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The Other French Exception

Virtuous Racism and the War of the Sexes in Postcolonial France

Nacira Guénif-Souilamas

Twentieth-century France invented for itself an "exception" that successfully preserved the French culture industry. Postcolonial France is experiencing another "French exception" that renders a "virtuous racism" commonplace and legitimates the discrimination that expresses this racism by identifying the undesirable "new French" as scapegoat figures. Four gender-specific stereotypes strengthen the belief that there is a form of sexism exclusive to the segregated neighborhoods of the suburbs that are inhabited primarily by French people of immigrant and colonial descent. Associated with the central figure of the garçon arabe are the beurette, the veiled Muslim French woman, and the secular Muslim. The article argues that the model of abstract, universalist France has become one of a fundamentalist republicanism that plays diverse expressions of otherness and singular identities off of one another in order to preserve a soft regime of oppression.

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From Schmitt to Foucault

Inquiring the Relationship between Exception and Democracy

Sara Raimondi

This article examines the debated relationship between liberal- democratic politics and states of exception in conditions of emergency. After Walter Benjamin and Giorgio Agamben, it is often maintained that today we live in a situation of perennial exceptionalism, where emergency measures have become a regular practice even by governments we name ‘democratic’. In these circumstances, exception is deemed to threaten democracy and hinder individual and collective political agency. Yet, such interpretation remains rigidly focused on the expanded governmental powers ushered by the exception. The article first unpacks how the relationship between exception and democracy has been differently addressed by juridical and biopolitical approaches. Then, it attempts an alternative heuristic: it discusses possibilities of democratic associative practices in emergency by looking at the notion of resistance that Michel Foucault links with power. This route remains unexplored in the literature on the concept of the exception.

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The Corrupt State of Exception

Agamben in the Light of Putin

Jakob Rigi

This article revisits Agamben's concept of 'state of exception'. It argues that the postmodern state of exception is exercised not through the suspension of law, as Agamben suggests and as was the case with modern sovereignty, but through the counterfeiting of legality. The counterfeiting of law, which corrupts its meaning, is part of the broader 'corruption of sign' in the postmodern political-cultural economy. The article first details an extended case of counterfeiting of legality in the practices of business raiding, commonly termed reiderstvo, in Russia. It then describes and analyzes the main features of what I call the 'corrupt state of exception' in Russia. The article concludes with a few remarks on the paradigmatic nature of the state of exception in Russia and its consequences for legal and political anthropology.

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The Exceptions to the Rule

Jews in Shakespeare’s England

Cynthia Seton-Rogers

History has largely ignored Anglo-Jewish history in the years between the expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290 and their readmittance in 1656 by Cromwell. This article revisits that period and disputes the misconception that the Period of Expulsion left England without any Jews for nearly 400 years. Although the small Jewish population ebbed and flowed with the rising and waning tides of English anti-Jewish hostilities, it nevertheless persevered. This article highlights some of the more well-known and thus well-documented of these Jews, the majority of whom were Crypto-Jews of Spanish or Portuguese origin.

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Jonathan Magonet

The journal has rarely published articles on Jewish music – one honourable exception being the article by Professor Alfred Fisher on Schoenberg (Autumn 1999). In the current issue we seek to remedy this gap with a preliminary venture into the field. As a non-specialist journal we cast our net quite wide and are particularly grateful to our Poetry Editor Ruth Fainlight for her contacts.

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A Booming City in the Far North

Demographic and Migration Dynamics of Yakutsk, Russia

Svetlana Sukneva and Marlene Laruelle

Many cities of Russia’s Far North face a massive population decline, with the exception of those based on oil and gas extraction in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District. Yet, there is one more exception to that trend: the city of Yakutsk, capital of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic, whose population is booming, having grown from 186,000 in 1989 to 338,000 in 2018, This unique demographic dynamism is founded on the massive exodus of the ethnic Yakut population from rural parts of the republic to the capital city, a process that has reshaped the urban cultural landscape, making Yakutsk a genuine indigenous regional capital, the only one of its kind in the Russian Far North.

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Nadine Feyder

In the Human Development Report of 2010, 135 countries representing 92% of the world population had a higher Human Development Index than in the 1970s. Three countries were an exception to the rule: Zambia, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). As it celebrates its 50th anniversary of independence, the DRC rates itself 168th out of a total of 169 countries on the Human Development Index scale.

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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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Per Bjorn Rekdal

The conference excursion has become an essential ingredient for any international conference, and the International Council of Museums (ICOM) general conference held in Rio de Janiero in August 2013 was no exception. The theme of the conference was Museums (Memory + Creativity) = Social Change. Excursions to favelas (slum areas) were among several events offered. Visiting the Favela Museum with museum professionals from across the world provoked quite unexpected memories, as well as many questions about the creative uses of heritage as part of social change. The well-chosen Favela Museum certainly stirred unsettling memories for me.

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Profession

≪ Messager culturel ≫

Martha Zuber

Une histoire ? Un patrimoine ? Une institution ? France-Culture est tout cela. Petite chaîne prestigieuse, sans publicité, avec 80 millions de francs de budget annuel inchangé. C’est l’exception culturelle de la radio française. La chaîne rassemble une centaine de producteurs permanents (les réalisateurs des programmes), 450 000 auditeurs ou moins d’un pour cent de l’audience radiophonique en France. Certains de ses auditeurs se sont regroupés en une association présidée par un haut fonctionnaire au Ministère de l’emploi. Un personnel fortement attaché à l’identité de France-Culture, 116 avenue du Président Kennedy où sont installés studios et bureaux.