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The Swiss Paradox

Egalitarianism and Hierarchy in a Model Democracy

Marina Gold

The Swiss system of direct democracy is in many ways paradoxical. The federal structure counteracts the formation of centralizing state hierarchies and protects the egalitarian representation of local political interests. Simultaneously, local political structures can have hierarchical and exclusionary effects, especially when democratic processes are turned into values. This article considers the tensions between egalitarian and hierarchical values in Swiss democratic structures in the wake of the rise of anti-foreigner and anti-EU passions harnessed by extreme right-wing parties. These tensions are heightened in the context of global processes that are transforming the structures of the state, as corporate power undermines state apparatuses with the potential to subvert democratic practices.

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Liberal Values and Socialist Models

Reply to Darrel Moellendorf

Anton D. Lowenberg

In a recent issue of this journal, Darrel Moellendorf evaluates three socialist models of economic organisation in terms of their efficiency and equity attributes (Moellendorf 1997). From the perspective of the cogency of the arguments made within the worldview accepted by Moellendorf, his contribution must certainly be judged a scholarly and thoughtfully written piece. However, as a free’market economist I find the central claim of his article – that any of the three socialist models discussed can successfully reproduce or even approximate the individual freedom and economic efficiency of a private-property rights system – implausible to say the least.

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Lloyd Kramer Liberal Values: Benjamin Constant and the Politics of Religion by Helena Rosenblatt

Paul V. Dutton Breadwinners and Citizens: Gender in the Making of the French Social Model by Laura Levine Frader

Paul Jankowski The Hunt for Nazi Spies: Fighting Espionage in Vichy France by Simon Kitson

Lynne Taylor The Politics of Everyday Life in Vichy France: Foreigners, Undesirables, and Strangers by Shannon Fogg

Rodney Benson Turning on the Mind: French Philosophers on Television by Tamara Chaplin

Elisa Camiscioli La Condition noire: Essai sur une minorité française by Pap Ndiaye

Susan Carol Rogers The Life of Property: House, Family and Inheritance in Bearn, South-West France by Timothy Jenkins

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Christian Egander Skov

The article explores the concept of empire, or rige, in the context of a small nation-state with no immediate claim to imperial greatness and with a rooted self-understanding as anything but an empire. It does this by exploring the concept of empire in the far right movement Young Denmark on the basis of a close reading of their imperialist program in the pamphlet Danmark udslettes! from 1918. Rige had been a vague term for the larger Danish polity that originated in a pre-national conceptualization of the polity as a realm. The article suggests that rige-as-realm was translated by the radical right into a concept of empire. In the process it dramatically changed its emphasis, reorienting itself toward a "horizon of expectation". It became a politically loaded battle concept that then entailed a critique against the dominant liberal conceptualization of the polity and nation. Rige came to signify the ambition of being a great power, the spiritual elevation of the nation through the transcendence of the decaying liberal modernity. The program addressed the tension between a conservative political attitude and modernity and thus signified a kind of reactionary modernism that rejected liberal values while at the same time celebrating technology, industrialization, and the process of modernization.

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Dagmar Herzog

This article analyzes the evolution of sexual politics and cultures in post-unification Germany, tracing these through three stages. First is the more immediate aftermath, in the early to mid 1990s, of ostalgische consternation over the loss of what Easterners understood to be the special qualities of GDR sexual culture, analyzing this consternation in the context of the—mutually conflicting—fantasies that Easterners and Westerners had about each other, replete with Easterners' ideas about how capitalism deforms interhuman interactions and Westerners' ideas about the deformations caused by totalitarian surveillance. A second stage runs from the mid 1990s through to the early twenty-first century, and includes both the convergence between East and West on the governmental policy level and the growing similarities identified in Easterners' and Westerners' sexual habits and mores. The third stage concerns the more recent past of the last five years and emphasizes the paradoxical coexistence of, on the one hand, strong commitment (on both the governmental and popular levels) to liberal values of individual sexual self-determination and toleration of diversity and a general sex-positive climate with, on the other, tremendous anxiety about the rise of European Islam (with its purportedly intrinsic hostility to both homosexuality and female sexual independence) and about the precipitous decline of the German birthrate. Attention is also paid to the newest policy directions with regard to adolescent sexuality and age of consent laws, abortion access, and disability rights.

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A Woman of Valor Goes to Court

Tort Law as an Instrument of Social Change under Multiculturalism

Ella Glass and Yifat Bitton

Can liberal legal tools appeal to non-liberal communities in settling their internal disputes? Are different legal routes for pursuing human rights instrumental in facilitating such usage? This article seeks to answer these questions by using the Israeli test case of the ‘Immanuel affair’. In this case, a segment of the ultra-Orthodox populace resorted to the secular legal system, seeking relief for the discrimination in education it had suffered at the hands of its own community members. As part of a non-liberal community, the plaintiffs were destined to face the classic ideological clash ignited by imposing liberal values on a non-liberal group, even when serving the group’s best interests. This article analyzes the plaintiffs’ choice to bring their grievances to court through the civil justice system. It concludes that the ethical ‘cosmology’ of non-liberal groups is perceived as less abridged when a case is adjudged as a civil tort claim, as opposed to being adjudged within the context of constitutional law.