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Peter Levine

The COVID-19 pandemic raises questions about the future of democracy and civil society. Some recent predictions seem to use the suffering to score points in ongoing political arguments. As a better example of how to describe the future during a crisis, I cite the prophetic voice of Martin Luther King, Jr. King does not merely predict: he calls for action, joins the action, and makes himself responsible for its success or failure. With these cautions about prediction in mind, I venture two that may guide immediate responses. First, communities may erect or strengthen unjustifiable barriers to outsiders, because boundaries enhance collective action. Second, although the pandemic may not directly change civic behavior, an economic recession will bankrupt some organizations through which people engage.

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Un manuscrit inédit de Durkheim

Physique générale du droit et des mœurs, IVe Année du Cours. 1re Leçon, 2 Décembre 1899, Plan du Cours – Les Sanctions pénales

Émile Durkheim and édité par François Pizarro Noël

Résumé

Ce texte daté du 2 décembre 1899 est la première leçon de la quatrième année du cours de Durkheim sur la Physique générale du droit et des mœurs. Il est intitulé Plan du Cours – Les Sanctions pénales. Dans la première partie du texte, Durkheim présente le plan de cette dernière année du cours. Il se propose d'abord de compléter l'étude de l'éthique objective des systèmes de morale familiale, professionnelle, civique et juridique (que nous connaissons parce qu'elles ont été publiées dans les fameuses Leçons de sociologie) par l'étude objective des sanctions et responsabilités. Cette première partie du cours sera consacrée à la théorie spéciale des sanctions (négatives pénales et civiles, positives) et responsabilités. La dernière partie du cours, sa conclusion, portera sur l'éthique subjective. Une fois ce plan de cours exposé, dans la deuxième partie du texte, Durkheim propose une définition sociologique de la sanction pénale qu'il justifie d'abord par la réfutation des définitions de la peine qui postulent un lien entre souffrance et peine. Ensuite, pour illustrer le caractère sociologique et justifier sa définition préalable de la peine, Durkheim commence à présenter une typologie des sanctions négatives (sanctions punitives pénales, publiques ou privées, sanctions restitutives civiles, etc.). Au terme de sa leçon, il considère avoir défini la peine de manière sociologique, c'est-à-dire en s'en tenant aux caractéristiques extérieures les plus saillantes de son objet, sans recourir à l'intention du patient ou du législateur ni à la question de la responsabilité.

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An Unpublished Manuscript by Durkheim

‘On the General Physics of Law and Morality, 4th Year of the Course, 1st Lecture, December 2, 1899, Course Outline: On Penal Sanctions’

Émile Durkheim, edited and translated by François Pizarro Noël, and Ronjon Paul Datta

Abstract

This is the first English translation of Durkheim's lecture for the first class of the fourth and final year of his course ‘On the General Physics of Law and Morality’. The content from the previous year's course is contained in Professional Ethics and Civic Morals (Durkheim [1950] 1992). Durkheim discusses the importance of a special theory of sanctions and provides a typology of their negative and positive forms. He makes a case for the sociology of penalties and responsibilities, one based on the examination of their external and visible characteristics. Crucially, Durkheim displaces the ostensible causal importance of the intentions of juridical subjects, whether legislators or wrong-doers. The translation is accompanied by an extended critical introduction by R. P. Datta and Fr. Pizarro Noël.

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Jing Zhang

Abstract

This literature review presents seven major works on Durkheim written by leading Chinese researchers and published during the last 10 years. Some of them try to analyse Durkheim's views in order to understand contemporary Chinese society, by questioning what Durkheim teaches us about moral education, or by examining his conception of the nation. Others are more in the nature of scholarly commentary on his theory, whether by examining notions of anomie, the division of labour, suicide or a moral science.

Résumé

Cette revue de littérature présente sept principales publications (écrites par des chercheurs parmi les plus reconnus) consacrées à l'œuvre de Durkheim en Chine et parues durant les dix dernières années. Certaines d'entre elles s'essayent à analyser l'actualité de Durkheim pour comprendre la société chinoise contemporaine, en interrogeant ce que Durkheim nous apprend à propos de l'éducation morale, ou encore en examinant sa conception de la nation. D'autres relèvent plus du commentaire érudit de sa théorie, que ce soit en se penchant sur la notion d'anomie, de division du travail, sur le suicide ou encore la science morale.

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Who Governs in Deep Crises?

The Case of Germany

Wolfgang Merkel

The Berlin Republic of today is neither Weimar (1918–1932) nor Bonn (1949–1990). It is by all standards the best democracy ever on German soil. Nevertheless, during the COVID-19 crisis there was a shift from democracy as a mode of governance to what the controversial legal theorist Carl Schmitt (1922) affirmingly described as a “state of exception”; a state that is desired and approved by the people (through opinion polls). It was the hour of the executive. The parliament disempowered itself. There was very little, if any, contestation or deliberation during the first eight weeks of the COVID-19 crisis. This article reflects on the implications of this mode of governance on institutions and actors of democracy in Germany, and offers a way of assessing the wellbeing of democracies in times of deep crisis.

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Jonathan A. Allan, Chris Haywood, and Frank G. Karioris

On the cover of this issue, we have another image from the Wellcome Collection. This image by ABIA (Associação Brasileira Interdisciplinar de AIDS/Grupo) is a not-for-profit organization mobilized in response to the emergence of HIV/AIDS in the 1980’s. The image is a reworking of the “Creation of Adam” by Michelangelo and was used as part of HIV/AIDS prevention advertising campaign.

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Andrew Sanders

Abstract

‘Happiness’, as we now commonly understand the term, is not something we should expect to meet in Shakespeare's work. When he employs alternative words – such as ‘felicity, ‘merry’ or ‘blessed’ – he rarely seeks to convey what latter-day readers might assume to be the concept of ‘happiness’ that we accept as an agreeable state of mind. Shakespeare's ‘happy’ seems to apply to circumstances rather than to a state of mind. His characters often appear to be luckier in their happiness rather than actual achievers of happiness. The idea that the ‘pursuit of happiness’ is an essential part of the definition of the human condition (as in the founding documents of the American Revolution) may well owe far more to John Milton's use of the words ‘happy’ and ‘happiness’ and the common acceptance of ‘happiness’ as a socially and politically desirable condition.

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Air in Unexpected Places

Metabolism, Design, and the Making of an ‘African’ Aircrete

Michael Degani

Abstract

Aircrete is a lightweight building material with a number of remarkable qualities, including high compression strength, buoyancy and thermal insulation. Perhaps most strikingly, its lack of sand aggregate makes it energy efficient compared to concrete. While aircrete is regularly sold by various construction companies, DIY enthusiasts and technicians around the world are cultivating more home-brew, open-source methods. This article follows James, an American ex-security contractor and mining engineer, as he attempts to convert his own embodied legacies of imperial extraction into a pro-social business venture by designing aircrete machines and mixes for urban Africa. His adventures in aircrete typify an energy future in which an array of intriguing experiments and technologies intersect with a broader entrepreneurial effort to capture Africa's growing consumer markets.

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Albert H. Friedlander

An American Appreciation

Amy-Jill Levine

The work of Rabbi Albert Friedlander is less known in US contexts than it should be, especially since it still has much to contribute to both Jewish communal relationships and dialogue between Jews and Christians. From the perspective of an American academic, this article focuses on his chaplaincy work in the context of competing forms of Jewish orthodoxy and orthopraxy; the impact of the Shoah on his understanding of and response to US racism; his approach to Jewish–Christian relations by celebrating accomplishment rather than bewailing what is left to be done; and his concern for reconciliatory rather than agonist learning in which one seeks insights even in work with which one disagrees.

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Ambivalent Sexualities in a Transnational Context

Romanian and Bulgarian Migrant Male Sex Workers in Berlin

Victor Trofimov

In this article, I explore negotiations of sexualities among Romanian and Bulgarian migrant male sex workers in Berlin. After explaining the concept of sexual script, I argue that inasmuch as those sex workers work on the gay male scene but spend the rest of their daily lives within the broader Romanian and Bulgarian communities, they need to negotiate between the gay male and the heteropatriarchal sexual scripts, which are prevalent in these social spaces, respectively. I examine six strategies by means of which the sex workers surf the binarisms of the scripts and in so doing reveal the ambivalence and sociospatial situatedness of human sexuality.