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The Algerian Café-Hotel

Hub of the Nationalist Underground, Paris 1926–1962

Neil MacMaster

Algerian migrant workers in Paris inhabited café-lodging houses that became centers of clandestine political organization and terrorist networks before and during the War of Independence (1954–1962). The managers, with organizational skills and a certain authority over their clients, also provided the leadership for the local nationalist cells. In a situation in which the cell members also constituted the hotel clientele, in which the social life of the café was at one with that of the political meeting, it was difficult for the police to penetrate and gather intelligence on the organization. There followed a war of attrition between police and nationalists for the control of the café-hotels, in which the latter developed sophisticated commercial arrangements as a façade for collecting revenue. The Algerian nationalists, like other anti-state organizations, from the French Resistance to the Mafia, developed clandestine structures within the social networks of the café and “legitimate” commercial operations.

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Rethinking France’s “Memory Wars”

Harki Collective Memories, 2003–2010

Laura Jeanne Sims

Since 2005, scholars and politicians have employed a framework of “memory wars” to interpret conflicts over the colonial past in France. The case of the Harkis, Algerians who fought with the French Army during the Algerian War of Independence, and their descendents, challenges basic features of this paradigm. Disputes among children of Harkis about how to interpret the French colonial project in Algeria and their fathers’ motivations for supporting the French reveal the limitations of considering the Harkis and other participants in the Algerian War as unified memory camps, a constituent element of the memory war model. Conceiving of memory debates in terms of a “war” also obscures the ways in which narrating the past can constitute an act of reconciliation and signal a desire for inclusion, as it has for Harki sons and daughters.

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From Relations of Power to Relations of Authority

Epistemic Claims, Practices, and Ideology in the Production of Burma's Political Order

Ingrid Jordt

Following the 1962 coup of Burma's first post-Independence and parliamentary democratic government, a succession of military régimes has asserted their legitimacy on diverse grounds. Their ability to keep the upland minorities contained and the country unified, to implement a socialist-style redistributive system, and contemporaneously to act as chief patron to the sangha (order of monks), have each functioned as claims to legitimate rule and to nation-statehood. In 1990, the régime refused to hand over power to Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party, following a landslide election. Aung San Suu Kyi's resistance to the régime, and claims for her own political legitimacy have been asserted, predominantly through an emergent `global society' (universalizing) discourse about human rights, régime performance, and democratic self-determination. In this paper, I examine these separate assertions for legitimacy as distinct but interrelated frameworks for thinking and action, the inconsistencies among which complicate the process of stable state making in Burma.

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The Gift of Shame

The Invention of Postcolonial Society

Karen Sykes

Twenty-five years ago, Roy Wagner in his book, The Invention of Culture asked his reader to comprehend the invention of society as an ongoing effort, especially an effort made by members aware of the changes that can be wrought by their actions. In doing so, he posed the problem of what kind of society people thought they were making, contrasting the social contract of the Euro-American political thought with the processual sociality imagined by Melanesians (1975, 1974). The theoretical insights of Wagner can be brought to bear on the period of independence in Papua New Guinea when Melanesians were making a new sociality. I will discuss the dialectics of Wagner’s approach, as they are played out at the time of the publication of his book; that is, in the early years of the creation of the new nation of Papua New Guinea.

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Green Fields and Blue Roads

The Melancholy of the Girl Walker in Irish Women’s Fiction

Maureen O'Connor

The natural world behaves in unexpected ways in twentieth-century Irish women’s fiction about girlhood. Girls are at once reduced to natural resources, ripe for exploitation, and instructed relentlessly in their social duties, which more often than not require they resist their ‘natural’ urges. The novels considered here – Holy Pictures by Clare Boylan, Down by the River by Edna O’Brien, and The Dancers Dancing by Éilís Ní Dhuibhne – feature girls moving towards the assumption of the roles of wife and mother they are expected to play as mature women. The girls walk roads of many colours through green landscapes that inspire contradictory responses of rebellion against and weary acceptance of their culture’s messages about a woman’s ‘natural’ place in post-Independence Ireland.

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Justinas Dementavičius

This article deals with the question of the conceptualization of state (Lith. valstybe) in twentieth-century Lithuanian political thought and its reflections in Sąjūdis, the Lithuanian independence movement, during the years 1988-1990. It is a commonly accepted myth that Sąjūdis restored the language of Lithuania's interwar period and thus the nation-centered, nationalistic paradigm of that period. A closer look at the political discourse of the interwar period suggests that it is misleading to talk about this kind of restitution. Furthermore, considering the fact that it is important to take into account the Soviet paradigms of the state that influenced Lithuanian political discourse for fifty years, the article finds arguments for speaking about a continuation of Soviet political discourse. Thus, along with restitution, it is possible to find continuities while conceptualizing state in Sąjūdis. While analyzing the meaning and semantic fields of those concepts, it is possible to draw arguments about the real nature of the political transformation of Soviet Lithuania.

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Virginie Rey

This article presents an analysis of the evolution of ethnographic museums in Tunisia, tracing their development from the period of French colonial rule until the present. It documents and interprets the trajectory of museography in the country over nearly a century, demonstrating changes and continuities in role, setting and architecture across shifting ideological landscapes, from the colonial, to the postcolonial to the more recent revolutionary setting. It is argued that Tunisian ethnographic museums, both in their processes of conception behind the scenes and in their scenography itself, have been key sites in which to read debates about national identity. The article excavates the evolution of paradigms in which Tunisian popular identity has been expressed through the ethnographic museum, from the modernist notion of 'indigenous authenticity' to efforts at nation-building after independence, and more recent conceptions of cultural diversity. Based on a combination of archival research, participant observation and interviews with past and present protagonists in the Tunisian museum field, this research brings to light new material on an understudied area.

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Dagmar Herzog

This article analyzes the evolution of sexual politics and cultures in post-unification Germany, tracing these through three stages. First is the more immediate aftermath, in the early to mid 1990s, of ostalgische consternation over the loss of what Easterners understood to be the special qualities of GDR sexual culture, analyzing this consternation in the context of the—mutually conflicting—fantasies that Easterners and Westerners had about each other, replete with Easterners' ideas about how capitalism deforms interhuman interactions and Westerners' ideas about the deformations caused by totalitarian surveillance. A second stage runs from the mid 1990s through to the early twenty-first century, and includes both the convergence between East and West on the governmental policy level and the growing similarities identified in Easterners' and Westerners' sexual habits and mores. The third stage concerns the more recent past of the last five years and emphasizes the paradoxical coexistence of, on the one hand, strong commitment (on both the governmental and popular levels) to liberal values of individual sexual self-determination and toleration of diversity and a general sex-positive climate with, on the other, tremendous anxiety about the rise of European Islam (with its purportedly intrinsic hostility to both homosexuality and female sexual independence) and about the precipitous decline of the German birthrate. Attention is also paid to the newest policy directions with regard to adolescent sexuality and age of consent laws, abortion access, and disability rights.

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Helga A. Welsh

The Freie Wähler (free voters, FW) offer the rare chance to analyze parties in the making. Their long-time anchoring in local elections, centrist, middle-class political orientation, and bifurcated organizational structure distinguish them from other new political parties that aspire to participate in Land (state), national and European elections. Against the backdrop of FW success in Bavaria, where they received 10.2 percent of the vote in 2008, this article explores the FW expansion to the state level but not their national aspirations. In contrast to most studies that emphasize opportunity structures that work in favor of new political actors, this article highlights their dialectical nature. For example, the FW self-image is based on their difference from political parties, but the rules of the game push them to the status of "almost-party" at the local level and parties at the Land level. Their local roots are a source of legitimacy, but when they reach beyond, divisions among members and voters hold back their electoral fortunes. Independence and issue orientation are appealing to some voters but hamper the establishment of a clear identity and effective campaigning in state elections. Success for FW candidates is linked to the weakness of the dominant parties in the conservative camp. Spatial-temporal conditions are significant in considering the future of the FW at the Land level.

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Censorship as Freedom of Expression

The Tailor and Ansty Revisited

Maryann Gialanella Valiulis

Censorship laws were introduced in the Irish Free State in 1928 and sparked immediate controversy among intellectuals, the media, and the political classes. The issue of censorship became the center of a conversation about Irish national identity. It was, in part, an assertion of independence and a conscious rejection of colonialism, an attempt to decide what stories would be told about them, what image they would portray to the world. In 1942, one text in particular sparked a renewal of the censorship controversy: Eric Cross's book, The Tailor and Ansty, which was banned because it was a realistic portrayal of Irish peasant life that was unacceptable to post-colonial Ireland, and because the author, an English folklorist, was perceived to be trying to undermine post-colonial attempts to establish a modern identity for Ireland. Thus, the application of censorship laws in Ireland can be seen as a move to free Irish self-identity from the negative portrayals of the Irish so prevalent in the colonial period.