Extraordinary Times

Extraordinary Times

Junior Visiting Fellows’ Conferences, Vol. XI
IWM, Vienna 2001 [Published on the Web]

Edited by: Stephen Dawson, Jyoti Mistry, Thomas Schramme and Michael Thurman

Contributions by: Jeremy D. Bailey, David W. Bollert, Ulrich Brinkmann, Stephen Dawson, Urte Helduser, Jaroslaw Kilias, Jyoti Mistry, Inna Naletova, Karel Novotny, Thomas Schramme, Michael Thurman, Adrian Tokar, Veronika Wittmann

Introduction

Acknowledgements

Is the Nation Really a Horizontal Community of Direct Access?

Benedict Anderson’s concept of the nation as a political “imagined community” is well known. He defined it as an entity imagined in a categorial way, as a community of compatriots who, as members of the community, possessed basically equal status. According to the British anthropologist, it is conceived as one community among many other, similar ones, and it serves as a main source of a political identity of its members. Anderson’s concept has achieved unprecedented popularity among scholars...
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Something Happened. Sovereignty and European Integration.

The purpose of this study is to show, as its title suggests, that something happened to the notion of sovereignty in Europe after the creation and development of what is now the European community and European Union. There is some important development under way that does not allow us to look at sovereignty of EU member states the same way we would do if there were no integration. This includes mainly the abolition of internal frontiers, the creation of a supranational legal system and the introduction of the concept of a European citizenship...
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The Nature of Nations. The Duch Challenge to Modernization Accounts of National Identity

The purpose of this paper is to show that modernization accounts of national identity, although common, cannot in fact explain where such identity comes from. While nationalism is a uniquely modern phenomenon, I argue that there is nothing inherent within the process of becoming modern, that is state-building and the development of capitalism and industrialization, which necessitates the emergence of national identity. I make my point by testing the modernization paradigm both theoretically and empirically...
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The Republican Executive. Thomas Jefferson and the Development of Presidential Power

Thomas Jefferson was the first president to bring to the office a theory of executive power. By examining Jefferson’s constitutional thought and his presidential administration with an eye to is understanding of executive power, this paper aims to modify current interpretations of the creation and development of presidential power. Jefferson’s theory of the Executive rests on three connected principles...
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The Constitution and Public Virtue. Silence by Design.

Public virtue is lauded by a spectrum of eighteenth-century Americans as the foundation for self-government. In the eighteenth century, public virtue commonly denoted the willingness of individuals to sacrifice private interest for the common good or for the good of the community in the name of patriotism or out of love of country. While the best structural arrangements of republican government might temper the necessity for virtue, no government could afford to dispense with it altogether. The Founders further agreed that public virtue could not be considered
apart from organized religion, eschewing the argument made famous by Bernard Mandeville that “private vices make public virtues.”...
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Orthodoxy and Gnosticism in Russia. The conflict between the Orthodox Church and American missionary groups in the post-Soviet Russia

This essay is a reflection on the religious situation in contemporary Russia, and it is based on the writings of Eric Voegelin, Harold Bloom and Nikolay Berdyaev. In his Science, Politics and Gnosticism, Eric Voegelin interpreted some modern mass movements, including Marxism and communism, as variants of ancient gnosticism. A similar view, only in application to religion in America, was defended by Harold Bloom in his American Religion: The Emergence of Post-Christian Nation. Although Nikolay Berdyaev did not write on gnosticism specifically, his study of the religious roots of the Russian Communism can be seen as an analysis of the development of gnostic tendencies in the Russian society of the past century. This essay applies the insights of these scholars to the religious situation in contemporary Russia and presents the conflict between American Protestant missionaries and the Russian Orthodox Church as the clash between two different religious temperaments, two different belief systems, which had a long history of turbulent coexistence in Russia: the Russian Orthodoxy and the Russian (sectarian) form of gnosticism.
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Chances, Risks and Perspectives of Gender-related NGO Activities within the Transformation Process of the South African Society

The issue of culture is a complex one mostly because it is a slippery term, malleable, morphing, growing and developing expansively, embracing all the facets of our existence, thus constantly denying any fixed mark. To speak of culture only as an abstract concept, is to deny the nature of its tangibility, the trace-abilities of its inscription, from the high brow delineations of art to the daily rituals of our existence. Paintings, film, music, fashion to the work spaces we inhabit, the food we choose to buy and the places we consume it reflect on the expansive nature of this term, not just as an idea constructed but as a construction which circumscribes us...
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Conditions of Cultural Production in Post-apartheid South Africa

The issue of culture is a complex one mostly because it is a slippery term, malleable, morphing, growing and developing expansively, embracing all the facets of our existence, thus constantly denying any fixed mark. To speak of culture only as an abstract concept, is to deny the nature of its tangibility, the trace-abilities of its inscription, from the high brow delineations of art to the daily rituals of our existence. Paintings, film, music, fashion to the work spaces we inhabit, the food we choose to buy and the places we consume it reflect on the expansive nature of this term, not just as an idea constructed but as a construction which circumscribes us...
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“Unfruchtbarkeit” als Pathologie der Moderne um 1900

In seinem 1891 erschienenen Buch "Das sexuelle Problem in Leben und Kunst" diskutiert der Schriftsteller und Literaturkritiker Leo Berg die Rolle des Weiblichen in der modernen Literatur am Beispiel der Frauenfiguren in den Dramen Henrik Ibsens. Sein Hauptaugenmerk richtet sich auf die Figur der Nora, die in dem gleichnamigen Drama (1879) Ehemann und Kinder verlässt, um zu ‚sich selbst zu finden‘: „Vertritt Nora die Natur, ist Nora natürlich?"....
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“Zwischen Baum und Borke”: Rollenkonflikte betrieblicher Akteure in der ostdeutschen Transformation

Sieht man von einzelnen prominenten Fallbeispielen ab, verlief der Prozess der betrieblichen Transformation eher fern der Schlagzeilen. Aus einer – trotz vieler instruktiver Studien zur Transformation – immer noch erstaunlich weit verbreiteten Unkenntnis dieser Vorgänge resultiert nicht selten auch ein Unverständnis für die handelnden Akteure in den früheren Volkseigenen Betrieben (VEB). Nachfolgend sollen deshalb die Fragen aufgeworfen und anhand empirischen Materials beantwortet werden, wie sich die innerbetrieblichen Akteure nach 1989 herausbildeten, woran sie anknüpfen konnten und inwiefern sie handlungsfähig wurden...
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Geschichte Europas als Problem. Jan Patockas doppeldeutiges Verhältnis zum Geist Europas.

Als Patocka am Anfang der 70er Jahre über die aktuelle Situation seiner Gegenwart reflektierte, kritisierte er einerseits einen Europozentrismus der Philosophie, den er sowohl in der Phänomenologie Edmund Husserls als auch im Marxismus fand, andererseits versuchte er eine Philosophie der Geschichte zu entwerfen, die jedoch durch ihren latenten Hegelianismus einen sogar expliziten Europozentrismus hervorbringt...
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Tainted Humanity. The Dilemma of Military Interventions

Everytime I discussed or even fought with friends about the Kosovo-War of the NATO, a paralysing undecidedness befell me. Why was it so hard to take a definite attitude of consent or rejection towards this operation. In a certain way, my paper is an attempt to show the ethical problem, which underlies this indecision. I’m still uncertain about a conclusive moral evaluation Humanitarian Interventions (HI) in general – though I’m now more confident to give a verdict about the Kosovo-War –, because I think that the situations where a HI is considered, i.e. where there is a great amount of suffering which can only be ended by military means, confronts us with a moral dilemma....
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Plato and Wonder

The observation that philosophy is grounded in wonder, thaumazein, is part of the Platonic legacy which has been adopted and appropriated by thinkers as diverse as Aristotle, Hegel, Kierkegaard, and Heidegger. More contemporary thinkers, such as John Llewelyn and R.W. Hepburn, have also sought to come to a deeper understanding of Plato’s declaration, as found in the Theaetetus, that wonder is the arche or beginning of philosophy. Most thinkers who come to grips with Platonic wonder focus on one dialogue alone, namely the Theaetetus, and such a focus is understandable inasmuch as this dialogue contains Plato’s explicit linking of philosophy and thaumazein. In this paper, however, I would like to raise a question which does not receive a great deal of attention in the secondary literature: is there room for anastonishment which has as its focus that which is uniquely human?
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