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Erhard Friedberg

The failure of the CPE does not prove the impossibility of reform in France, but rather illustrates political actors' incompetence when it comes to developing and leading reform efforts. The article argues the foregoing thesis by reviewing different moments when competence in these matters would have been able to make a difference. It then examines the collateral damage of this aborted reform with regard to the adminstration's capacity to act and with regard to the French political landscape from now until the 2007 presidential elections.

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George Ross

The "events" around Dominique de Villepin's abortive promotion of the CPE in spring 2006 were seen by many as a great popular victory in the defense of France's social model and another, albeit modest, version of May 1968. Others, particularly Anglophone neoliberals, saw them as proof that the French were incapable of reform. Both conclusions were wrong. The events and defeat of the CPE may have been enjoyable for many involved, but they resolved none of France's underlying and debilitating economic problems. On the other hand, the neoliberal view that the French are averse to real social policy reform is incorrect. Instead, the unresolved dilemmas surrounding the CPE episode are in large part the product of a particular strategy of reform, the "social management of unemployment," that has nourished and intensified dangerous—unavowed—social dualism in France. The present problem, illustrated indirectly by the events, is that political actors and social partners are unable to cooperate sufficiently to confront this dualism.

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Jonathan Friedman

This is an age of regression, the amplification of class relations and their polarization, the withdrawal of the new political classes into luxurious lives along with other dominant classes, while the declining lower end of the social world recedes into poverty and chaos. Overstated as a description, perhaps, but it does, I suggest, situate current trends.

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The Decline of Rome

The Never-Ending Crisis in the Capital

Giada Zampano

The first female mayor in Rome’s history, Virginia Raggi, is faced with a dual challenge. First, she must try to solve the chronic problems of a city mired in debt and struggling with an ongoing emergency caused by chronic traffic problems and chaotic waste disposal. Then the young mayor must experiment with new ways of exercising power to establish the transparency required to restore the reputation of a political class that has led Rome to become known as the “Mafia Capital,” with its own “in-between world” made up of corrupt politicians, business people, and criminals. Since assuming office, Raggi has faced a political impasse, and her administration has suffered an embarrassing string of resignations and judicial scandals that have brought into question the city’s future prospects. Rome is now at a crossroads that may lead to either a much-awaited renaissance or a definitive meltdown.

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The Limits of Black Political Empowerment

Fanon, Marx, 'the Poors' and the 'new reality of the nation' in South Africa

Nigel Gibson

In an earlier paper, written in reaction to those who argued that the African National Congress (ANC) had no alternative but to implement neoliberal economic policies in the context of the ‘Washington Consensus’, I discussed the strategic choices and ideological pitfalls of the ‘political class’who took over state power in South Africa after the end of apartheid and implemented its own homegrown structural adjustment programme (Gibson 2001). Much of this transition has been scripted by political science ‘transition literature’ and much of it is proactive, mapping out what should be done to establish a ‘pacted’, ‘elite’ democracy overseeing neoliberal economic policies (O’Donnell, Schmitter & Whitehead 1986). From another vantage point, I argued that Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth is perhaps one of the most perceptive critiques of the transition literature available. This paper continues the discussion.

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“The people's oil”

Nationalism, globalization, and the possibility of another country in Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela

John Gledhill

This article examines similarities and differences in the development of the oil industries of Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela through an analysis of the struggles and alliances between their elites, political classes, and diverse popular forces. The analysis demonstrates that although history has produced popular skepticism over the meaning of the state's claim that “our oil belongs to the people,” a popular imaginary of the potential link between national resource sovereignty and social justice has had powerful historical effects. Despite the structural differences between these cases, it remains today at the center of emergent alternatives that cannot be dismissed simply as a return to the populism of the past. While its main significance in Mexico to date has been to impede persistent efforts to privatize the industry, in the cases of Venezuela and Brazil we may now talk of significant possibilities for building a more multipolar world economic order.

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Editorial

Citizenship and Welfare Protection

François Nectoux

This double issue of The European Journal of Social Quality groups a number of contributions that approach the theme of citizenship and welfare protection from various angles, all relevant to the debates that are taking place in Europe today on this issue. Indeed, citizenship has again become a preoccupation all across Europe for the best part of the last decade, in political classes, think tanks and academic circles, as well as welfare pressure groups and other NGOs. Far from being simply a fashionable buzzword soon to be forgotten again, it clearly relates to a whole series of crisis in European societies that have to do with personal and collective identities and with issues of societal and individual responsibilities, duties and rights. The old question: ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ still occupies a central place in the way identities and societies are defined and practically organised. Because the reform programmes of the social security and welfare systems that are now implemented in many countries question the basic tenets that have supporting the Welfare State since the Second World War, issues of solidarity and social responsibility are hotly disputed. This affects citizenship insofar as it concerns the boundaries of identity. At European level, the intricate relationship between identity and welfare protection has been identified as one of the most complex and difficult issue confronting democracies on the continent. This is shown for instance in the studies of the European network on Social Exclusion and the Development of European Citizenship, SEDEC (Roche and van Berkel, 1997).

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Censorship as Freedom of Expression

The Tailor and Ansty Revisited

Maryann Gialanella Valiulis

Censorship laws were introduced in the Irish Free State in 1928 and sparked immediate controversy among intellectuals, the media, and the political classes. The issue of censorship became the center of a conversation about Irish national identity. It was, in part, an assertion of independence and a conscious rejection of colonialism, an attempt to decide what stories would be told about them, what image they would portray to the world. In 1942, one text in particular sparked a renewal of the censorship controversy: Eric Cross's book, The Tailor and Ansty, which was banned because it was a realistic portrayal of Irish peasant life that was unacceptable to post-colonial Ireland, and because the author, an English folklorist, was perceived to be trying to undermine post-colonial attempts to establish a modern identity for Ireland. Thus, the application of censorship laws in Ireland can be seen as a move to free Irish self-identity from the negative portrayals of the Irish so prevalent in the colonial period.

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Learning to Judge Politics

Professor John Dunn (Interviewed by Professor Lawrence Hamilton)

John Dunn and Lawrence Hamilton

. You could say that that deficit in this country now has come about because its political class has simply lost interest in the lives of most of the population, especially the half that voted to leave in the Brexit referendum. There was an element in

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Yoram Peri and Paul L. Scham

expressed the mood of the wider political class in Germany. Indeed, the consequences were swift, and the local Thuringian CDU party quickly withdrew from the agreement. Even more tellingly, the current minister of defense, who had already been designated as