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Writing Difference / Claiming General Validity

Jovan Dučić's Cities and Chimaeras and the West

Vladimir Gvozden

The travel texts of Jovan Dučić (1872-1943) merit analysis not only because he is generally regarded as a significant and influential modernist writer (his lyrics, refined in phrasing and form, show the influence of the Parnassians and the Symbolists), but also because he is a prominent figure in the modernization of Serbian culture. As early as 1936, Dučić's contemporary Nikola Mirković stressed the importance of the poet's role in the process of 'the modernization of Serbian literature and culture' (Mirković 1936: 335). By the same token, he is widely considered by both literary scholars and the public to have been obsessed with 'the great and wise West' (Deretić 1987: 205) - a writer who brought about a great synthesis of Serbian and Western literature, especially in his poetry from the first decades of the twentieth century. His letters from Switzerland, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Palestine and Egypt appeared first in literary magazines and/or in the influential Belgrade newspaper Politika. The separate parts of his travelogue were then collected under the title of Gradovi i himere [Cities and Chimaeras], and were published twice during the author's life, in 1930 and 1940. The book is both a text about culture (or cultures), as well as an indispensable text within Serbian national culture.

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What If We Don't Know Our Clan?

The City as New Ritual Form in Buriatiia

Justine Buck Quijada

“Traditionally” Buriat shamanism is clan-based. Ritual practice embedded kinship relations within a sacred geography, linking the living and the dead through a relationship to the landscape, reaffirmed at yearly tailgan ceremonies. In Buriatiia, Soviet modernization transformed the Buriat relationship to the land, and with it, the conditions of shamanic practice. As a result, many urban Buriats either do not know their clan affiliation, or no longer hold clan ceremonies. In response, two urban shaman's organizations have begun to hold tailgans on behalf of the residents of the city. The new ritual form relieves anxiety at the loss of tradition and underscores that loss. However, by redefining the ritual community around the city instead of the clan, the ritual community becomes multiethnic.

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From “Liberal Minimum” to the “Complete Catalog of Human Rights”

On Central Concepts of Hungarian Postdissident Liberals

Ferenc Laczó

This article analyzes how five leading Hungarian postdissident liberal thinkers conceptually constructed their view of liberalism in the early years of postcommunism. Studying Beszélő, the most signi cant liberal journal during the early years of representative democracy, it shows how they did so through references to political “threats” and the idea of a “liberal minimum” (János Kis), local liberal and democratic traditions and “progressive patriotism” (Miklós Szabó), the ongoing “liberal-conservative revolution” and the creation of a “new political community” (Gáspár Miklós Tamás), antipolitics and “expertise” (György Konrád), and the “complete catalog of human rights” and the agenda of “modernization” (István Eörsi), respectively. Next to its conceptual analysis of heavily influential individual thinkers, the article discusses the ambition of postdissident Hungarian liberals to harmonize liberal and democratic tenets. Last but not least, it elaborates on the left-wing origins of many of their central concepts that, as suggested here, ultimately hindered liberalism's assumption of a central position in the new political system.

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Stephen Kalberg

The disagreement between Germany and the United States over the

war in Iraq was massive. During the winter of 2002, many observers

spoke of a long-term rift between these longstanding allies and a

total loss of credibility on both sides. No one can doubt, regardless

of recent healing overtures,1 that the German-American partnership

has been altered and significantly weakened. It has suffered a blow

far more damaging than those that accompanied past conflicts over,

for example, Ostpolitik, the neutron bomb, the Soviet gas pipeline,

the flow of high technology products to the Soviet Union, the imposition

of trade sanctions in 1980 against the military government in

Poland, the stationing in the late 1970s of middle-range missiles on

German soil, and the modernization of short-range missiles in 1989.

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D.M.G. Sutherland

Claude Langlois's work on the French Revolution captures the experience of ordinary people in the country as a whole. Against an interpretation that sees the Revolution as resulting in a secular, modernized France, he emphasizes the ambiguity and uncertainties of the outcome. He is above all interested in assessing the impact of the Revolution on the Church. Although the Revolution had a profound impact on the personnel, landscape, finances, and politics of the Church, the Concordat created the conditions for recovery. There were restorations in pastoral care and practices but in addition, there were also ruptures, especially in the long term. Alongside a nineteenth century of unexpected piety, there were also regions and groups of low practice and indifference. The article also discusses Langlois's contributions to the political history of the coup of 1799, and to population studies.

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The Vindication of Chaka Zulu

Retreat into the Enchantment of the Past

C. Bawa Yamba

The article deals with two competing explanations advanced by local people in a Zambian village to make sense of the presence of man-eating crocodiles in the area. One faction explains the events in rational terms, while the other sees them as the work of witches, as a result of which they demand the return of a witchfinder, whose activities a decade ago had left 16 people dead. The article shows how the competing explanations are reflections of political rivalry between the local chieftainess and her detractors, who perceive her attempts to modernize the area as a way to line her own pocket. The rationalized versus enchanted definitions of events form the point of departure for examining some of the underlying premises of the extended-case method, namely, those of perceiving social phenomena as constituting an interrelated whole, and for determining when to close the flow of events for analysis.

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Fabrizio Di Mascio and Alessandro Natalini

The modernization of the public administration has been one of the main objectives pursued by the Renzi government. What distinguishes the reform cycle launched in 2015 is the emphasis on centralization, unification, and the reduction of institutional fragmentation in the public sector after a long period in which autonomy and the organizational pluralism of administrations and government levels were enhanced. This reform strategy is consistent with the underlying trends of transformation in the political and institutional systems, in which the power of the prime minister has gradually increased. The actual impact of these reform measures, however, depends on concrete organizational instruments of subsequent implementing legislation in a context characterized by persistent spending cuts, which are necessary to maintain financial stability.

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Monika Boll

This article delves into the relationship between cultural radio and the Cold War. After 1945, culural radio took on a central role in the intellectual self-understanding of the early Federal Republic. From the very beginning, there was much less censorship than with political editorial departments. Thus, it was possible for cultrual radio to offer an intellectual forum in which socialism was not simply dismissed due to the official anticommunist political doctrine. This article shows the ways in which the East-West conflict was present in the cultrual departments of radio broadcasters. It argues that socialism appeared less as an ideological restraint or taboo, but rather as a productive challenge, which in the end was part of the modernization of West Germany's intellectual self-understanding. Two prominent examples buttress this argument: the free space that cultrual radio conquered in a kind of leftist integration with the West, and the rapid advancement of sociological discourse.

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David Hine

Economics and finance ministries are among the most important

departments of modern governments. Their overall purpose is to

plan, finance, and co-ordinate public expenditure along a sustainable

long-term trajectory. That role has several dimensions: assessing

departmental spending proposals; ensuring that spending delivers

value; delivering financial resources to meet spending; maintaining

a sustainable balance between fiscal revenues, asset disposals, and

borrowing; managing financial flows across a fiscal year; and ensuring

that these processes are compatible with sectoral policies and

with overall economic targets. The authority to do all this depends

on complex factors: the political backing the ministry gets from other

parts of the government from the prime minister down; the status of

the minister in charge; the compliance of the legislature and of subnational

authorities; the effectiveness of the fiscal, forecasting, authorization,

and inspection machinery; and the ministry’s own capacity

to develop, modernize, and improve the planning and management of

public expenditure programs generally.

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Ceren Belge

This paper examines shifting modalities of government over Bedouins of the Negev. During the first two decades of statehood, Israeli officials approached Bedouins as a relatively quiescent population, based on their understanding that the Bedouins' tribal loyalties guaranteed their aloofness from Palestinian national politics. From the 1970s on, however, Bedouin resistance to Israeli land and settlement policies began to mark the Bedouin increasingly as a 'dangerous population'. As a result, the interest in preserving the Bedouins' cultural specificity gave way to a new emphasis on the need to modernize the Bedouins. The shift in governmental discourse was accompanied by a pluralization in the techniques of government, from an informal 'government of experts' to one in which bureaucratic and impersonal modes of authority competed with expert rule.