Katrin Röder and Christoph Singer
Battle Missives in the Israel Defense Forces
What exhortations were given to Israeli soldiers when sent to a possible sacrifice of their lives in war? This article introduces the genre of ‘battle missives’ written by Israel Defense Force (IDF) commanders as a prism to investigate this question. Battle missives are short texts sent to soldiers on the eve of battle to mobilize them to fight and to justify the risk to their lives. I employ narrative and hermeneutic methods to analyze an original database of 289 missives written between 1948 and 2014, which reveal the changing motivations and justifications preceding combat. My findings indicate a move from ‘Jewish sentimental’ exhortations that prevailed from 1948 until 1973 toward ‘rational’ exhortations between 1982 and 2014. This study locates battle missives as key to understanding the social norms and values relating to sacrifice in war, and the ways in which military commanders adjusted the language of sacrifice to reflect major transformations in both Israeli society and the IDF.
On Tormey, Krastev and Rosanvallon
This paper examines claims made about political representation in recent work on global protest, focusing on two very different authors. Tormey champions the anti-representative claims of various radical movements while Krastev assumes the stance of those political insiders who deplore the failure of protesters to work within established representative institutions. Both turn to examples which seem to best support their positions. Tormey to anarchist inspired movements in Spain and Mexico, his argument being that political representation has been succeed by what he variously calls ‘immediate representation’ and ‘resonance’. Krastev's focus is Russia, Thailand and Bulgaria. His argument is that protest in these countries can be seen are ‘a collective act of exit’ by middle classes that no longer seek political representation. Using the theorisation of political representation in Rosanvallon's Counter Democracy, I suggest that the global waves of protest of recent years are nothing inherently novel but can be seen as part of the elaborate and complex process of representation that is argued to have always existed beyond and outside of official elected legislative bodies. In conclusion, I suggest that Macron's turn to citizen's assemblies can be seen as informed by just such an understanding of political representation.
Incestuous Desires in John Ford's ’Tis Pity She's a Whore
John Ford's play ’Tis Pity She's a Whore offers a compelling rendering of the state of happiness. Its scandalous plot, which revolves around the incestuous relationship between the two siblings Giovanni and Annabella, confronts the audience with an intricate discussion of early modern notions of happiness. Situated in the ambiguous sphere between a secular and a theological reading of what it means to be happy, Ford's play stages the conflicts and the calamities that derive from its protagonists’ eager attempt to attain and to live their own version of happiness.
Sir Philip Sidney is not commonly associated with a search for happiness or the use he made of concepts of happiness in his works. Yet, as this article seeks to show, he employed a rhetoric of happiness throughout. In particular, Sidney's Arcadias – the Old Arcadia, which he finished in 1581, and the New Arcadia, the substantial rewriting which remained unfinished – are markedly different in their representations of and their reflections on happiness. While happiness is associated with the Arcadian state as a – potentially fatal – aim in the Old Arcadia from its very beginning, it is subordinated to a sterner and more violent discourse in the New Arcadia, for which after Sidney's death other writers wrote diverse happy endings. This different treatment of happiness in the Arcadias is also discussed with a view to different manuscripts and print editions as well as to the power play at the Elizabethan court.
Contrary to dominant debates about Utopia, I do not think it matters whether Thomas More actually believed that ‘communism’ was the solution to social inequality and injustice; what I think is important is that the book raises the question of a different type of society. As I argue in the second part of my article, the power of Utopia, like all radical utopianism, derives not from the production of blueprints; rather, it comes from the stimulation of desire for a ‘happy place’, which can reflect negatively on, and produce discontent within, the here and now. Understood in this way, radical utopianism offers a form of resistance to dominant constructions of reality and our complicity, conscious and unconscious, with them.
For two millennia the heart was considered to be the seat of intelligence, motion and sensation. Thomas Hobbes's friend William Harvey revolutionised the understanding of the heart by demonstrating how blood circulates, and correctly identifying the function of the heart as propulsion. Soon after the publication of De Motu Cordis, Descartes redefined the heart as a ‘pump’, and Hobbes as a ‘spring’. In these mechanistic and rationalist systems the heart lost its prestige, and could no longer be considered the source of sensation and emotion. Harvey did not, however, seek to displace the heart from its traditional position in metaphysical anatomy, but by retaining an Aristotelean interest in causes, continued to promote the centrality of the heart in ways that have persisted in philosophy, theology and literature even to the present day. A fresh look at Harvey's writings will help us to understand why.
Contemporary Trends in Religious-Zionism
This article presents an innovative sociological framework to discuss recent social, ideological, and religious trends within the Religious-Zionist sector in Israel. The article challenges the prevalent conceptualization of Religious-Zionism as a sui generis ideology. Contrary to researchers who emphasize the synthesis of religion and Zionism in the Religious-Zionist ideology, the author argues that the Religious-Zionist identity is based primarily on social connections (kinship, geographical, institutional) between the members of the group. The author uses this approach to make sense of recent Religious-Zionist trends: post-Zionism, the ‘religious-lite’, Orthodox feminism, and neo-liberalism.
Happiness and Care of the Self in Sir Kenelm Digby's Letter-Book In Praise of Venetia
This article focuses on the idiosyncratic conception of happiness Sir Kenelm Digby develops in the letters he wrote after the death of his wife in 1633. It contextualises Digby's vision of happiness through an examination of the different traditions he revisits and appropriates to develop his personal and subjective ethics of self-care, mainly Renaissance Neoplatonism, the idealisation of conjugal love, the idealism of Italian poetry, and an ascetic model of widowhood linked to the tradition of spiritual mourning. It analyses how Digby's conception of happiness, through its vindication of subjectivity and excess, challenges the early modern ethos of consolation and speculates on the reasons that may have led Digby to present his readers with such an extraordinary self-portrait.
On Aging Bodies, Migration and Youthful Masculinities
In this article, I describe the roles played by society and individual life-history on the aging process of a South Asian artist in Europe. Using participant observation and the life-history method, I look at my informant's emotional practices of aging. The resultant case study delineates his emotional pursuits and his views on what it means to be a man in his early sixties. I start by reviewing anthropological critiques of many of the current taken-for-granted gendered and biomedical conceptions of the aging body. Thereafter, I try to add to the debate surrounding these conceptions by looking into the affective economy of aging that my informant is embedded in. The article is as such an effort to understand the role that affect and emotional practices play in youthful ideals and self-conceptualizations of aging and masculinity.