coconstitutive character. Drawing upon border procedures, I claim that “the magic of the state” ( Das 2004 ) is totally compatible with the ambiguity and even irregularity of state bureaucratic modalities. At the same time, absolute control through a rational
Navigating through irregular bureaucracy
Between 2007 and 2013, real per capita income and net wealth of Italian households fell by 13 and 10 percent, respectively. Unprecedented in the country's post-war record by size and duration, this deterioration of household finances was accompanied by more muted changes in inequality and relative poverty. Only absolute measures of consumption and income insufficiency surged. The more serious worsening of personal economic conditions for the young than for adults and, especially, the elderly is a disturbing legacy of the recessions of 2008–2009 and 2011–2013.
The Ariadne’s thread that runs through, and connects, the articles in this issue of Theoria is the modern state. How should the state approach welfare policy? Is the state’s power as absolute as once it had been? What is the importance of nationalism for states? What assumptions about the relationship between the state and civil society should be examined, and how? What, especially in a developing society such as South Africa, is—or should be—the relationship between the state and the poor? These are the overarching questions that knit together the contributions.
The Italian general elections held in February 2013 ended up in stalemate. The center-left coalition won the absolute majority of seats in the Chamber of Deputies but not in the Senate, making it impossible to form any homogeneous governing majority. In the end, the only available opstion to support the new cabinet was a “grand coalition” of parties from different political sides. This chapter analyzes this destabilizing outcome, taking into account a number of factors: the success of a new anti-establishment party, the Five Star Movement, which has become the largest party in the country; the significant loss of votes by the center-left and especially by the center-right, compared to the previous elections of 2008; the peculiar nature and functioning of the electoral system; the extraordinary level of vote shifts; the “new” electoral geography; the crisis of the bipolar setting; and the transformation of the party system.
Our journal did not come into the world with authority and certainty but did so, instead, with some hesitation and tentativeness. The narrator of Jonathan Swift’s eighteenth-century satire on modern learning, A Tale of a Tub (1704) claims for himself “an absolute authority in right” as the “last writer” and “freshest modern.” We make no such claim. At this point we may be both new and fresh, but we need to feel our way, to discover what is out there and what we might realistically expect to come into our own purview. But tentativeness is good. It allows us to be responsive to a variety of articles so long as they satisfy our goal of exploring film and mind. Tentativeness also allows us a sustained and continuing debate.
Robert R. Palmer exemplified the best that historians have to offer. He wrote with conviction, empathy, and at times passion, yet he always managed to maintain balance and portray both the good and the bad in the people and events he brought to life for his readers. Because he wrote with conviction, he also wrote with exceptional clarity. He never displayed the impulse to hide behind highfalutin language, contorted prose, or excessively specialized topics. He believed that democracy was an absolute good, that it had its origins in European history, and that its rise provided one of, or even perhaps the principal theme of all of modern history. As a consequence, he never lost his sympathy for the French revolutionaries of 1789–1794, however terrible their actions, however much they fell short of living up to their ideals.
Trying to Create Cross-community Identities
St Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast city centre since 1998 have been imagined as providing a common symbol and space to imagine cross-community identities. Celebrations represent an attempt to constitute a social act of forgetting, to abandon a past where public commemorations perpetuated sectarian division. This article charts how the celebrations were contentious as competing groups claimed ownership over its performance. The contested status of the celebrations were largely the outgrowth of political legislation which, rather than facilitating cross-community alliances and identities, preserves the outright difference and absolute cultures enshrined in the notion of 'nationalist' and 'unionist' identities. Moreover, if the performance of memory has helped maintain discrete unionist and nationalist identities, and an abandoning of a past blighted by sectarian conflict is required to create a new, harmonious society, this legislation rendered the role of memory and forgetting ambiguous by stressing both as contributors to reconciliation.
In this open issue of German Politics and Society we are pleased to present
a number of contributions that address major aspects of current
debates in Germany. In our lead article, Helga Haftendorn sheds
light on the critical foreign policy triangle of Bonn, Paris, and Washington.
Always essential to the well being of each of these three
countries during the postwar period (indeed, an absolute cornerstone
to the flourishing of liberal democracies of the West), this triangular
relationship is about to experience major shifts in the years to
come. With the French openly challenging the Americans on all
fronts of public life—political, strategic, economic, cultural, even
moral—diplomacy will certainly become a good deal more complicated
for the new German government, as it tries to walk this
increasingly strained tightrope between Washington and Paris.
The Appendix delineates the economic, social, and political picture
that stands behind the events analyzed in this volume. It contains
three sections. The first, which includes Tables A1-A7, presents
historical data regarding the population: gender; age category;
labor-force, examined according to occupations and conflict; births
and marriages; various forms of criminality; important indicators
of the economy and public finance, such as domestic product and
debt. The second section is dedicated to the various electoral contests
that occurred during the year; regional, provincial, communal,
and referenda. Tables B1-B5 contain absolute numbers of votes
and the percentages obtained by the political parties in the regional
elections and the composition of the electoral coalitions in the
regions. Tables B6-B8 report the data on turnout for mayoral elections
as well as for contests for control of the capital seats of communes.
Tables B9 and B10 report the same data for elections for
provincial presidents. Finally, B11 presents the results of referenda.
The last section is dedicated to institutional data: Table C1 includes
the ministers in the Amato government.
La nouvelle cuisine des fêtes juives
While meat food is valued socially and symbolically as a part of traditional Jewish culinary culture, vegetarianism and veganism among Jews increased quite spectaculary over the past decade, especially in the USA and in Israel. According to rabbis and to interviewees themselves this new way of eating rooted in the Hebrew Bible and in the rabbinic literature. Indeed causing any cruelty or suffering to animals is prohibited according to these sacred sources; this is an absolute principle. Such changes are having effects on the increment of the products that are certified “green” and on the increase of vegan friendly restaurants in Israel. The narrative of Jewish women about their food and culinary practices shows those ongoing changes which are often not the result of ideological radical choices.
Alors que la viande et les produits carnés sont fortement valorisés par la culture culinaire juive traditionnelle, on assiste depuis une dizaine d'années à un développement spectaculaire des pratiques végétariennes ou véganes en milieu juif, en particulier aux Etats-Unis et en Israël. Cette nouvelle manière de manger est justifiée par les mangeurs eux-mêmes et par nombre de rabbins comme prenant sa source dans la Bible hébraïque et dans la littérature rabbinique. En effet, l'interdit de causer de la souffrance aux animaux apparaît comme un principe fort des textes de la tradition juive. Ces changements sont repérables du fait de l'augmentation de l'offre en Israël (apparition de produits green et certifiés « sans matière animale » dans les supermarchés, multiplication de restaurants vegan friendly). Les discours de femmes juives sur leurs pratiques alimentaires et culinaires, recueillis au début de l'année 2020, viennent illustrer ces changements qui s'avèrent progressifs et sont rarement le résultat de choix idéologiques radicaux.