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This week's editor

Dawn Foster, Co-Editor

Dawn Foster is Co-Editor at 5050 and a freelance journalist.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Thinking slow not fast: the basic requirements for a public theory of immigration

Contemporary Britain already has a more-or-less intelligible public moral theory that guides much of its laws and policy. Unfortunately, this public theory is virtually silent on the matter of immigration.

Moving on from the Market Society: culture (and cultural studies) in a post-democratic age

The politics of the market has given us individual freedoms, but inhibited any potent form of collectivity. We cannot return to the regulated social life that enabled a 'Fordist' democracy to function. So what now? Neoliberals are terrified of the emerging potential for a dynamic pluralist and democratic society. In this lecture, for the biennial 'Crossroads in Cultural Studies' conference, this potential and its history is explored, along with the possible contribution of cultural studies to such a development.

Alternatives to the nationalism of the conspicuously ignorant

The accounts, symbols and feelings that we have about national identity were largely imagined, created and popularized in the nineteenth century. The word ‘nationalism’ itself dates from the early nineteenth century and marked the increasing use of national identity in order to make political claims. So to argue that national identity is pre-political is itself a political statement. 

Withholding trade with Israeli settlements is an obligation under international law

In James Crawford's opinion, the duty of non-recognition of illegal settlement activity does not mandate states to withhold from trading with them. In my opinion, this is incorrect.

Exploring the commons

Today's rediscovery of the notion of the commons stems directly from the need to regulate and to explore how to enable the collaborative action of a multiplicity of protagonists who are autonomous and so not governable by simple authoritative mechanisms.

Reinventing Democracy

If democracy means rule by the people for the people, it has broken down. At pivotal moments in the past, altering the rules of the political has been a defining trait of the organised left, able to project a new social order out of latent concerns, as well as develop the means to alter the grammar of politics

Reinventing democracy in Europe: introducing the week

The economic and social travails sweeping through Europe can be traced to an imperceptible but seismic shift in the ground of European democracy. This is the takeover and corruption of democratic politics by an amalgam of economic and political elites, a change poorly compensated for by the rise of new forms of democratic protest and resistance.

Reclaiming democratic demands from the populists

As citizens lose confidence in democratic institutions, xenophobic populist parties thrive and join their voices to the critique of the state of national and European democracies. Their arguments often coincide with those of liberal or leftist critics, but their goals are radically different

How to live in a Scotland of the heart and mind

The call for 'a better quality debate' on the Scottish referendum has a dangerous tendency to downplay the extent to which feeling, emotion and instinct determine both individual choice and national identity. Improving the conversations does not simply require a better knowledge of 'the facts' but that greater import be placed on 'emotional literacy'. 

Democracy in crisis: two and a half theories about the operation of democratic capitalism

Global financial market-driven post-democracy is well able to describe the logic that governs the realities of contemporary markets and politics, but cannot explain why these realities are justified, universally beneficial or sustainable

Reclaiming Europa and the uncontrolled power of business

The common denominator of Greece's and Europe's (and the world's) problems is the uncontrolled power of business. Politics has become privatised. On behalf of ‘efficiency’ the defence of the common good was outsourced to business groups. With the result that is unfolding in front of our eyes.

The power of ignorance and the problem of abundance

Warning! This article will make you smarter. You're best to guard your ignorance as a powerful political and economic tool, particularly during these current times of financial crisis. 

Poem: she screamed in Syria

Ameen Outspoken uses spoken poetry to shed further light on the bloodshed and atrocities being committed in Syria. He reminds us that we must not avert our gaze when innocents are suffering.

Breaking the chains of linear programming: an open letter to the future DG

In order to satisfy its commitment to technological innovation, the BBC needs to place greater emphasis on experiments with interactive programming. Recognising this is not a case of smoke and mirrors but imperative to representing the public interest. 

After the fairy cakes: the decline of the British national symbol

The unavoidable profusion of Union Jacks currently propagandising public space across the UK serve to feed a momentary diversion from fundamental political and constitutional problems in Britain. But as the Scottish voices of civic nationalism compete for space with the disjointed pro-union rhetoric of Ed Milliband, this smokescreen is increasingly being revealed as such. 

My friend has a story

This isn’t my story. But it could have been, and it can be the story of any young Palestinian living in this small besieged part of the world.

This week's window on the Middle East - June 25, 2012

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week: events in the Arab world are becoming more and more interlinked, and more and more - sectarian tensions cloud thinking.

'Isles of Wonder'? - some thoughts on the 'Little World' of the London Olympics

Danny Boyle's recently unveiled prototype for the London 2012 Opening Ceremony is centred around a nostalgic image of British countryside. But what do this model's myriad influences suggest about power, history and national identities across the UK? 

London's Calling: 'fan zones' and corporate space at Euro 2012

Euro 2012, Le Tour and the London Olympics. Each reveal differing ways in which sport is controlled and consumed. Mark Perryman reports from the Ukraine on how vested interests are threatening the authentic participation of athletes and supporters alike. 

Trimming the hair of an old man: or, volunteering within Chinese civil society

The focus on radical political activism in most western discussions of Chinese civil society is unrepresentative of the civil society that actually exists. What this does have is a box of hats, a network of contacts and a presence on QQ, the instant messaging service that has penetrated deep into the fabric of Chinese life.  

Dumbing down

Culture today is dependent on shock, excess, instant effect, and the avoidance of intellectual effort. If the plastic arts are notably trivial and befuddling, literature, music, and cinema lag not far behind. From openDemocracy.

The city we built and they stole

David Harvey's recent book Rebel Cities explores the potential for Marxist theory to go beyond the workplace and find a new formulation around communal urban experience. Though packaged in a sometimes muddled critique, Jonathan Moses finds Harvey's call powerful and timely. 

'Protest is dangerous again': the space hijackers take on London 2012

An inside report from London 2012's 'official protest' group, the Space Hijackers, on the terrifying powers of LOCOG - the shadowy organisation whose influence led to the banning of their twitter account. 

Reflexivity, Soros and three months for the euro

The euro crisis needs a collective solution, designed and implemented by both the core and the periphery. It has to be a political solution underpinned by good economic and financial reasoning. What George Soros is telling us is that the latter is by no means guaranteed.

This week's window on the Middle East - June 18, 2012

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week: while Libyans are quietly proving that they can forgive, forget and move forward together, the current political and military powers in Libya seem intent on proving the opposite to the rest of the world.

History podcast - the birth of modern Greece

In this hour-long informal conversation, Terence Mitchison provides the historian's background to the modern Greek state - from Venetian/Ottoman contestation to the Balkan wars of the 20th Century, the rise of Ataturk and the great population movements in the early 1920s. Parts 2 and 3 are available here.

From 'special interest' to public interest: minority programming and the BBC’s democratic mandate

One of the BBC's most lauded strengths is its ability to tailor programming for its audiences' special interests. The future DG should attempt to harness the ethos of this diverse and high quality output with a view to rebuilding the institution's democratic vision. 

The Last Great British Summer for England

The desperate construction of cultural Britishness observable in this summer's Jubilee and Olympics is just another attempt to conflate British identity with an idealised vision of England. The motivation for those in power is clear: to disguise the gaping constitutional issues that threaten the UK's political authority. 

This week's window on the Middle East - June 11, 2012

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week: Will Islamic fundamentalism be a threat to democracy?

Trust, universalism and funding the BBC: video highlights of a debate with Greg Dyke

Video highlights of a debate over the future of the BBC with Greg Dyke, Lis Howell, Liz Forgan, Helena Kennnedy, David Elstein and Anthony Barnett, on trust, legitimacy, universalism and how to pay for them regarding Britain's public service broadcaster. 

Labour should talk about England (but no action, please): Ed Miliband on the Union

The Labour leader has set out his defence of the Union in a speech that appealed to his party to recognise England and show pride in the English. But is this enough, with Scotland considering independence and the English question waiting to explode?

Noah's stories in shaky archipelagos: Martinique, Haiti, Fukushima

In the third piece of our series on Fukushima (see Fabian Schäfer and Andy Chih-ming Wang) the Japanese anthropologist and cultural critic begins by thinking that he will have to go very far indeed to find words and memories strong enough to rival the actual phenomenon of this disaster. But as he mourns the passing of the Martinican philosopher, Édouard Glissant, the island of bliss gradually returns to him.

The BBC must join the fight for internet freedom: an open letter to the new DG

In an open letter to the BBC's future Director General, Nick Fraser, editor of the internationally renowned documentary series Storyville, calls for an embrace of online resources as the focus for a renewed strategy to defend liberty and assert long term vision. 

Tahrir is playing into the hands of the regime

The regime’s strategy is clear: gain the support of the silent majority and you don’t have to care about revolutionaries or their foreign contacts. The regime’s tactics are also clear: create chaos, blame it on the revolutionaries and claim that support of the regime is the only way back to stability.

What lost, what gained for Scotland in the last 60 years?

As Britain remembers Queen Elizabeth's ascension, how has Scotland changed since 1952? A glance back in time to the archives of The Scotsman newspaper reveals a past with much to say about the nation's present and future.

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