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Demos and Nation

Misplacing the Dilemmas of the European Union--In Memory of Stanley Hoffmann

Charles S. Maier

“Demos and Nation,” written in homage to the memory of Stanley Hoffmann, critically considers the “no-demos” theory that argues the European Union is necessarily limited in its scope and loyalty because supposedly any authentic democratic political union must rest on a “people” or “demos,” which the EU lacks. There is no European demos, so the proponents argue; only nationstates possess this communal glue. I argue that, first, European history shows the no-demos theory ascribes far too great a unity and cohesion to the process of traditional nation-state formation as well as to current national polities; second, that polities at any level create their demoi through common civic activity, such as voting, political party formation, and meaningful parliamentary policy making; they are not pre-existing. Additionally, current difficulties of the EU should be attributed more to xenophobic populism at the national level than to failings in Brussels. Ultimately the no-demos theory plays into the hands of political leaders and movements that wish to advance their populist and authoritarian agendas at home by stigmatizing the EU.

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Towards a Comparative History of Concepts

Civilisation and beschaving

Pim den Boer

Building upon an introductory discussion on linguistic exchange - the problem of missing words - and the emergence of transnational concepts, this article consists of a comparative study of the history of the concept of civilisation in some major European languages and the concept of beschaving in Dutch, the closest translation to civilisation in that language. According to the author, the particular and independent conceptual evolution of beschaving should be in part explained by the early development of a modern socio-economic structure in Holland.

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John Moores

The German journal London und Paris called James Gillray 'the foremost living artist in his genre, not only amongst Englishmen, but amongst all European nations'. Despite the scholarly attention he has attracted, many of Gillray's individual works have yet to receive rigorous analysis. One such neglected print is National Conveniences (1796), assumed to be a crude, straightforward expression of national supremacy. However, a closer reading shows Gillray employing the ideas of Jean-Jacques Rousseau both to undermine notions of English superiority and to assail a particular personal adversary. With this reading in mind, we can reassess references to Rousseau in Gillray's other prints, and propose a new direction from which to approach his greater oeuvre.

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Danny Kaplan and Niza Yanay

Based on a case study of Israeli men's friendships, this article examines the inter-relations between the experience of male relationships in everyday life and established representations of fraternal friendship. We delineate a script for male bonding that echoes ancient epics of heroism. This script holds a mythic structure for making sense of friendship in everyday life and places male relatedness under the spectral ideal of death. Whereas various male-to-male arenas present diverse and often displaced expressions of male affection, we contend that sites of commemoration present a unique instance in which desire between men is publicly declared and legitimized. The collective rituals for the dead hero-friends serve as a mask that transforms a repudiated personal sentiment into a national genre of relatedness. We interpret fraternal friendship as a form of private/public identification/desire whereby the citizen brother becomes, via collective rituals of commemoration, the desired brother.

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Religiosities toward a Future

In Pursuit of the New Millennium

Bruce Kapferer, Annelin Eriksen and Kari Telle

An approach is outlined toward imaginary projections upon presents and futures at the turn of the current millennium. The religiosity or the passionate intensity of commitment to imaginary projections is stressed, particularly the way that these may give rise to innovative social and political directions especially in current globalizing circumstances. While new religions of a millenarian character are referred to, the general concern is with the form of new conceptions of political and social processes that are by no means confined to what are usually defined as religions.

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Finding a place in the world

Political subjectivities and the imagination of Iceland after the economic crash

Kristín Loftsdóttir

The economic crash in Iceland created a sense of social and political collapse that extended far beyond the economic realm. Calls for a “New Iceland” were invoked, where the Icelandic political arena would be “cleaned” and reimagined in drastic ways. In this article, I explore how ideas circulating in the wider European region about how Icelanders dealt exceptionally well with the crisis not only failed to reflect the lived effects of the collapse but also echoed long-standing nationalist ideals of Icelanders’ imagined reality of themselves. I show how nation branding in Iceland after 2010 added to the conception that Iceland dealt with the crisis in an exceptional way, and I critically ask why Iceland received such a positive depiction in the international media.

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Israel's wall and the logic of encystation

Sovereign exception or wild sovereignty?

Glenn Bowman

It seems vital, in the face of escalating Israeli expansionism in the Palestinian Territories and obstructionism in the "Peace Process," to theorize the cultural foundations of a process of containment and dispossession of Palestinians that can no longer convincingly be seen as mere strategy. Symptomatic of the Israeli state program is the "wall" (a.k.a., "the Security Fence" or the "Apartheid Wall") and its radical encroachment into territory designated as the grounds of a future Palestinian state. The following essay attempts an anthropological analysis of the concept of "border" in contemporary Israeli thought and practice, and, in so doing, assesses the impact of a limitless sovereignty on both an encompassed minority population and on international relations more generally.

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Selin Çağatay

Meral Harmancı McDermott, Bastırılanın geri dönüşü: Tanzimat’tan Cumhuriyet’e kadın oyun yazarlarında toplumsal cinsiyet (Return of the repressed: Gender in women playwrights from the Tanzimat to the Republic), Istanbul: Habitus Kitap, 2016, 318 pp., TRY 26 (paperback), ISBN: 978-6-05463-046-2.

Yavuz Selim Karakışla, Osmanlı Imparatorluğu’nda savaş yılları ve çalışan kadınlar: Kadınları Çalıştırma Cemiyeti (1916–1923) (Women, war, and work in the Ott oman Empire: Society for the Employment of Ott oman Muslim Women [1916–1923]), Istanbul: Iletişim Yayınları, 2015, 408 pp., TRY 33 (paperback), ISBN: 978-9-75051-857-7.

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Elena Salerno

By the mid-nineteenth century, the territory of present-day Argentina was still a sparsely settled network of towns beyond which lived some native peoples. In 1860 the incomplete Martin de Moussy survey estimated a total population of about 1 million inhabitants; a decade later the first national census recorded about 1.8 million. Halperin Donghi summarizes the situation in “A Nation for the Argentine Desert,” the prologue to his classic work about this period.1 At that time, the country lacked roads, and the traditional transport system, as Enrique M. Barba describes in a pioneering book, consisted of cart tracks that were impassable during the rainy season, and some staging posts that provided rudimentary services for long-distances travelers.2 Indigenous trails trodden by livestock, called rastrilladas, supplemented them.3 Years later, Cristian Werckenthie studied the traditional transport of the pampas. Bullock carts were the principal means of transport; elsewhere, mule trains were the norm.

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Introduction

Traces of Pan Africanism and African Nationalism in Africa Today

Denis Goldberg

Reviewing these debates, I have been puzzled by their use of sweeping undefined terms such as African Values versus Western Values. It has seemed to me that it is assumed that there is agreement on their meaning when it becomes clear that there is no such universal acceptance of the content of such labels. It seems to me that attached to such a distinction there is a sentiment or spiritual mystique reminiscent of Aime Cesaire and Leopold Senghor’s concept of negritude developed by Francophone West African thinkers in the 1930s and 1940s.