In this article we chart the histories and political translations of atheist cultures in Angola. We explore the specific translations of atheist ideologies into practical actions that occurred in the post-independence period in the 1970s–1980s and perform an ethnographic exploration of their legacies in contemporary Angola. We also debate the problem of atheism as an anthropological concept, examining the interfaces between ideology, political agency, and social praxis. We suggest that atheism is inherently a politically biased concept, a product of the local histories and intellectual traditions that shape it.
Ruy Llera Blanes and Abel Paxe
The Generative Power of Political Emotions
Mette-Louise Johansen, Therese Sandrup and Nerina Weiss
Moral outrage has until now been conceptualized as a call to action, a reaction to injustice and transgressions, and a forceful motor for democratic participation, acts of civil disobedience, and violent and illicit action. This introduction goes beyond linear causality between trigger events, political emotions, and actions to explore moral outrage as it is experienced and expressed in contexts of political violence, providing a better understanding of that emotion’s generic power. Moral outrage is here understood as a multidimensional emotion that may occur momentarily and instantly, and exist as an enduring process and being-in-the-world, based on intergenerational experiences of violence, state histories, or local contexts of fear and anxiety. Because it appears in the intersubjective field, moral outrage is central for identity politics and social positioning, so we show how moral outrage may be a prism to investigate and understand social processes such as mobilization, collectivities, moral positioning and responsiveness, and political violence.
Judaism and Political Theology
Alana M. Vincent
The mobilization of theological concepts within the political sphere is increasingly dependent upon the capacity of those concepts to bear the weight of a discourse of universalism; this universalization becomes problematic when such theo-political concepts are then taken up as terms of commonality in interreligious dialogue. This article will focus on one such concept, redemption, as a case study, uncovering the ways that assumptions of universalism might betray the mutual understanding towards which dialogue aims.
The Private, the Public and the Political
This article investigates the connection between the phenomenon of moral conflict and the concepts of the private, the public and the political. In the first part of the article, as a way of locating my pluralistic position within the tradition of authors such as Isaiah Berlin and Steven Lukes, I develop a brief overview of modern meta-ethics and argue that monistic and relativistic explanations of morality are the cause of many of the antinomies that trouble human conduct. In the second part of the article, I make the central contention that moral pluralism is particularly useful in clarifying the concepts of the private, the public and the political as distinct domains of activity. I argue that we should treat moral conflict differently in each of these three domains and conclude that the moral significance and peculiarity of politics has been undeservedly underestimated in contemporary times.
The Notion of Consciousness in Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh's Political Thought
The notion of consciousness change as a political concept has re-emerged as a central issue in recent Israeli political discourse in diverse and seemingly remote groups. The following is a study of some of the contexts and implications of according primacy to consciousness change in political thought, through the tensions between the highly individualistic character of this discourse and its collective language and aims. I focus on one study case, Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, a key figure in both extreme settler groups and current New Age Hasidic revival. Analyzing his political writings, I explore his notion of consciousness as the true place of politics. Finally, I return to the question of the context in which Rabbi Ginsburgh's binding of the political to consciousness should be read, and propose liberal individualism, and the direct line it draws between the individual's consciousness and that of the state, as an alternative hermeneutical perspective.
In the past century, Germany, for better and for worse, offered itself
as a natural laboratory for political science. Indeed, Germany’s
excesses of political violence and its dramatic regime changes largely
motivated the development of postwar American political science,
much of it the work of German émigrés and German-Jewish
refugees, of course. The continuing vicissitudes of the German experience
have, however, posed a particular challenge to the concept of
political culture as elaborated in the 1950s and 1960s,1 at least in
part to explain lingering authoritarianism in formally democratic
West Germany. Generally associated with political continuity or only
incremental change,2 the concept of political culture has been illequipped
to deal with historical ruptures such as Germany’s “break
with civilization” of 1933-1945 and the East German popular revolution
of 1989. As well, even less dramatic but still important and relatively
rapid cultural changes such as the rise of a liberal democratic
Verfassungspatriotismus sometime around the late 1970s in West Germany3
and the emergence of a postmodern, consumer capitalist culture
in eastern Germany since 19944 do not conform to mainstream
political culture theory’s expectations of gradual, only generational
change. To be sure, continuity, if not inertia, characterizes much of
politics, even in Germany. Still, to be of theoretical value, the concept
of political culture must be able not only to admit but to
account for change.
Minority/Indigenous Politics in the Emerging Taiwanese Nationalism
The demand for rights to recognition among the indigenous activists in Taiwan was part of a larger movement for democratization before the lifting of martial law and was supported by international concurrence. The transfer of power from the Nationalist Party (KMT) regime to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) marks a rising consciousness of Taiwanese nationalism. By examining public discourses/rituals and the debates about the organizational reforms, I show how the changing perceptions and status of the indigenous population within the state are used to legitimize the new national identity. By examining the political processes involved in the politics of recognition, on the other hand, I also explore how the indigenous activists exploit to their advantage opportunities that have arisen during the national restructuring.
'Tacit consent' has long interested historians of political thought and political philosophers, but its nuances nevertheless remain unappreciated. It has its roots in the Roman law concept of a 'tacit declaration of will'. Explicating this concept allows a new conception of tacit consent to be proposed, which I term the 'tacit declaration of consent'. The tacit declaration of consent avoids both the triviality of common sense views and a weakness in Hobbes' account. Unlike other contemporary philosophical accounts, it avoids fictions and meets the condition of intentionality. Furthermore, it also advances understanding of the sorts of claim offered by proponents of a tacit consent-based theory of political obligation, whilst facilitating a more radical critique. The tacit consent-based theory of political obligation is not simply limited in application, but indefensible. It unwarrantedly transposes onto tacit consent the potentially fictional character of declarations of will.
Two Approaches to the Measurement of Political Knowledge
The aim of this study is to provide an empirical example of how an election-related empirical indicator of political knowledge can be constructed. Studies of political knowledge have shown that most citizens fall short of the democratic ideal in terms of their knowledge about politics. But according to critics it is unclear what the reference point for such conclusions has been. The critics say that indicators of political knowledge lack a transparent logic and connection to concrete political behavior. In this study two measures of political knowledge are compared: one is a general measure of political knowledge; the other is based on a specific analytical framework by Kuklinski and Quirk (2001). Both the aggregate distribution and the individual-level determinants of political knowledge are compared. The differences between the two measures are found to be minor. The findings suggest that although specific and theory-driven measures offer a nuanced view into the public's knowledge levels, general measures of political knowledge also provide a reliable understanding of what the public knows.
Brian C. Rathbun
Germany's behavior during the lead-up to the United States' invasion of Iraq in 2003 seemed to confirm that the country is marked by a strategic culture of pacifism and multilateralism. However, a closer look at German actions and pattern of participation in military operations reveals that German pacifism is a myth. There was no cross party consensus on German foreign policy in the 1990s around a principled opposition to the use of force. Even in the early years after the Cold War, the Christian Democrats began very quickly, albeit deliberatively and often secretively, to break down legal and psychological barriers to the deployment of German forces abroad. Pacifism persisted on the left of the political spectrum but gave way following a genuine ideological transformation brought about by the experience of the Yugoslav wars. The nature of Germany's objection to the Iraq invasion, which unlike previous debates did not make ubiquitous references to German history, revealed how much it has changed since the end of the Cold War. Had the election in 2002 gone differently, Germany might even have supported the actions of the U.S. and there would be little talk today of a transatlantic crisis. It is now possible to treat Germany as a "normal" European power.