This article argues that democracy is on life support in the United States. Throughout the social order, the forces of predatory capitalism are on the march—dismantling the welfare state, corrupting politics with outside money, defunding higher education, expanding the corporate-surveillance-military state, widening inequalities in wealth and income, and waging a war on low income and poor minorities. As market mentalities and moralities tighten their grip on all aspects of society, democratic institutions and public spheres are being downsized, if not altogether disappearing. As these institutions vanish—from higher education to health care centers—there is also a serious erosion of the discourses of community, justice, equality, public values, and the common good. This article argues that given this current crisis, educators, artists, intellectuals, youth, and workers need a new political and pedagogical language centered around the notion of radical democracy in order to address the changing contexts and issues facing a world in which capital draws upon an unprecedented convergence of resources—financial, cultural, political, economic, scientific, military, and technological—to exercise powerful and diverse forms of control.
This article examines current debates for and against Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) in Myanmar. The analysis, based on interviews with key local, national, and international actors involved in HMA, reveals why so many of them regard the mapping and removal of “nuisance” landmines as posing a security threat to the peace process. (Landmines deny people access to territory; when conflict ends, these landmines no longer serve a strategic purpose and thus become a dangerous nuisance.) These same debates also shed light on the growing role risk management approaches now take in Myanmar as a response to decades of authoritarian misrule by a succession of military regimes. The landmines, although buried in the ground, actively unsettle such good governance initiatives and the neoliberal development projects to which they are often linked, most often by reterritorializing military, humanitarian, political, and economic authority in overlapping and conflicting ways at multiple scales. The findings reveal why HMA actors resist labeling the crisis landmine contamination poses to civilians as a “crisis” that requires immediate humanitarian action.
The End of Nation-States, the Rise of Ethnic and Global Sovereignties?
In the post–Cold War era, political violence associated with wars of gain is key to economic and political transformations across nation-states.1 Under the ‘Pax Americana’ multinational corporations interacting in ‘old boy’ networks of the global capitalist class control armaments, oil production, and cyberspace. Industrial and military multinationals as well as global financial institutions, are extending their decision-making structures while becoming more concentrated; 2 there is a “hyperconcentration of (unregulated) economic and military power” predominantly Euro-American (Virilio 1997: 99). Global militarization legitimized in discourses of ‘protecting freedom’ secures world oil and gas resources for Euro-American and Sinic industrial use, promotes corporate profits, and supports the post-2000 Pax Americana. The Pax’s ‘command and control’ system seeks to checkmate Muslim control of 60 percent of world crude oil supplies by destroying ‘rogue’ regimes and investing in multinational corporations exploiting oil, diamonds, coltan, and other (finite) industrial resources in non-Muslim controlled African states (Meacher 2003). Preparation for total war is economic war.
Lourdes Zamanillo Tamborrel, Joseph M. Cheer, Jeet Dogra, Irina Herrschner, David Wills and Petra Kavrečič
Siobhan Carroll, An Empire of Air and Water: Uncolonizable Space in the British Imagination, 1750–1850 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), 290 pp., ISBN 9780812246780, $59.95 (Cloth).
Ann Brigham, American Road Narratives: Reimagining Mobility in Literature and Film (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015), x + 262 pp., ISBN 978-0-8139-3750-2, US $29.50 (paperback).
Sue Beeton, Film-Induced Tourism, 2nd ed. (Bristol: Channel View Publications, 2016), xxv + 311 pp., ISBN: 9781845415853, $40.00 (paperback).
Michael Carroll, Greece: A Literary Guide for Travellers (London: I. B. Tauris, 2017), xiv + 290 pp. ISBN: 978-1-78453-380-9, £16.99 (hardcover).
John Eade and Mario Katić (eds.), Military Pilgrimage and Battlefield Tourism: Commemorating the Dead (London: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2017), xxi + 164 pp., ISBN: 9781472483621, $140 (hardcover).
In June 1951, Sartre’s play The Devil and the Good Lord (Le Diable et le Bon Dieu) was first produced at the Théâtre Antoine in Paris. Set during the German Peasants’ War, the play recounts the story of Goetz, a military leader who transforms himself from a feared and notorious war criminal into a saint and folk hero through a series of arbitrary acts of clemency and generosity. First sparing the besieged town of Worms from total destruction, Goetz then proceeds to break up his own estates and redistribute the land among the peasantry. Far from being presented as an ethical conversion from Evil to Good, however, Goetz’s generosity is twice criticised within the play as a strategem to achieve even greater domination over the beneficiaries of his mercy and munificence.
Public Disorder and Problematic Policing in Occupied Roubaix during World War I
James E. Connolly
In spring 1915, the delicate issue of French factory workers fabricating sandbags for the German army led to various breaches of public order in occupied Roubaix. These workers were criticized and physically assaulted by their occupied compatriots. At roughly the same time, many such workers refused to continue working for the German military authority. This unrest continued for months, putting the French administration, especially the local police force, in a difficult situation: these civil servants sought to restore public order and avoid punishments for the population, but did not want to encourage working for the Germans. Scandals involving policemen further undermined this challenging task. This article examines and explains these understudied events in detail, considering the nature of public disorder, the narrative of the “sandbag affair,” and the problems faced by the police. This allows for an insight into occupied life, especially the primacy of public perception and judgment.
The Case of Yugoslavia in a Comparative Perspective
This article uses a comparative transnational model for a study of women’s resistance in Yugoslavia, with particular reference to the Independent State of Croatia. It challenges the dominant paradigm of active resistance in Hitler’s Europe as a largely masculine and military activity. Historians have long recognised the contribution of women to resistance in Yugoslavia; however, an ideologised and politically driven interpretation of wartime behaviour, combined with an overemphasis on active resistance, has militated against a nuanced approach towards the study of dissent in its diverse manifestations. This article proposes that a woman-centred focus on the social, everyday aspects of resistance is illuminating on definitions of and the preconditions necessary for successful resistance as well as on the subject of collaboration and conformism in the Second World War.
Erica L. Fraser
With the onset of the Cold War and a new nuclear world order, Soviet physicists found themselves at the nexus of scientific research and weapons development. This article investigates the subjectivity of these physicists as an issue of masculinity. Influenced by Connell's models of subordinated, complicit, and hegemonic masculinity, the article finds that the stories nuclear physicists tell about their research in the 1950s are inconsistent and shifting, with the narrators simultaneously remembering unfreedom and privilege. They tell of being conscripted to military work against their will but then enjoying (and deserving) the resulting power, all while maintaining strong homosocial networks in the laboratory predicated on excluding women. Evidence from personal narratives provides unique insight into these multiple masculinities and the way the authors position themselves as (masculinized) Cold War subjects.
Janet R. Bednarek
Aviation inspires far less historical scholarship than other major forms of transportation technology, especially automobiles and trains—and even space travel. In the years leading up to the centennial of powered flight in 2003 there were some efforts by Dom Pisano, Roger Launius and others both to refine and expand the parameters of the field and suggest emerging research questions. Yet aviation history has remained a small subfield within broader areas of interest, such as military, technology, transportation and business history. More recently, to some degree in response to the efforts of Pisano and Launius, work has been done within social, cultural and urban history, and gender studies. So while the field has been and remains hard to pin down, nonetheless interesting—if sometimes isolated—work continues.
Identity, Law, and Gender in the Anthropology of Contemporary Buddhism
“To be Burmese is to be Buddhist” is a slogan commonly identified with the dawn of nationalism in the country known today as Myanmar, where violence between Buddhist, Muslim, and ethnic communities has increasingly jeopardized liberalizing reforms. How do contemporary forms of Theravada Buddhist discourse shape ideas of belonging in a multi-religious and ethnically diverse Myanmar following the dissolution of military rule in 2011? How do digital technologies and globalizing communication networks in this nation influence rapidly changing social identities, anxieties, and imaginaries that Brigit Meyer identifies as ‘aesthetic formations’? In this article, I trace diverse genealogies of belonging to show how contemporary constructions of meaning facilitate religious imaginaries that may exacerbate difference by drawing on past ideologies of conflict or may seek to envision a new and diverse Myanmar.