Since German unification, assessments of the German economy have swung from “sick man of the euro” in the early years to dominant hegemon of late. I argue that the German economy appears strong because of its recent positive performance in two politically salient areas: unemployment and the current account. A deeper assessment reveals, however, that German economic performance cannot be considered a second economic miracle, but is at best a mini miracle. The reduction in unemployment is an important achievement. That said, it was not the product of faster growth, but of sharing the same volume of work among more individuals. Germany’s current account surpluses are as much the result of weak domestic demand as of export prowess. Germany has also logged middling performances in recent years regarding growth, investment, productivity, and compensation. The article also reviews seven challenges Germany has faced since unification: financial transfers from west to east, the global financial crisis, the euro crisis, internal and external migration, demographics, climate change, and upheavals in the automobile industry. German policy-makers managed the first four challenges largely successfully. The latter three will be more difficult to tackle in the future.
Stephen J. Silvia
Marino De Luca
Several parties throughout the world are democratizing their internal processes. The most notable tools for achieving this aim are the primary elections through which electoral candidates and party leaders are selected. This article seek to analyze these “selections” by using survey data relating to primary elections held in October 2011 by the French Socialist Party. In particular, we make use of survey data to describe extensively some social and political characteristics of the voters and to connect them with the electoral performances of the candidates.
David F. Patton
In the 2009 German federal election, the small parties together captured 43.2 percent of the vote; three small parties boasted a result in the double digits. Four years later, none of the small parties finished above 8.6 percent and only two reentered the Bundestag. Notably, the FDP, one of the original West German parties, dropped out of the federal parliament for the first time. Yet, any talk of catch-all party revival and party system concentration needs qualification. As a group, the small parties received nearly a third of all votes cast—the second highest share in six decades. Those that did not make it into the Bundestag won 15.7 percent, a higher share than in any other federal election. This article examines the positioning of the leading small parties in the 2013 Bundestag election campaign and their respective electoral results; highlights party systemic as well as internal party factors to explain small party performance; reassesses the commonplace classification of small parties by whether there is an established legislative presence or not; and considers the positioning and performance of small parties in the years to come.
Alcoholism as a Problem of Agricultural Subsidies, 1954–1955
In 1954, Pierre Mendès France committed the state to curbing alcoholism as part of an effort to reorient important agricultural sectors and improve French economic performance, using milk as a symbol of his government's new direction. While Mendès France's milk drinking was often portrayed as the whim of a maverick politician, this article shows instead that it was the expression of a broadly based movement to modernize the economy. Challenging the view of an insular state that exclusively served the powerful alcohol lobbies, this article contends that the success of alcohol reform hinged on Mendès France's ability to overcome parliament and pit other economic sectors and a public health movement against those lobbies. Although it would require the more centralized authority of the Fifth Republic to implement lasting reforms to the alcohol sector, the Mendès France government helped raise public awareness about the purported link between alcoholism and agricultural subsidies that kept uncompetitive producers on the land at the taxpayer's expense.
Matthew J. Sherman
Ideations of corporeality are situated at the crux of "muscular Judaism" in early twentieth- century Europe. The sporting event was viewed as a battlefield for equalization. In the ideological context of Muskeljudentum, the apathy of Talmudjudentum (Talmudic Judaism) was replaced by exercise, in which the strengthening of the corporeal would rejuvenate the psychical. Jewish strongman Siegmund Breitbart capitalized on his masculine feats of strength and aesthetic appeal by creating public performances, which displayed not only militarized corporeality, but also provided a stage for the promotion of "muscular Judaism," through both symbolic and literal representations of Zionist ideology. Breitbart reappropriated masculine Jewish corporeality, embodied corporeal notions of reciprocity at the core of Muskeljudentum, and found individual agency through the militarized aesthetic and motion of his body.
William E. Paterson and James Sloam
The 2009 German federal election marked a devastating defeat for the German Social Democratic Party (SPD). The debacle led some commentators to speculate about the end of the SPD as a “catch-all party“ and—given the recent poor performance of center-left parties across Europe—“the end of social democracy.“ In this article, we contextualize the result of the 2009 Bundestag election within the settings of German party politics and European social democracy, and show how the electoral disaster for the SPD can be explained by broad, long-term political developments. We nevertheless argue that the German Social Democrat's defeat in 2009 provides an opportunity for renewal at a time when the governing Conservative-Liberal coalition—already in disarray—must take some tough decisions with regard to the resource crunch in German public finances.
Il est toujours hasardeux d’évaluer l’importance d’un livre à son format et à son nombre de pages. Ce serait en l’occurrence une lourde erreur que de sousestimer la portée de ce petit livre, sous le prétexte qu’il se présente comme la reprise écrite et apparemment « facile » d’une conférence donnée en mars 1996 dans le cadre du Cercle Condorcet. Mon sentiment est au contraire que cet ouvrage réalise, en 127 pages, une double performance intellectuelle et pédagogique. Il met d’abord à portée de lecteurs non nécessairement familiers des outils théoriques de la philosophie politique la thèse principale du livre majeur paru en 19851 quant au devenir de la religion dans les sociétés modernes. Il offre ensuite une perspective d’une cohérence lumineuse pour penser la mutation présente des idéaux et de la pratique de la démocratie : une mutation qui fait vaciller l’édifice de la laïcité à la française.
This article discusses the respective origins and developments of the German expellee organizations' chief days of commemoration, the Tag der Heimat and the Volkstrauertag, and investigates key elements of the commemorative ceremonies that take place on these occasions, in particular, their liturgical setups, thematic mottos, recitations of Totenehrungen, and the performance of "Ich hatt' einen Kameraden." Despite assertions that the expulsion has been insufficiently commemorated in the Federal Republic, and in spite of recent calls for a national day of remembrance to rectify this commemorative lacuna, this article shows how the expulsion has been memorialized on various levels for decades. Moreover, it argues that the expellee organizations' historical narratives have been one-sided and de-contextualized and sheds light on how the ceremonies bring these understandings of the past to life by highlighting German wartime suffering.
Manau's Celtic Rap, Breton Cultural Expression, and Contestatory Performance in Contemporary France
Charles R. Batson
The highly successful 1998 album Panique celtique launched the group of rappers known as Manau and their self-styled "Celtic rap fusion" onto the French musical scene, bringing Breton binious to join the beatboxes on France's hip-hop radio stations and concert stages. As they engage a strikingly heteroclite blending of both rap and Breton musical traditions, Manau's work configures a Celtic Brittany as a rich site of contestation and revalorization. This article traces histories of French-language rap and Breton musical expression and analyzes their politicized uses in their respective historico-cultural contexts. Concluding with an exploration of current questions concerning how the past informs the shape of present performance, especially in light of Breton cultural particularities, the author suggests that Manau's rapped Celtic stylings both occasion an interrogation of cultural identity through music and point to charged social meanings attributed to performed Frenchness and Otherness in early twenty-first-century France.
nostalgie et authenticité dans la chanson néo-réaliste
France's retro rock music (chanson néo-réaliste) of the 1990s and 2000s favors acoustic music and "old-fashioned" instruments such as the accordion in order to reject today's fascination with novelty and consumerism. In doing so, this music genre looks back to pre-war France and rehabilitates an all-white national culture that is problematically nostalgic, in a similar fashion to the film Amélie. This article explores the ways in which chanson néo-réaliste still manages to forge a sense of protest identity in contemporary France, while engaging in apparently reactionary tactics. The specificities of this music genre are explored through an analysis of the lyrics, music, iconography and performance of, primarily, the group Têtes Raides, while contrasting their nostalgia of "protest" with that of the more commercially successful genre of variétés.