This special section elucidates intersections between the historiography of mobilities and the interdisciplinary field of mobilities research. The articles highlight relationships between mobilities and stabilization, circulation and place-making, deterritorialization and reterritorialization. This response essay seeks to dispel three myths about mobility studies: (1) that it is purely about the contemporary world, rather than the historical dimensions of mobile processes; (2) that it focuses solely on material phenomenon of physical transport (i.e., of things and people) and ignores the movement of ideas, knowledge, and culture; and (3) that it is purely about “flows” and “circulation” and has little to teach us about friction, resistances, blockages, or uneven power relations. The most important intersections of the histories of mobilities and the field of mobility studies can be found in the ways in which each emphasizes power differentials, blockages, friction, and the relation between mobilities and immobilities.
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The Mobile Itineraries of Knowledge-scapes
Tiziana Soverino, Evgenia Mesaritou, Thomas M. Wilson, Steve Byrne, Dino Vukušić, Fabiana Dimpflmeier, Eva-Maria Walther and Eva Schwab
Aníbal Arregui, Gesa Mackenthun and Stephanie Wodianka (eds.) (2018), DEcolonial Heritage: Natures, Cultures, and the Asymmetries of Memory (Cultural Encounters and the Discourses of Scholarship, vol. 10) (Münster: Waxmann), 278 pp., Paperback €34.90, ISBN 9783830937906.
HUGO BONIN and ALEKSANDRA KONARZEWSKA
Pasi Ihalainen, The Springs of Democracy: National and Transnational Debates on Constitutional Reform in the British, German, Swedish and Finnish Parliaments, 1917–1919 (Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society, 2017), 586 pp.
Gregor Feindt, Auf der Suche nach politischer Gemeinschaft: Oppositionelles Denken zur Nation im ostmitteleuropäischen Samizdat 1976–1992 [Seeking political community: Oppositional political thought toward the nation in Eastern Central European samizdat] (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2015), 403 pp.
The SADC and UNASUR cases
Ana B. Amaya, Stephen Kingah and Philippe De Lombaerde
Health governance has become multi-layered as the combined result of decentralization, regional integration and the emergence of new actors nationally and internationally. Whereas this has enhanced the installed capacity for health response worldwide, this complexity also poses serious challenges for health governance, health diplomacy and health policy-making. This article focuses on one of these challenges, namely the organization of statistical information flows at and between governance levels, and the emerging role that regional organizations play therein. Regional to national-level data flows are analyzed with the use of two case studies focusing on UNASUR (Bolivia and Paraguay) and SADC (Swaziland and Zambia). The results of the analysis lead to several policy recommendations at the regional and national levels.
From Consociationalism to Deliberation?
This article uses the theory of recognition to analyze sectarian conflicts in Iraq. After describing the sectarian and historical background of contemporary Iraqi politics, the article critiques the implementation of consociationalism and policies influenced by liberal multiculturalism in deeply divided societies. It argues that these policies lead to a dangerous reification of identities. The article argues that a progressive implementation of deliberative democracy practices could improve identity-related issues in Iraq and explains how democratic practices are legitimized by the most influential Islamic religious figure in Iraq.
The ban on almost all previously approved textbooks in occupied Germany in 1945 brought about a turning point in the history of reading primers in this country. This article examines the requirements that textbooks had to fulfill in order to be approved by the authorities of the various occupation zones. In spite of differing sociopolitical and pedagogical attitudes and conditions, reading primersin all occupied zones shared the theme of children’s play and harmonious everyday life. However, a comparative analysis of the primers reveals significant differences that cannot be explained exclusively as a consequence of influence exerted by occupying powers. Rather, these differences resulted from the context in which each primer appeared.
The War after the Victory
Vitaly Bezrogov and Dorena Caroli
What changes did the content, structure, and production of Russian primers published in the Soviet Union undergo between 1941 and 1948—that is, during the Second World War and its aftermath? This article answers this question by analyzing language, content, iconography, and the printing process. The first section addresses key characteristics of primers printed between 1941 and 1944, while the second section focuses on the content of postwar primers printed between 1945 and 1948. The final section addresses challenges facing the textbook approval and circulation process experienced by the State Pedagogical Publishing House of the Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic (RSFSR) from 1945 to 1948.
Between a centre and a periphery in contemporary Finland
This article investigates contemporary attempts to reform the institution of the university according to neoliberal ideological influences and oppositions to them. It employs Doreen Massey’s concept of space to focus on relations and separations made in the process. My ethnography of the University of Helsinki’s 375th anniversary celebration, which turned into a public spectacle of various visions of higher education, constitutes the main empirical material. Finland’s ambivalent position in the world renders the spatial work of forging connections and disconnections particularly conspicuous. It enables specific neoliberal aspirations (such as to be among ‘the world’s best universities’ amidst global competition) to become very strong but also allows additional trajectories, like the one about higher education as public goods, to present themselves as legitimate alternatives. The centre-periphery relations are therefore critical sites for analysing the contemporary university transformation, since they appear to be key drivers of the reform but also the primary source of resistance to it.
Vasiliki P. Neofotistos
Using the Republic of North Macedonia as a case study, this article analyzes the processes through which national sports teams’ losing performance acquires a broad social and political significance. I explore claims to sporting victory as a direct product of political forces in countries located at the bottom of the global hierarchy that participate in a wider system of coercive rule, frequently referred to as empire. I also analyze how public celebrations of claimed sporting victories are intertwined with nation-building efforts, especially toward the global legitimization of a particular version of national history and heritage. The North Macedonia case provides a fruitful lens through which we can better understand unfolding sociopolitical developments, whereby imaginings of the global interlock with local interests and needs, in the Balkans and beyond.
Assessing Rigidity and Flexibility in Angela Merkel’s Political Decision Making
This paper investigates levels of rigidity and flexibility in Angela Merkel’s decision making during her first three governments from 2005 to 2017. The study is a contribution to understanding German politics in the era of Merkel who has regularly been criticized for allegedly lacking a transformative agenda and ideological consistency. Methodologically this study draws on Jonathan Keller’s framework that differentiates between internally and externally validated leaders, with the latter seeking to appease and curry favor with stakeholders and the former committed to their personal believes. The study assesses Merkel’s decisions on fiscal and economic policies, zooms in on her u-turn on nuclear energy, touches upon her dithering during the Euro crisis and discusses at some length her protracted coming to terms with the refugee crisis. Findings suggest her flexibility to be predominantly a reflection of political expediencies and intended to preserve her party’s political compatibility with potentially supportive stakeholders. Her approach thus is in line with the agenda to manage coalition governments successfully, moderate and conciliate divergent interests and thus secure their position in power.