Taking the word ḤSD in the Book of Ruth as an example, this study argues that the meaning of a word can only be fully determined by taking into consideration the linguistic and socio-cultural contexts within which it functions. A basic assumption is that the biblical source text serves as a frame of reference for the semantic analysis of a particular word. The text provides an integrative semantic and pragmatic framework within which a biblical term must be investigated with reference to its wider socio-cultural setting.
The explorative dissertation gives manifold insights into how complex the delineation and historical development of a new technological field is. Its analysis is based on the academic sector with its own structural and cultural elements where distinct formal and informal rules as well as beliefs are valid. The dissertation derives hypotheses from simulation and narrative interview data. The hypotheses make clear that the process of implementation of an advanced technology cannot be seen as an input-output relationship when trying to foster technological innovations and economic growth. Rather, working cultures based on norms, beliefs, and related meanings are located within institutions, i.e., universities and their research groups. These institutions are exposed to external pressures, such as grant policies. The interactions within the field seem to run counter to external political forces. In the end, the tension which emerges in the field produces the identity of nanotechnology within the scientific community. This identity is marked precisely by the ambiguity and reluctance that nanotechnology evokes in nanoresearchers who develop prolific strategies to deal with public funding on the one hand and to nurture the importance of firmly established academic disciplines on the other. These two strands represent the two sides of the coin of the academic community and the identity of nanotechnology.
The results are three-fold: first, the emergence of a research network due to nanotechnology funding and the impact of public funding were simulated by agent-based modeling; second, since the model does not give insights into the organizational life of academic nanotechnology, meanings of German and U.S. nanoscientists and their view on nanotechnology were explored drawing on data from 33 interviews; third, based on these meanings and evaluations of nanotechnology, central organizational characteristics of the academic field of nanotechnology were established. These hypotheses additionally hint to the limits of the Varieties-of-Capitalism (VoC) approach that relates solely to the macro-level and cannot adequately explain the success of nanotechnology in Germany, a coordinated market economy (CME). An analysis of the meso-level reveals the differing national implementations of nanotechnology at universities that show how, in different national contexts, an advanced technology can be successfully incorporated into higher education and research systems.
The main finding was that the field of nanotechnology is exposed to forces exerted by political actors and grant policies on the one hand and by reluctance and ambiguity toward nanotechnology within the scientific community on the other. In other words, a political Mode 2 conception of knowledge production concept meets a Mode 1 culture of university knowledge production. The result is tension, which represents the main characteristic of the field and which marks the production of an identity of nanotechnology that takes effect in academe.
This tension is positively used by politicians and scientists who manage to pursue their own goals without infringing each other’s responsibilities. Scientists, the main actors interviewed for the study, are involved in both institutional and cultural change. They induce change through strategically handling the external political pressure or, more neutrally speaking, political interests by tapping into third-party funds and by simultaneously nurturing their working cultures. The latter were based on academic disciplines that they were formerly socialized in and that marked the reproduction of new scientists for their research groups. Cultural change becomes visible in the fact that an institutionalization of nanotechnology is possible without restructuring the disciplinary based institutional structure of universities and without turning scientists into mere nanotechnologists. Finally, in addition to structural institutional change in higher education systems, processes of institutionalization have been included: the definition of a scientific community via identity construction and professionalization.
The exploration of the field of nanotechnology is important for two reasons. First, nanotechnology is a new advanced technology that is strongly politically pushed and that incites enormous institutional change, both on the structural and on the process-level, as shown by professionalization for instance. Second, in previous studies, an emphasis has been laid primarily on the development of patents and citations in nanotechnology. The study, by contrast, looks at nanotechnology from wholly new perspectives. For countries that stress advanced technologies as drivers for economic growth and measure for international competitiveness, knowledge about the constitution of a field is indispensable if one wants to foster it in a successful and effective way.
For now, nanotechnology is not a discipline in the sense that it has a fixed number of actors or a clear profile or linear identity, yet it has been successfully institutionalized in Germany and the U.S. and is characterized by a unique identity. This identity is based on the socially constructed interests of the central actors of the field, interests that meet at the point where these actors agree that public funding is indispensable to advance nanotechnology.
Institutional change can be observed without a change of the predominant disciplinary structure of universities that is based on chairs and departments or colleges. This finding runs counter to the Mode 2 argument that interdisciplinarity has become a feature of university knowledge production. The tension that arises from the prevalence of disciplines and the integration of nanotechnology into universities embracing several disciplines is necessary to enable institutional change. The security of discipline-based self-categorization gives researchers the freedom to risk change without giving up the basic research orientation in nanotechnology. As basic research is still the major portion that informants devoted their time to, the Mode 2 conception of nanotechnology is thus only partially valid due to the early stage of nanotechnology research.
With these interview and simulation results, implications for higher education policy are derived. With the aforementioned influence of the state, the simulation results demonstrate that the way grants are distributed in scientific communities influences the spread of new disciplines and technological research. The simulation results showed a direct influence of funding schemes, with other possible influential factors, i.e., random sample variances or ‘noise,’ ruled out. Public policy can influence science, however and most importantly, only to a limited degree since, naturally, a number of variables exert pressure and change on the field.
This dissertation analyzes Open-End Turbo Certificates (OETCs), a popular class of retail derivatives. OETCs can be exercised at any time at the investor’s discretion. In order to explain the existence of the certificates jump risk must be considered. We propose and implement an optimal stopping approach to price these securities, which further allows for determining optimal exercise thresholds. They result from the trade-off between benefits from downward jump protection and financing costs. We show that early exercise right has a significant impact on their values. In an empirical analysis pertaining to the years 2007 through 2009 it turns out that certificates which could be rationally held are very rare, although the degree by which the underlying exceeds the optimal exercise thresholds continually declines over the considered period. We suggest three lines of explanation: general market movement, jump risk perception by the market, and increased competition among issuers.
This book was passed as a PhD thesis at Bayreuth University, Germany. The author challenges African Biblical scholars and Christian leaders to premise Biblical interpretation on the experiences of the often neglected underclasses. The author argues that from a comparative historical, cultural and material methodological point of view, the experiences of the Zimbabwean underclasses whose collective ordeal is represented by the experiences of domestic workers are strikingly similar to those suffered by slaves among other underclasses in the biblical world. In the same way religion was appropriated by the elite to validate oppression of the underclasses in the biblical world, the author shows that since the colonial era, Christianity in Africa, through biblical interpretation among many other tactics has been an influential force on the side of the dominant class to advance their racial, class and gender interests. To date, in Zimbabwe for example, the Bible (and religion in general) is manipulated by the dominant minority to justify and entrench the exploitation of the majority underclasses. On the other hand, the author observes that the history of ancient Israel, Roman colonial Palestine and colonial Zimbabwe evidences that when religion is appropriated (and/or the Bible is read and interpreted) from the historical cultural and material conditions of the underclasses, it can be a valuable resource not only for their mobilization to overthrow oppressive systems but also for justifying their resistance tactics. Aluta Continua!!(The Struggle goes on!!)
Measurement invariance is a pre-requisite for drawing accurate and valid inferences concerning individuals’ trait levels from questionnaire data. However, several factors exist that can influence a person’s item responses in addition to his or her latent trait level. The research in this dissertation was aimed at investigating three of these factors: 1) individual differences in response styles, 2) the measurement invariance of items between subgroups of respondents, and 3) the measurement invariance of items across assessment periods.
Mixed Rasch analyses of data from the German NEO-PI-R showed that respondents differed systematically in their response scale use: some preferred extreme categories while others preferred moderate categories. Multidimensional item response models showed that response styles (especially extreme response style) explained variance in item responses that was incremental to the variance explained by the traits. Thus, individual differences in response styles had an influence on item responses.
The measurement invariance of items between subgroups of respondents was investigated with respect to differential item functioning for gender in the German NEO-PI-R. Several NEO-PI-R facets especially on neuroticism, agreeableness, and conscientiousness contained items that were not measurement invariant for men and women.
The measurement invariance of items across assessment periods was investigated for link items from the reading and science domains in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Measurement invariance was violated for both item sets. Some items showed large differences in item difficulty between assessments which may in part be attributed to changes in item wording and position effects.
In sum, it was shown that individual differences in response styles, the lack of measurement invariance of items between subgroups of respondents, and the lack of measurement invariance of items across assessment periods can impair the measurement of the intended traits and in consequence render trait inferences and comparisons between individuals or groups invalid. Thus, measures should be taken to reduce the impact of factors that interfere with measurement invariance. These measures can be aimed at test construction where, for example, the item or response format can be adjusted to elicit response styles to a lesser degree and items can be selected that have invariance properties across subgroups of participants and across assessment periods.