It is with great pleasure that I am introducing you to this winter’s ESTRO edition and to the first issue of the new academic year. The sixth volume of the university’s academic student journal is successfully continuing a five-year tradition by publishing student research papers of the highest standard, from a multitude of disciplines that are taught at Essex. The articles chosen for this instalment are sure to challenge your critical thought by proposing new and intriguing perspectives upon a varied range of topics. This intellectual odyssey starts with an incursion into the depths of the human psyche, illustrated in a Freudian analysis of The Hunger Games. Although it treats matters of the law, the next article gives you the opportunity to view an aspect of language which helps us create our own mental construction of reality. It focuses on the arbitrariness of concepts such as criminal labels that are subjected to social and historical changes and are rendered ineffective.
The projection of the mind into the external world helps explain how our consciousness perceives what happens around us. The following two essays offer a transition from thought to action by giving a comprehensive description and raising awareness of how theoretical concepts interact with historical events. One discusses the implications of ethnicity and certain ideologies that can lead to atrocious events, leaning on the evidence of the controversial subject of the Armenian Genocide. The other skilfully navigates between bi-polar and multi-polar systems trying to establish the strengths and weaknesses of each of these two political power notions. This engaging reading experience will come full circle with the final essay, which proposes a very interesting take on the rise of minor parties in the British general elections since 1997. The author succeeds in elaborating an insightful analysis of the post-1997 data that will allow readers to consider certain relevant elements responsible for the shifts in voting mentality that occur behind the British political scene.
Opening the issue is a compelling article by Frazer Meritt, whose analytical writing describes the journey to psychosexual maturity of one of the best-known characters in current popular film culture. In ‘Freud, the Oedipus Complex, and The Hunger Games’, the author starts by a general presentation of the Oedipus complex, key element related to the human psyche that leads to the formation of the unconscious. Meritt will then introduce its readers to the particular way in which this natural process applies to Katniss Everdeen, the main protagonist of this cinematic production. Her evolution is hindered by the totalitarian regime under which she and her family are living and by the death of her father that occurs before she manages to complete all five stages of the phenomenon named by Freud. The character’s actions are presented as being under the influence of a reversed Oedipal complex. The construction of the unconscious is therefore experienced by Katniss in a unique and enticing way that will make you reconsider your own knowledge about the human psyche.
The next submission treats the topic of criminal labelling and how concepts designed by the human mind can change according to social progress and alteration of the law. Supported by a selection of examples and written in a clear and distinct way, even for those unfamiliar to the subject, ‘Corporate Crime and White Collar Crime: Inaccuracies of Criminal Labels’ is a well-researched article by Roy Clark who explores the evolution in time and their currency within the legal term system of ‘corporate crime’ and ‘white collar crime’. Clark argues that the confusion caused by the use of these two terms is created by a misunderstanding of the English criminal law, especially by non-specialised individuals who wrongfully perceive this terminology as corresponding to only a partial record of cases. In his extensive analysis of legal jargon, the author proposes two new labels that would offer a more accurate description of these specific situations, ‘organisational crime’ and ‘occupational crime’ respectively.
Sofya Manukyan continues the series of submissions with her article about ‘The Interconnection between Ethnicity, Ideology and Genocide and their Reflection on the Armenian Genocide’. The author manages to change the viewpoint on this highly debated political matter by expanding her research to the theoretical component standing behind this historical event. Manukyan first introduces terms such as ethnicity and nationalism which she gradually shows to be the ideological instigators of a series of forced processes of assimilation that started with the Armenian genocide. The writer follows with a thorough report of the events that will allow readers to improve their understanding of the factors linked to the genocide, of the people involved in taking this particular type of action and of how the process was undergone throughout history, from the time of the Ottoman Empire to that of the Republic of Turkey.
The national perspective on political systems and their functions is widened to a global one with an essay written by Eleftherios Eleftheriou. In ‘Is Bi-Polarity more stable than Multi-Polarity?’, Eleftheriou reviews several political systems throughout history in order to establish a pattern of stability hanging in balance between bi-polar and multi-polar systems. The author uses the Cold War period to illustrate the political structure governed by the two main powers of that age, the USA and the USSR. At the same time, he distinguishes between past multi-polar systems that have caused the two World Wars for example, and the current situation in international relations splitting political analysts who argue either for a modern world ruled by one main political force, the USA, or for a multi-polar global power force. While his essay brings compelling arguments for both situations, his conclusion favours bi-polarity, the proven characteristic of a more stable political sphere.
The fifth and final article of this edition of ESTRO is signed by James Downes, whose attempt to answer the following question is supported by the United Kingdom Elections data from 1997 to 2010: ‘What explains the rise of Minor Parties in British General Elections since 1997?’. After giving a comprehensive explanation of what minor parties in the United Kingdom represent and quoting the percentages of voters choosing minor parties like UKIP, the BNP and the Green Party and major parties such as the Conservative, the Labour and the Liberal Democrat parties, Downes outlines two different models that could influence the shift in votes throughout the period mentioned above. The first one states that non-political issues like environmentalism and social structure variations could be responsible for the success of minor parties in the United Kingdom. On the other hand, the second model argues that an increasing negative perception of mainstream parties has been accountable for a change in preference in what voters are concerned. The author addresses, however, another issue regarding minor parties in the second segment of his paper, by putting an emphasis on the limitations of their post-1997 success, hindered by factors of a varied nature.
I hope you all enjoy reading and experiencing the fresh and challenging perspectives offered by this issue of the journal as much as I enjoyed editing and making connections between the pieces of the puzzle. Comprising of topics that might be both familiar and unfamiliar to you, I trust that this edition will help you broaden your academic horizons as much as it did me and will inspire you to expand the investigation of your own area of specialisation and devote your work to this ongoing process of academic research.
On a final note, I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the final form of this issue, especially authors and reviewers, for their fruitful work and dedication. ESTRO is and will remain a journal run by students, for students, and its team will always welcome any new and stimulating submissions that will help maintain the journal’s high standard tradition reflected within the academic environment at the University of Essex.
© Amalia Mihailescu. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY).