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“Amazing Rapidity”

Time, Public Credit, and David Hume’s Political Discourses

EDWARD JONES CORREDERA

This article explores David Hume’s views on public credit, the state, and geopolitics as outlined in his Political Discourses. By drawing attention to Hume’s analysis of the speed of political economic dynamics, the article suggests the philosopher feared that public credit, a crucial source of eighteenth-century European economic growth, fundamentally revolutionized the pace of social relations, the mechanics of the state, and European geopolitics at large. Hume’s study of public credit highlighted its role in reshaping eighteenth-century visions of time, and the philosopher’s disappointment with his own solution, in turn, reinforces the need to consider the multifaceted effects of public credit in the modern world.

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Anthropocene Dynamics in the Prehistoric Pacific

Modeling Emergent Socioecological Outcomes of Environmental Change

Thomas P. Leppard

How will human societies evolve in the face of the massive changes humans themselves are driving in the earth systems? Currently, few data exist with which to address this question. I argue that archaeological datasets from islands provide useful models for understanding long-term socioecological responses to large-scale environmental change, by virtue of their longitudinal dimension and their relative insulation from broader biophysical systems. Reviewing how colonizing humans initiated biological and physical change in the insular Pacific, I show that varied adaptations to this dynamism caused diversification in social and subsistence systems. This diversification shows considerable path dependency related to the degree of heterogeneity/homogeneity in the distribution of food resources. This suggests that the extent to which the Anthropocene modifies agroeconomic land surfaces toward or away from patchiness will have profound sociopolitical implications.

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Livia Jiménez Sedano

This is a brief reflection on the consequences of the commodification of dance cultures from the former colonised world and the ways they are consumed in Europe. Inspired from ten years of fieldwork, the ethnic structuring of postcolonial dance floors in European cities proves an empirical basis to start this line of thought. Instead of promoting respect and interest in the dance forms and the cultural contexts in which these dance forms developed, aficionados tend to consider that these are less evolved, beautiful and interesting than the appropriations they develop in their home countries. As a result, commodification leads to reinforcing previous stereotypes and emic hierarchies of value. The kinetic metaphor of the bodies that scream but cannot listen structures the text and its arguments.

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PETER DE BOLLA, EWAN JONES, PAUL NULTY, GABRIEL RECCHIA and JOHN REGAN

This article proposes a novel computational method for discerning the structure and history of concepts. Based on the analysis of co-occurrence data in large data sets, the method creates a measure of “binding” that enables the construction of verbal constellations that comprise the larger units, “concepts,” that change over time. In contrast to investigation into semantic networks, our method seeks to uncover structures of conceptual operation that are not simply semantic. These larger units of lexical operation that are visualized as interconnected networks may have underlying rules of formation and operation that have as yet unexamined—perhaps tangential—connection to meaning as such. The article is thus exploratory and intended to open the history of concepts to some new avenues of investigation.

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Editorial

Research Article

Jean-Paul Gagnon and Selen A. Ercan

Democratic Theory’s eleventh issue (6[1], July 2019) features four new research articles as well as an interview, a critical commentary, a practitioner’s note and a book review. It begins with Stephanie Erev’s article, which explains neoliberalism’s assaults on democracy and nature. Working through Hayek, Erev suggests that opposing neoliberal extractivist culture from both the democratic and ecological standpoints “may offer the greatest promise for creative and collaborative struggles toward new worlds and new ways of life” today.

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Elisabeth Timm and Patrick Laviolette

It is with a certain nostalgia and great sadness that we begin this issue by announcing the death of one of our journal’s founding editors, Prof. Christian Giordano [1945–2018], in the final days of last year – an obituary will be published in the next issue. With the passing of Ina-Maria Greverus in 2017, AJEC is now orphaned from its two founding editors. At a time when the Soviet Union was collapsing and Europe would begin facing even more drastic changes, Grevenus and Giordano had the collective vision in 1990 of launching the Anthropological Yearbook of European Cultures.

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Emplacing Smells

Spatialities and Materialities of ‘Gypsiness’

Andreea Racleș and Ana Ivasiuc

As one of the most stereotyped minorities, the Roma are particularly ‘good to think’ in relation to constructions of Europeanness. In the production of ‘Gypsiness’, the body, the space, and the materiality of the dwelling are linked through smell as signifiers of a racial and cultural inferiority that does not ‘belong’ in and to Europe. Drawing on research projects carried out in the outskirts of Rome and in a small Romanian town, our contribution relies on a juxtaposed ethnography of constructions of ‘Gypsiness’ in relation to the spatial, sensorial and material inscriptions of the body. The article will examine the relationship between space and the social production of smell, discussing how spaces inhabited by Roma play a role in ‘doing’ Europeanness in a contrastive mode.

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European Bodies

Who Embodies europe? Explorations into the Construction of european Bodies

Anika Keinz and Paweł Lewicki

In this special issue we focus on processes of europeanisation and the work of colonial legacies and their impact on the production of the european body, a body that is always already racialised, classed and gendered. ‘european body’ can be observed in discourses and practices that constitute the normal/desired/legitimate body and concomitantly impacts notions about the civilised/cultured body, often linked to whiteness, secularism, legitimate class and gender performances. We ask to look back across pasts and into the present in order to explore who currently marks the boundaries of what is considered civilised, cultured, “normal” and comes to define what is considered a european body. What embodies the present, which and whose body epitomises europeaness and how does europeanisation generate (tacit) knowledge about the legitimate body?

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From Ebony to Ivory

‘Cosmetic’ Investments in the Body

Chiara Pussetti

This article discusses the impact of skin colour inequality in the individual aspirations and prospects of social inclusion and success, social mobility aspirations, professional ambitions and career opportunities. Ethnographically, it studies specific forms of cosmetic investments and self-optimisation in Portugal and its effects on the micropolitics of bodies, correlating the agency of individuals (how they empower themselves maximising certain aspects and minimising others) with the ways in which a European white appearance circulates as a form of capital and commodity, creating body narratives that are very much racialised. By inquiring the actual European understanding of value in bodies, we can also understand the colonial legacy and how it is reproduced through the mutation of bodies.

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Nadzeya Husakouskaya

The article studies the emergence of the transgender phenomenon within LGB activism in contemporary Ukraine in relation to an ongoing geopolitical process of Europeanisation, which involves negotiations over the country’s belonging to Europe. The article is based on PhD research (2013–2018) and has borrowed from governmentality studies and also from literature about the Europeanisation process. It pays particular attention to the instrumentalisation of sexual diversity and the transfer of ideas from Western to Eastern Europe. Using data from field research, the article brings to light the discrepancies between the globalised frameworks for LGBT activism and localised meanings and practices.