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The Limits of Metaphor

Ideology and Representation in the Zen Garden

Allen S. Weiss

It is impossible to separate the semiological from the mytho- logical, the poetic from the historical, the aesthetic from the ideo- logical. Since, as the phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty insisted, any entity can be taken as an emblem of Being, one must be attentive to the symbolic power and semiotic valences of every word, object, and image. This article is an attempt to sketch out the role of the rock in Zen-inspired Japanese gardens and, consequently, to offer a new inter- pretation of one of the most famous gardens in the world, Ryōan-ji.

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Margaret A. Majumdar

Writing in 1966, Roger Garaudy saw Althusser and Sartre occupying the two poles of contemporary French Marxist thought.1 While no-one would deny their fundamental difference in approach, the fact remains that both were participants in the same project – the modernisation of Marxism in the light of theoretical and political problems which had affected its development, with the aim of achieving an autonomous space for the intellectual to engage with Marxist theory and the practice of the working-class struggle. Both were primarily intellectuals; both were capable of intransigence

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Religious Belief and Practice in Itelmen History

The Historical Efficacy of Ideological Frameworks

David Koester, Viktoria Petrasheva, and Tatiana Degai

Itelmen people of the Kamchatka Peninsula have felt and experienced the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church for over 300 years. Explorers' reports tell us that at the same time that Itelmens rebelled violently against the tsar's representatives, they accepted and appropriated the power of the church. This article examines religiosity in Itelmen history as it is revealed through a critical approach to sources, especially by focusing on Itelmen actions. Missionaries and ethnographers' preconceptions gave shape to their depictions of Itelmen religious beliefs and practices as (1) Christian beliefs, (2) anathema to Christian beliefs, or (3) mere superstitions. In order to speak about Itelmen perceptions, the article focuses primarily on actions taken during this early period of recorded Itelmen history and on the writers who showed an interest in describing how Itelmens thought about religious questions. The article also recounts the little known story of the 1848 Kutkh rebellion.

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Russia’s ‘Other Ummah’

From ‘Ethnic Shi’ism’ to Ideological Movement?

Bruno De Cordier

Since the beginning of the Syrian War, ties between Russia and the Shia sphere are primarily examined in terms of geopolitics, while little attention is being paid to the indigenous as well as immigrant Shia populations in Russia itself. Depending on the motives and circumstances that brought and bring various individuals and groups to more actively-professed Ja’fari Shi’ism, these can become the most active champions of its cause, or of social movements inspired by this persuasion. As such, the Shia element in Russia might become more relevant and present than its low-profile minority state suggests.

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Eftihia Voutira

This article discusses the post–Cold War repatriation to the Black Sea of people deported to Central Asia after World War II, Crimean Tatars and Pontic Greeks. It reflects on their novel ethnic and religious identifications, not available to them before their exile. Religious labeling is now used by officials as a criterion for allocating people to places, and by people as expressions of loyalty and belonging. Politically, such labeling is used for negotiating appropriate sites for resettlement schemes for the two groups in the region. The Crimean Tatar strategy is to argue in favor of “indigenous group” status, while the Pontic Greeks opt for dual commitment between repatriation to their “kin state” (Greece) and their pre-WWII places of residence in the Crimea. The comparison of the dilemmas faced by the two communities upon repatriation elucidates the role of the Black Sea region in the pragmatics of “returning home” and people's sentiments of belonging.

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Sakha Community Leaders and Their Historical Mission

The Relevance of Soviet Ideology to Contemporary Sakha Politics

Eleanor Peers

This report presents an analysis of material from regional government-owned newspapers in the Republic of Sakha (Iakutiia). The analysis reveals a high level of respect for Sakha community leaders who regard the technological and industrial progress of the Sakha people as their main interest. The newspapers indicate tolerance for Sakha nationalism on the part of the republican government, even though this tolerance could jeopardize its relationship with the Russian Federation's central government.

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The Media and the Crisis of Democracy

Rethinking Aesthetic Politics

Jaeho Kang

This essay reassesses the German-Jewish social and cultural critic, Walter Benjamin's famous, yet widely misunderstood thesis of the aestheticisation of politics with reference to the development of the mass media and the crisis of democracy. I argue that his thesis of the aestheticisation of politics represents the focal point of his account of both the crisis of liberal democracy as a deliberative and representative political system and the emergence of fascism as a form of direct political communication between a political power and the public. My examination of Benjamin's analysis of the interplay between fascist politics and the mass media leads to a wider critical consideration of the function of political spectacle in the media age. In so doing, I seek to draw out its theoretical relevance for our critical understanding of the linkage between new media and democracy, be it 'new' or 'old' democracy.

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Aviva Halamish

The article critically examines Mapam's activity regarding the Military Government imposed on Arab-populated areas between 1948 and 1966. It analyzes and compares the party's declared stand and its parliamentary activity with the role played by the issue as a factor in coalition negotiations. The article contends that the issue of the Military Government did not serve as a crucial factor in Mapam's decision either to join the coalition or to stay out of it. It also claims that Mapam did not have a direct influence on the actual decisions concerning the Military Government, due to Mapai's dominance in the Israeli political system in those years. The article suggests that the case of Mapam and the Military Government sheds light on the modus operandi of the Israeli political system prior to the Six Day War, on the extent of Mapai's dominance of the political system in Israel prior to the 1977 political upheaval, on the limited role and influence available to small parties in a dominant party system, and on the inherent conflict and potential collision between security considerations and democracy.

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Of Other Cinematic Spaces

Urban Zionism in Early Hebrew Cinema

Hizky Shoham

The Zionist ethos is commonly described as pro-rural and anti-urban, with the imagined Zionist space perceived as being rural and the Zionist drama as a reflection of the life of the pioneers in Palestine. Recent studies of early Hebrew cinema shared this view. This article analyzes two Jewish films from inter-war Palestine, Vayehi Bimey (In the Days of Yore) (1932, Tel Aviv) and Zot Hi Ha'aretz (This Is the Land) (1935, Tel Aviv), to suggest a more complex view of the Zionist ethos and spatial imagery in the context of the relationship between the urban and the rural. A thematic and formal analysis of the films shows their sources of Soviet influence and reveals the presentation of the city as a nationalist space.

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Ronald F. Levant, Stephen T. Graef, K. Bryant Smalley, Christine Williams, and Neil McMillan

Data were collected on samples of American (N = 172) and Scottish (N = 264) adolescents to evaluate the scale reliability and construct validity of an adolescent version of Levant et al.’s (1992) Male Role Norms Inventory. Results indicate that the MRNI-A showed good overall internal consistency for the scale as a whole in both samples; results for the subscales were less robust. Convergent and discriminant validity were assessed with the U.S. sample. Results indicated adequate convergent validity for the MRNI-A for both boys and girls, and adequate discriminant validity for girls. Results for the discriminant validity of the MRNI-A for boys were not as conclusive. Consistent with research on adults, females in both samples endorsed less traditional views of masculinity than did males. Scottish adolescents endorsed less traditional views of masculinity than did Americans.