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Coercion, Value and Justice

Redistribution in a Neutral State

Michael Hemmingsen

I argue that a commitment to liberal neutrality, and an opposition to coercion, means that we ought to support a redistributive state in which wealth, insofar as it is instrumental in allowing us to pursue our ends, is equalised. This is due to the fact that any conception of justice and desert works in favour of some, but against others, and that those who lose out by any particular conception are likely not to consent to it (meaning that its imposition is coercive). As having some understanding of justice and desert is inescapable in a society, coercion is unavoidable. However, those who are harmed by the imposition of a certain conception of justice and desert deserve compensation for their foregone position in the alternate conceptions in which they would be better off. This compensation is owed by those who have benefitted from the existing conception of justice and desert.

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Free from State Violence or Free to Comply?

A Revised Typology of Coercion and Repression in Liberal Democracies

Barbora Capinska

This article addresses the problem of unclear usage of “coercion” and “repression” in literature concerning protest and repression in democratic and nondemocratic states. It questions the bases and conclusions of domestic democratic peace theory and discusses its consequences. The article proposes expanding definitions of coercion and repression in terms of timing, agency, and perceptiveness. Using vocabulary of poststructuralist discourse theory and the “logics” approach to analyzing social phenomena, it introduces the notion of hegemonic coercion and repression and describes their functioning. It argues that contemporary liberal democracies are not free from coercion and repression, but that the hegemony embodied in the state is able to sustain itself by means of hegemonic coercion with little use of direct violence. Consequently, the absence of state violence is not a criterion of a mature democracy, but can also be a characteristic of a totalitarian regime where ideological deviations are strictly and preemptively controlled.

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Mary Evans

In debates about the admission of state school pupils to Oxbridge various individuals within those institutions have challenged the idea that universities should be vehicles of social change. At the same time, Oxbridge and other universities have accepted the responsibility of 'enabling' entrepreneurship and other market-led initiatives. I want to explore some of the implications of this position in terms of the making of the person in higher education and in particular the ways in which conservative refusals of the recognition of class, gender and race differences reinforce wider structural inequalities.

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Ben Saunders

Arash Abizadeh has recently argued that political communities have no right to close their borders unilaterally, since by doing so they subject outsiders to coercion which lacks democratic justification. His conclusion is that any legitimate regime of border controls must be justified to outsiders. David Miller has sought to defend closed borders by distinguishing between coercion and prevention and arguing that the latter does not require democratic justification. This paper explores a different route, arguing firstly that the requirements of democracy do not provide us with practical guidance unless we also consider other values, such as rights, and secondly that being subject to coercion does not entitle one to democratic justification. These arguments suggest that Abizadeh is wrong to hold closed borders in need of democratic justification.

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An Act is Worth a Thousand Words

A Place For Public Action And Civic Engagement in Deliberative Democracy

Steven Douglas Maloney and Joshua A. Miller

In this paper, we argue that deliberative democrats have too narrow a conception of the political, but that 'activism' as it is normally understood is not sufficiently broad, either. Politics is not reducible to coercion and contestation, but rather to the constitution of our shared world. We contend that active citizenship more often takes the form of working in a rape crisis center or a domestic violence clinic than participating in marches or town meetings.

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Ibn Khaldoun

Theories on Education with Reflections on Problem-Based Learning Strategies

Abdullah A. Al Sayyari and Fayez Hejaili

Ibn Khaldoun is the recognised founder of sociology. We propose that he is also the father of education and education methodology. We reflect on how close and relevant his educational theories are to contemporary educational strategies. He emphasises three stages of teaching and abhors coercion in education. Developing the interest of the pupil in the craft that he is studying is the central theme of good education. Ibn Khaldoun describes the influence of 'emotional intelligence' as an important component of educational and personal development, and he rejects the idea that intelligence is ethnically determined.

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Migration, Empire, and Liminality

Sex Trade in the Borderlands of Europe

Tracie L. Wilson

In this article I analyze accounts from police and women’s activist documents from the turn of the twentieth century, which present narratives of sex trafficking in and from Galicia, an eastern borderland region of the Habsburg Empire. Both police and activist accounts underscore the image of innocent women forced into prostitution, although police accounts provide more variety and nuance regarding degrees of coercion and agency demonstrated by women. I examine what such narratives reveal about the role of crossing boundaries—an act central to both sex trafficking and efforts to maintain empire. In this context, I consider how the Habsburg authorities coped with and attempted to manage populations whose mobility appeared especially problematic. Although this research draws extensively from historical archives, my analysis is guided by perspectives from folklore studies and the anthropological concept of liminality.

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The “Moral Effect” of Legalized Lawlessness

Violence in Britain’s Twentieth-Century Empire

Caroline Elkins

From 1930s Palestine to Kenya in the years following World War II, systematized violence shaped and defined much of Britain’s twentieth-century empire. Liberal authoritarianism, and with it the “moral effect” that coercion had upon colonial subjects, gave rise to the systematic use of violence against colonial subjects. The ideological roots of these tactics can be located in the twinned birth of liberalism and imperialism, together with metropolitan responses to imperial events in the mid-nineteenth century. Despite copious amounts of empirical evidence documenting the evolution of liberal authoritarianism, and the creation and deployment of legalized lawlessness throughout the British Empire, Steven Pinker either ignores this evidence, or implicitly denies its validity. In reframing Britain’s civilizing mission, and challenging liberalism’s obfuscating abilities, this article critiques not only the British government’s repeated denials of systematized violence in its empire, but also Pinker’s reinforcement of the myths of British imperial benevolence.

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Some Responses to Globalisation in Uzbekistan

State Authoritarianism, Migrant Labour and Neo-traditionalism

Laurent Bazin

Uzbekistan offers a case study of a country that has blocked the liberalisation of its economy and that is being marginalised in the world market as well as in the international community. Even still, two typical expressions of globalisation processes can be identified: first, an attempt to reconstruct the legitimacy of the state through the reinvention of a 'national identity', and, second, the elimination of a specific form of protected salaried work that had arisen during the Soviet era, along with a concurrent proletarianisation of the population, in particular in the rural areas. The research shows that political coercion and the inculcation of a nationalist ideology, on the one hand, and the economic degradation of living standards, on the other, result in the reinforcement of family ties and repression of individuality, in spite of huge labour migrations and a (minimal) introduction of the market.

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Whores and Niqabées

The Sexual Boundaries of French Nationalism

Julie Billaud and Julie Castro

This essay seeks to analyze the recent reconfigurations of French nationalism, taking as an entry point the legal treatment of veiled Muslim women and prostitutes over the past two decades. We argue that the bodies of prostitutes and veiled Muslim women, both of which have been targeted by successive legal interventions in order to exclude them from the public space, have become central political sites for the state to assert its sovereign power and trigger nationalist feelings. This comparative analysis of gendered “lawfare“ (which John Comaroff has defined as the judicialization of politics and the resort to legal instruments to commit acts of political coercion) provides insights into a new form of nationalism that strives to foster “sexual liberalism“ as a core value of citizenship in order to enforce a virile nationalism, prescribe new sexual normativities, and criminalize immigrants and those living at the social margins.