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Socialisms in the Tsarist Borderlands

Poland and Finland in a Contrastive Comparison, 1830—1907

Wiktor Marzec and Risto Turunen

Abstract

This article presents a conceptual history of socialism in two Western borderlands of the Russian Empire—namely, the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Finland. A contrastive comparison is used to examine the birth, dissemination, and breakthrough of the concept from its first appearance until the Revolution of 1905. The concept entered Polish political conversation as a self-applied label among émigrés in the 1830s, whereas the opponents of socialism made it famous in Finland in the 1840s in Swedish and in the 1860s in Finnish. When socialism became a mass movement at the turn of the century, socialist parties (re)defined the concept through underground leaflets and brochures in Poland, and through a legal labor press in Finland. In both cases, the Revolution of 1905 meant the final democratization of socialism, attaching more meanings to the concept and making it the most discussed ism of modern politics.

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Appropriations and Contestations of the Islamic Nomenclature in Muslim North India

Elitism, Lexicography, and the Meaning of The Political

Jan-Peter Hartung

ABSTRACT

This article comprises a twofold attempt: the first is to establish a semantic field that revolves around the concept of siyāsat—roughly equivalent to the political—in Muslim South Asia; the second is to trace semantic shifts in this field and to identify circumstances that may have prompted those shifts. It is argued here that the terms that constitute the semantic field of the political oscillate between two sociolinguistic traditions: a strongly Islamicate Arabic one, and a more imperially oriented Persian one. Another linguistic shift is indicated with the replacement of Persian by Urdu as the dominant literary idiom in and beyond North India since the eighteenth century. The aim is to serve only as a starting point for a more intensive discussion that brings in other materials and perspectives, thus helping to elucidate the tension between normative aspirations by ruling elites and actual political praxes by variant socioeconomic groups.

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Crisis? How Is That a Crisis!?

Reflections on an Overburdened Word

Michael Freeden

ABSTRACT

Crisis has become such a ubiquitous word that its discriminatory power is diminished across various disciplines. It challenges the word-concept relationship inasmuch as it is associated with a host of partner words that imbue crisis with divergent meanings. Not least, it stretches between major upheavals and minor disturbances, often employed with calculating or rhetorical dramatic effect. This article explores both professional and vernacular usages of “crisis” and notes the distinction between theories of crisis and ideologies of crisis. It then turns to examining two domains closely linked to the language of crisis: Marxist analyses of capitalism, and legitimation problems. The latter is explored particularly through Seymour Martin Lipset and Jürgen Habermas. The role of crisis as filtered through different ideological families is indicated. Finally, the relationship between the tipping-point connotations of crisis and the finality drive of political decisions is considered.

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The Making of a Fundamental Value

A History of the Concept of Separation of Church and State in the Netherlands

Mart Rutjes

ABSTRACT

Separation of church and state is one of the key concepts in contemporary debates in increasingly secular democracies like the Netherlands. It is not only used to describe the legal and political arrangements between the state and religious organizations, but is also part of a larger discursive struggle over national identity and the meaning of citizenship. This article traces the history of the concept of separation of church and state in the Netherlands since the eighteenth century. First, it shows how the concept has always been a contested one. Second, it argues that the current framing of separation of church and state as a fundamental value of Dutch society is relatively recent and is connected to growing secularism and the position of Islam in Dutch society.

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On Counterrevolution

Semantic Investigations of a Counterconcept during the French Revolution

Friedemann Pestel

ABSTRACT

After 1789, counterrevolution emerged as revolution’s first counterconcept in French political discourse. While scholars of the French Revolution commonly associate counterrevolution with a backward-oriented political program, often with the restoration of the ancien régime, this article challenges such a retrograde understanding. Drawing on a broad corpus of sources, it emphasizes the flexible and pluralistic meanings of counterrevolution during the 1790s. Rather than designating a political objective, counterrevolution first of all focused on the process of combating the revolution as such, which allowed for different political strategies and aimed beyond a return to the status quo ante. By discussing, next to the French case, examples from the Haitian Revolution, Britain, Germany, and Switzerland, this article also highlights the transnational dimension of the debate on counterrevolution. It concludes with a plea for rethinking counterrevolution as revolution’s asymmetric other in a more relational rather than dichotomous perspective.

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Reviews

Theo Jung, Cristian Roiban, Gregor Feindt, Alexandra Medzibrodszky, Henna-Riikka Pennanen, and Anna Björk

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Time Bandits, Historians, and Concepts of Bad Times

Jan Ifversen

ABSTRACT

Within the history of concepts, the conceptualization of time is central. Historical actors rely on their experiences for orientation in the present, and they produce expectations about the future. To imagine their horizons of expectation they need concepts about the future. When the future becomes difficult to conceive of for a variety of reasons, they take refuge in concepts describing unruly and uncertain times such as crisis or chaos. Times when the future is completely out of reach because the present seems unbearable might be termed catastrophic. Also, historians in general make use of temporal concepts to narrate their histories. They are like time bandits that manipulate time. Following last year’s conference organized by the History of Concepts Group on key concepts in times of crisis, this article takes issue with the discussion of concepts describing bad times within conceptual history.

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Conceptual Universalization and the Role of the Peripheries

Stefan Nygård and Johan Strang

ABSTRACT

Why are some intellectual milieus more prone to universalism than others? Ultimately, it is about power and who can afford to ignore whom. While the international status and recognition of a specific intellectual community—linguistic, urban, national, or regional—are obvious factors, they do not fully account for why the step from local experience to universal claim is shorter for some and longer for others. By combining an actor-oriented discussion of the processes through which intellectuals claim universal validity and applicability for concepts with a discussion of center-periphery tensions in transnational exchange, this article explores the logic of conceptual universalization from the perspective of the European margins.

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Editorial

Margrit Pernau

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Fragmentation in International Law and Global Governance

A Conceptual Inquiry

Timo Pankakoski and Antto Vihma

ABSTRACT

This article examines the concept and metaphor of fragmentation and its underlying assumptions in international law and global governance. After engaging with fragmentation historically, we analyze current debates through five conceptual perspectives. Fragmentation is often perceived as a process, a gradation, a process with a single direction, a prognosis, and normatively as either loss or liberation. These interlinked tendencies carry conceptual implications, such as making fragmentation apparently inevitable or provoking positive revaluations of fragmentation in terms of differentiation. Furthermore, the conceptual coupling of fragmentation with modernity enhances these effects with an historical thesis. Consequently,fragmentation appears as a ubiquitous and necessary, rather than contingent, feature of modern law—a conceptual implication that may hinder empirical work, and that merits critical analysis.