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Between Science and Utopia

Physical and Astronomical Notions within French and Polish Fourierism

Piotr Kuligowski and Quentin Schwanck

This article investigates the role of physical and astronomical notions in the formation process of transnational political ideologies. It does so by focusing on the striking example of nineteenth-century early socialist movements, particularly Fourierism. Indeed, Fourier’s bold cosmogony enabled him to connect many fields of knowledge, and soon became a powerful vehicle for his ideas on the international scale. The article likewise analyses the ideological process through which Fourierist astronomical conceptions were adopted by foreign socialists, focusing on examples of Polish thinkers such as Jan Czyński and Stanisław Bratkowski who, in drawing on Fourierist ideas and usage of scientific terms, tried to embed his vocabulary in the ongoing nineteenth-century debates about Polish history and, more generally, the burning issue of the independence of the Polish state. Our comparative analysis highlights the contextual influences which contributed to re-shaping such ideas within a new absorbing context.

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Between Tyranny and Self-Interest

Why Neo-republicanism Disregards Natural Rights

David Guerrero and Julio Martínez-Cava Aguilar

The first contribution of this article is a politico-philosophical map that, drawing upon two common sets of arguments against modern natural rights, might help to explain the prevailing neo-republican position on natural rights. Under the label ‘abstraction argument’, we explore the view that natural rights are a metaphysical construct that usually ends in a violent application of speculative principles to society. Under ‘self-interest argument’, we discuss the notion that natural rights endorse an atomistic and selfish conception of the human being. Second, we show how Cold War authors replicated these two arguments, conveying a biased, largely anti-republican and anti-democratic view of natural rights to the twentieth century. Third, drawing on these two arguments, we critically assess the narrow view of natural rights inherited by neo-republican scholars.

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Huaiyu Chen

East German sinologists organized an international conference on East Asian studies in Leipzig in October 1955, bringing together scholars from most communist states and several scholars from Western Europe. This conference served to unite sinologists from both the Communist Bloc and West Germany in the early Cold War era. Since the Chinese delegation was particularly honored, this article suggests that China expanded its political influence in East Europe after the Korean War and the death of Stalin, which prompted a tension within the international communist community, especially between China and the Soviet Union. Moreover, this conference demonstrated a strong “modern turn” in the rising field of Asian studies, sinology in particular, because of the rise of the People’s Republic of China in the 1950s.

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Freedom, Autonomy, and (Inter)dependency

Feminist Dialogues and Republican Debates on Democracy

Ailynn Torres Santana

This article starts from the analytical disconnection between feminisms and republicanism and investigates the potential of an academic and political conversation between them. The text takes up some of the intersections between feminism and republicanism over the past few decades and draws attention to the greater interest that has been verified recently. Furthermore, the article proposes spaces where potential conversation between feminism and republicanism can take place: examining the relationship between material dispossession, dependence, and freedom; across the public, private, and domestic spheres; and the implications of extending autonomy to consider bodily autonomy. It ends with a brief reference to political participation as a feminist and republican virtue. Finally, the article stresses the need to produce a republican feminist revival.

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From Neo-Republicanism to Socialist Republicanism

Antonio Gramsci, the European Council Movements and the ‘Second Republican Revival’

Andreas Møller Mulvad and Benjamin Ask Popp-Madsen

This article engages with socialist republicanism, which is preoccupied with extending freedom as non-domination, central to the neo-republican revival, from the political sphere of formal democracy to the economic sphere of capitalist production. Firstly, we discuss the transition from neo-republicanism to socialist republicanism. Secondly, we reconstruct the socialist republicanism of Antonio Gramsci, who was involved in the council movements in Turin in 1919–20. We argue that Gramsci applies the republican vocabulary of servitude to describe the capitalist workplace and analyse the workers’ councils as republican forms, allowing for popular self-determination in the economic sphere. Consequently, we contribute to the ongoing exploration of the historical, political, and conceptual affinities between republicanism and socialism and inscribe Gramsci as a key thinker in this endeavour.

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Etienne Lock

Cet article est une réfl exion sur la question identitaire telle que portée et exprimée dans l’itinéraire historique du mouvement Présence Africaine. Il met en exergue une dimension fondamentale, voire l’essence même de l’engagement de ce mouvement, jusqu’ici non explorée. Tout en faisant redécouvrir les défi s et de grands événements quiont fait la notoriété de Présence Africaine soutenue par une revue et une maison d’édition, cette réfl exion s’articule aussi autour des débats philosophiques et théologiques au sein de ce mouvement, et se déploie par ailleurs en référence aux indépendances africaines. L’opportunité d’une telle réfl exion s’explique par le fait que la question identitaire reste un enjeu important pour les sociétés contemporaines.

This article examines the issue of identity as expressed in the historical journey of the intellectual movement Présence Africaine. It highlights a fundamental dimension of the commitment of that movement not yet explored in academic research. The current study uncovers the challenges and the great events that shaped the reputation of Présence] Africaine as an African intellectual movement with a journal and a publishing house. It also deals with the identity issue through philosophical and theological debates as well as in reference to the independence era in Africa. The relevance of such a study is due to the topicality of the identity issue for contemporary societies.

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The Leftist “Imagined Community”

The Transnational Imagination of Left-Wing Subversive Organizations in Western Europe

Mikuláš Pešta

This article concerns radical leftist subversive organizations in Western Europe in the 1970s and 1980s and their transnational shared imagination. It shows that despite the scarcity of direct contacts, there existed a sense of belonging to the same transnational current, the “imagined community.” On selected criteria (Images – Semantics – Practice), the article provides analysis of the shared tropes in self-perception and in the communication. The patterns were shared among the Western European subversive organizations but also imported from the countries of the Global South. The article further presents the lack of eff ort of the subversive organizations to create their own mark and graphic identity, whether consciously or not, to become a part of the “global anti-imperialist front.” It puts into question the utility of the traditional categorization of subversive organizations and discusses the use of the term “terrorism” regarding its self-perception and global context.

Open access

M. Victoria Costa

This article considers why the influential neo-republicans Philip Pettit and Richard Bellamy tend to minimise or deny the role that natural or moral rights play in republican thought. It argues that their specific views about the theoretical role of such rights are motivated by methodological commitments. In Pettit’s case the commitments are to consequentialism and formalism, while in Bellamy’s it is to proceduralism. But these commitments get in the way of providing a fully adequate account of the value of freedom as non-domination: one that allows us to determine when citizens actually enjoy this kind of freedom. Finally, the article argues that a full explanation of what it means to enjoy freedom as non-domination must unavoidably appeal to normative notions.

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Private, Public and Common

Republican and Socialist Blueprints

Bru Laín and Edgar Manjarín

The conception of property is usually moulded upon diverting historical and political-philosophical frameworks. The current interest on the commons illustrates these divergences when they come up between a ‘pure’ public and a ‘pure’ private form of ownership. This conceptual triad misleads by conflating private property with an absolute property right while equating public property with a centralised political regime. This article traces the republican conception of property in order to show how it draws a legal and philosophical continuum around different forms of ownership, based on a fiduciary principle underlying the relationship between the sovereign or principal (trustor) and its agent (trustee). Despite modern socialism apparently left aside the question of the commons, the republican-fiduciary rationale was reformulated according to the modern industrial capitalist society.

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David Casassas and Jordi Mundó

During the last two centuries, property understood as an exclusive and unlimited dominion became common sense. Before, the idea of property as a fiduciary relationship, which is still present in contemporary social constitutionalism, was closely linked to the view that the exercise of freedom entails the capacity to shape those property rights that channel socioeconomic life. Today, new ways to operationalise such an approach must be found. This article explores the scope of ‘direct strategies’ (the state as proprietor, democratically limited forms of private property, and common property) and ‘indirect strategies’ (the distribution of ‘social power’ through the introduction of unconditional public policy schemes such as basic income) in the recovery of the idea and the practice of collective fiduciary control over the economic realm.