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White Privilege Is Real, but Well-Meaning White Liberals Are Helping to Perpetuate It - Quillette

with progressive ideology. A system that disadvantages blacks, immigrants, Hispanics or Muslims comes to be imagined as a machine operated by an omnipotent white god.

Liberals tend to believe in a kind of reverse white exceptionalism: that whites, in contrast to every other ethnic and racial group, should suppress their communal identity because it’s linked to a system of racial inequality. They seek to deconstruct white identity as an ideological construct designed to maintain power. Cultural conservatives, by contrast, consider whites a group like any other—attached to particular myths, symbols and memories—which should be able to express its identity and interests without fear of censure.

Rather than imagining a world of conflicting groups in which whites oppress non-whites, we should think of white privilege as a complex structure which all people of all races and ethnicities bear some responsibility for. Instead of adopting a simple minded narrative which demonises white identity and casts white people as the villains, we should encourage the whole of society to work collaboratively to reduce system bias.
contrarian  conservatism  usa  race  racism  stereotype  policy  opinion  caucasian  society 
15 days ago by aries1988
文明大国的条件
撰文:吴介民 本文选自《东方历史评论》第1期,回复“购买”了解如何购买…
taiwan  essay  china  beijing  society  quartier  inequality  civ  question 
8 weeks ago by aries1988
Waking Up with Sam Harris: #133 — Globalism on the Brink
Legitimate grievances with immigration https://overcast.fm/+Ic2iBh0LA/32:11
Impact of automation https://overcast.fm/+Ic2iBh0LA/39:34
Universal basic income, solution? https://overcast.fm/+Ic2iBh0LA/39:42

It's one thing for the Chinese to steal our intellectual property, it's another for them to steal our strategy."
civic  nationalism  technology  crisis  transformation  society  politics  trump  2018  globalism  explained  cosmopolitanism  podcast 
october 2018 by aries1988
“First Man,” Reviewed: Damien Chazelle’s Neil Armstrong Bio-Pic Is an Accidental Right-Wing Fetish Object | The New Yorker

First Man is worthy of enduring as a right-wing fetish object. It is a film of deluded, cultish longing for an earlier era of American life, one defined not by conservative politics but, rather, by a narrow and regressive emotional perspective that shapes and distorts the substance of the film.

the movie doesn’t stint on the distinctive Americanism of the action onscreen (including, in a scene of Armstrong ascending from the ground to the capsule of Apollo 11 in an elevator, a point-of-view shot that reveals, majestically, the words United States painted, vertically, on the side of the very tall rocket).

In its explicit content, and by artful omission, First Man subscribes to the misbegotten political premise that America used to be greater—and that the liberating and equalizing activism of the sixties ignored, dismissed, and even undermined that greatness.
critic  movie  rightwing  astronaut  nasa  society  usa  american  hollywood  hero  family  personality  children  death  moon  opinion  1960s 
october 2018 by aries1988
Stretch Genes

the genomes of various human beings fall into several reasonably well-defined clusters when analyzed statistically, and these clusters generally correspond to continent of origin. In this statistical sense, races are real.

To Wade, the implications are big. While behavioral differences among races would surely be subtle, they can, he insists, become amplified at the level of entire societies. Slight differences in behavioral predisposition—to cooperation, aggression, trust, propensity to follow rules, and so on—probably pushed different races in directions that led to different social institutions. Indeed the seeds of difference between the world’s great civilizations were perhaps present from the first settlements.

the evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker. (Evolutionary psychologists, while acknowledging that human behavior has a partly genetic basis, generally assume that all people share the same predispositions. They then try to explain these human universals.)

This sends Wade into paroxysms of righteous indignation and he declares that whether or not a thesis might be politically incendiary should have no bearing on the estimate of its scientific validity. What Wade doesn’t tell you is that this is what Pinker himself says in his very next sentence: The fact that a hypothesis is politically uncomfortable does not mean that it is false, but it does mean that we should consider the evidence very carefully before concluding that it is true.
book  critic  gene  human  race  biology  political  opinion  debate  society  evolution  racism 
october 2018 by aries1988
Naomi Osaka, a New Governor and Me

When we moved back to California two years later, I entered fourth grade and suddenly, I was the Asian kid. Ching chong chang chong ching! boys chanted on the playground, tugging at the corners of their eyes. Classmates scrunched their noses at the onigiri — rice balls wrapped in dried seaweed — that my mother packed in my lunch bag. When our teacher mentioned Japan during a social studies lesson, every head in the class swiveled to stare at me.

Here we are known as hafu, which comes from the English word half, and our existence challenges the strain in Japanese society that conflates national identity with pure-blooded ethnicity.

Ms. Osaka delivered the best possible reply: I’m just me.

When I have been reserved or less assertive than people think a situation calls for, they have attributed it to my Japanese side.

when colleagues have mistaken me for another Asian employee in the newsroom, I realize some people still instinctively want to pigeonhole me as one, but not both.
japan  japanese  identity  gaijin  anecdote  society  self  conflict 
october 2018 by aries1988
人情、面子与关系:中国式人际关系背后的权力与话语权争夺

儒家在构思礼的时候,是用它来连接天人之间的关系的。在“天理人情”的说法中,理是天的运作规则,这个规则是自然规则,人不能改变,不能反抗,因此是命定的,而原初的情又是个人化的,能改变的,是随意的。在连接这个不变与变的过程中,先王(圣人)承天之道制定了礼,就是以天的名义来规范人的七情六欲,也就是想让人情来顺从天意。

孝,它不是作为生物性的后代对生者养者的自然感情的随意流露,而是对一种义务和伦理化的情感的控制。如果一个人能对自己父母有这份感情,然后将此感情再弥漫到长辈乃至于君王身上,最后就可以达到尽心知天命的境界,而人人如此便可以达到天下之大治。
theory  society  chinese  communication  confucianism  explained 
october 2018 by aries1988
人类社会的差异是由基因决定的吗?
他的目标是“正视种族在基因层面的差别,探究人类较晚近时期的进化对历史以及人类社会特质有怎样的揭示。”他的结论是:种族不但真实存在,而且不同种族在基因层面也有常人意想不到的差异。
韦德的主要观点是:人类晚近时期所发生的进化导致不同族群在基因层面出现差异,并进而表现出不同的社会行为。这些在社会行为上的细微差异可以解释为何不同族群所建立的社会制度大相径庭

在对人们的基因组进行统计分析后,相同族群的人的基因组会在一个聚类中,每个聚类又对应一个大洲。种族在这样的统计学意义上是真实存在的。

韦德如此论述道:一旦人类进入定居生活,富人的孩子比穷人的孩子存活的机会大,所以,让富人成为富人的行为之基因将得以传播。因而通过这种自然选择,“精英的某些社会行为将得以逐渐向全社会扩散”。

不同族群在行为倾向(如合作,攻击行为,信任,遵守规则)上丝毫的不同都可能会让各个族群做出不同选择,建立不同的社会制度。“世界上伟大文明之间的差异可能自各文明发源之初便已显现。”

韦德无法做出区分的是:说政治上的敏感性不应当歪曲科学真理当然没错,是事实就是事实;然而,正如平克尔所指出,这不意味着我们可以毫无顾忌地谈论种族问题。历史告诉我们,这是个尤其危险的问题,围绕这个问题的讨论曾经导致了巨大的灾难。认识到这一点并且做到小心翼翼并非什么不科学。
genetics  society  civ  human  debate  race 
september 2018 by aries1988
Yuval Noah Harari on Why Technology Favors Tyranny - The Atlantic

- In 2018 the common person feels increasingly irrelevant.
By 2050, a useless class might emerge, the result not only of a shortage of jobs or a lack of relevant education but also of insufficient mental stamina to continue learning new skills.

- whatever liberal democracy’s philosophical appeal, it has gained strength in no small part thanks to a practical advantage: The decentralized approach to decision making that is characteristic of liberalism—in both politics and economics.
In the late 20th century, democracies usually outperformed dictatorships, because they were far better at processing information.
Democracy distributes the power to process information and make decisions among many people and institutions, whereas dictatorship concentrates information and power in one place.
- If you disregard all privacy concerns and concentrate all the information relating to a billion people in one database, you’ll wind up with much better algorithms than if you respect individual privacy and have in your database only partial information on a million people.

- What will happen to this view of life as we rely on AI to make ever more decisions for us?
once we begin to count on AI to decide what to study, where to work, and whom to date or even marry, human life will cease to be a drama of decision making, and our conception of life will need to change. Democratic elections and free markets might cease to make sense. So might most religions and works of art.
If we are not careful, we will end up with downgraded humans misusing upgraded computers to wreak havoc on themselves and on the world.

- For starters, we need to place a much higher priority on understanding how the human mind works—particularly how our own wisdom and compassion can be cultivated.
- More practically, and more immediately, if we want to prevent the concentration of all wealth and power in the hands of a small elite, we must regulate the ownership of data.
advice  future  crisis  ai  society  politics  people  life  work  mentality  human  democracy  liberal  dictatorship  competition 
september 2018 by aries1988
Is the Algorithmification of the Human Experience a Good Thing?
Skeptics will point out that those algorithms are designed by corporations to serve their interests, not yours. Social media companies, for instance, want to keep you on their services as long as possible, which makes them prone to pushing emotionally charged content that might not be super healthy for you or for society. And even a benevolent algorithm can produce negative or unwanted results.

The video wasn’t directly crafted by a machine. But it wasn’t totally a human creation, either. Rather, it was optimized to appeal to YouTube’s content algorithm, which automatically plays related videos one after the other. “Johny Johny Yes Papa” copies enough elements of popular kid’s videos — a certain length, musical beat, color palette and visual style, along with key words and lyrics — that YouTube’s algorithm will line it up after more popular songs.

At least on a symbolic level, there is something unsettling about a global, faceless content empire that hoovers up human culture and processes it into homogenized nothingness to be fed to kids via tireless social media algorithms that seek, above all else, to maximize time spent on site.
society  engineering  crisis  question  future  children  video  ai  algorithm 
september 2018 by aries1988
What Can We Learn from Utopians of the Past?
Adam Gopnik writes about four nineteenth-century authors who offered blueprints for a better world—but their progressive visions had a dark side.

The sensible lesson one might draw from this is that the human condition is one in which the distribution of bad and good is forever in flux, and so any blueprint of perfection is doomed to failure.

Robertson assumes that if we can just add to the utopian visions of 1918 the progressive pieties of 2018—if we reform their gender essentialism and their implicit hierarchism and several other nasty isms—then we will at last arrive at the right utopia. This gives his book something of the exhausted cheerfulness of a father on a nine-hour car trip. “We’re almost there!” he keeps saying, as the kids in the back seat fret, and peer at license plates.

Liberalism is a perpetual program of reform, intended to alleviate the cruelty we see around us. The result will be not a utopia but merely another society, with its own unanticipated defects to correct, though with some of the worst injustices—tearing the limbs from people or keeping them as perpetual chattel or depriving half the population of the right to speak to their own future—gone, we hope for good. That is as close as liberalism gets to a utopia: a future society that is flawed, like our own, but less cruel as time goes on.

We remake interior lives to make exterior improvements, because the real current of social change lies inside minds and therefore inside people’s actual existence. We always want to get past the room we’re in in order to break out and change the universe. The lesson that life tends to teach is that change begins at home, and that we can’t escape rooms on our way to worlds. The world is made of rooms.
utopia  writer  book  society  liberal  politics  sex  marriage  love  philosophy  19C 
august 2018 by aries1988
赵鼎新:加州学派与工业资本主义的兴起
笔者强调的是经济行动者的特性,以及与军事和经济竞争相关联的机制的重要性;笔者同时强调以私利为导向的工具理性成为可被正面价值观是工业资本主义兴起中的一个关键。

反事实思维在历史分析中按说是破坏目的论思想的利器,但实际上,它更多地被用来制造另一种奇思幻想的目的论,在其中,某一因素被无限地从历史情境中抽离、拔高,成为历史进程的主要推动力。

儒家学者则更多地将儒家思想视为道德体系而非超验真理。当李贽表达他的非正统的观点时,它引起的是李贽和与他交好的耿定理的哥哥耿定向之间带有私人性质的争论。主流儒生更感兴趣的是掌握理学经义以通过科举考试,而不是这种辩论。明朝中央政府甚至没有插手其间。

中国的城市仍有不同于欧洲城市的几个关键方面。最明显的是,中国的城市从来没有拥有过自治的政治和法律地位,并且它们也没有像中世纪一些获得特许状的城镇或自由城镇那样拥有属于自己的军队。因此,研究中国城市的学者都承认政治和行政命令对中国城市的命运有着决定性的影响。

面对国家的政治主宰和理学思想的统治地位,明清商人非常热衷于让他们的孩子接受儒家教育,取得科举功名并致仕。他们与地方官员建立密切的关系,并且与仕宦家族联姻。他们为政府征收税款,并且介入乡镇治理活动。他参与地方慈善活动,仿效士人的生活方式,旨在获取尊重与信任,并使得商业活动能更顺利开展。然而,这些经济行动者无法构建诸如自由主义或“看不见的手”这样的非正统的价值观来为他们的经营性行为正名,而且他们必须严格隶从官府。这些都显示了中国经济行动者的弱势,更进一步表明在西方到来之前工业资本主义很难在中国自发地崛起。

由于商业发展和繁荣,中国的富庶地区有着较高的生活水准,然而,明清时候的中国,技术创新并没有鼓励性的回报,理论/形式理性极不发达;最重要的是,新儒家意识形态没有面临重大的挑战,而商人无法利用他们的财富来获取政治、军事和意识形态方面的权力从而抗衡国家的权力。与欧洲情况不同的是,晚期中华帝国维持灿烂的商业的原因不是新儒家世界的衰弱和资产阶级力量的崛起,而是帝国庞大的领土和人口所带来的巨大市场和王朝中期特有的长期政治稳定。当欧洲人在19 世纪持着现代武器抵达中国时,中国并没有走向工业革命而是走向王朝的衰落。中国并非自发地迈入现代化,而是被西方和日本帝国主义拖入到工业化和现代化的历史进程当中。
debate  china  qing  ming  capitalism  modernity  society  state  question  europe  confucianism  to:pdf 
july 2018 by aries1988
Letter of Recommendation Drinking at Lunch
a few decades after the heyday of the notorious “three-martini lunch,” the act of ordering even one measly martini with your lunch on a workday is viewed as roughly equivalent to pulling out your heroin works and splaying them on the table between courses.
work  fun  drinking  society  custom  lunch  defy  pleasure 
may 2018 by aries1988
Is Japanese Culture Traumatized By Centuries of Natural Disaster? - Facts So Romantic - Nautilus
The stress of social interaction has caused a flight from human intimacy. You cannot open your mouth to say a word without considering your relationship with the people around you—your place in the hierarchy. And if you say something wrong you risk grievously offending people.
society  psychology  disaster  japan 
may 2018 by aries1988
The False Allure of Group Selection | Edge.org

I want to point out a potentially important example of group selection that Pinker overlooks: human languages. The function of language is to build communities and groups, as I have argued in many places. If an individual lacks the ability to talk, he or she will still survive. But a group of Homo sapiens that cannot talk will not be competitive with another group that can.

Dawkins, for instance, opines in the opening pages of The Selfish Gene, "We are survival machines—robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes.... a predominant quality to be expected in a successful gene is ruthless selfishness. This gene selfishness will usually give rise to selfishness in individual behavior.... Anything that has evolved by natural selection should be selfish."
gene  debate  evolution  concept  groupe  biology  human  society  to:marginnote 
april 2018 by aries1988
Steven Pinker: The Disconnect Between Pessimism and Optimism | Time

It’s not that people are naturally glum. On the contrary, they tend to see their lives through rosetinted glasses: they say they are happy, their schools are good, their neighborhoods are safe and that they are less likely than the average person to become the victim of an accident, a disease, a layoff or crime.

But when people are asked about their countries, they switch from Pollyanna to Eeyore: everyone else is miserable, they insist, and the world is going to hell in a handcart.

Most positive developments are not camera-friendly, and they aren’t built in a day. You never see a headline about a country that is not at war, or a city that has not been attacked by terrorists–or the fact that since yesterday, 180,000 people have escaped extreme poverty.

A quantitative mind-set, despite its nerdy aura, is not just a smarter way to understand the world but the morally enlightened one. It treats every human life as equal, rather than privileging the people who are closest to us or most photogenic. And it holds out the hope that we might identify the causes of our problems and thereby implement the measures that are most likely to solve them.
optimism  pessimism  history  mindset  enlightenment  perception  society  mentality  people  idea  development 
february 2018 by aries1988
【纪念】那个写《叫魂》的孔飞力,离开我们已经两年了

陈达凯又盯在我背后,只要通信或见面,一定问《叫魂》翻译得怎么样了?反而是孔飞力先生,老神在在,从来不问翻译进度的事。
book  american  china  qing  society  historian 
february 2018 by aries1988
梁文道:給「一部分」讀者的回覆

把一些黨政機構的通知和命令看作是一種「聲音」,然後將一些反對這些通知的民間意見看成是另一種不同的聲音,似乎要以此說明中國社會其實也是一個正常的多元現代社會,這是近幾年我在許多中國時局討論當中常常看到的思路。我非常懷疑,這樣子說話的人是不是太不懂得「國情」,把自己當成「外賓」了?
china  today  debate  government  society  expression  liberty  essay 
december 2017 by aries1988
梁文道:只准賣馬槽,不准過聖誕

一邊替全世界各種宗教生產他們最需要的東西,另一邊嚴格管控它們的流行;在我看來,想要瞭解今日中國社會境況,恐怕很難找到比這個看起來十分諷刺的矛盾更加鮮明的案例。「開放」的意思大概就是這個樣子:只要和錢相關,一切都好說;可是只要碰到意識形態,那就寸步難行。

卻照樣找得到安身立命之道。今天的問題是宗教也好,非宗教的精神傳統也好,所有能夠照顧終極關懷的精神資源,在中國似乎都沒有一片自由自在的立足之地。
trade  tradition  china  religion  spiritual  society  control  government  world  chinese  today  money 
december 2017 by aries1988
江湖已逝,侠客转行──四个中国调查记者的转型样本(下)|大陆|端传媒 Initium Media
2014年,一篇名为《那些年离职创业的主编们》的文章在媒体圈内流传。原《凤凰周刊》的主编黄章晋离职创办了自媒体“大象公会”;《南方周末》头版编辑创办了投资者的社交网络“雪球”;《21世纪经济报导》新闻总监左志坚创办阅读社交平台“拇指阅读”……
china  journalism  story  journalist  reportage  youth  society  today 
november 2017 by aries1988
How Martin Luther has shaped Germany for half a millennium

Start with aesthetics. For Luther this was, like everything else, a serious matter. He believed that Christians were guaranteed salvation through Jesus but had a duty to live in such a way as to deserve it.

Ostentation was thus a disgraceful distraction from the asceticism required to examine one’s own conscience. The traces of this severity live on in Germany’s early 20th-century Bauhaus architecture, and even in the furniture styles at IKEA (from Lutheran Sweden).

The Swiss Protestants John Calvin and Huldrych Zwingli viewed music as sensual temptation and frowned on it. But to Luther music was a divinely inspired weapon against the devil. He wanted believers to sing together—in German, in church and at home, and with instruments accompanying them. Today Germany has 130 publicly financed orchestras, more than any other country. And concerts are still attended like sermons, sombrely and seriously.

Germany, the world’s 17th-most populous country, has the second-largest book market after America’s. After he translated the Bible into German, Luther wanted everyone, male or female, rich or poor, to read it. At first Protestants became more literate than Catholics; ultimately all Germans became bookish.

To Luther, Christians were already saved, so wealth was suspect. Instead of amassing it, Christians should work for their community, not themselves. Work (Beruf) thus became a calling (Berufung). Not profit but redistribution was the goal. According to Gerhard Wegner, a professor of theology, this “Lutheran socialism” finds secular expression in the welfare states of Scandinavia and Germany.
deutschland  deutsch  leader  religion  reform  anniversary  protestant  comparison  music  legacy  culture  society  mentality 
november 2017 by aries1988
A Big Brother approach has qualities that would benefit society
Based on the “citizen score”, the Chinese state will be able to improve — or restrict — such privileges as high broadband speed, foreign travel visas, social benefits, access to elite restaurants, favourable insurance premiums and the quality of schooling offered to a person’s children.

Social media posts praising the government, Communist party and the economy, Ms Botsman says, will enhance your rating.

Yet, I am almost embarrassed to say, I get it. Bearing in mind China’s violent history, I understand its preoccupation with order and harmony, and how the omniscient potential of computing, the internet and mobile data has been irresistible to the political intelligentsia.

We have indeed all the elements that make China’s Social Credit system possible. Pull together the credit record of an individual or business as well as their social media posts, browser history, tax record, criminal record, fitness statistics, supermarket loyalty card details, Yelp, eBay, TripAdvisor, feedback and you have the same thing.
bigdata  data  government  privacy  society  utopia 
october 2017 by aries1988
« Le gouvernement chinois exploite habilement ce que nous ont appris les réseaux sociaux »
Ce système rappelle le dang’an, le dossier individuel tenu par l’unité de travail pendant la période maoïste, mais il en diffère fondamentalement par sa vocation à être montré, tant à l’individu ou à l’entreprise, qu’à ses amis et contacts professionnels.

Dans nos démocraties, cela nous rappelle, s’il en était besoin, l’importance de la transparence, d’un débat pluraliste sur les choix politiques et de contre-pouvoirs pour résoudre les problèmes d’une société.
china  internet  society 
october 2017 by aries1988
How Ta-Nehisi Coates Gives Whiteness Power - The New York Times
Though free speech is constitutionally protected in America, there is always more lurking in the country’s psyche than can be safely, or politely, expressed. The laws around speech are broad, but the norms are narrower, and the norms govern much of what is actually said. Those norms are changing right now, for better and for worse.
race  politics  debate  opinion  society  expression 
october 2017 by aries1988
Interview with Emmanuel Macron: 'We Need to Develop Political Heroism' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - International

Nothing here should become habitual, because routine lends one a deceptive feeling of security. You begin not noticing certain things and lose your focus on what's important. Uncertainty and change keep you attentive.

It is a place laden with history. The emperors spent time here, Napoleon I and Napoleon III. In the Fourth Republic, it was the palace of a president without powers. Only in the Fifth Republic did Charles de Gaulle move back in.

Germany is different from France. You are more Protestant, which results in a significant difference. Through the church, through Catholicism, French society was structured vertically, from top to bottom. I am convinced that it has remained so until today.

France is a country of regicidal monarchists. It is a paradox: The French want to elect a king, but they would like to be able to overthrow him whenever they want.

I am a strong believer that modern political life must rediscover a sense for symbolism. We need to develop a kind of political heroism. I don't mean that I want to play the hero. But we need to be amenable once again to creating grand narratives. If you like, post-modernism was the worst thing that could have happened to our democracy. The idea that you have to deconstruct and destroy all grand narratives is not a good one. Since then, trust has evaporated in everything and everyone.

I am putting an end to the cronyism between politics and the media. For a president, constantly speaking to journalists, constantly being surrounded by journalists, has nothing to do with closeness to the people. A president should keep the media at arm's length.
interview  français  deutschland  newspaper  2017  macron  democracy  europe  politics  france  state  president  opinion  comparison  protestant  society  hierarchy  narrative  post  modernity  trust  media  idea  reform  heroism 
october 2017 by aries1988
The Interpreter Thursday, October 12, 2017
Rapid modernization means more than rising incomes. It means rural-to-urban migration, population density and shifting social hierarchies. This changes how society and politics work. Of course, most countries manage to modernize without committing atrocities. But in countries already predisposed to sectarian conflict, modernization can trigger terrible violence.

Economic change disrupts how people organize themselves socially and therefore relate to one another. Identity becomes more salient as people search for new ways to root themselves. This means that contradictions or faultlines in identity — for example, between Myanmar’s ethnic majority and the minority Rohingya, long seen as outsiders — become more salient as well.

As we wrote earlier in the week, this is not to say that the people of Myanmar are inherently predisposed to sectarian conflict or were unready for modernization. Rather, these developments reflect the weakness of institutions, as well as political and social norms, that are meant to safeguard societies through turbulence. When they are not up to that task, as in Myanmar, the consequences can be severe.
modernization  society  ethnic  economy  banyan  crisis  2017 
october 2017 by aries1988
Sweden's Sexual Assault Crisis Presents a Feminist Paradox - Quillette
Previous studies (by now more than a decade old) have shown a large overrepresentation of immigrants, particularly from patriarchal societies in the Middle East and North Africa, among the suspects of sex crimes in Sweden. Overrepresentation of immigrants has been even higher when it comes to group rapes, especially with three or more assailants. According to an official study from 1996, immigrant males were 4.5 times as likely as Swedes to commit rape. Immigrants from Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia were particularly overrepresented, being more than 20 times as likely to commit the same crime. In total, 53 percent of rape suspects were either first or second generation immigrants.
sweden  crime  female  immigration  society  politics  crisis 
october 2017 by aries1988
British Museum and BBC team up to explore belief through objects | Culture | The Guardian
MacGregor – an acclaimed art historian, curator and devout Christian – examines shared rituals, festivals, pilgrimages and sacrifices and the relationship between belief, society and politics.

People at the time were “living on the edge. What they most need to do is find food and keep warm and yet they allow someone amongst them to spend over 400 hours making a sculpture … Clearly, people are trying to come to terms with their environment, to reshape or transcend their environment. They’re thinking, believing, trying to transcend the daily grind of keeping their lives together.”
society  religion  history  podcast  bbc  museum 
october 2017 by aries1988
Lucy Kellaway: why we went back to school
The person who came closest to how I felt was Lara Agnew, a documentary film-maker. “I’ve spent my life commenting on the fabric of society,” she said. “I want to be in the fabric of society, not outside looking on.”

Many of the applicants had not set foot in a school since they attended one themselves 30 or 40 years earlier, and so were sent off for a week’s immersion. This weeded out all those who had a fond vision of themselves as Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society. It also got rid of those unsuited to the rigidity of school life. One man was told to leave after his first day — he had sat at the back of class checking his emails and then proceeded to go to sleep.

If nothing else, we will bring diversity to the staff room, where most teachers are youngish and female. By contrast, we are mostly oldish and two-thirds male — and stick out so much that various trainees were mistaken for Ofsted inspectors at the schools they visited. There is a delicious irony here: these corporate men have been used to being the ruling class all their professional life but now are going to be the persecuted minority.

Watching them, I realised what I am giving up to train to be a teacher, as well as income, time and autonomy: a life-long tendency towards cynicism. This has served me well for 32 years as a journalist, but now I fear that it is going to get in the way.
teaching  teacher  career  50s  life  choice  society  children  school 
october 2017 by aries1988
What the Rich Won’t Tell You - The New York Times

We often imagine that the wealthy are unconflicted about their advantages and in fact eager to display them. Since the economist Thorstein Veblen coined the term conspicuous consumption more than a century ago, the rich have typically been represented as competing for status by showing off their wealth.

Yet we believe that wealthy people seek visibility because those we see are, by definition, visible. In contrast, the people I spoke with expressed a deep ambivalence about identifying as affluent. Rather than brag about their money or show it off, they kept quiet about their advantages. They described themselves as normal people who worked hard and spent prudently, distancing themselves from common stereotypes of the wealthy as ostentatious, selfish, snobby and entitled. Ultimately, their accounts illuminate a moral stigma of privilege.

American culture has long been marked by questions about the moral caliber of wealthy people. Capitalist entrepreneurs are often celebrated, but they are also represented as greedy and ruthless. Inheritors of fortunes, especially women, are portrayed as glamorous, but also as self-indulgent.
rich  usa  mentality  society  book  money  inequality 
september 2017 by aries1988
Young Men Are Playing Video Games Instead of Getting Jobs. That's OK. (For Now.)

Games, with their endless task lists and character-leveling systems, their choice architectures and mission checklists, are purpose generators. They bring order to gamers' lives.

Video games, you might say, offer a sort of universal basic income for the soul.

There's a fine line between that psychology and good game design." This was true long before the rise of computer gaming. "People will never stop playing chess, because it's a great game. The discussions I hear are more about how can we keep these games interesting to keep playing."

One way to do that, it turns out, is to give people a sense of earned achievement. "What games are good at—what they are designed to do—is simulate being good at something," Wolpaw says.

Did all those hours playing games make me feel fulfilled? Did they make me feel as if I had made good decisions in my life? Yes—and no. At times, I found video games an entertainment experience as smart and satisfying as any novel or movie or television show I have ever absorbed. At other times, I have let go of my controller late at night, overcome by existential emptiness and the realization that I have, yet again, just spent the better part of a day engaged in an activity of no practical value to me or anyone else. I enjoy games, but not without some reservation. Sometimes I go weeks without playing. And if I had to choose between gaming and work, I know I'd pick the latter.
comparison  gaming  work  opinion  story  life  job  psychology  man  unemployment  society  economy  thinking  wellfare  question  individual 
july 2017 by aries1988
How Might Ethnonationalism Replace Religion?
If you are like me, you were transfixed by Shadi Hamid‘s NPR interview this morning. He touched broadly on two issues: the compatibility of Islam and democracy, and the consequences of the declining religious support in the West for the rise of ethnonationalism.
ethnonationalism, white pride, and other forms of identity politics fill the void in meaning where religion once was.

First, religion might provide individual psychological benefits, creating what we might term meaning-in-belief.
religion creates social structures that provide collective social benefits to those who participate.

There is a stronger argument here, but that contemporary expressions of ethnonationalism in the U.S. remain too disjointed and episodic to be convincingly doing this work.
The distinctive thing about Nazi Germany was not the presence or celebration of anti-Semites, it was the organization of anti-Semites into a team.
comparison  nazi  germany  opinion  usa  today  politics  racism  ethnic  religion  conflict  future  society 
june 2017 by aries1988
The ‘time machine’ reconstructing ancient Venice’s social networks
Venice is the perfect city for the experiment because of its wealth of historically important, well-ordered documentation. It was founded in the fifth century AD by citizens of the Roman empire escaping barbarian invaders from the north. Its inhospitable lagoons provided much-needed protection, and its location at the north end of the Adriatic Sea also had strategic advantages. It soon became the most important trading post between Western Europe and the east, bringing it riches and power.
history  archive  data  infographics  project  archaeology  commerce  research  society  social-network 
june 2017 by aries1988
How A Theory Of Crime And Policing Was Born, And Went Terribly Wrong : NPR
In 1969, Philip Zimbardo, a psychologist from Stanford University, ran an interesting field study. He abandoned two cars in two very different places: one in a mostly poor, crime-ridden section of New York City, and the other in a fairly affluent neighborhood of Palo Alto, Calif. Both cars were left without license plates and parked with their hoods up.
theory  crime  society  usa  african  american 
june 2017 by aries1988
Norbert Elias se confronte à l’Allemagne

Les Allemands. Evolution de l’habitus et luttes de pouvoir aux XIXe et XXe siècles (Studien über die Deutschen. Machtkämpfe und Habitusentwicklung im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert), de Norbert Elias, traduit de l’allemand par Marc de Launay et Marc Joly, Seuil, « La librairie du XXIe siècle », 592 p., 35 €.

Le rêve du « Reich millénaire », l’idéal aristocratique de supériorité étendu à la masse des Allemands à travers la notion de « race », la peur du déclin et la valorisation corrélative de la force ont correspondu à l’« habitus » (ce qui dans l’individu exprime le rapport historiquement déterminé à son Etat) de bien des Allemands du temps : en effet, dans une Allemagne longtemps divisée en une multitude de petites entités, l’Etat impérial n’avait cessé de s’affaiblir depuis le Moyen Age ; et alors qu’au même moment la France et l’Angleterre se constituaient en monarchies de plus en plus puissantes et centralisées, pour les Allemands les rêves d’empire paraissaient plus fragiles.

Selon Norbert Elias, Nietzsche incarne au plus près, avant Hitler, cette peur allemande de la décomposition qui mène à la haine du faible et à l’exaltation du fort. Une autre facette de la haine de soi.
history  deutschland  deutsch  civ  ww2  ww1  society  zeitgeist  nation  philosophy  germany 
may 2017 by aries1988
Joan C Williams on Trump, elitism and the white working class
Progressives often confuse them with the poor — an entirely separate class. Williams defines the working class as households that earn more than the country’s bottom third but less than the top 20 per cent, plus some slightly better-off families that include no college graduate. This group is “the middle 53 per cent of American families”, whose family incomes in 2015 ranged from $41,005 to $131,962.

Many stereotypes about WWC men came together in the hapless cartoon character Homer Simpson. American progressives showed respect to ethnic and sexual minorities, not to the WWC. But then the WWC made Trump president.

“I think Trump just needs to keep on being Trump. That’s the sobering fact. The irony is that Trump is the most hysterical, emotional president in living memory, he’s like a caricature of a woman out of control, but following his gut connects him to the white working class. His continuing gestures of disrespect to cultural elites, through Twitter and other means, are just inestimably delicious.”

So far she’s unimpressed. “Just read the frigging New York Times, listen to NPR [National Public Radio], key outlets of the progressive elite: story after story of an outpouring of compassion for immigrants.

“Do I feel sorry for immigrants? Yes. But that’s not the point. An outpouring of compassion for immigrants, in the absence of offering dignity to the white working class, will hurt immigrants because it’s just another expression that elites have ‘feeling rules’ — who you should feel sorry for.” Elite “feeling rules” ordain compassion for ethnic and sexual minorities and “perhaps women”, she says, “but the white working class are just ‘fat, stupid and ignorant’. So the elites are saying, ‘Oh, my God, we just heard this cri de coeur from the white working class, let’s express sympathy for immigrants!’ Talk about a recipe for Trump’s second term.

Generally, says Williams, progressives need to tone down the PC talk. They can still fight (albeit more quietly) for women and minorities, but they will achieve nothing unless they can build the black-and-white working-class
politics  working-class  usa  society  inequality  immigration  thinking  2017  trump 
may 2017 by aries1988
My sense of meiwaku | The Japan Times

Meiwaku is an important word in overcrowded, group-centered, harmony-obsessed Japan, and a concept that is pounded into children from an early age, along with a related term, wagamama, which means self-centeredness. If you are wagamama, you will no doubt be meiwaku. The lesson from pre-school on is this: Being wagamama and meiwaku are bad. Not being so is good.

Of course, much of this is a simple show of proper manners. Yet the motto of Group Japan seems not to be, all for one and one for all. Rather it’s all for all. All of the time.
japanese  politeness  society 
february 2017 by aries1988
Peace and prosperity: it is worth saving the liberal order
The system established after 1945 was built on US power. But it endured and, after the end of the cold war, expanded because US leadership was embedded in multilateral rules and institutions. Everyone had a stake. Washington sometimes over-reached — in Vietnam or with the invasion of Iraq. By history’s standards, however, the Pax Americana was essentially benign, resting as much on the force of example as military might.
history  uk  world  order  crisis  challenge  china  populism  brexit  nostalgia  immigration  society  politics 
february 2017 by aries1988
The People Who Pass

Outside the Gare du Nord, there are people streaming from the Eurostar, tourists looking for a week’s pleasure, mingled with travellers recently arrived from Bulgaria and Romania, looking for a job or a new life. The kinds cross, with the French, permanently frowning and suspicious, among them, and the tension rises.

the usual conviction of the French police that the human comedy as it unfolds is so absorbing that to intervene and impose artificial order upon it would be inartistic.

The thieves, and their invisible directors, are perceived by the French public as exclusively Roma—what English speakers often call Gypsies, the nomadic people long idealized as romantic and, for just as long, pursued as petty criminals.

We are manifold and must be respected as individuals—and we are completely different from the rest of you, with our own culture and history, giving us a collective identity that allows us to belong to the larger world of nations, just as you do. It’s our being completely different from the rest of you that makes us like the rest of you.

If Hamidovic was the face of the predatory Roma, Leonarda was the face of their persecution.

The majority should return to their countries. . . . Our role is not to welcome all the world’s misery.

Valls’s words—widely taken both as a testament of no-nonsense enforcement and as a bid for eventual power as Prime Minister or even President

an exasperated account of how the old Republican idea of French identity, open to all through education but still very specific in its style (high-minded) and values (meritocratic to the max), has been demoralized by a slack and hasty pluralism.

They insist, with Finkielkraut, that this angelism is part of a larger, enforced cult of the Other, a compulsory act of celebrating difference that is undermining the French state, so that the defenders of little Leonarda insist on embracing the Other, even as the Other picks their pockets.

In a matter of years, representations of the tsiganes have shifted away from musical talents, bohème, and free spirit to a portrayal of Roma otherness. It is our decision to see kinds that makes us sort kinds.

My daughter, when she was ten, said to her friend, ‘I’d like to eat your belly!’ I was called into the school—the principal was shocked! Perhaps my daughter needed to see a psychiatrist.

On one subject, Carmona is categorical. France is the worst place for Roma to be born. It suffers from centuries of ‘Enlightenment,’ the many centuries that created this Jacobin so-called ‘universalist’ frame without any regard to subjugated knowledge or subjugated peoples. In France, ethnic minorities are not even recognized—there’s a process of negation of identity that leads to the absurd category of ‘gens du voyage.’

If an unashamed, de-complexed agenda of national order and national security is not made plausible, the argument goes, the middle classes will continue their flight to the far right.

Le Pen can be declawed, he thinks, only if mainstream politicians can learn to speak truths that seem obvious to the stressed middle class.

The big problem in France is one of authority. Where is the authority in France? There is no authority in France now. François Hollande is no authority. In the family, where is the authority? In school, where is the authority? The ‘regal’ state of France has become nonexistent.

This is the problem of integration. What you can say twenty years ago, you can’t say it now. It is this question of bien-pensants, of angelism, and the right wing and the left wing are together responsible.

Mobility, rootlessness, nomadism—these are the facts of the new Europe. We must read Victor Hugo. The happy face of nomadism is all the French gone to London to be bankers. The wretched face is the poor Roma in their camps. And, great surprise, the miserables of our time turn out to be poor immigrants in the cold who behave like poor immigrants in the cold. Behind it, beneath it, is the new fear of having no floor beneath one’s feet. Ordinary French people feel that a real fall is possible.
paris  france  immigrant  society  politics  debate  europe  history  identity  immigration  crime  culture  book  intelligentsia  rom 
february 2017 by aries1988
L’entre-soi social confirmé par le big data

Un de ses confrères, Loïc Wacquant, professeur à l’université de Californie, est moins enthousiaste : « Cet article retrouve des ­résultats élémentaires des études de stratification : le capital (économique et culturel) va au capital. Il ne faut pas se laisser aspirer par ­l’effet de mode du big data. Ce n’est pas parce qu’on établit des corrélations statistiques sur des millions d’individus qu’on a découvert quelque chose. »
bigdata  society  money  class  numbers  mexico  research  infographics 
january 2017 by aries1988
John Green: Author of An Abundance of Katherines and Looking for Alaska

in my opinion, the central problem of human existence: I am stuck in my body, in my consciousness, seeing out of my eyes. I am the only me I ever get to be, and so I am the only person I can imagine endlessly complexly.

That’s not the problem, actually. The problem is you. You are so busy taking in your own wondrousness that you can't be bothered to acknowledge mine.

On some level, I have to take it on faith that you are as complex as I am, that your pain and joy and grief are as real and as meaningful as my own.

I would argue that books, more than other media, allow us to live inside the lives of others because we have to translate scratches on a page into ideas and make the story ours.

nonliteral ways constantly—in fact, it’s impossible for me to imagine something so endlessly fascinating and complex as myself without symbol and simile and metaphor.
thinking  human  society 
january 2017 by aries1988
中国和日本的反差,杜威百年前怎么看? - 纽约时报中文网

但是当时中国的自由知识分子同样有着困惑,杜威在书信中写道,学生们最容易向我问到的问题是‘我们所有关于永久和平和世界主义的希望都在巴黎破碎了,这已经说明,强权就是真理。强国总是为了自己的目的牺牲弱国。那么,难道中国就不应该将军国主义也纳入我们的教育体系吗?’
history  comparison  china  japan  society  ww1  american  intelligentsia 
january 2017 by aries1988
League of nationalists | The Economist
She laments the decline of a proud people and vows to make France great again.

proud but few think their country is the best of the world
France is witnessing a “defensive nationalism”, says Dominique Moïsi of the Institut Montaigne, a think-tank, “based on a lack of confidence and a negative jingoism: the idea that I have to defend myself against the threat of others.”

Theresa May, who says: “If you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere. You don’t understand what the very word ‘citizenship’ means.”
nationalism  politics  society  2016 
december 2016 by aries1988
How France is falling out of love with hunting - BBC News
Mathieu Andro is one of the approximately one million hunters (1,246,000 according to the French Hunting Federation, 960,000 according to anti-hunting pressure groups) that make France the biggest hunting country in Europe.

"It's because of intensive farming," he says. "They've killed most of the small game (hare, partridge, pheasant, woodcock) grubbing up hedgerows and creating the massive fields we have now. The hare eat the pellets the farmers put down for the slugs and die and the partridges are mangled in their machines."

France's deer and wild boar populations, on the other hand, are on the rise. There are so many of the latter - rooting around in crops, ramming Renault Scenics - that hunters are allowed to shoot pretty much as many as they like.

"The main reason for the decline is that our values have changed. We have so much more sensibility now when it comes to the animal world."
france  society  français  hunting  village  life  hobby  tradition  today 
november 2016 by aries1988
Learning to live with it | The Economist
Terrorism is a form of psychological warfare against a society. It is supposed to have effects that are utterly disproportionate to the actual lethality of the attacks. Thanks in part to the extensive media coverage that terrorist attacks attract, thanks also to the reaction of politicians who glibly talk of threats being “existential”, and thanks too to the security services who, for their own purposes, inflate the capability of terrorists, the perception of risk is typically far higher than the reality.
risk  death  terrorism  society 
november 2016 by aries1988
Scared? Make women disrobe | The Economist
terrorism related murder = 25%

Even in the past year, a French citizen was three times more likely to be the victim of an ordinary murderer than of a terrorist.
france  2016  terrorism  policy  society  conflict  female 
november 2016 by aries1988
The search goes on | The Economist
The West has gained a lot from Christianity. There is still more to learn
The Christianisation of Europe, he says, was not a bunch of reactionary clerics trying to shut down a noble, free, secular ancient world, but a new idea of “a voluntary basis for human association in which people joined together through will and love rather than blood or shared material objectives”. Christianity declared that humans “have access to the deepest reality as individuals rather than merely as members of a group”.

Out of this, with a reinjection at the Reformation, came the origins of the modern world: a belief in equality of status as the proper basis for a legal system and the assertion of natural rights leading to individual liberty, as well as the notion that a society built on the assumption of moral equality should have a representative form of government.




The Evolution of the West: How Christianity Has Shaped Our Values. By Nick Spencer. SPCK; 190 pages; £9.99.
book  religion  christianity  europe  Renaissance  history  mentality  study  society  opinion  debate  middle-age  antiquity 
november 2016 by aries1988
What Chinese corner-cutting reveals about modernity | Aeon Essays
Why is China caught in this trap? In most industries here, vital feedback loops are severed. To understand how to make things, you have to use them. Ford’s workers in the US drove their own cars, and Western builders dwelt, or hoped to dwell, in homes like the ones they made. But the migrants lining factory belts in Guangdong make knick-knacks for US households thousands of miles away. The men and women who build China’s houses will never live in them.

If what you’re making represents a world utterly out of reach to you, why bother to do it well?

In the end, what perpetuates China’s carelessness most might be sheer ubiquity. Craft inspires. A writer can be stirred to the page by hearing a song or watching a car being repaired, a carpenter revved up by a poem or a motorbike. But the opposite also holds true; when you’re surrounded by the cheaply done, the half-assed and the ugly, when failure is unpunished and dedication unrewarded all around, it’s hard not to think that close enough is good enough. Chabuduo.
craftsmanship  chinese  today  china  society  symptom  crisis  trust  instapaper_favs 
october 2016 by aries1988
A journey along Japan’s oldest pilgrimage route - FT.com

We talked about religion. She told me that like many Japanese people she had married in a Christian ceremony, and that on New Year’s eve she prayed for good luck in the year ahead at a Shinto shrine, the worship place of an indigenous faith that predates Buddhism. She said Japanese people believed in gods of trees and mountains, too. There’s even a toilet god, she added. She’s supposed to be very beautiful.

Hearn’s point about Japanese people, as Maeda saw it, was that their lifestyle, their way of thinking, is religious, but if you put it into words, they dispute that.

There is also a fuzzy line in Japan between the spiritual and the day-to-day. Rather than existing in some alternate realm, the spirit world envelops everyday experience like the weather. These are not things that Japanese people think about with great precision, said Shinichi Takiguchi, who publishes a monthly henro newsletter. People approach spirituality in a kind of foggy way. It’s a bit like they’re daydreaming.

Sociologists have talked about the privatisation of faith in the west, a shift from unified religions towards people concocting their own versions of spirituality in the same way they assemble their wardrobes. It has been lamented as an antisocial byproduct of too much individualism. But it is also happening in Japan, a place usually branded as too conformist, because it is a form of liberation.
japan  rando  idea  religion  today  history  numbers  society 
september 2016 by aries1988
The burkini row shows the depth of west’s crisis of confidence
Instead, the growing visibility of Muslims in western society reflects an ownership over their European and Muslim identities in a manner their first-generation immigrant parents and grandparents did not dare display. A headscarf is a mark of self-confidence not illiberalism. The Islam practised by many young European Muslims today is flexible, tolerant and accepting of the west’s prevailing norms, whether on homosexuality, abortion or atheism.

The burkini has gained prominence in recent years because Muslim women make Islam work for them: at the beach, in the workplace or at the Olympic Games. Previous generations, including my mother, would never have thought of going to the beach.
opinion  muslim  france  society  state  ban  malaise  conservatism 
august 2016 by aries1988
北京折叠-墙外楼
作者:郝景芳 (1) 清晨4:50,老刀穿过熙熙攘攘的步行街,去找彭蠡。…
scifi  chinese  beijing  city  society 
august 2016 by aries1988
You May Also Like by Tom Vanderbilt review – what forms our tastes in a digital age?
As is fitting in an inquiry into taste, Vanderbilt starts with food. Among rats, taste is indeed a simple thing. If they eat something, they tend to like it. The more they eat of it, the more they like it. Their social situation when eating does not seem to matter much. “Rat eating behaviour does not change according to who is watching or to feelings of guilt or virtuousness.” Humans, Vanderbilt notes, are trickier. Unlike rats, they eat things because they have never tasted them before and because they think other members of their species like them. The pleasure they get from food seems much more variable than that experienced by rats.

It’s long been understood that making pleasure your goal in life will lead to diminishing returns.
book  review  food  pleasure  society  social  eating  choice  philosophy 
august 2016 by aries1988
How Helicopter Parenting Can Cause Binge Drinking
We didn’t need much help from our parents to do those things. Which meant that at night, we were free. And we did many dangerous things. Mothers were not yet against drunk driving; cheerful ladies did not give you condoms at school. It wasn’t an arcadia, and many times things went terribly wrong. But most of us survived.

Today, of course, all of that is different: Professional-class parents and their children are tightly bound to each other in the relentless pursuit of admission to a fancy college. A kid on that track can’t really separate from her parents, as their close involvement in this shared goal is essential. Replicating the social class across a generation is a joint project.

A teenager growing up in one of the success factories—the exceptional public high school in the fancy zip code, the prestigious private school—will oftentimes be a person whose life is composed of extremes: extreme studying, extreme athletics, extreme extracurricular pursuits, and extreme drinking. Binge drinking slots in neatly with the other, more obviously enhancing endeavors.

A binge drinker emerges from college both elevated and coarsened: educated enough to compete in the market and sullied enough by the hard knocks of binge drinking that he won’t be too shocked by what he finds there.

make too much consciousness hard for anyone to take.
essay  drinking  university  usa  parents  parenting  choice  debate  opinion  history  culture  sports  society  college 
august 2016 by aries1988
Why Drivers in China Intentionally Kill the Pedestrians They Hit

In China the compensation for killing a victim in a traffic accident is relatively small—amounts typically range from $30,000 to $50,000—and once payment is made, the matter is over. By contrast, paying for lifetime care for a disabled survivor can run into the millions

These drivers are willing to kill not only because it is cheaper, but also because they expect to escape murder charges. In the days before video cameras became widespread, it was rare to have evidence that a driver hit the victim twice. Even in today’s age of cellphone cameras, drivers seem confident that they can either bribe local officials or hire a lawyer to evade murder charges.
reportage  china  today  driving  killing  life  society  money  security  crime  law 
august 2016 by aries1988
Why Singapore’s kids are so good at maths

Aiming to move away from simple rote-learning and to focus instead on teaching children how to problem solve, the textbooks the group produced were influenced by educational psychologists such as the American Jerome Bruner, who posited that people learn in three stages: by using real objects, then pictures, and then through symbols. That theory contributed to Singapore’s strong emphasis on modelling mathematical problems with visual aids; using coloured blocks to represent fractions or ratios, for example.

A switch from an ability-based model of individualised learning, to a model [which says that] all children are capable of anything, depending on how it is presented to them and the effort which they put into learning it.

unlike Singapore’s office buildings, which are so deeply chilled by air conditioning that workers regularly wrap themselves in sweaters, the classrooms are open to the tropical humidity. Ceiling fans stir the air and the chatter of other children sometimes drifts through the open windows.

Meritocracy is an element of the glue that binds Singapore together. Alongside the promise of shared prosperity and security, the idea that the brightest can rise to the top is a component of the political bargain that the city-state has struck with its citizens, under which some political freedoms are restricted in exchange for significant material benefits.

Singaporeans frequently use the Hokkien Chinese word kiasu to describe themselves. The term translates as being afraid to lose out
investigation  interview  singapore  asia  education  children  learn  methodology  comparison  uk  crisis  world  future  creativity  debate  society  history  reportage 
july 2016 by aries1988
【网络民议】怎样定义“赵家人”,这个词来自于哪里? - 中国数字时代
简而言之:“赵家人”是既得利益者,实际掌权者的意思,“精赵”,即精神赵家人,自认为能在执政集团的强势下能沾光的人。尤其用于嘲讽那些兴奋于军力强盛,望着国旗顶风流泪那种人。
explained  chinese  today  state  society  opinion  politics 
may 2016 by aries1988
The French Culture Wars Continue - The New Yorker
We are in a society that is so secularized that it no longer understands the reality of religiosity itself, Roy has said. It’s precisely there that we must make an effort, to normalize the Muslim reality as a religious reality and integrate it into the French cultural space.
debate  society  religion  muslim  islam  female  intelligentsia  culture  integration  conflict  instapaper_favs 
may 2016 by aries1988
南方周末 - 【热点】“谁的孩子上北大”已经没那么重要了
其实,谁的孩子上北大这个问题已经没那么重要。当穷孩子还在为考上重点大学奋斗时,很多中上阶层家庭的孩子已经不将北大作为选项了,他们在大洋彼岸的美国上大学,甚至上高中。
instapaper_favs  education  society  class  inequality 
april 2016 by aries1988
French spelling wars are a displacement activity - FT.com
In a nation still reeling from its worst-ever terrorist attack, where the far right regularly garners 30 per cent of the vote and where youth unemployment hovers around 25 per cent, it might seem puzzling that the big political debate this month in
language  society  français  reform  politics 
february 2016 by aries1988
Kim Jong-un’s Generational Ambitions
But having covered previous North Korean nuclear tests, I know the script: International outrage, emergency meetings and sanctions will follow in close suit. And as debate continues in regional capitals about what to do about the defiant North Koreans, their rock-star scientists will keep building better and more powerful nuclear weapons.

here is a small nation where the people are dancing in the streets celebrating the supposed creation of a bomb with the potential to exterminate whole cities. Footage of North Koreans cheering as they watched the news announced at noon local time Wednesday was like a scene out of an old Cold War movie, so anachronistic in this globalized era that the only response that makes any sense is to think the North Koreans are crazy.

C.I.A. estimates put it at roughly $1,800 per capita, on par with some of the poorest nations in the world. Geographically, North Korea was dealt a bad hand: Mountainous, with an extreme climate that veers from bitterly cold winters to blistering summers, it simply does not produce enough food to sustain its people, and outmoded agricultural practices have only worsened that shortfall.

What North Koreans do have in spades is pride, a characteristically Korean trait that has protected this small peninsula for 5,000 years. For North Koreans, pride is manna. They may be hungry every day, but pride is what keeps them going. Not everyone can feast off pride — tens of thousands of North Koreans have defected over the decades — but enough of the population is buoyed by this singular sense of national pride and a Korean sense of conformity to keep the regime afloat.
story  korea  weapon  war  enemy  people  children  society  psyche 
february 2016 by aries1988
Japan, and How I Failed to Figure it Out - Wait But Why
An extreme politeness example would occur when someone would take my credit card—they wouldn’t take it with their fingers like I’m accustomed to, they’d hold their palms out like a platter for me to put it on, returning the card to me with another hand platter. All of this I’m going to miss.

But Japan feels different. People I interacted with in Japan seemed to be intent on being honest and conscientious in their work because it was part of a cultural code of conduct. That’s just the way we do it in Japan is what it felt like to me. One piece of evidence for this is the nonexistence of tipping. In fact, when I tipped a waiter on my first day without realizing that I wasn’t supposed to, he ran after me on the street to give it back to me. Tipping, to him, seems like an insult—it suggests that he provided good service just to make a couple bucks.

Within a few days in Japan, my cynicism was replaced by trust, which made me begin to feel an obligation to the society as a whole to keep within the social code of integrity.

When the Japanese are horrified at the prospect of losing face and a foreigner doesn’t understand what it would even feel like to lose face, they don’t know what it feels like to be Japanese, so there will always be a distance between them.

For those who haven’t seen the doc, here’s the story: there are only about 100 restaurants in the world awarded three stars by the prestigious Michelin guide, and almost all of them are fancy restaurants. But one of them, Sukiyabashi Jiro, is in a Tokyo subway station and has 10 seats at a simple sushi bar.
story  japan  japanese  fun  society  gaijin  game  children  travel  instapaper_favs 
december 2015 by aries1988
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