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Christopher F. Zurn

This paper argues that, according to a specific conception of the ideals of constitutional democracy - deliberative democratic constitutionalism - the proper function of constitutional review is to ensure that constitutional procedures are protected and followed in the ordinary democratic production of law, since the ultimate warrant for the legitimacy of democratic decisions can only be that they have been produced according to procedures that warrant the expectation of increased rationality and reasonability. It also contends that three desiderata for the institutionalization of the function of constitutional review follow from this conception: structural independence, democratic sensitivity and the maintenance of legal integrity. Finally, evaluating three broadly different ways of institutionalizing constitutional review - solely in appellate courts, in deliberative constitutional juries of ordinary citizens and in a combined system of constitutional courts and civic constitutional amendment fora - it argues that the third arrangement would perform best at collectively fulfilling the sometimes antithetical desiderata.

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Of Golden Anniversaries and Bicentennials

The Convergence of Memory, Tourism and National History in Ghana

Cheryl Finley

The year 2007 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Ghana and the two hundredth anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade. The Ghana Ministry of Tourism and Diasporan Affairs is planning the Joseph Project, a roots tourism initiative, aimed at ‘welcoming home’ its African diaspora. The historic slave forts and castles on Ghana’s coast are important sites for diasporic roots tourists, who also maintain symbolic links to Ghana’s independence movement through the history of Pan-Africanism. The Joseph Project uniquely includes a programme of national healing and atonement for African complicity in the slave trade and aims to remap national memory through tourism, education and the establishment of new museums, monuments and rituals.

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From Relations of Power to Relations of Authority

Epistemic Claims, Practices, and Ideology in the Production of Burma's Political Order

Ingrid Jordt

Following the 1962 coup of Burma's first post-Independence and parliamentary democratic government, a succession of military régimes has asserted their legitimacy on diverse grounds. Their ability to keep the upland minorities contained and the country unified, to implement a socialist-style redistributive system, and contemporaneously to act as chief patron to the sangha (order of monks), have each functioned as claims to legitimate rule and to nation-statehood. In 1990, the régime refused to hand over power to Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party, following a landslide election. Aung San Suu Kyi's resistance to the régime, and claims for her own political legitimacy have been asserted, predominantly through an emergent `global society' (universalizing) discourse about human rights, régime performance, and democratic self-determination. In this paper, I examine these separate assertions for legitimacy as distinct but interrelated frameworks for thinking and action, the inconsistencies among which complicate the process of stable state making in Burma.

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To Russia with love

Hope, confinement, and virtuality among youth on the Georgian Black Sea coast

Martin Demant Frederiksen

Among young unemployed or underemployed men in the port city of Batumi, the regional center of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara in Georgia, the Black Sea is a social and imaginary horizon that signifies both geographical mobility and confinement. Since Georgia gained independence, Batumi went from being a Soviet borderland to being an opening to the West. However, due to visa regulations, “the West”—and the opportunities associated with it—has long been limited to the other Black Sea countries of Turkey and Ukraine. Following the August 2008 war, Russia, although being a much more desirable destination, became out of reach for the majority of these men. Through the notions of social and geographical horizons, this article argues that the young men, despite their sense of confinement, manage to forge alternative connections to Russia via Internet sites, where the online dating of Russian women was used as a means to gain access to Russia via marriage.

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Embodying Exile

Trauma and Collective Identities among East Timorese Refugees in Australia

Amanda Wise

Some of the more interesting and useful work on diasporic and transnational identities has emanated from scholars working in cultural studies and contemporary anthropology. However, with a few notable exceptions, little attention has been paid to the specific experiences of refugee diasporas, and in particular, to the role of trauma and embodiment in the creation of these ‘moral communities.’ Based on research with the East Timorese diaspora in Australia, this article looks at the performative dimensions (protests, church rituals, singing, and dancing) of the diaspora’s political campaign for East Timor’s independence. I consider how the bodily dimensions of this protest movement contributed to certain formations of identity, belonging, and exile, within the Timorese community. In particular, I explore how these performative strategies have created a context for ‘retraumatizing’ bodies and memories, channeling them into a political ‘community of suffering,’ in turn contributing to a heightened sense of the morality of an exilic identity among many Timorese.

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Empowerment

The Core of Social Quality

Peter Herrmann

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.

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The Writer's Responsibility in France

From Flaubert to Sartre

Gisèle Sapiro

Based on the notion of legal responsibility, the article establishes a connection between the social conditions of production of literature and the ethical principles that founded the commitment of writers as intellectuals in France from the nineteenth century to the post-World War II period. While the penal responsibility of the author is imbued with a belief in the power of words, the trials were in turn often the occasion for writers like Flaubert and Baudelaire to define their own ethics of responsibility against the values of conventional morality and political conformity through which their work was liable to condemnation. Articulating these ethical principles affirmed the writer's independence from political and religious authorities and contributed to the emergence of an autonomous literary field, as defined by Pierre Bourdieu. The figure of the writer as a public intellectual best embodied by Zola and Sartre emerged on the basis of this code of ethics.

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Adolfo Campoy-Cubillo and Esther Bendahan

This interview with the Sephardic novelist and translator Esther Bendahan provides unique insights into the historical events that surrounded the collapse of Jewish communities in Morocco during the second half of the twentieth century. Bendahan's knowledge of the social and political realities that informed Sephardic cultural production in Morocco, her ability as a scholar to interpret their significance in the wider context of Sephardism in the Maghreb, and her priceless insights as a first-hand witness of the diasporas triggered by the independence of European colonies throughout North Africa make her account and interpretation of these events extremely valuable. This interview pays special attention to the many ways in which Sephardic cultural production was, and remains, different from European traditions while simultaneously presenting itself as an intermediary between the East and the West.

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Jonathan Magonet

In November 2009 the Humboldt University, Potsdam, awarded an Honorary Doctorate to Rabbi Ernst Stein, marking his eightieth birthday. Born in Germany, a refugee in Shanghai during the war, living in Israel at the time of the War of Independence, later settling in America, Rabbi Stein encapsulates in his life much of the dramatic history of continental European Jewry during the twentieth century. But exceptionally, in his fifties, he decided to study for the rabbinate and was accepted at Leo Baeck College. He subsequently returned to Germany where he worked as a community rabbi for sixteen years, remaining active on a part-time basis after retirement. We include the welcome from the University President, Professor Markschies, who notes the uniqueness of this occasion in the history of the university, together with the Laudatio by your editor and Rabbi Stein’s response.

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Outsmarting the Nation, Together

Subversive Virtual Fraternity in the Israeli Men's Magazine Blazer

Steven Fraiberg and Danny Kaplan

This article examines the reconstruction of a virtual Israeli male fraternity in Israel's only men's lifestyle magazine, Blazer. Modeled after the global 'new lad' magazine format, the Blazer text engages its readers by forging a homosocial joking relationship. Focusing on a satire dedicated to Israel's Independence Day, this study delineates a series of parodic discursive practices employed by the narrators to deconstruct and appropriate traditional Zionist myths on which Israel was founded. The Blazer text thus mobilizes a key cultural trope known as the anti-freier frame (to avoid being a 'sucker'), implemented as a set of manipulations to outsmart the system. The Blazer text rearticulates the relationship between self and society based on a local version of the 'yuppie' value system. We argue that while this frame appears to reject collectivist values, it serves as a critical lens for connecting yuppie masculinity with its Sabra predecessor, thereby consolidating a modified form of national solidarity.