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Policy innovation, regional integration and sustainable democracy-building

The Millennium Development Goals as challenges and vehicles?

Cristina Blanco Sío-López

English abstract: This Special Issue aims to interconnect policy innovation, regional integration and sustainable democracy building with a view to providing socio-politically empowering insights in the midst of an acute global crisis of self-definition. It also aspires to contribute to a clearer elucidation of how to regionally respond to intertwined multilevel challenges and to search for alternative systemic paradigms in a context marked by an increasing combination of questioning and resilience. Furthermore, it focuses on the case study of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as both challenges and vehicles to achieve a fruitful retroactive cycle between a growingly interdependent set of determinant variables: socially thoughtful policy innovation mechanisms at the global level; the socioeconomic cohesion-enhancing potentialities of regional integration experiences; the evolution and outcomes of transitional politics in post-conflict states; a positive intertwining of new approaches to diplomacy and to development policy and the quality of democratic global governance.

Spanish abstract: Este número monográfico tiene como objetivo la interconexión de las dimensiones complementarias de investigación y de implementación de la innovación política, la integración regional y la construcción democrática sostenible con el fin de proporcionar ideas de hondo calado sociopolítico que permitan hacer frente a una aguda crisis de autodefinición. En este sentido, aspira también a contribuir a una elucidación más clara sobre los modos de responder regionalmente a desafíos interdependientes y a múltiples niveles y sobre la búsqueda de paradigmas sistémicos alternativos en un contexto marcado por una creciente combinación de cuestionamiento y resistencia. Por otra parte, se centra también en el caso de los Objetivos de Desarrollo del Milenio (ODM) como desafíos y vehículos para lograr un enriquecedor ciclo retroactivo entre un conjunto crecientemente interdependiente de variables fundamentales: mecanismos de innovación en política social a nivel mundial; la cohesión socioeconómica como herramienta para profundizar y desarrollar experiencias de integración regional; la evolución y resultados de la política de transición a la democracia en estados post-conflicto; una interacción positiva de nuevos enfoques a nivel de diplomacia pública y de políticas de desarrollo y, por último pero no menos importante, la calidad de la gobernanza global democrática. En efecto, tal enfoque combinado espera ser útil para ilustrar el hecho de que los ODM no han de ser vistos como un conjunto de indicadores parciales, sino como objetivos profundamente interconectados y capaces de reforzarse mutuamente.

French abstract: Ce numéro spécial vise à interconnecter l'innovation politique, l'intégration régionale et le renforcement de la démocratie durable en vue de fournir des idées pour une autonomisation sociopolitique dans un moment de crise aiguë d'autodéfinition. À cet égard, il aspire à apporter des éclaircissements pour répondre régionalement à des défis multiniveaux et à proposer des paradigmes systémiques alternatifs dans un contexte marqué par une combinaison accrue du questionnement et de la résilience. De plus, il met également l'accent sur l'étude des Objectifs du Millénaire pour le développement (OMD) — à la fois comme des défis et comme des véhicules — pour obtenir un cycle rétroactif fructueux entre un ensemble de variables de plus en plus interdépendantes : les mécanismes d'innovation politique socialement projetés à l'échelle mondiale ; les potentialités améliorées de cohésion socio-économique pour développer les expériences d'intégration régionale ; l'évolution et les résultats de la transition politique dans les pays post-conflit ; un entrelacement positif de nouvelles approches en matière diplomatique et de politique de développement et, finalement, la qualité de la gouvernance mondiale démocratique. En effet, une telle approche combinée aspire à être utile pour illustrer le fait que les OMD ne devraient pas être considérés comme une collection d'indicateurs distincts, mais comme des objectifs profondément interconnectés et susceptibles de se renforcer mutuellement.

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Tiziana Melchiorre

English abstract: This article investigates how the geopolitical interests of states in the Baltic Sea region have determined the emergence and the development of environmental cooperation around the Baltic Sea since the late 1970s. It is shown that the Nordic and the Baltic countries have played a key role in this process and that other actors such as the European Union and the United States, also influence environmental cooperation because their geopolitical interests contribute to shape the cooperative links in the region. The United Nations with its legislation and its policies reinforces cooperation in the field. It is also argued that the case of environment around the Baltic Sea is one of the rare successful attempts to establish closer links among states in a particular issue area during the Cold War in Europe.

Spanish abstract: Este artículo investiga cómo los intereses geopolíticos de los estados de la región del Mar Báltico han determinado la aparición y el desarrollo de la cooperación medioambiental en torno al Mar Báltico desde finales de la década de los setenta. El artículo muestra que tanto los países nórdicos como los países bálticos han jugado un papel clave en este proceso, así como otros actores, entre ellos la Unión Europea y los Estados Unidos, los cuales han influido también en esta cooperación ambiental debido a que sus intereses geopolíticos contribuyeron a dar forma a los vínculos de cooperación en la región. Las Naciones Unidas, a través de su legislación y sus políticas, refuerzan la cooperación en este campo. También se argumenta que el caso de la cooperación medioambiental en el Mar Báltico es uno de los pocos intentos exitosos para establecer relaciones más estrechas entre los estados en un área particular durante la Guerra Fría en Europa.

French abstract: L'article analyse la naissance et le développement de la coopération dans le domaine de l'environnement sous l'influence des intérêts géopolitiques des États dans la région de la Mer Baltique à partir des années 1970. Les pays nordiques et le pays baltes ont joué un rôle fondamental dans ce processus ainsi que l'UE et les États-Unis dont les intérêts géopolitiques contribuent à former la coopération régionale. Les Nations Unies renforcent la coopération dans ce domaine grâce à leur législation et à leurs politiques. Ce cas de coopération dans le domaine de l'environnement constitue une des rares tentatives réussies pour établir des liens étroits entre les États durant la période de la Guerre Froide en Europe.

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World Family Portrait

A celebration of humanity's place in the world

RISC Consortium

In 2014, the Regional Integration and Social Cohesion (RISC) Consortium launched an ongoing interactive initiative entitled A World Family Portrait. This call for contributions invites scholars, practitioners, journalists, photographers, and so forth, to submit written and photographic contributions in English, French or Spanish that provoke a contemporary reflection on the human condition through the presentation and analysis of life challenges and opportunities. The goal of these publications is not simply to document world events/social conditions but also to engage readers through photography and prose in a dialogue focusing on the evolution of our world and humanity’s place in it.

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Battle of ideas, delivery of justice

How Justice Rapid Response contributes to the “project of International Criminal Justice”

Marja Lehto

Justice Rapid Response (JRR) is an intergovernmental mechanism that is designed to support and complement the international community’s efforts to ensure accountability for the most serious international crimes. It has grown out of the recognition, some ten years ago, that for all the talk of ending impunity for mass atrocities, the tools to come anywhere near this worthy goal were largely insufficient, and this in spite of the many political successes of the “project of international criminal justice.”

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Erella Grassiani, Alexander Horstmann, Lotte Buch Segal, Ronald Stade, and Henrik Vigh

Violence, defined as the intentional inflicting of injury and damage, seems to always have been a fact of human life. Whether in the shape of raids, ambushes, wars, massacres, genocides, insurgences, terrorism, or gang assaults, socially organized violence, that is, human groups orchestrating and committing violent acts, has been a steady companion of human life through the ages. The human quest to make sense of violence is probably as old as violence itself. Academic conflict research both continues and advances this quest. As long as wars were waged between nations, the research on armed conflicts focused on international relations and great power politics. This paradigm was kept alive even when the asymmetrical warfare of decolonization spread across the world, because by then the frame of analysis was the binary system of the Cold War and regional conflicts were classifi ed as proxy wars. After the end of the Cold War, the academic interest in forms of organized violence other than international conflict became more general in the social sciences, not least in anthropology, a discipline whose long-standing research interest in violent conflict previously had been directed almost exclusively towards “tribal warfare.” But, following their research tradition, anthropologists also began to conduct field studies in contemporary war zones and other violent settings.

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We write this only two weeks after the 2015 Israeli elections, as newly reelected Prime Minister Netanyahu is starting to put together his new government. Although reams of journalistic prose have already provided all sorts of analyses, many more months of research are needed before significant academic papers analyzing the election campaign and outcomes will be published. Thus, we offer some preliminary observations on the election and its larger significance.

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Introduction

Sovereignty and Social Contestation—Between Violence and Alternative Sociocultural Orders

Martijn Oosterbaan and Wil G. Pansters

In the past decade, the concept of sovereignty has swiftly risen in popularity within anthropological circles, especially in relation to violence in postcolonial and post-authoritarian societies (Das and Poole 2004). The rationale of this section is rooted in the aspiration to build on and further develop anthropological understandings of conflict and violence centered on the notion of sovereignty. Whereas the contributors to the section are indebted to theoretical approaches influenced by the writings of Agamben (1998, 2005), they also present analytic advantages and shortcomings. For instance, a recent critique of Agamben’s notion of sovereignty—and of many of his followers—is that it reproduces totalitarian notions of modern politics that cannot account for the historical existence of “ordered” communities “free from subjection, and … free from subjecting others” (Jennings 2011: 43).

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Introduction

Approaching Perpetrators

Erin Jessee

The rationale for this special section of Conflict and Society lies in anthropology’s relatively recent and steadily growing application to the study of political violence in its various manifestations, from everyday instances of subtle structural violence to more overt cases of war and mass atrocities. In the late 1990s, Carolyn Nordstrom’s (1997) work among soldiers and ordinary civilians whose lives had been intimately affected by Mozambique’s civil war and Antonius Robben’s (1996) work among survivors and perpetrators of Argentina’s Dirty War enabled an important shift among ethnographers. Whereas in the past ethnographers typically focused on violence and warfare in substate and prestate societies, Nordstrom and Robben emphasized the foundations of political violence in complex state societies. Their work led to the emergence of a small cohort of ethnographers—among them Philippe Bourgois (2003), Nancy Scheper-Hughes (1997, 2002), and Neil Whitehead (2002, 2004)—specialized in what was soon termed “the ethnography of political violence”

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Rwandan Women No More

Female Génocidaires in the Aftermath of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide

Erin Jessee

Since the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the current government has arrested approximately 130,000 civilians who were suspected of criminal responsibility. An estimated 2,000 were women, a cohort that remains rarely researched through an ethnographic lens. This article begins to address this oversight by analyzing ethnographic encounters with 8 confessed or convicted female génocidaires from around Rwanda. These encounters reveal that female génocidaires believe they endure gender-based discrimination for having violated taboos that determine appropriate conduct for Rwandan women. However, only female génocidaires with minimal education, wealth, and social capital referenced this gender-based discrimination to minimize their crimes and assert claims of victimization. Conversely, female elites who helped incite the genocide framed their victimization in terms of political betrayal and victor’s justice. This difference is likely informed by the female elites’ participation in the political processes that made the genocide possible, as well as historical precedence for leniency where female elites are concerned.

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“There Was No Genocide in Rwanda”

History, Politics, and Exile Identity among Rwandan Rebels in the Eastern Congo Conflict

Anna Hedlund

This article analyzes how the 1994 genocide in Rwanda is recalled and described by members of a Hutu rebel group, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) whose leadership can be linked to the 1994 atrocities in Rwanda. The article explores how individuals belonging to this rebel group, currently operating in the eastern territories of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), articulate, contest, and oppose the dominant narrative of the Rwandan genocide. Based on ethnographic fieldwork with members of the FDLR in a rebel camp, this article shows how a community of exiled fighters and second-generation Hutu refugees contest the official version of genocide by constructing a counterhistory of it. Through organized practices such as political demonstrations and military performances, it further shows how political ideologies and violence are being manufactured and reproduced within a setting of military control.