Politics & Society

Thinking about what’s for dinner

Despite the fact that many people aren’t sure where their food comes from anymore, journalist Kiera Butler says a program over a century old may, if it tries, have the capacity to spread the sustainable food movement.

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Sovereigns, not settlers

In ethnically-diverse North America, there can be a fine line between a natural melding of cultures and cultural appropriation — a now-familiar battle cry that rings out each time Iggy Azalea releases a new track. But when people accuse one another of appropriating aspects of Indigenous culture in particular, argues Monika Siebert, they’re often missing a more important political point.

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Closing rifts and opening minds

Jamil Jivani is fighting racial profiling by police in a new way. Mediated discussions about ill treatment, he tells SCOPE, could well be the key to rewiring the system and avoiding large-scale injustice.

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The many incarnations of Mary Sibande

One of South Africa’s most important new artists raises difficult questions about colour, womanhood, and the nature of freedom. As another banner year for Mary Sibande ends, Lisa Meekison looks back on her development and on the many meanings of her work.

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Moscow’s future, Moscow’s past: a reluctant love story

The massive architectural heritage of the Soviet era has long been a source of mixed feelings for Moscow’s residents, and in the building boom of the last two decades, much of it has been lost to the developer’s shovel. Belatedly, the city has now begun to acknowledge, protect, and adapt these time-worn, daunting, romantic buildings.

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Reforms, not reformers

Industrial-scale agriculture has placed small farmers and their local environments at risk not just in the United States but across the developing world, warns Eric Holt-Giménez of the “think-and-do-tank” Food First. Fixing the problem, he argues, isn’t a matter of waiting for top-down reform — but of generating sustained pressure from below.

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Our cameras, our minds

It seems axiomatic that photography is a sighted person’s art form. But Gina Badenoch, who facilitates photography workshops with blind people and marginalized communities, argues that it’s also a language that can connect us to each other, and help us to see.

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Bankrupt, but there’s a Whole Foods

That the opening of a single grocery store in a single city should be national news might seem hard to explain. Then again, the city is Detroit and the store is Whole Foods, and the full story involves post-industrial decline, growing food insecurity, and a population that refuses to become invisible, or to give up.

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Into the great wide open

Today’s children spend less time in nature than any generation before them. Jon Alexander, brand strategist at the UK’s National Trust, and filmmaker David Bond tell SCOPE about the implications for children’s well-being, and about their ambitious (and irreverent) Project Wild Thing, a documentary that looks at what it would take to get boys and girls back outside.

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Convict cells, graves, and gift shops

Driven by pleasure-seeking and curiosity, over the past century and a half tourism has evolved from a pastime of the leisured rich to a trillion-dollar mass industry. But tourism is about much more than fun and money, historian Richard White tells SCOPE: looked at the right way, it offers an invaluable view into a society’s relationship with its own past, and with its present identity.

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Telling stories for a better China

If rampant consumerism is a cultural — not just economic — phenomenon, can a culture be deliberately changed to minimize its effects? Peggy Liu leads China Dream, a project that aims to achieve nothing less with the world’s most populous nation and oldest civilization. SCOPE asks her how she plans to succeed.

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Night lights

Paul Bogard’s scientific, literary, and philosophical account of why the end of night — driven by unremitting and ever-increasing light pollution around the world — should worry us all.

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