Matthew Thomas Johnson

Matthew Thomas Johnson
Northumbria University · Department of Social Sciences

PhD
PI: Assessing prospective impacts of UBI on anxiety and depression (223553/Z/21/Z): https://hosting.northumbria.ac.uk

About

79
Publications
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261
Citations
Introduction
I am Professor of Politics, Northumbria University, Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and Founding Editor of Global Discourse. I have secured over £850,000 to fund my research, which focuses on means of promoting wellbeing and nation-building through public policy. I am leading a multidisciplinary team examining the health case for Universal Basic Income (wp.lancs.ac.uk/healthcaseforubi) and contributed to Labour’s commitment to trial the policy.
Additional affiliations
August 2013 - present
Lancaster University
Position
  • Lecturer
August 2013 - present
Lancaster University
Position
  • Lecturer
Description
  • Module Convener for: PPR220: Modern Political Theory; PPR344: Politics of Cultural Diversity; PPR389: Politics Employability through Outreach; PPR437: Conflict, Culture and Toleration; FASS644: Participatory Research: Achieving Impact:
September 2011 - August 2013
The University of York
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Education
September 2007 - September 2008
Northumbria University
Field of study
  • Psychology
September 2005 - December 2009
Newcastle University
Field of study
  • Politics
September 2004 - September 2005
Newcastle University
Field of study
  • Politics (Research)

Publications

Publications (79)
Preprint
Introduction In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, upstream interventions that tackle social determinants of health inequalities have never been more important. Evaluations of upstream cash transfer trials have failed to capture comprehensively the impacts that such systems might have on population health through inadequate design of the interve...
Article
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Taking Richard Shweder’s (2021) article ‘The prosecution of Dawoodi Bohra women: some reasonable doubts’ as a target piece for discussion, the aim of this issue is to better understand these limitations. In the article, Shweder proposes that some forms of FGC be legalized, arguing that the form of FGC practiced among Dawoodi Bohra Muslims is less i...
Article
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Opposition to Universal Basic Income (UBI) is encapsulated by Martinelli’s claim that ‘an affordable basic income would be inadequate, and an adequate basic income would be unaffordable’. In this article, we present a model of health impact that transforms that assumption. We argue that UBI can affect higher level social determinants of health down...
Research
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https://www.bigissuenorth.com/comment/2021/08/why-dont-we-just-answer-our-mental-health-crisis-with-free-money/ The current crop of young people aged 14 to 24 may be the most vulnerable of all since the Second World War. Their mental health has been affected by a global financial crisis, a decade of austerity and now the Covid pandemic. For young...
Article
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The onset of the 2020 global COVID-19 pandemic led to a marked increase in positive discussion of Universal Basic Income (UBI) in political and media circles. However, we do not know whether there was a corresponding increase in support for the policy in the public at large, or why. Here, we present three studies carried out during 2020 in UK and U...
Article
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In this article, we trace the failure of neoconservative and neoliberal thinkers to revise positions in light of changing US fortunes to highlight the need to evaluate paradigmatic contributions to US Foreign Policy. Drawing on the philosophy of science literature, we suggest that, in order for approaches to be taken seriously, their proponents oug...
Article
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The COVID-19 pandemic has increased interest in Universal Basic Income (UBI) as a means of addressing a range of socio-economic insecurities. While previous trials of cash transfer schemes have often focused on low-level transfers inadequate to satisfy the needs for which the policy was originally developed, emerging pilots are moving toward a posi...
Article
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Background A large body of evidence indicates the importance of upstream determinants to health. Universal Basic Income (UBI) has been suggested as an upstream intervention capable of promoting health by affecting material, biopsychosocial and behavioural determinants. Calls are emerging across the political spectrum to introduce an emergency UBI t...
Article
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At a time of COVID-19 Pandemic, Universal Basic Income (UBI) has been presented as a potential public health ‘upstream intervention’. Research indicates a possible impact on health by reducing poverty, fostering health-promoting behaviour and ameliorating biopsychosocial pathways to health. This novel case for UBI as a public health measure is star...
Article
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The COVID-19 crisis has served, not just to instill fear in the populace, but to highlight the importance of fear as a motivating dynamic in politics. The gradual emergence of political philosophical approaches calling for concern for 'positive' emotions may have made sense under non-pandemic conditions. Now, however, describing fear in the face of...
Article
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Interest in Universal Basic Income (UBI) is often found in metropolitan areas among those in the gig economy. However, for those of us far removed from London, it could be the clearest means of remaking our regions.
Article
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The Spanish Government has committed to introducing a trial of Universal Basic Income (UBI) as a response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. This is a regular payment to all adult citizens intended to provide security and predictability to recipients. The first response of many hard working people is that this is just another example of idleness being rewar...
Preprint
Full-text available
The 2020 global COVID-19 pandemic has led to a marked increase in positive discussion of Universal Basic Income (UBI) in political and media circles. However, we do not know whether there has been a corresponding increase in support for the policy in the public at large, or why. Here, we present two studies carried out in April and May 2020 in UK a...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 Pandemic is projected to cause an economic shock larger than the Global Financial Crisis of 2007/2008 and a recession as great as anything seen since the Great Depression in 1930s. The social and economic consequences of lockdowns and social distancing measures, such as unemployment, broken relationships and homelessness create potenti...
Article
Examination of the role of fear in Government messaging and the loss of control by the UK Government in light of Dominic Cummings' behaviour during the COVID-19 Pandemic: https://theconversation.com/dominic-cummings-and-boris-johnson-have-lost-control-of-the-fear-factor-139237
Article
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In England and Wales, the introduction of ?9,250 higher education (HE) tuition fees and concern more broadly about social mobility has led to the creation of a series of initiatives aimed at widening participation (WP). Increasingly, critics argue that these initiatives have failed to achieve genuine representativeness, with lower ranked universiti...
Article
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In the context of the UK Government's 'prevention agenda', Laura Webber and colleagues have called for a 'health in all policies' approach. Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a system of cash transfers to citizens and recent research suggests it may have a significant impact on health, including via an underexplored role in reduced stress. However, de...
Article
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The UK Conservative Government 2017-2019 has taken steps to promote Engagement as a means of Knowledge Exchange (KE). In 2019/2020, a Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) will be introduced alongside the existing Research (REF) and Teaching (TEF) evaluations. Indeed, the OfS (Office for Students) and UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) (2018, 1) regard...
Article
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Background: In the context of the UK Government’s ‘prevention agenda’, Laura Webber and colleagues have called for a ‘health in all policies’ approach. Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a system of cash transfers to citizens. Recent research suggests it could significantly benefit population health, including via reducing stress. However, a Finnish t...
Chapter
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For the last three years, Centrists have campaigned relentlessly against the leadership of the Labour Party and, to a lesser degree, the Conservative Party, on the basis of Brexit. Woke Labour Centrists, apparent Lib Dem and Green allies and the 'liberal' media made a case for Remain that had already been rejected in 2016 and 2017 and was increasin...
Article
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For the last three years, ‘Centrists’ have campaigned relentlessly against the Labour Party leadership on the basis of Brexit. Woke Labour Centrists, their Lib Dem (and even some Conservative) allies as well as the ‘liberal’ media, made a case for Remain that had already been rejected in 2016 and 2017. Beyond the centrist echo chamber in constituen...
Article
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This article draws upon clinical experience of GPs working in a deprived area of the North East of England to examine the potential contribution of Universal Basic Income to health by mitigating ‘patient-side barriers’ among three cohorts experiencing distinct forms of ‘precariousness’: 1) long-term unemployed welfare recipients with low levels of...
Article
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We seek to clarify and assess the underlying moral reasons for opposing all medically unnecessary genital cutting of female minors, no matter how severe. We find that within a Western medicolegal framework, these reasons are compelling. However, they do not only apply to female minors, but rather to non-consenting persons of any age irrespective of...
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Seán Byers presents a comprehensive overview of the post-crash political landscape in Northern Ireland. His most significant contribution is, perhaps, the most understated: that the Blairite settlement is incapable of resolving the social cleavages that threaten any possibility of harmony. He highlights, again and again, the ways in which apparentl...
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This is an introduction to Militancy and the working class: The case of Northern Ireland. I outline the substantive content of the issue, arguing that the dynamics at play render much of our established understandings contestable.
Article
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Jonathan Evershed presents a compelling account of the clear dangers that lie in forms of state-led remembrance. The danger is, of course, that, in commemorating, actual experience is lost. While I do not wish to challenge any of the core claims in the piece, I do think that there is one element that requires greater examination: Evershed’s claim t...
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Participatory action research (PAR) investigates issues through collaboration and cooperation between academics and non-academic community members. Recently, awareness of such approaches has increased as the need for transformative research and contribution to social goods has become clear. However, participatory methods have been deployed unevenly...
Article
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In 2015/16, stress was found psychologically to be responsible for 37% of all work-related illnesses and 45% of all working days lost due to illness in Great Britain. Stress has also been linked to long-term chronic health conditions—including heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, arthritis and depression—responsible for 70% of NHS Englan...
Article
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How should academic staff engage in outreach with communities outside of the university? The need of academics to answer this question has intensified in the UK given the changing priorities of academic job roles, shaped by increasing institutional concern for widening participation, graduate employability and research impact in an era of austerity...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Universal Basic Income (UBI) has been advanced to deal with a number of challenges. Seldom have trials of UBI been designed adequately to measure its impact on the health of participants across the spectrum of socioeconomic status. But the data that does exist suggests that policy has the potential to improve this aspect of people’s lives. Two theo...
Article
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A universal basic income could alleviate GPs’ gatekeeping role in access to welfare benefits, freeing them up to do their real job of caring for patients.
Article
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John McDonnell has announced that Labour may include a trial of Universal Basic Income (UBI) in the next Labour Party Manifesto. UBI – state provision of unconditional monthly stipends to all adult citizens – has been justified on myriad grounds: citizenship, welfare reform, growth. However, its biggest and, as yet, unexplored contribution may be t...
Research
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The Association for Academic Outreach (http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/afao/) is a loose coalition of academics working in universities engaged with the world outside. The 92 members are from a wide range of intellectual, social and economic backgrounds, drawn from each and every subject area, discipline and type of institution. It therefore represents many...
Book
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This book attempts to explore the effects of neoliberalism on particular forms of community. Guy Standing (2011) has popularised the notion of precariousness to describe the unpredictable neoliberal conditions faced by radically different people throughout the world. Members of Standing’s ‘precariat’ lack occupational identities, treat work and oth...
Article
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In this article, we examine ways in which critics of liberalism come to adopt, without acknowledgement, ‘liberal’ forms of public reason in responding to homogenising tendencies of fundamentalist doctrines. We focus on the divergent approaches of John Gray and Slavoj Žižek, arguing that the former upholds a comprehensive form of liberalism, while t...
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The emergence of the ‘Widening Participation’ (WP) agenda in English Higher Education (HE) has been intensified by the shift to tuition fees of £9000 or more. Now, universities have an obligation to devote funds to encouraging participation of students from a range of groups identified by the Office for Fair Access as being under-represented and di...
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This issue of Global Discourse represents the culmination of a series of collaborations exploring ‘precariousness’ stemming back to 2013 – the year in which we last published an issue on the topic (see Johnson 2013). Here, we attempt to explore the effects of neoliberalism on particular forms of community through the work of participants in ‘A Cros...
Article
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Marx’s development and deployment of a teleological account of history derived, in part, from Hegelian tenets has been central to modern notions of progress. This stands in contrast to Rousseau’s romanticism, which holds that human well-being declines as technology advances. In this article, I challenge these two positions through engagement with t...
Article
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In recent years, the notion of pluralism or, as it is often termed, “multiculturalism,” has been subject to critique by a range of public figures on the right of the political spectrum, such as David Cameron, Angela Merkel and Donald Trump. While “multiculturalism” is presented as being antithetical to the traditions of Western societies, it is, in...
Chapter
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For much of 2010-2015, I ran a participatory project involving community co-researchers from Ashington, Northumberland. The project traced the ways the dissolution of institutions through neoliberalism was inflicting on once functioning communities avoidable harm, despite valiant efforts of community members. Nationalized industry had provided subs...
Article
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Aboriginal Australian public intellectual Noel Pearson has gained prominence and influence for his brand of policy reform in Indigenous affairs by drawing upon the capabilities approach. This article challenges the coherence of Pearson's position, arguing that his unrelenting focus on personal responsibility leads him to conflate different elements...
Book
Full-text available
In his recent work, Guy Standing has identified a new class which has emerged from neo-liberal restructuring with, he argues, the revolutionary potential to change the world: the precariat. This, according to Standing, is 'a class-in-the-making, internally divided into angry and bitter factions' consisting of 'a multitude of insecure people, living...
Book
Full-text available
The politics of the twenty-first century is marked by dissent, tumult and calls for radical change, whether through food riots, anti-war protests, anti-government tirades, anti-blasphemy marches, anti-austerity demonstrations, anti-authoritarian movements and anti-capitalist occupations. Interestingly, contemporary political protests are borne of b...
Article
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David Cameron’s declaration that there will be ‘no more’ passive tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) comes against the backdrop of the revelation that 1,000 cases of FGM had been recorded in three months this year as part of NHS data collection on the practice. This data collection commenced in April as part of the Government’s eradicatio...
Article
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In the context of higher tuition fees, the Government’s employability agenda and growing concern for defined career development strategies among young people, there is a need more effectively for Politics programmes to foster the capacity to communicate politics. Without communicating the implications and relevance of politics the subject and the s...
Article
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The post Election petition (https://www.change.org/p/theukgovernmentallowthenorthofenglandtosecedefromtheukandjoinscotland) to allow the North of England to secede from the UK and join a 'New Scotland' highlights the deep alienation of the North from the centre of power in London, but also the problematic nature of Englishness and 'English' interes...
Article
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Over the past three years, the concept of the nation state and the shared, cultural understandings which underpin it, have been examined in a participatory project involving people from two groups which are increasingly alienated from their respective states: people from Ashington, Northumberland, which has seen its traditional source of livelihood...
Book
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Michael Oakshott described conservatism as a non-ideological preference for the familiar, tried, actual, limited, near, sufficient, convenient and present. Historically, conservatives have been associated with attempts to sustain social harmony between classes and groups within an organic, hierarchical order grounded in collective history and cultu...
Article
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For the past two years, two apparently unconnected groups have been working together to develop cultural resources to help deal with difficult socioeconomic circumstances. The groups, from Ashington, Northumberland, and various Aboriginal communities around Brisbane, Australia, have very different histories, traditions and environments, separated a...
Article
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The United Kingdom’s electorate is headed to the polls after the country’s coalition government missed most of its targets for deficit and debt reduction, managing only to provide a return to prosperity for London and southeast England. Disparate portions of the country, once held together by collective achievements such as the National Health Serv...
Article
Full-text available
Michael Oakshott described conservatism as a non-ideological preference for the familiar, tried, actual, limited, near, sufficient, convenient and present. Historically, conservatives have been associated with attempts to sustain social harmony between classes and groups within an organic, hierarchical order grounded in collective history and cultu...
Article
Full-text available
With the election in May 2015 of the first Conservative majority Government since 1992, attention is firmly fixed on new rounds of austerity. Gone are the references to the ‘well-being agenda’ and claims of social progress being devolved to civil society through ‘Big Society’. The Government’s ideological commitment to a stripping back of the state...
Article
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Police and border officials have been running a campaign at airports across the UK to intercept families who could have taken their children abroad for female genital mutilation (FGM). Now the Metropolitan police chief has said medical examinations to identify FGM victims may have to be considered. Dominating the campaign to end FGM has been a “bar...
Book
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Circumcision is one of the oldest and most common surgical processes, being practised, for a range of medical, social and religious reasons, on up to 30% of males worldwide. It is currently being promoted by a range of health bodies as a means of tackling HIV in developing countries. Yet, there is significant concern about sexual, physiological and...
Book
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Empire is one of the oldest forms of political organisation and has dominated societies in all parts of the world. Yet, despite the emergence of nation-states in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the apparent end of empire with the breakup of European colonial regimes and the Soviet Union in the twentieth century, empire remains powerful...
Article
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In his recent work, Guy Standing has identified a new class which has emerged from neo-liberal restructuring with, he argues, the revolutionary potential to change the world: the precariat. This is‘a class-in-the-making, internally divided into angry and bitter factions’ consisting of ‘a multitude of insecure people, living bits-and-pieces lives, i...
Chapter
Full-text available
Cultural evaluation denotes the assessment of a culture’s performance according to a potentially infinite range of rubrics. The term does not denote inherently reliance upon perfectionist or goods-based criteria and may be grounded in deontological conditions of rights and justice. It may often be associated with assessment across or between cultur...
Book
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From which evaluative base should we develop policies designed to promote wellbeing among different cultural groups in varying circumstances? This book engages with needs and capabilities to advance normative functionalist assessment of the success with which cultural institutions promote eudaemonic wellbeing in given, determinate circumstances.
Article
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The decision of the German regional court in Cologne on 26 June 2012 to prohibit the circumcision of minors is important insofar as it recognises the qualitative similarities between the practice and other prohibited invasive rites, such as female genital cutting. However, recognition of similarity poses serious questions with regard to liberal pub...
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Introduction to the journal
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One of the most contentious public policy discussions in recent years has concerned harm within Aboriginal Australian communities. The argument has been that purported widespread social pathologies associated with welfare dependency — such as alcoholism, domestic violence, sexual abuse and general fecklessness — have coalesced to foster an environm...
Chapter
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The concept of culture is deeply contested. Between 1920 and 1950 alone, at least one-hundred-and-fifty- seven definitions were presented (Kroeber and Kluckhohn 1952, 149). Having undergone dramatic transformation over the course of at least two centuries, the notion of culture is ubiquitous in political discourse yet conceptually elusive. Core deb...
Chapter
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The aim of this chapter is to begin to advance a response to the ‘Bongo-Bongo’ objection to universal accounts of well-being. Building upon Gray’s broad-brush treatment of the notion of well-being, I wish to circumvent the empirical rejection of universalism by advancing apparently intrinsic, immanent human goods. The nature of this approach, which...
Chapter
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In recent years, the capabilities approach, developed by Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum,1 has superseded basic needs approaches in the development and quality of life literatures (Reader 2006, 337), being employed by agencies such as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as a means of evaluating social conditions and the outcomes of develo...
Chapter
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I began the substantive content of this book with a discussion of the obstacles to evaluation. I think that there are good reasons to believe that a eudaimonic approach can serve seriously to challenge the notion that there are no goods independent of cultural construction and the belief that people’s interests lie solely in their living in accorda...
Chapter
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In the modern, multimedia world it is common to think about ways of life as entirely voluntary innovations — as Mill (1998, 71) put it, ‘experiments in living’. Cultural diversity is often considered in a rather superficial manner — the ‘“sari, samosa and steelband” variety of multiculturalism’, detailed and derided by Alibhai-Brown (2004, 231) — i...
Chapter
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In order to develop a universal account of enduring, immanent human interests upon which to mount a case against cultural sources of injury, it is necessary to overcome a series of ‘relativist’ claims regarding the nature of the human condition. My aim in this chapter is to unpack these claims and, by examining elements of the work of John Gray, to...
Article
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In this article, Matthew Johnson examines the possibility of using elements of John Gray's work to advance a means of evaluating cultures, in order to inform the development of pluralist perfectionist forms of public policy and, in particular, educational programs. Johnson engages critically with elements of Gray's value pluralism, such as his unde...
Book
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Marx's influence is evident in a range of often incompatible and contradictory political movements and intellectual approaches. With a number of those movements now discredited by the experience of 'really existing socialism', and the academic left gravitating towards approaches which eschew 'authoritarian', 'essentialist' and 'ethnocentric' elemen...
Article
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From which evaluative base should we develop public policies designed to promote wellbeing among different cultural groups in different circumstances? This article attempts to advance an objective, universal theory of cultural evaluation grounded in a eudaemonistic account of human wellbeing. The approach evaluates cultures on the success with whic...
Article
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Over the course of the last century, it has become increasingly unfashionable in the social sciences to make cross-cultural evaluations. The advance of cultural relativism has ensured that criticisms of other cultures are regarded as subjective and ethnocentric. There remain, however, cultural beliefs, practices and traditions which appear, prima f...
Article
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For liberals like Martha Nussbaum, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has come to mark the boundary of toleration. By impairing physical, sexual and psychological functioning, the likes of Nussbaum believe the non-western practice to fulfil, most clearly, the conditions for proscription according to the harm principle. However, those same liberals ass...
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Review of Cynthia Weber's International Relations Theory, 3rd edition
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Introduction to the journal

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Projects (9)
Project
The Association for Academic Outreach (AFAO) facilitates discussion, research, development and dissemination of outreach good practice by and for academics. Members, who share an active interest and engagement in outreach, are drawn from the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities and arts and every type of Higher Education institution, predominantly, though not exclusively, within the UK. At a time in which the reasons for engagement in outreach are pressing and expanding, the Association serves members by: Sharing examples of good practice through our online index of programmes of Continuing Professional Development, employability, public engagement, recruitment, subject and career promotion and Widening Participation Collating and disseminating information on funding for outreach activities Facilitating discussion of and rapid feedback on issues through our JISCMail list Promoting collaborative research co-authored by members on issues of importance to outreach Advocating policy on outreach through short policy papers Holding an annual conference at rolling locations in which good practice is shared and developed and research projects organised and disseminated Membership is free for 2018/2019 and offers participation in the activities above. To join, simply subscribe to our JISCMail list The Association is co-ordinated by Matthew Johnson, Lancaster University.