EASA, 2010: EASA2010: Crisis and imagination

Maynooth, 24/08/2010 – 27/08/2010


Law and normative pluralism

Location John Hume Boardroom
Date and Start Time 26 Aug, 2010 at 11:30


Thomas Strong (National University of Ireland Maynooth) email
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Long Abstract

Contemporary problems of government often revolve around competing visions of 'the good.' Though normative orders in the contemporary world are often secured through the statements and procedures of government legal regimes, and the state institutions (police, courts, and so on) that ostensibly secure their hegemony, there are many signs that Law in the contemporary world does not simply dictate 'morality'. Instead, law(s) may be seen to intersect and compete with moral regimes that also vie for pride of place in articulating the terms and values of superordinate normative orders. Concrete topoi where such conflicts can be sensed include debates pertaining to indigenous rights and sovereignty, the place of Islamic jurisprudence in contemporary nation-states, developing critiques of humanitarianism and human rights discourse, critiques of intellectual property in the context of rapidly developing digital technologies, bioethics and biotechnology, and so on. Anthropologists interested in law and morality, then, are able to describe and analyze contemporary dynamics of government, politics, and power by examining these domains and the crises that sometimes inhabit them. Ethnographic analysis can yield refined perspectives on how 'global hierarchies of virtue and value' compete and conflict on the shifting stage of the global.

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.


Cosmopolitanism in Europe

Author: Rik Pinxten (University of Ghent)  email
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Long Abstract

With the given that a majority of the Europe's population is already living in urban contexts, the question emerges whether and in what ways cultural and religious identities can still hold a primordial status in the present socio-political complexes. I claim that one should try to argue for an intercultural view of humankind first, with universal rules of conduct first (in the line of Human Rights) and cultural or religious identities in a secondary role. The combination of all three aspects defines the role of 'borders' in the contemporary human predicament. All of this has to be conceived on a cosmopolitan perspective, which is product of and subject to continuous negotiations.

The two first aspects (intercultural human, universal rules of conduct) form the basis of both the capacity and the institutional practice of interculturality. Clearly, they have to defined in a minimalist format. Nevertheless, their primary status is fundamental in the world we are entering. In that perspective we need research on how people live with universality (negotiated and debated, for sure) and with particularity at the same time. The Mediterranean religions will pose as obstacles in this world to the extent that they continue to manifest themselves as political systems and think themselves to be universal projects (which is understood and often promoted by the political versions of all three). By doing that, they refuse the new human condition of living with and within the new borders.

A quest for justice? The Mauritius Truth and Justice Commission

Authors: Rosabelle Boswell (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University)  email
Bevan Boswell  email
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Long Abstract

Mauritius is a polyethnic island society situated in the southwest Indian Ocean. It is also a SADC country of approximately 1.2 million people. Thirty percent of this population are of African descent and are categorised as slave descendants. The majority population of Indian descent are viewed as the descendants of indentured labourers. This paper introduces and discusses the Mauritius Truth and Justice Commission (TJC). The TJC is modeled on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission but seeks (unlike the TRC) to achieve a measure of reparations for the descendants of slaves and indentured workers in Mauritius. The discussion presented in the paper asks why a TJC has only now been instituted in Mauritius (nearly 180 years after the abolition of slavery) and what role the TJC might play in the re-imagining of the Mauritian nation.

Reconstructing the nation: Venezuela's twenty-first century socialism and the creation of 'The Greatest Amount of Happiness for All'

Author: Miguel Montoya (Stockholm University)  email
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Long Abstract

Since the election of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela has initiated a process of national transformation with the aim of establishing socialism in the country. This venture requires the redefinition of the country's democratic past as having damaged and degraded the majority of citizens, and the establishment of socialism as the natural alternative to a corrupt past. Images used by the government to inspire hope in the future are the goal of 21st century socialism, and the creation of a socialist "new man". Thus laws are being passed to provide for "the greatest amount of happiness for all" - a phrase sometimes written into the text of laws. The new political agenda creates extreme polarization as it defines the good and the evil, separating patriots from traitors. This paper will examine the content and practice of 21st century socialism and the images called upon to legitimize the government's intentions and dreams.

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.