As host of the 2006 soccer World Cup in June and July 2006, Germany was suddenly full of different Germans, waving millions of black-red-gold mini flags and wearing their (and others') national colors with abandon. Was this show of nationalism a new kind of trans/national patriotism? Most certainly, the national enthusiasm exhibited in Germany had nothing whatsoever to do with past demonstrations of patriotism. With the focus on the country as host to world soccer aficionados, the world also learned of a multicultural Germany that has existed for the last fifty years or so. It learned that it is not always successful with its social and economic problems, and that the desire for national unity is sometimes difficult to fulfill. Quite correctly, the national media described Germany as joyous, generous, and open-minded hosts. In the foreign press, too, the old stereotypes were broken down.
The author provides a historical analysis of the use of gender metaphors in republican discourse, chiefly the representation of the republic as a father (patria) and as a mother (matria). Both metaphors are present throughout the history of Western political thought, from ancient Rome to the Modern Era. The text shows that their use has profound implications in the way citizenship is conceived and loyalty to the republic can be justified. Finally, the text also identifies a third republican metaphor, fraternity, which has been mostly neglected by republican thought, with few important exceptions. The author concludes by exploring the normative and theoretical possibilities opened up by substituting fraternity for the gendered metaphors.
There seems to be a wide consensus in the academic community that the Holocaust is gradually losing significance in the German public. This development is clearly reflected in public elite discourse on national identity, where “Holocaust-centered memory” has ceased to be hegemonic. In the literature, several interpretations and reasons have been presented to explain this development. This paper contributes to the debate by arguing that the declining presence of Holocaust-centered arguments in intellectual elite discourse on national identity is due to a new consensual idea of German nationhood. Based on an event-oriented discourse analysis of more than 800 articles in opinion-leading newspapers, journals and magazines covering a period of more than twenty years, I argue that in national identity discourse, the Holocaust has never been—as is usually assumed—a blockade to displays of national identity in general, but only to a specific interpretation of the German nation as a Volk and as an exclusionist culture nation. By contrast, the idea of nationhood that dominates in the German public sphere today, the civic nation model, has never invoked Holocaust-centered counter-arguments—not even in the Historikerstreit in the 1980s. Thus, over the past three decades, the way national identity discourse has operated might have changed less than had often been assumed. The central argument of this paper is that the Holocaust has become a “latent”—but not a less consequential—argumentative resource.
Mythic Gesture at the Russia-China Border
This article examines the role of smiling as a performative gesture at the northeast border between Russia and China. It argues that the border is a place where ‘myth’ in the sense proposed by Roland Barthes is manifest in the comportment of people when they see themselves as representing the civilization of one side or the other. In this situation, smiling and not smiling are elements of particular communicative registers that enact political myths in life. Highly gendered, these agentive-performative gestures exist amid other functional and affective registers, which can override them. The article also discusses the ‘helpers’ who mediate in cross-border trade, whose image is also sometimes subject to mythic imagination.
British 'Histourism', Authenticity and Commercialisation in the Mid-Nineteenth Century
This article analyses how nineteenth-century British visitors of Waterloo anticipated, experienced and explained their visit of 'the field'. The article shows how British visitors attempted to claim ownership over Waterloo and to legitimise their own commemorative practices by simultaneously searching for authenticity and longing for the familiarity (and commercialisation) of the 'beaten track'. By doing so this article calls for a shift in our understanding of nineteenth-century British Waterloo tourism. The view that emphasises the succession of an early generation of authentic travellers by a later generation of 'mere' tourists is replaced by a view which sees the desire for authenticity and the need for the familiar as two forces which were continuously negotiated in creative ways by travellers throughout the whole nineteenth century.
Germany-watchers and many Germans have long been sour about the unified country. Often for well-founded reasons, there are few policy or cultural areas that have not been subjected to withering criticism: failed integration of immigrants, an antiquated political economy, insufficient coming-to-terms with the past, atrophied parties, or lackluster foreign policy. Nevertheless, the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Wall and unification is an appropriate moment to pause and reflect on the accomplishments of contemporary Germany—export champion, environmental pioneer, cultural leader, and staunch multilateral European. Despite all of the problems of the last twenty years and the daunting challenges ahead, perhaps Germans can dare some cautious optimism and even a sense of pride.
Dina Gusejnova and Felix Ringel
Serguei Alex Oushakine, The Patriotism of Despair: Nation, War, and Loss in Russia. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2009
Alexander Etkind, Internal Colonization. Russia’s Imperial Experience. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2011
Stephen J. Collier, Post-Soviet Social: Neoliberalism, Social Modernity, Biopolitics. Princeton: Princeton University Press, pp. 304, 2011
This article examines the cultural values conveyed via texts and illustrations in EFL (English as a foreign language) textbooks currently in use in China. The large number of cultural values represented include patriotism, respect, diligence, collectivism, and equitable gender roles. These show that the national curriculum has been implemented in EFL textbooks. At the same time, the “common sense” design of textbooks also reflects textbook editors’ and writers’ cultural values.
In her 1938 essay Three Guineas, Virginia Woolf questioned the meaning of patriotism and national belonging for British women who, because of their gender, were denied equal access to education, property, the professions, and the political world. As the growing possibility of war amplified the calls for national unity, Woolf suggested that such patriotic sentiment was illogical for women, as they played no role in the public life of the nation.
Textbooks about Modern Arab History under Hafiz and Bashar al-Asad
This article argues that Syrian history textbooks promote the formation of Syrian national identity, although their explicit objective is to propagate Arab nationalism. Their authors' attempt to construct the history of an imagined Arab nation encompassing the whole of the Arab world in fact tells the story of different nation-states. Syrian students are therefore confronted with rival geographical spheres of national imagination. Changes in the new textbooks under Bashar al-Asad reveal increased Syrian patriotism, a will to comply with globalization, and attempts to maintain Arab nationalism.