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Tradition's Desire

The Politics of Culture in the Rape Trial of Jacob Zuma

Thembisa Waetjen and Gerhard Maré

This article examines the recent trial of ANC president Jacob Zuma, and how gender power was framed in respect to, and within, the politics of culture. The trial centred on allegations of rape by Zuma of an HIV positive woman many years his junior, who was also the daughter of a former anti-apartheid struggle comrade. All of these details were considered pertinent, not only to the legal debates about whether a crime had been committed, but also to the political debates raging around the nation's key challenges of high rates of sexual violence and the 'denialist' state response to devastating levels of HIV infection. Many Zuma supporters saw the accusation of rape as politically motivated and as evidence of an anti-Zuma conspiracy. In visibly smaller numbers, women's rights groups were present on the streets as well, trying to draw attention to the general problem of the nation's extraordinarily high rates of sexual violence and the general failure of the justice system to address cases of rape. The article argues that the fervour surrounding this trial, the burning political question of women's status was continually cast as a private matter: debates about relations between men and women came to be focused on issues of propriety, behaviour and etiquette rather than on questions about rights and power. In short, the privatisation of gender was effected through the politics of culture. As culture is politicised as a legal and secular 'right', gender is de-politicised to become a normatively 'private' and 'customary' domain. This is not merely a South African dilemma, but a dilemma which is con-concomitant to the social conditions of modernity itself.

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‘The Expenditure of a Million of British Sovereigns in this Otherwise Miserable Place’

Frontier Wars, Public Debt and the Cape’s Non-racial Constitution

Jeff Peires

their rivers. Sandile, nevertheless, had been begging for peace since the war began, and when his unilateral suspension of hostilities failed to produce the desired effect, he even agreed to register his people as British subjects and to give up their

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Apartheid of Thought

The Power Dynamics of Knowledge Production in Political Thought

Camilla Boisen and Matthew C. Murray

definition and detail that can address all those who they now face or know they must acknowledge facing. We argue that this realisation is necessary to achieve the kinds of reform in conceptual thought many desire, and it is something we as producers of

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Douglas Farland

In his book Moral Reasons, Jonathan Dancy describes the problem of accidie as the most serious source of objections to cognitivist approaches to moral motivation. If weakness of will is possible, and Dancy himself finds it difficult to deny that it is, then it seems that the person suffering from weakness of will differs from the motivated person only in respect of his/her failing to share a desire to perform the action which is believed by both to be good. This, of course, entails that the desire to act does not necessarily follow from the fact that one holds the relevant beliefs. A cognitivist internalist is committed to (some version of) the claim that desire must indeed follow belief here and it is therefore commonly taken to be shown false by the phenomenon of accidie. For Dancy, however, accidie is not the problem for cognitivist internalists that it is normally taken to be. He argues that to suppose that it is involves making the unjustified (generalist) assumption that ‘if a state is anywhere sufficient for action, it must be everywhere sufficient’ (Dancy 1993: 22). Dancy wishes to argue that just because a state motivates in one case, it should not be presupposed that it will necessarily motivate in another (e.g. in the case of the person suffering from accidie). Therefore, he suggests, if we ditch the generalist assumption and recast our analysis of moral motivation in terms of new (particularist) notions we can rescue cognitivist internalism in ethics. In this paper I argue that Dancy’s particularist account fails to offer the independent support for cognitivist internalism that he thinks it does.

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After Philosophy

The Novelist as Cultural Hero of Modernity? On Richard Rorty’s New Pragmatism

Marek Kwiek

Let us begin with a generalisation: Richard Rorty’s approach to literature is consistently – to use his own opposition – ‘solidarity-related’; what he calls the ‘other side’, literary self-creation, remains programmatically and intentionally undiscussed. One gets the impression that literature, and the novel in particular, is being burdened with an (‘unbearable’) heaviness of responsibility. Does the novel in Rorty’s reflections appear as a source of multifarious metaphors, of whole worlds born out of a writer’s imagination? Is there in it another dimension, where mundane obligations no longer bind the human being and where one can give rein to usually hidden desires and passions? The answer is in the negative.

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Civil Societies Between Difference and Solidarity

Rethinking Integration in the Fragmented Public Sphere

Jeffrey C. Alexander

In l974, after twenty years of relatively successful struggles for the expansion of American citizenship, efforts that began with Black Americans and expanded to include other racial minorities and women, a scholar named Peter Adler (l974:369-371) concluded a widely used anthology called Intercultural Communication by offering a definition of ‘multicultural’. Emphasising the ‘psychoculturally adaptive’, Adler portrayed a protean, ever-changing, integrative actor who had the desire and ability to put himself in the shoes of the other person in a relativising, cross-over, non-judgmental way. ‘Multicultural man’, he wrote, ‘maintains no clear boundaries between himself and the varieties of personal and cultural contexts he may find himself in’. He is ‘capable of major shifts in his frame of reference and embodies the ability to disavow a permanent character … He is a person who is always in the process of becoming a part of and apart from a given cultural context. He is very much a formative being, resilient, changing, and evolutionary’ (italics added).

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Raphaël De Kadt

This edition of Theoria is being assembled at a time of war. The government of the United States of America is projecting, through force, its power in the Middle East. The invasion of Iraq has been presented as a war of liberation. Its principal declared purpose has become the emancipation of the Iraqi people from tyrannical rule. Whatever the pretexts, declared and imputed, for the decision to go to war – which have ranged from the desire to disarm Saddam’s regime of its weapons of mass destruction to securing control of Iraqi oil supplies – there is little doubt that this is primarily an attempt to politically ‘reengineer’ an entire region. As such it fits neatly with the doctrine, articulated by the neo-conservative authors associated with the Project for the New American Century, which presses for the creation of an enduring, twenty-first century pax Americana of global reach. In their view, it is imperative that the United States does not lose the military supremacy it currently enjoys. No superpower that might challenge it should be allowed to emerge. To this end, the present war entails an attempt to erect a ‘coercive carapace’ across the Middle East, stretching from Israel in the west through to Afghanistan or indeed perhaps even India – a potentially ‘natural’ ally – in the east. Iraq is the centrally located landmass on which this exercise will first be tested, and from which it will be extended. This bold endeavour is concerned, in its own way, to ‘make the world safe for democracy’ and, by extension, American interests.

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Signs of Radical Democracy?

Deleuze, Badiou, Rancière and Tahrir Square, 2011

Bert Olivier

How should one make theoretical sense of what has been called 'the miracle of Tahrir Square' – the fact that the Egyptian people successfully ousted a dictator in a peaceful manner, where militant groups had failed to do so by force? In this article it is argued that Deleuze/Guattari's notion of the subject in terms of desiring-machines, flows, schizophrenic production and the 'body-without-organs', enables one to theorise human subjectivity as being in process, and not 'self-identical', as mainstream thinking would have it. Deleuze's thought on societies of control further suggests the concept of rhizomatic lines of subversion of hegemonic networks from within the latter. Further, Alain Badiou's consonant conception of the subject – as one of multiple 'emplacements' – represents a spatial perspective on individual subjects which similarly eschews the pitfalls of an abstract notion of human subjectivity in favour of one that conceives of the subject as inescapably 'placed' in multiple spatial coordinates, as it were. In addition, Jacques Rancière's radicalisation of 'politics' in terms of 'equality' and 'dissensus' enables one to grasp the fleeting events of Tahrir Square as paradigmatic of 'true' democracy. In this way these theoretical positions provide a model that is commensurate with evidence that the 2011 Egyptian uprising avoided the trap of hierarchical thinking and practice, pursuing the goal of political liberation and (radical) democratisation along non-hierarchical, 'leaderless', complex, rhizomatic communicational networks instead. This avoided the paralysing tendency to think and behave on the basis of oppositionally conceived, mutually exclusive adversarial agencies – the 'us' and 'them' syndrome. The article explores the implications of this complex notion of subjectivity, on the one hand, in relation to the radical democratic practice displayed in Tahrir Square, on the other.

Open access

Takamichi Sakurai

authoritarianism, that is as a pathological orientation and way of ruling that are built on ‘sadomasochism’, therefore as a pathological symbiosis whereby sadistic and masochistic desires instigate a violent form of politics ( Fromm 1941: Chs. 5 and 6 ). 5 On this

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Imagining Utopia in an Unfree World

Rick Turner on Morality, Inequality and Existentialism

Mary Ryan

they have to do to stay alive […] before he [the philosopher] can give any genuine content to the ideals of democracy’ (1968: 4). Turner’s commitment to what readers might now call public philosophy conveys his profound, aching desire to reform South