At the beginning of the Second Restoration, Paris was swept by a mania for roller coasters, which were dubbed montagnes russes after a Russian tradition of sledding on ice hills. Situating this phenomenon in the context of the military occupation of France following the defeat of Napoleon, this article analyzes one of the many plays featuring these “mountains,” Le Combat des montagnes (“The Battle of the Mountains”), and especially two of its main characters, La Folie (Folly) and Calicot (Calico Salesman). The “battle” over the roller coasters, it argues, was really a contest over how to redefine national identity around consumer culture rather than military glory. Through the lens of the montagnes russes, the article offers a new perspective on the early Restoration as an aftermath of war.
Repatriating Folly in France in the Aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars
Relative Painlessness in Shakespeare’s Laughter at War
How do we understand Shakespeare’s invitation to laugh in the context of war? Previous critical accounts have offered too simple a view: that laughter undercuts military ideals. Instead, this article draws on the Aristotelian description of laughable ‘deformity’ and Plato’s description of laughable ignorance in order to characterize Shakespeare’s laughter in the context of war more carefully as an expression of ‘relative painlessness’. It discusses how the fraught amusement of Coriolanus (Coriolanus), the reciprocality of Falstaff and Hotspur as laughable military failures (1 Henry IV) and the laughter of Bertram at Paroles (All’s Well That Ends Well) each engage with an ancient philosophical conundrum articulated poignantly by St. Augustine: the requirement that a Christian civilization engage in war to defend itself against honour-obsessed aggressors without turning into a like aggressor itself. Shakespeare’s laughter at war enacts the desire for that balance.
Close bonding in male friendship groups in adolescence (ages 12–28) provides the foundation for altruistic behavior in the group, from routine selflessness to the ultimate sacrifice of life for the others. This article draws on ethnographic evidence from two settings—troops of Boy Scouts in California and US military units living and fighting together in the Middle East. In both settings, close bonding of the male adolescents has significant homoerotic elements, which suggests that there are significant erotic elements in male adolescent altruism, including the eroticization of pain and suffering (non-pathological masochism). If these links prove true, this has policy implications for the integration of adolescent girls and young women into previously all-male organizations, such as the Boy Scouts and the military.
Shifting Constellations and Permeable Boundaries in
Maya Mynster Christensen
Contemporary warfare depends on private security contractors from countries in the Global South. In Sierra Leone, this dependency has produced emerging markets for private military and security companies (PMSCs) seeking to recruit cheap, military-experienced labor. This article explores how demobilized militia and soldiers in Sierra Leone negotiate categorical divides to make themselves employable for private security contracting in Iraq. Based on 19 months of fieldwork tracing militia soldiers as they move between shift ing security constellations, the article introduces the notion of “shadow soldiering” to explain the entanglements of public-private spheres and the blurring of boundaries between the visible and invisible that characterize these constellations. While scholarly work on PMSCs has increasingly highlighted the public-private interconnectedness, the article contributes an ethnographically informed perspective on how security contractors on the ground interpret such entanglements and how global security dynamics intersects with the local, everyday practices and processes that facilitate the supply of contractors.
What will be the future of war? No-one can tell for sure, and so there is much speculation and many contending views. In this article I discuss one of those views, the notion that war of the future will primarily be a protracted form of terrorism, insurgency, and low-intensity conflict within 'failed' states and civilizations, which will sometimes lapse into ethnic cleansing and genocide. It will be 'dirty war'. The antagonists will be rage-filled 'warriors'. War will be fought in the wastelands of the Third World. Wars will occur because of state failure, rather than because of state strength and expansion. They will feature 'irregular' forces rather than the disciplined hierarchical armies that have been the defining characteristic of recent Western military history. Frequently, the military forces of developed societies will be drawn into these conflicts. This is a plausible view of the future, one that is influential in Washington, and a number of serious academics2 subscribe to it.
History, Politics, and Exile Identity among Rwandan Rebels in the Eastern Congo Conflict
This article analyzes how the 1994 genocide in Rwanda is recalled and described by members of a Hutu rebel group, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) whose leadership can be linked to the 1994 atrocities in Rwanda. The article explores how individuals belonging to this rebel group, currently operating in the eastern territories of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), articulate, contest, and oppose the dominant narrative of the Rwandan genocide. Based on ethnographic fieldwork with members of the FDLR in a rebel camp, this article shows how a community of exiled fighters and second-generation Hutu refugees contest the official version of genocide by constructing a counterhistory of it. Through organized practices such as political demonstrations and military performances, it further shows how political ideologies and violence are being manufactured and reproduced within a setting of military control.
Włodzimierz Brus and the Limits to Classical Marxist Political Economy
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).
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.
Since March 2011, Syrian citizens have challenged their government through street protests and, more recently, armed confrontations. Both the protest movement and the government’s response to it have their roots in the recent past. This article examines the contours of the last decade, and events in Syria since 2011, to understand the origins of popular protest and the origins of the Syrian government’s largely military response. Protest and dissent appeared after Bashar al-Assad came to power in 2000. The government’s response to such protest was not predetermined, but was rather the result of specific governing structures and political choices made by state elites.
Adrian van den Hoven
In his lengthy interview with Bernard Dort, published in Sartre on Theater1, the dramatist gives a detailed justification for the theme and setting of his play. His goal was “to demystify heroism – that is, military heroism – by showing its link with limitless violence.” Sartre decided not to situate the action in France “because [he] wanted [to have] a fairly wide audience” and satisfy in that way “an aesthetic need of theater, the need for distancing the object to some extent by displacing it in space in and time”.