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Los Roldán and the Inclusion of Travesti Narratives

Representations of Gender-Nonconforming Identities in Argentinian Telenovelas

Martín Ponti

Abstract

In Argentina, trans people have experienced extreme marginalization exacerbated by authoritarian dictatorships. Despite this history, since the return of democracy in the 1980s Argentina has witnessed legislative changes as an outcome of extensive trans activism. Travestis became more visible as they protested police brutality. Travesti mobilization brought more visibility, specifically within the media industries. To elucidate their participation in media, this article focuses on travesti celebrity Florencia de la V in Los Roldán (2004–, Telefe). I examine the representation of travestis on telenovelas and how fictional characters have an effect on structuring a star's career through the telenovelas’ ability to blur the distinctions between character and star. Ultimately, this article questions the introduction of mainstream audiences to gender-nonconforming characters through the industry's incorporation of travesti stars in relation to themes of scandal and domesticity. I build on the work of trans scholars Blas Radi and Lohana Berkins, who theorize travesti identities as politicized non-binary bodies.

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Laurence McFalls

In the past century, Germany, for better and for worse, offered itself

as a natural laboratory for political science. Indeed, Germany’s

excesses of political violence and its dramatic regime changes largely

motivated the development of postwar American political science,

much of it the work of German émigrés and German-Jewish

refugees, of course. The continuing vicissitudes of the German experience

have, however, posed a particular challenge to the concept of

political culture as elaborated in the 1950s and 1960s,1 at least in

part to explain lingering authoritarianism in formally democratic

West Germany. Generally associated with political continuity or only

incremental change,2 the concept of political culture has been illequipped

to deal with historical ruptures such as Germany’s “break

with civilization” of 1933-1945 and the East German popular revolution

of 1989. As well, even less dramatic but still important and relatively

rapid cultural changes such as the rise of a liberal democratic

Verfassungspatriotismus sometime around the late 1970s in West Germany3

and the emergence of a postmodern, consumer capitalist culture

in eastern Germany since 19944 do not conform to mainstream

political culture theory’s expectations of gradual, only generational

change. To be sure, continuity, if not inertia, characterizes much of

politics, even in Germany. Still, to be of theoretical value, the concept

of political culture must be able not only to admit but to

account for change.

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Civil Societies and Uncivil Times

The Rubber Band Ball of Transnational Tensions

Brian Callan

This article introduces a special issue of Contention Journal addressing various contemporary mobilizations of civil society in response to the war in Syria and the migration of refugees into Europe. With contributions from Turkey, Israel, Lebanon, Canada, the Czech Republic and Germany, the cases represent a breadth of multidisciplinary approaches and a variety of stylistic standpoints, from statistical media analysis to troubled personal reflections of engaged activist academics. The subject matter ranges from political mobilization against authoritarianism and austerity, transnational philanthropy, the emergence of local grassroots voluntary aid to right-wing populist nationalism. Though diverse, a coherent narrative is seen to converge around the refugee crisis as it unfolds in Europe; one of radical polarization within civil societies and starkly conflicting imaginaries of social futures that claim to preclude the legitimacy of other possibilities. At the same time alliances are being generated beyond borders in an attempt to bolster ideological capacity, authority, and force. This is not a clash of civilizations but the rubber band ball of transnational tension, a strained, chaotic and overlapping global contestation. At stake is the understanding of what a civil society should be.

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Ken MacLean

Abstract

This article examines current debates for and against Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) in Myanmar. The analysis, based on interviews with key local, national, and international actors involved in HMA, reveals why so many of them regard the mapping and removal of “nuisance” landmines as posing a security threat to the peace process. (Landmines deny people access to territory; when conflict ends, these landmines no longer serve a strategic purpose and thus become a dangerous nuisance.) These same debates also shed light on the growing role risk management approaches now take in Myanmar as a response to decades of authoritarian misrule by a succession of military regimes. The landmines, although buried in the ground, actively unsettle such good governance initiatives and the neoliberal development projects to which they are often linked, most often by reterritorializing military, humanitarian, political, and economic authority in overlapping and conflicting ways at multiple scales. The findings reveal why HMA actors resist labeling the crisis landmine contamination poses to civilians as a “crisis” that requires immediate humanitarian action.

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Dieter K. Buse

Historians and political sciences have begun to discuss how and when postwar Germany overcame its authoritarian past and reestablished democracy and a tolerant civil society. This article argues that the national and regional Offices for Political Education have contributed significantly to the recivilizing process. The article provides the first preliminary academic attempt to outline the offices' historical background, their changing institutional structure, and their place in the civic education context since the mid 1950s. A series of case studies examine the historical literature disseminated by specific offices to illustrate the process of overcoming a problematic past and constructing new identities. In turn, the historical role models promoted by the offices, the manner in which federalism was presented, the timing of and fashion in which the Holocaust became a significant theme and the way in which regional identities were understood and fostered, are examined. These cases illustrate how historical information was employed, at first in fairly simple and propagandistic fashion, but always to inculcate democratic and civil norms. The question of the impact of the offices' work is left open, since research on reception has yet to be undertaken, but some evidence about their important contributions to reshaping German values is provided.

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The Machine of State in Germany

The Case of Johann Heinrich Gottlob von Justi (1717–1771)

Ere Pertti Nokkala

The aim of this article is to explore the different uses of the state-machine metaphor in Germany during the 1750s and 1760s. It focuses on the debate around the ideal state and especially on the views of one central writer, Johann Heinrich Gottlob von Justi (1717-1771). It has been argued that in this debate the functionality of the state was measured according to the efficiency and simplicity of the machine and that the best form of state was that which provided the fastest and most precise implementation of the final cause (happiness) and encountered the fewest obstacles on its way. At the time, unlimited monarchy arose as the form of government that best fitted this description, with Fredrick II and Justi being usually referred to as the ideologues of this mechanical authoritarian order, often described as “enlightened absolutism.” However, the author argues that Justi's position in this debate must be reconsidered since his writings show that he never denied the possibility of constructing a complex state-machine based on the separation and balance of powers. In fact, he was an admirer of England's mixed government as described by Montesquieu. Ironically, then, the author who most contributed to the dissemination of the state-machine metaphor in Germany was also the one whose usage of it was most exceptional.

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Divided We Stand

An Analysis of the Enduring Political East-West Divide in Germany Thirty Years After the Wall's Fall

Lars Rensmann

Germany continues to face an inter-regional political divide between the East and the West three decades after unification. Most strikingly, this divide is expressed in different party systems. The right-wing populist Alternative for Germany and the left-wing populist Left Party are considerably more successful in the eastern regions, while German centrist parties perform worse (and shrink faster at the ballot-box) than in the West. The article discusses empirical evidence of this resilient yet puzzling political divide and explores three main clusters of explanatory factors: The after-effects of the German Democratic Republic’s authoritarian past and its politico-cultural legacies, translating into distinct value cleavage configurations alongside significantly weaker institutional trust and more wide-spread skepticism towards democracy in the East; continuous, even if partly reduced inter-regional socioeconomic divisions and varying economic, social and political opportunities; and populist parties and movements acting as political entrepreneurs who construct and politically reinforce the East-West divide. It is argued that only the combination of these factors helps understand the depth and origins of the lasting divide.

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Caroline Humphrey

In the rethinking of cosmopolitanism that has been under way in anthropology the emphasis in the European tradition of thought, pertaining to humanity in general and universal values, has been replaced by focus on specific and new cosmopolitan peoples and sites. Cosmopolitanism ceases to be only a political idea, or an ideal, and is conceptualized also in terms of practice or process. A vocabulary of 'rooted cosmopolitanism', 'vernacular cosmopolitanism' and 'actually existing cosmopolitanisms' has emerged from the characteristically anthropological acknowledgment of diversity and inevitable attachments to place. This article accepts such an approach, but argues that it has neglected the presence and intense salience of the ideas of cosmopolitanism held by nation states. Such ideologies, especially those promulgated by authoritarian states, penetrate deep into the lives and thoughts of citizens. The article draws attention to the binary and contradictory character of nation state discourse on cosmopolitanism, and to the way this creates structures of affect and desire. The Soviet concept of kosmopolitizm is analyzed. It is contextualized historically in relation to the state discourse on mobility and the practice of socialist internationalism. The article argues that although the Stalinist version of kosmopolitizm became a poisonous and anti-Semitic accusation, indeed an instrument of repression, it could not control the desire created by its own negativity. Indeed, it played a creative and integral part in the emergence of a distinctive everyday cosmopolitanism among Soviet people.

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What is populism? Who is the populist?

A state of the field review (2008-2018)

Jean-Paul Gagnon, Emily Beausoleil, Kyong-Min Son, Cleve Arguelles, Pierrick Chalaye, and Callum N. Johnston

Both “populism” and “populist” have long been considered ill-defined terms, and therefore are regularly misapplied in both scholarly and popular discourses.1 This definitional difficulty is exacerbated by the Babelian confusion of voices on populism, where the term’s meaning differs within and between global regions (e.g. Latin America versus Western Europe); time periods (e.g. 1930s versus the present), and classifications (e.g. left/ right, authoritarian/libertarian, pluralist/antipluralist, as well as strains that muddy these distinctions such as homonationalism, xenophobic feminism and multicultural neonationalism). While useful efforts have been made to navigate the vast and heterogeneous conceptual terrain of populism,2 they rarely engage with each other. The result is a dizzying proliferation of different definitions unaccompanied by an understanding as to how they might speak to each other. And this conceptual fragmentation reinforces, and is reinforced by, diverging assessments of populism which tend to cast it as either “good” or “bad” for democracy (e.g. Dzur and Hendriks 2018; Müller 2015).

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“Work pays”

Slovak neoliberalism as “authoritarian populism”

Nicolette Makovicky

Focusing on the implementation of the New Social Policy in January 2004 and the social unrest that followed, this article traces the discursive construction of welfare dependence as a “Romani” problem through the creation of a media-led “moral panic”. Situating this “moral panic” within the wider context of competing populist narratives in postsocialist Slovakia, it argues that the ethnicization of the unrest constituted a rearticulation of nationalist populist symbols into liberal political logic. Employed by the opposition, the first of these narratives posited liberalization as the dispossession of the working majority by corrupt elites. This was countered by a second narrative presented by the center-right coalition that posited welfare as a system of “just rewards” for those willing to work, while constructing the Romani minority as social deviants. As such, it appeared to be a variant of what Stuart Hall has called “authoritarian populism”: an attempt by the leading coalition to harness popular discontents in order to justify exceptional levels of government intervention into social life.