PhD Studentship at University of Aberswyth (Wales)

PhD studentship at Aberystwyth: Education, Indigenous Languages and Identity

This 3-year ESRC funded PhD studentship will examine the relationship between education, indigenous languages and identity among young people in two contrasting countries (one European, the other non-European).

The PhD candidate will be expected to undertake fieldwork in these two countries and there is funding to support this activity. The project will be supervised by Professor Rhys Jones (Geography and Earth Sciences) and Dr Elin Royles (International Politics) (both at Aberystwyth University). The studentship forms part of a larger ESRC project on civil society, which is examining the link between statutory and non-statutory education, indigenous languages and youth identity in Scotland and Wales.

As well as providing a broader comparative context for the project, the role of the studentship will be to assess whether there are any significant lessons that can be learnt from the international cases examined in the thesis for Wales and Scotland with regard to the potential role to be played by the statutory and non-statutory education sectors in shaping different kinds of civic and linguistic identity in Scotland and Wales.

Applicants must complete and submit a covering letter and CV; an Aberystwyth University PhD application form; a 1,000 word research proposal outlining: the research question(s) to be addressed; the case studies to be examined (countries, empirical themes to be addressed etc); the methods employed; the contribution that the PhD will make to the broader research project; academic references; academic transcripts (where applicable).

While the PhD studentship will be based at Aberystwyth University, the successful candidate will also be able to benefit from the input of the other members of the project team (Professor Lindsay Paterson and Dr Fiona O’Hanlon, both at Edinburgh University), as well as the research networks and broader support mechanisms provided by the ESRC-funded WISERD Civil Society Research Centre. For further information, click here.

Closing date: Friday 30th January 2016.

CFP (Un)Civil Society in Digital China

Call for Proposals
(Un)civil Society in Digital China

Special Issue for Publication in the International Journal of Communication

Editors
Min Jiang (Ph.D.), Associate Professor of Communication Studies, UNC Charlotte, USA
Ashley Esarey (Ph.D.), Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Alberta, Canada

Rationale
Civil society’s role in furthering democratization and the development of a public sphere has long attracted scholars whose work has traced the historical roots of civil society in China and celebrated its emergence offline and online. While decades of economic reforms have empowered myriad civil society organizations, volatile contention has arisen among social groups along ideological, class, ethnic, racial and regional fault lines. Uncivil exchanges, amplified by the Internet and social media, often work at cross purposes and fail to produce consensus or solutions to public problems. These disputes, and the underlying social/political/cultural schisms, threaten to undermine constructive citizen engagement and the promise of civil society in China. They also challenge the notion of a unified civil society standing in solidarity against a monolithic, authoritarian state.

Consider the following examples:
–   The Internet flame war between Han Han and Fang Zhouzi that delegitimized the notion of “public intellectual” in China
–   Left-Right debate amongst China’s intellectual communities that spill over into street brawls
–   Vigilantism and breaches of privacy (i.e. instances of “human flesh search engine” and the Guo Meimei Red Cross scandal)
–   Online conflicts between “haves” and “have-nots” amidst extreme inequality
–   Virtual contention between Han and ethnic minorities over the status of Tibet and Xinjiang
–   Racial discourse on mixed-race Chinese and immigrants
–   Clashes over Taiwan’s “sunflower movement” expressed on the Internet
–   Divergent online opinions about the “umbrella movement” in Hong Kong

This special issue invites contributors to unpack the multilayered, multidimensional reality and contradictions that define the Chinese Internet, focusing on the big-picture ramifications of online contention. With a population of nearly 650 million, Chinese Internet users are more diverse than the tech-savvy, liberal elites who first went online two decades ago. The groups active online today include politically conservative, nationalistic, apathetic, and even reactionary individuals. They also evince complicated attitudes towards the state, business and other demographic segments. The complex make-up of Chinese civil society and the nature of its self-representation thus challenge, on the one hand, an idealized notion of civil society that is independent from the private sphere, government and business, and on the other, the implicit assumption prevalent in Chinese Internet studies of a liberal subject demanding social justice, media freedom and political reform.

Questions for contributors:
–   What are the characteristics of Chinese civil society? What is its potential or limitations? Does the proliferation of the Internet in China necessarily empower civil society in China? Is the opposite possible?
–   Is civil society always civil? Can it be uncivil, fractious and even reactionary? How does the Chinese Internet amplify or mitigate (un)civil tendencies? To what extent is online public debate or collective action becoming more fragmentary, working at cross purposes, or resulting in “echo chamber” effects and polarization? Do nationalistic, jingoistic and even reactionary forces overwhelm and dominate “civil” discourse?
–   Are the “uncivil” tendencies of the Chinese Internet inevitable in a society composed of increasingly diverse groups? To what extent do commercial and state institutions influence uncivil tendencies online through intervention or even manipulation? What roles do powerful Internet businesses and elite personalities play?
–   Under what circumstances might incivility online prove advantageous for political or social change?
–   What evidence do we have for (un)civil society in China? Examples might include the formation of informal groups and formal organizations, discourses, and their intersection with collective action, social movements, and other social behavior.

Contributions to this special issue will map a spectrum of key actors, issues, and orientations of a contentious civil society that has been submerged under a larger body of research on China and established democracies that assume state-society confrontation and fail to explore intra-societal tensions. Collectively, the contributions promise to produce a theoretically-interesting and empirically rich body of work that expands and deepens Chinese Internet research dominated by work focused on such topics as Chinese Internet censorship and propaganda, online activism, civic associations, deliberation and online culture. Insights generated from this special issue will in turn inform and advance research on civil society by debating its essence and examining the conditions conducive or unfavorable to its growth, with implications going beyond China. Although contributions will emphasize what polarizes Chinese society and sometimes seem to tear it apart, we welcome contributions that analyze the prospects for rising above incivility, bridging sociopolitical schisms, and building consensus without compromising self-expression and personal security.

Affiliated Conference:
We encourage interested contributors to attend the 13th Chinese Internet Research Conference (CIRC) that includes as its theme “(un)civil society in digital China.” The conference will be held at the University of Alberta, Canada on May 27-28, 2015. The deadline for submitting paper abstracts (400 words) is February 15, 2015.

Proposed Schedule
Abstract Deadline Jul 1, 2015
Notice of Abstract Acceptance Aug 1, 2015
Full Paper Deadline Jan 1, 2016
Reviews Deadline Mar 1, 2016
Revisions Deadline May 1, 2016
Finalized Paper Jul 1, 2016

Paper Guidelines
–   Submitted papers will go through double-blind peer review.
–   The maximum word count is 9,000 words (including the abstract, keywords, images with captions, references, and appendices, if any).
–   Abstracts submitted for pre-screening should be less than 500 words.
–   Submitted full papers are not guaranteed acceptance.
–   Formatting of the special issue follows the general guidelines of the International Journal of Communication (IJoC).

ATYA Azerbaijan youth group looking for partners

Fakhrinur HUSEYNLI writes:

We have had a youth NGO in Azerbaijan since 2002 which is interested in joining international projects and activities. If you wish, we are ready to sign partnership agreements to organize joint projects in Azerbaijan or send our active young participants to your coming activities in 2014 under Erasmus+ and other foundation programs.

If there are any small participation fees for your programs, our participants are ready to pay that amount. They will be glad to be part of your coming academic programs, workcamps, summer camps, internship, volunteer and training activities.

Thanks for your cooperation in advance. We are looking forward to cooperating with you in 2014.

Further information about ATYA:
Azerbaijan Tafakkur Youth Association (ATYA) is a national NGO working towards building better civil society. The organization is located in Absheron region (between Baku and Sumgait cities). ATYA has been mainly active in disseminating information on Human Rights Education, Peace Promotion and Civil Society Building. We look forward to creating local-international partnerships with great pleasure for organize fruitful and interesting projects for the sake of peace building, youth empowerment and civil society development.

The main purpose of ATYA is enlightenment, especially youth, on the social, scientific-cultural, legal spheres, to development thinking and to strengthen their role in civil society building.

Main activities:

  • Art and cultural exchange, conflict solution, intercultural learning and peace building;
  • NGO/Civil society and community building/development;
  • Youth empowerment, capacity building, apprenticeship and business education;
  • Advocacy, active citizenship, youth exchange and voluntarism;
  • Human rights education and promotion;
  • Healthy life style (HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria);
  • Environment and biodiversity education.

For more information on Azerbaijan Tafakkur Youth Association, ATYA, see this video.

Those interested in potential collaborations should contact:
Fakhrinur HUSEYNLI
Director of Institute for Peace & Dialogue

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Strengthen Civil Society webinar

Strengthening The Voice Of Civil Society – Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion
World Dialogue Foundation is offering a webinar on May 21, 2013 at 10:00 PM AEST.

Next Tuesday, 21st May is World Day for Cultural Diversity, for Dialogue & Development.

Without doubt, the mission to increase understanding between people from different cultural and religious backgrounds is one of the most promising movements in the world today.

As part of the “Do One Thing For Diversity and Inclusion” campaign spearheaded by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, in partnership with UNESCO and many organisations around the world, GDF is running a free online workshop for civil society organisations who would like to strengthen their role and play a bigger game.

Why does civil society matter so much? Building inclusive society has become a major challenge in most countries around the world. Over the past twenty years, globalization, technology, the resurgence of religions and tremendous migration flows have indeed radically changed the fabric of most societies that are increasingly diversified and fragmented. This creates tensions, radicalization and sometimes, the risk of conflict.

The role of leaders, being policy makers, corporate sector, media…is crucial in raising public awareness and encouraging dialogue and understanding among people and communities beyond the cultural divide. But, to achieve this goal, a vibrant and active civil society movement holding leaders responsible is indispensable.

This 60-minute session will give you the opportunity to explore possibilities around becoming a partner in the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Civil Society Country Chapter program. You will have the opportunity to share your successes, ask questions, and inspire others.

Register now!

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