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Re-thinking Antimilitarism

France 1898-1914

Elizabeth Propes

Conservative French nationalists had successfully labeled antimilitarism as antinationalist in the two decades preceding World War I. Because some of the more vocal antimilitarists were also involved in anarchist and radical Marxist organizations, historians largely have accepted this antinationalist label while also arguing that French nationalism had lost its connections to the French Revolution and become a more extremist, protofascist movement. A closer look at mainstream antimilitarist arguments, however, reveals the continued existence of the republican nationalism that had dominated the nineteenth century and shows that antimilitarists did not reject their nation. Instead, antimilitarists sought to protect the Republic, which they saw as synonymous with the nation, against an increasingly conservative, anti-Republic military and conservative nationalists, whom antimilitarists saw as a danger to a republican France.

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The Ariadne’s thread that runs through, and connects, the articles in this issue of Theoria is the modern state. How should the state approach welfare policy? Is the state’s power as absolute as once it had been? What is the importance of nationalism for states? What assumptions about the relationship between the state and civil society should be examined, and how? What, especially in a developing society such as South Africa, is—or should be—the relationship between the state and the poor? These are the overarching questions that knit together the contributions.

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A Ghost from the Future

The Postsocialist Myth of Capitalism and the Ideological Suspension of Postmodernity

Ridvan Peshkopia

There is a widespread tendency to see the perils of postsocialism in the revival of the ghosts and myths from the past—namely ethnocentrism, nationalism, exclusiveness, bickering, collectivist-authoritarianism, expansionist chauvinism, and victimisation. I suggest that postsocialism's perils rest with a myth from the future, namely, the myth of capitalism. Those perils, I argue, are rooted in the fetishisation of capitalism by the postsocialist societies as a reflection of their deeply ingrained teleological way of perceiving the future. Political leaders are taking advantage of this situation by putting themselves in the position of those who would lead toward such a utopia. As a consequence, individual freedoms are sacrificed at the altar of communitarian bliss. I suggest that the only hope that we have to secularise the newly re-religiosised postsocialist societies rests with intellectuals.

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Jean-François Grégoire

In an effort towards developing a normative theory of federalism, this paper offers a critical assessment of the work of Will Kymlicka and Ferran Requejo in order to show the progress and failures of liberal nationalist authors on issues raised by the normative dimensions of federalism in Western multinational contexts. More exactly, the paper argues that both authors fail to give a complete theory of federalism because the liberal conception of self-determination as non-interference can only create superficial unity and contingent trust, especially in multinational contexts, where non-interference is to regulate relations between particular identities and conceptions of citizenship. Drawing on this critical assessment of liberal nationalism, I argue that the neo-republican ideal of non-domination, as developed by Philip Pettit (1997, 2012), provides us not only with the adequate normative heuristics to assess national rights of self-determination, but also international relations and the institutional conditions needed to create binding trust within multinational federal constellations.

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Alexander Motyl, Slavoj Zizek, Glyn Daly, Will Kymlicka, Nigel Gibson, and G.A. Cohen

Revolutions, Nations, Empires: Conceptual Limits and Theoretical Possibilities, by Alexander J. Motyl. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999. ISBN: 0231114311. Imperial Ends: The Decay, Collapse, and Revival of Empires, by Alexander J. Motyl. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001. ISBN: 0231121105. Reviewed by Roger Deacon

Conversations with Zizek, by Slavoj Zizek and Glyn Daly. Polity: Cambridge, 2004. ISBN: 0745628974 Reviewed by Richard Pithouse

Politics in the Vernacular: Nationalism, Multiculturalism, and Citizenship, by Will Kymlicka. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. ISBN: 0199240981. Reviewed by Laurence Piper

Frantz Fanon: The Postcolonial Imagination, by Nigel Gibson. Cambridge: Polity, 2003. ISBN: 0745622615. Reviewed by Richard Pithouse

If You’re an Egalitarian, How Come You’re So Rich? by G.A. Cohen. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2001. ISBN: 0674006933. Reviewed by Ben Parker

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Michael A. Di Giovine

The Early Modern era was an age of exploration and discovery: travelers dis covered foreign lands as well as themselves. In addition to being filled with titillating tales of the baroque and the bizarre, the narratives they produced also serve as keys to understanding the birth of the modern world system by representing and motivating European imperialism and proto-nationalism—often through the ways in which the individual writer fashions himself in relation to the Others he encounters. Travel Narratives from the Age of Discovery: An Anthology, edited by Peter C. Mancall, and Nathalie Hester's Literature and Identity in Italian Baroque Travel Writing, provide detailed looks into the age of exploration, modern travel writing, and its effects on the explorer's identity claims.

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Alsace-Lorraine and Africa

French Discussions of French and German Politics, Culture, and Colonialism in the Deliberations of the Union for Truth, 1905–1913

Jean Elisabeth Pedersen

This article explores the ways in which French intellectuals understood the changing and intersecting relationships between France and Germany, France and Alsace-Lorraine, and France and Africa during the early twentieth-century expansion of the French empire. The body of the text analyzes the interdisciplinary discussions of Paul Desjardins, Charles Gide, and their academic and activist colleagues at the Union pour la vérité (Union for Truth) and its Libres entretiens (Open Conversations) in the immediate aftermath of the First and Second Moroccan Crises. Focusing on the Union's 1905–1906 and 1912–1913 debates over the issues of nationalism, internationalism, imperialism, and colonization provides a new understanding of the relationship between French national identity and French imperial identity. The conclusion explains how and why this group of largely progressive French political analysts simultaneously rejected German expansion into France and justified French expansion across the African continent.

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Sean Kennedy

Beginning in the 1980s, several historians began to challenge the view that fascism was a marginal phenomenon in interwar France, a view dubbed "the immunity thesis" by one of its critics. Surveying a range of works on far-Right intellectuals and movements during the 1920s and 1930s, this article suggests that "the immunity thesis" has been increasingly challenged by a variety of historians since the mid-1990s. However, a consensus on the issue has not emerged, as a number of historians stress the need to differentiate between fascism and other forms of right-wing nationalism in the French context. At the same time, there are signs that scholars are beginning to move beyond questions of categorization and address other themes relating to the inter-war Right. These new agendas have the potential to broaden our understanding of the late Third Republic in general.

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Heroism, Exoticism, and Violence

Representing the Self, “the Other,“ and Rival Empires in the English and French Illustrated Press, 1880-1905

H. Hazel Hahn

The English and French illustrated press between 1880 and 1905 depicted Europeans as superior to non-Europeans and rarely questioned the colonizing right of Europeans. The illustrated press, such as news magazines The Illustrated London News, The Graphic, and L'Illustration, as well as the newspaper Le Petit Journal, was consumed by colonial news, reported as a series of crises, battles, and frontier troubles, and represented colonial officers and soldiers as heroes. However, a series of imperial rivalries increasingly undermined any collective “European“ understanding of the imperial mission. By implicitly and explicitly questioning and criticizing other empires' motives and capacity for colonization, the press came to portray colonization as a power dynamic. Heroism was increasingly tied to nationalism rather than to broader moral principles. The rhetoric and imagery of imperialism were thus fraught with paradoxes and double standards. The press coverage also reveals close links between war and tourism imaginaries.

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“Purely Artistic”

Police Power and Popular Culture in Colonial Algerian Theater

Danielle Beaujon

Following World War II, French police surveillance in Algeria increasingly focused on the threat of Algerian nationalism and policing theater proved no exception. The police assiduously investigated the contents of plays and the background of performers, seeking to determine whether a performance could be considered “purely artistic.” In cracking down on theater, the police attempted to produce “pro-French” art that could influence Algerian loyalties, a cultural civilizing mission carried out by the unlikely figure of the beat cop. Ultimately, their mission failed. Live performances presented an opportunity for spontaneity and improvisation that revealed the weakness of colonial policing. In this article, I argue that in trying to separate art from politics, the police created an impossibly capacious idea of the political, giving officers justification for inserting themselves into intimate moments of daily life. The personal, the interpersonal, and the artistic became a realm of police intervention.