In honour of Adam Zagajewski receiving the Jean Améry Prize for European essay writing, we publish Zagajewski's defence of ardour. That is, true ardour, which doesn't divide but unifies; and leads neither to fanaticism nor to fundamentalism. [Lithuanian version added]
Controversies over Muslims refusing to shake hands with non-Muslims are typical of the conflicts affecting today's multi-religious societies. Appeals to the law are not the answer: processes of social self-regulation need to take their course beyond formal authority, argues Milo Vec.
Legal transnationalization takes place as different paces, setting human rights against trade and property protections, argues social anthropologist Shalini Randeria. The instrumentatilization of solidarity by nascent ethno-nationalism must be resisted at the political not the legal level.
Solidarity in liberal democracies is pluralistic, argues political scientist Ira Katznelson; it allows particularities of time and place while satisfying a widely held human interest. Democracy, too, takes a variety of forms and is best measured by historical standards.
Russian hackers were able to interfere in the US election not because of Internet technology as such, but because of public receptivity to anti-establishment messages. Journalists Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan argue that distrust in traditional media provides fertile ground for Russian disinformation.
When Russian NGOs resisted the law obliging them to declare themselves as foreign agents, the Ministry of Justice began to blacklist them itself. One such group is the Women of the Don Union, whose operations have been paralysed by a criminal investigation into its director Valentina Cerevatenko.
The migration crisis has triggered a shift in politics away from an ethics of ultimate ends to an ethic of responsibility, the question of the "we" to whom we owe solidarity reappearing in pre-political concepts like ethnicity and national culture. David Abraham, Claus Offe and Slawomir Sierakowski discuss the rise of rightwing populism in Europe and the US.
In a 'flat world' and with global interconnectedness, there is no longer a place for the sovereign right of national 'non-inteference', argues Ulrike Guérot. Europe must begin thinking about 'network democracy', in which social cohesion is organized beyond borders.
Loss of interest in what Russia can offer external markets threatens to turn a rich autocracy into a poor autocracy. In the "brave new world" of post-deficit and post-work, zones of low consumption threaten to become zones of violence.
Expressions of solidarity with refugees can conceal essentialism and condescension based on citizenship, class and religion. Governments' flagrant neglect of responsibilities entailed by use of the 'we' reveals the aporias of a solidarity founded in national belonging, argues Suzana Milevska.
Russia has been described as the second largest country of immigration after the US. Until recently, however, both host society and immigrants were part of the same political and cultural community. This process of "othering" affects different groups in different ways.
The so-called "agents law" passed in 2012 has been ramped up since the revolution in Ukraine, making it practically impossible for NGOs receiving financial support from abroad to function. Whether it remains possible to advocate for democratic values in Russia depends on political decision-making both in Russia and the West.
The new Cold War is a dead end in the labyrinth of world history, writes Achim Engelberg. It cannot resolve current contradictions in Russia, Ukraine or elsewhere. So what are the alternatives for upholding democracy, an independent Ukraine and peace in Europe?
The refugee crisis has re-opened the gap between East and West. What Europe is witnessing today is not what Brussels describes as a lack of solidarity, but a clash of solidarities: national, ethnic and religious solidarity, writes Ivan Krastev. [Russian version added]
Recent cuts in higher education spending fuels the commodification of knowledge, the precarization of academic work, and de-solidarization within the scienitific community. Slovenian ethnomusicologist Ana Hofman talks about neoliberalism and higher education.
Varlik discusses emergency and self-censorship; Blätter interviews Jürgen Habermas about the task of the Left; Vikerkaar shines the light on reactionary populism; Merkur considers citizenship still the best guarantee of freedom; Transit honours Charles Taylor; Multitudes enters the shared world of refugee camps; springerin examines the aporias of solidarity; Esprit addresses France's prison problem; Kulturos barai talks about neoliberal higher education policy in central Europe; Wespennest goes back to the USSR; and Glänta tours Retrotopia.
There is a no-man's-land between European post-democracy and national democracy that largely consists of grand coalitions of the political centre. It is here that European populism is flourishing and will continue to do so. Ulrike Guérot offers a corrective. [Estonian version added]
Russian society avoids taking legal responsibility for Soviet crimes through a quasi-religious sense of repentance. Society can only break the vicious cycle of depersonalized guilt when it accepts its own historical failure to resist totalitarianism. [German version added]
Trump's win was far from unpredictable: the Clinton campaign failed to take popular resentment seriously. Whether or not Trump follows up on all of his many election promises, more conflict can be expected.
Hawk or dove? Donald Trump's synthesis of populist isolationism and nationalist triumphalism produces an erratic and unpredictable stance on America's international role. The foreign policies of populist precedents provide clues as to how Trump thinks about the rest of the world.