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This week's editor

NSS, editor

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and contributing editor to 50.50.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Is Greece a racist state?

Mainstream politicians have been playing a dangerous game. It remains unclear to what extent these tactics represent a conscious attempt to distract those suffering most as a result of the longterm maladministration of the country. But this constitutes only a small part of the scenario we are investigating here.

The freedom fallacy

It's time we threw out our notion of freedom as the mere absence of duress. A cursory look at the life of a cafe worker will tell you why.

Multiculturalism and the nation

The proclaimed ‘failure’ of multiculturalism suggests the breakdown of a single process of integration. In fact, it is the term's capacity to overcome precisely this logic that reveals its continuing relevance in the process of nation-remaking.

Genesis of a film: the Battle of Algiers

Algeria partnershipA 2006 documentary by Yves Boisset uses uncredited extracts from the film, mixed in with actual news reels, without stating that the film was made nine years after the events which it relates to. Fiction has become a historical document. 

Pedestrian crossings; contemporary judicial spectacle

Two types of spectacle – procession and tableau vivant – in the Judges Service at London’s Westminster Abbey, allow us to explore a ‘live’ performance of judicial authority outside the usual stage setting for its performances.

Bliss Was It in that Dawn to Be Next Door

Dispassionate analysis of social and political problems is what is needed to build a better society. Thirty Moroccan youth activists seize the chance, in the process moving the author, who meanwhile finds himself drawn into the country’s language wars.

There is no such thing as ‘bad blood’

I’ve never met either of my parents and I don’t know my father’s name. She was a Catholic from over the border he was a Protestant from Belfast and they chose to give me up for adoption in Manchester rather than face the respective wrath of their families.

Gender, myth, nationalism: Gillo Pontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers

Algeria partnershipIn its framing techniques, Pontecorvo’s film arguably defines the ‘people’ in fundamentally masculine terms; as a Revolution comprised of male ‘heroes’ and martyrs.

There and back again? Media freedom and autonomy in Central and Eastern Europe

Collusion between the press and politicians is not confined to western Europe. Central and Eastern European countries are also plagued by their own mini-Murdochs – and in these more fragile democracies, they represent an even bigger threat.

A democratic case for the free market?

What is the meaning of economic liberty? Is there a moral case for the free market? A review of the recent book 'Free Market Fairness' by John Tomasi tackled these questions, introduced here by the editor of the Democratic Wealth series.

Fraternité 2020: a European Citizens' Initiative

Since April of this year, European citizens can launch a pan-European civic initiative (ECI) to bring a matter to the Commission and the Parliament. How does it work in practice? Fraternité 2020, the first ECI ever registered, is a telling example.

Is Erasmus Europe's success story?

In our new 'Eminent Europeans' series, we ask the continent's share of intellectuals - philosophers, artists or scientists - to share their vision of Europe. In the first article, Jan Truszczyński, the European Commission's Director-General for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, explains why the Erasmus programme is one of Europe's biggest achievements.

Three Headliners essays

Laoise, 13, Tarah, 15, and Fionnuala, 15, attend a youth media organisation called Headliners in Belfast. It is not easy for any young person to encapsulate what it means to be who they are but here their views hold a mirror to the rest of us.

This week's window on the Middle East - December 17, 2012

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week: Fixing the rules of the game

Libya taxi talk: experiences and expectations of democracy

Many are questioning why the congress appear to be doing nothing, while for their part parliamentarians seem reluctant to make the necessary decisions for fear of making the wrong ones.

A Singapore Ramayana: academic freedom and the liberal arts curriculum

Could Singaporeans of the future do a better job at making democracy a reality than America’s elected leaders have done for the past half-century? Maybe, if one of the most important literary works of premodern India is taught again at the recently created Yale-NUS in Singapore.

Can Labour build a Britain that works together?

'This is a speech of celebration and integration'. So said Ed Miliband today, of his latest speech on the One Nation Labour approach. But is his party in touch with everyday experiences across Britain?

Of nations and networks

How does the internet transmit and transform national identities? What are the implications of this exchange and absorption on knowledge and the 'rootedness' of communities? This second piece in the 're-birth of the nation?' series explores how these processes might provide the framework for an alternative globalisation. 

Imagining pasts and futures: the Indian Parliament Murals and South Africa’s Keiskamma Tapestry

The tapestry and the murals are part of the complex and multi-layered ‘archi-texture’ of the parliamentary buildings, which continue to echo with older articulations of power and what the nation is and should be.

Bulgarian national identity in an era of European integration

Almost six years after its accession to the European Union, Bulgaria is confronted with the ghosts of a nationalist past. Barriers to Europeanism, however, are weaker than ever.

Re-birth of the nation? A new series challenging all ‘global citizens’

The ‘death of the nation’ is a fallacy. As austerity erodes national sovereignty, the logic of globalization is experiencing a backlash, with new publics being forged and old identities renewed. Today OurKingdom launches a new series to explore this re-birth, introduced here by its editor.

Not fearing to be liked: the majoritarianism of contemporary protest culture

While the anti-globalisation movement and before it the new social movements tended to cast themselves as minorities, the wave of Occupy or “take the square” movements have made a crucial point of wanting to be the majority of the people, as most evidently manifested in Occupiers’ claim to being the 99%.

Lessons from the periphery

Democratising the EU is not about Europhilia or Euroscepticism. In modern society, power and democratic accountability go hand in hand. European leaders should draw inspiration from the Union's periphery!

The commercial republic: a contradiction in terms?

Republican thinking today relies heavily on a classical conception of citizenship. Can this ever be compatible with modern commercial society?

When the possible death of humanities is a progressive development

MOOCs (massive open online courses) and more freely available lectures and university content are transforming the education landscape, and alliances between academia and corporations are ever-increasing. But this revolution in education might pose a lethal threat for hardly commodifiable disciplines such as those of the humanities. 

Why the EU needs Croatia (even more than Croatia needs the EU)

Croatia is expected to become the 28th member of the European Union by July 2013. Strangely enough, as things stand now the EU might have more to gain from this accession than Croatia does.

An interview with Jimmy Wales

On Sky News, Dermot Murnaghan sits down with Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, to discuss the media, old and new.

When soldiering gets sexy: the militarization of gender equality and sexual difference

Up in Arms continues to track the figure of the soldier in contemporary culture as a consequence of NATO’s wars. How does militarism – the belief in the superiority of military values and methods – shape or perhaps even challenge gender stereotypes in countries that send troops off to war?

Why the EU deserves the Nobel Peace Prize

The European Union's Nobel Peace Prize, which it will officially receive today, was a reminder that the EU is much more than just a market or a currency union. It is the foundation of Europe’s security, freedom, and prosperity. But this very foundation is now threatened by short-sightedness and misunderstandings.

The BBC, creativity and the digital age: Brian Eno, Kamila Shamsie, Bill Thompson and Tony Ageh discuss

Novelist Kamila Shamsie and musician Brian Eno discuss the Corporation and creativity with the two men leading the BBC's internet revolution, Bill Thompson and Tony Ageh. 

Manifesto for a culture of self-determination

Scotland is at a crossroads. Here are a dozen steps (and an extra one, for luck) that could help Scots forge together a modern, progressive, democratic nation in control of its own future.

The European Union's social failure

During the current economic crisis, the European Union has focused its efforts on building a financial union – while making next to zero progress on a political or social one. If there is really no alternative on the table, then democracy becomes a façade (“Fassadendemokratie”).

OurBeeb forum session 3: pluralism, news and current affairs

The third session of the OurBeeb forum at King’s College London saw Iain Overton, Tom Mills, Natalie Fenton and Claire Bolderson challenge the BBC’s claims to impartiality while suggesting ways of redefining journalistic ‘truth’. 

OurBeeb forum session 4: creativity, culture and digital public space

The final session of OurBeeb’s day-forum invited Brian Eno, Tony Ageh, Kamila Shamsie and Bill Thompson to outline their perspectives on the current and future position of the BBC in the UK’s artistic ecosystem. 

Can Europe actually make it?

Between a destroyed economy, blatant institutional dysfunction and fledging popular support, the current picture of the EU looks bleak. But it is not the end of the Union yet!

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