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The Weight of Absence

Rick Turner and the End of the Durban Moment

Billy Keniston

social movements at the start of the 1970s straight through to the foment of the 1980s, and the end of apartheid in the 1990s. In this version of history, all of the later developments in the struggle against apartheid took their inspiration from the

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Maurizio Carbone

In August 2008, Georgia launched a large-scale attack to retake control

of South Ossetia, an enclave in the northern part of its territory

that had been trying to break away formally since the late 1980s. In

response, Russia bombed not only military but also civilian targets,

claiming that its intervention was meant to protect Russian citizens.

This quick escalation of events raised concerns about other unresolved

conflicts in the South Caucasus. In fact, within a few days, Russian

troops took control of South Ossetia and were ready to start a second

front in Abkhazia, another separatist area within Georgia.

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Maurizio Cotta

Apart from the event itself, the formation of the second Berlusconi

government is, from a wider perspective, replete with interesting

elements. It facilitates a better understanding of where the transformation

process of the Italian political system stands about 10

years after the crisis of the 1990s. The theme of government – its

process of formation and completion, as well as its political basis

and operational capacity – is of obvious importance. The ‘First

Republic’ was predominantly characterised by the way government

was produced (and how it consequently functioned). It is no coincidence

that the debate on institutional reform that began in the

1980s targeted the issue of government and the need for reform.

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Instead of a Defence

Thoughts on the Humanities at Home and Abroad

Peter Vale

The place and future of the Humanities is under scrutiny in many parts of the world. The diminution in the university commenced in the 1980s with the rise of free-market thinking associated with Thatcher and Reagan. It was the end of the Cold War, however, with the rise of globalisation that control was tightened in higher education under the guise of increased freedom. The increasing emphasis on utilitarian forms of knowledge needed for economic growth further imperilled the Humanities. In South Africa, upon which the argument draws for illustration, policy-makers paid increasing lip service to academic freedom and institutional autonomy while directing policy interest and resources away from the Humanities.

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Osvaldo Croci

Since the mid-1980s Italy’s relations with the United States (US)

have been characterised by occasional periods of tension, usually

following some unilateral American initiative in the Mediterranean.

At the beginning of 1999 it seemed that the two countries

were again on a collision course. The US was uneasy about Italian

diplomatic overtures to Iran and Libya. Italy, for its part, ignored

American advice that it extradite Kurdish nationalist leader Ocalan

to Turkey where he was wanted for terrorist activities, and it

repeatedly and publicly expressed strong reservations about the

rationale and effectiveness of the periodic Anglo-American bombing

of Iraq. Then, in early March, came the verdict of an American

military court acquitting the pilot responsible for the Cermis accident

of February 1998. The Italian government, backed by practically

the whole of parliament, reacted by calling for a review and

possible re-negotiation of the treaty regulating the use of NATO’s

military bases in Italy.

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Civil Societies and Democratization

Assumptions, Dilemmas and the South African Experience

Lorenzo Fioramonti

During the past 20 years, the term ‘civil society’ has acquired a specific space within political and social discourse. Journalists have written extensively about this term, political leaders have employed it ever more frequently, and scholarly research has been equally fascinated by the idea of civil society. Paradoxically, the notion of civil society constructed its space within socio-political research as it remained largely unexamined, especially in its relation to democracy and democratization theory. Indeed, most academic literature on democratization has assumed the democratizing power of civil society, based largely on the wake of events occurring in Eastern Europe and some parts of Africa during the late 1980s and early 1990s, rather than on firmly-grounded empirical research.

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The Body in Motion

Communism and Epistemology in Iva Pekárková's Novel Truck Stop Rainbows

Simona Fojtová

Drawing on feminist conceptualisations of the body, this essay analyses Iva Pekárková’s novel, Truck Stop Rainbows (published as Péra a Perutě [Feathers and wings] in 1989, translated into English in 1992), to show how this contemporary Czech writer challenges the metaphor of the female body as a container through which communist propaganda in Czechoslovakia offi cially sanctioned and established a normative female identity in maternal, economic and civic functions. I seek to demonstrate how Fialka, the female protagonist who lives under the Czechoslovak communist regime of the 1980s, critiques discursive and epistemic formations that conceptualised the female body as a vessel for reproduction and labour and denied the female body the authority to function as a source of knowledge. Striving to spotlight the body in its cognitive role, I argue for an understanding of the body not as an instrument of knowledge or a neutral medium that enables knowledge production but, rather, as a condition of the possibility of knowing.

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Feminism and Feminist History-Writing in Turkey

The Discovery of Ottoman Feminism

Serpil Çakır

The formation of a feminist consciousness and memory in Turkey coincided with a historical period in which both social movements and academic studies proliferated. Towards the end of the 1980s, the increasing number of women's organisations and publications began to impact upon both the feminist movement and academic research in the area of women's studies. This, combined with the expansion of the civil societal realm, has resulted in many topics and issues related to women becoming part of the public discussion, thereby contributing to the development of a new feminist consciousness. This article discusses the impact of the work in the field of women's history and the ensuing discovery of an Ottoman feminism on the formation of such a feminist consciousness and memory in Turkey.

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Relations with Europe

Beyond the Vincolo Esterno

Erik Jones

The relationship between Italy and Europe has changed since the 1980s. Where Europe used to provide a constructive external constraint (or vincolo esterno) on domestic Italian politics, now European constraints are less constructive and more problematic. At the same time, Italy has a more important role to play in contributing to European debates. The government headed by Matteo Renzi demonstrated both sides of this change in 2016. Renzi argued that European policies regarding macro-economic policy coordination, financial stability, and international migration did not help Italy. He also insisted that Italian proposals in these policy areas warranted closer European attention. Renzi was not successful in redefining Italy’s role in Europe, but he did win recognition for his efforts. The question is whether the government headed by Paolo Gentiloni will keep pushing in the same direction.

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Leif Lewin

Abstract:

Corporatism is being reinvented in current theories about global democracy. As I see it, corporatism can be regarded as a practical way out of democracy’s intensity problem: whether those more involved in an issue should have greater say. By the same token, corporatism can be perceived as a response to the all-affected principle: whether those especially affected by a decision should have more influence. In nation-states, corporatism was to a large extent dismantled during the 1980s. In world politics, by contrast, NGOs are now called upon to play an important role in not only articulating intense and affected interests but also, in so doing, realizing a global democracy. The weakness of this argument is that today’s NGOs do not reflect the will of most people—as national organizations once managed to do—and, consequently, cannot fulfill the integrative and representative function associated with this form of interest politics.