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Research we’re reading – May 2018

Research we’re reading is a regular series written by Taylor & Francis employees, taking a look at recent research that has caught our attention and got us thinking.

research we're reading : Erato BaseaErato Basea, Managing Editor

The smell of an old journey: The conservation of the travel diary of Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor by Simona Cenci

Published in Studies in Conservation

“How profoundly extraordinary was the life of Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor. One of the most prolific travel writers, Fermor spent most of his life writing feverishly in his alcove in idyllic Kardamili, my hometown. But before settling in Greece, Fermor had first traveled, inter alia, from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul on foot.

That’s why this article is a major discovery. Simona Cenci, the conservator who worked on the preservation of Fermor’s only surviving travelogue from this remarkable trip of 1933, is the article’s author. To ‘conserve the smell of the old journey’ (Fermor, 1977), Cenci decided not to repair but to preserve the diary’s delicate detached cover, its irreversibly broken sewing and the blue masking tape with which the author kept it together.

Above all, the article celebrates the fascinating work of curators who, like me, have the inextinguishable belief that deeply remarkable lives ought to be read, narrated, shared, preserved, and elevated to eternity.”

research we're reading : Ben HudsonBen Hudson, Marketing Manager

Singing it for “us”: Team passion displayed during national anthems is associated with subsequent success by Matthew J. Slater, S. Alexander Haslam & Niklas K. Steffens

Published in European Journal of Sport Science

“The FIFA World Cup starts in June, which makes this study particularly topical. The researchers looked at data from UEFA Euro 2016. They found teams that displayed more passion during the pre-match national anthems went on to perform better in the knockout phase of the tournament. They looked at two forms of passion – verbal (e.g. singing) and non-verbal (e.g. focus, body language).

Interestingly there’s no relationship between passion and goals scored. However, the more passionate teams conceded fewer goals. The authors suggest several reasons for this: more passionate teams have a stronger sense of social identity; it’s in defence where passion translates to “putting oneself on the line”; and the effects of this show of passion on the opposing team.

If you’re thinking “coaches should tell their teams to sing more” there’s more to it than that – players should mean it. Displays of genuine passion directly link to identification with, and enthusiasm for, the team.”

research we're reading : Jenny NgJenny Ng, Editorial Assistant

Struggling for tomorrow: the future orientations of youth activism in a democratic crisis by Tin-yuet Ting

Published in Contemporary Social Science

“With a longing interest in politics, this paper caught my attention. The author interviewed seventeen of the “potentially radicals” aged 17-29 who were involved in the 79-day Umbrella Movement in 2014. They told us how the authorities decided to forsake “peace and harmony”, purely because the protestors pursued a fairer, more democratic Hong Kong.

It’s interesting to note how social-political activism has evolved from the past. Going from “irrational, collective behavior” it has now become a struggle for “social justice and human dignity”. The article documents the personal encounters of interviewees in a strikingly vivid manner. This allows room for readers who might not have agreed with the protest to rethink the youth’s motives.

Having said that I share the interviewees’ sense of uncertainty for the future; I’d still hope to see how the vibrant power of the youth can cast a change. I’m keen to be witness to the century in which bottom-up participation drives politics. When the community values its own impacts, however big or small.”

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