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Temporalization of Concepts

Reflections on the Concept of Unnati (Progress) in Hindi (1870–1900)

Mohinder Singh

This article analyzes the historical semantics of the concept of unnati in the nationalist discourse in Hindi between 1870 and 1900. The article first outlines the basic features of the Enlightenment concept of progress using Koselleck's analysis. It then goes on to discuss the place of the concept of progress in the colonial ideology of a “civilizing mission,“ and concludes by taking up the analysis of the usage of the term unnati in the nationalist discourse in North India.

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Christian Egander Skov

The article explores the concept of empire, or rige, in the context of a small nation-state with no immediate claim to imperial greatness and with a rooted self-understanding as anything but an empire. It does this by exploring the concept of empire in the far right movement Young Denmark on the basis of a close reading of their imperialist program in the pamphlet Danmark udslettes! from 1918. Rige had been a vague term for the larger Danish polity that originated in a pre-national conceptualization of the polity as a realm. The article suggests that rige-as-realm was translated by the radical right into a concept of empire. In the process it dramatically changed its emphasis, reorienting itself toward a "horizon of expectation". It became a politically loaded battle concept that then entailed a critique against the dominant liberal conceptualization of the polity and nation. Rige came to signify the ambition of being a great power, the spiritual elevation of the nation through the transcendence of the decaying liberal modernity. The program addressed the tension between a conservative political attitude and modernity and thus signified a kind of reactionary modernism that rejected liberal values while at the same time celebrating technology, industrialization, and the process of modernization.

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Learning to Be a Kanaka

Menace and Mimicry in Papua New Guinea

Neil Maclean

Self-identification as a kanaka is a common rhetorical ploy in highlands Papua New Guinea, used to emphasize both a sense of economic and political marginalization, and a continued identification with tradition. However, I argue that the figure of the kanaka is not simply that of the villager, but of that terminated project of education, the ‘school leaver.’ I juxtapose the reflections of one such ‘school leaver’ on his exclusion from the educational trajectory with the celebrations and rhetoric surrounding the opening of a new village school. This throws into relief a village perspective on education, and what it means to be a citizen of the nation-state of Papua New Guinea. Bhabha’s (1987) analysis of colonial ‘mimicry’ informs my identification of the contradictory quality of this perspective. As a critique of the legacy of postwar education policy from the perspective of a contemporary generation of village leaders, the article is also intended as a response to Pels’s (1997: 178) call for “more ethnographies of decolonization.”

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Michael Roberts

The hegemony of the 'secular' is challenged through an exposition of the hero rites for the fallen among the Tamil Tigers. Overemphasis on the secular strands in LTTE ideology betrays a textual formalism and disregards the cosmological background of the cultural producers-cum-audience. Such a perspective neglects the embodied practices of Tamil followers. Tamil Saivite worship is permeated by sacrificial symbolism. In Sri Lanka, belief in śakti, divine energy, is displayed in diverse ways that can attract Hindus, Christians, and Buddhists. The rites of Hero Week reveal practices that echo Saivite forms. The LTTE's investment in this event involves massive co-ordination. The climactic moment is a simultaneous act of widespread commemorative grieving. The rite is also an undertaking that mobilizes, remembers, respects, legitimizes, transcends, inspires, and renews.

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Conjuring "the people"

The 2013 Babylution protests and desire for political transformation in postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina

Larisa Kurtović

In June 2013, a breakdown in the routine functioning of state bureaucracy sparked the largest and up to that point most significant wave of protests in postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina, named the Bosnian Babylution. The protest centered on the plight of newborn babies who, because of this particular administrative problem, could no longer be issued key documents, even to travel outside the country for life-saving medical care. These events exposed the profound nature of the representational crisis gripping this postwar, postsocialist, and postintervention state that has emerged at the intersection of ethnic hyper-representation and the lived experience of the collapse of biopolitical care. Yet, as this analysis shows, this crisis has also helped unleash new forms of political desire for revolutionary rupture and reconstitution of the postwar political.

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Never-ending Modi

Hindutva and Gujarati neoliberalism as prelude to all-India premiership?

Tommaso Bobbio

This article proposes a non conventional analysis of the most significant phenomenon that has marked Indian political life in the past decade. The electoral competition for the 2014 general election is played around two main elements, namely, the selection of convincing prime ministerial candidates and the definition of electoral coalitions. In this perspective, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the main party of the right-wing coalition (National Democratic Alliance, NDA), has taken a decisive step by selecting Narendra Modi as its front man for the electoral campaign, and thus the “natural” candidate for the post of prime minister in case of success. A highly controversial figure, Modi polarized the public debate for over a decade: he is either considered a fascist politician or he is praised for the high economic growth rates achieved by the state under his government. This article proposes to move beyond such a dichotomy to highlight Modi's complexity and success in promoting a political culture that merged religious traditionalism and neoliberal economic arguments. Whether his coalition will win the election or not, and whether he will become the next prime minister or not, is greatly significant to the future of India and to the possibility of the many contradictions and diversities that underpin the Indian democracy being conciliated.

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Radical Right-Wing Populists in Parliament

Examining the Alternative for Germany in European Context

Lars Rensmann

Founded just five years ago, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) represents the biggest opposition party in the German parliament. This article addresses three questions in European comparative perspective: What is the nature of the AfD as a relevant political party in the Bundestag? What explains its rise and popularity? What is the party’s behavior and impact in parliament, and on German politics in general? Examining platforms, the article first identifies programmatic and ideological shifts that have turned the AfD from a single issue anti-Euro party into the first radical right-wing (populist) party in parliament since the Nazi era. Second, voter analyses suggest that the AfD’s political radicalization has not undermined but increased its appeal. Third, the robust electoral support for radical positions makes it likely that the party seeks to further deepen political conflicts. Behavior in parliament shows that the party follows its European counterparts’ polarizing strategic orientations, reinforcing the Europeanization of a nativist sociocultural “counter-revolution.”

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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.

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Amotz Giladi

The trajectory of the writer and critic Camille Mauclair (1872–1945) was marked by two ruptures: having begun his career within the internationalized avant-gardes, oriented toward Symbolism and Anarchism, he moved away from these circles at the turn of the century. Indeed, the crisis that Symbolism and Anarchism underwent during these years led Mauclair toward Neo-Classicism. To his new esthetic vision was added, during the Great War, a nationalist positioning that led him to virulent xenophobia in the interwar period. Foreign artists were henceforth denounced by Mauclair as being the cause of France's so-called cultural decadence. The turnaround in Mauclair's esthetic and political vision reflects the “return to order” tendencies that grew stronger in French culture from the end of the nineteenth century, attaining their summit during World War II. The propagation of these tendencies was largely due to the influence that the esthetic and ideological reflections of Charles Maurras exerted in intellectual circles.

French La trajectoire de l'écrivain et critique Camille Mauclair (1872–1945) fut marquée par deux ruptures: ayant commencé sa carrière au sein des avant-gardes internationalisées, orientées vers le symbolisme et l'anarchis me, il s'éloigna de ces milieux au tournant du siècle. En eff et, la crise subie par le symbolisme et l'anarchisme durant ces années amena Mauclair vers le néo-classicisme. À cette nouvelle vision esthétique s'ajouta, durant la Grande Guerre, un positionnement nationaliste qui déboucha, dans l'entre-deux-guerres, sur une xénophobie virulente. Dès lors, les artistes étrangers furent étiquetés par Mauclair comme les responsables d'une prétendue décadence culturelle de la France. Le revirement esthétique et politique de Mauclair reflète les tendances de “retour à l'ordre,” qui se renforçaient dans la culture française depuis la fin du dix-neuvième siècle et atteignirent leur sommet durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. La propagation de ces tendances était due, en grande partie, à l'influence que la réflexion esthétique et idéologique de Charles Maurras exerçait dans les milieux intellectuels.

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Robert W. Montgomery

This article investigates the upsurge in political and social activism among the Buriats of Siberia's Lake Baikal region during Russia's 1905 Revolution (broadly defined as 1905 to 1907). Specific topics include the Buriats' struggles for their ancestral lands and traditional political structures, and against Russification and discrimination; the activities of the Buriat intelligentsia; the holding of Buriat national congresses; participation in radical and liberal movements; the use of Buddhism as a national symbol; attempts to nativize education; and participation in the early Duma system.