At a time when European cities redefine themselves through 'culture' in an attempt to attract tourists, investors and potential residents, policymakers have to negotiate different notions of 'local culture' defined by state governments on the one hand and by the EU on the other. Drawing upon research conducted in the Polish city of Gdańsk in the context of the redevelopment of its urban landscape, the article illustrates how 'local culture' is redefined as 'culture of freedom' by municipal and state institutions in order to establish a relationship of historical continuity between the time when Gdańsk was a thriving multicultural city and the post-socialist present. The article puts forward the argument that while the reformulation of local culture as 'culture of freedom' involves reconciling notions of national identity with new norms of local, regional and European integration, it does not necessarily entail the supersession of nationalism.
Rainer Münz and Ralf Ulrich
In Germany, as in many other European democracies, immigration
and citizenship are contested and contentious issues. In the German
case it was both the magnitude of postwar and recent immigration as
well as its interference with questions of identity that created political
and social conflict. As a result of World War II, the coexistence
of two German states, and the persistence of ethnic German minorities
in central and eastern Europe, (West) Germany’s migration and
naturalization policy was inclusive toward expellees, GDR citizens,
and co-ethnics. At the same time, the Federal Republic of Germany,
despite the recruitment of several million foreign labor migrants
and—until 1992—a relatively liberal asylum practice, did not develop
similar mechanisms and policies of absorption and integration of its
legal foreign residents.
German social scientists have often stressed that the East German transformation was a process sui generis that differed strongly from the transformation paths of eastern European countries. This difference was of course mainly due to the integration of the former GDR into the Federal Republic of (West) Germany. Indeed, it is commonly assumed that the wholesale transfer of West German institutions left little room for the endogenous paths of transformation observed in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The unintended outcome of this strategy of “exogenous” institutional change was a transformation crisis with the effect of a profound external shock. To be sure, this shock was mitigated by the simultaneous introduction of the West German “social net,” accompanied by massive transfer payments. But many of the dire predictions made by skeptical observers in 1990 have indeed come true.
Notes on an ethnography of secularism
Oskar Verkaaik and Rachel Spronk
In Europe today, the most heated identity politics revolve around matters of sexuality and religion. In the context of “integration” debates that occur in different forms in various countries, sexuality has gained a new form of normativity, and new sexual sensitivities have replaced former ones. So far, scholarly discussions deal with these sensitivities in a deconstructivist and critical manner, denaturalizing discourses on culture, identity, and religion. However, these debates do not consider the experiences of people implicated in these debates, and their often emotional and political engagement in matters where sexuality and religion intersect. Joan Scott’s coinage of the term “sexularism” denotes a particular form of embodiment that is part of secularism in Europe today. Rather than studying the discourse of secularism, this article focuses on the practice of secularization; how do people fashion their daily lives concerning sexuality, religion and its intimate intersection?
Marc Morjé Howard, The Weakness of Civil Society in Post-Communist Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003)
Review by Mitchell P. Smith
Catherine Epstein, The Last Revolutionaries. German Communists and their Century (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003)
Review by Henry Krisch
Victor Grossman (Stephen Wechsler), Crossing the River: A Memoir of the American Left, the Cold War, and Life in East Germany (Amherst and Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2003)
Review by A. James McAdams
Winfried Menninghaus, Disgust: Theory and History of a Strong Sensation, trans. Howard Eilard and Joel Golb (Albany: SUNY Press, 2003)
Review by Silke Weineck
Peter Eli Gordon, Rosenzweig and Heidegger: Between Judaism and German Philosophy (Berkeley, University of California Press, 2003)
Review by Joel Freeman
Dominik Geppert, The Postwar Challenge: Cultural, Social, and Political Change in Western Europe, 1945-58 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002)
Review by Richard L. Merritt and Anna Merritt
Brett Klopp, German Multiculturalism: Immigrant Integration and the Transformation of Citizenship (Westport, CT: Prager, 2002)
Review by John Brady
Amsterdam's Jewish Historical Museum
Mokum is 'Amsterdam' in the local dialect of Yiddish. Deriving from the Hebrew word makom, meaning 'place', Mokum affectionately designates the Dutch capital as 'the place' for Jews. Judith Belinfante, director of Amsterdam's Jewish Historical Museum from 1976 to 1998, explained: 'Amsterdam was, for a long time, the only place where Jews could come without any restrictions'. Already in the early seventeenth century, Jews began arriving, from Portugal and from Central and Eastern Europe. And, in contrast to the rest of Europe, in Amsterdam, they were given unlimited freedom to settle, and were never confined to ghettos, or forced to wear a distinctive sign. The extent of Jewish institutional integration in Amsterdam, and today, throughout the Netherlands, is nowhere more evident than in the history and exhibitions of Amsterdam's Jewish Historical Museum. It's a classical Heimat or 'home town' museum. It celebrates the city, and displays Amsterdam and Dutch Jewry as a dynamic, loyal and well-integrated minority.
A critique of immigration policy in Germany through the lens of Turkish-Muslim women's experiences of migration
The largest group of migrants in Germany is the Turkish people, many of whom have low skills levels, are Muslim, and are slow to integrate themselves into their host communities. German immigration policy has been significantly revised since the early 1990s, and a new Immigration Act came into force in 2005, containing more inclusive stances on citizenship and integration of migrants. There is a strong rhetoric of acceptance and open doors, within certain parameters, but the gap between the rhetoric and practice is still wide enough to allow many migrants, particularly women, to fall through it. Turkish-Muslim women bear the brunt of the difficulties faced once they have arrived in Germany, and many of them are subject to domestic abuse, joblessness and poverty because of their invisibility to the German state, which is the case largely because German immigration policy does not fully realise a role and place for women migrants. The policy also does not sufficiently account for ethnic and cultural identification, or limitations faced by migrants in that while it speaks to integration, it does not fully enable this process to take place effectively. Even though it has made many advances in recent years towards a more open and inclusive immigration policy, Germany is still a 'reluctant' country of immigration, and this reluctance stops it from making any real strides towards integrating migrants fully into German society at large. The German government needs to take a much firmer stance on the roles of migrant women in its society, and the nature of the ethnic and religious identities of Muslim immigrants, in order to both create and implement immigration policy that truly allows immigrants to become full and contributing members to German social and economic life, and to bring it in line with the European Union's common directives on immigration.
The year 2004 was a crucial one for the European Union (EU) and an
important one for Italy’s policy toward European integration. As the
rhetoric surrounding the signature of the EU constitution in Rome dies
down, the time is ripe for a preliminary analysis of Italy’s strategy and
tactics during the complex negotiations carried on during the Irish
presidency of the EU in the first six months of 2004 and of Italy’s overall
approach to European questions in the year as a whole. Inevitably,
this analysis can only be provisional in character. The task of providing
a final assessment of the aims and objectives of the Berlusconi
government will fall to a future generation of diplomatic historians.
Nevertheless, a broad generalization about Italy’s European policy in
2004 can already be made. The Berlusconi government, which has
often been accused of a degree of ambivalence toward the European
project, seemingly did attempt to “return, free from the responsibilities
of the presidency, to reaffirming the most advanced European
principles.” More pragmatically, it also strove hard to reassert Italy’s
place as a country that counts within the newly enlarged union.
Anyone who studies post-socialist political economy probably has to begin a discussion of ‘the commons’ and common property resources by explaining the relationship between common property and collectivism, and the enormous impact that liberal and neo-liberal thought and institutions have had on the social economies of the Eastern European commons. In this article, I want to do this in three ways. First, I argue that contemporary accounts of socialist and post-socialist common property resources and practices have been shaped by the commitments of neo-liberalism and have had the very particular effect (and perhaps intent) of discrediting certain kinds of collective action and common property institutions. Second, I illustrate the ways in which a new definition of the commons has emerged in Europe—one that struggles to harmonize juridical and political aspirations for a peaceful and inclusive European Union with a common economic project and space of harmonized markets and trade policy. These twinned projects of this new ‘common economic union’ and their own versions of what constitutes a public, a commons, as well as their universal value, are increasingly conflated with post-colonial notions of a return to Europe and with deeply historical and racialized views of identity and commonality. The building of markets through the institutions and projects of structural adjustment and shock therapy has resulted in a thoroughgoing integration of the economies of the region with those of the broader international market and a fundamental recomposition of class forces in the region.
Commemorating the 1916 Tercentenary in Wartime
During the 1916 Tercentenary of Shakespeare's death, commemoration of the playwright and his plays was crucially shaped by the First World War. This paper departs from previous studies of the 1916 celebrations in its approach to the 1914-1919 war, which is not regarded here as a mere background influencing Shakespearean reception but as a dynamic presence, directly triggering appropriations of the playwright as cultural icon and of the plays as revered texts. In the course of examining sermons, lectures, and addresses delivered during the Tercentenary, this essay argues that the Great War impaired the celebrations to some extent, but it also fostered the commemoration cult of Shakespeare. The evidence examined shows how Shakespeare was worth fighting for in both local and European terms - how Stratford competed with London in their respective claims to Shakespeare and how England feared German appropriation. It also shows how in France, instead, quoting Shakespeare's words in 1916 was not a belligerent act of appropriation but a gesture meant to erase the memory of Anglo-French enmity at Agincourt and construe a bond between current allies fighting against the same foe in the trenches of the Western Front. Unlike other studies on the 1916 Tercentenary, this paper favours a European approach that integrates the reception of Shakespeare in Britain with his presence in other European countries.