2017

24 May

Reproductive Autonomy

The dimensions, scope and limits of reproductive autonomy remain largely uncharted. Nevertheless, besides the traditional rights of freedom from state intervention in human reproduction and of access to contraception and pregnancy termination, the debate on international and constitutional law in this area suggests that there is also a right to fulfil the wish for a …
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22 May

Is Western Democracy Slipping Away?

In 1989, we were all very optimistic about the expansion of democracy; but now we have the opposite fear: is it contracting? I want to look at democracy in its long-established Western heartland; what is threatening it? Charles Taylor is Professor em. of Philosophy at McGill University, Montreal, and a Permanent Fellow at the IWM, Vienna. …
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18 May

Europe and Austria: The Shape of the Future?

Europe is changing. Looking outwards, it has to operate increasingly as a global player; looking inwards, it needs to counter the centrifugal tendencies of some of its member states by strengthening regional cooperations. For a small country like Austria, the latter are crucial, but many neighbouring countries’ internal developments are putting a strain on their …
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17 May

From Little Russia to Ukraine

The idea of Ukraine as a European nation was first formulated in the late 18th century within the Russian Empire. But to become a modern nation, Ukrainians had not only to secede from the Russian Empire, but also to break away from Poland, which, despite its loss of independence in the partitions (1772-1795), remained the dominant …
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16 May

Grabbed by the Pussy

Despite the moral justifications voiced by medical professionals, obstetrics was and still is designed in a biopolitically driven fashion that conquers its subjects hospitalization,discipline regimes and a variety of legal ties. This condition is rooted in the three centuries of history of obstetrics in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, and has a lot to do with the …
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10 May

“New Wars” and the Human Condition

In recent decades, there has been an increasing recognition among historians and political scientists concerning the advent of new configurations of warfare, commonly referred to as the New Wars. This concept registers a pervasive transformation in warfare that decisively breaks with traditional understandings of war: On the one hand, the implementation of advanced technological means …
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10 May

New Wars as a Social Condition

Building on her longstanding and groundbreaking research on the “New Wars”, this lecture by Mary Kaldor will explain that the difference between old and new wars is not empirical but conceptual. New wars have a different logic from old wars. Old wars  (both inter-state wars and classic civil wars) can be analysed in Clausewitzean terms …
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08 May

Heine’s Pantheism

Heinrich Heine’s pantheism brought together identification with sensual antiquity, irreverence toward institutional religion, an original outlook on German philosophy, and a radically modern literary sensibility. In the wake of the “pantheism controversy” of 1785-9, like several of his predecessors, Heine identified Baruch Spinoza’s philosophy with pantheism in the sense of God as nature, the “absolute” …
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27 Apr

Hopes and Fears for the Internet

The internet as a social phenomenon is interpreted and exploited in different ways, from an empowering technology to a source of new threats to privacy. It is seen by researchers as a technology with many stakeholders. Plenty of people are engaged with it in one way or another, but no one completely understand its nature. The contemporary internet …
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26 Apr

Sphere of Influence III

Populist revolt within countries has its complement in a populist revolt against the liberal, rules-based international order, which is driven by three revisionist powers – China, Russia, Iran – that have rich histories as civilizations, empires that once extended well beyond their current size, a powerful sense of historic entitlement and of historic grievance.  Today …
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