NLR 13

Gavan McCormackBreaking the Iron Triangle

How close is what was once the strongest—now the weakest—link in the chain of world capital to snapping? Gavan McCormack looks at the mortmain of Japan’s construction state, and the extent of its devastation of the country’s physical environment and public finances alike.

Daniele ArchibugiDemos and Cosmopolis

As representative democracy spreads it is steadily thinning: the nation-states that have been its traditional framework are losing much of their power. Popular sovereignty can only be recovered, Daniele Archibugi argues, in a cosmopolitan order antithetical to its simulacrum in the ‘international community’ of today.

Loic WacquantFrom Slavery to Mass Incarceration

The fate of US blacks, from the time of Jefferson to that of Reagan and Clinton, trapped within four successive ‘peculiar institutions’, under a sociological spotlight. The origins of American racism and its outcomes in today’s hyperghetto and prison regimes.

David GraeberThe New Anarchists

Is the ‘anti-globalization movement’ anything of the kind? Active resistance is true globalization, David Graeber maintains, and its repertoire of forms is currently coming from the arsenal of a reinvented anarchism.

Francesca OrsiniIndia in the Mirror of World Fiction

Mapping the gap between received versions of Indian writing in the West, and the varieties of form and language in the Subcontinent itself: stereotypes of projection, mechanisms of stratification in the filtering of literary value.

Sven LüttickenThe Art of Theft

From Dürer to Barbie Doll, icons and images have been illicitly copied, quoted, parodied and purloined. As corporations wage war on such misappropriations in the name of copyright today, how far do the arts of détournement and culture jamming offer radical applications of a classical tradition?

Alain SupiotOntologies of Law

Western modes of thought have embodied concepts of law since the sun god of Ancient Babylon issued his edicts to the stars. Alain Supiot surveys their successive evolutions and ambivalent laicization across the centuries, from Gratian and Abelard to Becker and Bourdieu.

Paul CammackAttacking the Poor

A close reading of the World Bank’s annual Development Reports through the nineties yields a step-by-step programme for world capitalist expansion. The ‘war on poverty’ as systematic assault on the poor.

After America?

Peter Gowan on Giovanni Arrighi and Beverly Silver: Chaos and World Governance. Plotting the different axes of any international hegemony, and the prospects for American supremacy in the new century.

Forms on the Roof of the World

Henry Zhao on Herbert Batt, ed.: Tales of Tibet; and Manoa special issue: Songs of the Snow Lion. The paradoxes of an experimental joint fiction in Inner Asia.

The Oracle of Post-Democracy

Gopal Balakrishnan on Sheldon Wolin: Tocqueville Between Two Worlds. The first theorist of modern democracy in the twilight of what has become of it in his land of reference.