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Freedom from Religion in Israel

Civil Marriages and Cohabitation of Jews Enter the Rabbinical Courts

Zvi Triger

The only form of marriage that is recognized under Israeli law is religious marriage. Following the Supreme Court's ruling in the landmark 1963 Funk-Schlesinger case, Israeli authorities must register couples who marry abroad as married. In a 2006 decision, the Supreme Court held that the rabbinical court system has jurisdiction over the divorce of couples who marry civilly abroad and that it has exclusive jurisdiction over the dissolution of civil marriages of Jews residing in Israel. The Court's decision was based on Halachic principles and was pre-approved by a rabbinical court panel. However, rabbinical courts have been insisting on performing a full get (religious divorce) procedure even for civilly married couples. This article analyzes this phenomenon and speculates as to the reasons for and the direction of these developments.

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A Gloomy Carnival of Freedom

Sex, Gender, and Emotions among Polish Displaced Person in the Aftermath of World War II

Katarzyna Nowak

This article investigates the experiences of Polish Displaced Persons (DPs) through the lens of sexuality, analyzing their perceptions of liberation and life in DP camps in Allied-occupied Germany and Austria (1945–1951). It draws on a wide array of sources, including archival material, memoirs, and letters. Employing Mikhail Bakhtin’s concepts of carnival and the carnivalesque, it argues that the dynamics of DPs’ sexual and romantic encounters, analyzed as emotional experiences, can be characterized as having a carnivalesque structure of oppression, eruption, and normalization. It demonstrates how the eruption of sexuality (including sexual violence) was connected to the wider problems Poles faced, including feelings of emasculation, war trauma, and the challenges of rebuilding a community in exile. Polish elites, acting mostly within a Catholic conservative register, boosted normalization by combatting perceived “immorality” and promoting family values. To this end, they cooperated with international organizations and the Allied military in an attempt to contain venereal disease, prostitution, and abortion. Many of these efforts focused on policing women’s bodies and regulating their sexuality, as a part of rebuilding the nation after the hecatomb of war.

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Does the City of Ends Correspond to a Classless Society?

A New Idea of Democracy in Sartre's Hope Now

Maria Russo

In the Critique of Dialectical Reason and in many interviews, Sartre upheld the proletariat’s attempts at emancipation in Western societies and their revolts in the developing world. In these texts, counter-violence is considered the only way to exercise concrete engagement, and a classless society is presented as the only possibility of reducing social inequalities. However, this radical point of view was not the only perspective he tried to develop. He also sought to elaborate an existentialist ethics, which does not correspond to the Marxist theory. This article aims to show that Sartre evoked Notebooks’ ideas in his last interview, Hope Now, in which he envisaged a different typology of democracy and society. This article will examine this new and last direction of Sartre’s political thought.

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David James

I argue that the concept of practical necessity adds to our understanding of the notion of constraint by analysing the use of this concept in the writings of Thucydides, Machiavelli, Hegel and Marx. Objective and subjective aspects of practical necessity are identified, and the relation between them is explained. It is also shown that human beings can be wrong about what is a matter of genuine practical necessity at the same time as some people have an interest in fostering in others false beliefs regarding this matter. In short, appeals to necessity may perform an ideological function.

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Yusuf Has

My aim in this article is to move the problematic of violence and its role in politics to a historico-ontological plane. I propose a perspective that breaks with the dominant subjectivist concept of human violence and its metaphysical foundations, which fail to distinguish this concept from that of aggression. According to this perspective, we are already in the field of violence in our everyday social existence, regardless of our personal choices or intentions, the sources of which are systemic. The ontological essence of this systemic violence lies in the fact that it is not external to human subjects but is engraved in their very social being by penetrating into the discourses, practices and frames of mind that make up their historical disposition, which makes it in many instances harder to escape than subjective violence. What I call from this ontological perspective the 'violence of closure' has the effect ultimately of suppressing the possibilities of social being open to human beings in their given historical situation, by normalising the existing way of social and political existence, and closing them off to alternatives. I argue that to this violence of closure must be opposed the violence of dis-closure, which, in its various particular intellectual and practical forms, can open up human social existence to its repressed possibilities.

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Belonging to Spontaneous Order

Hayek, Pluralism, Democracy

Stephanie Erev

Reading Friedrich Hayek’s late work as a neoliberal myth of the state of nature, this article finds neoliberalism’s hostilities to democracy to be animated in part by a romantic demand for belonging. Hayek’s theory of spontaneous order expresses this desire for belonging as it pretends the market is capable of harmonizing differences so long as the state is prevented from interfering. Approaching Hayek’s work in this way helps to explain why his conceptions of both pluralism and democracy are so thin. It also suggests that neoliberalism’s assaults upon democracy are intimately linked to its relentless extractivism. Yet the romantic elements in Hayek’s work might have led him toward a more radical democratic project and ecological politics had he affirmed plurality for what it enables. I conclude with the suggestion that democratic theory can benefit from learning to listen to what Hayek heard but failed to affirm: nature’s active voice.

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Alexis Chabot

Atheism is at the heart of Sartre’s philosophy but also of his reflections on writing and the choice of the imaginary. Nonetheless, atheism for him is not a matter of an acquired and self-assured spiritual option. It is a struggle against the temptation of faith, a struggle which is nothing else than the aspiration to Being, to a justified existence, to the surpassing of contingency. This is why Sartre can qualify atheism as ‘cruel’. To be victorious against the illusions of necessity, against the confusion of literature and religion, atheism is a never-ending process of liquidation of the very idea of ‘Salvation’.

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Sartre, Lacan, and the Ethics of Psychoanalysis

A Defense of Lacanian Responsibility

Blake Scott

In this article, I reconsider the philosophical significance of Jacques Lacan’s reading of Freud in light of Jean-Paul Sartre’s early critique of Freudian psychoanalysis. Since direct comparisons between the work of Sartre and Lacan are sparse in the English literature, Betty Cannon’s comprehensive treatment proves to be an invaluable resource in opening up this line of inquiry. I claim that one reason for the limited attention given to comparisons of their work is the continued strength of the polemics between humanism and structuralism. Lacan’s structuralism is regularly indicted by humanists for failing to provide a conception of subjective responsibility in the way that Sartre’s humanism does. Taking Cannon’s critique of Lacanian psychoanalysis on this issue as a point of departure, I argue that a conception of subjective responsibility can be found throughout Lacan’s work, serving as a point of common ground upon which further inquiry—particularly of Sartre’s later work—might begin.

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“Money Is Life”

Quantity, Social Freedom, and Combinatory Practices in Western Kenya

Mario Schmidt

This article focuses on how money’s quantity is enacted as multiple in Kaleko, a small market center in Western Kenya. Residents of Kaleko conceptualize money’s quantity as abstracting, concretizing, and recursive. Theorizing this ethnographic data allows us to understand money as a sign that stands against itself. The abstracting and concretizing properties of money’s quantity symbolize what it means to be coerced to do something, while its recursive property symbolizes what it means to act freely. The article scrutinizes how money’s recursive quantity thereby relates to one peculiar trait of free social encounters in Kaleko: it suspends the distinction between part and whole with the help of ‘combinatory practices’.

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Edward Greenwood

At the close of the Second World War and in the years following, two key figures of modern French thought, Jean-Paul Sartre and Georges Bataille, became engaged in a debate concerning the status of literature. At stake in their argument was both a conception of the mode of being of the literary work of art and a projection of the purpose or end to which literature should be assigned.