Bjorn Thomassen

Bjorn Thomassen
Roskilde University · Department of Society and Globalisation (ISG)

About

74
Publications
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Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (74)
Article
Full-text available
This article throws light on a crucial, yet overlooked, aspect of global entanglements that significantly came to shape modern politics: the global spread of Catholic ideas that, from the late nineteenth century and through the twentieth century, became translated into various political platforms and, eventually, into Christian Democratic parties....
Article
This article analyses the case of Italy and how the memory of World War II came to provide the ground for political legitimacy and the ideological foundations of post-war democracy. It focuses on the topos of the Resistance against Fascism as a ‘second Risorgimento’, e.g. a national and patriotic war of liberation supported by the entire populace....
Book
Cambridge Core - Anthropological Theory - From Anthropology to Social Theory - by Arpad Szakolczai
Article
This article argues that two important thinkers of the 20th century, Gregory Bateson (1904–80) and Eric Voegelin (1901–85), developed a set of ideas that are of importance to the history of the human sciences. The article also argues that their ideas are, in essential ways, comparable and display similarities that have not yet been discussed within...
Article
This article is a translation of Arnold van Gennep’s “Review of É. Durkheim, Les Formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse,” Mercure de France 101 (374) (January 16, 1913): 389–91; reprinted in Chroniques de folklore d'Arnold van Gennep, 1905–1949 (texts collected and introduced by J. M. Privat), 92–95, Paris: Éditions du CTHS., 2001.The introductor...
Article
This article argues that one can analyze revolutions as ritual passages, as spatial and temporal liminality. In most Arab countries that experienced radical upheavals and revolutionary dynamics during and after 2011, people may feel ‘stuck in liminality.’ The aftermath of revolutions is what Arnold van Gennep termed the phase of re-aggregation and...
Article
The Risorgimento was the process of independence and unification of the Italian nation between 1848 and 1860, and has remained a powerful symbol of Italian politics ever since. Elaborating on Jan Assmann’s concept of cultural memory, the article discusses the Risorgimento at crucial moments in twentieth-century Italian politics: the 1911 anniversar...
Article
This article provides an anthropologically inspired analysis of the Maidan protest movement in Ukraine. We argue that the uprisings involved all essential features of liminality: a dramatic situation marked by volatility, ambivalence, and potentiality that led to the embryonic formation of a communitas. The article describes how protesters met and...
Article
This introductory article situates Arnold van Gennep's review of Émile Durkheim's The elementary forms of the religious life. It does so by relating the review to van Gennep's much-neglected endeavor to establish methodological foundations for the emerging social sciences in the early twentieth century, in open contrast to Durkheim and the Durkhemi...
Article
Full-text available
Denne artikel skitserer Kierkegaards indflydelse på sociologien i det 20. århundrede. Med udgangspunkt i den ungarske sociolog Arpad Szakolczais metodiske begreb om sociologiens ”baggrundsfigurer”, argumenteres det, at Kierkegaard ofte har udøvet en ”skjult”, men afgørende indflydelse på en lang række tænkere inden for den klassiske sociologi, såso...
Article
Mask-wearing political protests have been global front page news for several years now; yet, almost no literature exists which attempts to engage the symbolic density and ritual role played by such mask-wearing acts. We argue that mask-wearing has political potentiality which relates to deeper-lying anthropological features of mask-wearing. The pow...
Article
Full-text available
Det var den bedste tid, det var den værste tid; det var visdommens århundrede, det var dårskabens århundrede; det var troens periode, det var vantroens periode; det var lysets tid, det var mørkets tid; det var håbets vår, det var fortvivlelsens vinter; vi havde alt i vente, vi havde intet i vente; vi gik alle lige ind i Himlen, vi gik alle den mods...
Article
This article analyzes the Catholic contribution to the Italian republican and democratic Constitution of 1948. It focuses on the specific way – inspired by Catholic social philosophy – in which the Italian citizen became symbolically coded as a ‘person’ and not as an ‘individual’. The Catholic project for the new Constitution had a considerable imp...
Article
This article engages the so far neglected intellectual dispute between Emile Durkheim and Arnold van Gennep. It revisits the most salient points of van Gennep’s critique of Durkheim’s sociology, especially as relates to the study of religion. In this context, the article also discusses the possible influence of van Gennep’s work on Marcel Mauss. Th...
Article
This article engages with the thought of Augusto Del Noce (1910–1989), the most important Italian Catholic philosopher and political thinker of the 20th century. The focus is on how Del Noce came to elaborate a Catholic ‘modernity,’ bridging a positive encounter between Catholicism, democracy and freedom. This philosophical project had a considerab...
Chapter
Liberalism is not an Italian invention, far from it. Such a claim to Italian primacy within political thought is possible to attribute to other ‘-isms’, as we shall indeed argue in our subsequent discussions of Catholic, Fascist, and Socialist modernities. Not only is modern liberal thought not Italian, in many ways, liberal ideology in twentieth-c...
Chapter
The twenty-year period from 1948 to 1968 was one of relative stability for Italy. The competing modernities of Communism and Christian Democracy described in the previous chapter developed in some sort of antagonistic harmony, and within an institutional (and constitutional) framework that was recognized by everyone. Governments kept changing, but...
Chapter
Fascism is an Italian invention. It is an Italian word, an Italian ideology, Italy’s gift to the entire world—so Mussolini liked to see it—a unique, progressive model of modernization. This chapter will discuss how Fascism tried to come to grips with Italy’s road to modernity through the reinterpretation of the national past and the elaboration of...
Chapter
As we have argued in the opening chapter, Italian political thought and cultural identity is best analyzed within a theoretical framework of multiple and competing modernities. Approaching modernity as a more open-ended ‘interpretative space’ also—and significantly—implies to engage the both open and hidden interconnections and tensions between rel...
Chapter
If Liberals had struggled to carve out an Italian particularity on the road to political modernity, mainly with reference to the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, and if Catholics had started their own elaboration of an antirevolutionary modernity grounded in Christianity and Italian history, then Italian socialists from the early twentieth...
Chapter
France had its political revolution. England had its industrial revolution. Italy had neither. But Italy had history. And from that history repeated attempts were made to articulate a culture-specific pathway to the modern. This happened as a constant negotiation over nationhood, attempting to define the ‘soul’ of the country. But it also happened...
Chapter
The study of Italian political history is a privileged prism for the unfolding of alternative and sometimes competing modernities. The figurations of political thought and culture that emerged in twentieth-century Italy can be seen as a microcosm of Europe’s twentieth-century age of ideologies. To think about Italy less as a latecomer to modernity...
Chapter
Italy emerged from WWII as it had done from the nineteenth-century unification process and the Great War: deeply split and profoundly uncertain of its identity and future. Amid the wreckage of the Fascist regime and the visceral anger directed at those deemed responsible for the catastrophe—as the scene in Piazzale Loreto epitomized, with the bodie...
Article
This book argues that Italy represents a privileged entry point into the comparative analysis of ideologies and experiences of modernity. The book compares how thinkers and politicians belonging to different ideological clusters - Liberalism, Communism, Fascism, Chistian Democracy - came to formulate multiple and often antagonistic visions of Italy...
Chapter
Any visitor to the picturesque Umbrian town of Spoleto, elegantly tossed against the Apennine foothills, will eventually find him or herself in front of the Cathedral of Saint Mary Assumption. Before entering, it is impossible not to contemplate the façade. The most striking feature of the upper façade is certainly the portrait of Christ giving a B...
Chapter
In the first half of the twentieth century, Liberalism, Catholicism, Socialism–Communism, and Fascism had developed as different articulations of a shared attempt to outline a particular Italian road to modernity. In so doing, these major-isms and ideological–social forces had laid the ground for wildly different narratives about the ‘soul’ of the...
Article
In this article, I argue that begging and beggary represents and must be analyzed through a twofold prism: as an economic exchange taking place at the margins but amply within the structures of the market economy and as a social relationship and cultural exchange that, due exactly to its in-between liminal nature, touches upon and generate central...
Book
Liminality has the potential to be a leading paradigm for understanding transformation in a globalizing world. As a fundamental human experience, liminality transmits cultural practices, codes, rituals, and meanings in situations that fall between defined structures and have uncertain outcomes. Based on case studies of some of the most important cr...
Article
This article reviews Hans Kelsen's mysterious and recently published last book, contextualizing it with reference to the little known dialogue between Kelsen and Eric Voegelin. The confrontation between Kelsen and Voegelin, two of the most illustrious émigré scholars who found a new home in America, is important to revisit because it touches upon s...
Article
This book provides the history and genealogy of an increasingly important subject: Liminality. Coming to the fore in recent years in social and political theory and extending beyond is original use as developed within anthropology, liminality has come to denote spaces and moments in which the taken-for-granted order of the world ceases to exist and...
Article
Is 21st-century Rome a global city? Is it part of Europe's core or periphery? This volume examines the "real city" beyond Rome's historical center, exploring the diversity and challenges of life in neighborhoods affected by immigration, neoliberalism, formal urban planning, and grassroots social movements. The contributors engage with themes of con...
Article
This article argues that anthropology may represent untapped perspectives of relevance to social theory. The article starts by critically reviewing how anthropology has come to serve as the 'Other' in various branches of social theory, from Marx and Durkheim to Parsons to Habermas, engaged in a hopeless project of positing 'primitive' or 'tradition...
Article
We live in a period heavily, and perhaps uniquely, characterised by a popular and political focus on crime. In taking up the invitation to contribute to this special issue, this article is intended as a reflection on the question: what can an anthropological contribution be to the question of political crimes? The reflection consists of three inter...
Article
This article will situate Durkheim's work by revisiting two debates that influenced his attempt to define and give direction to sociology and anthropology: the debates between Durkheim and Gabriel Tarde and the debates between Durkheim and Arnold van Gennep. The battle between Tarde and Durkheim has in recent years been the object of several confer...
Article
While resistance and rebellion have remained core themes in anthropology at least since the 1960s, anthropologists have paid much less attention to the study of political revolutions as real historical events. Yet there are compelling real-world reasons why they should orient their analytical apparatus and ethnographic efforts towards revolutionary...
Article
This article argues that we must abandon the still predominant view of modernity as based upon a separation between the secular and the religious - a “separation” which is allegedly now brought into question again in “postsecularity”. It is more meaningful to start from the premise that religion and politics have always co-existed in various fields...
Article
This article provides a critical review of the multiple modernities paradigm used in anthropology today. The article also indicates how the work of anthropologists intersects with social theory and historical sociology. It will be argued that by pointing to multiple or alternative modernities in attempts to ‘liberate’ modernity from its Eurocentric...
Article
Italian political and public debate since the ‘earthquake years’ 1992–1994 has to a very high degree focused on the country's identity, on the notion of ‘nation’ and how to interpret it, and on the country's historical past and how to link it meaningfully to the (political) present. It has been less recognized that the crisis of the party political...
Article
This article suggests a need to link the anthropological debate of multiple modernities more closely to Weberian social theory, elaborated among others by Shmul Eisenstadt and Eric Voegelin. This implies readdressing the question concerning the anthropological contribution to the understanding of modernity, forcing a link to historical-social theor...
Article
The sudden collapse of the Cold War undermined many of the analytical paradigms within the discipline of International Relations, leading in the early 1990s to a scramble for a new metatheoretical framework with which to explain and conceptualize world politics. Among the forefront of these was the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ thesis proffered by Samue...
Article
Full-text available
The article turns to classical economic insights on the division of labor and to institutional reasoning to identify some costs and benefits of Open Source Software (OSS) and proprietary software production. It suggests that, thanks to its licenses, OSS favors market expansion more than proprietary software does by tapping into spontaneous work inp...
Article
Full-text available
We summarize Francis Fukuyama’s State Building: Governance and World Order in the Twenty-first Century (London, Profile Books, 2005)and explore the limits of its arguments. State Building is a book with a very wide scope that essentially tries to “ground” and expand the fields of political science and international relations with insights from the...
Article
The Risorgimento was the process of independence and unification of the Italian nation between 1848 and 1860. It remained a powerful symbol of Italian political discourse ever since. However during the 20th century the symbolic value and the historical interpretation of the Risorgimento underwent a series of transformations that this paper wishes t...
Article
This article offers perspectives on Italy in the post-war period as seen from its bor- der to Yugoslavia, and as seen from the life experience of an 'ordinary woman' and her family from Istria. These perspectives will be reconstructed by telling the life story of one Italian-Istrian exile who left Yugoslavia for Italy after the Second World War and...

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