André Köbben ~ Over de rol van ijdelheid in de wetenschap

Verschijnt 10 oktober 2017: André Köbben ~ Over de rol van ijdelheid in de wetenschap. Rozenberg Publishers. ISBN 978 90 361 493 7 – 96 pagina’s – Euro 12,50 – Omslag & DTP BuroBouws [http://burobouws.nl/]

‘IJdelheid’, wat is mijn definitie van dat begrip? In de Van Dale wordt ijdelheid omschreven als ‘een te hoge dunk van de eigen
voortreffelijkheid’ en als ‘de zucht om door anderen bewonderd en geprezen te worden’. Beide omschrijvingen zijn voor mijn doel bruikbaar. Een zekere mate van ijdelheid in deze betekenis is veel beoefenaars van de wetenschap eigen, met name als ze de positie van hoogleraar bereikt hebben. Mij gaat het hier echter om gevallen waarbij ijdelheid zich in excessieve vorm voordoet. In die zin dat deze ook nog gepaard gaat met de ‘ik heb altijd gelijk’ gedachte, en vaak ook met ‘ik weet toch wel hoe het zit, ook zonder het onderzocht te hebben’.

Ik heb in ruime mate gegevens verzameld over tien zulke personen. In zeven van mijn casussen ben ik goeddeels tot mijn oordeel over hen gekomen op grond van eigen onderzoek en eigen ervaringen. In twee gevallen heb ik mede gebruik gemaakt van het zorgvuldige werk van een onderzoekscommissie. In drie gevallen heb ik mijn oordeel voornamelijk gebaseerd op doorwrochte studies van anderen. Ik heb niet de pretentie dat het hier gaat om zoiets als een representatieve steekproef. Wel meen ik een scala van gevallen te presenteren die de meeste variaties op dit gebied omvat. Zo heb ik gezocht naar voorbeelden uit onderscheiden gebieden van wetenschap. In zes gevallen zijn het beoefenaars van de sociale wetenschappen (in de ruime zin van het woord), in vier gevallen natuurwetenschappers (in de ruime zin van het woord). In vijf casussen betreft het actuele affaires, in de vijf overige om zaken die zich in het (nabije) verleden hebben voorgedaan. Die te bespreken is van belang, al is het maar om aan te tonen dat misstanden in de wetenschap niet enkel van vandaag of gisteren zijn. In alle tien gevallen betreft het mannen. Geen wonder. Immers in het nabije verleden waren bijna alle beoefenaars van de wetenschap van het mannelijk geslacht, en ook nu nog geldt dat voor een ruime meerderheid. Maar de emancipatie schrijdt met rasse schreden voort! Alweer enkele jaren geleden kreeg voor het eerst een vrouwelijke beoefenaar van de wetenschap een officiële berisping wegens wangedrag in de wetenschap. Ik noem
hier geen namen.

Excessieve ijdelheid in de wetenschap, in de hier geformuleerde betekenis van dat woord, heeft vaak schadelijke gevolgen en wordt daarom in dit geschrift bestreden. Achtereenvolgens bespreek ik leven en werk van de volgende personen: de fysisch geograaf Jan P. Bakker; de antropoloog Claude Lévi-Strauss; de socioloog Norbert Elias; de hersenonderzoeker Dick Swaab; de chemicus Henk Buck; de nanotechnoloog Jan Hendrik Schön: de sociaal psycholoog Diederik
Stapel; de antropoloog Mart Bax; de psycholoog Cyril Burt; de historicus Bernard Berenson.
De vraag die als eerste te beantwoorden staat is of ijdelheid in excessieve-mate bij onderzoekers in alle gevallen nadelig is voor de wetenschap. Read more

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Will Brexit Destroy The UK’s Economy? An Interview With Malcolm Sawyer

Malcolm Sawyer ~ Emeritus Professor of Economics. Leeds University Business School

More than a year ago, British voters sent waves of shock throughout Europe and the world economy with their decision to withdraw from the European Union (EU). However, the impact of Brexit on the UK’s economy and its implications for the future of the EU remain contested territory, especially since the conservative government of Theresa May has shown astonishing ineptness so far in terms of the conditions of the divorce. In this interview, well-known British economist Malcolm Sawyer of the University of Leeds provides an insightful analysis on the major issues and questions associated with Brexit, shedding light on what the future may hold for both the UK and the EU.

C.J. Polychroniou and Marcus Rolle: Britain’s decision last year to leave the European Union represents a shattering political development, the effects of which remain incalculable both for the future of the United Kingdom and for the EU itself. But before we explore the political economy of Brexit, let’s start by asking you to explain to us what you believe were the key factors that prompted British voters to seek a divorce from the European Union.

Malcolm Sawyer: The result of the referendum vote of June 2016 was close — 52 percent [voted] “leave EU” and 48 percent [voted] to remain. In any referendum (and indeed other elections), it is difficult [if not] impossible to discern what people thought they were voting for or against. In this referendum, whilst the consequences of a “remain” majority could be perceived as continuation with present arrangements, those of a “leave” majority were obscure — and indeed, the UK government is now grappling with working out what the consequences will be.

For those who voted for the UK to leave, my impressions are that the key factors include:
– The appeal of “take back control,” particularly with regard to immigration and the free movement of labor within the EU. Whilst there appear to be net economic benefits for the UK from immigration, there will be winners and losers, and people’s perceptions may often be of little or no benefits: added to which, hostility towards foreigners.
– The remoteness of the EU, often labelled in terms of “Brussels” with connotations that decisions of the EU were being imposed on the UK without input from the UK. This interacted with the “take back control” and could be stoked up by stories (often false) of decisions made by the EU.
– Disbelief that the UK’s membership of the EU brought economic benefits. The UK’s contribution to the EU budget (a net cost of around ½ percent of GDP) was apparent (though much overstated by the leave campaign), and the benefits for enhanced trade and cooperation much more nebulous. The remain campaign would cite 3 million jobs dependent on trade with EU (again overstated), but that would mean 27 million jobs were not dependent on such trade.

A breakdown of the vote revealed two fractures: a sharp division between young and old, and a huge gap between London and the North. What does the political economy have to do with these two fractures, and what sort of economic policies can be implemented in the future that can heal a divided nation?

The voting patterns with regard to remain/leave can be broken down along a number of lines — a tendency for large cities to vote remain (not just London), two countries voted to remain (Scotland, Northern Ireland) and two to leave (England, Wales). Having a university education tended to be associated with voting “remain,” and the old were much more likely than the young to vote leave (there being overlap between the two in that participation in higher education was much lower in the 1950s and 1960s than in the past two decades).

There appears to be association between socially conservative attitudes and voting leave. Areas of industrial decline appeared more likely to vote leave, [as did] areas where immigration had increased substantially in the past decade (noting that migration from other EU countries rose sharply after 2004 with the entry of the new member states in that year).

There is, in my view, a division between remain voters and leave voters running along the lines of “what matters to them.” A potent slogan of the leave campaign was “taking back control” — applied to immigration (as the free movement of labor places few constraints on migration within the EU), and to the role of [the] European Court of Justice, and more generally, to adoption of laws (though the impact of EU legislation on UK legislation was often grossly overstated by leave campaign), and to some degree, over regulations associated with the single market, and over policies, such as the common fishery policy.

The remain campaign focused on the adverse economic consequences of the UK leaving the EU, and failed to address the issues raised by the leave campaign in connection with “take back control.” Although large numbers were bandied about for the economic losses associated with leave, in proportional terms, the losses were relatively small (less than 5 percent of GDP over a 15-year period, and then as compared with what would have otherwise occurred). If a person’s concern is over perception of a loss of control, and striving to take “back control,” then some economic loss may well appear inconsequential. But also, the leave campaign’s slogan to the effect that £350 million a week (equivalent to around 1 percent of UK GDP) was the cost to the UK of EU’s membership, money which could be spent on the NHS, served as an antidote to the remain campaign’s claims over economic damage from leaving the EU. The £350 million per week claim was much derided as inaccurate, representing the gross payments by UK to the EU and ignoring the money flowing back to the UK for the agricultural support policy, regional and structural funds, and research moneys to universities.
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Kernpunten van de derde, herziene druk van Generaties van Geluksvogels en Pechvogels

Generaties en hun kansen en bedreigingen

Inhoud
1. Twee abstractieniveaus omtrent het patroon van generaties.
2. Generatie Z, of de ICT-Generatie.
3. De Robotgeneratie.
4. Generatiepatroon en maatschappelijk debat

5. Tenslotte
– Dit bonushoofdstuk voorziet het boek van de derde, herziene editie

Twee abstractieniveaus omtrent het patroon van generaties.
Het woord ‘generatie’ komen wij vrijwel dagelijks tegen. Het heeft betrekking op ‘categorieën van leeftijdsgenoten’. Generaties van vroeger, generaties van tegenwoordig, generaties in de toekomst. Soms gaat het om generaties in de samenleving als geheel, soms om onderdelen van de samenleving. Generaties in een politieke partij, generaties in een stad, generaties in een familie.
In deze gevallen gaat het om een of meer generaties op een hoog abstractieniveau. Daarnaast komen wij de term tegen op een laag abstractieniveau. Denk aan generaties in statistische overzichten van sets van cohorten in het onderwijs, op de arbeidsmarkt, in het onderwijs.

Meestal vertonen generaties die op een laag abstractieniveau worden aangetroffen heel wat onvoorspelbaarheden. Zij vertonen een sterke mate van ‘systeemruis’. De Chaostheorie bepleit om in een dergelijk geval gebruik te maken van idealisaties. Welke aanpak vindt dan toepassing? ‘Een deel van de werkelijkheid wordt geïsoleerd, irrelevante aspecten worden terzijde gelaten, invloeden van buitenaf worden verwaarloosd. Zonder dergelijke idealisaties zijn de natuurwetenschappen onmogelijk’.[i] Ook de maatschappijwetenschappen zijn zonder dergelijke idealisaties onmogelijk.

Idealisaties liggen op een hoog niveau van abstractie. Overzichten van sets van cohorten liggen op een laag niveau van abstractie. Komen generaties op een laag niveau van abstractie ter sprake, dan kunnen nuanceringen in de omschrijving worden aangebracht. De grens tussen twee generaties kan in dit geval verschillen. Een generatie kan voorlopers vertonen. Kortom de beschrijving kan tal van nuances vertonen.

In Generaties van Pechvogels en Geluksvogels is deze tweedeling reeds aan te treffen. Zo staat in het boek ‘typologiegeneratie’ voor ‘generatie op een hoog abstractieniveau’.

[i] Henk Broer, Jan van de Craats en Ferdinant Verhulst. Chaostheorie, het einde van de voorspelbaarheid? Utrecht 1995. Read more

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Globalization, Revolution, And Democracy

This article* studies the issue of democratization of countries within globalization context, it points to the unreasonably high economic and social costs of a rapid transition to democracy as a result of revolutions or of similar large-scale events for the countries unprepared for it. The authors believe that in a number of cases the authoritarian regimes turn out to be more effective in economic and social terms in comparison with emerging democracies especially of the revolutionary type, which are often incapable to insure social order and may have a swing to authoritarianism. Effective authoritarian regimes can also be a suitable form of a transition to efficient and stable democracy. The article investigates various correlations between revolutionary events and possibilities of establishing democracy in a society on the basis of the historical and contemporary examples as well as the recent events in Egypt. The authors demonstrate that one should take into account a country’s degree of sociopolitical and cultural preparedness for democratic institutions. In case of favorable background, revolutions can proceed smoothly (‘velvet revolutions’) with efficient outcomes. On the contrary, democracy is established with much difficulty, throwbacks, return to totalitarianism, and with outbreaks of violence and military takeovers in the countries with high illiteracy rate and rural population share, with low female status, with widespread religious fundamental ideology, where a substantial part of the population hardly ever hears of democracy while the liberal intellectuals idealize this form, where the opposing parties are not willing to respect the rules of democratic game when defeated at elections.

Keywords: globalization, Near East, Egypt, democracy, revolution, reaction, extremists, counterrevolution, Islamists, authoritarianism, excessive expectations, military takeover, economic efficiency.

Sociopolitical destabilization may be produced by rather different causes. However, sociopolitical transformations may be considered as ones of the most powerful among them. This may look paradoxical, but attempts of transition to democratic forms of government may lead to a very substantial destabilization of a society in transition. The present article analyzes the relationships between revolution, democracy and the level of stability in respective sociopolitical systems.

There is a widespread opinion that globalization contributes to the spread of democracy. Besides, there is a conviction, which is more widespread among the politicians and ideologists than among the scholars that democracy contributes to a faster and/or more adequate economic growth. The following quotation passionately expresses this conviction: ‘For the past three decades, globalization, human rights, and democracy have been marching forward together, haltingly, not always and everywhere in step, but in a way that unmistakably shows they are interconnected. By encouraging globalization in less developed countries, we not only help to raise growth rates and incomes, promote higher standards, and feed, clothe, and house the poor; we also spread political and civil freedoms’ (Griswold 2006).

In this context, many supporters of democracy consider extremely disappointing that sometimes democracy does not work properly and the waves of democratization get weaker. Samuel Huntington (1993) called the period of a fast spread of democracy in the 1970s – early 1990s ‘the third wave of democratization’. On the threshold of the twenty-first century, many researchers noted that the number of democratic regimes ceased to grow and that it would be a dangerous intellectual temptation for the democrats to consider that the world is inevitably moving towards some final natural democratic state (see Diamond 1999, 2004, 2008). In this situation, the trend has strengthened which promotes democracy in all countries with non-democratic or partially democratic regimes. This trend, on the one hand, is based on the global geopolitical goals of the USA and the West (see, e.g., Brzezinski 1998), and on the other hand, relies upon an active support of a broad ideological and informal movement. And this justifies the efforts to support democracy and to encourage democratic opposition for the purpose of increasing chances of victory of democracy in case of the crisis of authoritarian regimes (Diamond 2000). The intensive efforts led to a number of interventions and color revolutions. Read more

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Reshaping Remembrance ~ Critical Essays On Afrikaans Places Of Memory

Albert Grundlingh & Siegfried Huigen (Eds.) – Reshaping Remembrance. Critical Essays on Afrikaans Places of Memory – Rozenberg Publishers 2011 – Savusa Series 3 – ISBN 978 90 3610 230 8 – Editing: Sabine Plantevin.

In any society in the throes of transition, there is a particularly acute need to reflect upon aspects of the past that used to represent firm beacons enlighting the way ahead. This inevitably involves a broader re-appraisal of the processes which contributed to the formation of a specific historical memory in the first place.
Reshaping Remembrance includes a number of critical essays on dimensions of collective Afrikaans historical memory in South Africa. In the light of radical changes in the country, scholars from various disciplines reflect on the dynamics of historical consciousness symbolically present in various areas: the ‘volksmoeder’ image, historical events and monuments, language and music, rugby and architecture.
This work hopes to resound with a well-established intellectual tradition in Europe dealing with ‘places of memory’ or ‘lieux de mémoire’.

Contents
1. Siegfried Huigen & Albert Grundlingh – Koos Kombuis and Collective Memory
2. Elsabé Brink – The ‘Volksmoeder’ – A Figurine as Figurehead
3. Gerrit Olivier – The Location
4. Hein Willemse – A Coloured Expert’s Coloured
5. Kees van der Waal – Bantu: From Abantu to Ubuntu
6. Ena Jansen – Thandi, Katrina, Meisie, Maria, ou-Johanna, Christina, ou-Lina,Jane and Cecilia
7. Albert Grundlingh – Rugby
8. Marlene van Niekerk – The Eating Afrikaner: Notes for a Concise Typology
9. Lizette Grobler – The Windpump
10. Hans Fransen – Glorious Gables
11. Lou-Marié Kruger – Memories of Heroines: Bitter Cups and Sourdough
12. Lize van Robbroeck – The Voortrekker in Search of New Horizons
13. Christine Antonissen – English
14. Siegfried Huigen – Language Monuments
15. Rufus Gouws – The Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal
16. Luc Renders – And the Greatest is … N.P.van Wyk Louw
17. Albert Grundlingh – Why have a Ghost as a Leader? The ‘De la Rey’ Phenomenon and the Re-Invention of Memories, 2006-2007
18. Stephanus Muller – Boeremusiek
19. Stephanus Muller – Die Stem
20. Annie Klopper – ‘In ferocious anger I bit the hand that controls’: The Rise of Afrikaans Punk Rock Music

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Reshaping Remembrance ~ Koos Kombuis And Collective Memory: An Introduction

As the year 2006 gave way to 2007, a song and an accompanying music video about the Boer general Koos de la Rey caused quite a stir in South Africa. When this song was played in bars and at barbecues, young white Afrikaners would stand with their fists clenched against their chests and sing along: ’De la Rey, De la Rey…’ And tears would flow. According to news reports, the ‘De la Rey thing’ had made many of them ‘proud’  of their roots. Worried ANC politicians expressed concern because they saw this as the start of an ethnic revival that could disrupt South Africa. The phenomenon even made it to the world press.

One of the more balanced reactions to the De la Rey song is an article by the Afrikaans beat poet Koos Kombuis on Litnet, ‘Bok van Blerk en die bagasie van veertig jaar’ (Bok van Blerk and the baggage of forty years).[i] In this article Kombuis confesses his conflicting reactions to the song. Rationally, he rejects the song and the Boer War elements in the music video. He sees it as ‘a call to war, a sort of musical closing of the ranks’. Some months before Kombuis had distanced himself publicly from his Afrikaner identity in a Sunday newspaper, from the ‘baggage that has been forced on me by people who have now been trying to prescribe for forty years who and what an Afrikaner is. What an Afrikaner is supposed to believe in. Whom he should vote for, which shit clothes he should wear and how he should spend his public holidays’.[ii] This notwithstanding, Kombuis is unable to offer any resistance to the emotional appeal of the song: ‘Why, if I experienced my resignation from Afrikanerdom as such a gloriously liberating step, do I feel so inexplicably profoundly touched by the De la Rey song? It is embarrassing’.

In reply to Kombuis’s question ‘why’, it can be surmised that both the song and the video, with their images of the leadership, a concentration camp and Boer fighters, draw on the collective memory of white Afrikaners, on something they learned within the family and, especially for the older ones, at school and in church. Kombuis’s reaction already points in this direction when he says that when he hears the song, he longs to be back at Sunday school and ‘feels like rejoining the army on the spot and shooting the hell out of the Kakies and other K stuff’.[iii]

The role of collective memories was first investigated seriously by the French sociologist Maurice Halbwachs in his ground-breaking works Les cadres sociaux de la mémoire (The social frameworks of memory) and La mémoire collective (The collective memory). These publications from 1925 and 1950 were rediscovered in recent years by historians doing research on memory. According to Halbwachs, every one of us obviously has his own memories, but at the same time we also share group memories. Read more

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