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Akulina Mestnikova

The article provides an overview of recent initiatives spearheaded by indigenous peoples in the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) that seek to improve the existing language policy put forth by the state government. Although there has been some research conducted on the activities of public organizations and associations of indigenous peoples in the region, more must be done to better understand activities specifically related to language policy. The article presents a history of indigenous and minority organizing in the republic since the end of the Soviet era, with special attention paid to the campaigns regarding the status of native language and its presence within the educational sphere. It then analyzes the results of a 2011 sociological study regarding people’s beliefs about responsibility for native language maintenance and revitalization.

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Osvaldo Croci

The military intervention in Iraq by the United States (US), supported

militarily by Great Britain and politically by a “coalition of the willing,”

which included a large number of current and future European

Union (EU) members but not Germany and France, was undoubtedly

the major foreign policy event of the year. It generated much debate

on concepts such as immediate threat, pre-emptive war, unilateralism,

and multilateralism, as well as on the question of whether the

US, as the sole superpower, has the responsibility to act as a security

provider of last resort when multilateral organizations devoted to this

task become paralyzed. The intervention divided not only the permanent

members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) after

a decade of co-operation but also caused a split in the Atlantic alliance

and among EU members, probably one of the worst to have occurred

on a foreign policy issue in the history of both organizations. Finally,

it put an end—at least temporarily—to that bipartisan consensus in

Italian foreign policy, which had emerged at the end of the 1970s and

consolidated in the 1990s.

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Robin Oakley

The constitution, the law of the land of the modern state, is fertile ground for the Eurocentric imagination of the Canadian polity as a result of the resiliency of Victorian-era sentiments. The ethno-racial hierarchy contained within this political imagery merges well with the public health mandate process of 'othering'. Othering situates the causes of disease and illness in foreign bodies rather than in the social structures of industrial capitalism. Chief among its morbid symptoms, othering produces a sense of alienation in those subjected to it. Sri Lankan Tamils are one of the newer migrant populations who have been subjected to, and have resisted this intrinsically violent othering process. This article examines the Canadian constitution as it relates to ethno-racial classification, and then explores how this scheme is reproduced in common experiences of the public health system and its effects on the health and well-being of Canadian Tamils.

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Introduction

Ethnographic Engagement with Bureaucratic Violence

Erin R. Eldridge and Amanda J. Reinke

Bureaucracies are dynamic and interactive sociocultural worlds that drive knowledge production, power inequalities and subsequent social struggle, and violence. The authors featured in this special section mobilize their ethnographic data to examine bureaucracies as animated spaces where violence, whether physical, structural, or symbolic, manifests in everyday bureaucratic practices and relationships. The articles span geographic contexts (e.g., United States, Canada, Chile, Eritrea) and topics (e.g., migration, extractive economies, law and sociolegal change, and settler colonialism) but are bound together in their investigation of the violence of the administration of decisions, care, and control through bureaucratic means.

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Family Squabbles

Beyond the Conflict-Consensus Divide

Henrik P. Bang

This article examines the consensus-conflict divide within contemporary democratic theory as manifested in the works of Jürgen Habermas, Chantal Mouffe, Jacques Rancière, and John Rawls. It relates the democratic crisis diagnosis to the presence of this conceptual divide and suggests overcoming it by focusing on the work of Michel Foucault, especially his concept of the “rectangle of the good parrhesia.” Foucault's analysis goes beyond conflict-consensus through its positive and creative reconceptualization of political authority featuring a transformative capacity linked to the idea of telling the truth.

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Beverly Crawford

Germany's growing weight on the world stage is indisputable, and its foreign policy is exceptional among powerful states. This article argues that while the original vision of cooperative security and multilateralism guiding German policy was shaped by occupation, division, and weakness, it has shown astonishing resilience, even as Germany has regained sovereignty, unity, and power. For a weak and divided Federal Republic, a vision that eschewed the exercise of power ensured survival; for a strong united Germany, a vision that minimizes the role of power is revolutionary and controversial. I argue that this revolutionary policy is now the most effective one to meet the challenges of a transformed world marked by new and unconventional threats and risks—a world in which traditional measures of power have lost much of their usefulness in securing the national interest. Ironically, however, while the policy vision that downplays the role of power persists, Germany's material power has grown. Germany's renewed power position makes it an influential actor in an international system where perceptions of power still matter. And the old policy vision makes German foreign policy the most appropriate for solving new global problems whose solution defies power politics. This paradoxical combination of power and vision in Germany's postunification foreign policy has introduced a new and effective form of "normative power" in global politics.

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Marc Abélès

This article addresses the issue of the influence of neoliberalism on French research institutions, especially the future of the CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research), a public organisation devoted exclusively to doing research. CNRS's detractors argue that there is no reason to keep a specific research organisation in France. The hiring of fewer and fewer researchers, as soon as the baby-boomers retire, means the disappearance of what is considered, at the European level, a French exception. In this paper I try to analyse the impact of the change occuring in research policy, and to characterise the specific features of the global ideological context.

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Clay Clemens

Contrary to many common expectations for a Grand Coalition, Chancellor Angela Merkel's 2005-2009 CDU/CSU-SPD government produced few major policy changes. Its modest output is generally attributed to polarized competition between two co-equal, longtime rivals that blocked cooperation. Yet, interparty gridlock was less decisive than intraparty paralysis. The CDU, CSU, and SPD formed a government at the very time when each was plagued by internal divisions over programmatic identity, fueled in turn by interrelated strategic and leadership struggles. The result was caution, confusion, patchwork measures, side payments and reversals.

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Edmund Ratka

In the midst of the European Union’s (EU) unprecedented crisis and a

rapidly changing international environment, Germany is redefining its

place in Europe and in the world. Long-cherished certainties such as a

staunch commitment to European integration and to its Western allies in

general seem being called into question. Critics like the former Chancellor

Helmut Kohl or the historian Heinrich August Winkler deplore a missing

compass and “politics without a project.”1 Against this background, this

article analyses the German policy toward an issue that forcefully marked

the year 2011 and continues to transform North Africa and the Middle

East—the so-called “Arab Spring”.

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Jackson Janes

Angela Merkel remains arguably the most powerful politician in Europe, now in her third term as chancellor. While she enjoys popularity at home, seen as pragmatic and reliable, she faces numerous outward expectations and pressures that challenge Germany's foreign policy of restraint. Some argue that Germany does not pull its weight in foreign policy, particularly militarily, or at least is reluctant to do so. This view is not only an external one, but also is shared by Germany's leaders—both Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and President Joachim Gauck, among others, have expressed their desire for an increased German role in the world. Many politicians, however, do not see an advantage to focusing on foreign issues in their export-heavy economy. Other challenges, including disillusionment among Germans regarding their tenuous relationship with Russia and damaged trust between the U.S. and Germany as a result of the NSA scandal, will force Merkel to set an agenda that balances domestic concerns with her allies' expectations.