Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Social Sciences

Intercultural communication and considering a different perspective

With the ever-increasing rise of globalization, the need to communicate more effectively across cultures becomes all the more important. In a hyper-connected world, we need to learn how to better understand the perspectives of others, and how to make accommodations in conversations that support both parties being on the same page. Simply put, different cultures see things differently.

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Should firms assume responsibility for individuals’ actions?

VW may have taken a big step towards resolving its emissions scandal in the United States with its recent guilty plea (at a cost of more than US$4.3 billion), but its troubles in Europe are far from over. Luxembourg has launched criminal proceedings and more countries may follow.

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Resisting change: understanding obstacles to social progress

The People’s Climate Movement, made up of dozens of organizations working to fight the climate crisis, held their first march in September 2014. On Saturday, 29 April, activists will once again march to demand climate action. As they protest the Trump administration’s drastic approach to climate change, the People’s Climate Movement will aim to “show the world and our leaders that we will resist attacks on our people, our communities and our planet.”

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The separation of church and state in the US

While contradictory in many respects, the principles of separation of church and state, cooperation between sacred and secular, religious equality in the treatment of religion, and the integration of religion and politics combine to provide unique but important contributions to American life. In the following excerpt, Derek H. Davis examines the relationship between law and religion in the United States.

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Councils and juntas in early modern Madrid

Nowadays it’s not uncommon to think of meetings as a time-consuming chore, and it was no different in the seventeenth century. During the 1660s, the count of Castrillo would complain to his wife about the long hours that he had to spend in committees. He was sometimes too busy even so much as to go to Mass, and when he was finally allowed out of the palace it might not have been until the early hours of the morning.

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The price of freedom

This week, as Passover ends and those of us who observe that holiday allow hametz – leavened things – back into our homes and our lives, it is worth reflecting on what all the fuss is over, and whether we should make such a fuss at all. Holidays are carved from daily life for a purpose, and often, the mode of observance dovetails the meaning of the holiday.

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Misogyny, cheap sweets, and daydreams

Some of the most startling expressions of misogyny over the last century have been directed at girls and young women enjoying themselves. By the 1900s women were reading novels in large quantities. Heavy, three-volume works of fiction were disappearing in favour of single volumes in light bindings: paper covers were beginning to sport colourful, inviting designs.

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Raiding religion, the new normal

The 19th of April 2017 is the twenty-fourth anniversary of the 1993 Branch Davidian tragedy in Waco, Texas. The disaster began three months earlier, however, with a botched effort by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to serve a search warrant for weapons upon a small religious community. The raid resulted in 15 casualties among federal agents, including four dead, and the deaths of six Branch Davidians.

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The international protection of diplomatic and consular agents

On Monday 19 December 2016, President Vladimir Putin had made plans to attend Woe from Wit, a satirical comedy on post-Napoleonic Moscow. It was written in 1823, six years before its author – poet and diplomat Alexander Griboyedov – was murdered by a crowd of Islamic religious fanatics, when Ambassador to Persia.

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Political intermediation for just sustainabilities

Present understanding of the relationship between environmental conservation and social justice – the two of the greatest challenges of our times – is fraught with multiple confusions, especially in the context of developing countries.

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Looking beyond “America First”: war, politics, and human community

The polarity between self-assertive and integrative tendencies is characteristic of all human life on earth, even including the life of separate states in world politics. In this connection, regrettably, President Donald Trump’s conspicuously proud emphasis on “America First” represents an unambiguous preference for the former.

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The power of globalization: Singapore’s economic rise

Singapore is a controversial subject, described as “The Big Apple of Asia,” or “Disneyland with Capital Punishment.” On the one hand, there are those who admire its efficient government and material accomplishments; on the other hand, there are those who deplore its antipathy to freedom of expression. We can all ask how much an authoritarian government stifles the creativity necessary to nourishing a productive society.

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French politics at the crossroads

The outcome of France’s upcoming presidential elections may be the most difficult to predict in many years. The name of the anticipated winner has changed several times over the past few months. The conservative party’s primary election ejected several seemingly credible candidates from the race. The far-right populist party Front National has become the leading party in terms of vote share at the regional elections of 2015.

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Ignorance as an excuse

Despite unequivocal scientific evidence for anthropogenic climate change, many people are skeptical that climate change is man-made, or even real. For instance, lawmakers in North-Carolina passed a bill requiring local planning agencies’ to ignore the latest climate science to predict sea level rise in several coastal counties. They say that ignorance is bliss, but why would we not want to know useful information?

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The role of smugglers in the European Migrant Crisis

Media coverage of the European migrant crisis often focuses on the migrants themselves—capturing their stories as millions escape violent conflicts and crushing poverty. In Migrant, Refugee, Smuggler, Savior, Peter Tinti and Tuesday Reitano consider the smugglers involved in transporting migrants throughout Europe. Although many smugglers are viewed as saviors, others give little regard to the human rights issues.

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