Back to the Postindustrial Future: An Ethnography of Germany’s Fastest-Shrinking City
Interpretations of historic events are an important part of the contemporary political discourse in the EU countries. Politics of memory have become a key issue in identity politics in “new” Europe in the process of nation building and are on the rise in “old” Europe where nation-states, regions aspiring for autonomy and supranational structures promote diverse historic narratives. Attempts to bring together and reconcile different interpretations of the past in school textbooks are undertaken on the EU level and sponsored by several member states. The leader here is Germany, a country where politics of memory are an inherent part of the political discourse. A revision of national“big narratives” and attempts to take in positions of various groups of the contemporary multicultural societies is a phenomenon of the 21st century. A persistent need for effective mechanisms to maintain social stability is enhanced by mass discontent over the prospects of the European integration process and by a rise of “new nationalism” in some of the better off regions of “old” Europe. Education plays a key role in the formation of the European memory culture, but a consensus on values needed to promote a shared culture is undermined by the current difficulties of integration processes due to Brexit and to contention over migration regulation. This brings in diverse and sometimes non-compatible priorities of memory politics onto the national agenda (as in the case of Catalonia and Spain), and the “struggle for identity” becomes a key political issue for communities aspiring for more autonomy and independence. Opinion polls, questionnaire surveys, school curricula and expert assessments of textbook contents provide the empirical basis for this study. The author demonstrates how reinterpretations of history and newly constructed images of the past are used to reconsider the governance agenda and to legitimize “new nationalism” in the European public opinion.
After the imperial land consolidation acts of 1906, the Russian land commune became a center of territorial struggle where complex alliances of actors, strategies, and representations of territory enacted land enclosure beyond the exclusive control of the state. Using original documentation of Russian imperial land deals obtained in the federal and municipal archives, this study explores how the Russian imperial state and territories in the periphery were dialectically co-produced not only through institutional manipulations, educational programs, and resettlement plans but also through political and public discourses. This paper examines how coalitions of landed nobility and land surveyors, landless serfs, and peasant proprietors used enclosure as conduits for property violence, accumulation of capital, or, in contrast, as a means of territorial autonomy. Through this example, I bring a territorial dimension into Russian agrarian scholarship by positioning the rural politics of the late imperial period within the global context of capitalist land enclosure. At the same time, by focusing on the reading of territory from the Russian historical perspective, I introduce complexity into the modern territory discourse often found in Western political geographic interpretations.
Within a brief historical period, BRICS as an inter-State association has become an influential player in the world economy and politics. BRICS is a primarily political entity, and in that regard, the BRICS grouping correlates with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). However, not all the expectations placed on the SCO by the founding countries at the time of its creation in 2001 have been met so far. The question is to what extent expectations may be fulfilled in case of BRICS.