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Cette relation imaginaire qui fait le style

Essai sur l'art islamique et le style ethnique

Anie Montigny

The topic of this article concerns the notion of ethnic style. Several points are discussed - in particular, the concept of style itself - by referring to individual and/or collective expression as well as the status of the creators and their representation in Arab-Muslim societies. If traditional societies are heirs to Islamic art, encompassing a range of practices and cultural models, what are the terms of the local transmission of this art? Can we consider it an ethnic style, knowing that it could also be a signifier of individuality? Some examples are given, based on ethnographic collections of jewellery studied by the author in selected museums and on fieldwork in Gulf Arab countries.

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Nigel Rapport

This article is an interweaving of three strands: an account by Imre Kertesz of his experiences in Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War, which he published as the novel, Fateless; an account of a walking tour in Suffolk that the German Anglophile, W. G. Sebald, published as the travelogue, The Rings of Saturn; and my own account of visiting the Auschwitz memorial site, which has been constructed on the edge of the Polish city still bearing the same name. Linking the three strands is the issue of the phenomenology of walking: the consciousness that is capacitated by this activity and the accompanying power to interpret one's life and surroundings in imaginative ways. Kertesz would walk the Nazi lager without stopping for death; Sebald would walk the Suffolk landscape without admitting the passage of time; I would walk Auschwitz without falling victim to the systemic constructions of others. For all, the physical activity is linked to becoming conscious of certain symbolic patterns in time and space. Walking, this article concludes, entails both a phenomenological objectivity, which may be appreciated by virtue of a common human embodiment, and a phenomenological subjectivity: an individual consciousness engaging in imaginative projects of disembodiment and otherness.

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Susan Stedman Jones

This paper explores the nature of Durkheim’s theoretical language concerning the whole and the individual. I look at the questions of holism and individualism throughout his thought, but I particularly focus on ‘L’individualisme et les intellectuels’, where he enters the debate over the Dreyfus affair, espousing the language of intellectual and moral right. I examine the historical and philosophical background of this and the tensions between individualism and socialism, within neglected aspects of French political history. Here a new language of individuality and right was forged, not simply through the pressure of events, but through a re-thinking of socialist holism from within a philosophical tradition.

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Eric Hirsch

In this issue’s forum, Nigel Rapport takes his lead from Georg Simmel, who asked how society is possible. Simmel notes that every individual has a sense of being connected to others, and it is through these connections that the individual has a ‘grasp of the whole complex as society’ (1971: 8). But this understanding is only realised through particular, concrete interactions. The individual in Simmel’s sociology, then, can only exist as an individual through this engagement with others – with, in short, ‘society’. It is this set of relations, it seems, that makes society possible. However, Simmel suggests that the picture an individual gains of the Other through personal contact is based on certain distortions – classifications of a general and conventional nature, some of which may be alienating. At the same time, Simmel also indicates that the individual simultaneously remains separate from society: ‘It seems, however, that every individual has in himself a core of individuality which cannot be re-created by anybody else whose core differs qualitatively from his own. . . . We cannot know completely the individuality of another’ (9–10).

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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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Paule-Monique Vernes

The main ideas of Rousseau relevant to social quality are reviewed here with reference to many of his books and essays. A central theme in Rousseau's work is connected to the evils of inequality where the poor endure their servitude in the name of an illusory common good. The social problem of inequality relates to the political problem of freedom. The social contract requires that the gap between rich and poor be as small as possible; that there is aristocratic government; and that 'the general will' combines the requirement for community with respect for individuality. The article finishes with a discussion of spatial aspects of Rousseau's work relevant to social quality, including the notion of the garden city.

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The Ends of the Earth

Nature, Narrative, and Identity in Dystopian Film

Rowland Hughes

This article offers an ecocritical reading of four dystopian films, two from the early 1970s and two from the late 1990s: Silent Running, Soylent Green, eXistenZ, and Gattaca. In particular, it interprets these films – which variously predict the probable ramifications of environmental catastrophe and biotechnological progress – in relation to contrasting conceptualizations of 'nature' that might broadly be termed either the 'postmodern' or 'ecological'. It argues that despite the genre's apparent preoccupation with technologically advanced, virtual or urban environments, the concept of 'nature' and 'the natural' remains crucial to dystopian cinema's characteristic critique of authoritarian power structures that restrict individual self-expression, and its interrogation of human individuality and selfhood. Moreover, it suggests that even self- consciously postmodern dystopias are rooted in the experience of embodiment, and point towards a reconceptualized idea of 'the natural' that is shaped by, and often fused with, technology.

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Marilyn Strathern

Its author ever hopeful of abandoning nature-culture or nature-society, this brief sketch is an attempt to understand some part of the dyad. It fishes among materials on biological relatedness, ideas about reproduction, and configurations of kinship that might amount to a naturalist cosmology, detectable among other things in the problems it generates. There is nothing new in apprehending how much of society was already ‘in’ the nature that came to be distinguished from it. However, the anthropologist’s net has its own gauge, and thus the argument at once depends on historical niceties and disregards them. What gets caught in the mesh flung over this huge area are certain issues concerning identity and individuality. These demand a closer inquiry into the character of the relations being supposed, the matter with which the article opens.

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Penny Enslin

Like other major developments in political philosophy, John Rawls’s Political Liberalism (PL) has raised important issues for philosophy of education. Rawls’s defence of liberalism as a political doctrine whose principles do not depend on any one comprehensive moral or philosophical doctrine for their justification, against comprehensive liberalism, which by contrast expresses a particular conception of the good life, engages with current controversies in schooling policy in liberal democracies like the United States and the United Kingdom, and potentially in South Africa.2 In such societies there are groups which oppose what is seen as the tendency of liberal education, with its emphasis on the development of qualities like autonomy and individuality, to show intolerance towards particular ethnic, cultural or religious groups and to threaten their continued existence. Their objections appear to require a political rather than a comprehensive liberal approach to schooling.

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Uta Larkey

This article analyzes contrasting notions of Heimat and Fremde, as explored cinematographically by three contemporary German filmmakers. The spatial aspect of Heimat, traditionally connected to a particular region or even neighborhood denotes the sense of belonging, whereas the temporal aspect—often associated with childhood and youth—carries the sense of longing. In the second half of the twentieth century, the concept has shifted to include identity, reflection and self-reflection, the loss of Heimat, and even multiple Heimaten. The article argues further that the notions of Heimat and Fremde are not mutually exclusive, but interdependent. Peter Lilienthal's film Ein Fremder concludes that in parts of German society the binary opposites of Heimat and Fremde are still intact. On the other hand, Peter Patzak in Adeus und Goodbye shows how Heimat and Fremde are mutually dependent and include a search for identity and individuality. In Michael Gutmann's travelogue-documentary, Familienreise, the protagonists experience aspects of Fremde and Heimatlosigkeit without ever finding Heimat.