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Mark Donovan

The unprecedented government majority that resulted from the 2001

election and the radical promises of the prime minister candidate Silvio

Berlusconi had suggested that epochal change could follow the

alternation of government from left to right. Major constitutional and

socio-economic reform had been promised that would create a new,

successful, and dynamic country of which Italians could be proud.

More specifically, the public had been led to believe that the government

would enact strong federal reform while reinforcing the executive,

perhaps especially the prime minister, and introducing a new era

of markedly liberal economic policies. Thus, tax cuts and the promotion

of economic growth would create jobs and guarantee continuing

high standards of living. The government’s “honeymoon period,” however,

was short-lived. By the end of the year, trust in the government

had fallen to just below 50 percent, where it stabilized throughout

2002. Doubts about the government’s ability to deliver reflected its

poor performance on economic and social matters, resulting from both

the international economic downturn and its own mismanagement of

the domestic agenda, most notably industrial relations. By the autumn

of 2003, the Bank of Italy was drawing attention to a two-year period

of domestic stagnation and a decade-long investment slump.

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Ernst B. Haas, Sally Roever, and Anna Schmidt

Contemporary interstate relations in Europe are proclaimed by

Europeans to be little short of ideal. Every nation and every state is

told to behave toward others as do the states of the European Union.

Inter-European relations, we are told, illustrate the norms to which

everyone should aspire. Moreover, the same civilized rules of political

behavior apply within each country.

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Sensing prison climates

Governance, survival, and transition

Tomas Max Martin, Andrew M. Jefferson, and Mahuya Bandyopadhyay

In December 2010 members of the Global Prisons Research Network (GPRN) met for a seminar entitled “Dissecting the 'Non-Western' Prison.” The articles showcased in this thematic section were first presented there. This introduction proposes the notion of “prison climate” as a useful way of rethinking variations and similarities across prisons. This notion directs attention away from the prison “as such” to the prison “as is” and points to the fact that the idea of prison itself is contested and changing, however hegemonic it might appear. We argue that a truly representative and international penology should go beyond the mapping of differences and similarities. Rather, the researcher should pursue the twofold question of what persists and what mutates within and across prison worlds. We advocate an ethnographic orientation to deciphering the entanglements of relations, practices, and dynamics that constitute particular prison climates and we include some reflections on the particular challenges of conducting fieldwork in prisons.

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John P. Willerton and Martin Carrier

The April 21st defeat of Socialist party candidate Lionel Jospin in the first round of the 2002 presidential elections shockingly ended the five-year reign of arguably the most productive government in Fifth Republic France.1 The Jospin government of the Gauche Plurielle departed as surprisingly as it had come to power five years earlier, its legacy of unprecedented success in Left coalition building and far-ranging policy construction seemingly voided by Jospin’s embarrassing loss to Jean-Marie Le Pen and the Far Right.

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Jonathan Friedman

James Scott, The art of not being governed: An anarchist history of upland Southeast Asia. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009, pp. 464, ISBN 0300152280.

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Thierry Baudouin and Michèle Collin

During the Fordist period, the state transformed the historic site of Les Halles,in the heart of Paris, into the agglomeration's chief mass transit gateway.Efforts to make the site into a veritable tool of social, cultural, and economicmetropolitan development are struggling because of governmental modalitiesthat remain very marked by centralism. A majority of citizens, notably thoseliving in suburban Paris, actively stake a claim to this metropolitan dimensionand to the rich possibilities of this tool. The article principally analyzes the territorializingpractices of suburban youths, whose multiple subjectivities arestill poorly integrated into the site. Les Halles thus reveals the question of thecorrespondence of these establishing metropolitan practices to the reality ofthe centralized institutions around Paris intramuros.

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Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka

Since 1996, Nepal has increasingly been drawn into a violent conflict between Maoist rebels and the state, leading to a severe crisis. Thousands of civilians have been killed, and most people in the countryside live in constant fear. Economic hardship has seriously increased. Despite repeated efforts to bring the parties together for peace talks, there is little hope that the violent situation will be resolved in the near future. This article analyzes the complex causes of the emergence of the Maoist insurrection and its success, and sketches the problems impeding a democratic solution to the current situation.

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The seed and the citizen

Biosocial networks of confiscation and destruction in Canada

Birgit Müller

While farmers set up conditions for the development of plants, the seeds they help grow into plants determine conditions for the farmers. Modern plants not only have agronomic characteristics but also intellectual property rights, phytosanitary regulations, and classifications attached to them. Interacting with their seeds creates fields of property and power, situations of possibility and impossibility, in which farmers and breeders operate. The biosocial networks from which seeds emerge are animated by bureaucratic measures, property relations, and research and cultivation practices that I will explore in action. Seeds not only become what they are in multifarious networks of natural, cultural, and political agencies, but their emergence and coevolution with humans is ruptured through deregistration, persecution, confiscation, and destruction of proprietary seeds. This article will take the reader from the fields of farmers in Saskatchewan to seed breeders in Saskatoon and ultimately to public meetings organized by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in Ottawa.

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Kyösti Pekonen

The article examines, through the use of conceptual history, the semantics of ruling and government in Europe. The author identifies the discourses that have been constructed in order to answer the question of what can be ruled and governed in European cultures and shows how their prominence and timing have varied in different political cultures.

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Jenny Wüstenberg

The memory landscape in Germany has been lauded for its pluralism: for reckoning with the past not only critically but in its many complex facets. Nevertheless, particularly victims of repression in East Germany lament that their plight is not adequately represented and some have recently affiliated themselves with the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and other groups on the far-right spectrum. This article seeks to explain the seeming contradiction between existing pluralism in German public memory and dissatisfaction with it by tracing how memory activists have shaped memory policy and institutions. Based on extensive interview and archival research, I argue that the infiltration of civil society into the institutions that govern memory in large part explains the strength of critical memory in unified Germany and the country’s ability to accommodate a variety of pasts. However, there is also a distinct lack of pluralism when it comes to the rules of “how memory is done,” to the exclusion of more emotional and politicized approaches that are sometimes favored by some victims’ groups. Using the case of the recent debate about the Hohenschönhausen Memorial, I contend that this explains some of the attraction felt by these groups towards the right.