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Civil Societies Between Difference and Solidarity

Rethinking Integration in the Fragmented Public Sphere

Jeffrey C. Alexander

In l974, after twenty years of relatively successful struggles for the expansion of American citizenship, efforts that began with Black Americans and expanded to include other racial minorities and women, a scholar named Peter Adler (l974:369-371) concluded a widely used anthology called Intercultural Communication by offering a definition of ‘multicultural’. Emphasising the ‘psychoculturally adaptive’, Adler portrayed a protean, ever-changing, integrative actor who had the desire and ability to put himself in the shoes of the other person in a relativising, cross-over, non-judgmental way. ‘Multicultural man’, he wrote, ‘maintains no clear boundaries between himself and the varieties of personal and cultural contexts he may find himself in’. He is ‘capable of major shifts in his frame of reference and embodies the ability to disavow a permanent character … He is a person who is always in the process of becoming a part of and apart from a given cultural context. He is very much a formative being, resilient, changing, and evolutionary’ (italics added).

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Raphaël De Kadt

This edition of Theoria is being assembled at a time of war. The government of the United States of America is projecting, through force, its power in the Middle East. The invasion of Iraq has been presented as a war of liberation. Its principal declared purpose has become the emancipation of the Iraqi people from tyrannical rule. Whatever the pretexts, declared and imputed, for the decision to go to war – which have ranged from the desire to disarm Saddam’s regime of its weapons of mass destruction to securing control of Iraqi oil supplies – there is little doubt that this is primarily an attempt to politically ‘reengineer’ an entire region. As such it fits neatly with the doctrine, articulated by the neo-conservative authors associated with the Project for the New American Century, which presses for the creation of an enduring, twenty-first century pax Americana of global reach. In their view, it is imperative that the United States does not lose the military supremacy it currently enjoys. No superpower that might challenge it should be allowed to emerge. To this end, the present war entails an attempt to erect a ‘coercive carapace’ across the Middle East, stretching from Israel in the west through to Afghanistan or indeed perhaps even India – a potentially ‘natural’ ally – in the east. Iraq is the centrally located landmass on which this exercise will first be tested, and from which it will be extended. This bold endeavour is concerned, in its own way, to ‘make the world safe for democracy’ and, by extension, American interests.

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Signs of Radical Democracy?

Deleuze, Badiou, Rancière and Tahrir Square, 2011

Bert Olivier

How should one make theoretical sense of what has been called 'the miracle of Tahrir Square' – the fact that the Egyptian people successfully ousted a dictator in a peaceful manner, where militant groups had failed to do so by force? In this article it is argued that Deleuze/Guattari's notion of the subject in terms of desiring-machines, flows, schizophrenic production and the 'body-without-organs', enables one to theorise human subjectivity as being in process, and not 'self-identical', as mainstream thinking would have it. Deleuze's thought on societies of control further suggests the concept of rhizomatic lines of subversion of hegemonic networks from within the latter. Further, Alain Badiou's consonant conception of the subject – as one of multiple 'emplacements' – represents a spatial perspective on individual subjects which similarly eschews the pitfalls of an abstract notion of human subjectivity in favour of one that conceives of the subject as inescapably 'placed' in multiple spatial coordinates, as it were. In addition, Jacques Rancière's radicalisation of 'politics' in terms of 'equality' and 'dissensus' enables one to grasp the fleeting events of Tahrir Square as paradigmatic of 'true' democracy. In this way these theoretical positions provide a model that is commensurate with evidence that the 2011 Egyptian uprising avoided the trap of hierarchical thinking and practice, pursuing the goal of political liberation and (radical) democratisation along non-hierarchical, 'leaderless', complex, rhizomatic communicational networks instead. This avoided the paralysing tendency to think and behave on the basis of oppositionally conceived, mutually exclusive adversarial agencies – the 'us' and 'them' syndrome. The article explores the implications of this complex notion of subjectivity, on the one hand, in relation to the radical democratic practice displayed in Tahrir Square, on the other.

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Takamichi Sakurai

authoritarianism, that is as a pathological orientation and way of ruling that are built on ‘sadomasochism’, therefore as a pathological symbiosis whereby sadistic and masochistic desires instigate a violent form of politics ( Fromm 1941: Chs. 5 and 6 ). 5 On this

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Imagining Utopia in an Unfree World

Rick Turner on Morality, Inequality and Existentialism

Mary Ryan

they have to do to stay alive […] before he [the philosopher] can give any genuine content to the ideals of democracy’ (1968: 4). Turner’s commitment to what readers might now call public philosophy conveys his profound, aching desire to reform South

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Dmitry Shlapentokh

truth. One might add here that myth-making propensities and the desire to fit reality into preconceived schemes is not just the attribute of ancient historians or some nineteenth-century historians, such as Johan Droysen, the author of the history of

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Deleuze's Postscript on the Societies of Control

Updated for Big Data and Predictive Analytics

James Brusseau

needs, human desires. Control starts here, as the organisation and analysis of movements and patterns, and as the data increases, concrete walls become redundant: at least some convicts are no longer worth enclosing when wardens know where they are, and

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Neoliberalism, Hedonism and the Dying Public

Reclaiming Political Agency through the Exercise of Courage

Grant M. Sharratt and Erik Wisniewski

, through substantive association with one another, and through public political action. This piece is motivated by the apparent desire of so many people to maximise their material conditions at the expense of the broader community and interpersonal

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Marcelo Hoffman

, Dean writes: ‘Leftists are justifiably anxious with regard to the party – a desire for collectivity is not the only desire for which parties have provided a form. They have also served as forms for desires for a master’ ( 2012: 248 ). Yet, without

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Decolonising Borders

Re-imagining Strangeness and Spaces

John Sodiq Sanni

the desire to embrace the colonial ( Fanon 1967 ) without knowing that every dialect carries with it a way of thinking ( Fanon 1967 ). The borders in Africa, and the ideological and colonial frameworks that legitimise them, remain yet to be