Political philosophy has been under the sway of a certain picture since Rawls’s A Theory of Justice was published in 1971. This picture combines the idea that the problem of justice should be approached from the direction of ideal normative theory, and that there are some anchoring ideas that secure the justificatory role of a hypothetical agreement. I think this picture and the hold it has over political philosophy is beginning to fragment. This fragmentation I think is most evident in the skepticism that has become a routine response to the Kantian idea that ‘we’ can ‘discover’ the terms of an agreement that has both a categorical force and a universal scope. But as the picture fragments we are still left with the framework and vocabulary of Rawls’s difficult and elaborate theory. The major difficulty confronting the Rawlsian project (the problem of pluralism as I will argue below) is itself defined in terms of Rawls’s conceptual language. And this serves only to obscure the real challenge and keep us ‘bewitched’ by Rawls’s narrow way of seeing issues. In being bewitched in this way we do not see that the problem of pluralism confronts Rawls’s project as a whole, rather than requiring adjustments and accommodations.
Marc Morjé Howard, The Weakness of Civil Society in Post-Communist Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003)
Review by Mitchell P. Smith
Catherine Epstein, The Last Revolutionaries. German Communists and their Century (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003)
Review by Henry Krisch
Victor Grossman (Stephen Wechsler), Crossing the River: A Memoir of the American Left, the Cold War, and Life in East Germany (Amherst and Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2003)
Review by A. James McAdams
Winfried Menninghaus, Disgust: Theory and History of a Strong Sensation, trans. Howard Eilard and Joel Golb (Albany: SUNY Press, 2003)
Review by Silke Weineck
Peter Eli Gordon, Rosenzweig and Heidegger: Between Judaism and German Philosophy (Berkeley, University of California Press, 2003)
Review by Joel Freeman
Dominik Geppert, The Postwar Challenge: Cultural, Social, and Political Change in Western Europe, 1945-58 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002)
Review by Richard L. Merritt and Anna Merritt
Brett Klopp, German Multiculturalism: Immigrant Integration and the Transformation of Citizenship (Westport, CT: Prager, 2002)
Review by John Brady
An explosion in a war zone, no matter how localized and remote to the rest of the world, constitutes a crisis that has dangerous global repercussions. Using Alain Badiou's philosophy of multiplicities to track these repercussions, this article explores international profiteering and extra-legal commodities transfers; forced labor and enforced inequalities; dereliction in providing social, civil, and humanitarian services; and institutionalized injustices that coalesce in war and radiate worldwide. While the politics and economics of these systems of inequality seem to confer power on those who control them (generally, cosmopolitan industrial centers), this article suggests these are loci of vulnerability—`fracture zones'—that, under pressure (e.g., conflict, market crashes, natural disasters), leave even peacetime countries susceptible to collapse.
The Core of Social Quality
Fundamentally, the Social Quality Approach (SQA) takes up a topic that runs like a thread through philosophy and social science, namely the tensions between two fields. The one field stretches between ‘individual and society’, the other stretches between ‘institutions and communities’. What the present approach distinguishes from these two is that it seriously goes beyond delivering a new interpretation of the world, aiming instead on delivering a – theoretically founded – instrument for political action. However, political action here aims on dealing with the fundamental challenge of a society as an integrated system, being based on the objective and subjective dimensions of socially acting individuals. To speak of ‘socially acting individuals’ means to acknowledge the interdependency of acting individuals, their independence and at the same time the dependence of the individuals from a society which they shape through their own action.
Durkheim and the Critique of Pragmatism
Sue Stedman Jones
Durkheim's lecture course Pragmatisme et sociologie was given in 1913-14, and thus counts amongst the last of his works. It is interesting, not just for this reason, but because here we encounter Durkheim, less in his characteristic empirical sociological mode and more as a philosopher. Here we find him engaging in a logical attack on what was then a popular movement of philosophy and debating the logical issues arising out of pragmatism. William James and the movement of pragmatism had a huge prestige on the European continent and a great influence after the turn of the century and shared a cult of admiration with Bergson (Stuart Hughes 1958:112). Durkheim challenged this on a philosophical level and found what he held to be its weakest point—the question of truth.
Hugh Beach, Dmitri Funk, and Lennard Sillanpää, eds., Post-Soviet Transformations: Politics of Ethnicity and Resource Use in Russia Anna Bara
Susan A. Crate and Mark Nuttall, eds., Anthropology and Climate Change: From Encounters to Actions Zareen Pervez Bharucha
Benjamin Isitt, From Victoria to Vladivostok. Canada’s Siberian Expedition, 1917–1919 J. L. Black
U. K. Kuznetsova, The Dictionary of Tuvan Culture: Angloiazychnyi slovar’ tuvinskoi kul’tury Alexander D. King
Yu. V. Popkov and E. A. Tyugashev, Filosofiia Severa: Korenye Malochislennye Narody Severa v Stsenariiakh Miroustroistva [Philosophy of the North: Indigenous Peoples of the North in World Order Scenarios] Karl Mertens
Douglas Rogers, The Old Faith and the Russian Land: A Historical Ethnography of Ethics in the Urals David Z. Scheffel
l'acte de 'donner' chez Simmel et Durkheim
Luca Guizzardi and Luca Martignani
This focuses on a key topic for comparison of two masters of sociological thought, Georg Simmel and Émile Durkheim: the question of giving in the context of social exchange. Durkheim deals with the issue in introducing the concept of organic solidarity, based on the division of social labour and implying the interdependence of individuals. This representation of solidarity links with the interest in credit and debt relations in Simmel's philosophy of money and with a perspective in which reciprocity is conceived as one of the main sociological functions involved in the representation of social bonds. After a comparison of Durkheim and Simmel's theories of reciprocity, a specific case discussed is the mortgage, conceived as a paradigm of the shape assumed by the immaterial reality of reciprocity in institutional and everyday life.
Albert H. Friedlander
Dorothee Soelle was scheduled to speak at four events at the 2003 Ecumenical Kirchentag in Berlin. Sadly, she died shortly beforehand, in the midst of a lecture. It was hard to come to terms with a conference that did not include this Socratic gadfly who challenged all her contemporaries. In my London study, I collected books written by her from the various subject shelves – sixteen books, moving across theology, philosophy, social ethics, poetry and other categories. On occasions, she permitted me to publish (and translate) some of her writings in European Judaism. At the Leo Baeck College – Centre for Jewish Education, I find some of her books indispensable for the instruction of rabbis: Suffering, The Onward Journey, Dialogues of the Night in the Church, In the House of the Man-eater, Sympathy and others. But at least the books are here, in my library. Dorothee is not here, and that is a great loss in our lives.
The Adorno Reader, edited by Brian O’Connor. Oxford: Blackwell, 2000. Reviewed by Ben Parker
Writings on Psychoanalysis: Freud and Lacan, by Louis Althusser; edited by Olivier Corpet and François Matheron. Columbia University Press, 1996. Reviewed by Clayton Crockett
On the Pragmatics of Social Interaction: Preliminary Studies in the Theory of Communicative Action, by Jürgen Habermas; translated by Barbara Fultner. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2001. Reviewed by Iain MacKenzie
Senses of Culture: South African Culture Studies, edited by Sarah Nuttall and Cheryl-Ann Michael. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Reviewed by Arnold Shepperson
Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory, by Bhikhu Parekh. Basingstoke & London: Macmillan, 2000. Reviewed by Laurence Piper
Heidegger and Derrida on Philosophy and Metaphor: Imperfect Thought, by Guiseppe Stellardi. Humanity Books: New York, 2000. Reviewed by Patrick Lenta
Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism? Five Interventions on the (Mis)use of a Notion, by Slavoj Zizek. New York: Verso, 2001. Reviewed by Kevin A. Morrison
Muslim Youth Challenge Nativist and Closed Notions of Austrian Identity
The Austrian Muslim Youth was founded in 1996 by young Muslims of different ethnic backgrounds and has become the largest multi-ethnic, co-educational, German-speaking youth organization in Austria today. Since its inception, it has presented the concept of an ‘Austrian Muslim identity’ as a key philosophy. In this article, I ask how the idea of this identity was negotiated. I suggest that this concept is not reinforcing nativist notions. Rather, the formation of an Austrian Muslim identity can be seen as an attempt to create safe spaces to empower young Muslims to live their religion while fully participating in Austrian society. Hence, this concept speaks to two audiences simultaneously, challenging nativist notions and offering young Muslims ways to see themselves as possessing multiple and hybrid identities.