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Jan Baars

This article concentrates on the concepts of time that are implied in the study of ageing. As such, it does not directly address the complex issue of autonomy and ageing, but is an attempt to prepare the ground for a more fundamental approach to ageing than is usually the case. Instead of assuming that we know what age is, I intend to think a little more about the concepts of time that are presupposed in speaking about age and ageing. Usually these concepts are approached from a chronological time perspective, which is only one, albeit important, approach to time. Another perspective which is crucial for understanding human ageing is subjective, personally experienced time. These perspectives are not by definition in harmony with each other. Subjective perspectives on time and ageing can conflict with objectifying, chronological perspectives. Human ageing means living in dimensions of time where impersonal forces and regularities clash with personal meanings.

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Sabrina Melenotte

Since 1994, the Zapatista political autonomy project has been claiming that “another world is possible”. This experience has influenced many intellectuals of contemporary radical social movements who see in the indigenous organization a new political alter-native. I will first explore some of the current theories on Zapatism and the crossing of some of authors into anarchist thought. The second part of the article draws on an ethnography conducted in the municipality of Chenalhó, in the highlands of Chiapas, to emphasize some of the everyday practices inside the self-proclaimed “autonomous municipality” of Polhó. As opposed to irenic theories on Zapatism, this article describes a peculiar process of autonomy and brings out some contradictions between the political discourse and the day-to-day practices of the autonomous power, focusing on three specific points linked to economic and political constraints in a context of political violence: the economic dependency on humanitarian aid and the “bureaucratic habitus”; the new “autonomous” leadership it involved, between “good government” and “good management”; and the internal divisions due to the return of some displaced members and the exit of international aid.

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Dina A. Amanzholova

This article examines the movement for the achievement of national and regional autonomy for the indigenous peoples of Siberia. Concentrating on East Siberia, the author discusses the various conflicts between advocates of autonomy - political, territorial and cultural - in the region, and the various warring factions during the Revolution, Civil War and the early 1920s. She demonstrates how the native peoples did not necessarily understand the political ambitions of the leaders and politicians. She also demonstrates how difficult it was for the general principle of national self-determination to be achieved with so many conflicting interests during a period of nation-wide upheaval and civil war. Underlying this were also the perennial contradictions between the political aims of the centre and the local interests of the outlying regions and peoples. In conclusion, the author suggests that many of the problems of Siberian autonomous movements in the early twentieth century re-appeared at its end.

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Autonomy and the Spaciousness of the Social in Denmark

The Conflict Between Ungdomshuset and Faderhuset

Stine Krøijer and Inger Sjørslev

This article is concerned with the idea of societal 'spaciousness' and its relationship to individual and collective autonomy. These issues are analyzed in the context of the eviction of a self-managed social center of left-radical activists in Copenhagen and the protests and public debate that followed. The authors find that societal spaciousness in Denmark is metaphorically associated with a house or a limited physical space. People should limit themselves in public space, as in a house, to 'make room' for all. Because youngsters are not conceived of as fully fledged political subjects who are able to conduct themselves appropriately in public space, they become a group of special concern. The authors argue that space should be conceived as a dimension of social relations, and that sociality relies on a temporal assemblage of people, things, and imaginaries with space.

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The Lesson of Carl Schmitt’s Realism

The Autonomy and the Primacy of the Political

Attila Gyulai

Political realism claims that politics should be understood as politics and not as a derivative of any other field of human activity. While contemporary realists often argue for the autonomy of politics, this article suggests that only the primacy of politics can be the starting point of political realism. The aim of the article is to expose a conceptual deficiency, namely, the unclear difference between the autonomy and the primacy approach in contemporary realist theory by going back to Carl Schmitt’s contribution to political realism. It will be argued that Schmitt’s concept of the political foreshadowed the ambiguities of contemporary realist theory, exemplified by key authors such as Bernard Williams, Raymond Geuss and Mark Philp.

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Editorial

Age and Autonomy

Anne Showstack Sassoon and Wendy Stokes

In the first, double issue of The European Journal of Social Quality, the concept of social quality was explored from a variety of perspectives, as work in progress. Continuing this endeavour, this issue focuses on ‘Age and Autonomy’. These terms are offered as starting points rather than taken for granted concepts. The discussion of the themes of independence, dependence, and interdependence in the first issue continues here with a focus on a topic which is on the political agenda throughout Europe, North America, and elsewhere: demographic changes. Increases in life expectancy and decreases in birth rates in many countries, changes – often different for men and women – in the proportion of the life cycle in formal paid work, and the longer, more active period of older age contemplated by large numbers of people are major social challenges. With regard to older people, increased activity and participation as well as the need for support and care are aspects of a complex picture that are often obscured in political debate.

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Michael Pendlebury

In this schematic article I adumbrate an approach to normative political theory that is based on the idea that individual autonomy is a fundamental political value (Section I) and draw out some important consequences of the approach for the global political order (Section II).

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Susan Wright and Jakob Williams Ørberg

In 2003 the Danish government reformed universities to 'set them free' from the state. Yet ministers are actively trying to shape universities and even set research agendas. How does the government's notion of 'freedom' reconcile independence with control? We identify three discourses of freedom: freedom to use academic judgement over what to research, teach, publish and say publicly; a free trade discourse where universities are free to pursue profit; and a modernising state discourse where government steers universities to contribute to the knowledge economy. Danish universities were reformed as part of the modernisation of the welfare state. We explore the assemblage of administrative and funding mechanisms through which the government now steers independent organisations: a chain of contracts for outsourced services, newly appointed managers, output payments and accrual accounting. While responsibility for achieving government policy is passed downwards through the independent organisation, formal lines of accountability run back up to the government. University leaders and academics are set free to manoeuvre within the system, but their economic survival is firmly dependent on responsiveness to centralised steering mechanisms

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Building a State in a State

Drawing of the Borders of the Komi (Zyrian) Autonomous Oblast in the 1920s

Indrek Jääts

This article analyses the conceptual path to the creation of national territorial autonomies of the Komi (Zyrians) and Komi-Permiaks in the 1920s. It focuses on the history of the idea of Komi autonomy and on the formation of the borders of the Komi Autonomous Oblast. The creation of the Komi autonomy was, first of all, the project of the small group of nationalist Komi communists. They tried to unite all the Komi politically, and were successful as far as their aims were in accordance with contemporary Soviet nationalities policy. However, they were not able to include Permiak areas, mainly because of the opposition of neighbouring Russian provincial elites.

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Chiara Bonfiglioli

The Cold War era has been mainly represented as a period of gender conservatism in feminist literature, and communist women in Eastern and Western Europe have been often described as manipulated or deprived of agency due to their lack of autonomy from Communist Party politics. On the basis of archival sources and autobiographies, this article explores the Cold War activities of a women's organization founded in Yugoslavia during the Second World War: the Antifašistički Front Žena (Antifascist Women's Front, or AFŽ). The article describes the activities of the AFŽ from its creation until its dissolution in 1953, focusing on its campaigns for women's political, economic, and social rights in the postwar and early Cold War period. By engaging with the pioneering work of Zagreb feminist historian Lydia Sklevicky and with new archival sources, the article aims to shed light on women's political and social agency in Cold War times.