Abstracts Esprit 7/2006

Jacques Donzelot and Renaud Epstein

Democracy and decision-sharing: The case of urban rehabilitation

Ongoing destruction and reconstruction of council estates under France’s legislation on urban renovation are supposed to be conducted with a fair share of community involvement. Now where do things actually stand? A review of the schemes being implemented at Montfermeil (a suburb north-east of Paris) and the towns of Rheims, Nantes and Dijon shows that there is only token acknowledgement of residents’ views and that power-sharing remains ineffective.

Daniel Mothe
Grand-scale and small-scale democracy

Criticism of the lack of adequate power-sharing attached to representative democracy often leads on to a celebration of direct democracy. Yet the latter is a matter of concern, as in practice it typically remains restricted to small groups of available individuals; the author instead highlights the benefits of habitual and effective forms of deliberation, which he refers to as “small-scale democracy”. Under what particular conditions can this work and, ultimately, contribute to a revival of “large-scale” democracy?

Michel Marian
Armenians and Turks: Finding the right timing for dialogue

Regardless of the Turkish diaspora’s activism against formal recognition of the Armenian genocide, it looks like the time is about right for dialogue in Turkey itself. What are the obstacles and constraints which on both sides stand in the way of a reckoning of the past?

Jean Meyer
Memory and history: The new Spanish civil war.

Memories are at war in Spain over the civil war and the Franco era. This comes as a watershed in the collective management of recent history in the public sphere, although the whole process is tainted by a polemical spirit of “revenge” on the side of a “blue” (i.e., pro-Franco) memory over its “red” (pro-Republican) counterpart and the myths which the latter allegedly imposed during the democratic transition.

Nicolas Hatzfeld, Gwenaele Rot & Alain Michel

The world of work on film: An enquiring spirit revived.

Long an ill-considered theme in the French movie world, the world of work has made decisive inroads on the screen these past few years. Having reviewed a hundred films or so, the authors show how both documentary and fiction movies comprehend the major shifts currently rocking the world or work as well as their impact on individual lives.

Marc-Olivier Padis
Introduction. The EU constitutional treaty passes away, yet the questions linger on…

Timothy Garton Ash
Are there moral foundations to Europe?

What type of power can Europe avail itself of? Fully aware as he is of Europe’s weaknesses, the British history scholar reviews the legitimacy of the EU under a variety of angles (history, culture, welfare systems, etc.).

Jacques Rupnik
The EU crisis as seen from Central Europe.

While new member integration is a success and has not put any spanner in the works of the EU, the process is happening in the middle of the crisis triggered by the founding countries’ rejection of the constitutional bill.

Jan de Beus
Something broken in the Netherlands.

In a matter of years, a country that had been lionised as a model has sunk into a wholly unexpected state of crisis – not just with the economy and the welfare state, but a cultural and moral one as well, leading part of the population to shed the spirit of tolerance that had been a defining feature of the Dutch integration system. The contours of this shift remain elusive, suggesting that the ongoing identity crisis faces an uncertain outcome.

A panel discussion with Pierre Hassner, Jacques Masse & Sylvie Matton

The Balkanic wars and a disgraced West: Revisiting Srbrenica.

While all-too clever revisionists maintain a hazy view of respective responsibilities in the bellicose disaggregation of Yugoslavia, this panel discussion takes a closer look at its quintessential episode, one on whose disastrous sequence of events a string of investigations and judicial pronouncements have shed a fair amount of light.

Published 17 July 2006
Original in French

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