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Open Access journal
ISSN (Online) 0121-4705
Published by SciELO [680 journals] [SJR: 0.1] [H-I: 1]
- The EU’s Democratic Deficit and Repeated Referendums in Ireland
Abstract: This analysis tackles the question of whether the democratic deficit in the European Union is associated with repeated referendums—giving voters a second chance to vote “yes” for EU treaties. Looking at repeated referendums in Ireland on the Nice and Lisbon treaties, I argue that, broadly speaking, these referendums failed to give Irish voters the meaningful ability to contest the direction of EU policy or to choose among alternative policy options, an example of how the democratic deficit can endure even when the EU incorporates electoral mechanisms. I first discuss how this theoretical insight is evidenced by five aspects of the Irish referendums. Then, I examine three of these aspects more closely in case studies of the Nice and Lisbon referendums, focusing on how leaders (1) conceptualized the failure of the initial referendums as deriving from voter incomprehension, (2) planned repeated referendums in an additional effort to ratify the treaties, and (3) mobilized “yes” voters through extreme predictions about the consequences of second “no” outcomes. I conclude by discussing socio-economic trends seen from 2003 to 2014 and their implications for issues related to the EU’s democratic deficit.
- Does EU Policymaking Allow for Skilful Networkers But Limited Knowledge
Managers' The Think Tanks’ Tale
Abstract: This article aims to depict how the EU policymaking process affects the knowledge-broker role of EU think tanks. To this end, I examine the organisational and output strategies of 22 EU think tanks—think tanks sharing a EU-transnational origin, an interest in EU subjects, and the intention to contribute to EU policymaking. I argue that certain aspects of EU policymaking, (a) the emphasis on participative processes that foster linkage and exchange activities, (b) concern with stakeholder representatives, (c) development frameworks for knowledge management for particular policy actors, and (d) lack of an overarching European public sphere, affect the knowledge-broker role of EU think tanks. As a result, EU think tanks concentrate on customised knowledge management and platform development and dissemination among target publics in order to appeal to partners, members and sponsors and thereby secure funding and reputation.
- Democratic Representation and the National Dimension in Catalan and Basque
Abstract: This paper contributes to the research strand within empirical democratic theory dedicated to operationalizing representation and measuring levels of responsiveness. It discusses the merits and limits of the criterion of responsiveness for assessing the functioning of representative institutions. It builds on comparative findings about the susceptibility of party hierarchies to capture by relatively privileged segments of society, and on comparative findings about the consequences of policy packaging. It posits these as two crucial mechanisms that help account for the propensity of the democratic arena to become a relatively autonomous, privileged site for the construction of ideological hegemony. Furthermore, it presents original data from an elite survey of members of regional parliaments in Spain to illuminate the role of representative institutions and parties in recent efforts to forge and consolidate a particular type of ideological hegemony—micro-nationalist hegemony—in Catalonia and the Basque Country. It contrasts and explains the political dynamics operative in the two regions, emphasizing the divergent trajectories of left-wing party construction. In so doing, it contributes to the literature on nationalism as well, by honing in on the neglected arena of democratic politics as a critical site where the struggle for the success of nationalist hegemonic projects takes place.
- Culture on the Rise: How and Why Cultural Membership Promotes Democratic
Abstract: Selectively using Tocqueville, many social scientists suggest that civic participation increases democracy. We go beyond this neo-Tocquevillian model in three ways. First, to capture broader political and economic transformations, we consider different types of participation; results change if we analyze separate participation arenas. Some are declining, but a dramatic finding is the rise of arts and culture. Second, to assess impacts of participation, we study more dimensions of democratic politics, including distinct norms of citizenship and their associated political repertoires. Third, by analyzing global International Social Survey Programme and World Values Survey data, we identify dramatic subcultural differences: the Tocquevillian model is positive, negative, or zero in different subcultures and contexts that we explicate.
- Boundary Forms: Calligraphy and the City at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo
Abstract: This article maps the ways that the arts of the brush are being conscripted at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo to define the Chinese state’s vision of an ideal city. Calling them “boundary forms” that support the logic and rationality of the state-promoted urban grid map, it asks how calligraphy and ink painting might also slip through those grid map boundaries toward something invisible and unmappable. The article draws upon Jean-François Lyotard’s conception of ideological practices in the supermodern age of technological reproducibility and takes Cai Guo-Qiang’s concurrent exhibition at the Shanghai Rockbund Museum as an immediate and relevant means of questioning the brush line’s status at the Expo. Rather than demanding a politics of deconstruction or a radical response which would only replicate, or mirror obliquely, the state’s ideological and economic agendas for urban construction and development, the paper considers the fugitive morphologies of ink that prevent it from being reduced to formulaic propaganda and instead open up new ways—inarticulate and idiosyncratically felt—of thinking about and seeing the city.
- The Emergence of a Lumpen-Consumerate: the Aesthetics of Consumption and
Violence in the English Riots of 2011
Abstract: Within hours of the outset of unrest in the August 2011 English Riots, the government asserted that they were the doings of “criminal gangs”. In doing so, government officials and journalistic commentators cited television images of rioting and plundering youths. Although this assertion was subsequently abandoned, it reflected an on-going process: the criminalization of youth in Britain. The recycled images of flames and hooded teenagers came to serve as the proof of youth “gone bad”. This paper explores both the actions supposedly captured in the images depicting the riots and the discourses surrounding the reproduction of those images. It seeks to connect the youth politics of the everyday—especially the problems of being ignored as political subjects—to the formal political structures that rely on youth to be socially unruly on one hand and disciplined consumers on the other. Segments of British youth are cast out, seen as unneeded or unwanted in this disciplinary project and constitute what I call here a “lumpen-consumerate”. The paper concludes with a comparative analysis of the consumer images that both discipline young people and serve as a model for framing the unrest. The paper builds upon Deleuze, Badiou, Bourdieu, Bauman and others in order to examine how spontaneous, uncoordinated action came to be read through mass media spectacle as dismissible and intolerable images of “criminal gangs” to be policed.
- The Politics of Making Demands: Discourses of Urban Exclusion and
Medialized Politics in Sweden
Abstract: In recent years, issues concerning the future of multiethnic Sweden and particularly the situation in multiethnic suburbs have become a salient feature in Swedish politics. One important actor in recent years’ debates about the challenges facing multiethnic Sweden is the Swedish Liberal Party. Since the general election of 2002, the party has gained both publicity and electoral support by focusing on issues of integration of migrants and urban segregation in terms of assimilation and intensified demands targeted at the migrant others. In this article, the party’s developments in the early 2000s in the areas of integration and urban policy are analyzed within the framework of two general processes in contemporary politics: the politics of racialization and the medialization of politics. The party’s interventions in the area of integration and urban policy are built on an intimate as well as complex interplay between racialization and medialization. The agenda articulated by the party, further, has several similarities with the agenda of “authoritarian populist” movements throughout Europe.
- Service Is Not Servitude: Links Between Capitalism and Feminist Liberal
Conceptions of Pleasure—Case Studies from Nicaragua
Abstract: This paper describes how the way in which women learn to serve others (children, the elderly, partners) influences their possibilities of accessing material and symbolic resources, which have been instrumental for the deployment of neoliberal capitalism in Nicaragua. Through the exploration of the work of two feminist organisations, La Corriente and Grupo Venancia, and of the interviews with the women they work with, I trace the direct and more subtle links between sex and neoliberal capitalism, identifiable in the discourse on sexual pleasure that these organisations use when working with women. Building on the work of scholars coming from disciplines as varied as political economy, sociology, feminist economics, gender and sexuality and postcolonial studies, I argue that while this discourse on sexual pleasure does challenge certain elements of the neoliberal capitalist system and brings positive changes to women, it also contains several risks due to its modern and individualistic imperatives, which can actually reinforce capitalist relations and inequalities. These include the risk of validating and universalising certain sexual knowledge, the risk of diminishing and depoliticising the value of service, and that of building the freedom of some women at the expense of others. The paper advocates for a review of the discourse on pleasure and the reclaiming of the concept of ‘service’ as a political stance against neoliberal capitalism.
- “Neoliberalism, Class, Gender and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,
Transgender and Queer Politics in Poland”
Abstract: While the growth of visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) political struggles in Poland, and illiberal neo-populist reactions to the queer presence in public space and the public sphere since 2004 has spawned much academic debate, there has been less critical discussion of LGBTQ politics in relation to class and neoliberalism. This article seeks to make two key contributions to understandings of the relationships between gender, sexuality and political economy. The first is recognition of the tensions and contradictions inherent within practices of neoliberalisation. It is suggested that neoliberalism can be both generative and hostile towards LGBTQ politics. Processes of neoliberalisation produce queer winners and losers, and it is suggested that if sexually progressive alternatives to neoliberalism are to be developed, they need to recognise the tensions and contradictions inherent within processes of neoliberalism. In so doing, the class dimensions of neoliberal sexualities need to be made visible and examined critically. Secondly, it is argued that discussions of classed sexualities are often framed within specific national contexts, and thereby fail to recognise the transnational dimensions of classed sexualities. Discussions of the sexual politics of neoliberalism are often grounded in Anglo-American contexts and sometimes fail to recognise how neoliberal sexualities are framed outside of the West. These two key objectives are addressed by an examination of the economic and class dimensions of contemporary LGBTQ political struggles in Poland—specifically the organisation of marches for equality and tolerance within Polish cities since 2001.
- Gender, Land and Sexuality: Exploring Connections
Abstract: This article explores links between the issues of sexuality and gendered control over agricultural land. It discusses gendered land rights in several settings, concentrating particularly on agrarian and land reforms. I argue that land redistribution in the “household” model, discussed for Chile and Nicaragua, tends to entrench male household and agricultural control. In contrast, more collective forms, discussed for Vietnam, have displayed economic weaknesses but had potential to undercut such control by socialising women’s labour. Fears about and visions of female sexuality have much to do with backlashes against inclusion of women, either through allowing them membership of cooperatives and collectives or through granting rights such as joint titling to land. In sub-Saharan Africa, there currently exists much discussion of improving women’s control over agriculture and its products. These continue to meet opposition, despite female predominance in agriculture in the region. Thus, even though women work on the land in many societies, this does not give them any automatic “closeness” to nature or say within households. Control over women’s, especially wives’, labour within peasant households, is linked to the manner that their persons and their labour are bound up in this socio-economic form. The article also examines two feminist attempts to configure alternative agricultural forms: the case of a lesbian agricultural collective in the west of the USA and an Indian model of new female-centred households for single women. Heterosexuality as an institution and gender subordination more broadly, as the examples here indicate, have to do not only with sexual practices or identity but extend also to issues of labour and access to crucial resources.
- The Precarity of Feminisation
Abstract: Despite women’s increasing participation in the labour market and attempts to transform the traditional gendered division of work, domestic and care work is still perceived as women’s terrain. This work continues to be invisible in terms of the organisation of production or productive value and domestic and care work continues to be unpaid or low paid. Taking domestic and care work as an expression of the feminisation of labour, this article will attempt to complicate this analysis by first exploring a queer critique of feminisation, and second, by situating feminisation within the context of the coloniality of power. Drawing on research conducted in Austria, Germany, Spain and the UK on the organisation of domestic work in private households, the article will conclude with some observations on the interconnectedness of feminisation, heteronormativity and the coloniality of power in the analysis of the expansion of precarity in the EU zone.
- Poly Economics—Capitalism, Class, and Polyamory
Abstract: Academic research and popular writing on nonmonogamy and polyamory has so far paid insufficient attention to class divisions and questions of political economy. This is striking since research indicates the significance of class and race privilege within many polyamorous communities. This structure of privilege is mirrored in the exclusivist construction of these communities. The article aims to fill the gap created by the silence on class by suggesting a research agenda which is attentive to class and socioeconomic inequality. The paper addresses relevant research questions in the areas of intimacy and care, household formation, and spaces and institutions and advances an intersectional perspective which incorporates class as nondispensable core category. The author suggests that critical research in the field can stimulate critical self-reflexive practice on the level of community relations and activism. He further points to the critical relevance of Marxist and Postmarxist theories as important resources for the study of polyamory and calls for the study of the contradictions within poly culture from a materialist point of view.
- The Intersections of Class, Gender, Sexuality and ‘Race’: The
Political Economy of Gendered Violence
Abstract: This article focuses on rethinking the intersectional approach towards a greater framing within the new political economy and particularly concerns itself with the ways such an approach can contribute to theorising various manifestations of gendered violence. The article examines a range of different forms of violence and reflects on how an intersectional framing can inform our understanding better. Some of the intersectional dimensions to domestic violence, rape and sexual assault, honour-based crimes and trafficking are discussed.
- lntroduction: Special Issue on “Gender, Sexuality and Political
- Vietnam Rising Dragon: Contesting Dominant Western Masculinities in Ho Chi
Minh City's Global Sex Industry
Abstract: Scholars have produced a substantial body of literature on the lives of female sex workers in the commercial sex industry in developed and developing countries around the world. This literature on heterosexual relations has focused overwhelmingly on the experiences of female sex workers, neglecting to examine the significance of male clients (Chapkis 1997; Prasad Sociological Perspectives 42(2):181–213, 1999; Weitzer Annual Review of Sociology, 35(1), 213–234, 2009). The limited studies that do address male clients focus exclusively on Western men who participate in romance or sex tours. No study has examined sex work as a site for the performance and production of specific masculinities for the increasing number of local, non-Western, business elites in the new global economy. Drawing on 15 months of ethnographic research conducted between 2009 and 2010 and informal interviews with 25 clients, 25 sex workers, and three madams in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, I illustrate how local Vietnamese and Asian businessmen enact their masculinity in relation to other men through the medium of hard cash. Local elites' participation in local hostess bars allows them to capitalise on Vietnam's rapid economic restructuring in the context of the 2008 global economic crisis in order to assert their place as major players in the world order. In doing so, wealthy local Vietnamese and Asian businessmen deconstruct dominant Western ideals to assert their place in the global order.
- Security Dimension of Post-conflict Recovery: Nepal's Experience in
Disarmament and Demobilisation of People's Liberation Army Fighters
Abstract: Disarmament and demobilisation of ex-combatants often involve politicised sequence of activities, and, in turn, they can affect national and local politics and the peace process in question in one way or other. Understanding the interface between transitional politics, and disarmament and demobilisation of ex-combatants is, therefore, vital to explore scope and limitation of how ex-combatants are managed as part of post-conflict recovery in a post-conflict society. Building on this proposition, this paper investigates the impacts of transitional politics to disarmament and demobilisation (D&D) of the Maoist ex-combatants as part of management of the Maoist arms and armies in Nepal. Analysing how a consensus-based political culture between major political parties, including the Maoists, which was a driving force behind the peace negotiation, deteriorated over time, and further exploring strategic needs and interests of key political actors towards D&D, this paper shows that disarmament of the Maoists People's Liberation Army followed a “blanket disarmament” approach which had limitations to fully disarm the force. Similarly, demobilisation process appeared to be encampment of the force rather than complete demobilisation. This paper warns that faulty disarmament and demobilisation in Nepal can have serious security implications in future.
- The Constrained Role of the Muslim Chaplain in French Prisons
Abstract: The article explores the situation of Muslims in French prisons. It shows the lines of fracture between the Muslim chaplains on one hand, the authorities, and some Muslim groups on the other. Formalized Muslim chaplaincy in French prisons has limited effectiveness in keeping in check radicalization in prison, due to structural obstacles and due to the emergence of new groups of Muslim prisoners, the Salafists, who develop a version of Islam that most of the time is out of tune with that of the imams in prison.
- Imams and Inmates: Is Islamic Prison Chaplaincy in the Netherlands a Case
of Religious Adaptation or of Contextualization'
Abstract: This article explains the development of Islamic chaplaincy in the Dutch prison system and explores the challenges which the institution of Islamic chaplaincy entailed for the secular institutions and the involved Muslim community. The analysis is guided by two dimensions: adaptation and contextualization in order to describe how the religious praxis changes under specific juridical, institutional, and political circumstances.
- Institutional Resistance to Religious Diversity in Prisons: Comparative
Reflections Based on Studies in Eastern Germany, Italy and Switzerland
Abstract: This article explores the way in which prison institutions resist to religious diversity in three national contexts: Italy, Germany and Switzerland. The author observes a phenomenon which contributes to this resistance and that she calls ‘institutional neutralisation of Christianity’. Although they are secular state institutions, prisons’ profound Christian heritage impacts at a variety of levels beyond their chaplaincies. With the help of Durkheim’s and Foucault’s contributions on punishment, the author identifies in the punishment–rehabilitation complex a mediator of this Christian heritage contributing to its institutional neutralisation. An illustration of these theoretical insights by empirical observation concludes the article.