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Arthur Goldhammer

Belief in the possibility of a revolutionary transformation of French society sustained much of the political and cultural ferment in France in the quarter century following the end of World War II. Perry Anderson, in two articles published in the London Review of Books, argues that the decline of this faith has cast a pall over France, and he traces this decline in large part to the work of historians François Furet and Pierre Nora. It is argued here that Anderson neglects broader economic, societal, and cultural forces that combined to undermine belief in the transformative power of revolution and is therefore led to an unduly pessimistic interpretation of the cultural turn of the 1970s.

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Richard York, Christina Ergas, Eugene A. Rosa and Thomas Dietz

We examine trends since 1980 in material extraction in China, India, Indonesia, and Japan—which together contain over 40% of the world's population—to assess the environmental consequences of modernization. Economic and population growth has driven rapid expansion of material extraction in China, India, and Indonesia since 1980. China and India exhibit patterns consistent with the Jevons paradox, where the economic intensity of extraction (extraction/GDP) has steadily declined while total extraction grew. In Indonesia, extraction intensity grew along with total extraction. In Japan, total extraction remained roughly constant, increasing somewhat in the 1980s and then slowly declining after 1990, while extraction intensity declined throughout the entire period. These different patterns can be understood to some degree by drawing on political-economic and world-systems perspectives. Japan is an affluent, core nation that can afford to import materials from other nations, thereby avoiding escalation of material extraction within its borders. China and India are rapidly industrializing nations that, although increasingly drawing on resources from beyond their borders, still rely on their own natural resources for growth. Indonesia, an extraction economy with less global power than the other nations examined here, exports its own natural resources, often unprocessed, to spur economic growth. The trends highlighted here suggest that in order to avert environmental crisis, alternative forms of development, which do not involve traditional economic growth, may need to be adopted by nations around the world.

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Etienne Faugier

Two quotations, two periods of history. While the lines were written a century apart, their divergent sentiments reflect more than just the passage of time. They also show how, in the space of a century, the very concept of speed has become more complex, mainly because different kinds of speed are available thanks to new technologies in communications and mobility. The juxtaposition of these two quotations show a rupture: it seems that we are slowly shifting from a status where speed was both wish and choice to one where limited movement may be forced upon us by declining fossil fuels and growing pollution.

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A John Barleycorn temptation

Behaviour of Siberian regions on the alcoholic beverages market (1999-2003)

Grigorii L. Olekh

This article considers the recent declining fortunes of the Siberian liquor producing and retail industry. Cheaper vodka 'imported' from regions outside Siberia has led to a loss of revenue from local excise duties. Some firms have gone bankrupt, and others are in serious financial difficulties as a result of unpaid debts to the Inland Revenue. There is also evidence of malpractice and corruption. There are signs, however, that the current difficulties are causing Siberian alcoholic drinks producers to join together and unite in adopting measures to combat the cheaper vodka imports.

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Konstantin B. Klokov

In the 1990s, dramatic socio-economic changes caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union greatly impacted reindeer husbandry across Russia. The overall decline of reindeer population at the federal level can be directly linked to economic reforms, which affected all branches of the economy. However, different local herding communities adopted different strategies, which resulted in various and even contradictory trends of reindeer numbers at the regional level. This article analyzes this diversity using statistics from the federal, regional, and local levels, and interviews with herders in different northern regions.

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The Terror of their Enemies

Reflections on a Trope in Eighteenth-Century Historiography

Ronald Schechter

This article attempts to explain the appeal of "terror" in the French Revolution by examining the history of the concept of terror. It focuses on historiographical representations of sovereign powers, whether monarchs or nations, as "terrors" of their enemies. It argues that the term typically connoted majesty, glory, justice and hence legitimacy. Moreover, historiographical depictions of past rulers and nations frequently emphasized the transiency of terror as an attribute of power; they dramatized decline in formulations such as "once terrible." For the revolutionaries, terror therefore provided a means of legitimation, but one that always had to be guarded and reinforced.

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Imperial Nostalgia; Colonial Nostalgia

Differences of Theory, Similarities of Practice?

Patricia M. E. Lorcin

The concept of nostalgia in relation to empire is usually analyzed as a longing for former imperial and colonial glory, thus eliding the full spectrum of hegemonic practices that are associated with empire. Focusing on the postindependence narratives and practices of France and Britain, this article distinguishes between imperial nostalgia and colonial nostalgia, arguing that the former is associated with the loss of empire—that is, the decline of national grandeur and the international power politics connected to economic and political hegemony—and the latter with the loss of sociocultural standing or, more precisely, the colonial lifestyle.

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Richard Bessel

The argument put forward by Steven Pinker that violence has been in decline and that “we have been getting kinder and gentler” rests to a considerable degree upon data concerning violent events, in particular homicide and deaths on the battlefield. In discussing such data for the modern period, this article questions their reliability and, in particular, their comparability over time. Pinker’s argument may be stronger with respect to a growing public sensitivity toward many forms of violence, not least sexual violence, for which there is considerable evidence. However, the relationship between changing public sensibilities and changing levels of actual violent acts remains difficult to determine.

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Two Have Hold of a Tallit

Abraham Joshua Heschel's Rabbinic Scholarship

Jeremy Gordon

I am a congregational Rabbi; neither an academic scholar of Rabbinics, nor an academic scholar of twentieth-century theology. I was also not the first person Professor Saperstein asked to address a conference designed to appreciate and assess the enduring influence of Professor Heschel’s work on Rabbinic Judaism, which is fine. I would also not have been the first person I would have asked. The first person asked to assess the ‘enduring influence’ of Heschel’s work on Rabbinics was a proper scholar of Rabbinics and that person declined, saying they had never read Heschel’s most important book on Rabbinics – Torah Min HaShamayim.

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Yitskhok Niborski

Whereas Yiddish flourished in France in the immediate post-war period, partly due to the influx of survivors from Poland and Lithuania, the failure to ensure transmission of Yiddish to the following generation led to a decline. From the 1970s a number of significant academic institutions and programmes were created and the Bibliotheque Medem became a centre of documentation and acquired the bibliographic collections of libraries that had closed. In 2002 the Maison de la Culture Yiddish-Bibliotheque Medem (MCY) was established with the task not only of preservation but also of creating cultural opportunities through projects including publications, adult and children's education, and through encouraging the use of the spoken language.