Laudato Si’: on a glimpse of theory masked in translation

Prof. Hayward explores the Pope’s thinking on environmental issues, and notes the importance of good translations!

Tim Hayward

‘To seek only a technical remedy to each environmental problem which comes up is to separate what is in reality interconnected and to mask the true and deepest problems of the global system.’ (Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, English Version, §111.)

These words from the papal encyclical, Laudato Si’, contain a profound and important truth that is worth reflecting on.

Ironically, an aspect of it is also masked by the English text at this point. The locus of problems, according to the English, is ‘the global system’. By contrast, the Italian and Spanish – which I take to reflect more intimately the Italo-Argentinian pope’s mind – refer, respectively, to sistema mondiale and sistema mundial. Their natural translation would be not ‘global system’ but ‘world system (and elsewhere in the text, the translation does let mondiale/mundial be ‘world’ and globale/global be ‘global’.)

The translation thereby…

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Women chief executives in Scotland’s councils

Why are women more frequently found as chief executives of Scottish local government than as council leaders? Any ideas? Prof. Mitchell would be interested to hear what you think.

Academy of Government @ Edinburgh University

By Professor James Mitchell

Local by-elections in Orkney rarely draw much attention but the West Mainland by-election in August has done so because of the all-women field of candidates. That this is deemed newsworthy speaks volumes. The position of women in local government is mixed and a significant difference outlined below invites careful attention.

While women continue to be under-represented in candidate selection, election and leadership positions across Scotland’s thirty-two local authorities, a different picture emerges in the appointment of senior officers. For over six months, both Glasgow and Edinburgh City Councils – Scotland’s two largest authorities in population terms – had women chief executives before Dame Sue Bruce retired from her position in Edinburgh in July. There are now 14 women heading up Scotland’s 32 local authorities compared with only five women council leaders (out of 33 when we account for the two men jointly heading Aberdeenshire Council).

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Plans to Evict ‘Illegal’ Immigrants: A Lesson in Symbolic Politics

A new blogpost here from Prof. Boswell

Politics, Knowledge & Migration

This week the government announced plans to facilitate the eviction of tenants illegally resident in the UK. As part of their drive to ‘create a hostile environment for illegal migrants’, the government will remove legal obstacles to evicting non-nationals who do not have legal residency status. They will also introduce penalties for landlords who fail to enforce the new provisions.

This measure doesn’t make sense on any practical level. First, those evicted are likely to end up homeless or in overcrowded accommodation. They will be vulnerable to exploitation by ruthless landlords operating outside the rules – indeed the measure is likely to lead to a growth in the irregular property letting market.

Second, as pilots of this scheme have already shown, landlords are likely to be more cautious about letting to non-nationals, or even British nationals who cannot produce the relevant documentation. Certain ethnic minority groups already face discrimination in…

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