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Free from State Violence or Free to Comply?

A Revised Typology of Coercion and Repression in Liberal Democracies

Barbora Capinska

This article addresses the problem of unclear usage of “coercion” and “repression” in literature concerning protest and repression in democratic and nondemocratic states. It questions the bases and conclusions of domestic democratic peace theory and discusses its consequences. The article proposes expanding definitions of coercion and repression in terms of timing, agency, and perceptiveness. Using vocabulary of poststructuralist discourse theory and the “logics” approach to analyzing social phenomena, it introduces the notion of hegemonic coercion and repression and describes their functioning. It argues that contemporary liberal democracies are not free from coercion and repression, but that the hegemony embodied in the state is able to sustain itself by means of hegemonic coercion with little use of direct violence. Consequently, the absence of state violence is not a criterion of a mature democracy, but can also be a characteristic of a totalitarian regime where ideological deviations are strictly and preemptively controlled.

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Memory Practices in History Education about the 1947 British India Partition

Opportunities and Challenges to Breaching Hegemonic Remembering

Meenakshi Chhabra

This article is an epistemological reflection on memory practices in the construction, deconstruction, and reconstruction of collective memories of a historical event involving collective violence and conflict in formal and informal spaces of education. It focuses on the 1947 British India Partition of Punjab. The article engages with multiple memory practices of Partition carried out through personal narrative, interactions between Indian and Pakistani secondary school pupils, history textbook contents, and their enactment in the classroom by teachers. It sheds light on the complex dynamic between collective memory and history education about events of violent conflict, and explores opportunities for and challenges to intercepting hegemonic remembering of a violent past.

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Gershon Shafir

This article asks whether the Yom Kippur War was avoidable. The intense diplomatic efforts of the 1971-1973 years that are examined include plans and counterplans offered by special United Nations representative Gunnar Jarring, US Secretary of State William Rogers, National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan, and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. The article concludes that since settlement was the method of Israeli state-building and served as the basis of the Labor Movement's hegemony within the Israeli society, once Israel embarked on a settlement project in the Sinai it was unwilling to accept full territorial withdrawal to the borders on 5 June 1967 in return for an Egyptian promise of non-belligerence. At the same time, the US was deterred by its conflicting global and regional interests from exerting pressure on Israel to accept the Egyptian proposal.

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Lia Friesem

More than other collective memories, the Holocaust is the most vivid memory in today’s Israeli existence. As a result of comprehensive official and unofficial memory work that utilizes the Holocaust as a political and educational tool, on the one hand, and due to the advent of the new media, on the other, its grip on everyday Israeli reality is only growing stronger. As part of a broader research project focusing on resistive cultural activity on Israeli Twitter, this article makes visible the striking omnipresence of the Holocaust on this social network, while maintaining that many of the ‘Holocaust tweets’ constitute an act of resistance. That is, users are engaged in oppositional decoding in a battle against the hegemonic Holocaust discourse.

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Underground waterlines

Explaining political quiescence of Ukrainian labor unions

Denys Gorbach

In order to explore factors conditioning the political quietude of Ukrainian labor, this article analyzes ethnographic data collected at two large enterprises: the Kyiv Metro and the privatized electricity supplier Kyivenergo. Focusing on a recent labor conflict, I unpack various contexts condensed in it. I analyze the hegemonic configuration developed in the early 1990s, at the workplace and at the macro level, and follow its later erosion. Th is configuration has been based on labor hoarding, distribution of nonwage resources, and patronage networks, featuring the foreman as the nodal figure. On the macro scale, it relied on the mediation by unions, supported by resources accumulated during the Soviet era and the economic boom of the 2000s. The depletion of these resources has spelled the ongoing crisis of this configuration.

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Iain Atack

The consent theory of power, whereby ruling elites depend ultimately on the submission, cooperation and obedience of the governed as their source of power, is often linked to debates about the effectiveness of non-violent political action. According to this theory, ruling elites depend ultimately on the submission, cooperation and obedience of the governed as their source of power. If this cooperation is with-drawn, then this power is undermined. Iain Atack outlines this theory and examines its strengths and weaknesses. Atack argues that incorporating the insights of other theories of power, such as Gramsci's theory of hegemony and Foucault's views on 'micro-power', can provide us with a more sophisticated understanding of both the effectiveness and the limits of nonviolent political action than the consent theory of power. Gramsci's contribution deepens the analysis in terms of our understanding of the origins of individual consent in the context of larger economic and political structures, while Foucault adds a different dimension, in that his micro-approach emphasizes the ubiquity and plurality of power, rather than its embodiment or reification in large-scale structures.

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Samuel Salzborn

Right-wing extremism in Germany has recently undergone considerable changes with a new right-wing party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) successfully entering several local state parliaments as well as the European Parliament, “Pegida” demonstrations representing a new type of public action in terms of social movements, and the emergence of institutions like the Library of Conservatism and magazine projects like Sezession. This article considers whether such developments could be seen as a renaissance of the “New Right”, representing a long-term success in its strategies. Since the 1970s, the strategy of the New Right has been based on promoting a culturally conservative metapolitics in the pursuit of “cultural hegemony”, meaning to influence public opinion in the Federal Republic of Germany and shift it to the right— which at first glance might seem to have succeeded in light of recent events. The developments seen in German far-right extremism, however, have been neither monocausal nor monolithic. Therefore, this article will take a closer look at various aspects of the idea that recent changes in Germany’s rightwing extremism might represent a successful implementation of this New Right strategy.

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Iris Marion Young

The world did not need the war against Iraq to understand that the United States of America stands alone among states in the magnitude of its military might. The blatant manner in which the U.S. flaunted that power in the face of fierce opposition from global civil society and nearly all states, however, demonstrates that the U.S. will use its power in ways that it judges right, without the approval or consent of other agents.

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Robert W. Compton Jr.

The African National Congress and the regeneration of political power, S. Booysen, 2011. Wits University Press.

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, D. Acemoglu & J. Robinson, 2012. Crown Publishing (Random House).

A Legacy of Liberation: Thabo Mbeki and the Future of the South African Dream, M. Gevisser, 2009. Palgrave-Macmillan.

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Veronica Strang

Environmental management in Australia has recently shifted away from local rural communities into the hands of largely urban environmental and government agencies, sparking an intensifying contest for the control of land and resources between geographically and socially stable communities and more mobile translocal groups. There are major disjunctions between the conceptual models promulgated in this contest. Highly specific, holistic, and integrative cultural paradigms of human-environmental interaction vie with an increasingly dominant technomanagerial environmental model emerging from global discourses and knowledge practices. Categorizing "Nature" as a separate, nonhuman domain, this more cosmopolitan approach fails, intellectually and practically, to integrate social and cultural issues into environmental management. Nevertheless, its proponents are provided with increasing authority by their relationships with wider agencies of governance. Building on long-term ethnographic research in Far North Queensland, this paper explores how local and cosmopolitan environmentalisms are contested in a particular ethnographic context.