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Border tricksters and the predatory state

Contraband at the Romania-Serbia border during the Yugoslavian embargoes

Cosmin Radu

This article analyzes actions of the Romanian state officials and the Romania-Serbia border region people during the embargoes imposed on Yugoslavia in the 1990s. It shows that the embargo-related contraband trade with its diverse layers and actors is an excellent window for studying state formations. Getting involved in both big contraband and the criminalization of smugglers, different state factions developed specific logics of privatization, transnationalization, and interstitial relations. These developments were connected to both the fantasies of accumulation in the context of embargo and Romanian European Union accession. The article also suggests how to understand continuities between the embargorelated and present state formations. Looking at the interplays among border posts, state officials, and the EU, it shows that the border posts are increasingly dislocated from the state and that they seem to become interstitial parts of a post-state field of power.

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L'Express et l'espace après Apollo 11

La dramaturgie du récit journalistique à l'épreuve du spatial

Jérôme Lamy

This article examines the treatment of outer space in the French weekly magazine L'Express from 1969 to 2009. After the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, space was essentially analyzed from the perspective of geopolitics: International tensions, the Cold War, and the emergence of an integrated Europe served as prisms through which the subject of outer space was explored. After the Challenger crash in 1986, thinking about space took on a more commercial orientation; business, trade, and competition became a powerful frame of reference. At the same time, ecological concerns emerged to reinforce a negative view of space exploration. Space debris and the decline of utopian expectations became recurring themes. This cultural history of disenchantment over space reflected both a scaling back of Promethean ambitions and the assimilation of space into everyday life.

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Montagnes Russes and Calicot

Print Culture and Visual Satire in Restoration Paris

Peggy Davis

Restoration-era discourse on the montagnes russes—early roller coasters—reveals how leisure activity could become a lightning rod for perspectives on public space, tensions among social groups, and expressions of patriotism. Eager to profit from the montagnes russes craze, boulevard theaters hosted a number of plays on the subject. Through the buffoonish character M. Calicot, one such comedy—entitled The Battle of the Mountains— caricatured young clothing-trade salesclerks who frequented roller-coaster parks. The play provoked the ire of some of these men, who “waged war” on the Variety Theater, where the play was performed. The conflict in turn sparked satires in print, visual, and other media. These cultural productions both reflected the short-lived mania for roller coasters and shaped attitudes in their own right, all while employing laughter to deal with postwar trauma.

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Giancarlo Gasperoni

On 30 October 2008, there was a general strike of school staff in protest

against Law No. 133 (the three-year budgetary law), which was passed

on 6 August 2008, and legislative Decree No. 137 (the so-called Gelmini

decree) of 1 September 2008, which was due to become law on the eve

of the strike. The former measure called for a major reduction in school

personnel, while the latter embodied the education policy of the new

center-right government and the new minister of education, Mariastella

Gelmini. Central elements of the legislation included the introduction

of the so-called single teacher and the restoration of marks awarded for

behavior. The strike was almost unanimous in that it was called by all

the major trade union organizations—a rare occurrence (although the

trade union COBAS had gone on strike alone on 17 October).

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Parallel Lives

Remembering the PCF and CGT

George Ross

Philippe Herzog and Jean-Louis Moynot were members of the top leaderships of the Parti Communiste Français (PCF) and the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT), respectively. Each participated in and lived through the dramatic years from the 1960s through the 1980s when both organizations first supported Union de la Gauche and then turned away from it, eventually precipitating both into decline in ways that would transform eventually the French political and trade union left. The strategic shifts underlying these deep and significant changes were traumatic for those who lived through them. Herzog and Moynot have recently published memoirs detailing their experiences of this period and their political lives thereafter. Both books, in different ways, give us new and important understandings of what happened during a critical moment of change in French politics.

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Pierre Lascoumes

Unlike Anglo-Saxon countries, France, along with other Mediterranean democracies (Italy, Spain)1 has waited until the end of the twentieth century to publicly identify the various forms “public misconduct” can take2 and to begin to address them politically. Two convictions mark a breach in the national tradition of impunity for public corruption: that of the treasurer of the Socialist Party, deputy and former minister Henri Emmanuelli, in March 1996 for concealment of trading on his influence (earning him an18-month suspended jail sentence and, more notably, two years of attainder and political ineligibility); and that of the mayor of Grenoble, RPR deputy and minister Alain Carignon, in July 1996 for corruption (earning him four years imprisonment).

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Teresa Hoefert de Turégano

French efforts in lobbying for a “cultural exception” in world trade agreements have attracted much attention. Less noticed have been the long-standing French attempts to support the film production of individuals from around the world, for whom making films in their countries of origin is difficult for economic, political, and social reasons. One of France’s areas of predilection for such cinematographic support has been francophone sub-Saharan Africa, specifically countries that were once former colonies. Shortly after most African countries in the region became independent, France created the Ministry of Cooperation and Development to administer relations with the African states; an important part of French support consisted of helping develop cinematographic production.

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Stephen Kalberg

The disagreement between Germany and the United States over the

war in Iraq was massive. During the winter of 2002, many observers

spoke of a long-term rift between these longstanding allies and a

total loss of credibility on both sides. No one can doubt, regardless

of recent healing overtures,1 that the German-American partnership

has been altered and significantly weakened. It has suffered a blow

far more damaging than those that accompanied past conflicts over,

for example, Ostpolitik, the neutron bomb, the Soviet gas pipeline,

the flow of high technology products to the Soviet Union, the imposition

of trade sanctions in 1980 against the military government in

Poland, the stationing in the late 1970s of middle-range missiles on

German soil, and the modernization of short-range missiles in 1989.

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Arthur Goldhammer

Tocqueville's account of the role of voluntary associations in democracy is discussed in relation to the French government's repressive Law of 1834. The context was one of insurrection in Lyon and the regime of Louis Philippe, itself the product of an insurrection only a few years before, was particularly nervous about conspiratorial associations, which it attempted to ban with the law in question. Because Tocqueville opposed this law, he emphasized the virtues of political association in the text of Democracy in America and ignored certain problematic characteristics of the one association he used to exemplify his general argument, namely, the “free trade association” that convened in Philadelphia in 1831 to oppose the so-called Tariff of Abominations.

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Martin Thomas

Focusing on the gendarmerie forces of the three French Maghreb territories, this article explores the relationships between paramilitary policing, the collection of political intelligence, and the form and scale of collective violence in the French Empire between the wars, and considers what, if anything, was specifically colonial about these phenomena. I also assess the changing priorities in political policing as France's North African territories became more unstable and violent during the Depression. The gendarmeries were overstretched, under-resourced, and poorly integrated into the societies they monitored. With the creation of dedicated riot control units, intelligenceled political policing of rural communities and the agricultural economy fell away. By 1939 the North African gendarmeries knew more about organized trade unions, political parties, and other oppositional groups in the Maghreb's major towns, but they knew far less about what really drove mass protest and political violence: access to food, economic prosperity, rural markets, and labor conditions.