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Offshore Desires

Mobility, Liquidity and History in Shakespeare’s Mediterranean

Rui Carvalho Homem

This article probes the ability of Shakespearean drama to provide expressive resources for coming to terms (conceptually, discursively) with current crises. These include both the power games of global finance, and those disasters that ostensibly concern other strands of geopolitics. The article focuses on two plays, The Comedy of Errors and Pericles, the actions of which unfold in the eastern Mediterranean – an area of the world associated, in the late modern imagination, either with mobility as pleasure (mass tourism and its apparatus) or mobility as crisis (disputed territories, the plight of displaced populations). It highlights the close bonds between prevalent modes – satire and farce in The Comedy of Errors, romance in Pericles – and the plays’ distinct strategies for representing human mobility: the sense of agency proper to acquisitive urges, the victimhood of forced displacement.

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The Causes of World Poverty

Some Reflections on Thomas Pogge’s Analysis

Luigi Caranti

While global poverty is the key moral problem of our times, social scientists are far from reaching a consensus on the causes of this disaster and philosophers disagree on the related responsibilities. One important contribution toward an enlarged understanding is offered by Thomas Pogge in World Poverty and Human Rights (2008). The present paper discusses critically Pogge's contribution and attempts to distinguish the valuable intuitions from the unwarranted conclusions that could be derived from them and that Pogge himself suggests at times. Foremost among these is the thesis that minor changes of the present global order would suffice to remove most world poverty. While it is sceptical about this strong conclusion, the paper confirms, unlike preceding discussions of World Poverty and Human Rights (Patten 2005: 19-27; Cruft 2005: 29-37; Anwander 2005: 39-45), the book's basic philosophical conclusion, namely, that affluent individuals and governments hold negative obligations toward the global poor.

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Palliative Marxism or Imminent Critique

Włodzimierz Brus and the Limits to Classical Marxist Political Economy

Stephen Louw

In 1956 communists North of the Limpopo discovered, to their horror, that ‘he who had been the leader of progressive humanity, the inspiration of the world, the father of the Soviet people, the master of science and learning, the supreme military genius, and altogether the greatest genius in history was in reality a paranoiac torturer, a mass murderer, and a military ignoramus who had brought the Soviet state to the verge of disaster’ (Kol˜akowski 1978:450). The decade which followed was to witness an important although inconclusive challenge to the orthodoxy and authority of the once omniscient Soviet Union; a development characterised by increasingly heterogenous relations within Comecon, and by a series of bold but ultimately unsuccessful attempts at economic reform (Swain & Swain 1993:127).

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“Give Me Back My Son!”

Eleanor of Aquitaine, Emotion Talk, and the Gendering of Political Rhetoric

Linda E. Mitchell

Medieval women, according to theorists whose positions were informed by standard classical tropes, suffered from an “excess” of emotion, which barred them from positions of political authority. Eleanor of Aquitaine—queen, countess, and mother of kings—belies this categorization. As a political actor, especially in defense of her own territories and as regent of her sons’ kingdom of England, Eleanor deployed emotional expressions strategically in order to elicit patronage and support from other political leaders. Although many historians have discussed the career of Eleanor of Aquitaine, most emphasize her anomalous position, based on the presentation of her made by contemporary chroniclers such as Roger of Hoveden and Ralph de Diceto. Unlike her husband, Henry II, whose emotional outbursts usually resulted in disaster—vide the Becket debacle—Eleanor’s use of emotion reinforced her position of authority and was underscored by her claim of legitimate emotional distress as mother and as regent.

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Introduction

Politics of Recognition and Myths of Race

George Baca

At the time of this writing, the world is watching incredulously as terror and deprivation ravage the poorest citizens of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The region’s middle class and elite fled the disaster, while federal authorities’ inaction resulted in starvation for those too poor to leave. Such callousness embodied in US civil society and state institutions has been made transparent to the world, illuminating the increasing class inequality that has evolved since the passage of the Civil Rights Act. In light of this conflation of racism and class inequality, this forum focuses on the ways that multi-cultural politics mystify such power relations with romantic recollections of popular resistance to racism in the post–World War II era: decolonization, the US civil rights movement, and the fall of apartheid in South Africa.

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Carolyn Nordstrom

An explosion in a war zone, no matter how localized and remote to the rest of the world, constitutes a crisis that has dangerous global repercussions. Using Alain Badiou's philosophy of multiplicities to track these repercussions, this article explores international profiteering and extra-legal commodities transfers; forced labor and enforced inequalities; dereliction in providing social, civil, and humanitarian services; and institutionalized injustices that coalesce in war and radiate worldwide. While the politics and economics of these systems of inequality seem to confer power on those who control them (generally, cosmopolitan industrial centers), this article suggests these are loci of vulnerability—`fracture zones'—that, under pressure (e.g., conflict, market crashes, natural disasters), leave even peacetime countries susceptible to collapse.

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Rohan Bastin

The current moment, seen by some as an interregnum between societies of discipline and control, is marked by intense forms of religious fanaticism and iconoclasm that are striving to create new forms of the state. This is evident in the militancy and political engagement of Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka, who promote war against Tamil separatists as well as violent resistance to the proselytization identified with global civil society agencies that, due to the war and the 2004 tsunami disaster, have been active in the country. The article looks at this rising Buddhist militancy, which is associated with a political party that is linked to the more famous party known as the JVP. It argues that instead of resisting the formation of the new global civil society, the iconoclasm of this Buddhist political formation is facilitating its establishment.

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Trauma, Time, and the ‘Singular Plural’

The Israeli Television Series Fauda

Nurith Gertz and Raz Yosef

The Israeli television series Fauda tells the story of an undercover unit pursuing a notorious terrorist to avenge terror attacks that he masterminded and to prevent his future attacks. The series bolsters Israeli collectivity by re-enacting past traumas and capitalizing on the fear of traumas yet to come, but it also dismantles national unity by portraying other ways for individuals to develop relationships with the collectives to which they belong and by attempting to find alternative temporalities to ‘traumatic time’ that returns to haunt the present from the future. While the plot aims to reinforce national identity by overcoming situations of imminent disaster, the televisual language creates another time based on overlaps between the various narrative threads of both Israeli and Palestinian identities, thus opening up new opportunities for co-existence and another relationship between the singular and the plural.

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Christian Hunold

This multispecies ethnography of red-tailed hawks and of the humans who observed and cared for them investigates everyday engagement with nature and culture in an urban setting. The proliferation of anthropogenic biomes and their attendant human-animal relations is one of the defining social-ecological features of our day. This transformation has caused many ecological disasters but has also created some opportunities, including for thinking more imaginatively about what it means to protect urban nature. Through their activities, interactions, and travels the hawks questioned where belongings are drawn, prompting humans to debate how the city does, can, and should include other animals. And by monitoring the hawks’ activities, the hawk watchers learned to imagine how things might be different if people acted as if the hawks had chosen to live in the city for reasons that made sense to them, if not necessarily to humans.

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Harlan Koff, Miguel Equihua Zamora, Carmen Maganda and Octavio Pérez-Maqueo

If aliens were to look down on planet Earth and observe us, they might be led to believe that the natural state of humanity is crisis. Whether we focus on politics, economics, society or the environment, it seems that crises are perpetuated and possibly even expanded in global affairs. For example, we have recently witnessed war in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, expanded flows of refugees and the resulting nativist fears expressed in those countries where they arrive or could potentially arrive, unprecedented global financial crises, the depletion of natural resources and our alleged contribution to deadly disasters (such as Typhoon Haiyan in 2013) through climate change. Borrowing from Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr’s observation of 19th century French politics, we may argue that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” (http://www.histoire encitations.fr/citations/Karr-plus-ca-change-plus-c-est-la-meme-chose)