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"Zu Gast bei Freunden"

How the Federal Republic of Germany learned to take sport seriously

During the 1950s, policy makers in the Federal Republic of Germany, haunted by memories of the 1936 Olympics, endeavoured to keep politics out of sport. However, this position became untenable as the German Democratic Republic increasingly used sport for ideological capital. Under pressure from both the West German public and national and international politics, the Federal German government increasingly rose to the East German challenge. This culminated in the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972, where the “modern Germany” was presented as a peace-loving, democratic, and European nation.

Cover for: Equally criminal?

Equally criminal?

Totalitarian experience and European memory

Instead of dwelling upon the catastrophes of the twentieth century, many Europeans ask if we should not thoughtfully “forget” them. However, the endurance of historical memory in the united Europe is demonstrated by contemporary political differences between European member states, which can be dealt with only if a European memory is developed. The difficulty here lies in paying due respect to the memory of the crimes both of National Socialism and of Soviet totalitarianism while avoiding a hierarchy of competing victim groups.

“For seventy years in succession, the Communists accused Western leaders of being Don Quixote. The latter did the same, accusing the Stalinists of being Don Quixote […] As you see, Don Quixote is always the loser, because the politicians who use his name are not on his level and have not a bit of his nobility.” Ismail Kadare on why Don Quixote belongs to Balkan folklore, how Cervantes first came to be translated into Albanian, and why today’s politicians should be banned from using the knight errant’s name as a term of abuse.

Since the 1970s and 1980s, the politics of history in western Europe has produced a “hot” memory of the Shoah. In eastern Europe after 1989, the memory of Communism became “hot”, while the memory of the Holocaust remained as “cold” as it had been during Communism. Adapting the histoire croisée method of history writing – the focus on crossovers of different cultures, social groups, and historical events – Éva Kovács examines the mémoire croisée of the Shoah in the different political systems of eastern and western Europe.

At a time when neighbourly relations between nation-states dominated international politics, Carl Schmitt defined the political as the tension between friend and enemy. After 1945, states were expected to adopt a trans-national understanding and to step beyond their isolationist boundaries, a hope largely disappointed in Cold War hostilities. After a surge of popularity for concepts such as fluidity, migration, and fragmentation, polarity has returned to the stage of international politics, bringing with it renewed interest in neighbourhood. Associating neighbourhood with friendship, Hasan Bülent Kahraman looks at Maurice Blanchot’s theory of the “infinite distance” inherent in friendship. Turkey can and should, he argues, use this distance as a parameter in order to establish a productive relationship with the EU and the West.

The Beur uprising

Poverty and Muslim atheists in France

During the riots in France in November 2005, much was made of the increasing religious radicalism of the Muslim youth. But it is not so much cultural difference and Islamism that is taking young Muslims to the street, says Turkish sociologist Ayhan Kaya, as a mass reaction to two centuries of colonialism and racism, compounded by recent poverty and exclusion. Does the bell toll for French Republicanism?

The social is not abstract

Josef Schützenhöfer's "Social Painting" and the provocation of the figurative

Residual authoritarianism and social inequality, be it in his native Austria or in the US, are both target and spur in Josef Schützenhöfer’s painting. Literary critic Klaus Zeyringer describes the artist’s development of a painterly aesthetic in keeping with his social-political commitment, first in the political paintings executed in the US in the 1980s and 1990s, and later in the work at the Steyr-Daimler-Puch and Semperit plants in Austria. Now, with the hegemony of abstraction losing its hold, Schützenhöfer’s “Social Painting” is having its day.

British feminist and psychoanalyst Juliet Mitchell talks to Cogito about her role in the British New Left in the 1960s. Mitchell was at the centre of the movement: as editorial board member of the New Left Review, as participant in Third World and anti-psychiatry movements, and as co-organizer of grassroots initiatives, including the “Anti-University”, founded on the steps of Shoreditch Church in East London. Here, Mitchell outlines her intellectual trajectory from her early Marxism, to feminism of the mid-1960s, and to psychoanalysis in the 1970s.

The cosmopolite’s notion of justice does not cease to exist at the national border. She dreams of the world city, filled with opportunity and potential for change; the labyrinthine commotion of the marketplace and the pluralism of human existence. But fundamentalist Muslims, Christians, and others despise the “world city”. Political cosmopolitanism was born out of an analysis of globalization – it is critical both of the neoliberal globalization of the market and the fundamentalist or nationalistic backlash. Questions concerning world citizenship, dual citizenship, and multiple loyalties make their presence felt as it becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate between inner and outer, foreign and domestic politics, citizen and foreigner, friend and foe.

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