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“Real, practical emancipation”?

Subaltern politics and insurgent citizenship in contemporary India

Alf Gunvald Nilsen

. 2012 . Adivasis in and against the state: Subaltern politics and state power in contemporary India . Critical Asian Studies 44 ( 2 ): 251 – 282 . 10.1080/14672715.2012.672827 Nilsen , Alf Gunvald . 2013 . Adivasi mobilization in contemporary

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Beverly Crawford

Germany's growing weight on the world stage is indisputable, and its foreign policy is exceptional among powerful states. This article argues that while the original vision of cooperative security and multilateralism guiding German policy was shaped by occupation, division, and weakness, it has shown astonishing resilience, even as Germany has regained sovereignty, unity, and power. For a weak and divided Federal Republic, a vision that eschewed the exercise of power ensured survival; for a strong united Germany, a vision that minimizes the role of power is revolutionary and controversial. I argue that this revolutionary policy is now the most effective one to meet the challenges of a transformed world marked by new and unconventional threats and risks—a world in which traditional measures of power have lost much of their usefulness in securing the national interest. Ironically, however, while the policy vision that downplays the role of power persists, Germany's material power has grown. Germany's renewed power position makes it an influential actor in an international system where perceptions of power still matter. And the old policy vision makes German foreign policy the most appropriate for solving new global problems whose solution defies power politics. This paradoxical combination of power and vision in Germany's postunification foreign policy has introduced a new and effective form of "normative power" in global politics.

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Constructing a Public Sphere

Materiality and Ideology

Judith Kapferer

The changing cultural and social significance of central city space generates and structures the social formations of capital today. Buildings and landmarks within the city of London are examined here as crucibles for the expression, symbolization, formation, and re-formation of the social orders of the city and the state. Here, the cultural power of state apparatuses to control and order the image and substance of capital and state is challenged by the arts of architecture and cityscape. The relation between public space and private practice is interrogated in locations such as the Square Mile, Trafalgar Square, and Hyde Park, which symbolize and concretize the social relations of the marketplace, the state, and the people. The experience of these places is iconic of the social formations of contemporary society.

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Cementing Relations

The Materiality of Roads and Public Spaces in Provincial Peru

Penelope Harvey

This article sets out to analyze how concrete is implicated in the transformation of public space in provincial Peru. While concrete enhances a state's capacity to produce reliable, predictable structures, there are also significant limits in relation to its connective capacity in both the material and social domains. Ethnographic attention to the relational dynamics of concrete reveals how its promise to operate as a generic, homogeneous, and above all predictable material is constantly challenged by the instability and heterogeneity of the terrains to which it is applied. The image of power that concrete affords is thus a compromised one, as the stability and predictability of this substance is secure only insofar as it is surrounded by and embedded in specific relationships of care.

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Objects of Dispute

Planning, Discourse, and State Power in Post-War France

Edward Welch

produced continue to frame and shape the everyday lives of millions of French citizens. It sheds light too on broader questions about the practices and perceptions of state power in post-war France, both of which are thrown into sharp relief by the

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Ruth Mostern

particular, the science of erosion and sediment deposition demonstrates how the river’s ecology reinforced and underlay the spatiality of state power along its course. Written texts do not reveal the structural changes that occur too slowly and at too vast a

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Scratches on our sovereignty?

Analyzing conservation politics in the Sundarbans

Jayashree Vivekanandan

development projects planned in their area is oftentimes not respected. The state's power to dismiss indigenous right claims was evident in President Hugo Chávez's curt rebuke in 2005, “Do not ask me for the moon” (cited in Alès, 2018, p. 58 ). Elsewhere too

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Scottish land reform and indigenous peoples’ rights

Self‐determination and historical reversibility


This article highlights the dominance of the trope of historical inevitability which – whether in its neoliberal, liberal or Marxist forms – seeks to claim that there is no alternative to globalising capitalism and state power. In contrast, the article argues that by analysing historical processes of appropriation and resistance, and by analysing parallels between ongoing struggles for self‐determination in the global north and south, anthropological practice can refuse to contribute to a paralysing cultural relativism or coercive colonialism, but can instead reassert the existence of multiple alternatives, and multiple strategies for maintaining them.