The scope, compass and nature of the United States of America’s power in the post-9/11 context has run as a thematic thread through recent issues of Theoria.
The Editorial in Theoria 101, written as the United States of America led a ‘coalition of the willing’ in the invasion of Iraq, posed questions about the global significance, viability and desirability of this project. In this first issue of 2004 some of the contributions explore further the implications of this invasion, and the role of the U.S. in world affairs.
Modest Reflections on Hegemony and Global Democracy
Iris Marion Young
The world did not need the war against Iraq to understand that the United States of America stands alone among states in the magnitude of its military might. The blatant manner in which the U.S. flaunted that power in the face of fierce opposition from global civil society and nearly all states, however, demonstrates that the U.S. will use its power in ways that it judges right, without the approval or consent of other agents.
Gendering the Cold War in the Region
An Email Conversation between Malgorzata (Gosia) Fidelis, Renata Jambrešić Kirin, Jill Massino, and Libora Oates-Indruchova
Malgorzata Fidelis, Renata Jambrešic´ Kirin, Jill Massino, and Libora Oates-Indruchova
Although historians have established that gender was a crucial element of the Cold War competition between the United States of America and the Soviet Union, there is not much historical literature yet exploring that aspect of the Cold War. Even less literature specifically addresses the role of gender and/in the Cold War in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe (CESEE), the region that Aspasia covers. Since Aspasia’s first issue (2007), each volume has had a Forum, though in different formats. This Forum, based on an email exchange conducted over several months between four regional experts, addresses questions about gender and/in the history and historiography of the Cold War in Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia. Of these countries, the first three were Soviet dominated, but Yugoslavia, after the Tito–Stalin split in 1948, developed its own branch of state socialism.
Throwing the Genes
A Renewed Biological Imaginary of 'Race', Place and Identification
In the United States of America, use of DNA samples in criminal investigation and of genetic ancestry tests in 'personalised medicine', 'pharmacogenetics' and for personal consumption has grown exponentially. Moreover, use of such technologies is visible in the public sphere. In South Africa, DNA sampling for ancestry testing is the most publicly visible application of these technologies. This work has shifted constructions of 'KhoiSan' communities from yesterday's 'missing evolutionary link' to today's 'Edenic origin of humankind'. I question human biogenetics as a home for meanings of history, humanity and belonging. To this end, I read selected genetic genealogical studies of communities considered 'KhoiSan', 'Coloured' and 'Lemba' in South Africa against concerns raised in recent literature about the use of such studies in the United States of America. I ask why bio-centric conceptions of 'race', identity and 'the human' remain so resilient. To grapple with this question, I draw on Sylvia Wynter's (2001; 2003) adaptation of Frantz Fanon's (1986) concept of 'sociogeny' into 'the sociogenic principle'. I close by suggesting the code for what it means to be human is best located in the 'word' rather than the human genome.
The Post-Deportation Desperation and Refunneling of Aspirations of the Mexicans Deported from the United States
This article uses Carling's aspiration/ability model and the social anchoring concept proposed by Grzymala-Kazlowska to explain the post-deportation experience of Mexicans deported from the United States of America. I analyze how deported people's aspirations are shaped by US migration policies and by their families, as well as by local community obligations. The data comes from seven years of longitudinal research in a rural community in Oaxaca. I conclude that under the immobility regime produced by the US for the deported Mexicans, their aspirations of remigration evolve into desperation. Often unable to remigrate to the US, they are stuck in a limbo of desperation until they refunnel their aspirations and anchor them in Mexico. At the same time, they resynchronize their life courses with other community members.
Secularism, Liberalism and the Problem of Tolerance
The Case of the USA
Adam B. Seligman
The separation of church and state in the USA and the critical role of disestablishment in the political doctrines of that country is no indication of a secular polity. In fact, the separation of church and state as developed in 18th century American political thought was itself a religious doctrine and rested on the unique religious beliefs of certain Protestant Churches there. One consequence of this particular mode of accommodating religion has meant that the challenge of pluralism and difference in the United States of America is met, most often, by liberal indifference. Differences are trivialized, aethetisized and, more critically, privatized. They are shielded from public scrutiny and conceptualized as irrelevant to public concern. This is an increasingly inadequate response to the challenge of difference and the plurality of the human experience. Challenges to contemporary modes of accommodating religious and ethnic pluralism are necessitating the formulation of new sets of answers which are not based on such Protestant or post-Protestant assumptions.
The relationship between the nature of institutions and principles of justice and right action has always been central to political studies. It lies at the heart of normative political theory. Major changes in the perceived structure of institutions or patterns of human interaction, or significant events that challenge our political imagination, tend to heighten our awareness of this complex relationship. The last decade of the 20th century, and early years of the 21st, have witnessed many such events and changes. One need only mention Al Qaeda’s attacks on the United States of America and its activities elsewhere, the United States’ response to these attacks by invading Afghanistan and toppling the Taliban and the decision by the United States—taken under false pretexts—to invade Iraq and effect ‘regime change’ there.
Tracking Skilled Diasporas
Globalization, Brain Drain, and the Postcolonial Condition in Nigeria
This essay examines the trajectories of skilled labor migrants within a global South-North migration matrix using an interdisciplinary framework. Focusing on Nigeria's huge brain drain phenomenon, the essay draws from the limited available data on the field, interpreting those data through theoretical perspectives from postcolonial studies, Marxism, cultural studies, and human geography. The study spotlights the example of the United States of America as a receptacle of skilled migrants and raises questions of social justice along the North-South divide. The research demonstrates that contrary to the dominant image promoted by some elements in the Western media of migrants as irritants or criminals who disturb well-cultivated, advanced World economies and social spaces, 1 those nations benefit highly from Africa's (and other migrant countries') labor diasporas, especially the highly skilled professionals.
Raphaël De Kadt
This edition of Theoria is being assembled at a time of war. The government of the United States of America is projecting, through force, its power in the Middle East. The invasion of Iraq has been presented as a war of liberation. Its principal declared purpose has become the emancipation of the Iraqi people from tyrannical rule. Whatever the pretexts, declared and imputed, for the decision to go to war – which have ranged from the desire to disarm Saddam’s regime of its weapons of mass destruction to securing control of Iraqi oil supplies – there is little doubt that this is primarily an attempt to politically ‘reengineer’ an entire region. As such it fits neatly with the doctrine, articulated by the neo-conservative authors associated with the Project for the New American Century, which presses for the creation of an enduring, twenty-first century pax Americana of global reach. In their view, it is imperative that the United States does not lose the military supremacy it currently enjoys. No superpower that might challenge it should be allowed to emerge. To this end, the present war entails an attempt to erect a ‘coercive carapace’ across the Middle East, stretching from Israel in the west through to Afghanistan or indeed perhaps even India – a potentially ‘natural’ ally – in the east. Iraq is the centrally located landmass on which this exercise will first be tested, and from which it will be extended. This bold endeavour is concerned, in its own way, to ‘make the world safe for democracy’ and, by extension, American interests.