Latest Articles

Eurozine Review

Stop press: The world will not end!

In "Vagant", philosopher Alberto Toscano goes to the heart of today's fanaticisms; "Blätter" wonders where the rise and rise of a German Europe will lead; "Letras Libres" profiles Podemos; "Index" reveals how refugee stories are told; "La Revue nouvelle" slams the framing of the migrant as the ideal suspect; "A2" questions the scope of the Greek parliamentary revolt; in "Il Mulino", Nadia Urbinati sees right through the "Renzi sì, Renzi no" debate; and "Nova Istra" marks the long centenary of World War I. [ more ]

Eric Bonse

German Europe's ascendancy

Manuel Arias Maldonado

Podemos: Much more than just a marriage of minds

Pierre Coopman

Copenhagen, Paris, Syria, Nigeria, etc

Andrea Goldstein

Anti-Semitism in France

New Issues

Eurozine Review

Eurozine Review

Stop press: The world will not end!

In "Vagant", philosopher Alberto Toscano goes to the heart of today's fanaticisms; "Blätter" wonders where the rise and rise of a German Europe will lead; "Letras Libres" profiles Podemos; "Index" reveals how refugee stories are told; "La Revue nouvelle" slams the framing of the migrant as the ideal suspect; "A2" questions the scope of the Greek parliamentary revolt; in "Il Mulino", Nadia Urbinati sees right through the "Renzi sì, Renzi no" debate; and "Nova Istra" marks the long centenary of World War I.

Eurozine Review

Putting the aesthetics back into politics

Eurozine Review

The right to blaspheme

Eurozine Review

Everything is falling down, now

Eurozine Review

Dance mania and diplomatic parleying

My Eurozine

If you want to be kept up to date, you can subscribe to Eurozine's rss-newsfeed or our Newsletter.

Share |

A heart-lung machine for Europe

Osteuropa positions Russia between upheaval and regression; Blätter takes the threat of a Greek Weimar seriously; Revolver Revue gives the word to two rebels of Czech letters; Nova Istra slams political escapism in Croatia; Fronesis revisits Marx and the coloniality of labour; Studija gets nostalgic about Lithuanian flower power; and Vikerkaar reads Russian-Baltic writing from nowhere.

Osteuropa 6-8/2012

"The evidence is clear: Russia is divided. The only question is how often", write the editors of Osteuropa. According to Richard Sakwa, the interaction between the constitutional and patrimonial state is what provides the key to interpreting post-communist developments:

"This dynamic tension precludes assigning Russia simply to the camp of authoritarian states in an essentialist manner, but it also means that Russia's democracy is flawed, above all because of abuses in the rule of law and the lack of political competition conducted on a level playing field. [...] The rule of law in Russia remains fragile and is susceptible to manipulation by the political authorities, but neither has a fully-fledged prerogative state emerged. Thus Russia remains trapped in the grey area between an administrative and a genuine constitutional state. This is what endows Russia with the features of systemic stalemate."

Change: Russia is a divided and segregated society cursed by its size, writes Lev Gudkov, drawing on Richard Rosen's typology of a pre-modern, modern und anti-modern nation. While modern, urban Russia is oriented towards western Europe, the anti-modern stratum tends towards orthodox fundamentalism and nationalism. The Putin regime derives its support from anti-modern Russia. Since fair elections are unlikely any time soon, Gudkov's perspective is long-term; nevertheless, regime-change will depend on the existence of a modern bureaucracy:

"Looking at the generational cycle of transformation, one can infer that in 2024, the hypothetical end of Putin's time in office, a counter-expertise and corresponding organizational structure will be in place. However, the necessary preparations in this direction need to be begun soon."

The full table of contents of Osteuropa 6-8/2012

Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik 10/2012

Are we seeing a repeat of Weimar Republic-type politics in Greece? Antonis Samaras' recent warning to that effect isn't to be dismissed, argues Michael Oswald in Blätter:

"The fragmentation of the party system has caused a dramatic erosion of the political centre. The government's acquiescence to the austerity measures of the Troika has divided Greek society. While one part places its hopes for social justice in leftwing politics, the rise of the Right has brought increasing violence towards immigrants. Before the crisis, Racist attacks were one-off incidents; but in the last six months, there have been over 500, according to figures provided by the Greek association of immigrant workers."

Broken Europe? Peter Bofinger welcomes Mario Draghi's green light for the ECB to purchase sovereign bonds from crisis-hit euro-zone member states – and criticizes the "Berlin consensus" that lead the eurozone into its current, existence-threatening situation in the first place: "The European Central bank is currently acting as a gigantic heart-lung machine for a completely dysfunctional financial system. Arguing for it to be switched off means to approve risking a chaotic end to the monetary union."

Judith Butler: In her acceptance speech for this year's Adorno Prize, Judith Butler addressed Adorno's famous dictum, "Is there a right life in the wrong one?". Blätter reprints the speech in full: "The question of the right life in the wrong one implies that we continue to think about what a right life might look like, albeit no longer exclusively in terms of the good life for the individual. When there are two such 'lives', my own and the right one, then the one is implied in the other. [...] If we admit we need one another, the we acknowledge the basic principles of the social and democratic conditions of what we might call 'the good life'."

The full table of contents of Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik 10/2012

Revolver Revue 88 (2012)

"It is the duty of the political commentator to be independent of every kind of political pressure and every siren song of power," writes literary critic and political scientist Bohumil Dolezal in Czech quarterly Revolver Revue. "However, this doesn't mean it is his duty to be impartial; on the contrary, he must be on the side of what is right against what is wrong, of good against evil, of the civilized against the uncouth."

Dolezal – the recipient of the 2011 Revolver Revue Prize, "for his unwavering and unbiased criticism, practised for decades across changing regimes, circumstances and genres" – wrote famously uncompromising literary reviews between 1965 and 1969. After being blacklisted, he spent the next 20 years working as a fitter and studying Czech political thought, developing into an equally uncompromising political analyst. Journalist Adam Drda writes in his laudatio that, "in a country where being critical without mincing one's words is taken as a sign of personal hostility, or indeed as being impelled by ulterior motives, Dolezal's rigorous independence (and therefore normality) comes across as continual provocation. This is exacerbated by the fact that the author is often witty."

A final rant: An accompanying DVD features the Last Lecture of another enfant terrible, Egon Bondy (aka Zbynek Fischer, 1930-2007). The poet-cum-novelist-cum-philosopher delivers a 30-minute rant a few months before his death in voluntary exile in Bratislava. Bondy was a seminal figure of the Czech literary underground, whose poetry featured in songs by the dissident punk band The Plastic People of the Universe; he was also an unrepentant Marxist and, as it transpired after 1989, a long-time police informer. Sounding incoherent and lucid by turns, a dishevelled Bondy rehearses arguments from his 1967 book The Consolation of Ontology: "We just have to take the first step today, which is to admit that we basically don't know what we're talking about."

My father, the communist: Tereza Marecková reviews Jan Burian's book Undesirable Returns, a searingly honest attempt to understand the complex personality of his father, E. F. Burian, who became a staunch Stalinist after WWII. She suggests that what makes the son's attempt to "reconstruct and interrogate the myth" of this legend of pre-war experimental theatre and anti-Nazi resistance so compelling "is that he doesn't attempt to hide behind a cloak of objectivity, but rather allows the readers a glimpse of his difficult struggle to respect his own father".

The full table of contents of Revolver Revue 88 (2012)

Nova Istra 1-2/2012

In Nova Istra, Fahrudin Novalic locates the impacts of global economic crisis on Croatia outside the purely economic sphere, in a complex of socio-economic and political factors driven by incompetence, criminality, and the failure of democratic systems to confront the problems. "More than three years after the start of the crisis, the government is slow to learn and quick to forget," he writes. Instead of mobilizing its forces to address the situation it has taken refuge in a kind of "political escapism". If the crisis is to be overcome, he concludes, there must be recourse to "the universal and cosmopolitan values of democracy, social justice and professional competence".

Literature and politics: Egyptian poet Rifaat Sallam discusses in interview the problems of the writer in an unfree society. The Egyptian state, fearful of liberal aspirations amongst intellectual and writers, had recourse to "bribery", he says: "Prizes were instituted, various committees staffed with well-rewarded artists were established, voyages abroad to attend various meetings were funded. In this way, the state succeeded in dissolving and isolating particular literary groups, fragmenting and extinguishing their aspirations towards freedom and democracy."

Baroque 'n' Roll: "Deep Purple weren't just a band, they were a way of life", writes Tanja Bakic, who traces the turbulent history of the group and its members from inception to the end of their glory years. Efforts to revive the band have met with limited success. Still, says one member, there are still "fans who tell me, 'I grew up with your music'". "Many throughout the world could reply, 'Weird! Me too'", writes Bakic.

The full table of contents of Nova Istra 1-2/2012

Fronesis 38-39 (2012)

In Fronesis (Sweden), Manuela Boatca argues that – pace Marx's post-colonial critics, who found in him the marks of orientalism and eurocentrism – the "coloniality of labour" is the central feature of the "true Marx". Acknowledging the problematic nature of his certainty about capitalism's role in hastening proletarian revolution in India and China – widely critiqued as an exculpation of colonialism – Boatca turns instead to Marx's writings on Ireland and Russia as "explicitly non-evolutionist, anti-colonial and tellingly concerned with class struggles commonly not awarded revolutionary potential within historical materialism".

"As a framework for studying the continuities between structures of domination, the historicized and encompassing notion of 'coloniality of labour' could help analyse the ongoing link between labour forms and specific racial groups after the abolition of slavery in the Americas as well as the pauperization of both freed slaves and freed serfs in the Americas and eastern Europe. At the same time, it allows us to distinguish between the pauperization of agricultural workers in the global periphery as opposed to the proletarianization of agricultural workers in parts of the global core while analyzing both as processes of the capitalist world-economy."

The dark side of development: Rita Abrahamsen argues that the idea of "partnership" in development is a way of disciplining recipient countries via self-regulation. Partnership shifts attention from international injustices to local weaknesses, she writes, placing the burden of responsibility on the poor countries rather than on their rich counterparts or on international financial institutions. Mark Duffield discusses how the security of the rich world has become the overarching goal not only of trade and migration policy but also of international aid; and Omar Dahi argues that the Arab Spring was not only a protest against the region's dictators but also against the market oriented paradigm of development that had been imposed by global institutions.

The full table of contents of Fronesis 38-39 (2012)

Studija 5/2012

In Studija (Latvia), Egle Jocevicute draws on the concepts of "restorative and reflective nostalgia" (Svetlana Boym) to analyse the works of Lithuanian multimedia artists Neringa Cernauskaite and Ugnus Gelduga. "Restorative nostalgia takes itself very seriously and is exhibited in the form of national memory, while reflective nostalgia may be ironic, witty, controversial, and may exhibit itself via social and cultural memory."

In the exhibition Now more than ever, the artists play with the possibilities of "reflective nostalgia" to open up a new perspective on Lithuania's "spring of '72", the date marking the culmination of the countercultural protest movement in Soviet Lithuania in the self-immolation of a man named Romas Kalanta. The artists, writes Jocevicute, deconstruct and re-contextualize those months by means of video installations, "nostalgic" background music and photographs. The events of 1972 "could have become the cornerstone of patriotism" but they failed to do so. Neringa's and Ugnus' "reflective nostalgia explains the reason for this failure by demonstrating the casual contradictoriness of the era".

Charismateria: Egle Jocevicute interviews the curators of the "Mindaugas Triennial", a performance and film festival that recently took place at the Vilnius Contemporary Art Centre. "Mindaugas" – the most common male name in Lithuania and also the name of Lithuania's first and only king – "is a person like you and me" and the "channel" of the artistic contributions, say the curators. The concept of "charismateria" that formed a central part of the programme was intended as a way to counter the anti-theatrical tendency in contemporary art, they explain: "concept-driven" performances were contrasted with performances that presented charisma as the prime material for creation.

The full table of contents of Studija 5/2012

Vikerkaar 9/2012

In Vikerkaar, Lithuanian literary scholar Taisija Laukkonen discusses Russian-Baltic writing, in particular the novels of Lena Eltang (Lithuania) and Andrei Ivanov (Estonia). "The fact that the word 'nowhere' is the best way to describe the inter-cultural situation of Russian-Baltic novelists and their characters is evidence of their attempt to culturally assimilate distant territories, despite their geographical proximity to the Russian border," Laukkonen writes.

The multiculturalism of the Baltic-Russian novel confers on its authors the title of innovators and guarantees them wider attention in the Russian scene and beyond, writes Laukkonen: "The Baltic-Russian author writes under double set of demands, both from the metropolis and the local public. Authors who gain the greatest success and recognition are those who combine their European identity with an interest in a specific cultural borderline situation. Their novels are more frequently translated into other European languages."

The unofficial literary culture that thrived in the Baltic states during communism is another factor contributing to the vigour of contemporary Russian-language literature in those countries today, argues Laukkonen. The figurehead of nonconformist Russian culture in Estonia was the semiotician Yuri Lotman. Vikerkaar publishes a letter from Lotman to the Estonian novelist Jaan Kross, dated 1982, about the genre of historical novel, which he treats as a hybrid between two major narrative types: myth and history.

European dis-Union: Too big to fail? Too crisis-hardened to go under? The collapse of the Soviet Union has something to teach Europe's politicians if another leap from the unthinkable to the inevitable is to be avoided, argues Ivan Krastev.

The full table of contents of Vikerkaar 9/2012


Published 2012-10-24

Original in English
© Eurozine

Focal points     click for more

The politics of privacy
The Snowden leaks and the ensuing NSA scandal made the whole world debate privacy and data protection. Now the discussion has entered a new phase - and it's all about policy. A focal point on the politics of privacy: claiming a European value. [more]

Beyond Fortress Europe
The fate of migrants attempting to enter Fortress Europe has triggered a new European debate on laws, borders and human rights. A focal point featuring reportage alongside articles on policy and memory. With contributions by Fabrizio Gatti, Seyla Benhabib and Alessandro Leogrande. [more]

Russia in global dialogue
In the two decades after the end of the Cold War, intellectual interaction between Russia and Europe has intensified. It has not, however, prompted a common conversation. The focal point "Russia in global dialogue" seeks to fuel debate on democracy, society and the legacy of empire. [more]

Ukraine in focus
Ten years after the Orange Revolution, Ukraine is in the throes of yet another major struggle. Eurozine provides commentary on events as they unfold and further articles from the archive providing background to the situation in today's Ukraine. [more]

Eurozine BLOG

On the Eurozine BLOG, editors and Eurozine contributors comment on current affairs and events. What's behind the headlines in the world of European intellectual journals?
Eurozine Gallery: TIME top ten photos of 2014
Massimo Sestini's aerial shot of a boat containing at least 500 people attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea, included in the current exhibition in the Eurozine Gallery, has been named one of the top ten photos of 2014 by TIME magazine. [more]

A master of the daily grind
On Sunday 30 November, Turkish publisher Osman Deniztekin died, just a few weeks after having been diagnosed with leukemia. He was 65. In memoriam. [more]

Time to Talk     click for more

Time to Talk, a network of European Houses of Debate, has partnered up with Eurozine to launch an online platform. Here you can watch video highlights from all TTT events, anytime, anywhere.
Dessislava Gavrilova, Jo Glanville et al.
The role of literature houses in protecting the space for free expression
This summer, Time to Talk partner Free Word, London hosted a debate on the role that literature houses play in preserving freedom of expression both in Europe and globally. Should everyone get a place on the podium? Also those representing the political extremes? [more]

Support Eurozine     click for more

If you appreciate Eurozine's work and would like to support our contribution to the establishment of a European public sphere, see information about making a donation.

Vacancies at Eurozine     click for more

There are currently no positions available.

Editor's choice     click for more

Felix Stalder
Digital solidarity
As the culture and institutions of the Gutenberg Galaxy wane, Felix Stalder looks to commons, assemblies, swarms and weak networks as a basis for remaking society in a more inclusive and diverse way. The aim being to expand autonomy and solidarity at the same time. [more]

Literature     click for more

Olga Tokarczuk
A finger pointing at the moon
Our language is our literary destiny, writes Olga Tokarczuk. And "minority" languages provide a special kind of sanctuary too, inaccessible to the rest of the world. But, there again, language is at its most powerful when it reaches beyond itself and starts to create an alternative world. [more]

Piotr Kiezun, Jaroslaw Kuisz
Literary perspectives special: Witold Gombrowicz
The recent publication of the private diary of Witold Gombrowicz provides unparalleled insight into the life of one of Poland's great twentieth-century novelists and dramatists. But this is not literature. Instead: here he is, completely naked. [more]

Literary perspectives
The re-transnationalization of literary criticism
Eurozine's series of essays aims to provide an overview of diverse literary landscapes in Europe. Covered so far: Croatia, Sweden, Austria, Estonia, Ukraine, Northern Ireland, Slovenia, the Netherlands and Hungary. [more]

Debate series     click for more

Europe talks to Europe
Nationalism in Belgium might be different from nationalism in Ukraine, but if we want to understand the current European crisis and how to overcome it we need to take both into account. The debate series "Europe talks to Europe" is an attempt to turn European intellectual debate into a two-way street. [more]

Conferences     click for more

Eurozine emerged from an informal network dating back to 1983. Since then, European cultural magazines have met annually in European cities to exchange ideas and experiences. Around 100 journals from almost every European country are now regularly involved in these meetings.
Law and Border. House Search in Fortress Europe
The 26th European Meeting of Cultural Journals
Conversano, 3-6 October 2014
Eurozine's 2014 conference in southern Italy, not far from Lampedusa, addressed both EU refugee and immigration policies and intellectual partnerships across the Mediterranean. Speakers included Italian investigative journalist Fabrizio Gatti and Moroccan feminist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Rita El Khayat. [more]

Multimedia     click for more
Multimedia section including videos of past Eurozine conferences in Vilnius (2009) and Sibiu (2007). [more]

powered by