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Where is population in “surplus population”?

Henry Bernstein


Is the impetus toward “surplus population” in Marx's analysis an effect of capital's law of accumulation or a “function” of it? How might a Marxist analysis of “surplus population” aid in theorizing demographic change under the capitalist mode of production? And to what extent are individuals who lack a “proper job” superfluous to capital accumulation? This article engages these questions through a survey of Marxist and marxisant attempts to theorize the exclusion of certain populations from capitalist employment. The way in which these questions are answered—the way, that is, in which “excluded” populations are understood to relate to processes of capital accumulation—has implications for thinking through appropriate political responses.

Open access

Who is the Digital Sovereign?

Rahel Süß


The article theorizes the sovereign in recent digital democratic experiments. It demonstrates how the prevailing perspective is based on a liberal-technocratic understanding that overlooks important questions of organized collective power and identity. To address these limitations, the article contrasts the liberal-technocratic framework with a radical democratic approach. This alternative allows for reimagining the digital sovereign in two ways. First, it shifts the focus from the sovereign as a mere aggregation of networked individuals with fixed identities to one that opens up opportunities for ongoing identity construction and transformation. Second, a radical democratic approach emphasizes that the digital sovereign emerges from the individual and collective capacity to organize power.

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Why Are They Afraid of Us?

Kadi Sow

It all began when I was twelve

When I decided to wear my hijab

Inspired by the brave and resilient women who came before me

The hardships they had to go through

Not knowing that a simple cloth

Can start a riot

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“Why Don't You Just Take it Off?”

Hijab as Resistance

Amilah Baksh and Bibi Baksh


Through collaborative autoethnography, a mother and a daughter with shared and diverging identities examine the hijab as a radical practice of feminist resistance in our lives. Our lived experiences as Indo-Caribbean social workers and university educators at a predominantly white institution offer a unique point of departure from normative narratives of hijabi girls and women. Using a critical feminist analysis, we chronicle our journey through more than 60 years of patriarchal oppression and white supremacy. Our stories reveal a complicated relationship with the hijab as an important faith practice which also functions as a marker of otherness that signals unbelonging in all spheres of our lives including the academy and social work practice.

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‘|Y]oung Hamlet’

Shakespeare for Swedish Children

Mette Hildeman Sjölin


Shakespeare's Hamlet has been retold in children's versions several times in Sweden in recent years. It was the subject of the first episode of the children's television programme På teatern [At the Theatre], written and directed by Christina Nilsson for SVT in 2001–2002, where Shakespearean actors meet their child or grandchild backstage after a performance to tell and partly enact the story of the play. In 2005–2006, Lotta Grut wrote the plays Lille Hamlett och spöket [Little Hamlett and the Ghost] and Offelia kom igen! [Offelia Come Again!] for the theatre company Unga Roma. In these fairy-tale versions, the children Hamlet and Ophelia are confronted with death, grief, anger, oppression and erasure. This article argues that the På teatern episode is an adaptation of Hamlet while Grut's two plays are appropriations.

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The Yellow Vests’ Relationship to Revolution and Violence

Alix Choinet


The Yellow Vests movement, which started in France in late 2018, was unprecedented in many ways. Its use of social media to bring together individuals from all across the country, its lack of clear leadership, its refusal to work alongside political parties or unions, and its ability to bring together opinions from across the political spectrum set it apart from other periods of political and social unrest in France. Yet commentators and demonstrators alike have drawn comparisons with France's revolutionary past. Could the movement be described as revolutionary? Are the violent acts of the protestors and the violent acts of the police sufficient criteria to categorize the movement as revolutionary? Drawing from government data, reports of the demonstrations, and publications on the Yellow Vests, this article argues that their appropriation of revolutionary imagery and methods suffice to qualify some of their efforts as revolutionary, especially when considering the movement's continued impact on political and social commentary in France.

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Young Hijabis in Kashmir

Everyday Perceptions, Practices and Politics

Aatina Nasir Malik


In this article, I look at the perceptions, practices, and politics of donning the hijab in the lives of young Muslim women and girls in Kashmir. I conducted narrative analysis on observations and unstructured interviews that asked for young women's descriptions about the happenings, relationships, emotions, actions, and choices related to the donning of hijab with a recognition of the historical, cultural, and social context shaping them. My analysis departs from the binaries of oppression vs. resistance and personal vs. political to underscore the spatiotemporal everyday lived realities of hijabi girls and young women in locating the practice at the confluence of religion, militarization, and digitalization, tracing both the disjunctions and convergence in participants’ hijab narratives, thereby reconceptualizing the notion of agency.

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About the Cover Image

Chris Haywood

The image is of a locker in a changing room. Men, bodies and changing rooms have historically been associated with sports, homosociality and homophobia. In such instances, the locker room has become a space where men learn how to be men where the talk and innuendo of the sexual degradation of women becomes a form of bonding, of men being men. Chow (2021) suggests that the locker room is more than just a place for the reinforcement of misogyny and homophobia. It's a space of watching and being watched, of glances, a place of visual touching. It's a place where there's an uneasy friction embedded in practices that are openly hidden.

Open access


Trust: Too much, too little, never just enough

Andrea Ballestero


This afterword explores trust as a troubled and turbulent social relation that takes exuberant social forms and often operates as a contested ideology. It highlights how trust-seeking technologies yield unexpected effects, such as forms of sociality without social life, hyper-awareness of geographic context as a means for effective surveillance, a displacement of intimate arts of diplomacy in favour of resilience and distance, uncomfortable relations between captivity and trust, and a renewed awareness of how mistrust shapes expectations when promises are evanescent and interests difficult to discern.

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The Authority to Define a Jew

The Controversy about Levirate Marriage between Jacob Ibn Ḥabib and Elijah Mizraḥi at the Beginning of the Sixteenth Century

Susanne Härtel


This article focuses on a rabbinic controversy between the Greek Jewish scholar Elijah Mizrah.i and his Iberian colleague Jacob Ibn Ḥabib in the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the sixteenth century. The case at hand concerned specific legal questions regarding levirate marriage. These had become particularly difficult with the involvement of converts, posing fundamental questions about Jewish group affiliation. Analysing the related but contrasting legal opinions of Mizrah.i and Ibn Ḥabib, I suggest distinguishing between an intellectual approach and a traditionalist approach to answering these questions. Whereas earlier scholarship has attributed the scholars’ diverging conclusions mainly to their different cultural backgrounds, I argue that Mizraḥi and Ibn Ḥabib chose different lines of reasoning for strategic reasons, grounded in their particular political situations.