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Volume 6, issue 1 of Sartre Studies International, published at a moment when Sartre’s work is gaining increasing prominence in France, emphatically illustrates the full range and complexity of the Sartrean project. Sartre Studies International’s commitment to make available in English translation less well known texts by Sartre continues with the publication of Sartre’s 1945 articles on the American worker. Published initially in Combat, they appear for the first time in English translated by Adrian van den Hoven with a commentary by Ronald Aronson.

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What's left?

Land expropriation, socialist "modernizers," and peasant resistance in Asia

Luisa Steur and Ritanjan Das

With the victory of capitalism and the end of the Cold War, almost all countries in the global south, including those still calling themselves “communist,” have become “transition” countries, competing to attract foreign direct investment and reform according to the strictures of global capitalism. Particularly interesting cases of “transition” are those states that explicitly legitimize their rule in terms of communist ideals, the general alliance of peasants and workers toward an egalitarian society, and whose ideological pillars historically include a pro-poor re- distributive land reform.

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Ruy Llera Blanes

In this article, through a set of ethnographic vignettes from fieldwork conducted in Angola since 2015, I discuss the political semantics of crisis and austerity, and simultaneously outline an itinerary of a “traveling austerity” between Portugal and Angola, exposing the interconnectedness and mutual binding of both political and economic contexts. Invoking stories of migrant workers in Luanda and the work of local “financial activists” protesting against financial inequality in Angola, I question the relevance of national-based approaches to austerity politics, explore conceptualizations of austerity beyond its “original,” mainstream Eurocentric setting, and argue towards the necessity of analyzing transnational intersections in the study of austerity.

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Joshua Hotaka Roth

Many Japanese workers in lower-paying positions were drawn to the growing trucking sector in the 1950s and 1960s, characterized by contingency and the thrill of risk and reward, in contrast to the stasis of lifetime employment guarantees emerging in other sectors of the economy. The gamified reward structure in trucking, however, led to a spike in traffic accidents and a backlash against “kamikaze trucks.” Only after regulations and enforcement limited the most dangerous kinds of incentives did meaningful forms of play emerge at work from the bottom up, rather than the stultified forms imposed by businesses from the top down.

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Michael D. Pante

A paradigm shift has occurred in the historiography of mobility in the Philippines and Southeast Asia in the past decade. Many of the recent works deal with social history, such as accounts of transport workers and analyses of colonial modernity, and thus reveal the influence of the broader historiographical revolution that began in the 1970s. Slowly but surely, the history of mobility is carving out a discursive space for itself within the wider area of mobility studies, which, in the Philippines, has heretofore focused only on planning and policy.

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Andrea Klimt

Many observers of the German scene have argued that the long-term

non-German resident populations have become de facto permanent

members of German society. Beginning in the 1980s, the term

Heimkehrillusion, the “illusion of returning home,” gained prominence

in accounts of the guest workers’ trajectories, as many social scientists

and policy makers came to dismiss the continued assertions of some

migrant populations of their intention to eventually return “home.”

The increasingly accepted view was that “even though many [migrants]

have the goal to return sometime, this goal becomes increasingly

unlikely the longer they stay in Germany. For many families who have

established themselves here, there are no possibilities left in the country

of origin” (Institute für Zukunftsforschung, 15). The evidence that

“most of the ‘guest-workers’ would not return to their home countries”

continues to be pointedly cited in more recent efforts to push the German

state into reforming citizenship laws and taking responsibility for

the multicultural reality of German society (Hagedorn 2000, 4). The

permanence of the non-German population and their growing commitment

to life in Germany has, over the years, been the cornerstone of

progressive arguments that non-German residents merit full membership

in the German polity and that notions of “Germanness” must be

de-ethnicized and made more permeable. Explicit reference to

Heimkehrillusion has largely dropped out of current discussions of citizenship

reform and forms of belonging, but the conclusion that all resident

migrants in Germany are unambiguously there to stay has come

to form the unquestioned basis of contemporary debate.

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Pamela Camerra-Rowe

In March 2003, Social Democratic Chancellor Gerhard Schröder

announced a series of reforms that his government plans to undertake

in order to deal with Germany’s pressing economic problems.

These reform proposals, known as Agenda 2010, include cutting

unemployment benefits, making it easier to hire and fire workers,

reducing health insurance coverage, and raising the retirement age.

The reforms mark a change in the direction of the German Social

Democratic Party’s (SPD) economic policy. Rather than promoting

traditional social democratic values such as collective responsibility,

workers’ rights, and the expansion of state benefits, Schröder declared

that “We will have to curtail the work of the state, encourage more

individual responsibility, and require greater individual performance

from each person. Every group in the society will have to contribute

its share.”1 Despite opposition to these reforms by labor unions and

leftist members of the party, Agenda 2010 was approved by nearly 90

percent of SPD party delegates at a special party conference in June

2003.2 Several of the reforms, including health care and job protection

reforms, were passed by the legislature at the end of 2003 and

took effect on 1 January 2004.

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This Is the Time of Tension

Collective Action and Subjective Power in the Greek Anti-Austerity Movement

Atalanti Evripidou and John Drury

Greece has been one of the countries which most severely suffered the consequences of the global economic crisis during the past two years. It has also been a country with a long tradition of protest. The present paper reports a study in which we examined the ways in which people talk about subjective power and deal with the outcome of collective action in the context of defeat. Subjective power has recently become a prominent field of research and its link to collective action has been studied mainly through the concept of collective efficacy. The current study explored questions based on recent social identity accounts of subjective power in collective action. We examined participants’ experiences of subjective power before and after Mayday 2012, in Greece. Two different collective action events took place: a demonstration against austerity and a demonstration to support steel workers who were on strike. In total, 19 people were interviewed, 9 before the demonstrations and 10 after. Thematic analysis was carried out. Protest participants talked about power in terms of five first-order themes: the necessity of building power, unity, emotional effects, effects of (dis)organization, and support as success. The steel workers we spoke to experienced the events more positively than the other interviewees and had different criteria for success. Theories of collective action need to take account of the fact that subjective power has important emotional as well as cognitive dimensions, and that definitions of success depend on definitions of identity.

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Betsy Bowman and Bob Stone

The question whether, in the interim, the "socialist morality" allows adequate restraint on revolutionary action, cannot fairly be answered in abstraction from history, in this case our epoch. We submit that the group of projects called corporate "globalization" - imposing free trade, privatization, and dominance of transnational corporations - shapes that epoch. These projects are associated with polarization of wealth, deepening poverty, and an alarming new global U.S. military domination. Using 9/11 as pretext for a "war on terror," this domination backs corporate globalization. If Nazi occupation of France and French occupation of Algeria made Sartre and Beauvoir assign moral primacy to overcoming oppressive systems, then U.S. global occupation should occasion rebirth of that commitment. Parallels among the three occupations are striking. France's turning of colonial and metropolitan working classes against each other is echoed by globalization's pitting of (e.g.) Chinese against Mexican workers in a race to lower wages to get investment. Seducing first-world workers with racial superiority and cheap imports from near-slavery producers once again conceals their thralldom to their own bosses. Nazi and French use of overwhelming force and even torture are re-cycled by the U.S. and its agents, again to hide the vulnerability of their small forces amidst their enemies.

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Jane Collins

This article explores dominant ideological framings of the economic crisis that began in 2008, by examining shifting meanings of consumer citizenship in the US. The consumer citizen was a central figure in Keynesian ideology—one that encapsulated important assumptions about the proper relationship between production and consumption and the appropriate arenas for citizen engagement with the economy. Taking Wal-Mart as a case-study example, the article analyzes the way that corporate actors have flattened and reconfigured the concept of consumer citizenship in the US—promoting the “consumer” over the “citizen” and the “worker,” which had previously been important aspects of the concept—and have replaced Keynesian-era conversations about the proper balance between production and consumption with a rhetoric of choice between low prices and high wages.