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Beyond (and Before) the Transnational Turn

Recovering Civil Disobedience as Decolonizing Praxis

Erin Pineda

Can civil disobedience be transnationalized? This question presumes civil disobedience to be a fundamentally domestic concept—one constitutively tied to both the nation-state and the normative underpinnings of liberal, constitutional democracies. This article shows how this assumption mistakes one version of civil disobedience’s twentieth-century intellectual history for the whole of it, and risks reproducing binaries (domestic vs. international, democracies vs. non-democracies) that trouble attempts to theorize the transnational. Turning to an alternative intellectual history—a network of civil rights and anticolonial activists—reveals a novel theory of civil disobedience as decolonizing praxis, as well the stakes of these binaries: the disavowal of white supremacy as pervasive and durable global structure of governance, linking the domestic to the international, and democratic rule to domination.

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Karuna Mantena, Adom Getachew, Sofia Näsström, and Jason Frank

Theorizing the Democratic Crowd: From the Who to the How of Popular Assembly

From the Boundaries of the People to their Enactment: A New Terrain for Democratic Theory

Popular Sovereignty, Aesthetics, and Emancipation

Beyond the Age of Democratic Revolution

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Cancer Prevention in Brazil

A Socio-Conceptual-Moral History of Medical Concepts

Luiz Alves Araújo Neto

This article discusses possible dialogues between medical history and the history of concepts, suggesting that a “socio-conceptual-moral” history of medicine offers insightful elements for the historical analysis of conceptual change. Drawing mainly from Reinhart Koselleck’s Begriffsgeschichte and Ludwik Fleck’s theory of knowledge, I focus on three points of the “socio-conceptual-moral” perspective: the approach to medical statements as part of a semantic field, the interaction between a formulated concept and its practice, and negotiations about the meanings of medical concepts between different social arenas. I take the history of cancer prevention in Brazil as a case study to discuss these three aspects and emphasize the situated character of conceptual change. The article analyzes the period between the 1960s and the 1990s when substantial changes in the conceptual framework of cancer prevention confronted continuities in public health and medicine practices, policies, and institutions.

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Michael Boyden, Ali Basirat, and Karl Berglund

This article offers an exploratory quantitative analysis of the conceptual career of climate in US English over the period 1800–2010. Our aim is to qualify two, closely related arguments circulating in Environmental Humanities scholarship regarding the concept’s history, namely that we only started to think of climate as a global entity aft er the introduction of general circulation models during the final quarter of the twentieth century, and, second, that climatic change only became an issue of environmental concern once scientists began to approach climate as a global model. While we do not dispute that the computer revolution resulted in a significantly new understanding of climate, our analysis points to a longer process of singularization and growing abstraction starting in the early nineteenth century that might help to nuance and deepen insights developed in environmental history.

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The Duties to Protest and to Listen to Protest

Communicative Resistance, Enabler’s Responsibility, and Echoing

José Medina

This article argues that the duties to protest and to listen to protest are central democratic obligations required for active citizenship. Section 1 sketches protest as communicative resistance. Section 2 argues that we always have a duty to listen to felicitous protests against injustice and that, under conditions of social uprising, we also have a duty to protest. Section 3 defends a view of protest participation that takes into account subjects’ positionality with respect to the injustice being protested, arguing for the special prerogatives of victims and the duties to defer and yield of non-victims within protest movements. Finally, Section 4 elucidates the notion of giving proper uptake to protest and what I call echoing a protest, that is, expressing communicative solidarity with that protest.

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Genesis of Populism

Its Russian Sediments and Its Updating in Latin America in Historical-Conceptual Key

Claudio Sergio Ingerflom

The article discusses the dominant approaches to populism and, in particular, the origins of the term and the practice of the Russian movement that embodied it. From the sources, it reconstructs the genesis and logic of the concept in a historical-conceptual perspective and the journey of the concept from Russia through China to Latin America. The legitimacy of Russian populism emerges from the relationship between the concept and factual history. In the Russian historical structure (end of the eighteenth century—first decades of the twentieth century), elements such as the preponderance of the concept of “people” over that of “class,” the rejection of politics, society conceived as a confrontation between the people and a tiny minority, and others that have been updated, without being identical, in today’s world, can be observed. Taking into account this updating reveals the historicity of the concept and its current legitimacy.

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Heinrich Gomperz and “Vienna Contextualism”

Historical Epistemology and Logical Empiricism

Luke O’Sullivan

Austrian philosopher Heinrich Gomperz attempted to reconcile the Vienna Circle’s project of a unified science with the autonomy of historical knowledge. This article situates him in the context of the ongoing reassessment of the Vienna Circle in the history of philosophy. It argues that Gomperz’s synthesis of positivism with historicity was a response to difficulties raised by Rudolf Carnap and Otto von Neurath. Gomperz achieved his reconciliation via a theory of language and action that had affinities with both neo-Kantian and pragmatist thought, combining Dilthey’s hermeneutics with Carnap’s requirements for scientific propositions.

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Protest and the Democratic Order

A Research Perspective

Danniel Gobbi, Laura Gorriahn, Daniel Staemmler, and Christian Volk

The introduction of this special issue elaborates a research perspective on the meaning and function of political protest in the context of democratic orders. Starting from the consideration that protest and democratic orders form a close interrelationship, we ask how and to what extent democracy is imagined, negotiated, and problematized within protest, and how democratic orders and politics shape the formation of protest. To this end, we argue for a combination of Democratic Theory and Social Movement Studies. Interweaving these two traditions allows for empirically saturated and theoretically sound interpretations of recent episodes of contention. With this research perspective, we not only gain a deeper understanding of protest dynamics, but also of contemporary social and political transformations within modern democratic societies.

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Reconceptualizing Democratic Innovation

“Democratic Innovation Repertoires” and Their Impact Within and Beyond Social Movements

Cristina Flesher Fominaya

Democratic innovation is one way the multiple crises of democracy can be addressed. The literature on democratic innovation has yet to adequately interrogate the role of social movements, and more specifically the movement of democratic imaginaries, in innovation, nor has it considered the specific mechanisms through which movements translate democratic imaginaries and practices into innovation. This article provides a preliminary roadmap for methodological and conceptual innovation in our understanding of the role of social movements in democratic innovation. It introduces the concept of democratic innovation repertoires and argues that: a) we need to broaden our conceptualization and analysis of democratic innovation to encompass the role of social movements; and b) we need to understand how the relationship between democratic movement imaginaries and the praxis that movements develop in their quest to “save” or strengthen democracy can shape democratic innovation beyond movement arenas after mobilizing “events” have passed.

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Reform, Transformation, Emancipation

Conceptualizing Political Protest in Modern Democracies

Christian Volk

This article outlines a theoretical framework for interpreting the meaning and function of political protest in modern democracies and develops normative criteria for assessing its democratic quality. To allow for a better understanding of how social structures, legal institutions, and political engagement interact in protest, I combine analytical perspectives from social theory and democratic theory. A useful first distinction, I argue, is between reformist and transformative forms of protest. While reformist protest does not challenge the given framework of the modern democratic order, transformative protest politicizes the basic principles of that order. Finally, I develop four criteria to identify emancipatory traits within protest movements: 1) expanding the circle of those who benefit from the fulfillment of democracy’s promises; 2) the establishment of discursive democratic spaces; 3) a balance between dramatization and exchange; and 4) a willingness to become someone else.