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.
Women as Seen through the Media
Renata Jambrešić Kirin and Reana Senjković
This article shows how the model of the ideal patriotic woman, established through propaganda activities between two competitive ideologies in Croatia during the Second World War, have been transformed and adapted to accommodate diverse genres of memory culture from 1945 until the present day. In order to indicate the inter- relation of media-ideological constructs and self-definition, the authors have compared cultural representation models of ‘acceptable’ and ‘obnoxious’ females in war time with ethnographical interviews conducted with women at the celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of the Antifašistički front žena (Women’s Anti-Fascist Front, AFŽ) Istrian Conference in 2004. The contrast between recollections and culturally constructed official memory shows how the memories of women, as autonomous historical subjects, resist the imposed collective amnesia on the anti-fascist movement, although these women also leave many ‘unsuitable truths’ untold about their subordinate role within the anti-fascist movement.
The Case of Ninotchka and Russkii vopros
This article deals with ideologies of domesticity, femininity, and consumerism as they were articulated in two films in the early Cold War. These films, shown in occupied Berlin from the spring of 1948 through the first few months of 1949, were Ernst Lubitsch's Hollywood classic Ninotchka (1939) and the Soviet film Russkiivopros (The Russian Question, 1948). They portrayed competing notions of domestic consumption and the “good life” in the aftermath of the Second World War—issues more commonly understood to have characterized the later, thaw-era, years of the conflict. Though they were shown at a time of heightened political and ideological tensions, neither painted a one-dimensional or demonized portrait of the enemy. Instead, both films employed narratives about the private lives and material desires of women in order to humanize their enemies and yet make a statement about the inhuman nature of the other system.
Pamela Bettis and Brandon Sternod
Scholars claim that the six films comprising the Star Wars epic are the United States’ most important modern myth. The films have meaning for contemporary lives and serve as reflections of the fears, anxieties, and hopes surrounding what many perceive to be a crisis of masculinity manifested in the current boy crisis. This article describes how the films explore possibilities for a different kind of boyhood and how they contribute to understanding competing explanations for the boy crisis.
The conceptual history of 'economic development' is often told as a US-centered story. The United States, according to the standard account, turned to economic development as a tool in its struggle for global dominance during the Cold War. In line with recent research, this article demonstrates that the post-World War II boom in economic development had European origins as well, and that it originated as a joint response to the Cold War and to the unraveling of European empires. In particular, emphasis is placed on the little-studied contribution of a French Catholic activist who helped redefine economic development in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The Dominican Father Louis-Joseph Lebret stood at the head of an influential movement, which conceived of economic development as a way to save both France and Christianity in a moment of crisis for the French empire and for the Roman Catholic Church. In his writings, Lebret bestowed renewed legitimacy on the French 'civilizing mission.' He also revived elements of interwar Catholic thought to argue for the imperative of building a new moral-economic order that was neither communist nor capitalist. Far from a marginal historical actor, this theorist-practitioner was successful in his efforts, and gained followers for his vision of economic development in France, in Vatican City, at the United Nations, and in various former colonized countries.
Donatella della Porta and Mario Diani
The largest pacifist demonstration ever seen in Italy was held in
Rome on 15 February 2003. Behind the lead banner, which read
“Let’s stop the war with no ifs or buts,” were 3 million protesters,
according to organizers (police estimates put the figure at 650,000).
Supporting the march, which was organized by 400 groups and associations,
were 350 local authorities and 136 parliamentarians.
Twenty-eight special trains and 3,000 coaches converged on Rome,
while 2,000 police officers lined the 10 kilometer path that led to the
central stage in Piazza San Giovanni.1 The march in Rome was part
of a wider global protest. L’Unità wrote on 16 February: “Dawn had
yet to break in Rome but Australia had already been marching for a
while.” This international day of protest against the war had been
launched at the European Social Forum in November 2002 and became
international when the idea was taken up in January 2003 at
the World Social Forum in Porto Allegre.
Markus Schlecker and Kirsten W. Endres
During the Vietnam War, unprecedented numbers of dead soldiers were buried in unmarked graves and remain missing today. Starting in the mid-1990s, the services of psychics came into high demand, prompting the establishment of a state-approved Center for Research into Human Capabilities that continues to offer grave-finding assistance for the general public. This article discusses the cases of two well-known female psychics. As the case studies demonstrate, such research programs have established a niche for psychics on the perimeters of the official discursive nexus of truth, science, and visuality. They also highlight the variability of social and semantic proc esses by which different psychics are positioned in relation to recognized distinctions between legitimate and illegitimate knowledge practices and truth claims.
This article suggests that a “crisis of democracy” can be understood not simply as a deterioration of specific representative institutions but as a repositioning of democratic politics vis-à-vis other principles of social coordination, most notably the capitalist market, and the attendant decline of democratic subjectivity—people’s attunement to claims appealing to the common good. I trace this process to the post–World War II era. I show that the crisis of democracy was shaped by the substantive imperative of fusing democracy with free-market capitalism. Many postwar democratic theorists believed that the welfare state could manage the tension latent in this fusion. But an analysis of Friedrich Hayek’s theory of neoliberal democracy, which recognizes that tension more acutely, reveals that the incorporation of free-market capitalism creates tendencies that undermine democracy from within.
Shadows of War: Violence, Power and International Profiteering in the Twenty-First Century. By Carolyn Nordstrom. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004, 306pp, $55. ISBN: 0520242416.
Jean Elisabeth Pedersen
“What is a nation?” Ernest Renan’s famous rhetorical question to an audience at the Sorbonne on 11 March 1882 has remained vital for a wide variety of scholars in fields as diverse as history, literary criticism, sociology, philosophy, and political science. Renan initially posed the question barely ten years after the close of the Franco-Prussian War, which had sparked the establishment of the French Third Republic, the unification of Germany under the leadership of Wilhelm I, and the transfer of the disputed territory of Alsace-Lorraine from French to German control in the months between July 1870 and May 1871. Renan made no overt mention of these events while he was speaking, but he rejected any possible answer to his question that might attempt to base the creation of nations and national identities on shared “race, language, [economic] interests, religious affinity, geography, [or] military necessities.” This explicit refusal constituted an implicit rejection of the entire range of German justifications for the acquisition of the two recently French border provinces.