If the eighties were the decade of the Right in the West, the nineties saw a comparable sweep by the Centre-Left. Does the loss of the US Presidency by the Democrats presage another turn of the wheel in Atlantic politics? With Bush at the helm in the New World, what are the prospects for the Gores of the Old?
Can stakeholder variants of capitalism in east Asia or Europe resist the rise to global dominance of Anglo-American shareholder value? John Grahl argues that ‘exit’ trumps ‘voice’—disembedded forms of corporate finance are inherently more capable of spreading uniformly round the world than embedded ones, which remain particular to local settings. The misfortunes of the euro as a portent of US pressures to come.
Multiculturalism is the right-minded rhetoric of diversity of the moment. What is its political substance? Brian Barry reads Britain’s Parekh Report and considers the animating philosophy behind it. How far are they compatible with an egalitarian universalism, and what are the implications for traditionalist minorities? Are doctrines of karma just a harmless metaphysical whim?
Japan’s flashy gangsters look to be the antithesis of its austere emperors. Bertell Ollman contends that there is a structural connexion between them. Rule by an unelected bureaucracy requires an inviolate imperial symbol for compensating legitimacy, which must in turn be shielded from queries or criticisms by criminal thugs. An American Marxist challenges the central taboo of Japanese public life.
Should relations between national literatures be conceived on the model of international competition between states? Christopher Prendergast assesses a bold French attempt to analyse the historical dynamics of the ‘world republic of letters’, from the Renaissance to the present day—with Paris emerging as an unexpectedly durable capital. Were national determinations of literary projects always so predominant, and what of cross-cultural variations in the meaning of literature itself?
How dreams of unitary urbanism that would confound Le Corbusier could be a summons to social revolution. The Situationist ideas of dérive and détournement as gypsy principles of chance and larceny in the imagination of a utopian space. Inspirations from Neuschwanstein to the Watts riots, visions from Constant’s helicoptered nomads to Jorn’s ceramic garden.
Hal Foster on Amy Newman, ed., Challenging Art: Artforum 1962–1974. The modern fate of art criticism through the prism of America’s leading journal of the visual arts in the sixties—a retrospect of the time beyond Abstract Expressionism.
Peter Gowan on Richard Tuck, Rights of War and Peace: Political Thought and the International Order from Grotius to Kant. The origins of ‘liberal’ interventionism by the NATO powers today in the doctrines of colonial retribution and expropriation of the seventeenth century.
Tony Wood on Susan Buck-Morss, Dreamworld and Catastrophe: the Passing of Mass Utopia in East and West. USSR and USA as alternative models of mechanized happiness in the inter-war world—and their outcome at the end of the Cold War.