Explaining Civil Society Development: What are the “Social Origins of Civil Society?”

by krm | Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 6:00 AM

Over the past 25 years, the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies the Johns Hopkins Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project generated a powerful body of new systematic comparative data on the scope and structure of the nonprofit, or civil society, sector in more than 40 countries scattered widely around the world. Now, in a new book entitled Explaining Civil Society Development: A Social Origins Approach , authors Lester Salamon, Wojciech Sokolowski, and Megan Haddock draw on this sizable body of new data to test a variety of theories about what causes what turn out to be a number of intriguing puzzles that this research surfaced.

Why is it, for example, that the paid workforce of the civil society sector in Belgium stands at a whopping 10% of the country’s effective workforce but only 2.5% in Sweden, even though these two countries are at roughly similar levels of development? Why does government account for 65% of nonprofit revenue in Germany and only 36% in nearby Italy? And how is it that the overall size and shape of the civil society sector in Mexico is virtually...Read More

Behind the Book: Playboys and Mayfair Men

by krm | Monday, October 9, 2017 - 6:00 AM

At about 4:20 on the afternoon of December 20, 1937, Henrietta Gordon, a housemaid at the luxurious Hyde Park Hotel in London’s West End, heard some unusual noises—like something being smashed—coming from room 305. She alerted Enrico Laurenti, a waiter, who detected what he thought sounded like “muffled laughing.” Concerned that something was amiss, they knocked. When they received no response Laurenti used his master key to get in. He was shocked to find a large man lying on his back in a pool of blood. The maid thought he was dead, but he soon revived, crying out, with a distinct French accent, “Help, help! They’ve got my rings.”

I came across this dramatic scene several years ago when trolling through the British tabloids of the 1930s in search of a new research topic. I was initially puzzled to read that a gang of playboys had attacked a jeweler with a “life preserver.” For Americans, a life preserver (or life jacket) was a floatation device. In 1930s Britain it also meant a truncheon or what North Americans called a “blackjack” — a short club, heavily loaded with a lead weight at one end and a strap or lanyard at...Read More

Examining the International Standard Book Number

by krm | Wednesday, October 4, 2017 - 6:00 AM

We use ISBNs daily, but did you know that just looking at one will tell you where a book was published and by whom? This is a simple look at the International Standard Book Number (ISBN). This global system works for publishers from Australia to Zimbabwe.

Dissecting an ISBN There are five parts to an ISBN:

Prefix: 978 is the prefix that came into use when the standard switched from 10 digits to 13 digits in 2005. When 978s run out, the prefix will become 979.

Registration group element: The second part is a group or country identifier. For example, English-speaking countries start with 0 or 1, French-speaking areas start with 2, German-speaking areas start with 3, Japan starts with 4, and so on. There is a complete list of country identifiers here: http://www.isbn-international.org/en/identifiers/allidentifiers.html .

Registrant element: This set of numbers identifies the publisher who purchased the block of ISBNs.

Publication element: This group of numbers identifies a specific book.

Check digit: Finally there is a single check digit, which validates the ISBN.

ISBN FUN FACTS The first ISBNs were...Read More

Children's Literature and 'Fitting In'

by bjs | Monday, October 2, 2017 - 10:47 AM

When the 2017 issue of Children's Literature came out earlier this year, a familiar name appeared at the top of the masthead. Hollins University's Julie Pfeiffer returned as editor after a five-year hiatus. She joined us for apodcast where she talked about the issue, which features essays about the idea of "fitting in" for children's literature characters as well as what lies in store for the coming years for the journal.

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Exploring Consequences

by bjs | Friday, September 29, 2017 - 6:00 AM

Earlier this year, MFS Modern Fiction Studies released a special issue titled “Enduring Operations: The Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.” Co-edited by Aaron DeRosa (Cal Poly Pamona) and Stacey Peebles (Centre College), the issue featured eight articles “within a nascent critical engagement with contemporary war narratives,” according to the introduction.

DeRosa and Peebles joined us for a Q&A on the special issue.

How was this special issue conceived and put together?

Nothing good comes out of violence, save maybe art. And art commemorates, it abrogates, and it forces a different kind of awareness of the violence committed by us or upon us.

Literary scholarship on the contemporary is very much stuck on the idea of identifying the new. It’s an oddly prophetic impulse to anticipate what we’ll be talking about five or ten years from now. What’s the thing that will have recast the world, made it different, reframed the ways we understand our lives? The September 11 attacks? The 2008 recession? The Presidential election of 2000—or 2016? But it’s always possible to see the changes that war brings, even if some of those changes aren’t immediately...Read More