Where has the Western attraction to the study and practice of shamanic techniques brought us? Where might it take us? In what ways have our Western biases and philosophical underpinnings influenced and changed how shamanism is practiced, both in the West and in the traditional cultures out of which they emerged? Is it time to stop using the umbrella term “shamanism” to refer to such diverse cross-cultural practices? What are our responsibilities, both as researchers and as spiritual seekers? In this (...) conversation, researcher-authors Stephan Beyer, Stanley Krippner, and Hillary S. Webb discuss their work in field and consider some of the ramifications of the Western world's intellectual and spiritual fascination with shamanic practices. Special attention is paid to the language used to describe these techniques and their practitioners, the developing relationship between researchers and cultural participants, and the ethical implications of merging what are often very distinct worldviews. (shrink)
What are the ethical obligations of a researcher who wishes to study another culture's ceremonial practices, in particular those of the Native American Church (NAC)? What promise do peyote and the NAC peyote ceremony show for the treatment of alcoholism amongst NAC members? How does one approach the philosophical issues regarding “consciousness” within the context of such a study? In this interview, Dr. John Halpern, M.D., discusses how the fields of medicine and anthropology converged and informed one another over the (...) course of his study into the effects of the NAC peyote ceremony on alcohol addiction. He tells the story of how he, as an outsider to the Church, was eventually accepted as a member of the NAC community. He also reflects upon how one's philosophical stance on what consciousness “is” informs such a study. (shrink)
This article focuses on a theoretical account integrating classic and recent findings on the communication of emotions across cultures: a dialect theory of emotion. Dialect theory uses a linguistic metaphor to argue emotion is a universal language with subtly different dialects. As in verbal language, it is more challenging to understand someone speaking a different dialect—which fits with empirical support for an in-group advantage, whereby individuals are more accurate judging emotional expressions from their own cultural group versus foreign groups. Dialect (...) theory has sparked controversy with its implications for dominant theories about cross-cultural differences in emotion. This article reviews the theory, its mounting body of evidence, evidence for alternative accounts, and practical implications for multicultural societies. (shrink)
Good communication between healthcare providers and patients is vital to effective healthcare. In order to understand patients’ complaints, make accurate diagnoses, obtain informed consent and explain treatment regimens, clinicians must communicate well with their patients. This can be challenging when treating patients from unfamiliar cultural backgrounds, such as the Deaf. Not only are they a linguistic and cultural minority, they are also members of the world’s largest and oft-forgotten minority group: the disability community. Under Article 25 of the United Nations (...) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, persons with disabilities have rights to the same range, quality and standard of free or affordable healthcare and programmes as provided to other people. Yet communication barriers and healthcare providers’ lack of familiarity with Deaf culture can impair the quality and accessibility of healthcare for the Deaf. This essay analyses the scope of this issue in Singapore: a state party to the CRPD which has a vibrant Deaf community, and yet no legislative or constitutional guarantees of the rights of persons with disabilities. In addition to exploring the communication barriers faced by Deaf patients in Singapore, this essay highlights ways in which healthcare providers and the state can support community-based initiatives to overcome these barriers. (shrink)
This study analyzes 435 oocyte donor recruitment advertisements to assess whether entities recruiting donors of oocytes to be used for in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures include a disclosure of risks associated with the donation process in their advertisements. Such disclosure is required by the self-regulatory guidelines of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and by law in California for advertisements placed in the state. We find very low rates of risk disclosure across entity types and regulatory regimes, although risk (...) disclosure is more common in advertisements placed by entities subject to ASRM's self-regulatory guidelines. Advertisements placed in California are more likely to include risk disclosure, but disclosure rates are still quite low. California-based entities advertising outside the state are more likely to include risk disclosure than non-California entities, suggesting that California's law may have a modest “halo effect.” Our results suggest that there is a significant ethical and policy problem with the status quo in light of the known and unknown risks of oocyte donation and the importance of risk disclosure to informed consent in the context of oocyte donation. (shrink)
Recently, training programs in research ethics have been established to enhance individual and institutional capacity in research ethics in the developing world. However, commentators have expressed concern that the efforts of these training programs have placed ‘too great an emphasis on guidelines and research ethics review’, which will have limited effect on ensuring ethical conduct in research. What is needed instead is a culture of ethical conduct supported by national and institutional commitment to ethical practices that are reinforced by upstream (...) enabling conditions, which are in turn influenced by developmental conditions. Examining this more inclusive understanding of the determinants of ethical conduct enhances at once both an appreciation of the limitations of current efforts of training programs in research ethics and an understanding of what additional training elements are needed to enable trainees to facilitate national and institutional policy changes that enhance research practices. We apply this developmental model to a training program focused in Egypt to describe examples of such additional training activities. (shrink)
In vitro fertilization using donated oocytes has proven to be an effective treatment option for many prospective parents struggling with infertility, and the usage of donated oocytes in assisted reproduction has increased markedly since the technique was first successfully used in 1984. Data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the use of assisted reproductive technologies in the United States indicate that approximately 12% of all ART cycles in the country now use donated oocytes. The increased use (...) of oocyte donation in the United States has prompted discussion regarding risks associated with the process and how best to ensure the safety of oocyte donors.Physical risks associated with oocyte donation include bleeding, infection, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome and a potential, although unconfirmed, increased risk of developing various forms of cancer, such as uterine, colon, breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancers. (shrink)
For those to whom John Bowring's name means anything, the most likely association with it is the complex and question-begging term ‘Benthamite’. Contemporaries certainly used the term, particularly when they wanted to suggest that his actions were narrowly ideological or theoretical. But to some of Bowring's contemporaries another association served hostile intent almost as well: his Unitarianism.
Recent trends in the understanding of culture contact, with concepts such as hybridization, cosmopolitanism, and cultural innovation, open up the possibility of a new understanding of human interaction. While the social imaginary is rich with images of conflict resulting from culture contact, images of creativity are far rarer. We propose the creation of an extensive research project to document cultural creativity, starting with obvious examples in the arts, and expanding into all areas of life in order to counteract the present (...) conflictual images and develop a social imaginary with positive “attractor” images that can guide to greater creativity. (shrink)
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a dramatically expanding area of activity for managers and academics. Consumer demand for responsibly produced and fair trade goods is swelling, resulting in increased demands for CSR activity and information. Assets under professional management and invested with a social responsibility focus have also grown dramatically over the last 10 years. Investors choosing social responsibility investment strategies require access to information not provided through traditional financial statements and analyses. At the same time, a group of mainstream (...) institutional investors has encouraged a movement to incorporate environmental, social, and governance information into equity analysis, and multi-stakeholder groups have supported enhanced business reporting on these issues. The majority of research in this area has been performed on European and Australian firms. We expand on this literature by exploring the CSR disclosure practices of a size-and industry-stratified sample of 50 publicly traded U. S. firms, performing a content analysis on the complete identifiable public information portfolio provided by these firms during 2004. CSR activity was disclosed by most firms in the sample, and was included in nearly half of public disclosures made during that year by the sample firms. Areas of particular emphasis are community matters, health and safety, diversity and human resources (HR) matters, and environmental programs. The primary venues of disclosure are mass media releases such as corporate websites and press releases, followed closely by disclosures contained in mandatory filings. Consistent with prior research, we identify industry effects in terms of content, emphasis, and reporting format choices. Unlike prior research, we can offer only mixed evidence on the existence of a size effect. The disclosure frequency and emphasis is significantly different for the largest one-fifth of the firms, but no identifiable trends are present within the rest of the sample. There are, however, identifiable size effects with respect to reporting format choice. Use of websites is positively related to firm size, while the use of mandatory filings is negatively related to firm size. Finally, and also consistent with prior literature, we document a generally self-laudatory tone in the content of CSR disclosures for the sample firms. (shrink)
Hoping is an integral part of what it is to be human, and its significance for education has been widely noted. Hope is, however, a contested category of human experience and getting to grips with its characteristics and dynamics is a difficult task. The paper argues that hope is not a singular undifferentiated experience and is best understood as a socially mediated human capacity with varying affective, cognitive and behavioural dimensions. Drawing on the philosophy, theology and psychology of hope, five (...) modes of hoping are outlined: patient, critical, sound, resolute and transformative. The key aim of the paper is to illustrate how different modes of hoping are associated with different pedagogical strategies. Phrased differently, the paper seeks to delineate a range of pedagogies of hope. The phrase ‘pedagogy of hope’ is very much associated with critical theory—one thinks instantly of, for example, Paulo Freire, Henry Giroux or bell hooks. There are many pedagogies of hope, however, and an explicitly conservative text such as William Bennett’s Book of Virtues has as strong a claim to the title as Freire’s radical and utopian ideas. A broader argument, therefore, is that there is nothing inherently radical or subversive about a pedagogy of hope. Pedagogies of hope can serve to reproduce social relations as well as to transform them. (shrink)
Research misconduct has been thoroughly discussed in the literature, but mainly in terms of definitions and prescriptions for proper conduct. Even when case studies are cited, they are generally used as a repository of “lessons learned.” What has been lacking from this conversation is how the lessons of responsible conduct of research are imparted in the first place to graduate students, especially those in technical fields such as engineering. Nor has there been much conversation about who is responsible for what (...) in training students in Responsible Conduct of Research or in allocating blame in cases of misconduct. This paper explores three seemingly disparate cases of misconduct—the 2004 plagiarism scandal at Ohio University; the famous Robert Millikan article of 1913, in which his reported data selection did not match his notebooks; and the 1990 fabrication scandal in Dr. Leroy Hood’s research lab. Comparing these cases provides a way to look at the relationship between the graduate student (or trainee) and his/her advisor (a relationship that has been shown to be the most influential one for the student) as well as at possibly differential treatment for established researchers and researchers-in-training, in cases of misconduct. This paper reflects on the rights and responsibilities of research advisers and their students and offers suggestions for clarifying both those responsibilities and the particularly murky areas of research-conduct guidelines. (shrink)
Recent years have featured a spate of regulatory action pertaining to the development and/or disclosure of corporate governance structures in response to financial scandals resulting in part from governance failures. During the same period, corporate governance activists and institutional investors increasingly have called for increased voluntary governance disclosure. Despite this attention, there have been relatively few comprehensive studies of governance disclosure practices and response to the regulation. In this study, we examine a sample of 50 U.S. firms and their public (...) disclosure packages from 2004. We find a high degree of variability in the presentation and reporting format choices for many elements of the governance structure. This variability includes several items for which disclosure is mandated by regulators or legislative action. In particular, smaller firms offer fewer disclosures pertaining to independence, board selection procedures, and oversight of management (including whistleblowing procedures). There are also trends associated with board characteristics: boards that are less independent offer fewer disclosures of independence and management oversight matters. Moreover, large firms provide more disclosures of independence standards, board selection procedures, audit committee matters, management control systems, other committee matters, and whistleblowing procedures but do not appear to have a strictly superior information environment when compared to smaller firms. The findings raise questions about compliance with regulatory requirements and the degree to which conflicts of interest between managers and directors are being controlled. While there have been notable improvements in the information environment of governance disclosures, there remain structural issues that may possess negative ramifications for stakeholders. (shrink)
Regulatory responses to the business failures of 1998–2001 framed them as a general failure of governance and ethics rather than as firm-specific problems. Among the regulatory responses are Section 406 of Sarbanes–Oxley Act, SEC, and exchange requirements to provide a Code of Ethics. However, institutional pressures surrounding this regulation suggest the potential for symbolic responses and decoupling of response from organizational action. In this article, we examine Codes of Ethics for a stratified sample of 75 U.S. firms across five distinct (...) industries and find that content and language converge across organizations in ways undesired by the regulators, and that language is used to minimize the effects of the Code on constraining organizational behavior. There is, however, a noteworthy exception in the sections of the Codes dedicated the ethics of financial reporting. Although this material still contains legalistic boilerplate information, it does offer concrete guidance and emphatic language pertaining to the need to maintain the integrity of reporting practices. This suggests that the corporate understanding of the source of the failures is one of fraudulent financial reporting. Aside from the matter of financial reporting, the vague and stylized content of the Codes was a predicted response and constitutes a rational response to the regulation. The regulation, however, clearly states the belief that Codes should vary from firm to firm and that individual firms should determine the specific content of a Code. Aside from financial reporting matters, the observed result suggests that regulatory efforts may have failed to instigate corporate change in attitudes toward and enforcement of higher ethical standards by corporate actors. (shrink)
Entropy is proposed as a concept which in its broader scope can contribute to the study of the General Information System. This paper attempts to identify a few fundamental subconcepts and LEMMAS which will serve to facilitate further study of system order. The paper discusses: partitioning order into logical and arbitrary kinds; the relationship of order to pattern; and suggested approaches to evaluating and improving the General Information System.
By synthesizing evolutionary, attachment, and acoustic perspectives, Soltis has provided an innovative model of infant cry acoustics and parental responsiveness. We question some of his hypotheses, however, because of the limited extant data on infant crying among hunter-gatherers. We also question Soltis' distinction between manipulative and honest signaling based upon recent contributions from attachment theory.
Recent years have witnessed a renewed interest in utopianism within educational theory. In this essay, Darren Webb explores the utopian pedagogy of Paulo Freire in the context of what one commentator has dubbed “the educational comeback of utopia.” Webb argues that Freire's significance lies in the way he embraced both “utopia as process” and “utopia as system.” This is significant because the contemporary rejuvenation of utopianism has extended only so far, embracing utopia conceived as an open‐ended process of (...) becoming but shying away from utopia conceived as the delineation of a normative vision to be struggled for and won. Webb outlines the pedagogical operation of utopia as process, cognitive‐affective orientation, and system, and he argues that Freire was right in insisting that each is constitutive of effective educational practice. (shrink)
How should biological behaviour be modelled? A relatively new approach is to investigate problems in neuroethology by building physical robot models of biological sensorimotor systems. The explication and justification of this approach are here placed within a framework for describing and comparing models in the behavioural and biological sciences. First, simulation models – the representation of a hypothesis about a target system – are distinguished from several other relationships also termed “modelling” in discussions of scientific explanation. Seven dimensions on which (...) simulation models can differ are defined and distinctions between them discussed: 1. Relevance: whether the model tests and generates hypotheses applicable to biology. 2. Level: the elemental units of the model in the hierarchy from atoms to societies. 3. Generality: the range of biological systems the model can represent. 4. Abstraction: the complexity, relative to the target, or amount of detail included in the model. 5. Structural accuracy: how well the model represents the actual mechanisms underlying the behaviour. 6. Performance match: to what extent the model behaviour matches the target behaviour. 7. Medium: the physical basis by which the model is implemented. No specific position in the space of models thus defined is the only correct one, but a good modelling methodology should be explicit about its position and the justification for that position. It is argued that in building robot models biological relevance is more effective than loose biological inspiration; multiple levels can be integrated; that generality cannot be assumed but might emerge from studying specific instances; abstraction is better done by simplification than idealisation; accuracy can be approached through iterations of complete systems; that the model should be able to match and predict target behaviour; and that a physical medium can have significant advantages. These arguments reflect the view that biological behaviour needs to be studied and modelled in context, that is, in terms of the real problems faced by real animals in real environments. Key Words: animal behaviour; levels; models; neuroethology; realism; robotics; simulation. (shrink)
It is widely acknowledged that hoping is an integral part of what it is to be human. The present article strives to make sense of the myriad competing conceptions of hope that have emerged over the past half-century. Two problems with the literature are highlighted. First, discussions of hope tend to take place within rather than between disciplines. Second, hope is often taken to be an undifferentiated experience. In order to address the first problem, the article takes an interdisciplinary approach, (...) drawing on research from the fields of philosophy, anthropology, psychology, theology and politics. In order to address the second problem, the article proposes that hope be regarded as a human universal that can be experienced in different modes. A variety of theories and models of hope are discussed, including those offered by Marcel, Dauenhauer, Bloch, Moltmann, Bovens, Pettit, Snyder, Rorty and Gutiérrez. While many of these claim to have identified the characteristics of hope, it is argued that each captures something about a particular mode of hoping. The theories and models are integrated into a framework comprising five modes of hoping: patient, critical, estimative, resolute and utopian. Examining hope in this way, as a human universal that can be experienced in different modes, may help us see the varying conceptions that presently exist within the human sciences not as conflicting, nor even as competing, but rather as complementary. (shrink)
Western scholarly literature suggests that (1) weaning is initiated by mothers; (2) weaning takes place within a few days once mothers decide to stop nursing; (3) mothers employ specific techniques to terminate nursing; (4) semi-solid foods (gruels and mashed foods) are essential when weaning; (5) weaning is traumatic for children (it leads to temper tantrums, aggression, etc.); (6) developmental stages in relationships with mothers and others can be demarcated by weaning; and (7) weaning is a process that involves mothers and (...) children exclusively, with weaned children moving from close relationships with their mothers to strengthened relationships with other children. In many respects, these presumptions are consistent with contemporary Euroamerican practices: nursing stops early (usually before six months) relative to other cultures and takes place over a few days or weeks with the help of bottles and baby foods. Because bottles are available, weaning seldom appears traumatic, but it is seen as an important step in the establishment of independence between mothers and infants. By contrast, weaning from the bottle is often perceived as traumatic. Despite considerable academic and popular interest, weaning has seldom been studied systematically, especially in small-scale cultures. Qualitative and quantitative data from a study of Bofi foragers in Central Africa are used here to evaluate the cross-cultural applicability of the assumptions summarized above. (shrink)
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to report on empirical work conducted to open up algorithmic interpretability and transparency. In recent years, significant concerns have arisen regarding the increasing pervasiveness of algorithms and the impact of automated decision-making in our lives. Particularly problematic is the lack of transparency surrounding the development of these algorithmic systems and their use. It is often suggested that to make algorithms more fair, they should be made more transparent, but exactly how this can be (...) achieved remains unclear. Design/methodology/approach An empirical study was conducted to begin unpacking issues around algorithmic interpretability and transparency. The study involved discussion-based experiments centred around a limited resource allocation scenario which required participants to select their most and least preferred algorithms in a particular context. In addition to collecting quantitative data about preferences, qualitative data captured participants’ expressed reasoning behind their selections. Findings Even when provided with the same information about the scenario, participants made different algorithm preference selections and rationalised their selections differently. The study results revealed diversity in participant responses but consistency in the emphasis they placed on normative concerns and the importance of context when accounting for their selections. The issues raised by participants as important to their selections resonate closely with values that have come to the fore in current debates over algorithm prevalence. Originality/value This work developed a novel empirical approach that demonstrates the value in pursuing algorithmic interpretability and transparency while also highlighting the complexities surrounding their accomplishment. (shrink)