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Germany and the United States

Whither “Partners in Leadership”?

Matthew Rhodes

In 1989, U.S. President George H.W. Bush presented a vision of the United States and Germany as “partners in leadership” in building a peaceful and secure post Cold War world. A confluence of factors brought this vision closest to realization during the overlapping tenures of U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Persistent limitations and shifting conditions including the election of U.S. President Donald Trump now call the future viability of the vision into question, even as U.S.-German ties remain the most plausible anchor of cooperative transatlantic ties in a period of global change.

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Welfare Systems in Europe and the United States

Conservative Germany Converging toward the Liberal US Model?

Martin Seeleib-Kaiser

This article demonstrates how the Conservative system of social protection in Germany has been converging toward the Liberal American model during the past two decades, focusing on social protection for the unemployed and pensioners. In addition to public/statutory provisions, occupational welfare is also covered. Despite an overall process of convergence, we continue to witness stark dissimilarities in the arrangements for social protection outsiders: whereas Germany continues to constitutionally guarantee a legal entitlement to minimum social protection for all citizens, such a guarantee does not exist in the United States. The lack of such legal entitlement for poor people of working age, combined with the criminalization of the "dangerous class," is a key differentiating characteristic of the US model at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The findings confirm but also qualify Franz-Xaver Kaufmann's analysis of the United States as "capitalism," which lacks collective welfare responsibility for all citizens, as compared to Germany's "welfare state."

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William Palmer

This article concerns "revision in history," which refers to the process by which existing conceptions about what constitutes good history are challenged and replaced by different approaches. Between roughly 1920 and 1975 there were several periods of historical revision in Great Britain and the United States. My article argues that each was brought about by a combination of dissatisfaction on the part of historians with existing approaches, the influence of ideas from other disciplines, and changes going on in the world at the time.

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Alejandro Miranda

Current scholarly work on mobilities has focused largely on how practices of mobility produce space, place, and landscape through their enactment and representation. There has been significantly less attention to the study of how social practices move, that is, how socially recognized ways of doing are produced through mobility. Although the literature of various disciplines generally agrees that practices are on the move at different scales, the mobilities of practice have yet to be developed explicitly. This article contributes to this emerging area of research by examining the case of music making. Drawing on ethnographic research, it analyzes how son jarocho, a musical tradition from southeast Mexico, is currently diffused and re-created across communities of practitioners in the United States. In doing so, the processes of diffusion, reproduction, and transformation of social practice are dependent on, and reciprocally related to, the movement produced during performances.

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Italy and the United States

The Politics and Poetics of 'The Southern Problem'

Michael Kreyling

Both nations were ‘made’ in the 1860s. One was proclaimed on March 17, 1861; the other began a doomed civil war for its autonomy on April 12, 1861. The architect of Italian unification, Count Camillo Cavour, did not live to see the national reality; he died a few months after the proclamation. Abraham Lincoln died before national unity was reclaimed. As a policy of unification, the victorious North dissolved monasteries without anticipating negative effects on employment and social services for the poor. The victorious North dissolved the slave labour system in the defeated states without adequately anticipating the effect on employment and social services for the poor and black. In the southern regions of Italy the primary organisation for agricultural land use was a large holding, usually owned by one family, and rented to peasants: latifundia. In the southern regions of the United States the primary organization for agricultural land use was a large holding, usually owned by one family, and worked by slave labour: plantations. Southerners in the new Italy tended to view their civilisation as separate from the new nation, ‘an ancient and glorious nation in its own right’.1 Southerners in the US tended to view their civilisation as separate within the nation as a whole, ‘ancient’ by New World standards, and ‘glorious’ by virtue of its traditions.

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Cornelia Wilhelm

The German Rabbinate became a special role model for modern Judaism since the early nineteenth century and developed a unique capacity to negotiate and mediate group identity between group and society. Nazism destroyed German-Jewish life in central Europe, however the German Rabbinate continued to exist in refugee communities abroad, where it preserved its legacy. For the rabbinate and scholars of Judaism the United States was the most desired destination. The article will explore the conditions of the emigration process, resettlement of German refugee rabbis in the United States and explore how and where they found a place in American Judaism. It will also try to evaluate the impact this emigration has had on American Judaism and on American society.

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Conceptual History in the United States

A Missing "National Projec"

Martin J. Burke

The author addresses the question of why there has been no national project on the history of political and social concepts in the United States analogous to those which have appeared in many countries in the wake of the Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe, the Handbuch politisch-sozialer Grundbegriffe in Frankreich and, the Historisches Wöterbuch der Philosophie. Nevertheless, by listing and explaining how to use a number of available internet resources, the author suggests ways for scholars to develop histories of central concepts in American public discourse

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Comparing Risk Regulation in the United States and France

Asbestos, Aids and Genetically Modified Agriculture

David Vogel and Jabril Bensedrine

This article compares three health, safety and environmental policies in France and the United States: the regulation of asbestos, the regulatory impact of the health crisis associated with AIDS, and the regulation of genetically modified foods and seeds. These cases illustrate the evolution of regulatory policies and politics in France and the United States over the last three decades. In brief, risk management policies have become less politicized and risk averse in the United States, while they have become more politicized and risk averse in France. In many respects, regulatory politics and policies in France during the 1990s resemble those of the United States from the 1960s and through the late 1980s.

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Daniel Gordon

Using a comparative method, this article explores the reasons for the absence of a legal ban on Muslim headscarves in the United States. Study of France reveals a culture that values "public space" and "citizenship." The United States places more value on the generic concept of "religion" as the unifying bond among individuals, even of different religious groupings. Cross-religious sympathy is a distinctive feature of American culture and reflected in legal briefs to the Supreme Court. The article suggests that legal concepts are not merely reflections of social institutions but are important social facts in themselves.

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Evan Friss

This article examines the historiography of cycling in the United States, highlighting notable works produced within the last couple of years. The author also considers several themes that are not well represented in the current literature. In particular, he suggests that scholars might focus on issues related to planning and policy, the environment, and youth studies.