The Emperor of the Chinese Qing dynasty had a special guard squad that could execute any order. These guards were not banal killers. First, they took exams in painting, poetry, music, calligraphy, history, science and mathematics, medicine, and statecraft. Then there came fighting with swords, horse riding, archery, and martial arts. Those who passed the tests …
Structuration Theory / Modernity and Self-Identity
The thrust of Anthony Giddens' Structuration Theory is the notion of the duality of social structure. In contrast to functional and structural accounts, Giddens’ structuration theory posits that actors and society are mutually constituted. The same duality principle is manifested also in Modernity and Self-Identity, where the author reveals the dialectic relationship between self-identity and the …
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Prison Notebooks: Is Anti-Systemic Global Culture Possible?
One of the main topics in Antonio Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks is how change can be attained. Based within a specific historical and social context, Gramsci makes an important distinction between a war of maneuver and a war of position when analyzing the causes of the failure of the proletarian revolution in Italy. While the former …
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The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life
Ervin Goffman’s famous dramaturgical analogy to reflect social reality does strike a chord. This is a reality produced by performers, audience, and outsiders within a given establishment. The impression management framework is illuminating in apprehending political reality also. As Goffman points out: “Power of any kind must be clothed in effective means of displaying it, …
The Social Construction of Reality
The thread of Peter Berger and Thomas Luckman’s seminal book is that reality is socially constructed via the process of institutionalization. The authors develop an elaborate and coherent framework that addresses all main elements of any robust social theory: ontology, agents, structures, power, order, processes of reproduction, practices, change, and transformative mechanisms. The book reveals …
Prayer of the Refugee
On false enemies
5 Ways Out of Depression
Depression: what to do?
Xin Chao, Hanoi (day 3)
Be a traveller, not a tourist.
The Purpose Political Science and Martial Arts Share (part 2)
In one of the posts I touched upon the commonality between seemingly divergent fields of political science and martial arts. I re-iterate the idea in the current post. What is common between political (social) science(s) and martial arts? In a fascinating academic article (these two adjectivies don't always go together) "Security and Emancipation" Ken Booth …
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Incredible India: from Munnar to Kannur
Shirodhara, JJ family, on the road again.