Plan S.: PRIO would far rather pay fees to ensure that all our publications in subscription journals are made available via open access than be forced to publish our best research in lower quality journals.
The new European Plan S – an open access (OA) policy for research results – is ambitious and radical. It will also come at a very high cost to some of Norway’s leading research milieus. Institutions that compete successfully for the most prestigious research grants will be penalized, because they will be forced to publish their important research in insignificant journals. This is not only a bad way of disseminating research, it will also have a widespread negative impact on recruitment to, and the internationalization of, the best research projects.
Is ‘sustainability’ a good guiding principle for migration policy? Or does using this word muddle well-informed debate on international migration?
Photo: Jørgen Carling / PRIO
The notion of ‘sustainable migration’ has been floated as a guiding principle for migration policy. Is it a concept we should embrace? On the one hand, it neatly captures the idea that migration should be managed in a way that ensures well-balanced distribution of costs and benefits, today and in the future. On the other hand, ‘sustainable migration’ can serve as a politically charged rhetorical device: it thrives on the liberal and progressive connotations of ‘sustainable’, but implicitly presents migration as an existential threat to society.
Describing something as ‘sustainable’ entails it can be maintained over time. So ‘sustainable migration’ would suggest migration at a level that can continue indefinitely. This may seem like a reasonable yardstick for assessing policy, but unfortunately it is not so simple. Meanwhile, the word ‘sustainable’ is already being used in the immigration debate in Norway and around the world’. This public use happens without connection to ongoing research or the development of analytically meaningful definitions. So what kind of understanding and political message does the use of this word send?
Islamic aid organizations offer qurbani (animal sacrifice) services for Eid-ul-Adha (as shown in an advertisement above), and use the profits from sales of the animal skins to fund their welfare programmes. Photo: Marta Bivand Erdal / PRIO
Meanwhile, in conjunction with Eid-ul-Adha, Muslims worldwide conduct qurbani, sacrificing a goat, sheep, cow or camel, where a third of the meat is distributed to the poor or vulnerable. The sale of animal skins, donated by individuals after the ritual sacrifice, is a major source of income for many charity, welfare, and aid organizations. Religious festivals in Islam often involve distribution of food and donations to help people in need.
The scholarship on law, conflict and suffering has for the past two decades been dominated by a moral and analytical concern with “women and children” and sexual violence. However, when we look up and do the body count out in the physical and political world – in the city and along the borderlands – those bodies by a large majority belong to a specific subset of males.
Battle deaths, torture, unlawful imprisonment, disappearances and extrajudicial killings overwhelmingly affect young poor men of non-Caucasian ethnicity. These dead male bodies constitute a challenge for feminist legal thought.
Every generation has its own concept of the Middle Ages. Game of Thrones is a fantasy drama, but it also reflects the present, viewed through the prism of the Middle Ages.
From Middle-earth to Westeros
Many young people today picture our distant past in a way that is strongly influenced by The Lord of the Rings. There the battle is between good and evil and – except in the case of some turncoats (such as Saruman) and certain conquered lands – the battle fronts are clear. This reflected Tolkien’s own experiences, both in the trenches during World War I and as he composed his epic work in the shadow of World War II. Tolkien took inspiration from Beowulf, The Elder Edda and The Kalevala to describe a human universe that is a battle between the forces of good and evil, between freedom and tyranny, between individuality and regimentation.
All hope depends on the ruler Daenerys Targaryen. Still the most important and complex figure of the Middle Ages is the advisor – here represented by Tyrion Lannister. Photo: HBO
“I don’t believe that giants and ghouls and white walkers are lurking beyond the Wall. I believe that the only difference between us and the Wildlings is that when that Wall went up, our ancestors happened to live on the right side of it.”Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones, Season 1
A battle between such forces is still taking place today, but with the major difference that the battle fronts are mutable. Western interventions designed to liberate regions such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya from dictators and extremism have had the opposite effect: violence is increasing, security is being eroded, and extremists are growing ever stronger. One may do evil despite good intentions.
Accordingly, it is not surprising that Game of Thrones, the latest epic narrative to be set in an imaginary past, is a tale where heroes and villains swap roles, where good people often suffer defeat, and where “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions”, to quote Bernard of Clairvaux.Read More
On 4 August 2018, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s speech at a military parade in Caracas was interrupted by the sound of two explosions. Maduro’s camp immediately claimed that the explosions resulted from a failed assassination attempt by drones carrying explosives. Although the nature of the incident remains disputed, and is being described as “an apparent” assassination attempt, this event sheds light on new types of security challenges that result from the growing presence of drones in Latin American airspace.
The incident can either be interpreted as evidence that a political assassination with weaponized miniature drones is possible, or that political actors (whoever they may be) consider such a scenario to be “believable”. In the latter case, these political actors thus end up conferring credibility to the idea, which in turn kindles certain political and popular responses and imaginations.Read More
This summer we have had the opportunity to read about the campaign to ‘decolonize academia’: the call to improve the representation of non-Western voices in the curricula of Norwegian educational institutions.
Photo: Otto Haeckel, German East Africa, 1906. Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin
The supporters of this campaign justify it on the basis that it will challenge ways of thinking in the sciences and humanities that were formed during the colonial era. The motives behind the campaign are good. An academy consisting of researchers from diverse backgrounds will help boost the competition between ideas that is crucial for scholarly progress.
It is therefore sad to see the campaign now running down a blind alley, by promoting a radical form of epistemic relativism: an attack on scientific objectivity in the guise of advocacy on behalf of marginalized groups. Read More
Founded in 1982, Faslane Peace Camp in Scotland clams to be the longest lived of its kind. Crammed into a small roadside verge, the brightly coloured and ramshackle caravans of the camp are located just a few hundred yards from the razor-wire fences of Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde, home to the British Trident nuclear… Read more »
This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Russian “troll factories” have been making headlines for some time. First, as the Kremlin’s digital guardians in the Russian blogosphere. Then, as subversive cyber-squads meddling with US elections. While there has been much sensationalist talk about troll brigades, there have also been thorough… Read more »
For nearly 20 years, Norway has prioritized contributing to NATO-led operations over UN peacekeeping forces. At the same time, recent research shows that increased commitment to UN operations has a conflict-reducing effect.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the first Norwegian UN soldiers’ departure to Lebanon to serve in UNIFIL (the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon).
Apart from the Independent Norwegian Brigade Group in Germany in the aftermath of World War II, the UNIFIL effort represented the largest and most wide-ranging contribution that Norway has made to international operations. Over 20,000 Norwegians were involved. In April, this anniversary was marked in various places in Norway. At the same time, we know that Norway currently has fewer than 100 personnel engaged in UN peacekeeping operations. What has become of the Norwegian peacekeeping forces?
Norway has been an active contributor to international operations since the end of World War II, but the nature of its involvement changed after the end of the Cold War, when the number of operations in which Norway participated grew significantly.Read More
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