In discussing Sartre’s contribution to a Marxist ethics of revolution, it is important first to note that it is the ethics of revolution that is under consideration and not the broader question of Marxism and morality. Much has been written in recent years on the question of morality in Marxism, focusing generally on moral theory and justice, for example, Rodney Peffer’s wonderful summation of discussions about Marxism’s moral vision regarding human action and social organization.
Joseph L. Walsh
Towards an Ethics of Possibility
Faye Ginsburg and Rayna Rapp
This afterword to this special issue of The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology, entitled ‘For an Anthropology of Cognitive Disability’, explores the intersections of disability studies and ethnographic research on cognitive difference. We offer a brief scholarly genealogy, discuss how these articles provide recognition for ‘the disarticulate’, and consider how anthropologists working on this subject might contribute to an ethics of possibility.
Difficult Histories and Threatening Memories
Victor Jeleniewski Seidler
On the seventieth anniversary of the destruction of the Vilna ghetto I explore ambivalences in Holocaust memory in the Baltic states and troubling notions of a 'double genocide' while tracing train journeys of death that connected Vienna, Vilna and Tallinn and so western and eastern Europe. Exploring how memories are connected to place and investigating how family legacies of Litvak identity also travel, I show how Musar ethical traditions also journeyed as far as South Africa to influence the ethical politics of the African National Congress. Framing questions about the relationship between ethics and memory across generations I return to the painful warnings in the words of Elchanan Elkes at the destruction of the Kovno ghetto. I trace the possibilities that they help to frame a post-Shoah ethics and a vision of 'the human' that questions the rational self that informed Enlightenment thinking and that proved incapable of resisting the brutalities of Nazism.
Joshua B. Levy
I have always seen making ethical people, or at least making people ethical, as an essential part of the task of Jewish education and synagogue life. I have often quoted Leo Baeck who, when he sought to define the essence of Judaism, wrote about ethics. But it is not quite so simple. Is being a good person enough to make you a good Jew, as this congregant ultimately believed? If so, are our institutions and, indeed, Judaism itself, necessary for this to happen?
The ethics of liberal developmentalism and multicultural governance in South Korea
Multiculturalism has often been articulated through imperial and civilizational discourses that identify tolerance with the liberal West and intolerance with nonliberal societies and cultures. This article explores how the focus of the civilizational gaze is turned on the allegedly “not yet tolerant self“ in the neoliberal developmental state of South Korea. The mode of the liberal government that recently emerged in South Korea has been shaped not in the self-celebratory rhetoric of “what we are“ but in the self-critical, developmentalist rhetoric of “what we lack.“ Drawing from my fieldwork among local civic actors working in the field of migration, I discuss how the civic discourse of damunhwa, or “multiculturalism,“ that emerged in opposition to the “governmental objectification“ of migrant groups redirects the focus onto the ethical improvement of the general population, relying on another form of reified otherness that captures migrants and their presence in the country as “opportunities“ for South Korea's moral ventures.
Ethnographies of corporate ethicizing
Catherine Dolan and Dinah Rajak
As the global community confronts increasing economic, social, and environmental challenges, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) movement has demonstrated a powerful capacity to offer itself up as a solution, circulating new ethical regimes of accountability and sustainability in business. This article introduces five contributions that explore ethnographically the meanings, practices, and impact of corporate social and environmental responsibility across a range of transnational corporations and geographical locations (India, South Africa, the UK, Chile, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo). In each of these contexts corporations are performing ethics in different ways and to different ends, from the mundane to the ritualistic and from the discursive to the material, drawing a range of actors, interests, and agendas into the moral fold of CSR. Yet across these diverse sites a set of common tensions in the practice and discourse of CSR emerge, as the supposedly “win-win” marriage between the social and the technical, the market and morality, and the natural and the cultural becomes routinized in global management practice. By tracing the connections and conflicts between the local micropolitics of corporate engagement and the global movements of CSR, the collection reveals the ambiguous and shifting nature of CSR and the ways in which social and environmental relations are transformed through the regime of ethical capitalism.
'European Turks' and Negotiations of Neighbourliness at 'Home'
This article examines how Turks returning from Germany to Turkey self-fashion as 'orderly neighbours'. By maintaining aesthetically pleasing homes and gardens, keeping public spaces clean, and obeying rules and laws in public, return migrants believe they act as modern 'European-Turks' and exemplify good neighbourliness. Many neighbours, however, feel these actions are unnecessary or even disruptive to Turkish communities. In conversation with the burgeoning anthropology of ethics, this research explores how local, national and transnational assemblages foster reflections and debates on neighbourly ethics. Further, this study highlights anxieties about individualism, reciprocity, 'modernity' and 'European-ness' in today's Turkey.
This article shows that Sartre’s theatrical works offer a reflection on morality, in particular The Flies, The Devil and the Good Lord, and The Sequestered of Altona. The ethical reflections that we find in his plays fill a philosophical gap left after Being and Nothingness. The plays offer an exploration of freedom’s rootedness in situation which complements the more theoretical notes of the posthumously published Notebooks for an Ethics. Additionally, I link Sartre’s ethics and Nietzsche’s ethics showing that both thinkers rest their philosophies on a strict atheism. Further, their elaborations on morality follow a similar path by emphasizing individual freedom and thus subsequently the responsibility of the individual as the creator of values.
Cet article fait la démonstration que les œuvres théâtrales de Sartre, plus particulièrement Les Mouches, Le Diable et le bon dieu et Les Séquestrés d'Altona, tiennent lieu de réflexion morale chez Sartre. La réflexion éthique qu'on y retrouve comble un manque laissé par les écrits philosophiques suivant L'Être et le néant. Les pièces et leur exploration de l'ancrage de la liberté dans la situation offrent un complément aux notes plus théoriques des Cahiers pour une morale, publiés à titre posthume. En plus de faire cette démonstration, cet article explore les liens entre la morale des pièces sartriennes et la morale nietzschéenne. Il ressort de cet examen que ces deux morales s'appuient sur un athéisme pur et dur et s'élaborent de même façon en mettant l'emphase sur la liberté de l'individu et son rôle en tant que créateur de valeurs.
Understanding Charlie Hebdo
Jane Weston Vauclair
Charlie Hebdo became a global name following the tragic events of 7 January 2015 in Paris. Following this, two competing, somewhat reductive forms of commentary on Charlie Hebdo rapidly emerged in the global media. Could Charlie Hebdo effectively be sidelined as a case of egregiously irresponsible and offensive satire, even if the attacks per se were inexcusable? Or could its cartoonists instead be championed as martyrs to free speech, having proved to have a backbone of conviction and courage that had been lacking elsewhere in the media? This article argues that a dual set of tensions have come to the fore through Charlie's vertiginous global exposure. These are tensions between the local and the global, and between the ethics of conviction and the ethics of responsibility. It looks to highlight how Charlie Hebdo's contributors have been engaging with these tensions, both in the 'survivor's issue' of 14 January 2015 and in other spaces of commentary.
Léon Werth's Déposition: Journal de guerre 1940-1944
This article studies the question of history during the dramatic moments recorded in Léon Werth's Déposition: Journal de guerre 1940-1944. Analyzed in reference to Nietzsche, Descartes, and Lévinas, Werth's journal approaches history in a manner timely for then and now. Probing his own knowledge of and relation to France's unsettling defeat and Occupation by Nazi Germany,Werth undertakes his own version of a Cogito that leads not to some linear chain of syllogisms, but instead to an acute sense of implication in and even responsibility for history. Werth's lucidity, engagement, and ethics constrast favorably with Nietzsche's elitist, exclusionary vitalism as well as with the rationalist solitude of the Descartes' Discours de la méthode. His probing reflexions on his relation to historical events offer significant parallels to the philosophical project of Emmanuel Lévinas.