Posted 16 days ago by Super Admin / Tags: Philosophy, science, Music, politics / 0 Comments
450 events, 6 stages, 180 speakers, 10 days, 150 bands.
HowTheLightGetsIn, the world’s largest philosophy festival, returns this May with a packed programme of debates, solo talks and live music geared around this year’s theme: Errors, Lies and Adventure.
The festival has put paid to the idea that the public want dumbed down culture. With an unashamedly highbrow programme tackling the latest theories in everything from philosophy and art to science and politics- all set against a backdrop of live music and DJ sets from some of the UK’s most exciting emerging talent- visitor numbers have been growing at a breakneck pace – tripling each year. Last year’s event attracted over 35,000 visitors to the site.
In addition to debates with leading figures including Stephen Frears, Ian Blair, Will Hutton, Shirley Williams,
AS Byatt, Jim Crace and Terry Pratchett amongst over 150 others, this year’s music programme includes the likes of Man Like Me, Jeffrey Lewis, Electro Swing Circus, Sam Lee, Emily Barker, Get Cape. Wear Cape.Fly, Serafina Steer, Phildel, Stealing Sheep, Young Husband, The Hut people, Andrew Weatherall,
Deepgroove, Jamie Anderson, James Welsh, Utah Saints, The Boxettes, Nerina Pallot, King Charles, Nick Mulvey and Richard Walters.
The debates this year include
The Decline and Fall of the American Empire
Cory Doctorow, Will Hutton, Shirley Williams. Katie Derham chairs.
The economic and political dominance of the US is under threat from the rise of the East. Are we seeing the end of an empire that led the world throughout the 20th century? Can post-imperial America remain a vital force in world affairs, or will it couple waning economic influence with cultural decay?
Columnist and former Observer editor Will Hutton, SDP founder Baroness Shirley Williams, and novelist and activist Cory Doctorow imagine a changed world.
The Prejudice of Intellectuals
Jim Crace, Hannah Dawson, Catherine Hakim. Julian Baggini chairs.
We openly discriminate in favour of intelligence - at school and at work - while we often seek to deny or limit the role of physical beauty. Might this be a mistake? Should we accept the many different qualities of individuals and prize them equally, or would this undermine our society and lead to ruin?
LSE Sociologist and Erotic Capital theorist Catherine Hakim, historian of ideas Hannah Dawson and acclaimed novelist Jim Crace debate the values of the mind and the body.
The Art of Life
Stephen Frears, Hermione Lee, Ray Monk. Katie Derham chairs.
From Thomas Cromwell to Abraham Lincoln, the legacies of historical icons are controlled by the writers and historians who shape their reputations. Yet since Foucault declared that history itself was a fiction, the very notion of historical truth has been in doubt. Is it an error to believe that authentic accounts of human lives are possible, and if so, what responsibilities are left to those who speak for the dead?
BAFTA-winning director of High Fidelity and The Queen Stephen Frears and biographers Hermione Lee and Ray Monk contemplate the limits of life writing.
Death of the Hero
Ian Blair, Angie Hobbs, Susan Neiman. Rana Mitter chairs.
Heroes are out of fashion, along with traditional masculine values of grit, perseverance and honour. Will this lead to a more benign culture or is it a fundamental mistake? Do we need new forms of heroism to inspire the modern world? Or should we guard against all heroes and all icons as sources of collective stupidity?
Philosopher and Director of the Einstein Forum, Susan Neiman, former Metropolitan Police Commissioner
Lord Ian Blair, and classical philosopher and broadcaster Angie Hobbs seek out new heroes.
Mind, Madness and Power
Oliver James, Frank Furedi, Richard Bentall.
Psychiatrists and their critics alike claim their opponents' theories are flawed, their institutions corrupt, and their practices dangerous. Does anti-psychiatry echo the terminology, power structures and paradigms of the psychiatric profession? Do we need new ways of helping the mentally ill beyond the confines of the therapist-patient relationship?
Psychologist, author and broadcaster Oliver James, outspoken sociologist and author of Cultures of Fear,
Frank Furedi, and clinical psychologist Richard Bentall debate the limits of psychotherapy.
At the World's Edge
Terry Pratchett, AS Byatt, Terry Eagleton. Mary Ann Sieghart chairs.
Fantasy tales are often seen as a peripheral part of culture, with little to contribute to our lives other than throw-away entertainment. Is this an error? Might fantasies be central to how we perceive the world, and even gesture towards the limits of our understanding? ııMary Ann Sieghart asks philosopher Terry Eagleton and eminent novelists AS Byatt and Terry Pratchett to explore reality’s edge.
Why has the festival proved such a remarkable success? Philosopher and founder of the festival, Hilary
Lawson says: “There are many names you will recognise in this year’s programme but we are not about celebrity. The festival creates a space where real human interaction can take place. It sounds easy. But it’s rare. Our venues are intimate. Our speakers mix with our audience and go to the same parties. We talk, dance, play and bring life to the world of ideas and maybe just a little meaning to our lives in a world that is so often rather emptier than we would like.”
This year’s full programme is available here: http://www.howthelightgetsin.org
For media accreditation, images and interview requests, contact Bianca Brigitte Bonomi or Anna Southby at
E: firstname.lastname@example.org / M: 07878194220
Posted 263 days ago by Super Admin / Tags: politics, media, democracy, privacy / 0 Comments
Is media coverage of politics becoming more focused on the private lives of politicians across democracies?
It is often remarked that the personal lives of politicians, like those of sports, film and television stars and host of other celebrities, have become a familiar part of the public's daily media consumption.
The public, it might be said, know more detail about politicians’ personal lives than their policy stance or voting records. Like celebrities in other fields they have willingly surrendered their privacy, or have been unable to defend it from a celebrity-obsessed media.
There have been a number of studies conducted in a range of democracies that have pointed to similar developments. Take France for example, research has documented the ‘peopolisation’ or celebritization of French politics in the 2000s, a key aspect of which has been personalized self-disclosure.
Leading French politicians regularly make carefully choreographed appearances on television talk-shows and in glossy celebrity magazines. In the run-up to the 2007 presidential election, Socialist candidate Ségolène Royal appeared in her bikini in Voici, Closer and VSD.
Nicolas Sarkozy, exploited his private life for political purposes, openly using his family to bolster his presidential ambitions. His courtship and marriage to supermodel and singer Carla Bruni, was conducted very much in the media spotlight.
In the UK, Tony Blair frequently disclosed aspects of his private life to the public. For example, in an interview with Tony and Cherie in the Sun during the 2005 general election campaign, Tony confessed he was ‘up for it’ at least five times a night, a point corroborated by Cherie, who when asked if he was ‘up to it’, said he always was.
In Italy, numerous authors have remarked on the personalized nature of political communication since 1994 and the formation of the Second Republic. Silvio Berlusconi used his private life to promote himself to the Italian people.
Research also points at the increased proclivity of certain media to intrude into the private lives of politicians. Bill Clinton’s presidency was dogged by a series of allegations and revelations concerning his fidelity.
The media digging for and publishing dirt on politicians is now a permanent feature of US politics at all levels, not just the presidency. Further, in democracies where the private lives of politicians have been very much legally protected, certain media outlets seem increasingly eager to publish gossip about public figures.
In France, Germany and Spain, celebrity magazines have not shied away from publishing paparazzi pictures of leading politicians in their swim suits, something that would have been unheard of before.
There may be those who say ‘so what?’, but I would argue that these different nationally focused examples cannot be ignored. They point to a potentially significant development in democratic political communications, namely the growing focus on the personal lives of politicians. They suggest that across a range of advanced industrial democracies the personal lives of politicians are no longer a purely private matter but are instead an increasingly ubiquitous feature of the mediated public sphere.
The zone of privacy which once surrounded politicians and those in public life seems to be slowly disappearing with and without politicians’ consent. These documented incursions of the personal into the public sphere are an indication for some of a public realm that ‘no longer has anything to do with civic commitment’ but one that is increasingly colonized by the trivial and inane.
However, while the above examples provide a tantalizing glimpse of recent developments, they are far from conclusive; it is hard to determine whether there is a trend across advanced industrial democracies and difficult to identify the consequences of such developments, in short, more evidence is needed.
Intimate Politics provides that evidence for the first time. Looking comparatively at seven democracies (Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and the US) it assesses the extent to which the personal lives of politicians have become a prominent feature of political communications and explains why this might be.
What are the findings? In nutshell, based on a range of measures, political communication is not equally personalized in every democracy examined. What emerges are two main clusters of countries.
Political communication is highly personalized in the US and the UK and a lot less personalized in the other countries. In the US and UK, media coverage of national leaders seems to focus on aspects of their personal lives to a greater extent than in the others and there are a larger number of instances of publicized infidelity. Further, the research also shows that there has been an increase of personal coverage over time.
Of course there are national exceptions - leaders such Nicolas Sarkozy received more personal coverage than his predecessors - but generally significant differences remain between these two clusters of countries.
What factors are driving these developments? There is no single causal factor, such as new communication technologies, or tabloidization. Indeed, the book makes the case that the search for a causal silver bullet is problematic. Rather, the outcome is the result of a complex interplay of necessary and sufficient factors operating in conjunction.
Using fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis the book identifies a number of so called causal recipes that explain why political communication is more focused on the private lives of politicians in the US and UK. These recipes include personal factors including the age of the politician, media conditions, such as the size of the tabloid press and presence and absence of privacy protection for public figures, and political factors, such as the nature of the political system.
What are the consequences? Scholars, most notably Hannah Arendt and Richard Sennett, have tended to lament the incursion of the personal into the public realm seeing this as leading to a de-politicization of civil society. However, the little empirical research that has been conducted paints a less straightforward picture.
The book argues that the impact can be most clearly seen in those countries where personalized politics is most developed, such as the US and the UK. Looking at the US and the UK, the book suggests the major consequences of intimization are two-fold: first, a politicization of the personal lives of politicians, especially high-profile leading politicians, not a de-politicization, as suggested by others, and, second, the emergence of regular controversies and scandals around privacy intrusion and protection.
In other words, the very act of exposure and what is revealed can be the site of intense struggle. These are by no means the only developments but they are significant in democracies where mediated political communication is increasingly dominated by the personal lives of politicians.
James Stanyer is senior lecturer in media and communication studies at Loughborough University.
Posted 363 days ago by Super Admin / Tags: Disarmament, militias, security studies, peacekeeping, politics, DDR / 0 Comments
Demobilizing Irregular Forces came about nearly by accident. I had been considering a book on postconflict reconciliation practices when the opportunity to write specifically about the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process arose. Since I work primarily with military officers, the thought of working on the area of stability operations that they are most likely to confront was an intriguing challenge. My thinking on the subject has been shaped significantly by the conversations with many of my colleagues and students with tremendous first-hand experience.
The greatest insights of the book are arguably not so much lessons learned as ones rediscovered. Questions over the sequencing of DDR phases, how well the phases should be integrated, and the scope and priorities of DDR are questions easy to identify, but very difficult to address. Recognizing how dependent DDR success is on the context wherein it is applied is a near universal insight. However, this insight does not stop an almost pathological desire to find “templates” from one case to another. The search for “best practices” is an understandable desire, but practices considered outside of historical and cultural contexts are frequently not “best”.
Secondly, the real success of DDR is found in psychological shifts in combatants and the wider community and not in more quantifiable measures such as weapons collected. Finding ways to measure these shifts is the challenge, but agencies must measure what matters, not what they can see and count. This also leads to the implication that agencies must consider what the individual phases of DDR mean within the context (and timing) of their application. In some cases, removing weapons from an environment will build trust, but in others, it fosters insecurity. It is the context that influences the value of the DDR program, not objective measures of performance.
Finally, the book argues for recognizing “acceptable levels of failure”. Too often, politicians, combatants and communities expect too much from DDR. DDR is not a cure for all conflict, and will not make all forms of violence go away. It is impossible to fix everything, and promising to do so will only lead to greater disappointment. Managing the expectations of both those implementing the DDR program and (perhaps most importantly) the affected community is one of the more valuable reminders from the work.
Eric Shibuya is associate professor of strategic studies at the US Marine Corps Command and Staff College.
Posted 585 days ago by Super Admin / Tags: Sovereignty, statehood, recognition, global politics, Peace, Conflict Resolution, International Relations, politics, security studies / 0 Comments
Unrecognized states are places that do not exist in international politics; they are state-like entities that have achieved de facto independence, but have failed to gain widespread international recognition. Territories such as Abkhazia, Nagorno Karabakh, Somaliland, Taiwan and Transnistria frequently enjoy all the trappings of statehood: an army, a government, courts, hospitals, schools and other public services. They may therefore look like states and act like states, but they are not recognised as such in the modern international system.
Unrecognized states hold a fascination for the intrepid traveller with a fondness for the paradoxical, but their involvement in conflicts over contested territories also makes them of wider interest. Some of these conflicts – in places as diverse as the Balkans, the former Soviet Union, South Asia, the Horn of Africa, and the South Pacific – have elicited major international crises and intervention, while others could be the site of future warfare. Even so, there has been a lack of academic analysis of these curious anomalies and they remain subject to myths and simplifications.
Unrecognized states join a list of other anomalies in the international system, such as associated territories, internationally administered territories and mini-states, but unlike such entities unrecognized states are not afforded a place in the international system of sovereign states. Their lack of recognition comes at a significant cost, yet a number of unrecognized states have survived for decades and some of them even thrive. This raises important – yet hitherto largely unanswered – questions about the conditions that enable these anomalies to survive in a system of sovereign states and about the kind of entities that can emerge from non-recognition. In answering these questions we find out something important, not just about unrecognised states, but also about sovereignty and statehood.
Building on extensive fieldwork, my new book Unrecognized States: The Struggle for Sovereignty in the Modern International System examines the origins of unrecognized states, the factors that enable their survival and explores their likely future trajectories: is reintegration, status quo or recognition on the cards for these entities and how can peaceful solutions best be promoted? I hope that this book will prove a valuable resource for students, scholars and practitioners with an interest in contested territories, sovereignty, state-building and conflict resolution.
Nina Caspersen is lecturer in peace and conflict studies at Lancaster University.
Posted 718 days ago by Super Admin / Tags: governance, politics, Regulation, globalization / 0 Comments
From climate change to organized crime to financial regulation through to global pandemics, many of the gravest problems society faces today cannot be resolved by any country acting alone. Globalization has created a world of “complex interdependence” in which cooperation across borders is required to provide the security, prosperity, and wellbeing on which we all depend.
Traditionally, transborder cooperation has been negotiated between nation-states. In the aftermath of the Second World War, states created a range of intergovernmental institutions—the international financial institutions, the trade regime, and above all the United Nations—that have become the core of our current multilateral order.
Fascinatingly, however, these traditional institutions are being joined by an increasing range of new forms of global governance. For example, transgovernmental networks link ostensibly domestic government officials into flexible platforms for coordination and information exchange. Private regulatory schemes hold corporations responsible for environmental and social standards. Diverse coalitions of actors—states, corporations, NGOs, and others—form multistakeholder initiatives for topics as diverse as disease prevention and the management of the Internet. We live in a period of remarkable innovation in global governance.
Scholars and practitioners have recognized these changes, which pervade nearly every area of global politics, but have yet to fully describe or explain them. We need to know what has changed, why it has changed, and what implications the changes hold for the political issues that affect our societies. A first step toward answering these crucial questions—until now missing from the literature—would be a comprehensive mapping of the new institutions. This is what the Handbook of Transnational Governance hopes to contribute. In it, we have gathered over 50 expert summaries of innovative forms of global governance which, together, provide the most complete picture of the new forms of governance that yet exists. We hope this resource will help students, scholars, and practitioners to better understand the changing institutional landscape that increasingly shapes every aspect of political life.
Thomas Hale is a PhD candidate at Princeton University. David Held is Graham Wallas Professor of Political Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Their new book, Handbook of Transnational Governance, is out now.