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Violence, Global Unrest and Advanced Capitalism

(And Why Wile E. Coyote Never Catches Roadrunner)

Daniel Briggs

Over the last five years or so, we have witnessed increasing forms of violence and unrest across the world. In the media, these depictions are presented as actions of resistance to oppressive regimes and corrupt politics, yet are, at the same time, deliberately detached from a global politik which is collapsing in numerous ways: the manifestations evident in market instability, and increasing austerity, unemployment and social inequality; a sign perhaps that the orgy of globalisation is reaching its climax. Some of all this was reflected in what we saw across English cities during the summer of 2011 and in this article, I discuss these riots and why they might have happened and the State response. Perhaps more importantly, I show how they should be reconsidered alongside other forms of violence and dissatisfaction against oppressive regimes and corrupt politics as a collective response to a global system on the brink of collapse as a result of its never-ending pursuit of rampant profit at the expense of millions of people. I relate this fruitless quest of profit to Wile E. Coyote’s incessant pursuit of Roadrunner.

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Sandbags, Strikes, and Scandals

Public Disorder and Problematic Policing in Occupied Roubaix during World War I

James E. Connolly

In spring 1915, the delicate issue of French factory workers fabricating sandbags for the German army led to various breaches of public order in occupied Roubaix. These workers were criticized and physically assaulted by their occupied compatriots. At roughly the same time, many such workers refused to continue working for the German military authority. This unrest continued for months, putting the French administration, especially the local police force, in a difficult situation: these civil servants sought to restore public order and avoid punishments for the population, but did not want to encourage working for the Germans. Scandals involving policemen further undermined this challenging task. This article examines and explains these understudied events in detail, considering the nature of public disorder, the narrative of the “sandbag affair,” and the problems faced by the police. This allows for an insight into occupied life, especially the primacy of public perception and judgment.

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Colonizing Revolutionary Politics

Algeria and the French Revolution of 1848

Jennifer E. Sessions

This article examines the key role of the French colony in Algeria in the political culture of the Revolution of 1848. Eugène Cavaignac and other army officers with Algerian experience led the state's repression of radical unrest, and their colonial backgrounds became a central narrative trope in debates about political violence in France, especially after the June Days uprising. Following the closure of the National Workshops, legislators adopted a major scheme for working-class emigration to and settlement in Algeria to replace the workshops and resolve unrest. Throughout 1848, Algeria operated as a symbolic and practical field for the struggle between social and political revolution in France.

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Reports

Publications and Films

Erika Friedl and Soheila Shahshahani

Hegland, Mary Elaine (2014), Days of Revolution: Political Unrest in an Iranian Village (Stanford: Stanford University Press), 316 pp., two maps, nine photographs; glossary, notes, bibliography, index, ISBN: 978-0-8047-7570 (cloth) U.S. $95.00; ISBN: 978-0-8047-7568-7 (pbk.) U.S.$27.95.

Hush, Girls Don’t Scream by Pouran Derakhshandeh (2013)

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Michael M. Bell

Friedman, Thomas L. 2008. Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How It Can Renew America. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

Hawken, Paul. 2007. Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History Is Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beauty to the World. New York: Penguin.

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Anthropologists Solving Burning Issues of Our Hot Planet

Report on the Third International Applied Anthropology Symposium in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Meta Gorup and Dan Podjed

At the end of November 2015 Ljubljana hosted 450 anthropologists and supporters of anthropological approaches from twenty-five countries. They gathered in the capital of Slovenia to attend the international symposium ‘Why the world needs anthropologists’, which featured renowned speakers who illustrated why the most burning issues of our planet – such as climate change, political unrest and unprecedentedly fast technological development – can only be solved with the help of anthropologists.

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Robert C. Holub

The Cambridge Companion to Nietzsche edited by Bernd Magnus and Kathleen M. Higgins

Peter Jelavich

The Ghosts of Berlin: Confronting German History in the Urban Landscape by Brian Ladd

Andrea Wuerth

A German Women’s Movement: Class and Gender in Hanover, 1880-1933 by Nancy R. Reagin

Anton Pelinka

Nazism and the Working Class in Austria: Industrial Unrest and Political Dissent in the “National Community” by Timothy Kirk

Ben Meredith

Mitteleuropa and German Politics 1848 to the Present by Jörg Brechtefeld

Thomas Welskopp

Society, Culture, and the State in Germany 1870–1930 edited by Geoff Eley

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“Work pays”

Slovak neoliberalism as “authoritarian populism”

Nicolette Makovicky

Focusing on the implementation of the New Social Policy in January 2004 and the social unrest that followed, this article traces the discursive construction of welfare dependence as a “Romani” problem through the creation of a media-led “moral panic”. Situating this “moral panic” within the wider context of competing populist narratives in postsocialist Slovakia, it argues that the ethnicization of the unrest constituted a rearticulation of nationalist populist symbols into liberal political logic. Employed by the opposition, the first of these narratives posited liberalization as the dispossession of the working majority by corrupt elites. This was countered by a second narrative presented by the center-right coalition that posited welfare as a system of “just rewards” for those willing to work, while constructing the Romani minority as social deviants. As such, it appeared to be a variant of what Stuart Hall has called “authoritarian populism”: an attempt by the leading coalition to harness popular discontents in order to justify exceptional levels of government intervention into social life.

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Contradictions in Tourism

The Promise and Pitfalls of Ecotourism as a Manifold Capitalist Fix

Robert Fletcher and Katja Neves

This article reviews an interdisciplinary literature exploring the relationship between tourism and capitalism focused on ecotourism in particular. One of this literature's most salient features is to highlight ecotourism's function in employing capitalist mechanisms to address problems of capitalist development itself by attempting to resolve a series of contradictions intrinsic to the accumulation process, including: economic stagnation due to overaccumulation (time/space x); growing inequality and social unrest (social x); limitations on capital accumulation resulting from ecological degradation (environmental x); a widespread sense of alienation between humans and nonhuman natures; and a loss of “enchantment“ due to capitalist rationalization. Hence, widespread advocacy of ecotourism as a “panacea“ for diverse social and environmental ills can be interpreted as an implicit endorsement of its potential as a manifold capitalist x as well. The article concludes by outlining a number of possible directions for future research suggested by this review.

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Introduction

Creative Practices/Resistant Acts

Nesreen Hussein and Iain MacKenzie

In the opening of this special issue, we invite readers to consider, through the articles presented, how various modes of artistic expression and creative acts of resistance can lead to a better understanding of the nature and implications of political and social revolt, and how a focus on creative practices can be part of the wider debate in a time of uncertainty and unrest. The issue examines the important intersection between creative practices and acts of resistance from an interdisciplinary perspective with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Mediterranean regions. The introduction aims to frame the problems presented by the sphere of creative practices of resistance and clarify what is at stake with a view to providing impetus for further research into this critical aspect of contentious politics. It concludes by tracing how the general framing of the problems operates within and through the different articles.