary data sources available to study disasters and history and outlines some of the methodologies through which we can interpret and analyze these sources. The underpinning argument is that we can use history as a laboratory to better understand disasters – testing hypotheses rather than merely describing conspicuous phenomena, albeit with a recognition of what this also demands of us as historians. In particular, we discuss the production of suitable measures and methods to understand hazards and their effects, whilst also keeping in mind the limitations of the historical record and the need for a critical approach to sources. We consider, therefore, state-of-the-art challenges in historical disaster research such as how we can compensate for lacunae in the historical record by incorporating rapidly increasing volumes of data from the natural sciences, and the opportunities and pitfalls of historical ‘big data’. The chapter concludes by arguing for the importance of systematic comparative methodologies in moving beyond the descriptive and towards the analytical, which requires that we pay particular attention to scale and context.
Chapter 7 explores the links between disasters past and present. It first examines disaster history in the ‘Anthropocene’, considering how human–environment interactions – and hence the study of disasters – differ from the past. It then takes a twofold perspective, exploring the potential of historical research for better understanding disasters and, on the flipside, the potential of disasters for historical research. We review historical approaches that seek to improve our understanding of disaster management in the present – recognizing that most approaches have so far come from outside of the discipline of history. We then explore three areas where historical research can contribute: first, in analyzing the historical roots or path-dependent forces shaping present-day disasters; second, in analyzing the evolution and functioning of institutions within certain social contexts; and third, in asking whether history can teach us how to ‘escape’ from disaster. The section on the potential of disasters for historical research considers how disasters – as tests at the extreme margin of society – can act as a window into aspects of society that may otherwise escape the eye. The chapter concludes by suggesting where disaster history may go in the coming years.
Within the field of disaster studies there has always been the need to classify and label disasters. Researchers have distinguished between different types of disasters in terms of causes, outcomes, the element of surprise, scale, or scope. Chapter 2 discusses the pros and cons of the different classification systems, and also poses the question of whether it makes sense, in view of the large diversity of disasters, to study and compare these different types. Is it possible to move beyond the specificity of earthquakes or pandemics? We believe it does make sense. As historians, we can take a higher level of abstraction, revealing the similarities between different types of disasters. In order to understand why some societies coped more effectively with hazards and which characteristics were decisive in this, we can make use of various key concepts, namely disaster management, vulnerability, resilience, and risk. Overall, it is clear that hazards and disasters are not natural events but social processes.
Disasters break with normal routines and so the responses to disasters often require exceptional policies and unusual mobilization of people, know-how, capital, and goods. However, even exceptional interventions and measures are still conditioned by the institutional, social, and cultural layout of the society in question. Moreover, disaster responses are often – though not always – inspired by the memory of reacting to similar challenges in the past. Chapter 5 opens with a discussion of the coordination of disaster responses, with a particular emphasis on the role of ‘experts’ and ‘expertise’ and the importance of learning from disaster. Subsequently, the question is raised as to why responses were not always as effective as they could have been, and why societies do not automatically adapt their infrastructure or organization in appropriate ways to prevent the recurrence of disaster. In explaining the differing directions of disaster responses, we highlight two crucial variables revealed by history: social inequality and institutional rigidity.
Chapter 1 introduces the broad objective of the book. This is to show how history can be used to understand why biophysical shocks and hazards, sometimes leading to disasters, push societies in different directions – creating a diversity of possible social and economic outcomes. In order to understand this diversity, we need to look not only at institutional responses but also at the social actors behind these responses, who may have very different goals, not always equivalent to the ‘common good’. We illustrate how shocks and hazards, and the disasters that sometimes ensued, could thus have very diverse consequences not only between societies, but also within the same societies, between social groups, and across wealth, ethnic, and gender lines. In discussing these issues, the book goes back in time further than the modern period. Although the Industrial Revolution and associated new technologies brought momentous changes, these did not create a fundamental rift between the period before and after the Industrial Revolution, and we argue that the underlying mechanisms remained similar. After the outline of the intentions of this book, the chapter concludes with a survey of the fields of disaster studies, disaster history, and the relevant interpretative frameworks in historical research.
Hazards and disasters do not occur in a vacuum: they are guided by different preconditions and pressures, which can in turn shape responses in the immediate aftermath and over the long term. These pre-existing conditions and pressures may be basic environmental features of a region, well-established structural features of social organization or culture, or simply short-term processes occurring just before a hazard such as social revolt or migration. Chapter 4 makes an explicit distinction between pre-existing pressures connected to climate, environment, technology, and the economy and those connected to society such as institutions, poverty and inequality, and cultural values. Overall, we suggest that the diversity in pre-existing conditions and pressures seen across time and space played a significant role not only in the likelihood of hazards occurring throughout history, but also in the differing likelihood of hazards turning into disasters.
Chapter 6 discusses the effects of disasters. It distinguishes between effects in the immediate aftermath of the disaster – mortality and demographic recovery; land loss and capital destruction; economic crisis; and blame, scapegoating, and social unrest – and longer-term structural consequences – societal collapse; economic reconstruction; long-term demographic change; reconstruction, reform, and social changes; and redistribution of resources. This chapter argues that disasters, even similar ones, did not always produce homogeneous outcomes. Furthermore, rather than being totally damaging or even controversially regarded as a ‘force for good’, the effects of disasters are best assessed by making a basic distinction between the aggregate level and the distributive level: disasters could be instrumentalized to benefit a certain segment of a given population over others.
Childhood obesity is of increasing concern in South Africa, and interventions to promote healthy behaviours related to obesity in children are needed. Young children in urban low-income settings are particularly at risk of excess adiposity. The current study aimed to describe how parents of preschool children in an urban South African township view children’s movement and dietary behaviours, and associated barriers and facilitators.
A contextualist qualitative design was utilised with in-depth interviews conducted in the home setting and analysed using reflexive thematic analysis. Field notes were used to contextualise findings.
Four neighbourhoods in a predominantly low-income urban township.
Sixteen parents (fourteen mothers, two fathers) of preschool-age children were recruited via preschools.
Four themes were developed: children’s autonomy and the limits of parental control; balancing trust and fears; the appeal of screens; and aspirations and pressures of parenthood. Barriers to healthy behaviours included children’s food preferences, aspirations and pressures to consume unhealthy foods, other adults giving children snacks, lack of safe places to play, unhealthy food environments and underlying structural factors. Facilitators included set routines, the preschool environment, safe places to play and availability of healthy foods.
Low-income families in Soweto face many structural challenges that cannot easily be addressed through public health interventions, but there may be opportunities for behavioural interventions targeting interpersonal and organisational aspects, such as bedtime routines and preschool snacks, to achieve positive changes. More research on preschoolers’ movement and dietary behaviours, and related interventions, is needed in South Africa.