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Leif Manger

One characteristic of ‘the new wars’ is that they are often about identity politics, i.e., the quest for power is couched in terms of exclusion and inclusion of people in various groups. But although wars and violence can be explained with reference to ethnicity, i.e., cultural factors, it must also be taken as a language with which other things—economic, material, and political—are being addressed. First, ethnicity is a relational concept that explains such relationships as ethnic. But although it is imagined, it is real in terms of mobilizing individual people on the bases of a history of common origin that people take to be true. Secondly, ethnicities are not remnants of the past but entities continuously being re-created and shaped within contemporary realities. Hence, colonialism helped pin down relationships, and thereby make them basis for continuous new elaborations about identities, and also ordering them in new systems of hierarchy, creating new elites based on ethnic belonging that play key roles in today’s developments. Thirdly, we should also note that in socalled ethnic wars, civilians are targeted because the aim is to clear areas of people who do not ‘belong.’ We see this clearing of areas used as a strategy, for instance, in order to control key strategic resources. And as the war economy is no longer controlled by a state alone, but rather is decentralized and based on exploiting specific resources through outright plunder, black market trade, and external support, even enemies are not what they used to be.

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The Alaas

Cattle Economy and Environmental Perception of Sedentary Sakhas in Central Yakuti

Csaba Mészáros

Thermokarst depressions in the permafrost environment of Yakutia (northeastern Siberia) provide fertile hayfields for Sakha cattle economy. These areas of open land in the boreal forest are called alaas in Sakha language. At this northern latitude cattle breeding is particularly in demand of nutritious fodder, because cows spend nine months on average in winter stables. Therefore alaases are the focus of Sakha environmental perception. Sakhas not only dwell in alaases, but through their economic activities, they modify and maintain them. This process is based on control and domination rather than on procurement of food by a “giving“ environment. Villagers in Tobuluk (central Yakutia) consider the areas surrounding their village as controlled islands of alaases (hayfields) in a sea of uncontrolled forest. This article examines Sakha environmental perception in which landscapes and cardinal directions evoke and define each other, and characterize those who reside there. Due to the subsequent transformations of Sakha economy and lifestyle by the Soviet and Russian state administration in the last 100 years (collectivization, centralization, and decollectivization) the way that Sakhas interact with their surroundings has transformed radically within the four generations causing profound differences in the way generations relate to, interact with, and understand alaases.

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Sergio Fabbrini and Marc Lazar

This chapter discusses Renzi’s leadership with regard to his party and the government. The main argument is that Renzi was able to use his party to support the government through his double role of secretary (of the party) and prime minister (of the government). However, the support of the party for the government’s actions has been regularly contested by an internal left-wing faction and has been weakened by the disaggregation and political autonomy of the local and regional party organizations. The chapter describes and analyzes the divisions within the national party, the difficulty of controlling local and regional organizations and leaders, and the parliamentary achievements of the government, which came about due primarily to the popularity of the prime minister. The personal leadership of Renzi has been a resource for promoting governmental reforms, but a leadership unsupported by a party will have difficulty facing future political and policy challenges.

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Dwayne Woods

Olivetti’s successful takeover of Telecom Italia was an astounding

feat that represents a significant change in Italian and European

capitalism. As one observer put it, ‘for Americans who have long

since grown used to the dog-eat-dog world of hostile corporate

takeovers, none of this sounds new. But for Europeans, the ground

is shaking’. The fact that Olivetti succeeded in such a flamboyant

fashion in acquiring a firm seven times its size indicates that the

structure of ownership in Italy is changing and that the Italian

stock market has finally become a player in determining ownership

and influencing the behaviour of management. In particular, the

family-owned and tightly knit ownership patterns of the past are

giving way to the influence of shareholders. It is becoming harder

for a few shareholders with a limited amount of stock to control a

company. Also, foreign investors, in particular, Americans and

British, are demanding clearer accounting practices and the reporting

of quarterly earnings.

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Franca Maino

A year ago, assessing the health-care situation, Enza Caruso and Nerina

Dirindin wrote: “The year 2007 can only be described as a positive one

for health in terms of planning, given the great number of programs

launched, commissions and councils put in place, and protocols of

agreement signed by the Ministry of Health. Finance within the health

sector was also notable for complying with the health pact and the rigorous

control of public accounts backed up by deficit reduction plans,

which regions under financial warning had to observe scrupulously or

be put under compulsory administration.” The year 2008, however,

began and then continued with a shocking series of health-care mismanagement

cases, including the controversy over the appointment

procedure for general managers and chief medical officers of health-care

providers, the question of controlling health expenses, and the possible

compulsory administration of regions that are unable to meet deficit

reduction plans.

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Grant Amyot

Throughout 2008, the crisis of Alitalia filled the headlines and the news

programs as the state-owned airline lurched closer to final bankruptcy,

while politicians, unionists, and business leaders argued and negotiated

over its fate. It was one of the principal issues of the election campaign:

Silvio Berlusconi came out strongly against the proposed sale of

the company to Air France-KLM, vowing to keep the airline in Italian

hands. He eventually induced an Italian consortium to step in and take

over the company, but in January 2009 the new Alitalia signed a partnership

agreement with Air France-KLM, which made the Franco-Dutch

company the largest single shareholder and was very possibly a prelude

to a future takeover. In the meantime, however, Berlusconi’s efforts to

preserve the appearance of Italian control cost the taxpayers up to 4 billion

euros more than the original deal with Air France.

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Camilla Devitt

“Rosarno: Immigrant revolt, hundreds of cars damaged” was the

alarming headline in La Repubblica on 7 January 2010. An immigrant

protest and ensuing episodes of violence in the small town of Rosarno

in Calabria in southern Italy were followed with intense interest by the

national and international media and prompted a heated public debate

in Italy. Upcoming regional elections and shared political responsibility

for immigration resulted in politicians blaming their opponents

for the disorder. Minister of the Interior Roberto Maroni’s immediate

response was to maintain that the events were the result of too much

tolerance toward undocumented immigrants. Following the discovery

that the majority of migrants involved were legally resident in Italy,

the government subsequently emphasized the role of inadequate labor

market controls and organized crime.

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Carl Strikwerda

World War I is the most important single event in the history of globalization. The war ended the first significant era of increasing economic ties among nations and thereby shaped the economic history of the twentieth century. The war set off both a search for ways to re-create the prewar liberal world economy and attempts to create statist alternatives to it. The collapse of interbank cooperation and expansion of controls on trade, migration, and agriculture meant that economic globalization re-emerged only very slowly over the rest of the twentieth century. Indeed, the long-term effects of World War I lasted until the 1990s. The lesson of this story for the twenty-first century is to check the dangers inherent in a multipolar world, where globalization produces both economic growth and social tensions.

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The Complexity of History

Russia and Steven Pinker’s Thesis

Nancy Shields Kollmann

This article finds Steven Pinker’s argument for a decline of violence too Eurocentric and generalizing to fit all cases. Study of the early modern Russian criminal law, and society in general, shows that different states can develop radically different approaches to violence when influenced by some of the same factors (in this case Enlightenment values). The centralized Muscovite autocracy in many ways relied less on official violence and exerted better control over social violence than did early modern Europe, while at the same time it supported violence in institutions such as serfdom, exile, and aspects of imperial governance. Violence in the form of capital punishment declined but many aspects of social and official violence endured. Such a differentiated approach is explained by the state’s need to mobilize scarce human and material resources to survive and expand.

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Olesya Khromeychuk

Much historiography focusing on women in the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army consists of describing, rediscovering, and celebrating the participation of women in the nationalist underground. This article rejects the celebratory approach to the inclusion of women in the narrative of the nationalist struggle. Instead, it focuses on the ways in which militarization of women was carried out by the nationalists from the 1930s to the 1950s. The article argues that the nationalist leadership was able to militarize a large number of women because no viable alternative to the nationalist state-building project was offered at the time, and because the nationalists propagated a conservative type of femininity that did not threaten traditional gender norms. By exploring the movement’s construction, control, and use of femininity, the article argues that deviations from traditional gender roles occurred only within the limits of, and for the benefit of, nationalist militarization.