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Repressive State and Resurgent Media Under Nigeria's Military Dictatorship, 1988-98: Research Report 126 (NAI Research Reports)
Repressive State and Resurgent Media Under Nigeria's Military Dictatorship, 1988-98: Research Report 126 (NAI Research Reports)
by Ayo Olukotun
Edition: Paperback
13 used & new from $35.32

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The birth of media guerrilla tactics in Nigeria, November 19, 2004
Chronicling a period of detentions, assassinations and newspaper seizures under Nigeria's military dictatorships, Olukotun deconstructs the state's struggle to secure political hegemony through control of the media. In spare, evocative sketches of political watershed events in this period, he details how the media revolution evolved to tackle the authoritarian rule of Nigeria's monumentally corrupt military class and call attention to the everyman's struggle to survive a derailed structural adjustment policy that raised the prices of staple foods more than 20-fold over the course of a few years. Guerrilla tactics kept these banned and hunted journalists alive, and kept up an irrepressible torrent of scorn and outrage that played a critical role in delegitimising the military state in the international community. This militant press genre actively fought the government's terror tactics in the face of state-sanctioned death threats, constant surveillance and a technologically bankrupt recession economy that made publishing a trial even for the sycophantic state-sanctioned papers. They learned to evade a government that would take a journalist's wife and baby daughter hostage until he presented himself to authorities to take their place in detention. The radical performances of outraged traditional poets and the `pavement radio' rumor mill complemented the underground media's efforts, spreading open scorn for the shamelessly dysfunctional military government. The powerful pirate radio station Freedom Frequency Radio - renamed Radio Kudirat after an assassinated activist - kept up its broadcasts by never allowing the station's location to be discovered by the authorities. Although it is written in a plain analytical style, the substance of this book is deeply inspiring - independent-minded journalists everywhere should be attentive to these terribly pertinent history lessons today.


Network Culture: Politics For the Information Age
Network Culture: Politics For the Information Age
by Tiziana Terranova
Edition: Paperback
Price: $33.30
39 used & new from $20.21

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars poetic overview of network dynamics, November 8, 2004
In this beautifully written overview of the socio-political dynamics of networks, Terranova describes the shift from representation to modulation (in both images and ideas, a technic that foregrounds the communicator's agenda by replacing positions with explicit expressions of vectors for change), and the accompanying shift away from identity politics - replacing the difference/position couple with mutation/movement in open systems. She explores the "hydrodynamic" potential of the internet to channel images and meanings through a segmented and capillary system of communication, in which the spectators no longer form an amorphous mass, but operate instead in a fractal ecology of social niches and microniches. She addresses the active and persistent engagement of the networked audience-participants in a chapter about the abundance of free (uncompelled, and unwaged) labor on which most successful internet projects depend, and contrasts web-community volunteerism with the level of audience engagement demanded by ordinary (and now, "reality") television shows. Finally, she looks at the potential of cellular automata models of "soft control" and their application to the upstream battle against entropy and heat-death on the internet.


Income and Influence: Social Policy in Emerging Market Economies
Income and Influence: Social Policy in Emerging Market Economies
by Ethan B. Kapstein
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.00
15 used & new from $0.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How safety nets smooth consumption without helping the poor, November 2, 2004
I rarely delve into detailed descriptions of the structural mechanics of poverty, so this is an inexpert forray into the literature, but I would like to briefly recommend Income & Influence a book of less than 100 pages that covers the last few decades of unemployment and welfare policy in Latin America and southern Asia. Focusing on the awkward nexus between national interest group politics and international interest group pressures, the authors explain deficiencies in the sparse safety nets spread to "smooth consumption patterns" in the economic classes that were hardest hit by the "shock therapy" transition to open markets. These safety nets, particularly unemployment benefits and pension reform, reached only the politically organized labor sectors that had been relatively well-off before the transition period - leaving behind the more profoundly impoverished, chronically unemployed masses, and protecting only a politically aggressive cross-section of the middle class. This is hardly new information, but the book is worth a glance for two reasons: (1) it's very short and clearly written, accessible to non-economists like myself, and (2) in the first chapter, it quickly describes several partially overlapping economic theories about the causal relationships between income disparities and free trade, in a refreshingly non-ideological and straight-forward way. Anyone who has ever tried to muddle through a Foreign Affairs article on the subject will find these pages (7-11) interesting, and the comparative analyses that follow seem enlightened and insightful.


Grounds for Agreement: The Political Economy of the Coffee Commodity Chain
Grounds for Agreement: The Political Economy of the Coffee Commodity Chain
by John M. Talbot
Edition: Paperback
Price: $44.00
48 used & new from $25.09

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Coffee commodity chain: problems and concrete policy options, November 1, 2004
In this rigorous analysis of the global trade in coffee, Talbot identifies structural forces limiting the effectiveness and scope of social justice movements on the market such as organic and fair trade certification programs. While the first few chapters will bore the non-economist, the last two detail specific and realistic trade policy objectives that would more effectively safeguard the livelihoods of small growers and the environment - these chapters will appeal to anyone with an activist streak who has ever seriously considered whether or not purchasing fair trade, shade grown or organic coffee is worthwhile. The preceding commodity chain analysis is dry but lucid, explaining the organization and history of coffee markets and detailing how the consumer price of coffee is divided among profits for transnational corporations, export and processing costs and the growers' costs of production. The most important contribution this book makes is to show in hard numbers that historically, international trade regulations (production quotas, in particular) have had a significant positive impact on the livelihoods of small producers worldwide. Talbot recommends reversing the WTO/IMF roll-back of such regulations and points out that the international community is ready to accept a strong regulatory framework on the coffee trade, if only U.S. citizens will lobby their government to stop favoring the special interests of major coffee corporations that continue to oppose any trade agreements limiting the production of coffee.


Misreading the African Landscape: Society and Ecology in a Forest-Savanna Mosaic (African Studies)
Misreading the African Landscape: Society and Ecology in a Forest-Savanna Mosaic (African Studies)
by James Fairhead
Edition: Paperback
Price: $59.99
44 used & new from $25.27

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars exposes challenges facing postcolonial environmental science, August 12, 2003
When the authors of this paradigm-shifting book traveled to Guinea, they planned to study the social dimensions of what generations of ecologists had perceived as a tragedy of the commons which had led to massive deforestation. What they discovered instead was that generations of ecologists had been reading this African landscape backwards: mistaking forest islands which had been cultivated by precolonial peoples for the last remaining stands of an ancient forest which they imagined had once completely covered the plains. In fact, the area where rural farmer-silviculturalists had been accused of decimating a fictitious oldgrowth forest is too dry to allow tree communities to thrive naturally. Only through human intervention had the grassland been interrupted with small pockets of highly biodiverse forest communities.
A landmark work in political ecology, this remarkable study exposes the dark side of environmentalist intervention measures that seek to curb perceived tragedies of the commons by nationalizing the management of natural resources and prohibiting traditional land-use practices that are believed to have adverse consequences. Under the influence of an expert-generated misreading of the local ecological history, the Guinean government had instituted environmental protection measures which penalized the traditional silvicultural practices that the precious forest islands depended upon for survival, on the mistaken supposition that these apparently primitive and abusive practices were a threat to the "last remaining" forests in the district. Pay close attention to the ecological historiography presented in this book, which reveals what shaky data are often used by highly educated environmental scientists to infer the natural and social systems dynamics at work in a given environment. This blows away the widely-held assumption that low-income rural people without college-level environmental educations are the most short-sighted and ignorant decision-makers involved in the management of public forests and other ecologically complex natural resources.


The Crossing (The Border Trilogy, Book 2)
The Crossing (The Border Trilogy, Book 2)
by Cormac McCarthy
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.04
339 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars keen poetic novel, digs into your soul to leave a mark, August 12, 2003
In this breath-taking coming-of-age story set on the Mexican border early in the twentieth century, Billy Parham's faith in a Godly natural order of things brings him head-to-head with fate when a pregnant wolf is caught on his family's ranch. Returning from the desolate south after repatriating the wolf to her native mountains, he finds his young brother orphaned and their ranch destroyed. Crossing again into Mexico for refuge, Billy and his brother enter nightmares haunted by a mystical love steeped in blood and drowned in the dust of a landscape that offers them nothing but further loss. Told in spare prose poetry that glitters with an all-observant love of life so tenacious that it cannot recoil from overwhelming grief or resist the blind tug of insane hope, this story is sure to become a lodestar to the souls of readers who have loved the bare expanses of the great southwest and that wild icon of hunted innocence, the lone wolf.


Lightning Bird: The Story of One Man's Journey into Africa's Past (A Touchstone book)
Lightning Bird: The Story of One Man's Journey into Africa's Past (A Touchstone book)
by Lyall Watson
Edition: Paperback
26 used & new from $9.59

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars magical anthropological adventure, August 12, 2003
Adrian Boshier set out into the semi-wilds of rural southern Africa as a teenager, with an encyclopedic knowledge of the local flora and fauna and a determination to escape from social contingency by foraging. As an escape attempt, his expedition failed - what he had learned from books proved inadequate in the field and he quickly began to starve. The generosity of Swazi strangers, who laid out food in remote places once they realized that he would not approach them for help, kept him alive. Eventually, he got to know his neighbors, and became a sort of cultural liason between archaeologists and the descendents of local ancients whose artifacts were riddles to the scientific community. Lyall Watson's slightly imaginative biography of this prodigal spirit is rich in anthropological detail and illustrated with simple but evocative sketches of some of the artifacts that Adrian's interviews with rural healers and magicians have helped to explain.
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Lightning Bird: One Man's Journey into Africa
Lightning Bird: One Man's Journey into Africa
by Wilfred Watson
Edition: Hardcover
49 used & new from $0.01

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars coming-of-age adventure for archaeologists, May 14, 2003
Adrian Boshier set out into the semi-wilds of rural southern Africa as a teenager, with an encyclopedic knowledge of the local flora and fauna and a determination to escape from social contingency by foraging. As an escape attempt, his expedition failed - what he had learned from books proved inadequate in the field and he quickly began to starve. The generosity of Swazi strangers, who laid out food in remote places once they realized that he would not approach them for help, kept him alive. Eventually, he got to know his neighbors, and became a sort of cultural liason between archaeologists and the descendents of local ancients whose artifacts were riddles to the scientific community. Lyall Watson's slightly imaginative biography of this prodigal spirit is rich in anthropological detail and illustrated with simple but evocative sketches of some of the artifacts that Adrian's interviews with rural healers and magicians have helped to explain.


The Salton Sea
The Salton Sea
DVD ~ Val Kilmer
30 used & new from $6.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars dark-humored suspense, virtuoso acting, unforgettable story, May 14, 2003
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This review is from: The Salton Sea (DVD)
A dark, sardonic look at love and survival guilt, suspense and fidelity, this is a gutter rat's story, gently shot through with gorgeous dream imagery that magically reveals how profoundly a man's life can be transformed by a single accident. Showcasing an extraordinary cast under an actors' director, this poetic nightmare is charged with the magical energy that crackles where gifted improv meets great scripting and breathtaking cinematography. But for all its artistic power, what I really love about this movie is the story itself, one of those rare fictions that can recharge your soul and turn your head back towards reality. The DVD's special features include fascinating background such as how the sets were designed to complement the emotional shape of the narrative, and how the method actors developed their characters.


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