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Cover for: Can we track what makes humans happy?

Lithuanian scientists are working on a formula for happiness. Their biometric measurements of feelings and emotional states propose to improve lives. But smart governance linking efficiency with happiness might have repercussions, says Skaidra Trilupaitytė. In a pandemic-tainted world, tracking and advanced lie detector tests could have questionable political uses.

Cover for: 'Nee! Nee!'

'Nee! Nee!'

Remembering ultimate acts of resistance

Acknowledging the past is an ongoing necessity to know who we are, says Arnon Grunberg, whose Dutch WWII Remembrance Day lecture pointedly commemorates those who lost their lives shouting ‘No!’ and refusing to conform.

Cover for: Donald Trump: Democracy’s mirror image?

The suspicion that Trump will refuse to accept the result of the election is symptomatic of the state of democratic politics today. That modern liberal democracies can cancel themselves is an inevitable possibility. But to reduce politics to a battle between the defenders and the opponents of ‘true democracy’ is to turn pluralism into its opposite. 

Cover for: Luxury and progress in Belgrade

Luxury and progress in Belgrade

Comparing post-Ottoman and post-socialist urban development

Belgrade residents cannot afford the Savamala waterfront’s extortionate real-estate prices. Its decision-makers draw aspirational parallels between today’s urban development and the area’s post-Ottoman era but ignore the failures of both. Seemingly a-historic glass facades cannot disguise the strategic politicization of history, says Miloš Jovanović.

Cover for: Lukashenka’s waiting game

Lukashenka’s waiting game

How Russia has tipped the balance in Belarus

Since Putin’s demonstration of support for Lukashenka, time seems to be on the side of the Belarusian dictator. As long as he can rely on Kremlin backing, nothing short of a general strike will force him out, argues the Russian sociologist Lev Gudkov in interview with ‘Osteuropa’.

Cover for: COVID-19 and men

COVID-19 and men

The health risks of traditional masculine behaviour

Might traditional masculine traits make men more vulnerable to coronavirus? Bioethicist and molecular biologist Federico Germani questions masculinity’s role in higher COVID-19 male mortality, comparing emerging scientific evidence with recent trends in pandemic-related social behaviour.

Cover for: Fascism or Caesarism?

Warnings about resurgent fascism are not entirely unjustified. And yet they can still blind us to the political dangers we are now facing. It is Napoleon, not Hitler, who exemplifies an enduring threat to modern democracies, argues historian of modern France David A. Bell.

Cover for: Beyond organized crime

Beyond organized crime

Armed violence and drug production in Mexico

The distinctions between exploiter and exploited are ill-defined, keeping small-scale poppy producers locked in criminality in northern Mexico. The military, drug trade intermediaries and an inaccessible legal framework all conspire to marginalize those who experience violence on a daily basis.

Cover for: Do you want to be tolerated?

Tolerance can’t confront racism alone. Philosopher Susan Neiman addresses the rise of Black Lives Matter protests in relation to scarcely acknowledged colonial pasts, arguing that it’s high time to face up to responsibility previously masked by WWII Nazi atrocities.

Cover for: When spectres return

When spectres return

Housing reform and the idea of the good home

The ‘housing question’ was formed not by the issues of poverty and necessity, but by bourgeois norms and demands – often intended to tame social unrest. From minimal dwelling to air quality, Michael Klein surveys the 19th-century discourses which still influence political thinking, and tend to exclude concerns of the underprivileged.

Cover for: Exile, dignity and love

Exile, dignity and love

An Istanbul story

Russian refugees influenced Istanbul’s cultural life from the 1920s despite the Turkification policies of the new republic. The Sevastopol-born sculptor Iraida Barry’s life in exile and love for the city is a piece of this history. However, admiring the Russian diaspora shouldn’t have meant demeaning others – as ended up happening in US press. Ayşe Kadıoğlu revisits a life exiled to Istanbul, while longing for the heartbeat city herself.

Cover for: For a Belarusian res publica!

The nationalist opposition in Belarus has been marginalized, argues Coordination Council member Olga Shparaga. National heroes and vertical power structures no longer have popular appeal. The focus is instead on peaceful cooperation, social inclusion and the soft power of women.

Cover for: Check, control, cancel or care

Where can we turn if our social networks, structures and governance can’t be trusted? Cancel culture, disinformation and the lack of boundaries define our perception. Geert Lovink, Eliot Higgins and Matilda Amundsen Bergström provide some welcome thoughts on solidarity overcoming abuses of power.

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