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Champagne Liberals and the New "Dangerous Classes"

Reconfiguration of Class, Identity and Cultural Production in the Contemporary Global System

Jonathan Friedman

This is an era of millenarianism. The millennium is here, the twenty-first century is here. It has been advertised as the new globalized world, that for many we have finally achieved. This is a world that will be characterized by openness. I sit here watching the talk show, Jenny Jones, this time (10- 4-00) dealing with racism. An African American intellectual talks about openness, against other African Americans in the studio who express strong criticism toward immigrants. A man replies angrily: “you can say that flying around in your airplanes and living on top of your hotels.” Jones breaks off the discussion. The enlightened are truly higher in this world, they are the élite in a way that concretizes the metaphor of globalization. Up there, above the masses, delighting in a new found mobility, consuming the world. This is striking in the reactions to EU, to say nothing of larger international organizations. The populism of the people and the élitism of the élites are ever more marked in this era-to-be.

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Elisabetta De Giorgi

As summed up by Denis Verdini, coordinator of Forza Italia (FI), in an

interview in La Repubblica after the constitutional congress of People

of Liberty (PdL) at the end of March 2009, “It is more difficult to unite

the elites than to unite the voters.” This assessment is especially apt

considering the tensions that have characterized relations between

allies in the government during the early part of the current coalition’s

tenure. This analysis can be extended to the entire government,

which, beyond the newly formed PdL—composed of FI, the National

Alliance (AN), and a small sub-group of the Christian Democrats

who support northern Italian autonomy—also includes the Northern

League (LN) of Umberto Bossi and some smaller parties, represented

by a team of junior ministers: the Liberal Populists (a faction within

the PdL), the Christian Democratic Party (DC), and the Movement for

Autonomy (MpA) of the president of Sicily, Raffaele Lombardo.

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Worst Conceivable Form

Race, Global Capital, and The Making of the English Working Class

Zach Sell

W. E. B. Du Bois noted that the nineteenth-century US slave plantation corresponded with the factory in its worst conceivable form. This article expands upon Du Bois's insight to consider the emergence of the English working class in correspondence with American settler slavery and colonial projects within the British Empire. From above, elites theorized about the exploitation of labor as a world historical project to compare the enslaved, the colonized, and the English worker against one another. From below, proletarian intellectuals imagined the freedom of English laborers through the condition of the enslaved in the American South and Jamaica and the colonized in South Asia. By placing these histories from above and below together, this article argues that it is impossible to conceive of the English working class making itself and being made at remove from the enslaving and colonizing projects of global capital.

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“Home Is Home No Longer”

Political Struggle in the Domestic Sphere in Postarmistice Hungary, 1919–1922

Emily R. Gioielli

This article analyzes the social history of the revolutionary and counterrevolutionary struggles in postarmistice Hungary as they played out in the Hungarian domestic sphere. Using court cases and statements made to legal aid bureaus in Budapest, it examines how elites and the middle class reasserted their social and political power by using legal channels and the threat of denunciation to seek revenge and retribution on domestic employees and neighbors. It also explores how revolutionary and counterrevolutionary politics affected conflicts over housing in Budapest. By exploring the gendered nature of transitional and retroactive justice in counterrevolutionary Hungary, this article shows the blurring of the line between personal and political violence. It also demonstrates that women played an important role in counterrevolutionary politics by assisting state efforts to reassert traditional social and political hierarchies in the domestic sphere.

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Rosalind Carr

This article examines the political engagement of three Scottish women—Anne Hamilton, Duchess of Hamilton; Katherine Hamilton, Duchess of Atholl; and Katherine Skene, Lady Murray—during the negotiations that led to the 1707 Anglo-Scottish Union. The letters of these women reveal an active female involvement in Scottish politics during the pivotal debates over Union with England. They also serve to demonstrate the importance of family-based power among the landed elites in early modern Scottish politics. Challenging the continued absence of women from early modern Scottish political histories, this article argues that women, exemplied by the three discussed here, must be incorporated into political history if we want to fully understand the history of the Scottish nation.

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Neither Reformers nor Réformés

The Construction of French Modernity in the Nineteenth Century

Gavin Murray-Miller

Modernity has typically been considered a process consisting of “modernizing” initiatives concerned with nation-building, industrial economic development, and new social and political practices associated with democratization. This article engages ongoing debates regarding the import and meaning of modernity for historians and argues in favor of an historically situated understanding of the modern based upon an examination of social power and identity in post-revolutionary France. In particular, it assesses the transformation of social and political relationships in the nineteenth century as France embraced mass democracy and overseas imperial expansion in North Africa, arguing that modernity became a convenient means of preserving elite primacy and identity in an age increasingly oriented toward egalitarianism, democratic participation, and the acquisition of global empires.

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Going South

Canadians' Engagement with American Athletic Scholarships

Noel Dyck

This article examines the dynamics and implications of Canadians' pursuit of and ambiguous engagement with athletic scholarships offered to elite athletes by American colleges and universities. After sketching in the broader social and cultural context within which the movement of Canadian athletes to the U.S. occurs, it considers ways in which reckonings of high achievement in sport and other fields of performance tend to be constructed in Canada in terms of transnational and global comparisons. By examining how and why innumerable Canadian children and youths, with the assistance of parents and other adults, come to focus upon the pursuit of American athletic scholarships, this article seeks to penetrate an ambivalent form of competition that rewards its winners by taking them away from their families and country for a period of years just as they enter adulthood.

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'Obviously It's Worth It'

The Value of Being a Canadian Student Athlete in the U.S.A.

Meghan Gilgunn

Each year, young, elite Canadian athletes travel south to attend American colleges and universities, funded in part by athletic scholarships. These 'student athletes' leave their home country to pursue opportunities they believe are only available in the U.S. The demands made on their time, finances, and personal wellbeing can be staggering. Yet for those who become student athletes, the value of the experience tends to be unquestionably identified as being 'worth it'. In this paper, I explore how this exhortation, repeated so readily by the individuals I interviewed during fieldwork in the U.S., reflects a complicated set of beliefs. This deceptively simple statement provides an entry point for understanding what Canadian student athletes find valuable about their experience and how they believe it affords them a degree of personal distinction that would have been impossible had they stayed in Canada.

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Paul Fawcett

Distrust towards politicians is often identified as a key factor behind the current “crisis of democracy.” If there is a crisis, it only seems natural that at least some responsibility must rest with the political elite. This article locates this distrust in the context of broader debates about “antipolitics” and depoliticization. It examines how these debates have been informed by the putatively new set of challenges presented by the shift to governance and changing notions of legitimacy. The article concludes that politicians remain a necessity, not a choice. Politicians might be part of the problem, but they are certainly not the only problem. It ends by calling for a re-articulation of the relationship between government and citizens and leadership and democracy.

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Interview

Propaganda’s Role in Liberal Democratic Societies

Jason Stanley and John B. Min

Stanley and Min discuss how propaganda works in liberal democratic societies. Stanley observes that the inability to address the crisis of liberal democracies can be partially explained by contemporary political philosophy’s penchant for idealized theorizing about norms of justice over transitions from injustice to justice. Whereas ancient and modern political philosophers took seriously propaganda and demagoguery of the elites and populists, contemporary political philosophers have tended to theorize about the idealized structures of justice. This leads to a lack of theoretical constructs and explanatory tools by which we can theorize about real-life political problems, such as mass incarceration. Starting with this premise, Stanley provides an explanation of how propaganda works and the mechanisms that enable propaganda. Stanley further theorizes the pernicious effects that elitism, populism, authoritarianism, and “post-truth” have on democratic politics.