One of the core assumptions in agency theory has been that agency is a primordial attribute of persons: an agent is 'the origin of causal events'. However, rather than situating agency at the origin, this article argues that we should a end to where agency, within a given context, itself originates. In Germany's Max Planck Society the departmental heads – so-called 'directors' – possess a significant degree of 'agency' in realizing their personal will. Yet they are not its authors. On the contrary their agency is a secondary product of the philosophies of German Idealism, which eulogize the subjectivity of a heroic intellectual. In this analysis, the agency of the directors is not a precondition of their humanity, but the off spring of a specific cultural inheritance which frames the organization's intramural life. Organizational theorists should thus pay close attention to the geo-cultural location of their object before drawing conclusions about agency.
Max Planck Directors as Fichtean Subjects
On War and Accountability
This article centers on a set of discussions around accountability' as it pertains to war: accounts of war, accounting for war, what war accounts for, and accountability, including anthropological accountability. The essay details stories that ethnographers tell about what they have seen, heard, and done on the front lines. It reviews explanations for the causes, patterns, and practices of war, and for the occurrences of specific wars. The discussion also highlights what war explains, that is, how war creates its own outcomes. It considers who is to be held responsible for all the death and destruction that war inevitably brings and discusses impunity as systemic and strategic. Also considered is the responsibility of anthropology and anthropologists in facing up to the most significant crises of our times.
This article discusses the recent revision of the notion of sovereignty that emphasizes de facto rather than de jure sovereignty, understanding sovereignty as an effect of performative claims to sovereignty. As an implication of this approach, we come to see political landscapes as formed by multiple, overlapping, coexisting, and sometimes competing claims to sovereignty operating within and across boundaries. The article suggests using “formations of sovereignty” as a way of understanding these political landscapes and the way they change over time in specific areas. Empirically, the article analyzes different formations of sovereignty in a Guatemalan municipality at the border with Mexico, from before the civil war of the early 1980s to the present.
Historicizing the Gallic Singularity
Jean Elisabeth Pedersen
This article, the introduction to the special issue “Representations of Women in the French Imaginary: Historicizing the Gallic Singularity,” frames the work of contributors Tracy Adams, Christine Adams, Jean Elisabeth Pedersen, Whitney Walton, and Kathleen Antonioli by analyzing two especially important contemporary debates about French sexual politics, one popular and one academic: (1) the international controversy over Catherine Deneuve’s decision to sign a French manifesto against the American #MeToo movement in Le Monde; and (2) the mixed French and American response to the work of Mona Ozouf in Les mots des femmes: Essai sur la singularité française. The five articles in the special issue itself bring new breadth and depth to the study of these and related debates by exploring a range of different French representations of women in a series of key texts, topics, and historical episodes from the rise of the Middle Ages to the aftermath of World War I.
The French monarchy's determination to suspend the trading rights of the Compagnie des Indes in 1769 stimulated a lively public debate over the establishment of commercial liberty in the Indies trade. Since mid-century, Vincent de Gournay and his disciples had advocated increased liberty in French commerce, and the Compagnie des Indes' privileged trading monopoly offered a tempting target for these reformers. Working on behalf of the ministry, the abbé Morellet undertook the task of convincing public opinion of the benefits that liberty of commerce in the Indies trade would bring to France. However, the company's principal banker Jacques Necker and physiocrat Pierre-Samuel Dupont raised serious doubts concerning both the feasibility and the value of such reform. These critiques challenged any expectation that commercial liberty would increase French strength in the Indies trade or contest British political hegemony in India after the Seven Years' War.
It is striking how much recent scholarship on the mobility history of the United States has come to emphasize moments of relative motionlessness. More concerned with events in the halls of government than on the open road, historians have moved away from the nuts and bolts of transportation systems—the vehicles, the modes, and the infrastructure—to instead investigate how these networks have been shaped by larger political and social forces. Scholars have investigated these influences by highlighting how groups of Americans have codified, contested, or perceived the nation’s transportation system. By centering their studies on actors, rather than the actual systems, mobility scholars have framed their subjects in new ways and linked their subfield to political, legal, and social history.
Even as the tenth anniversary of the opening of the Berlin Wall was being celebrated, a scandal was beginning that seems destined to bring the Kohl era, however it is defined, to a close. My purpose in this article is to propose a framework for thinking about the broader political meaning and possible impact of the CDU’s difficulties. In this instance as in many others, I will argue, events in the Federal Republic are best understood if approached simultaneously from two angles. On the one hand, Germany remains bound to, if not necessarily by, its multiple experiences of dictatorship. Viewed in this context, events acquire meaning and significance as part of an ongoing process of democratization, or of an effort to “master” a past to some degree enduringly unmasterable. On the other hand, a half-century after its creation, the Federal Republic is an established democracy with a remarkable record of success and a predictable roster of problems. From this perspective, developments in Germany illustrate dilemmas and dysfunctions common across the advanced industrial democracies.
Jeffrey Anderson, German Unification and the Union of Europe (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999)
Thomas Banchoff, The German Problem Transformed: Institutions, Politics and Foreign Policy, 1945-1995 (Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 1999)
The Ecuadorian indigenous movement emerged just as the binaries that once defined the Indian/white boundary became acknowledged internal polarities of indigenous society. In this article, I argue that these divergences energized indigenous communities, which built material infrastructure, social networks, and political capital across widening gaps in values and incomes. They managed this task through a kind of vernacular statecraft, making the most of list making, council formation, and boundary drawing. As the movement shifts into electoral politics, the same community politics that launched it now challenges the national organization. As they work to define a coherent national program, the principal organizations of the national movement must reproduce the local contacts and relations among communities that made Ecuador's indigenous pluriculturalism such a potent presence in the 1990s.
from any intellectual influences, are usually slaves of some defunct economist. ( Keynes 1936: 383 ) It has been a real pleasure to read the articles on my latest book, Freedom Is Power: Liberty through Political Representation ( FIP ), published in