When Craig, an oft-humiliated and unsuccessful street puppeteer, discovers a portal into the body of John Malkovich, he finds that fusion with a live “celebrity puppet” offers a solution to the dilemmas of being human— imperfection, vulnerability, and death. In this fantastical context, the filmmakers raise questions about intention, identity, authorship, and the wisdom of elevating narcissism over Eros. Although a desire to transcend the limitations of the mortal body may be ubiquitous, the unique solution offered in Being John Malkovich is the apparent triumph of this narcissistic fantasy, rather than an acceptance of reality. This article first explores the film's use of the universal imagery of narcissism and then examines how technology, which allows widespread access to a visually oriented media culture, and changes in the meaning of fame have altered the expression of narcissistic fantasies, as well as the anxieties that accompany their fulfillment.
Lissa Weinstein and Banu Seckin
Tom Hall and Robin Smith
This article considers welfare and the city and the ways in which pedestrian practices combine in the management and production of urban need and vulnerability as manifest in the experience and supervision of urban homelessness. The article combines writings on urban maintenance and repair with recent anthropological work on wayfaring (in which cities seldom figure). Fieldwork undertaken with rough sleepers, welfare workers and city managers in the city of Cardiff , Wales, provides the empirical basis. The main body of the article is organized around three walks through the centre of Cardiff with individuals variously implicated in care, repair and welfare in the city. In closing we assert the importance of a politics of street welfare in city space.
Del desarrollo y la democracia frente a la violación de los derechos de las mujeres y niñas Juárez, México, 2008–2013
Alfredo Limas Hernández
Este texto aborda la situación de inseguridad y violencia, sobre todo hacia las mujeres, que persisten en Ciudad Juárez (México) así como la situación de victimización (i.e. desapariciones) que padecen las mujeres de cierto per fil social. Amplios sectores de la población juarense sobreviven con escasos derechos y garantías dentro de un marco de violencia sociopolítica en los últimos veinte años, en particular, entre 2008–2012, periodo de “la guerra contra la delincuencia y el narcotrá fico”, del sexenio del Gobierno Federal de Felipe Calderón Hinojosa (2006–2012). Ante una emergente fractura del estado de derecho, con políticas que restringen el bienestar, se incrementa la inseguridad y la victimización para ciertas categorías culturales vulnerables. Dentro de este contexto valga preguntar ¿qué significa ese contexto de violencia social y política para la construcción de la ciudadanía y de la cultura de derechos humanos y de su vigencia?
Memorialization, War, and Democracy in the United States
Stephen J. Rosow
Contestation over war memorialization can help democratic theory respond to the current attenuation of citizenship in war in liberal democratic states, especially the United States. As war involves more advanced technologies and fewer soldiers, the relation of citizenship to war changes. In this context war memorialization plays a particular role in refiguring the relation. Current practices of remembering and memorializing war in contemporary neoliberal states respond to a dilemma: the state needs to justify and garner support for continual wars while distancing citizenship from participation. The result is a consumer culture of memorialization that seeks to effect a unity of the political community while it fights wars with few citizens and devalues the public. Neoliberal wars fought with few soldiers and an economic logic reveals the vulnerability to otherness that leads to more active and critical democratic citizenship.
The Crisis of Venezuelan Democracy
The legacy of Hugo Chavez is contentious. Some lament the deterioration of Venezuelan democracy from one of Latin America's most stable political systems to a populist authoritarian regime. Others celebrate Chavez's participatory project of institutionalizing structures for community-driven development, redistributing oil wealth through welfare policies, and creating a political party closely linked to mass movements. This article provides an alternative assessment of Venezuela's democratic quality by drawing on deliberative democratic theory. I argue that Chavez's participatory project is incomplete because it fails to create structures for deliberative politics. Without these mechanisms, Venezuela remains vulnerable to crises brought about by “uncivil action,” such as military coups and violent protests, making deliberation an important component in averting crises in democratizing polities.
Christopher J. Allsobrook
This critique of the theory of freedom and power, which Lawrence Hamilton advances in Freedom is Power (2014), maintains that Hamilton’s appeal to a genealogy of needs - (established in his earlier work, The Political Philosophy of Needs (2003)) to distinguish power from domination – is inconsistent with the theory of power he advocates. His account of needs is no less vulnerable than that of rivals to the problem of power he identifies. I advance a rights recognition theory, which is compatible with this theory of power and I argue that it helps to provide support for the distinction, which Hamilton wants to make, between power and domination, which one cannot obtain from his theory of needs.
This article provides an interpretation of Josef Vilsmaier's two-part television feature film, Die Gustloff (2008), which depicts the sinking of that ship in January 1945. It argues that Vilsmaier, at the expense of historical fact, pins blame for the fateful decisions that led to the ship being vulnerable to attack on the Navy, while simultaneously seeking to exculpate and even glorify the Merchant Navy representatives on board. Die Gustloff seeks to distinguish between a “bad” captain and a “good” one, between hard-hearted military indifference and uncorrupted civilian decency in the face of the plight of German refugees. Generally, in its portrayal of the civilian as a realm untainted by Nazism, it seeks to resist trends in contemporary historiography that show such distinctions to be untenable. It is thus deeply revisionist in character, and, in many ways, represents the nadir of the “Germans as victims” trend in contemporary German culture.
The article draws upon the formal coalition literature to demonstrate that party system change over the last thirty years means that the Volksparteien enjoy more coalition options and greater ideological leverage within coalitions that form than was the case in the past. The Free Democrats have lost their kingmaker status and the distribution of party weights over recent elections allows no other small party to act in this manner. By contrast, the numerical and ideological resources possessed by the two Volksparteien means that they remain the only parties within the German party system that can act as formateur in the coalition game and are less vulnerable to threats of a decisive defection by small parties to alternative coalitions than they were in the past.
According to German historian Hermann Weber, 25 percent of all
published studies on the German Democratic Republic (GDR) have
focused on the early years of the regime of the Socialist Unity Party
(SED), 20 percent on the 1980s and collapse of the dictatorship, and
only 3 percent on the years in between.1 While the GDR itself may
not have become a mere footnote in history as novelist Stefan Heym
predicted, studies of East German history in the 1950s—before the
construction of the Berlin Wall, when the regime of Walter Ulbricht
was most vulnerable—are exceedingly rare.2 Archive-based studies of
Ulbricht’s response to the Hungarian revolution of 1956 are rarer
still.3 A recently edited volume of essays published in Germany
about responses to the Hungarian revolution, for example, included
the reactions of nearly every East European country, except those of
In the years following unification, East German cityscapes have been subject to fierce contention because historic preservation and urban renewal have served as a local allegory of national redemption. Using conflicts over preservation and renewal in the city of Eisenach as a case study, I argue that historic cityscapes have served as the focus of many East Germans' efforts to grapple with the problem of Germanness because they address the past as a material cultural legacy to be retrieved and protected, rather than as a past to be worked through. In Eisenach's conflicts, heritage and Heimat serve as talismans of redemption not just because they symbolize an unspoiled German past, but also because they represent structures of difference that evoke a victimized Germanness—they are above all precious, vulnerable possessions threatened with disruption, pollution, or destruction by agents placed outside the moral boundaries of the hometown by its bourgeois custodians.