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This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Is the world getting larger or smaller?

"The world is not getting so small that there is room for only one story." The changing spatial dimensions of human life and thinking are creating the need for a new imagination and politics of space, says Doreen Massey.

(This article was first published on 15 February 2007)

Beirut and contradiction: reading the World Press Photo award

Four stylish young women, an open-topped car, the rubble of war-torn Beirut … but where is the real power of Spencer Platt's prize-winning image, asks Mai Ghoussoub.

(This article was first published on 13 February 2007)

Ingmar Bergman and Sweden: an epoch’s end

The great film and theatre director was at the heart of Sweden's cultural life for more than five decades, but Ingmar Bergman's relationship with his homeland was conflictual as well as intimate. Birgitta Steene, the world's leading authority on Bergman's work, tracks this long journey.

(This article was first published on 6 August 2007)

Who’s Next? Russia’s Cat and Mouse Game with Moldova

Two years ago Moldova's president President Vladimir Voronin began a process of repairing his relations with Russia and seeking Moscow's cooperation in negotiating a settlement with breakaway republic of Transnistria. Moldova has not yet received its payoff from improved relations with Russia and its reintegration with Transnistria has remained as uncertain as before.

Happy birthday, Robert Mugabe

Zimbabwe's president is 83 years old today. Wilf Mbanga, former friend turned exiled editor of "The Zimbabwean", writes to him.

(This article was first published on 21 February 2007)

Globalisation: sleepwalking to disaster

The scale of global debt reflects a broken financial and commercial system that is doing immense damage to the planet and to public life, says Ann Pettifor.

Lahore: urban space, niche repression

Pakistan's arc of protest leaves its most historic and political city unmoved, finds Saskia Sassen.

Walter Lippmann and American journalism today

"For in an exact sense the present crisis of western democracy is a crisis of journalism." The professional collapse of the American news media makes the work of its pioneering analyst ever more relevant, says Sidney Blumenthal.

Social networks: after privacy, beyond friendship

The online expression of human identity is dissolving privacy and transforming friendship, says Mark Vernon.

Climate change: from issue to magnifier

The classical models of science communication must give way to a new form of public discourse about climate change, says Mike Hulme.

Guatemala: a good place to kill

Guatemala's election is taking place against the background of a corroded state, riven society, disconnected elite and paralysed people. Ivan Briscoe's riveting essay dissects the elements of an unfolding crisis.

Burma: protest, crackdown - and now?

Burma's military junta is determined to crush its people's demands for change. What is needed now is a careful political strategy that can offer the long-suffering Burmese a path beyond fear and violence, says Joakim Kreutz.

The seductions of denial

Why is the systematic refusal of evidence-based, reason-fuelled conclusions about human and natural realities - from genocide and 9/11 to global warming - so persistent? Keith Kahn-Harris investigates.

Al-Qaida: end of the beginning

Wars end, terrorism fades, groups die. A fresh perspective can envisage a closure of the cycle that began on 11 September 2001, says Audrey Kurth Cronin.

Chad's tragedy

The implosion of landlocked Chad has become part of a wider regional conflict that can be called the "Darfur-Chad civil wars", says Gérard Prunier.

Russia vs Europe: the sovereignty wars

The troubled relationship between the European Union and Russia is about more than policies or interests - it reflects a fundamental clash between two political visions of the post-cold-war world, says Ivan Krastev.

The reconquest of America

The retreat of the United States and the arrival of new global actors announce a new era of transformation in Latin America, says Sergio Aguayo Quezada.

China goes global

China's purchase of a stake in a leading western bank signals a new phase in the country's global ambitions, says Kerry Brown.

Lebanon and Israel: back seat, front line

Two worlds collide in a London taxi. Bissane El-Cheikh was one.

A prescription for terror

A substantial number of perpetrators of terrorism are products of a scientific education. Debora MacKenzie asks whether there is a connection and how deep it might go.

Beijing baozi and public trust

A story of media fakery has lessons for China's people and political elite alike, says Li Datong.

openDemocracy: a farewell salute

openDemocracy's experience is proof of the value and influence of serious global journalism on the web, says our departing editor-in-chief Isabel Hilton.

Islam(s) and politics: post-traumatic states in Algeria

“Mosques have never been so full, nor hearts so empty”. In the painful aftermath of civil war, amid domestic economic and social pressures, Algerians are struggling towards new forms of accommodation between religion and politics, reports James McDougall.

Virtual dreams, real politics

The net embodies the information society long imagined by knowledge elites in east and west, so why is utopia no closer? Richard Barbrook dissects the influence of cold-war-era technological fantasies on the internet age, and looks beyond to a human-centred politics that keeps the future open.

Whiteness without apartheid: the limits of racial freedom

South Africa's vital project of "transformation" needs to become a sustained effort to move beyond racial categories if it is to be a vehicle for the achievement of a democratic and equal society, says Achille Mbembe.

Sir Salman in the sea of blasphemy

Pakistan's politicians are fomenting outrage over the knighthood granted to the novelist Salman Rushdie. How deep does it go? Irfan Husain reports.

A tale of two towns

Two controlled, imagined communities symbolise the global disorder and social polarisation that marks the era of war on terror.

Richard Rorty: living in dialogue

The late American philosopher made a matchless contribution to democratic dialogue across cultures in an era of global diversity, says his colleague Ramin Jahanbegloo.

The secret visitations of memory

Palestinians’ modern experience is defined by exile from, remembrance of and longing for homeland. What has been lost, what can be recovered from the catastrophe of 1948 and the wars and dislocations since? Omar Al-Qattan weaves the threads of personal and national memory into a compelling reflection.

The aid evasion and the "bottom billion"

Aid made the G8 headlines, but it is a sideshow alongside the real-world anti-poverty measures of people in Africa

Who needs a constitution?

Britain's lost it, Scotland's found it, now it's England's turn, says Neal Ascherson

The internet's fading promise

Governments around the world are becoming more sophisticated in restricting their netizens' freedom, finds Becky Hogge.

The deepening of Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution: why most people don't get it

The radical project led by Hugo Chávez in Venezuela can’t be understood through the distorting lens of its inveterate opponents, says Julia Buxton. This is a politics for the future with emancipation, participation – and popular support - at its heart.

'Jihad': idea and history

The notion of jihad is one of the most contested in the modern Islamic and political lexicon. In a four-part essay, Patricia Crone makes it comprehensible: by identifying its textual sources, examining how early Muslims translated it into practice, asking how they made sense of it ethically, and exploring its contemporary relevance.

Vietnam: the necessary voices

The spectrum of commitment embodied in the lives of two recently deceased figures of modern Vietnam reveals much about the country's unfinished political and ethical journey, says Sophie Quinn-Judge.
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