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Bernard Debarbieux

Between the publication of Utopia and Leviathan, England lived through the reigns of the Tudor and then the Stuart dynasties. Historians see in the reign of the last Tudor, Elizabeth I (1558–1603) the first apogee of the English State and the emergence of an archetypal model of the modern state. This is just one way of qualifying this rise. To be precise, some other features characterize this period: the rapid growth in the British population; the first sign of the agricultural revolution and the first overseas forays; the victory against the Spanish Armada and the beginning of the British reign over the oceans, etc.

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Bernard Debarbieux

A “psychedelic nightmare” is how A. Terry Rambo (1997, p. 8), a Vietnam scholar, considers the job of the cartographer who has to represent the localization of the "hundreds of different cultural groups peppered in the landscape" of North Vietnam's heights. This cartographer chooses to represent "a multi-hued kaleidoscope of tiny dots and splotches" to account for the many entwined population. Even so, such a map only tells an imperfect story of the reality because heterogeneity prevails down to the scale of the villages' populations.

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Bernard Debarbieux

The works devoted to the “realms of memory” (Nora, [1984–92] 1996–98), conceived and written by a team coordinated by Pierre Nora, address all sorts of things, and in particular books, events and sites, through which a certain idea of France, the French Republic and nation, has been constructed.

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Bernard Debarbieux

The Marco Polo Festival second edition took place on 12 October 2010 in Chinatown and Little Italy in downtown Manhattan, New York. A stage had been set up at the crossroads of Mott and Grand Streets, so I was able to observe Chinese opera singers, a band playing Italian songs, local clubs representatives, a rather dramatic interpretation of the United States national anthem by an Australian singer, a dance of the dragon and many other things too. The event was a concentrate of more or less stereotypical emblems and symbols, referring to China and to Italy first, but also to the United States, to Italian-Americans and Chinese-Americans, all enveloped in this friendly atmosphere that typifies the many ongoing city street manifestations.

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Bernard Debarbieux

Nature, especially from one case study to another, is one of the common threads of this book. In truth, it is not nature as such, not even nature as a general category of knowledge that interests us here, but nature as a category of practice and action. In this sense, it is the forms of spatiality by which it is thought and acted upon that interest us and their status within various social imaginaries to which this category contributes. At this point, the question is now: what are the social collectives that emerge at the time of a globalized and post-national world and that become institutionalized by a reference to nature in one or another of the configurations under which we can grasp it?

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Chao-ju Chen

This chapter discusses Catharine A. MacKinnon’s theory of sex equality, its application as well as major strands of criticism. Beginning with a radical critique of liberal legalism, feminism and Marxism, MacKinnon conceived a hierarchy-centered theory of substantive equality, shifting the paradigm of equality thinking from questions of sameness and difference to the power structure of dominance and subordination. Drawing on feminist consciousness raising as method, her theory sees gender as an inequality and sexuality as the linchpin of gender inequality. It is also an engaged theory producing sex equality laws to address women’s sexual violations: sexual harassment as a legal injury and a form of sex discrimination; a harm-based civil-rights approach to pornography; an asymmetrical approach to the abolition of prostitution; and an inequality approach to rape as a gender-based crime. Against challenges from anti-essentialist and sex-positive critiques, MacKinnon’s theory embraces intersectionality as a method and pursues equality by resisting sexual oppression.

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Dinara R. Ziganshina

The Aral Sea basin and its riparian countries – Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – are faced with growing and competing water demands, decreasing availability and degradation of their water resources, exacerbated by the impacts of climate change. In addition to political will and technical knowledge, sound legal and institutional frameworks are among the essential tools in dealing with these challenges. The existence of treaties and regional institutions is a significant achievement, placing the Aral Sea basin ahead of most other transboundary basins of the world where neither treaties nor river basin organisations exist. But these treaties and institutions should be further strengthened to ensure the sustainable management of the resource and the peaceful change in its regulation when circumstances and needs demand.

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Jia Gao and Yuanyuan Su

Chapter 1 is the introductory chapter of this book, which deals with three basic questions concerning this study in three sections. The first section offers an overview of China’s current rural urbanisation, which is also called the construction of new socialist countryside. It is a continuation of the early urbanisation effort in post-Mao China, but it has been implemented while China is entering its post-industrial stage of development. The second section examines key theoretical issues concerning social mobilisation in China and reviewing what has been published in English on the topic. This literature review also clarifies how Chinese research publications and the research literature on related topics – from changing central–local government relations in China, a series of taxation reforms and land finance, to rural elections – are to be used in this book. This chapter also outlines the organisation of the book.