Human Affairs

Published by De Gruyter Open
Online ISSN: 1337-401X
Print ISSN: 1210-3055
This paper assesses the accuracy of the common analogy by which contemporary Islamists are casually conflated with classical fascists. It argues that there are some parallels, in particular the manner in which Islamists and fascists, when pursuing their political agendas, are and were both deeply intolerant of “deviants” and prepared to readily deploy violence against opponents. But it also argues that the analogy remains substantially flawed: in the context of domestic politics, Islamists face authoritarian regimes prepared to use violence against them and which are therefore very different to the liberalist regimes the fascists faced. And from an international perspective the Islamists face great powers united in their determination to ensure they do not rise to power by “capturing” a state, unlike the fascists. While current changes in the Arab world may create conditions more amenable for Islamists to carry out “stealthy” take-overs, until such occur the analogy remains at best only partially valid. Keywordsliberal–Islamist–fascist–totalitarian–authoritarian
The luxury-versus-necessity controversy is primarily concerned with the importance of civil and political rights vis-à-vis economic and social rights. The viewpoint of political leaders of many developing and newly industrialized countries, especially China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia is that civil and political rights are luxuries that only rich nations can afford. The United Nations, transnational civil society and the Western advanced countries oppose this viewpoint on normative and empirical grounds. While this controversy is far from over, new challenges of “evidence” and “marketization” are emerging. The first calls for a narrative on the history of civil and political rights in the West in the comparative context of the Industrial Revolution and the East Asian Miracle and China’s economic growth. The effects of the recent financial crisis and insulation of China from the Arab Spring further deepen this challenge. The marketization challenge looks at this controversy from the social exclusion angle. It argues that the basic needs covered by the minimum human rights agenda are becoming luxuries in a real sense for those who do not have the power to purchase these needs from the market. Keywordshuman rights–full-belly thesis–civil and political rights–Asian values debate–East Asian Miracle–United Nations–developing countries–basic needs–free market economy
In this paper the authors seek to contribute to a new ontology of an embodied, desiring subject through an exploration of their own subjectivities and of the ways in which subjectivities are produced and transformed through affective attachments to place. Using the method of collective biography (Davies, Gannon 2006) and drawing on Deleuze and Guattari’s concepts of desire and territorialization they examine their affective responses and attachments to place: Australia and the Czech Republic. As a point of departure for their analysis, the authors ask: What does it mean to be homesick for a place which is not one’s home? What does it mean to desire a place? What of the other place is inscribed in the body? In asking this, the authors show the extent to which place is a zone of immanence in which a continual play of de- and re-territorialization occurs. Keywordscollective biography–Deleuze–subjectivity–territorialization–place
Identification of the major constraints to the implementation of any strategy at the local government level in Ondo State  
Sustainable development is the global agenda designed to ensure that the world’s climate is not irretrievably damaged and future generations have equal access to the world’s resources for their own development. The institutionalisation of measures to promote sustainable development has however not had unanimous cooperation. This study therefore investigated the attitude of officials at the local government level to topical issues in the sustainable development agenda in Ondo State, Nigeria, as a pointer to entrenched attitudes in the Third World. Prioritisation of issues varied between localities but premium was placed on poverty alleviation more than on climate change or power generation. People were more concerned with the improvement of their general well-being including health. Respondents indicated that most of the topical issues on the sustainable development agenda could be addressed at the local level thereby lending support for the notion that local action can contribute to global action. However, inclusive measures to promote positive action need to be institutionalised.
The concept of totalitarianism was particularly prevalent in intellectual and political debate in Germany in the 1970s, and was motivated largely by anti-totalitarian convictions. Although it did not enter everyday language, it persists in political rhetoric, where it is used today as a political football in speeches and constitutional reports. In response to historical approaches to the concept of totalitarianism, which generally contextualise the term and put forward alternative terms, this article probes the meaning of this term as it is actually used and misused in political and educational contexts in contemporary Germany. It concludes by highlighting the fictitious (figurative, semantic and epistemological) dimensions of the rhetoric of anti-totalitarianism, and calls for a more genuinely liberal, non-totalitarian, posture. Keywordsambivalence–deference–education–Germany–non-totalitarian–politics–rhetoric
The article deals with a recent attack by Sam Harris on two famous arguments that purport to establish a gap between factual and evaluative statements—Hume’s Is-Ought Problem and Moore’s Open Question Argument. I present the arguments, analyze the relationship between them and critically assess Harris’ attempt to refute them. I conclude that Harris’ attempt fails. Keywordsis-ought–open question argument–Harris–science–a priori
In this article I examine what I term epistemic arguments against epistocratic dictatorships against the background of Harry Frankfurt’s claim that truth is a fundamental governing notion, and some key reflections of Václav Havel and Leszek Kolakowski. Some of the key epistemic arguments offered by Karl Popper, Robert A. Dahl and Ross Harrison are outlined and endorsed. They underscore the insurmountable problems involved in choosing and maintaining a state of allegedly perfectly wise and efficient rulers. Such rule by virtue of supposed supreme knowledge and expertise denies a truthful recognition of the inevitable fallibility of the state, and of government policies. Moreover, the repression of both citizens’ commitment to truthfulness and their attempts at political falsification will necessarily render dictatorships both continually prone to error and inevitably oppressive. Fallibilistic epistemology is thus seen as a formidable philosophical arsenal for anti-totalitarian and democratic thought, alongside ethical and historical arguments against dictatorship. Keywordsepistemic arguments–epistocracy–truthfulness dictatorship
The paper reviews some of the links between the notion of “ultimate reality” and everyday life, mainly art, beauty, the creative processes in art, and citizenship. If, according to M. Heidegger, art reveals the truth of being (i.e., also of ultimate reality), then we may find some historical descriptions of creative processes that are very close to descriptions of ultimate reality. Three examples of these kinds of descriptions are discussed (Abhinavagupta, St. Augustine, F. Engels). The final aim is to show how the interpretation of ultimate reality can contribute to a better understanding of the creative process in art. These considerations can also throw light on one particular aspect of civil life—the relations between everyday life and its final goals. If we are to gain an understanding of the relations between ultimate reality, art and civil life, then the disciplines of aesthetics, philosophy, history and anthropology, and cultural history should all contribute together. Keywordsultimate reality–art–creative process–aesthetics–civil life
Internet-enabled technologies are said to allow individuals to consume, create and distribute their own content without governmental control. They also provide opportunities for new forms of activism and mobilisation that can challenge repressive governments. Recent reports on citizens’ mobilisation in authoritarian states suggest that the Internet can generate new forms of opposition against totalitarian rules. The aim of this paper is to examine whether these new technologies can be regarded as vehicles of democracy or instruments of authoritarianism. Can Internet-enabled technologies promote values of openness and freedom that gradually and significantly act as anti-totalitarian tools? Keywordsinternet–social media–democracy–totalitarianism–authoritarianism–mobilisation
Number of Slovak students at major Viennese universities (Data from the summer term 2007 when the majority of participants were interviewed) 3 
In this paper we investigate the relations between cross-border mobility, national categorization and intergroup relations in a changing Europe. It focuses on young adults (N=34) commuting on a regular basis between the city of Bratislava (the capital of Slovakia) and the city of Vienna (the capital of Austria). Our study draws on the social identity perspective, however, we consider social identity as a discourse of (not) belonging, similarity and difference, which is continually (re)negotiated within a given social context. Semi-structured qualitative interviews, focus groups and drawings of the border area were used as research instruments. We have identified different types of experience in various subgroups of participants framed by (1) age at the time of arrival in Austria; (2) different mobility motivations and goals; (3) interaction setting; (4) the political and economic situation in Slovakia at the time of arrival to Austria linked to perceived status differences. On the individual level, the motivation to integrate or its lack seems to be a crucial element in the ingroup construction and perception of intergroup relations. Keywordssocial identity–cross-border mobility–intergroup relations–mental borders–commuters–young adults
The essay is the critical reflection on the current state of global politics. It points to the importance of reconnecting politics with more substantial “human affairs”. The search for new understanding and conceptual tools is necessary on both sides of the political spectrum, however, the left should press for its lost identity more urgently. But what is even more urgent is the planetary vision based on reflexive rationality and a politics of dialogue, respect for the environment and civil society, overcoming obsolete and pointless political strategies and forms of life. Knowledge and nature are to be taken as public assets. Keywordsnew left–rhizosphere– nomos –capitalism–communism–planetary technopolis–surcivilization
Strawson’s work seems to contain both pragmatic and semantic concepts of presupposition. The former concept has largely been studied by many philosophers and linguists, while the latter has not been properly investigated (van Fraassen being an exception). The present author explicates the semantic concept of existential presupposition in relation to deriving existential statements and distinguishing their de dicto/de re variants (in the rather generalized sense following Tichý). Keywordsexistential presupposition–existential import–commitment– de dicto and de re
There are multiple and diverse voices of jurists who have expressed their fear of the unrestricted power of law enforcement and have announced the crisis of the formalist sense of Law. The widespread reaction against the abstract and formalist character of the positivist theory of law manifested itself as the Krausist philosophy of law and was backed by the philosophy of Krause, Schelling, Hegel and the most recent Natural Law theories that seek to establish substantial criteria for moral action. This distrust was caused by the heteronomy of modest and obedient civil servants of the judicial order that rely on political balance of power in which nothing depends on the human bottom of institutions. Let us consider briefly the impressive analyses performed by different thinkers on this issue, which they considered characteristic of their era, but that continues to constitute a difficulty that challenges contemporary society. KeywordsKrausism–philosophy of law–politics–iusnaturalism–autonomy
This paper explicates and defends Morton White’s holistic pragmatism, the view that descriptive and normative statements form a “seamless web” which must be tested as a “unified whole”. This position, originally formulated as a methodological and epistemic principle, can be extended into a more general philosophy of culture, as White himself has shown in his book, A Philosophy of Culture (2002). On the basis of holistic pragmatism, the paper also offers a pragmatist conception of metaphilosophy and defends the need for interdisciplinary inquiry. Keywordspragmatism–holism–metaphilosophy–inquiry–interdisciplinarity–White–M
The aim of this paper is to interpret systematically M. M. Bakhtin’s views on genre. Although Aristotle was the first philosopher—and one of the first thinkers in general who focused on the issues of artistic and rhetorical genres, philosophy as such did not treat these issues for a considerably long time. One of the first philosophers who approached the genre issue within the larger context of the philosophy of language was Mikhail M. Bakhtin, a Russian philosopher and a literary scholar. As early as the 1920s he founded philosophical thinking on the so-called small speech genres, which later served as the basis for a remarkable theory of primary and secondary genres. Bakhtin is a world renowned theoretician on the novel, but his genre theory is nevertheless very topical, too, since it relates to issues focused on by philosophers much later. Keywordsevent–small speech genre–story–consummatedness–compositional procedures–architectural form
This paper begins by considering the specific position of philosophy on culture: philosophy is part of culture as well as being a reflection of the whole complex. Thus, culture finds in philosophy its own meta-cultural account. One of the results achieved by this philosophical approach might be the diagnosis of the cultural split and the symptoms of anthropological regress. On the other hand, the example of Michel de Certeau’s work shows us that from this point of view it is possible to develop philosophical anthropology as a performative discipline, studying the activities of transformation, and appropriation at the level of everyday life. This anthropological approach leads us to an awareness of the principal openness of the cultural field and even to a new understanding of balkanization. Keywordsculture–philosophy–aestheticisation–anthropology–urban space
In recent years (since the 1980s) we have witnessed growth in the practical application of philosophy. Some authors talk about a so-called “shift in philosophical counselling” or “philosophical practice” taking place chiefly in western countries. Some Slovak authors also discuss the application of philosophy in practice but this issue is only in its infancy here. The author of this paper seeks to establish the boundaries of understanding the possibilities philosophy has to offer in practical life and to formulate an opinion on the competency of philosophy in this area. The author believes that it is the “good life” that is central to the agenda of philosophical practice. The aim of philosophical counselling is to advise people through their personal life philosophy. It is a conversational process that controls dialectic thinking and reflects the fears and questions that arise in everyday life as well as questions about the meaning of life as a whole. The author understands philosophical dialogue as a space for seeking a good life, identity and critical thinking. Keywordsphilosophical practice–philosophical counseling–personal life philosophy–good life–critical thinking
Map of Igbo Culture Area Showing the Study Area, Nanka. Adapted from Onwuejegwu (1981).
Seven villages of Nanka indicating the number of umunna (patrilineages)
The class condition of women in contemporary Igbo society in particular and Africa in general, which is characterized by her peripherialization in the scheme of state building and knowledge production, has led to the need for the re-examination of her representation in specific cultural contexts in Africa prior to the major historical events (partition and colonization) in the continent. There is no doubt that the partition and colonization of Africa led to a pragmatic shift in local paradigms, and the significance placed on the agencies of cultural transmission. This need to re-examine women s representation in cultures and societies in Africa has become imperative in order to make, where possible, a factual representation of women s place in specific cultural realities. This realization gives impetus for this paper. This article re-examines the perception that women have nothing to do with two key peace symbols—oji (kolanut) and ofo (staff of authority and justice)—in Igbo culture as has been presented in the literature on Igbo culture. Using a case study typology, the study uses Nanka in Anambra State, south-eastern Nigeria as the study area. It identifies the place of the Earth goddess in oji and ofo ritual performances and concludes that, as a key participant in these rituals, gender is mainstreamed in the usages of oji and ofo. Keywordssymbols–Traditional peacemaking–Earth goddess–women–Igbo people
The Italian Republic was created at the close of World War II by the political forces that had taken part in the Resistance, with an explicitly anti-fascist ideological foundation. However, the official commitment to anti-fascism and democracy was belied by the continuing role of neo-fascist parties and organizations in the political system. This role was firstly as a potential alternative source of support for the ruling Christian Democrats, and secondly as the key element of a hidden network ready to use violent and undemocratic means to condition the normal political process. This network moved into action at the height of the “strategy of tension” (1969–80). Analysis of this period leads us to reassess the nature of postwar Italian democracy. In the “Second Republic” (post-1994) Silvio Berlusconi has promoted a revisionist approach to Fascism and the Resistance as part of his own strategy to maintain himself in power, while also espousing a plebiscitarian conception of democracy that presents certain analogies with the methods and style of the Fascist regime. KeywordsItaly–Neofascism–terrorism
Did the pragmatic turn encompass the linguistic turn in the history of philosophy? Or was the linguistic turn a turn away from pragmatism? Some commentators identify the so-called “eclipse” of pragmatism by analytic philosophy, especially during the Cold War era, as a turn away from pragmatist thinking. However, the historical evidence suggests that this narrative is little more than a myth. Pragmatism persisted, transforming into a more analytic variety under the influence of Quine and Putnam and, more recently, a continental version in the hands of Richard Rorty and Cornel West. In this paper, I argue that proof of the linguistic turn’s presence as a moment in a broader pragmatic turn in philosophy can be garnered from close examination of a single article, W. V. O. Quine’s “Two Dogmas of Empiricism,” and a single issue: whether the analytic-synthetic distinction is philosophically defensible.
The paper addresses the recurrent charge that Richard Rorty is a “linguistic idealist”. I show what the charge consists of and try to explain that there is a charitable reading of Rorty’s works, according to which he is not guilty of linguistic idealism. This reading draws on Putnam’s well-known conception of “internal realism” and accounts for the causal independence of the world on our linguistic practices. I also show how we can reconcile this causal independence of things and the sense of our discourse being guided by them with our autonomy with regard to the construction of various “vocabularies” with which we describe, or cope with, reality. In the final part, I address in some detail Rorty’s animadversions concerning the idea of the intrinsic nature of reality. I show them to be only partly successful. KeywordsRorty–linguistic idealism–internal realism–intrinsic structure of reality–representation
The objective of this article is to consider how multiculturalism, minority rights, and nationbuilding have been defended by Will Kymlicka. For this purpose, I will first attempt to spell out the answers to the following questions: is it possible to defend minority rights in a liberal state? What is the problem regarding this defence of national minorities? Does anybody benefit from minority rights within a nationbuilding process? In order to find out the answer to these questions, I will first introduce the main line of thought found in Will Kymlicka’s views on the defence of the rights of national minorities, the nationbuilding process, and multiculturalism. Later, I will reassess the views of Kymlicka in finding the ways to defend national minorities with the aim of providing support to the minority cultures. Keywordsmulticulturalism–national minority–minority rights–societal culture–nation-building–Heraclitean pluralism
This paper sets out to examine political thinking in post-totalitarian Slovakia. Using the discourse theory and signification of Laclau and Mouffe, it considers the sign národ (a specific conception of the Slovak nation) in relation to democracy and the EU. Seeking to pinpoint political thinking amongst the general populace, it bases its analysis on an examination of newspaper articles on “Building the State” published in the 1990s. It traces the roots of the sign from the 1960s to the present day and predicts that the EU signifier will impact on the content of the floating signifier of národ. Keywordsdiscourse theory–Slovak politics– národ –signifier–post-totalitarian
In the study the author focuses on various aspects of bookselling in the late 18th century. The author seeks to describe the book market environment and the booksellers’ community in Bratislava at that time. She therefore documents communication channels between booksellers in Bratislava and their colleagues in Germany (mainly in Leipzig, Halle, and Berlin).
This article contends that the evolution toward interdisciplinary collaboration that we are witnessing in the sciences must also occur in the humanities to ensure their very survival. That is, humanists must be open to working with scientists and social scientists interested in similar research questions and vice versa. Digital humanities is a positive first step. Complexity science should be the next step. Even though much of the ground-breaking work in complexity science has been done in the natural sciences and mathematics, it can, if critically adapted, provide the needed metaphor for a broad integration of disciplines, humanistic and otherwise. Given its almost a-disciplinary nature, a complexity approach to the research problems in the humanities necessarily breaks down silos. Moreover, it can restore and reframe the seamless intellectual fabric sought by researchers before the atomization of the various disciplines in the nineteenthcentury academy.
Benefits and costs of social media in supporting protest movements.
In the past few years, a wave of protest has spread across the world. The particularity of these uprisings lies in the way the Internet is used to support them. Scholars have analyzed these movements as being closely related to a generation that relies on the Internet as a means of organizing themselves as a force of social change. That is, the Internet is seen as a way of promoting the active participation of young people in political issues. Public opinion and the mass media hail the Arab Spring revolutions as movements beneficial to the democratization of oppressive regimes. By contrast, when disobedient movements emerge in democratic countries, they are generally more cautious in evaluating these movements as enriching democracy. This cautious opinion also concerns the use of social media. In this article, the so-called Twitter revolutions are discussed in light of the theories of social psychology that analyze the relationship between disobedience and democracy.
The paper presents a critical analysis of the current state of qualitative research approaches in the social sciences and humanities within Slovak academic institutions. The author has been inspired by the metaphor of academic “barbaricum”. This analytical category is based on a model of the relationship between core and periphery, which has no clear function or organisational logic. From the scientific point of view, the core/centre should produce and innovate the theory, whereas the periphery should apply it. In Slovakia—contrary to the situation in Western academia—, the last two decades have seen a growth in the numbers of academic institutions dealing with the humanities (and partly with the social sciences), and stagnation in qualitative social research. The author suggests that if the Slovak social sciences aspire is to becoming part of the so-called European academic space, then this will certainly not be possible without much stronger and extensive support for social research based on qualitative approaches and methods.
In what senses can the academy be said to be a site of culture? Does that very idea bear much weight today? Perhaps the negative proposition has more substance, namely that the academy is no longer (if indeed it ever was) a place of culture. After all, we live in dark times-of unbridled power, tyranny, domination and manipulation. Some say that we have entered an age of the posthuman or even the inhuman. It just may be, however, that in such a world, the academic community is needed more than ever for it offers a culture of justified revelation. It is a culture that reveals the world to us in new ways, but in ways that are attested and contested; its judgements emerge out of a critical and unworldly pedantry. With some hesitancy, we can legitimately therefore speak of not just a culture of the academic community but, indeed, the culture of the academic community.
Academic mobility is usually perceived and discussed as a positive phenomenon — as a prerequisite for building a competitive and successful economy and quality science. Academic mobility has now become essential to building a successful academic career in many research domains. On the policy level the negative impact of academic mobility on researchers’ lives and especially women’s is usually overlooked and marginalized. In my paper I focus on academic mobility in the context of academics’ relationships and family lives. I ask two research questions: What is the impact of mobility on researchers’ relationships? How does mobility affect the lives of the partners of mobile researchers? The analysis is based on i) 16 in-depth interviews with academics from various fields of research about their experiences of long-term fellowships abroad in the early stages of their academic path and on ii) 16 in-depth joint interviews with Czech dualcareer academic couples. The analysis shows that academic mobility has a great and significant impact on the family and partnership lives of migrating researchers. For many, especially the partners of migrating researchers, mobility means they have to make many concessions in their private and family lives. I conclude that the impact of academic mobility on people’s partnership lives is highly gendered because couples’ work and family lives are closely intertwined.
Slovak Slavistics has adopted the interdisciplinary research approach based on examining the processes involved in language, literature, history, culture, ethnics and religion. From a scholarly and investigative point of view, Slovak Slavistics is primarily concerned with researching Slovak and Slavic relations, and Slovak and non-Slavic relations. Although Slavistics at home and abroad has been affected by the recession, it maintains its role of accelerating systematic and comprehensive investigation. The priority of Slovak Slavistics, both in a domestic and international context, is to safeguard scholarly outputs and make them available in the competitive international arena. Ensuring continuity in Slavistic research is also important and is not merely a question of prestige, but is also a fundamental means of continually improving the quality of the academic discipline. Internationally recognised Slavistic research is conducted in collaboration with the Ján Stanislav Institute of Slavistics at the Slovak Academy of Sciences. The institute sees modern Slavistics in Slovakia as having currency and exigency. Slovak Slavistic research is indispensable, provides continuity and constitutes an inseparable component of wider Central European and international Slavistic research.
This article attempts to summarize some of the experiences and methodological insights gained from research on non-traditional religious groups that the author has conducted over the last twenty years, primarily in Czech society. The starting point for these studies is respect for the principle that it is not possible to approach the study of religious pluralism and diversity from a single predetermined conceptual framework-religious diversity requires diverse approaches. However, within the diversity approach there exist some common principles such as respect for the religious beliefs of respondents and the elimination of personal stereotypes and ethnocentrism.
Social audits as an empowerment process
Social protection programs have been an important part of development process and planning in India since its Independence. However, after sixty-five years, around one-fourth of its population lives in poverty. Despite a plethora of social protection programs, vulnerable groups among the poor have not been well targeted. However, the recent paradigm shift towards rights-based legislations may have hit the right chord with its self-targeting mechanism. The Right to Work, or the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) provided employment to almost 55 million households and spending nearly 8 billion US dollars in April 2010–March 2011. Participation of women and socially backward groups has been exceptionally high. This paper analyzes the policy provisions, implementation and monitoring mechanism of MGNEGA to argue that policy designs with legal enforceable mechanisms and collaborative governance systems can lead to empowerment of the marginalized sections.
Assisted reproduction (ART), particularly that performed using donated gametes, increases the prospect of healthy babies being delivered to increasing numbers of people striving for parenthood. The psychosocial, ethical and legislative issues related both to the donation and receipt of gametes are perceived as extraordinarily complicated. In 2009, a research project aimed at mapping the issues was drawn up and implemented in the Czech Republic. The project should have provided material for consultation purposes, for the work of ethical and legislative bodies, and for better interdisciplinary and international communication in reproductive medicine. Work on the project was affected by several unforeseen events, particularly by the drafting and adoption of a new law on ART (to which the project was initially to have contributed material once concluded). The article describes the dynamic and structural changes occurring within the project due to drafting of the bill as well as the changes and consequences resulting from other circumstances related to the topic researched.
In the present paper an interpretation of the political dimension of pragmatic aesthetic reflection is proposed. The interconnection between politics and aesthetics in three classic American pragmatists: William James (1842–1910), John Dewey (1859–1952), and George Herbert Mead (1863–1931) is evoked. The author claims that by emphasizing the role of democratic values in philosophy and life, the classic American pragmatists encroach upon the field of the arts and aesthetics. Their emphasis put upon individual activity, free expression of thoughts, plurality of the forms of expression, and acceptance of criticism as a tool helping create better solutions in human cooperation can easily be converted into the postulates about the character of the artistic principles and of the nature of the aesthetic norms and values.
In the field of African philosophy, there exists the belief among the modernists or professional philosophers that gerontocracy is coterminous with authoritarian traditions in traditional Africa which, supposedly, are responsible for the lack of sustained curiosity to look at issues from different perspectives. Drawing from the Ifá literary corpus as a store-house for Yorùbá philosophy, I argue in this paper that gerontocracy in Africa does not construe the idea that the elderly in Africa are rigid in thoughts or have immutable authority which discourages independence of thought. I conclude that the position of the modernists on the supposed manifestation of authoritarianism in Africa derives its continuing force from a conception of philosophy which gives special overtones to the ideas of individuals as opposed to a collectivistic system of thought and the assumption that the multitude cannot produce philosophy.
Though its actual nature and content remain debatable, the importance of love in human relations is indubitable. This paper attempts an exploration of the phenomenon of love in the institution of marriage in Esan traditional culture. It questions the reality or ontology of love or its epistemic content within the said culture. In other words, the question is, is there love in the Esan traditional marriage system? If there is none, then it is an ontological issue. And if there is, with what epistemological framework can it be accessed? To this end, the paper employs what could be regarded as a working definition of love which could include notions such as commitment, care, intimacy, and self-giving. With this understanding, the paper interrogates the doctrine of love among the Esan people and sets out how gender is implicated in the conception of love and marriage in traditional Esan society.
In this paper, I will examine how films recreate memories of resistance and define, both visually and in film narration, the difference between imperial aggressors and local protagonists of resistance. The examples are taken from the Brazilian film Quilombo that describes the resistance of the 17th and 18th century Maroon communities against the onslaught of the Portuguese colonial powers (political and military). Med Hondo’s (Mauretania) Sarraounia deals with the resistance in West Africa against the Jihad of the Sokoto Fulani and the (in)famous French “exploratory” expedition under the command of Voulet. Both films are based on “real” histories as they were generally communicated from the colonialist perspective. And both films present themselves as counter-discursive revisions of history. The analysis in this paper focuses on the visual representation of the resistance heroes, first isolating them from the continuity of film narration in a type of still image, thus emphasizing the contrastive imagology between aggression and resistance. In the second step, aggressors and resistors are examined in terms of how they relate socially to their fellow combatants and to their communities. The obvious difference is that the aggressors have no immediate community to relate to socially or emotionally. Particular emphasis is put on the associative and symbolic meanings of the scenic setting, in which the antagonistic characters are placed.
Photo 2. Matsukaze-Nogami Nogaku Memorial Institute
In this paper the author compares the concept of a Noh play, Matsukaze, with a Slovak altar painting from Košice Cathedral. The article uses Japanese Noh, where stage continuity has been preserved up until the present day, to reconstruct European medieval stage practices reflected in 15th century painting. Referring to the platonic tradition, the second speech represents a corrective to the first, thus legitimizing a sense of passion in the process leading to catharsis, or enlightenment.
This essay draws on comparative ethnographic material from Albania and Italy. It addresses different forms of corruption, arguing that in order to understand the way in which phenomena such as corruption occur and are experienced in any given society, we should contextualize them in the historical and cultural traditions of that specific society. In doing so, however, we should be alert in avoiding falling into the trap of either moral relativism or cultural determinism. The essay suggests that an anthropological analysis of corruption should distinguish between legal rules and social norms. In particular, the empirical study of such norms helps to understand the meanings—both individual and inter-subjective—that actors give to the social and political situation in which they operate.
The vast majority of studies focusing on alcohol consumption among university students are based on US and Canadian samples and employ a quantitative approach. Universities from the US and Canada also have a longer tradition in implementing alcohol policies. The alcohol policies at universities in Slovakia are mostly non-systematic and often not implemented in practice. The objective of this study was to explore Slovak university students’ experiences towards alcohol policy on their campuses using a qualitative approach. Eight focus group discussions were conducted among university students (n=64; 38 female; 2011; Slovakia). The key questions were (1) “Is there a policy concerning alcohol on your campus and what are the consequences of not complying with it?”, and (2) “How should an on-campus alcohol policy be developed and what should it include?” The students knew of few, if any, rules concerning alcohol. Student participation was considered important in policy development and implementation. Slovak universities should be more active in forming alcohol policies. A preventative policy which actively involves students was emphasized as optimal.
The paper provides an account of the pragmatist philosophical conception of reciprocity and altruism based on the ontology of “panrelationalism”. The Deweyan concepts of transaction and cooperation are also outlined in some detail as well as the pragmatist (Rortyan) idea of justice. The author attempts to show that altruism is not necessarily just reciprocal but demands as its supplement (at least) altruism without reciprocation.
Descriptive characteristics of participants
Emotions evoked by Italian colonization before and after reading the evasive text
This study explores the effects of two different kinds of text addressed to young Italian students, which convey past in-group war-crimes either in a detailed or in an evasive way. After completing a first questionnaire (and confirming the social amnesia on these crimes) a sample of Italian university students (number: 103; average age: 21.79) read two versions (factual vs. evasive) of a same historical text on Italian invasion of Ethiopia (1935–36). The results show that participants reading a detailed text feel react more emotionally and feel more involved. However, the more negative reactions linked to the detailed text were also associated to a stronger will to repair intergroup relations with the descendents of ancient victims of the in-group crimes. Positive consequences of negative emotions linked to detailed text that challenge a widespread collective amnesia of war crimes are discussed.
Drawing on historical and contemporary evidence from Great Britain and Italy, this article examines actions that fall under official definitions of corruption and actions that are not illegal but are widely regarded as morally corrupt. As a social anthropologist, I argue that when dealing with the complexity of corruption and abuses of power, we need to identify what aspects of the system encourage or generate illicit practices (illegal and legal) and what aspects could instead generate real change. It is imperative to assess the precise identity of the dividing line between the legitimate and the illegitimate and between the legal and the moral, and to address both the exact relationship of the protagonists in public life to formal law and its production and their perceived legitimacy in the broader society. Empirical evidence suggests that the production of the law must take into account the moralities which inform the definition of legitimacy at the grassroots, for legislation that enjoys such legitimacy is authoritative-therefore effective-legislation, and thus is governance that benefits from and abides by such legislation.
Corruption levels in Bulgaria 1998-2010 Comment: The left-hand scale shows the Nation in Transit corruption scores, which range from 1 (little or no corruption) to 7 (high corruption). The right-hand scale shows Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index, which ranges from 0 (high corruption) to 10 (no corruption). The scale has been reversed for the sake of comparability. Source: Nation in Transit, country reports on Bulgaria 2003-2010 (; Corruption Perception Indexes 1998-2010 (
Electoral results and outcomes of new anti-corruption parties
Corruption levels in Latvia 1998-2010 Comment: The left-hand scale shows the Nation in Transit corruption scores, which range between 1 (little or no corruption) and 7 (high corruption). The right-hand scale shows Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index, which ranges between 0 (high corruption) and 10 (no corruption). The scale has been reversed for the sake of comparability. Source: Nation in Transit, country reports on Latvia 2003-2010 (; Corruption Perception Indexes 1998-2010 (
New anti-corruption parties in government
Niche parties have been increasingly successful during the last 30 years and have accordingly received a lot of scholarly attention. So far most of the focus has been on Green and radical right parties, and to a more limited extent, regional parties. In this paper I analyze the electoral fates and policy outcomes of another type of niche party, namely those focusing on anti-corruption, whose successes culminated during the 2000s. The study is limited to all new parties campaigning on the issue of anti-corruption in Central and Eastern Europe since the fall of the Berlin wall and the questions to be answered are: To what extent are these parties successful in obtaining relevant positions in the government so that they are able to effectively fight corruption? What impact do they have on anti-corruption measures, thereby influencing the level of corruption? How successful are these parties in the elections that follow? In short, to what extent do anticorruption parties matter? Apart from electoral and governmental data, the analysis is based on the Freedom House Nation in Transit annual reports, in which one section deals with the efforts to curb corruption. The results are rather mixed, but indicate that the more influential positions the anti-corruption parties (ACPs) have in government, the better are their anti-corruption performances. That implies that they are serious and competent enough to tackle those issues, despite their newness and lack of experience. Not surprisingly, the incumbent ACPs fare worse than those in opposition in subsequent elections, but quite a few still remain popular. Finally, all but one party abandoned their anti-corruption rhetoric in their second election, which implies that anti-corruption is a different type of issue, compared to the ones used by previous niche parties.
In the past two decades academic and research literature on “corruption” has flourished. During the same period organizations and initiatives fighting against corruption have also significantly expanded, turning “anti-corruption” into a new research subject. However, despite a few exceptions there is a division of labor between scholars who study corruption itself and those who study the global anti-corruption industry. Juxtaposing corruption’s local discourses and anti-corruption international practices, this article is an attempt to bring together these two intertwined research dimensions and explore how an ethnographic approach might contribute to framing them together. Firstly, it describes how corruption in Romania is often conceptualized and explained in terms of national heritage, something related to old and recent cultural history, including traditional folklore. Secondly, it explores how anti-corruption works in practice, focusing on international legal cooperation projects monitoring the progress and shortcomings both prior to and post Romania’s accession to the European Union. Finally, revealing the articulations of these two apparently unrelated research fields, the article argues that corruption’s local explanations and the circular logic of auditing observed within the anti-corruption industry share a common developmental ideology mirroring the crypto-colonialist structure of power relations and dependency among European nation-states emerging out of the Cold War.
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Kirsten Simonsen
  • Roskilde University
Mika Pantzar
  • National Consumer Research Centre
Elizabeth Shove
  • Lancaster University
Stephen Turner
  • University of South Florida
Oludayo Tade
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