Samir Amin depicts a world in which NATO has taken over the role of the United Nations, in which US hegemony is more or less complete, in which millions are condemned to die in order to preserve the social order of the US, Europe and Japan. Amin's analyses of the Gulf War, the wars in former Yugoslavia and the war in Central Asia reveal the scope of US strategic aims. He argues that the political and military dimension of (...) US dominance is as significant as US economic preponderance in determining the future of capitalist development. (shrink)
In the West, "the Left," understood as a loose conglomeration of interests centered around the goal of a fairer and more equal society, still struggles to make its voice heard and its influence felt, even amid an overwhelming global recession. In _Arts of the Political: New Openings for the Left_, Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift argue that only by broadening the domain of what is considered political and what can be made into politics will the Left be able to (...) respond forcefully to injustice and inequality. In particular, the Left requires a more imaginative and experimental approach to the politics of creating a better society. The authors propose three political arts that they consider crucial to transforming the Left: boosting invention, leveraging organization, and mobilizing affect. They maintain that successful Left political movements tend to surpass traditional notions of politics and open up political agency to these kinds of considerations. In other words, rather than providing another blueprint for the future, Amin and Thrift concentrate their attention on a more modest examination of the conduct of politics itself and the ways that it can be made more effective. (shrink)
Prompted by the speed with which, in certain historical moments, the hard-won achievements of anti-racism can be comprehensively undone, this article reflects on the mechanisms that keep racial coding and judgement close to the surface, ready to spring into action. It reads the intensity of race in a given present in terms of the play between vernacular legacies of race-coded reception of visible difference and the conjunctural mobilizations of race by biopolitical regimes — state-regulated systems of governing populations — to (...) maintain collective order. The article explains the contemporary trend in the West towards the ‘racialization of everything’ as the product of mutually reinforcing mischief between vernacular and biopolitical racism. It closes with a discussion of the implications of such conjunctural tightness, one which questions the effectiveness of humanist arguments that have come to the fore in recent years focusing on practices of recognition and reconciliation. (shrink)
Published data and studies on research misconduct, which focuses on researchers in Malaysia, is still lacking, therefore, we decided that this was an area for investigation. This study provides qualitative results for the examined issues through series of in-depth interviews with 21 researchers and lecturers in various universities in Malaysia. The aims of this study were to investigate the researchers’ opinions and perceptions regarding what they considered to be research misconduct, their experience with such misconduct, and the factors that contribute (...) to research misconduct. Our findings suggest that the most common research misconducts that are currently being witnessed in Malaysian universities are plagiarism and authorship disputes, however, researchers seldom report incidents of research misconduct because it takes too much time, effort and work to report them, and some are just afraid of repercussions when they do report it. This suggests possible loopholes in the monitoring system, which may allow some researchers to bypass it and engage in misconduct. This study also highlights the structural and individual factors as the most influential factors when it comes to research misconduct besides organizational, situational and cultural factors. Finally, this study highlights the concerns of all participants regarding the ‘publish or perish’ pressure that they believe would lead to a hostile working environment, thus enhancing research misconduct, as researchers tend to think about their own performance rather than that of whole team or faculty. Consequently this weakens the interpersonal relationships among researchers, which may compromise the teaching and supervision of junior researchers and research students. (shrink)
Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis represents the first fusion of genomics and assisted reproduction and the first reproductive technology that allows prospective parents to screen and select the genetic characteristics of their potential offspring. However, for some, the idea that we can intervene in the mechanisms of human existence at such a fundamental level can be, at a minimum, worrying and, at most, repugnant. Religious doctrines particularly are likely to collide with the rapidly advancing capability for science to make such interventions. This (...) paper focuses on opinions and arguments of selected religious scholars regarding ethical issues pertaining to PGD. In-depth interviews were conducted with religious scholars from three different religious organizations in the Klang Valley, Malaysia. Findings showed that Christian scholars are very sceptical of the long-term use of PGD because of its possible effect on the value of humanity and the parent-children relationship. This differs from Islamic scholars, who view PGD as God-given knowledge in medical science to further help humans understand medical genetics. For Buddhist scholars, PGD is considered to be new medical technology that can be used to save lives, avoid suffering, and bring happiness to those who need it. Our results suggest that it is important to include the opinions and views of religious scholars when it comes to new medical technologies such as PGD, as their opinions will have a significant impact on people from various faiths, particularly in a multi-religious country like Malaysia where society places high value on marital relationships and on the traditional concepts of family. (shrink)
This article explores the meaning and relevance of the ‘Idea of Europe’ in the context of a multicultural and multi-ethnic continent that increasingly draws on the presence and practices of people from non-European backgrounds. The Idea of Europe, even in its contemporary use, remains an ideal based on a Christian-Enlightenment-Romantic heritage, mobilized by supporters of European integration as the bridge between diverse European national cultures. In a Europe of extraordinary cultural interchange and immigration from all corners of the world, the (...) classical Idea of Europe is strikingly exclusionary and backward looking – a poor motif for the future. The article tries to develop an alternative Idea of Europe, one based on a particular politics of the public domain and a particular ethos of belonging in Europe seen as a migrant space, rather than one based on the enduring cultural values of a body of people called Europeans. It outlines a commons, protected by appropriate EU-level rights, that can both support and bind cultural pluralism and difference, and it proposes democratic vitalism as Europe’s core political project, an idea of becoming European, read as the process of never-settled cultural invention resulting from the vibrant clashes of an equal and empowered multiple public. No myth of origin, no myth of destination, only the commitment to a plural demos. (shrink)
'Communities of practice', like 'social capital' and 'networks', is an idea that has been widely adopted in the social sciences, particularly in discussion of innovation and creativity. This book evaluates the concept and its uses, and will be an essential guide for students and researchers.
The purpose of this study is to encourage and highlight discussion on how to improve the teaching of research ethics in institutions of higher education in Malaysia. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with 21 academics in a research-intensive university in Malaysia, interviewees agreed on the importance of emphasizing the subject of research ethics among students, as well as academics or researchers. This study reveals that participants felt that there is an urgent need to improve the current awareness and knowledge of issues (...) related to misconduct in research among students and academics. The results of this study indicate a need for better teaching on the subject of research ethics in order to prevent misconduct in research. Finally, it concludes with suggestions that there should be a clear definition of research misconduct, to include consequences when engaging in misconduct; a separate research ethics syllabus for pure and social sciences should be conducted; research ethics should be implemented as a core subject, and there should be an early intervention and continuous learning of research ethics, with an emphasis on ethics training. (shrink)
Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis became well known in Malaysia after the birth of the first Malaysian ‘designer baby’, Yau Tak in 2004. Two years later, the Malaysian Medical Council implemented the first and only regulation on the use of Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis in this country. The birth of Yau Tak triggered a public outcry because PGD was used for non-medical sex selection thus, raising concerns about PGD and its implications for the society. This study aims to explore participants’ perceptions of the (...) future implications of PGD for the Malaysian society. We conducted in-depth interviews with 21 participants over a period of one year, using a semi-structured questionnaire. Findings reveal that responses varied substantially among the participants; there was a broad acceptance as well as rejection of PGD. Contentious ethical, legal and social issues of PGD were raised during the discussions, including intolerance to and discrimination against people with genetic disabilities; societal pressure and the ‘slippery slope’ of PGD were raised during the discussions. This study also highlights participants’ legal standpoint, and major issues regarding PGD in relation to the accuracy of diagnosis. At the social policy level, considerations are given to access as well as the impact of this technology on families, women and physicians. Given these different perceptions of the use of PGD, and its implications and conflicts, policies and regulations of the use of PGD have to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis while taking into consideration of the risk–benefit balance, since its application will impact the lives of so many people in the society. (shrink)
While pre-implantation genetic diagnosis is available and legal in Malaysia, there is an ongoing controversy debate about its use. There are few studies available on individuals’ attitudes toward PGD, particularly among those who have a genetic disease, or whose children have a genetic disease. To the best of our knowledge, this is, in fact, the first study of its kind in Malaysia. We conducted in-depth interviews, using semi-structured questionnaires, with seven selected potential PGD users regarding their knowledge, attitudes and decisions (...) relating to the use PGD. The criteria for selecting potential PGD users were that they or their children had a genetic disease, and they desired to have another child who would be free of genetic disease. All participants had heard of PGD and five of them were considering its use. The participants’ attitudes toward PGD were based on several different considerations that were influenced by various factors. These included: the benefit-risk balance of PGD, personal experiences of having a genetic disease, religious beliefs, personal values and cost. The study’s findings suggest that the selected Malaysian participants, as potential PGD users, were supportive but cautious regarding the use of PGD for medical purposes, particularly in relation to others whose experiences were similar. More broadly, the paper highlights the link between the participants’ personal experiences and their beliefs regarding the appropriateness, for others, of individual decision-making on PGD, which has not been revealed by previous studies. (shrink)
This study tested whether human body orientation can influence the behavior of bull sharks by examining sharks’ approach distances from a person positioned vertically or horizontally in the water. Results showed that bull sharks, Carcharhinus leucas, kept a significantly greater distance when the test subject was standing in chest-deep water with his head above water versus lying on the ocean floor. Furthermore, larger bull sharks in the immediate area withdrew when the subject entered the water.
Dengue fever is a debilitating and infectious disease that could be life-threatening. It is caused by the dengue virus which affects millions of people in the tropical area. Currently, there is no cure for the disease as there is no vaccine available. Thus, prevention of the vector population using conventional methods is by far the main strategy but has been found ineffective. A genetically modified mosquito is among the favoured alternatives to curb dengue fever in Malaysia. Past studies have shown (...) that development and diffusion of gene technology products depends heavily upon public acceptance. The purpose of this study is to identify the relevant factors influencing stakeholders’ attitudes toward the GM Aedes mosquito and to analyse the relationships between all the factors using the structural equation model. A survey was carried out on 509 respondents from various stakeholder groups in the Klang Valley region of Malaysia. Results of the survey have confirmed that public perception towards complex issues such as gene technology should be seen as a multi-faceted process. The perceived benefit-perceived risk balance is very important in determining the most predominant predictor of attitudes toward a GM mosquito. In this study the stakeholders perceived the benefit of the GM mosquito as outweighing its risk, translating perceived benefit as the most important direct predictor of attitudes toward the GM mosquito. Trust in key players has a direct influence on attitudes toward the GM mosquito while moral concern exhibited an indirect influence through perceived benefits. Other factors such as attitudes toward technology and nature were also indirect predictors of attitudes toward the GM mosquito while religiosity and engagement did not exhibited any significant roles. The research findings serve as a useful database to understand public acceptance and the social construct of public attitudes towards the GM mosquito to combat dengue. (shrink)
Thinking About Almost Everything brings together original thinking on a staggering range of topics across the sciences, arts and humanities, grouped into nine imaginative and sometimes startling thematic categories. Entries on terror, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and climate change are juxtaposed in the 'settlement' section, while 'Presences' brings together plant genetics, race, humans and animals, music theology, and the Willmore Conjecture. The short essays are written in a lively and accessible style, and the book is illustrated with original and (...) challenging images. Thinking About Almost Everything shows how even the most intricate and complex knowledge can enliven public curiosity and spark new thinking on issues either known or yet to be discovered. (shrink)
The main aim of this study was to examine whether the economic status determined pro-ecological attitudes and behaviour. The survey involved 207 adults with different economic status. Both economic status in childhood and the present were taken into consideration. Analysis of the results indicated that people raised in families with low and medium material status have not only more eco-friendly attitudes but also have a greater tendency towards various ‘green’ behaviours. The differences among people with different current material status concerning (...) their eco-friendly attitudes and behaviours are not so obvious. The most wealthy seem to have a less pro-ecological attitude, but on the other hand they are ready to put more money towards ecologically-friendly household expenses. (shrink)