5A - Connecting Cultures University of Warwick and Monash University Australia
Secularisation theses posit that the social importance of religion has declined in modern European democracies. Research (for instance, Eurobarometer surveys) has found a steady erosion of religious identification in advanced Western states. The record of post-Communist societies, however, is more variable. Countries such as the Hungary have experienced a decline in levels of religiosity since the collapse of Communism.
Research into the political implications of enduring religious identities remains limited, with most studies approaching this phenomena through the lens of 'post-secularity' or the failure of secularisation theory. This project aims to address this gap by providing a more detailed analysis of the way in which religion shapes policymaking attitudes in Poland. Despite economic modernisation, 95% of Poles continue to identify as Catholic, and religion has played a significant role in creation of social policy, such as increasing financial support to families with children and hardening the law on abortion.
The project will explore the impact of religion on policy-makers by analysing content in the media and speeches made by politicians in the run up to a general election in the country. Qualitative content from speeches and media outlets will be analysed through the use of an inductive coding structure to avoid an arbitrary pre-formed categories and avoid corruption of conclusions based on assumptions. The study will involve tracking the media campaign up to mid-September 2019. As well as exploring the links between religious attitudes and policy behaviour, the study will highlight any divergence between official religious and political attitudes on critical social issues.
The aim of this project is to analyse the connection between art and building of national identity. For this purpose, a comparative study will be presented on the Louvre (France) and the Bardo National Museum (Tunisia). The Louvre is an emblematic legacy of the Age of the Enlightenment, while the Bardo National Museum was founded by French representatives when Tunisia was still a French Protectorate.
Firstly, the philosophical and political framework will be considered in favour of analysing the museum as locus of power, tool of creation of a collective memory, national identity, state legitimacy. To contextualise this analysis, the framework provided will be applied to the chosen case studies. Reflections on the Louvre will encompass its shift from a royal palace to symbol of the French Revolution, to the acquisition of its modern significance as depository of France's national patrimony and its performative role in the projection of France's grandeur during the Napoleonic era. Meanwhile, the analysis of the Bardo National Museum as depository of history and cultural identity will take place in the context of Tunisia first as a French Protectorate, and its transition to an independent state. Comparing and contrasting the two institutions allows us to analyse the role of national museums in both a European and non-European context.
In conclusion, this research aims at arguing that regardless of contextual differences, the importance of museums for the construction of national identity in non-European contexts are on par with the European experience.
Post-conflict states aim to achieve reconciliation between divided racial, ethnic, religious or other social groups. The 1994 Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsi resulted in the deaths of more than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus; leading to the destruction of the social fabric of the nation. In its aftermath, the Rwandan government quickly embarked on an ambitious program of reconciling a nation divided between the two major ethnic groups.
The purpose of this study is to examine the efficacy of Rwanda's approach to reconciliation as a tool for nation-building. Three key mechanisms adopted by the Rwandan state to achieve this aim were identified and analysed. These include the traditional judicial system of Gacaca courts, social reconstruction through community-based programs and the introduction of economic policies to drive development.
It was hypothesised that this dynamic combination of both â€˜top-down' state-driven and participatory community-based approaches, would be effective in driving reconciliation. It was found that these mechanisms have largely contributed to the restoration of social bonds between fragmented communities. However, continuing tensions exist due to unresolved prosecutions.
There is much to be gained from the case of Rwanda for other post-conflict societies. This study has shown that some of these mechanisms are likely to be applicable in other post-conflict states if adapted to the contextual situation. The case of Rwanda is therefore an insightful example of the potential avenues for reconciliation in the broader field of post-conflict peacebuilding and development.
More than 70 years after World War II ended, Holocaust remembrance remains controversial in Poland. The 2018 amendment to the 1998 Act on the Institute of National Remembrance 'Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes Against the Polish Nation (IPN Act) generated global controversy amid concerns that it will perpetuate a monolithic narrative of Polish heroism and victimhood in preference to acknowledging Poland's dark past and promoting reconciliation between all sectors of Polish society. This research project will explore the extent to which Poland's so-called 'memory law' is likely to stifle academic debate on the legacy of anti-Semitism and Polish participation in anti-Jewish violence during World War II. A case study of the Jedwabne massacre ' a crime perpetrated by Polish citizens against their Jewish neighbours that was attributed to German forces even into the twenty-first century' will provide an illustration of anti-Jewish violence with a contested historiography, and a close analysis of the drafting of Article 55a of the IPN Act will demonstrate key barriers the memory law poses for academic freedom in Poland. An examination of scholarly literature on the Jedwabne massacre will reveal the deep fissures in academic and public discourse on anti-Jewish violence on Poland, which will be re-examined in the context of memory law scholarship and Article 55a. Notably, findings from the literature review will be contextualised by reference to the Polish government's current platform of historical revisionism and memory politics, revealing the menacing effect of the memory law in deterring historical debate.
5E - Health, Wellbeing and Technology University of Warwick and Monash University Malaysia
Cyberbullying, though relatively recent, is not a novel phenomenon. Because of its unique features of anonymity, its pervasive nature and its immediate circulation, it has been argued to cause far more damaging harms than traditional bullying. Past cases have prompted several jurisdictions to review and update their laws in mitigating the harms it has caused, however, the UK Law remains silent in this matter. This study was conducted to address the harm of cyberbullying, with special attention to aggravated impacts it can have on minors, and the need of its criminalisation. The current state of UK Law was analysed and was concluded to be inadequate in combatting cyberbullying due to its distinctive nature, and as a result, cyberbullying cases are rarely convicted. Following this, a comparative analysis was made to assess the existing cyberbullying laws in different jurisdictions and whether it is possible for the UK to adopt such legislation. Nonetheless, there is always a flip side to criminalisation: The law, sometimes, is not the best answer to social problems. Issues of competing interest between freedom of speech and public protection, overregulation/overcriminalisation and general challenges posed by the Internet was discussed, giving rise to question whether law is really the appropriate solution to this problem. This paper considered alternatives such as social actions, education and the Internet as a tool in response to the challenges.
The United Nations and Girl Summit have promised to eradicate FGM in a generation. At the forefront of this action are healthcare professionals (HCPs), primely placed to both intervene and educate. In some countries, including the United Kingdom (UK), this has become a legal obligation to act. The researchers undertook a global systematic review of English-language papers investigating HCPs' knowledge, attitude and feelings towards FGM.
Method: Systematic review of Web of Science, OVID and Cochrane Library.
Results: 23 papers informed the study. Recurrent themes detected include: training; how much and what quality of contact HCPs have had with circumcised women; multiple aspects of knowledge including the practise itself, different types of FGM, the origins of the practise, complications, what treatment could be offered and the legal process; the ability, knowledge and confidence to act, including the legal duty to report; ability to communicate with patient or parents and what barriers are present; confidence when managing patients who have undergone FGM; difficulties and issues faced when examining women with FGM; the desire for further training and next step processes.
Conclusion: Variability in knowledge indicates improved training is required on a global scale. In high-income countries this must be complimented by improving confidence in speaking with patients of a different cultural background. In low-income countries, campaigners must become rapidly aware of the dangers of medicalisation of FGM.
Background: Taboo shrouds death, inhibiting important conversations about end of life wishes. The Royal College of Physicians report â€˜Talking about dying' highlights that the taboo, and the fear that accompanies it, extends even to doctors. Public health approaches to end of life care aim to tackle this taboo, enabling communities to support, and care for, each other. This can only be accomplished if people are able and willing to have these important conversations. Doctors find death discussions difficult, can the public be educated to have them?
The Omega Course (Ω) aims to empower its participants to discuss death and dying (D+D) using health education and roleplay. This study assessed its effectiveness.
Methods: Anonymised, mixed methods questionnaires were distributed to 62 â„¦ participants. The 24 responses (38.7%) were analysed using thematic analysis and inferential statistics.
Results: Thematic analysis identified two main barriers to discussing D+D: fear of upsetting others; difficulty broaching the subject. â„¦ helped to alleviate participants fears 'helped me […] stand alongside friends and relatives going through traumatic times' and improved confidence in initiating discussion 'It gave me the words to say to people when I needed to say something'.
Paired t-tests, performed on before and after scores across three areas: How comfortable participants felt discussing D+D; how often they discussed D+D; how afraid they felt about death, all showed significant improvement (p<0.01).
Conclusion: Ω successfully enabled participants to discuss D+D, an important step towards taboo reduction with positive implications for end of life planning.
Stroke is considered to be both deadly and debilitating, affecting up to 15 million individuals per year. It is a horrendous disease, where up to 90% of those afflicted are left with permanently compromised neuronal functions. Being correlated to modifiable risk factors such as diabetes and hypertension, the current medical treatment consists of either a life-long complicated regime of medications or highly invasive surgical procedures with the possibility of complications.
My research seeks to discover the potential of a less invasive and cost effective alternative, namely Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). Since 1988, multiple animal studies have provided insight of possibly incorporating VNS as an adjunct treatment to ischaemic stroke in humans. VNS is a minor surgical implantation of a NCP pulse generator which can easily be performed as an outpatient procedure. Clinical trials performed on humans, have established that VNS promotes positive outcomes in epileptic and depressed patients. For this reason, VNS therapy has long been approved by the US Food and Drug administration (FDA). However the role of VNS in human ischaemic stroke patients remains elusive.
My research pools data from multiple human-tested randomised control trials via a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis from online databases such as Ovid medline and Pubmed. By consolidating the available data, we hope to truly establish the standpoint of VNS in clinical practice guidelines. If our results show benefits in VNS therapy, this could be a revolutionary alternative for ischaemic stroke patients in our modern age of medicine.
5F - Internal Debates and Decision Making University of Warwick and Nanyang Technological University
In this paper, I defend a kind of Epistemic Permissivism - Intrapersonal Epistemic Permissivism. Briefly, while Epistemic Permissivism says that a body of evidence may justify more than one proposition out of a set of conflicting propositions, Intrapersonal Epistemic Permissivism is the view that possibly, there is more than one rational doxastic attitude a single agent with a particular body of evidence can adopt. Thus far, most proponents of Epistemic Permissivism deny Intrapersonal Epistemic Permissivism, arguing instead that only distinct rational agents can adopt differing attitudes towards a proposition given the same body of evidence. By drawing an analogy from a case of moral permissibility, I present a new argument for Intrapersonal Epistemic Permissivism. Section 1 lays out the various kinds of Epistemic Permissivism and some motivations to deny it. In section 2, I present Richard Feldman’s Detective case against Intrapersonal Epistemic Permissivism: A detective has strong evidence incriminating Lefty and strong evidence incriminating Righty of the same crime, but knows that only one is guilty. Feldman thinks the detective cannot rationally believe either is guilty; he must suspend belief. I then raise a case of moral permissibility and show that both cases are relevantly analogous. So, we should conclude similarly about both cases. If I am right, accepting such cases of moral permissibility would entail accepting Intrapersonal Epistemic Permissivism and furthermore, that suspending judgment is irrational in such cases. Thus, the detective can rationally believe either party is guilty and is irrational if he suspends judgment.
Background: Self-disturbances constitute a core component of social and cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia. It is also well established that self-face recognition (SFR) is crucial for identity formation and the maintenance of a coherent sense of self. General self-recognition abnormalities, as well as deficits in facial affect and identity recognition, have been described in schizophrenia. Numerous studies have investigated SFR in various domains including reaction times, accuracy and self-reported perception, using assorted stimuli and assessment methodologies. Regardless of design however, all studies assessing accuracy remain identical in featuring the requirement of a forced judgement regarding the status of a stimuli as self or other. The aim of this study is therefore to systematically evaluate all available evidence on SFR accuracy in schizophrenia.
Methods: This study followed the PRISMA guidelines for reporting of systematic reviews. Four bibliographic databases were searched according to stated inclusion (PICO) and exclusion criteria. After screening, nine studies were evaluated in a narrative synthesis, with a meta-analysis conducted on eight studies in total (n = 184 schizophrenia patients, n = 171 controls). Hedges g (mean weighted effect size) was calculated for each study, and the overall weighted mean effect size (ES) was calculated. Homogeneity of included studies and publication bias were also assessed.
Results and conclusions: Meta-analytic results did not indicate that an overall specific deficit in SFR accuracy could be found in schizophrenia patients. Small sample sizes of studies and heterogeneity across task types do not enable us to conclude that a deficit in SFR is generalizable."
Sustainability is the fundamental basis for a functional global society. It is increasingly discussed, but not necessarily meaningfully, and global society is reaching the time for action, not fruitless discussion.
Traditional sustainability literature emphasises “sustainable development”, but how can something be maintained (sustained) and simultaneously change (develop)? What resources does “sustainability” wish to maintain? It is natural for things to naturally deplete and evolve. Sustaining everything in current form also disrupts natural order. This research questions such givens in sustainability discourse, doing so from the level of the individual.It combines theory on the human-technology-nature (HTN Triad) Relationship (Coles & Pasquier, 2015) with two case studies of art to assess art’s role in reconstituting the human-nature relationship. It evaluates the studies’ findings to illuminate how individuals can reconstruct their relationship to nature by physically engaging with nature and notes why that matters for developing sustainability.
The research explores: the oxymoron “sustainable development” and the construction of individual action as insignificant. These metanarratives are navigated, refuted, and reconstructed to visualise how rebuilding these narratives can generate cultural shifts imperative for achieving sustainable potential.
This research offers an interdisciplinary and intercultural understanding of sustainability, empowers individuals, and opens a new line of enquiry regarding how attitude change can contribute to effective institutional and commercial restructuring in sustainability’s favour .
The somewhat ghoulish subject of exorcisms has actually been a fairly popular one among historians of Early Modern Religious culture with the plethora of exorcism tracts produced in the 16th and 17th centuries providing a rich source base for these unusual rituals. When approaching this surprisingly oft studied area, my aim was to analyse what the exorcism and the circumstances around it as described in these tracts could tell the historian about the religious beliefs of the lay population, an often-inaccessible area. By looking particularly at situations where the laity sought out exorcists with different beliefs to themselves, either out of desperation or due to the belief they were better suited to the task, I hoped to provide a window into the internal conflicts and religious negotiations that these stressful situations were able to elicit. I was able to demonstrate multiple examples of unusually conservative religious beliefs, even among committed â€˜protestants' when they were faced with a threat to their immortal souls, in contrast to the assumptions and work of some historians who have suggested that following the consolidation of the Church of England in the reign of Elizabeth I, the English became â€˜Protestants'. The future of this research would be an analysis of more exorcism tracts than I was able to look at in my dissertation as well as other crisis scenarios like curses or disasters in need of God's intervention which could promote equal crises of faith and therefore religious negotiations among the laity.