Learning Change

Learning Change Project

Open Access Publishing: A Literature Review

Within the context of the Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy (CREATe) research scope, this literature review investigates the current trends, advantages, disadvantages, problems and solutions, opportunities and barriers in Open Access Publishing (OAP), and in particular Open Access (OA) academic publishing.  This study is intended to scope and evaluate current theory and practice concerning models for OAP and engage with intellectual, legal and economic perspectives on OAP. It is also aimed at mapping the field of academic publishing in the UK and abroad, drawing specifically upon the experiences of CREATe industry partners as well as other initiatives such as SSRN, open source software, and Creative Commons. As a final critical goal, this scoping study will identify any meaningful gaps in the relevant literature with a view to developing further research questions. The results of this scoping exercise will then be presented to relevant industry and academic partners at a workshop intended to assist in further developing the critical research questions pertinent to OAP.

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Written by learningchange

August 1, 2014 at 2:46 pm

The Organizational Context in Cultural Patterns of Creativity

In this article, we first review cross-cultural research, especially that concerning similarities and differences between East Asian and Western cultures, on creativity using laboratory tasks and tests. On the basis of this review, we then propose some directions for future cross-cultural research on creativity in the workplace. We emphasize the need to theorize why cultural differences make a difference in creativity and directly investigate, rather than assume, effects of contextual factors on creativity. In this regard, two literatures on creativity – cross-cultural studies using laboratory tasks and organizational studies of employee creativity – can benefit tremendously from integration. We also call for more empirical research examining effects of culture on creativity in the workplace, especially in China.

Our review of the cross-cultural creativity literature revealed that much of the research has taken an individual-centered, or individual differences approach to an understanding of levels of creativity in different cultures. Context has been almost completely missing from previous theorizing and research in the cross-cultural creativity literature. As a result of the decontextualized approach, the usefulness dimension of creativity has not been considered. Also, there has been little theorizing about the proximal social contexts that affect creative work, such as the workers’ relationships to supervisors, peers, and associates. This unsatisfactory state-of-affairs provides impetus for more and better theorizing and research in the cross-cultural creativity research area …

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Written by learningchange

July 31, 2014 at 2:02 pm

A Social Science of Human Rights

Why do governments abuse human rights, and what can be done to deter and reverse abusive practices? This article examines the emerging social science on these two questions. Over the last few decades, scholars have made considerable progress in answering the first one. Abuse stems, centrally, from conflict and institutions. Answers to the second question are more elusive because data are scarce and the relationships between cause and effect are hard to pin down. Lively debates concern the effectiveness of tools such as military intervention, economic policy, international law, and information strategies for protecting human rights. The evidence suggests that despite the explosion of  international legal instruments, this strategy has had impact only in special circumstances. Powerful states play central roles in protecting human rights through sanctions, impartial military intervention, and other tools – often applied unilaterally, which suggests that there is an ongoing tension between the legitimacy of broad multilateral legal institutions and narrower strategies that actually work. The best approaches to managing human rights depend on the political organization of the abuser. Where strong centralized organizations are the problem, the best strategies alter the incentives of leaders at the top; where abuse arises from disarray, such as during civil war or fragile democratic transition, the key tasks include reducing agency slack and making organizations stronger and more accountable.

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Written by learningchange

July 30, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Paradoxical Thinking as Intervention to Promote Peace

In societies involved in an intractable conflict, there are strong socio-psychological barriers that contribute to the continuation and intractability of the conflict. Based on a unique field study conducted in the context of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, we offer a new avenue to overcome these barriers by exposing participants to a long-term paradoxical intervention campaign expressing extreme ideas that are congruent with the shared ethos of conflict. Results show that the intervention, although counterintuitive, led participants to express more conciliatory attitudes regarding the conflict, particularly among participants with center and right political orientation. Most importantly, the intervention even influenced participants’ actual voting patterns in the 2013 Israeli general elections: Participants who were exposed to the paradoxical intervention, which took place in proximity to the general elections, reported that they tended to vote more for dovish parties, which advocate a peaceful resolution to the conflict. These effects were long lasting, as the participants in the intervention condition expressed more conciliatory attitudes when they were  reassessed 1 year after the intervention. Based on these results, we propose a new layer to the general theory of persuasion based on the concept of paradoxical thinking.

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Written by learningchange

July 30, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Posted in Conflict, Peace, Thinking

Tagged with , ,

Incentives and Opportunities: A Complexity oriented explanation of Violent Ethnic Conflict

Existing research on the causes of violent ethnic conflict is characterized by an enduring debate on whether these conflicts are the result of deeply felt grievances or the product of an opportunity structure in which rebellion is an attractive and/or viable option. This article argues that the question of whether incentive- or opportunity-based explanations of conflict have more explanatory power is fundamentally misguided, as conflict is more likely the result of a complex interaction of both. The fact is, however, that there is little generalized knowledge about these interactions. This study aims to fill this gap and applies crisp-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) in order to identify constellations of risk factors that are conducive to ethnic conflict. The results demonstrate the explanatory leverage gained by taking causal complexity in the form of risk patterns into account. It takes no more than four different configurations of a total of eight conditions to reliably explain almost two-thirds of all ethnic conflict onsets between 1990 and 2009. Moreover, these four configurations are quasi-sufficient for onset, leading to conflict in 88% of all cases covered. The QCA model generated in this article also fares well in predicting conflicts in-sample and out-of-sample, with the in-sample predictions being more precise than those generated by a simple binary logistic regression.

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Written by learningchange

July 30, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Posted in Conflict, Ethnic

Tagged with ,

Conciliatory Gestures promote Forgiveness and Reduce Anger in Humans

Conflict is an inevitable component of social life, and natural selection has exerted strong effects on many organisms to facilitate victory in conflict and to deter conspecifics from imposing harms upon them. Like many species, humans likely possess cognitive systems whose function is to motivate revenge as a means of deterring individuals who have harmed them from harming them again in the future. However, many social relationships often retain value even after conflicts have occurred between interactants, so natural selection has very likely also endowed humans with cognitive systems whose function is to motivate reconciliation with transgressors whom they perceive as valuable and nonthreatening, notwithstanding their harmful prior actions. In a longitudinal study with 337 participants who had recently been harmed by a relationship partner, we found that conciliatory gestures (e.g., apologies, offers of compensation) were associated with increases in victims’ perceptions of their transgressors’ relationship value and reductions in perceptions of their transgressors’ exploitation risk. In addition, conciliatory gestures appeared to accelerate forgiveness and reduce reactive anger via their intermediate effects on relationship value and exploitation risk. These results strongly suggest that conciliatory gestures facilitate forgiveness and reduce anger by modifying victims’ perceptions of their transgressors’ value as relationship partners and the likelihood of recidivism.

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Written by learningchange

July 30, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Stigmergy as a Universal Coordination Mechanism

The concept of stigmergy has been used to analyze self-organizing activities in an ever-widening range of domains, from social insects via robotics and social media to human society. Yet, it is still poorly understood, and as such its full power remains underappreciated. The present paper clarifies the issue by defining stigmergy as a mechanism of indirect coordination in which the trace left by an action in a medium stimulates a subsequent action. It then analyses the fundamental components of the definition: action, agent, medium, trace and coordination. Stigmergy enables complex, coordinated activity without any need for planning, control, communication, simultaneous presence, or even mutual awareness. This makes the concept applicable to a very broad variety of cases, from chemical reactions to individual cognition and Internet-supported collaboration in Wikipedia. The paper classifies different varieties of stigmergy according to general aspects (number of agents, scope, persistence, sematectonic vs. marker-based, and quantitative vs. qualitative), while emphasizing the fundamental continuity between these cases. This continuity can be understood from a non-linear, self-organizing dynamic that lets more complex forms of coordination evolve out of simpler ones. The paper concludes with two specifically human applications in cognition and cooperation, suggesting that without stigmergy these phenomena may never have evolved in the first place.

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Written by learningchange

July 29, 2014 at 3:00 pm

The Affective Turn: Political Economy, Biomedia and Bodies

… many of the critics and theorists who turned to affect often focused on the circuit from affect to emotion, ending up with subjectively felt states of emotion – a return to the subject as the subject of emotion.  I want to turn attention instead to those critics and theorists who, indebted to Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Baruch Spinoza and Henri Bergson, conceptualize affect as pre-individual bodily forces augmenting or diminishing a body’s capacity to act and who critically engage those technologies that are making it possible to grasp and to manipulate the imperceptible dynamism of affect. I want to argue that focusing on affect – without following the circuit from affect to subjectively felt emotional states – makes clear how the turn to affect is a harbinger of and a discursive accompaniment to the forging of a new body, what I am calling the biomediated body.

In pointing to the devastating potential of biopolitical racism at the post-biological threshold, it is important to remember, however, that a threshold is indeterminate. It is the limit point beyond which there will have been change irreducible to causes. To elaborate the political economy of the biomediated body is not to determine the political economic as the cause of the biomediated body or its potential. It is rather to offer a back-formed analysis of the conditions of possibility of arriving at this threshold – which will help to move thinking about political economy from a prior back forming analysis and set the stage for strategizing about what is to be done. While the political gain expected by the affective turn – its openness, emergence and creativity – is already the object of capitalist capture, as capital shifts to accumulate in the domain of affect and deploys racism to produce an economy to realize this accumulation, it is important to remember the virtual at the threshold. Beyond it, always a chance for something else, unexpected, new.

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Written by learningchange

July 29, 2014 at 1:42 pm

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