Paper: Mustaches and Masculine Codes in Early Twentieth-Century America

Facial Hair comic
Image via Wikipedia

As a former user of a very young and immature mustache I was very enthralled to read this article,


The purpose of this article is to deepen our understanding of twentieth-century masculinity by considering the social function of facial hair. The management of facial hair has always been a medium of gendered body language, and as such has elicited a nearly continuous private and public conversation about manliness. Careful attention to this conversation, and to trends in facial hairstyles, illuminates a distinct and consistent pattern of thought about masculinity in early twentieth-century America. The preeminent form of facial hair—mustaches—was used to distinguish between two elemental masculine types: sociable and autonomous. A man was neither wholly one nor the other, but the presence and size of a mustache–or its absence—served to move a man one way or another along the continuum that stretched from one extreme to the other. According to the twentieth-century gender code, a clean-shaven man’s virtue was his commitment to his male peers and to local, national or corporate institutions. The mustached man, by contrast, was much more his own man: a patriarch, authority figure or free agent who was able to play by his own rules. Men and women alike read these signals in their evaluation of men.

Oldstone-Moore, Christopher (Fall, 2011). Mustaches and Masculine Codes in Early Twentieth-Century America. Journal of Social History. Volume 45, Number 1.  Read More

Article: Global Migration, 1846–1940 by Prof. Adam McKeown

via Flickr”]Port

Rudolph Vecoli introduced his edited volume A Century of European Migrations, 1830–1930 with the statement “[w]e need to move beyond the framework of the ‘Atlantic Migration’ . . . It [has] blinkered us to the global nature of [migration].”

And indeed, that is what Prof. Adam McKeown planned to demonstrate in the article “Global Migration, 1846–1940”.  The article is a great tool to understand the role that global interconnectedness, industrialization and increase in trade meant for the world. McKeown explains how was it that millions of migrants during the period of his study enabled for the population of America, Southeast Asia and Manchuria to increased more quickly than world population.

Read it:Global Migration 1846-1940. McKeown, Adam, Ph.D. Journal of World History, Volume 15, Number 2, June 2004, pp. 155-189 (Article)

Full Access HTML Version | Full Access PDF Version (421k)

Article: The Global Reserve Army of Labor and the New Imperialism

Loyalist Arms Factory
Image by Burns Library, Boston College via Flickr

I managed to read this article while having coffee today in a exquisite café in front of the Palace Museum in Weimar. It was very hard to try understanding the author’s ideas while he refuses to accept that the value of a product is the result of an objective theory of valuation done by the consumers and sellers in specific contexts. He gives for granted that labor force is the one deterministic condition behind production and trying to get his point seems quite difficult at points. Nonetheless, this is a great opportunity to understand the mainstream ideas of Karl Marx theories in regard to Globalization and what some of them call “Global Capitalism / New Imperialism”. Here’s the intro and then a link to the article via EbscoHost,

The article discusses the ways in which the growth of the global capitalist labor force has altered the imperialistic nature of global capitalism, as represented by powerful multinational corporations, by negatively affecting wages in both developing and wealthy countries. The authors rely heavily on philosopher Karl Marx’s theories on the industrial reserve army and capital accumulation, which posit that wealth accumulation will invariably lead to increased suffering for the working masses. They go on to explain the exploitative nature of global labor arbitrage, which essentially means a corporation’s benefiting from low wages in developing countries. The process of arbitrage is related to the development of massive global supply chains.
Read more: The Global Reserve Army of Labor and the New Imperialism. (AN 66933797) Academic Search Complete. FOSTER, JOHN BELLAMY; McCHESNEY, ROBERT W.; JONNA, R. JAMILMonthly Review: An Independent Socialist Magazine; 11/01/2011

Paper: Eugene Kulischer, Joseph Schechtman and the Historiography of European Forced Migrations

Map of Jewish Migrations

Yesterday I had the honor of attending a lecture organized by the Centre for Area Studies titled “Migration and Transnational History” with Prof. Dirk Hoerder as lecturer.

Prof. Hoerder is the author of one of my favorite books: Cultures in Contact: World Migrations in the Second Millennium (Comparative and International Working-Class History). The book is an encyclopedic historical treaty that reviews the story Global Migrations in the last 1,000 years.

Today’s paper is related to two other great specialists in Migrations: Eugene Kulischer and Joseph Schechtman whose works are among the most relevant for the study of Migrations and Globalization.

About the Article:

This article deals with two prominent figures in the historiography of twentieth-century European forced migrations: Eugene Kulischer and Joseph Schechtman. Their studies, although published between 1946 and 1962, are still among the standard works on the subject and are as yet unsurpassed in their scope and breadth of outlook, despite the flurry of new publications on the subject after the opening of East Central European archives after 1989. In this article I strive to explain how and why they were able to accomplish such a scholarly feat, paying special attention to their biographies which I have tried to reconstruct, using, for the first time, not only their own writings but also personal testimonies from their students and disparate archival sources located in the United States and Israel. I also discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their works by comparing them with more recent works on the same subject. This is, to my knowledge, the first attempt to reconstruct on the basis of archival evidence the lives and works of the two most important historians of a phenomenon whose impact on the overall history of Europe (and especially of its East Central part) is now generally recognized.

Continue reading: Eugene Kulischer, Joseph Schechtman and the Historiography of European Forced Migrations from Journal of Contemporary History recent issues by Ferrara, A.

Paper on “Craftying analytical tools to study institutional change”

Today I did a presentation on the methodological plan for a study in the Internationalization of Leipzig’s Gallery of Contemporary Art.  I received very important critics that helped me correct the way of my research.  The critics were directed at focusing on the institutional evolution of the Gallery’s agenda (to understand what was behind of the internationalization process we had identified in our preliminary research). Indeed, crafting a study is not an easy thing and today I read that UDADISI had re-posted a great article on something related to the issue I’ll be dealing with in the next couple weeks.  So it was worth republishing. 😉 Here’s the article by Ostrom and Basurto,
These are some ideas on the evolution of institutions from the [very interesting!] paper:
What are rules:

[S]hared understandings by actors about enforced prescriptions concerning what actions (or outcomes) are required, prohibited, or permitted.

[Rules] are linguistic statements containing prescriptions similar to norms, but rules carry an additional, assigned sanction if forbidden actions are taken and observed by a monitor (Commons, 1924).

What are norms:

Norms are prescriptions about actions or outcomes that are not focused primarily on short-term material payoffs to self. A participant who holds a truth- telling norm gains an internal reward (that can be modeled as an additional value added to their utility function) for telling the truth even when material payoffs would be greater when telling a lie (Crawford and Ostrom, 2005).

Some lessons from institutional analysis:

Some of the lessons coming out of our institutional analyses in Nepal and elsewhere show that resource users who have relative autonomy to design their own rules for governing and managing common-pool resources frequently achieve better economic (as well as more equitable) outcomes than when experts do this for them.

How do rules originate on farmer irrigation systems

Farmers in old and established systems tell researchers that they do not know much about the origin of the rules they use. In Bali, for example, rules are encoded in a sacred religious system and are monitored and enforced by priests (Lansing, 1991, 2006).

What are some of the processes of rule change?

[T]he evolution of a rule system is not synonymous with progress. Certainly, evolutionary processes do not entail a priori judgments on the outcome. Evolutionary processes do involve, however, the generation of new alternatives, selection among new and old combinations of structural attributes, and retention of those combinations of attributes that are successful in a particular environment. In evolving biological systems, genotypic structures are changed through blind variation or directed variation (such as in the case of the domestication of many species of plants and animals). In evolving human-based rule systems, rule configurations within an action situation can change as a result of many self-conscious or unconscious mechanisms, including trial-and-error efforts, especially in collective-action processes. In some instances, the capacity of the biophysical resource system to buffer abuse from trial-and- error of different rule systems seems to play a necessary but not sufficient role in the emergence of successful self-governed rule systems (Basurto, 2008; Basurto and Coleman, 2010). Mechanisms for change in rule configurations can be roughly divided into relatively self-conscious and unconscious processes of change. Among examples of self-conscious processes that are frequently mentioned in the literature are those driven by imitation (Richerson and Boyd, 2005). Imitation of rules used by others can lead to rule evolution over time, especially if the farmers from multiple irrigation systems in a region regularly interact in a local market or other regular meeting place.

Imitation of entire rule systems that are thought of as ‘successful’ can also take place at the constitutional-choice level, such as the case of the adoption of the US National Parks’ law system by the Costa Rican nascent national park system. Other self- conscious processes of change in rule systems include some cases of external development interventions, such as when external aid support is conditioned to changes in local institutions based on foreign views of fairness, productivity, democracy, or development itself.

Competitive processes can also lead some users to self-consciously favor some institutional arrangements over others. Similarly, conflict over the interpretation of rules is also a process that frequently leads to self-conscious change.

Most self-conscious processes of change are based on the ability of humans to learn (Henry, 2009), such as when members of a rural fishing community organize to modify rules to control levels of exploitation based on past experiences (Basurto, 2005).

Unconscious processes of change include forgetting, like when there is a very large number of rules and no one ‘remembers’ them all without extensive research, or when laws are never practiced. The same phenomena are observed when certain taboos disappear through language loss, cognitive dissonance, technological change, or non-enforcement. These mechanisms can slowly erode rule systems, which then wither away and eventually can be replaced by new practices and norms of behavior (Kofinas, 2005).

Our dependence on language to communicate and the inherent ambiguity of language can lead to a number of unconscious processes of rule change as well. Rules are composed of mere words and, as Vincent Ostrom (1997) has frequently pointed out, words are not always understood by everyone with the same meaning (see also 2008a, 2008b). A guard may not understand the rules the same way as users. A guard, for example, may interpret rules that place heavy costs on the guard in contrast to those rules that involve low costs. Babbling equilibrium problems are widespread, even among scholars studying rules and norms systems! And, it is a key problem for the social sciences (E. Ostrom, 2005: 179).

Dopfer et al. (2004) view an economic system as a population of rules, a structure of rules, and a process of rules, where the micro domain refers to the individual carriers of rules and the systems they organize, the macro consists of the population structure of systems of meso, which is where processes of rule change take place.

It is worth restating that it would be naıve to assume that any evolutionary process always leads to better outcomes. In biological systems, competition among populations of diverse species led to the weeding out of many individuals over time who were outcompeted for mates and food in a given environment.