Kevan Harris, University of California-Los Angeles
Many online newspapers were created in Russia during the early 2000s, which gave rise to hopes concerning further developments of media pluralism. Their day-to-day operations differ little from those of their Western counterparts. They are subject to the same technical possibilities and to the same financial limitations. Under the increasingly authoritarian Russian regime, however, these common constraints can become political. Economic constraints on editorial boards, limitations on their sources of advertising revenue, administrative requirements, and surveillance of Internet providers are all tools used for political purposes. This article uses the examples of the major news sites that are lenta.ru and gazeta.ru, and the more specialized sites, snob.ru and grani.ru, to show how this political control is based on the diversity of ordinary constraints, which procedures and justifications are both unpredictable and dependent on the economic situation. The result is that political control is both omnipresent and elusive, constantly changing.
Multiculturalism is, among other things, a normative framework for addressing claims made by ethnic political actors in liberal democratic states. It offers principles for deciding which of these claims are acceptable, which unacceptable, and which imperative on grounds of justice. The practical application of such principles to particular cases is what is called here adjudication, whether or not it has a judicial character. The argument of the paper is that a tendency to frame adjudication solely in normative terms, with reference to idealised eth-nic claims and idealised political processes, has led many contributors to multicultural literature, including some of the most influential, to misstate the problems, and therefore to offer solutions of dubious re-le-vance. The reason for the normative focus is, understandably enough, to avoid conflating justice with a balance of interests in pluralist bargaining. What is lost by such an approach, however, is the thickness of the political so-ci-o-logy of ethnic claims, which goes hand in hand with the institutional thickness of their adjudication. A crucial aspect of this is the sociologically inadequate conception of culture characteristic of normative multiculturalism, as a result of which it is often difficult to apply empirically to the very con-texts multicultural theorists are mainly concerned with. The at-tempt to find substantive principles for the adjudication of ethnic claims that might be independent from prac-tical politics, in-clu-ding empirical power relations, is ultimately unsuccessful.
As the European Union has become ever more powerful in terms of political output, it has also turned out to be a potential source of human rights violations. While national governments have disagreed on setting up consequential control mechanisms for several decades, the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights pre-empted intergovernmental choice. The European courts’ paths unexpectedly crossed when they were both impelled to work out a way to deal with a twofold human rights conundrum situated at the EU level. Turbulent interaction between Europe’s two supranational courts has not only led to a relative improvement of the protection of human rights, but has also deeply transformed the course of European integration. The courts’ increasingly nested linkage has given rise to new forms of supranational judicial diplomacy between European judges. As a result of their evolving relationship, which is simultaneously underpinned by competitive and cooperative logics, the traditional opposition between an “economic Europe” and a “human rights Europe” has been overcome and the EU’s accession to the European Convention on Human Rights is high on the political agenda. Yet, this process of integration through human rights remains a fragile and incomplete endeavour. Just as in co-operative binary puzzles where two players must solve the game together and where both lose as one of them tries to win over the other, solving Europe’s binary human rights puzzle has required of European judges a new way of thinking in which it’s not the institutions, but their linkage that matters.
At a time when the use of sanctions has intensified considerably, criticism directed at embargos is gaining ground. In interpreting this significant rise in opposition, this article shows how and why mobilization against sanctions has developed, what sort of actors are involved and what forms it takes. This research brings to light the formation of networks and coalitions against both unilateral and multilateral measures. It underlines the role, status and scope of those whose business it is to fashion norms, by questioning the main analytical categories their strategies are usually based on. An expertise in embargo assessment, destined to levy judgment on a type of very specific violence, is developing in both national and transnational public spaces. This research, analyzing the emergence of this expertise, sheds light on the development of a conception of unjust sanctions and identifies the mechanisms of its construction on an international scale. This text in particular underlines the importance of traditions of just war, especially their reinterpretation by actors on the international scene and its moral norm- makers. Considering the development of these standards allows us to grasp one of the most decisive aspects of the use of force in the post-cold war world, as well as the establishment of certain international reforms.
The post-interventionist development adopted by Indian governments from the mid-1980s onwards has enabled companies to further participate in the economic growth. Still, growth benefits are very unevenly distributed while social and environmental externalities weigh more and more on Indian society. In such a context, while public regulation tends to reduce social and environmental judicial constraints in order to encourage rapid growth of investments, civil society groups are intensifying their regulatory actions on private companies, and advocate for a balance of public policies in favor of a better protection of the social groups most affected by economic activity, and for a better protection of the environment. As a response, big companies are revising their strategies and practices of corporate social responsibility (CSR), to preserve their social legitimacy and the conciliatory attitude of the State. This study explores the recomposition of relationships and balances of power between economic actors, the State and the civil society, in a context of national modernization. It provides a detailed analysis of stakes and dynamics within public and civil society regulation, as well as companies’ self-regulations.
Hukou is a system for registering and controlling the population set up under Mao to promote the socialist development program. It has created a lasting division between urban and rural areas and has given rise to differences in status that violate the Chinese constitution, which stipulates that all citizens are equal in the eyes of the law. Maintaining the hukou system and cleverly adapting this communist institution in answer to the country’s social and economic changes largely explains how the CCP remains in power. Hukou helps manage development by controlling urban expansion and favoring rapid industrialization at a lesser cost to the state. Despite accelerated reforms to the system in recent years, it has perpetuated inequality among citizens. Hukou thus remains a tool of the party’s divide-and-rule strategy. The reforms, which promote greater social mobility and help ensure that elites remain behind the central power, also curb social unrest, although in a context in which hukou has never been so criticized. The system thus remains the bedrock of an authoritarian regime, serving its two priorities: maintaining social stability and high growth rate.
The international community analyzed the crisis in Somalia in light of its own interests rather than the reality of the country. After having failed to work out a true reconciliation government between 2002 and 2004, western countries went about keeping alive a government that had no real legitimacy, but backed by Ethiopia and Kenya. The emergence of the Islamic Courts in June 2006 reshuffled the cards. More than the radicalization of the Islamic Courts, two arguments finally determined Somalia’s fate and the rekindling of war there. Ethiopia couldn’t stand to see an autonomous power friendly to Eritrea appear on its southern flank. And the United States wanted to signal the absolute predominance of its fight against terrorism over any other consideration. Such a posture provided the opportunity to try out a new security doctrine giving the Pentagon ascendancy over the pursuit of alleged terrorists, co-opting new regional powers on the African continent in the process, given that most of its European allies once again proved particularly limp in the face of yet another militarist drift on the part of Washington. Incapable of occupying the political space, the transitional Somalian government encouraged radicalization. The specter of an Iraq-style conflict in Africa began to loom with Ethiopia’s shaky victory in January 2007.
Alongside the socialist society that Cuba is in the process of constructing, an unofficial “civil society” is actually taking shape, made up for the most part of dissident movements. The Cuban Catholic Church, the only non-Castrist institution in existence, is playing a crucial role in maintaining a certain balance between the two; the Church’s dual nature – universal in scope but locally implanted – has fostered a unique conception of its relation to Cuban society, all the more so as its ambition is above all to win back a position of influence and reaffirm its central status. This ambition is furthered by two means, both of which are basically handled by secular representatives, in particular by groups associated with Dagoberto Valdès. On one hand there is a pragmatic approach based on social work and the activities of training centers; on the other an effort to rethink the role of the Church in relation to society and envisage the possibility of a new form of citizenship founded on Catholic values. The charitable initiatives are acceptable to the regime; but the same does not hold as far as the resolve to become active social participants is concerned, a move seen as a form of defense of conservative, backward-looking options. In addition relations between the Church and dissident movements are strained. This ambiguous situation might well render the role of Catholics in the post-Castrist transition more uncertain, even though the Church’s expertise will be required for national reconciliation to take place.