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Research on social networks has become a significant area of investigation in the social sciences, and social network concepts and tools are widely employed across many subfields within the field. This volume introduces political theorists and researchers to new theoretical, methodological, and substantive tools for extending political network research into new realms and revitalizing established domains. The authors synthesize new understandings of multimodal political networks, consisting of two or more types of social entities - voters, politicians, parties, events, organizations, nations - and the complex relations between them. They discuss ways to theorize about multimodal connections, methods for measuring and analyzing multimodal datasets, and how the results can reveal new insights into political structures and action. Several empirical applications demonstrate in great detail how multimodal analysts can detect and visualize political communities consisting of diverse social entities.
Corrosion of aluminium (Al) is a potential problem for spacecraft as this metal is used for various mechanical parts due to its strength, durability, etc. However, it can be corroded by certain factors including microbes. Studying microbes which can be implicated in microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC) due to their extremophilic nature is of vital importance. In this current study, Al and acid-tolerant microbes were isolated from the samples of China space station assembly cleanroom surfaces; acidic environments can accelerate the corrosion process on metal surfaces. Nine bacterial and 10 fungal strains were identified with 16S ribosomal RNA gene/internal transcribed spacer region sequencing and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. The dominant bacteria were of Bacillus, fungi of Penicillium and Aspergillus genera. Knowing the microbes which may be conveyed from the cleanrooms to the space stations with a potential capacity of Al degradation is important for long-term maintenance of station components. This study might aid in designing further researches of the aforementioned microorganisms and, therefore, contribute to the prevention of MIC.
Recent efforts for alternative non-pharmaceutical treatments for postmenopausal osteoporosis are focused on nutritional measures. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of table olive wastewater extract (OE) administration on bone mineral density (BMD) and biomechanical strength in ovariectomized rats. Thirty mature 9-month-old female Wistar rats were separated into 3 groups of ten; Control, Ovariectomized (OVX) and OVX+OE. BMD was measured before ovariectomy, 3 and 6 months afterwards. At the end of the study, blood, both femurs and tibias, internal organs and abdominal fat were collected. After three months, the percentage changes from baseline of the total and proximal tibial BMD of the OVX+OE group were both higher compared to the OVX group (p<0.005). Similar results were found after six months, when the percentage changes from baseline of the total and proximal tibial BMD of the OVX+OE group were both higher compared to the OVX group (p<0.005). Biomechanical testing of the femurs did not reveal any statistically significant difference between the groups. Body weights throughout the study, organs’ and abdominal fat ratios to final body weight, blood results (alanine aminotransferase; ALT, Gamma-glutamyltransferase; γ-GT, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein; HDL-cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein; LDL-cholesterol, calcium, phosphorus) were within normal limits and did not show any significant difference between the treated and untreated groups. As a conclusion, the administration of table olive wastewater extract for 6 months protected tibial BMD loss in comparison to the untreated OVX group without causing adverse effects.
Over two decades ago, Korpi and Palme (1998) published one of the most influential papers in the history of social policy discipline, in which they put forward a “paradox of redistribution”: the more countries target welfare resources exclusively at the poor, the less redistribution is actually achieved and the less income inequality and poverty are reduced. The current paper provides a state-of-the-art review of empirical research into that paradox. More specifically, we break down the paradox into seven core assumptions, which together form a causal chain running from institutional design to redistributive outcomes. For each causal assumption, we offer a comprehensive and critical review of the relevant empirical literature, also including a broader range of studies that do not aim to address Korpi and Palme’s paradox per se, but are nevertheless informative about it.
Numerous studies and meta-analyses have now confirmed that personality traits tend to correlate such that a general factor of personality (GFP) emerges. Nevertheless, there is an ongoing debate about what these correlations, and therefore the GFP, represents. One interpretation is that the GFP reflects a substantive factor that indicates general social effectiveness or emotional intelligence. Another interpretation is that the GFP merely is an artifact based on measurement or response bias. In the present paper, we elaborate on a selection of topics that are central to the debate about this construct. Specifically, we discuss (a) the GFP in relation to more specific personality dimensions (e.g., Big Five, facets), (b) the validity of the GFP and under what circumstances it seems to ‘disappear’, and (c) the theoretical and practical relevance of the general factor. Overall, the review should provide insight into the nature of the GFP and whether or not it represents a meaningful factor that can contribute to a better understanding of personality.
Increasing caregiving needs for family members has created pressure on prime-age workers. Combined with the ageing population, the demand for care related to illness and disability by relatives mean more of the workforce may have to consider caring needs (Bauer and Sousa-Poza, 2015). ‘Informal caregivers’ provide care generally without payment (Yoo et al., 2004). In contrast to formal care, informal caregivers usually have a close relationship with the recipient: for example, siblings and adult children. Informal caregiving is considered a desirable option to meet support needs from several perspectives; these caregivers may be preferred by recipients relative to formal arrangements especially during severe acute illnesses. Caregivers may also feel a personal sense of responsibility to look after loved ones rather than defer to strangers (Fine, 2012) though this may depend on the individual’s needs and the available alternatives. Although men are starting to play an important role due to shifting social gender roles, the vast majority of informal caregivers are women who increasingly attempt to juggle caring with labour force participation (Carmichael et al., 2008).
Tobacco smoking remains one of the leading causes of preventable illness and death and is heritable with complex underpinnings. Converging evidence suggests a contribution of the polygenic risk for smoking to the use of tobacco and other substances. Yet, the underlying brain mechanisms between the genetic risk and tobacco smoking remain poorly understood.
Genomic, neuroimaging, and self-report data were acquired from a large cohort of adolescents from the IMAGEN study (a European multicenter study). Polygenic risk scores (PGRS) for smoking were calculated based on a genome-wide association study meta-analysis conducted by the Tobacco and Genetics Consortium. We examined the interrelationships among the genetic risk for smoking initiation, brain structure, and the number of occasions of tobacco use.
A higher smoking PGRS was significantly associated with both an increased number of occasions of tobacco use and smaller cortical volume of the right orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). Furthermore, reduced cortical volume within this cluster correlated with greater tobacco use. A subsequent path analysis suggested that the cortical volume within this cluster partially mediated the association between the genetic risk for smoking and the number of occasions of tobacco use.
Our data provide the first evidence for the involvement of the OFC in the relationship between smoking PGRS and tobacco use. Future studies of the molecular mechanisms underlying tobacco smoking should consider the mediation effect of the related neural structure.
The objectives of this work were (a) to determine the presence of streptococci in samples from small ruminant dairy farms (bulk-tank milk and, where possible, teatcup swabs), (b) to investigate the potential adverse effects of streptococci on milk quality and (c) to investigate the importance of some husbandry factors for the isolation of streptococci. Bulk-tank milk samples and teatcups swab samples were examined bacteriologically for the presence of streptococci. Somatic cell counting and milk composition measurements were also performed. The husbandry factors present in each farm were assessed for potential associations with the isolation of streptococci. Streptococci were isolated from milk samples from 31.4% of sheep and 17.4% of goat farms and from 4.8% of sheep and 5.9% of goat teatcups. Streptococci were isolated more frequently from the upper part than the lower part of teatcups: 5.0% vs. 1.9%. Most isolates (57.9%) were identified as Streptococcus uberis. Most isolates (68.4%) were slime-producing; slime-production was more frequent among isolates from teatcups (83.3%) than from bulk-tank milk (55.0%). Somatic cell counts and milk composition did not differ between farms in which streptococci were or were not isolated. Machine-milking was associated with the isolation of streptococci from bulk-tank milk samples. The initial stage of the milking period (first two months) was found to be associated with the isolation of streptococci from milking machine teatcups in sheep farms only.
I have been arguing thus far that the Theological Political Treatise is organized according to the dialectic of authority and utility. A problem emerges when we consider that a practical judgement about utility arises as a response to given circumstances, and if the circumstances are so manifold and unpredictable that they cannot be organized under steadfast rules, then practical judgement or phronesis can never aspire to either certainty or truth. It is, as Hannah Arendt puts it, a judging ‘without banisters’. Any particular calculation of utility – be it at a personal or communal level – can never know for sure that its inferences are correct, since it needs to extract the criteria for judging from the unpredictable and uncodifiable situation it assesses.
Spinoza turns this feature of the calculation of utility into a mechanism that allows him to trace the operation of the dialectic of authority and utility. This is possible because the dialectic is not concerned with the truth or falsity of judgements that pertain to action. Instead, it concerns the effects of action. And such effects are registered when mistakes are made just as much – if not more – than when the correct decisions are taken. The first two chapters of the Theological Political Treatise suggest that the effects of these mistakes can be productive – and what they produce is authority. Subsequently, these mistakes are carried out in the definition of the people as described in the third chapter of the Treatise.
To discern these productive mistakes, we need to recall Lucretius's distinction between potestas – the kind of power that is artificial and that is instituted, as well as the kind of power that authority enjoys – from potentia – the ontological or ‘natural’ power that indicates the potentiality or capability of entities. All three mistakes – about the production of authority in the first two chapters and the production of the people in the third chapter – consist in misunderstandings about potentia, and thereby affect the interplay of potentia and potestas, which produces significant effects for the dialectic of authority and utility.
Schematically, the errors are as follows: The first error is made by the people. They mistake revelation as a kind of special knowledge that is superior to the natural knowledge shared by all. Thus they erroneously attribute a superior potentia to the prophets, which creates their authority.
Spinoza does a remarkable job in presenting the dialectic of authority and utility in the Theological Political Treatise. Not only does this revive an epicurean politics; in addition, it provides a compelling account of a democratic politics that relies on agonism. In this account, the conflict between authority and utility can never be quenched, which makes it the driver of politics. This conflict emerges as more fundamental than any form of government, or than any arrangement of representation, or than any way in which there is a separation of powers within the state.
Through this dialectic of authority and utility, Spinoza participates in the materialist tradition of modernity, not by slavishly following previous ideas but by appropriating and reformulating them. The significant contribution of the Theological Political Treatise is that it develops a typology of authority that highlights the importance of democracy for an epicurean politics. The distinction between personal authority, didactic authority and the authority to abrogate provides Spinoza with the basis to both describe and critique constituted power and to delineate a form of agonistic politics characterized by the intensification of the freedom to calculate one's utility.
Further, the reliance of Spinoza's politics on the anthropological principle – or the propensity to calculate one's utility in relation to the utility of the entire community – has a contemporary relevance that is, it seems to me, of urgent significance. There are at least three reasons that this is the case.
First, the anthropological principle, as I describe it, requires that there are two distinct, but not separate, paths to political virtue, the path of the emotions and the path of reason. It seems to me that it is hugely significant to consider a democratic politics that does not forget the import of the emotions in the construction of the political. There has been an inordinate emphasis on deliberation and process in the way that the democratic is understood. The problem with such an overreliance on reason is that it finds it hard to explain so much of the political that is dominated, for the most part, by the emotions.
What is the relation of priority between authority and utility, the two terms of the epicurean dialectic? Does authority cause utility or is it the other way round? What comes first, authority or utility? Spinoza's conception of democracy stands or falls with this problematic. If authority means that which is impervious to argumentation and if democracy requires the freedom to decide about collective actions, then the priority of authority would suggest that democracy is merely a consequence of authority. It is not easy to reverse the relation, since what does it mean to have democracy before the instituted kind of power modelled on authority's structure of command and obedience? That is, how can we conceive of democracy before written law?
The relation between authority and utility may seem to mirror one of the major issues in the interpretation of the Theological Political Treatise, namely, whether the prosperity and well-being of the community and the state are ensured by obedience or reason. The vast majority of commentators on Spinoza's Treatise feel compelled to take either side. As I suggested in the Introduction, I present the relation of authority and utility as a dialectic to bypass the disjunction of – or, differently put, to overcome the false binary of – either obedience or reason. Nonetheless, the dialectical relation cannot evade the problematic of what comes first, authority or utility.
Let me highlight some of the complexities of this problematic via Michel Foucault. He develops a theory of power understood as something constructed, as potestas, which in Foucault's terms includes what we call authority here. It is fundamental to this theory that there is no power as such, but it is rather always accompanied by resistance. His approach consists, as he puts it in his essay ‘The Subject and Power’, in
taking the forms of resistance against different forms of power as a starting point … using this resistance as a chemical catalyst so as to bring to light power relations, locate their position, find out their point of application and the methods used. Rather than analyzing power from the point of view of its internal rationality, it consists of analyzing power relations through the antagonism of strategies. For example, to find out what our society means by sanity, perhaps we should investigate what is happening in the field of insanity. And what we mean by legality in the field of illegality.
The first part of the subtitle of the Theological Political Treatise may have been easily acceptable to Spinoza's contemporaries: the book shows that ‘Freedom of Philosophizing can be allowed in Preserving Piety and the Peace of the Republic’. In the aftermath of the Reformation, this sentiment would not have been unfamiliar. The secular ideal of the separation of ecclesiastical from temporal authority requires that there is a division between the inner self that is subject to faith and receives the message of Scripture, and the external self that is subject to the authority of the sovereign and to the laws of the state. Mirroring this logic, philosophers and deists of various hues claim a private right to the freedom to philosophize – a right that is distinct from their public obligations to the state.
Although the first sentence of the subtitle should have come as no surprise to the general educated reader in the seventeenth century, the sentence that follows would most likely have been unnerving. The book, indicates Spinoza, also wants to argue that ‘it is not possible for such Freedom to be upheld except when accompanied by the Peace of the Republic and Piety Themselves’. Here, the freedom to philosophize acquires a public dimension. It is as if Spinoza is suggesting that the freedom to philosophize requires as a necessary precondition a well-functioning state and a pious Church. It is as if, further, the external condition – the public dimension of life – cannot be separated from the internal life of the mind. Freedom to philosophize isdetermined by the material conditions in which it unfolds. Such a materialism is not widely embraced by seventeenth-century readers.
The cumulative effect of the chiasmus of these two sentences of the subtitle suggests a radical position. It suggests that the absence of the freedom to philosophize would threaten the existence of a state and would make the Church impious.
There is a distinctive change of tone in chapter 16 – the first chapter of the third part of the Theological Political Treatise. It is as if Spinoza suddenly becomes more direct, freer and bolder. He notes that ‘up to this point our object has been to separate philosophy from theology and to show that the latter allows freedom to philosophise for every individual’. This is the task that is announced as ‘finalized’ in chapter 14, and yet, as we saw, it is not finalized in the sense that faith and reason are separated; rather they are distinguished yet interminably entangled. This is the conclusion of a trajectory that includes the critique of personal authority in the first part of the Treatise, as well as the development in the second part of Reformed authority that is no longer opposed to the calculation of utility. Then, Spinoza explains what he intends to do in this third part: ‘It is therefore time to enquire what are the limits of this freedom of thought, and of saying what one thinks, in a well-conducted state.’ This part, then, will present the double sense of agonism that pertains to the freedom to philosophize, as we saw in the previous chapter, that is, the agonism against any false sense of meaning that promotes personal authority, and the transversal or chiasmus between the two paths that lead to the good and virtue. The latter, in particular, will be the focus of the third part. Spinoza further indicates how he will accomplish this task: ‘To approach this question in an orderly way, we must discuss the basis of the state, and prior to that … we must discuss the natural right of the individual’ (172). The first concern, then, is natural right.
Spinoza immediately proceeds to define right in terms of power. First, this definition is articulated in terms of nature: ‘Nature's right is co-extensive with its power [jus naturae eo usque se extendere, quo usque ejus potentia se extendit]’ (173/189). And then in terms of individuals: ‘the right of the individual is co-extensive with its determinate power [determinata potentia]’ (173/189).