Krystyna Swiderska : « Here’s why Indigenous economics is the key to saving nature »

by dave

« Mainstream Western economics is destroying the environment – and the Indigenous knowledge that has conserved nature for millennia.

Quechua woman
Quechua woman from the Potato Park (Photo: Adam Kerby)

Western economics is not only destroying the environment. It is also destroying Indigenous peoples’ holistic development models that ensure balance with nature, and provide alternative paradigms for sustainable development.

For many of the world’s 476 million Indigenous peoples, balance and reciprocity (PDF) with nature are fundamental principles that guide all aspects of life. Rather than privileging human economic goals and pursuing nature conservation separately, many Indigenous societies seek to achieve ‘holistic wellbeing’ or ‘Buen Vivir’, which means the wellbeing of both people and nature together.

Take the Quechua and Aymara people in Peru, for example, who make up nearly a fifth of Peru’s population. According to their Andean cosmovision, the world is divided into three communities or ‘ayllus’: i) the wild or natural world, ii) the human and domesticated world, and iii) the sacred world.

To achieve wellbeing (‘Sumaq Causay’), these three communities must be in balance, which requires reciprocity between them (‘ayni’).

These Andean concepts come from the Incas, the largest pre-Columbian empire, and are still very much alive in the Andes. So too are barter markets (PDF), which provide people at different altitudes with access to essential nutrients and help sustain rich Andean biodiversity.

Balance with nature, reciprocity and solidarity (the obligation to help those in need) are key principles embedded in many Indigenous cultures across the world, from the Americas, to China, India and Kenya. These Indigenous economies (PDF) promote sufficiency rather than infinite growth, and equity and redistribution of wealth rather than accumulation.

Many subsistence economies are also characterised by circular agriculture models, which minimise waste and carbon emissions.

The separation of people and nature threatens both

In Peru and across the world, the nature- and people-friendly informal economies of Indigenous peoples are steadily being eroded by Western, neo-liberal economic policies that separate people and nature, and view Indigenous cultures and subsistence economies as ‘backward’ and in need of modernisation.

Ironically, the same Indigenous economies that have conserved and enhanced biodiversity for millennia are now threatened by environmental policies that often fail to recognise the value of Indigenous knowledge, thus contributing to its erosion.

Most of the world’s remaining biodiversity is located on lands owned or managed by Indigenous peoples. A global scientific assessment (PDF) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) found that “nature is generally declining less rapidly in Indigenous peoples’ lands than in other lands”.

However, the IPBES assessment also found nature managed by Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) is under increasing pressure, as is the knowledge of how to manage it. Areas managed by IPLCs “are facing growing resource extraction, commodity production, mining and transport and energy infrastructure”.

Negative impacts from all these pressures include “continued loss of subsistence and traditional livelihoods” and impacts on “health and wellbeing from pollution and water insecurity”.

These impacts “also challenge the transmission of Indigenous and local knowledge” and “the ability of indigenous peoples and local communities to conserve and sustainably manage wild and domesticated biodiversity that are also relevant to broader society”.

Mainstream economic activities on Indigenous lands have rarely benefited Indigenous Peoples, who make up 6% of the world’s population but 19% of the extreme poor.

In fact, their situation has often deteriorated (PDF), due to loss of land and natural resources, and the weakening of cultural ties and social cohesion. Integration with market economies has led to social tension and conflict, limited opportunities for meaningful employment, low returns for producers and a shift towards consumerist lifestyles.

The dominant approach to nature conservation through protected areas also reflects a Western worldview that separates people and nature, often excluding Indigenous people to protect biodiversity. Many state-run protected areas have resulted in negative social impacts, are losing biodiversity and are not effectively or equitably managed, as IPBES found (PDF).

Bridging the divide

Clearly, alternative development and conservation models that bridge the nature-people divide are urgently needed to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Indigenous Peoples’ holistic worldviews provide alternative development paradigms, which benefit both people and nature.

For example, Indigenous Peoples’ ‘mixed economies’, which combine subsistence and market activities, sustain Indigenous values that underpin biodiversity conservation, while contributing to nutrition, health, wellbeing and climate resilience, and generating income. Local markets and short value chains are often prioritised, rather than global export markets.

Indigenous Peoples have started to shape new community enterprise models that assert control over their territories and promote Indigenous traditions of sustainability and enterprise for the common good. These Indigenous enterprises have delivered multiple benefits for livelihoods, culture, social capital and biodiversity conservation.

For example, in the Potato Park in Peru, a Biocultural Heritage Territory governed by six Quechua communities, collective micro-enterprises (for gastronomy, agro-ecotourism, crafts, herbal teas and so on) are guided by Andean principles and holistic wellbeing goals. Ten per cent of the revenues from each micro-enterprise is invested in a communal fund and redistributed annually to reward biocultural heritage stewards and help those in need.

Thanks to their ancestral Indigenous knowledge, linked with science, the Potato Park communities have ensured food security despite severe climate change impacts and the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, the communities donated a ton of potatoes to hungry people in Cusco, in line with the principle of solidarity.

The social ties and mutual care and solidarity that Indigenous communities have displayed in the pandemic, highlights the type of social relations that are core to resilient economies and an inclusive green recovery.

The concept of ‘biocultural heritage’, which is derived from Indigenous Peoples’ holistic worldviews and traditions, recognises the inextricable linkages between nature, culture and development.

The way forward

A new narrative is needed which recognises the highly progressive and dynamic nature of Indigenous knowledge and economic systems that put nature and equity at the heart of development. Indigenous Peoples have a leading role to play in shaping alternative paradigms to mainstream economic models that are destroying the environment and traditional cultures.

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and undoing years of racial injustice that lie at the root of poverty and inequality, requires structural reform across economic and environment sectors, from local to global levels, to put Indigenous Peoples at the heart of decision-making.

This year provides an opportunity for governments and political leaders to demonstrate real commitment to achieving the SDGs and leaving no one behind.

It is not too late to reform the leadership structure for the UN Food Systems Summit in September 2021, so that representatives of poor, hungry, marginalised and Indigenous Peoples play a leading role. Or to reform the proposed post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (PDF), to be agreed at the biodiversity convention COP15 in October, so that the knowledge and leadership of Indigenous Peoples and local communities is integrated across the targets.

Indigenous Peoples have answers for many of the world’s most intractable challenges: inequality, ecocide, climate change. We cannot address these challenges without their wisdom and leadership.

This blog was originally posted on the Green Economy Coalition website.


– « Here’s why Indigenous economics is the key to saving nature« , by Krystyna Swiderska

Lectures / Curiosité(s) / Partage(s) / Invitation(s) au voyage :

  • L’agriculture urbaine, de l’initiative citoyenne à la réglementation politique, par Audrey-Maude Vézina
    • [extraits : « Les jardins communautaires se sont bien implantés à Montréal et ailleurs. Mais que représente ce mouvement pour les citoyennes et les citoyens ? » – « Professeur à l’Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), Nathan McClintock s’intéresse à la variation des perceptions face à l’agriculture urbaine. Plus particulièrement, ses travaux portent sur la gouvernance de cette pratique, de même que sur l’implication réelle des citoyens. « L’agriculture urbaine ressort souvent comme une appropriation de l’espace public par les citoyens. On parle alors de “démocratie radicale”. Mais qu’en est-il réellement dans un contexte où la ville appuie le mouvement ? » questionne le chercheur. » – « Le professeur McClintock a utilisé la ville de Montréal pour mettre en lumière l’apport de l’agriculture urbaine au développement économique de la ville. L’agriculture urbaine améliore aussi son image, rapporte le chercheur dans un article publié dans la revue Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, Selon lui, l’aspect radical se trouve plus dans le développement d’un esprit politique parmi les personnes qui participent à ces projets citoyens que dans une transformation politique ou économique à plus grande échelle. » – « Le professeur McClintock a récemment publié un article dans la revue International Journal of Urban and Regional Research sur cette gouvernance et la façon dont les citoyens jonglent avec les réglementations au quotidien, selon leurs motivations. Quelles politiques adoptent les citoyennes ou les citoyens ? Lesquelles font état de résistances ? Il cherchait à connaitre leur relation avec ces dernières. Il oriente maintenant sa recherche davantage autour de la création de serres dans les quartiers plus défavorisés. En collaboration avec Jasmin Raymond, expert en géothermie et en hydrogéologie thermique, il évaluera de façon interdisciplinaire le potentiel d’intégration sociotechnologique des serres en milieu urbain défavorisé, afin de permettre une production alimentaire à l’année et de mieux préparer ces quartiers aux défis d’approvisionnement qu’apporte une pandémie. » – « La professeure Sophie Van Neste spécialiste des questions portant sur l’environnement, le climat et l’action politique citoyenne, s’occupera avec lui du volet portant sur les questions de participation et de gouvernance. « Nous voulons déterminer quels groupes se sentent inclus ou exclus dans ces projets, ajoute-t-il. En identifiant les enjeux derrière les motivations et la participation, nous pourrons aider à développer des projets de la façon la plus inclusive possible, menés et gérés par les populations. » Le professeur Louis-César Pasquier et la professeure Geneviève Bordeleau participent également à ces travaux, ainsi que des partenaires Éric Duchemin du Laboratoire sur l’agriculture urbaine (AU/LAB), et Danielle Monfet et Didier Haillot de l’École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS). » – « L’article « Reclaiming the city one plot at a time? DIY garden projects, radical democracy, and the politics of spatial appropriation », par Claire E Bach et Nathan McClintock, a été publié en décembre 2020 dans la revue Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space. L’étude a reçu du financement ministère des Relations internationales et de la Francophonie du Québec (MRIF) et du Portland State University’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions. » – « L’article « GOVERNING URBAN AGRICULTURE: Formalization, Resistance and Re‐visioning in Two ‘Green’ Cities », par Nathan McClintock, Christiana Miewald et Eugene McCann, a été publié dans la revue International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. L’étude a reçu du financement de la National Science Foundation (NSF). »]
  • COLLECTIVITÉS ZéN : IMAGINER UN AVENIR VIABLE, S’UNIR POUR LE RÉALISER. – par Collectivités ZéN (Zéro émission nette)
    • [« L’originalité du projet tient au rassemblement des énergies et à la mutualisation des acquis d’acteurs socio-économiques nationaux et territoriaux qui ne s’étaient encore jamais unis pour relever le défi de la transition mais possèdent des expertises complémentaires, toutes essentielles au succès de la transition. »]
    • ‘We can only stop biodiversity loss if we all work together right now’ – by Landscape News Editor
  • « Hwang Jai Hyoung: Restoration of Human Dignity Section 2 “From Taebaek to East Sea » depicts a number of works that portray the landscape of a waning coal mining village in the 1990s with the eyes of a witness after the South Korean government’s Coal Industry Rationalization Policy in 1989 fo llowing his quitting of mining in mid-1980s. The second section that comprises of paintings of not only coal mining villages but also the Mother Nature of Gangwon do Province, shows Hwang’s expanded perspective that resulted from the distance between the a rtist’s physical body and the landscape he has painted. The section presents Sunset at Tancheon (2008) that depicts the scene of a golden glow of sunset reflecting over Tancheon in Sabuk, where the coal powder and dirt are mixed as well as the 5 meter wide Baekdu Mountains(1993-2004). » – by 국립현대미술관
  • People May Have Used Fire to Clear Forests More Than 80,000 Years Ago : Bushland around northern Lake Malawi in Africa might be the legacy of people burning forests tens of thousands of years earlier – by Katarina Zimmer​
  • ‘Mother Trees’ Are Intelligent: They Learn and Remember – by Richard Schiffman
  • Environmental influences on the pace of brain development – by Ursula A. Tooley, Danielle S. Bassett & Allyson P. Mackey
    • [Abstract : « Childhood socio-economic status (SES), a measure of the availability of material and social resources, is one of the strongest predictors of lifelong well-being. Here we review evidence that experiences associated with childhood SES affect not only the outcome but also the pace of brain development. We argue that higher childhood SES is associated with protracted structural brain development and a prolonged trajectory of functional network segregation, ultimately leading to more efficient cortical networks in adulthood. We hypothesize that greater exposure to chronic stress accelerates brain maturation, whereas greater access to novel positive experiences decelerates maturation. We discuss the impact of variation in the pace of brain development on plasticity and learning. We provide a generative theoretical framework to catalyse future basic science and translational research on environmental influences on brain development. »]
    • Tooley, U.A., Bassett, D.S. & Mackey, A.P. Environmental influences on the pace of brain developmentNat Rev Neurosci (2021).
  • Brainwash : les cobayes oubliés – avec Sophie-Andrée Blondin
  • Personal Stories, Our Stories – by Scott Cooper
  • Huriya, genre tabou
  • Freelancer on the Front Lines
  • À la sortie de l’école dans un village de la côte – Marc Riboud
  • William Blake on Self and Soul, by Laura Quinney
  • Midnight Philosophy by Candlelight: Failure
    • [Détails : « Meet up fortnightly with Anja and other philosophers at midnight (UK time) for a candlelit hour of thinking about life, the universe and everything. All meetings are free, light a candle and join us on Zoom! Topic for this session is « Failure « . Come in from 23:45, event starts at midnight. See you then! »]
  • Okinum – baladodiffusion, THÉÂTRE AUTOCHTONE CNA
    • [« Série de quatre épisodes documentaires en parallèle du balado Okinum qui se penchent sur l’animal emblématique : le castor. Ces entrevues sont menées par l’artiste Émilie Monnet. »]
    • [« Épisode 2 avec Joséphine Bacon et épisode 4 avec Anna Mapachee sont en français. »]
    • [« En langue anishnabemowin, Okinum signifie barrage. Inspiré par le rêve récurrent d’un castor géant, la pièce Okinum est une réflexion intime sur la notion de barrages intérieurs, une ode au pouvoir du rêve et à l’intuition. La parole se libère pour remonter la rivière de la mémoire des ancêtres et pour naviguer au travers des différentes facettes d’une identité multiple. »]
  • Le devoir d’antiracisme, par Rima Elkouri
    • Empreintes de résistance : Filiations et récits de femmes autochtones, noires et racisées – par Alexandra Pierre
    • Entre civilisés, par Emilie Nicolas
      • [extraits : « Ah, le bon vieux temps. Seuls à trôner au-dessus des masses analphabètes, il y avait le curé, le médecin, le bon seigneur sur son domaine, l’homme d’affaires, l’envoyé du roi, l’aristocrate et quelques bourgeois, éparpillés ici, rassemblés là, qui s’envoyaient des missives et rédigeaient parfois des bouquins. Ça échangeait de manière « civilisée », dans le temps. » – « Entre hommes d’honneur, on s’affrontait, physiquement ou verbalement, dans les règles d’un art que l’on avait cocréé. On débattait, et on s’entretuait certes parfois, mais on s’entendait au moins sur la manière d’arranger la guerre, la paix et la conquête, et de déterminer ce qu’est un affront, un scandale, ou une boutade vénielle. Ces règles, bien sûr, ne pouvaient s’appliquer aux barbares, femelles, populaces, hérétiques et autres sauvages. La lie de l’humanité ne pouvait servir d’interlocutrice digne, de res cogitans, de vis-à-vis. Sa prise de parole devait être ignorée, ou encore matée lorsque persistante — certainement pas incorporée, sauf exception, dans le travail sérieux et hautement civilisé qu’est celui des historiens, qui nous préparent les récits qui donnent un sens à la société et au passage des époques. C’est que, voyez-vous, on a même passé une bonne partie du XIXe siècle à expliquer comment ces peuplades étaient carrément à l’extérieur de l’Histoire et du temps linéaire. » – « Ainsi, on a fabriqué des consensus sociaux. Il a longtemps été « consensuel » de traiter les femmes comme des sous-humaines, dans un monde où on envoie au bûcher, enferme à l’asile, ou au mieux, ignore et exclut du canon des grandes œuvres presque toutes celles qui dérogent au fameux consensus. La remise en question du binarisme de genre et de l’hétéronormativité apparaît aussi comme nouvelle parce que les cultures des quatre continents qui ont pensé autrement la sexualité et les identités humaines ont été psychiatrisées, étiquetées comme primitives ou sataniques, ou simplement effacées de nos anthropologies. De même, on a commencé à prendre au sérieux la critique des inégalités de richesse en Occident lorsque des hommes de lettres importants se sont penchés sur la question. » – « Il était « de l’époque », et « normal pour le temps » de créer la Loi sur les Indiens, les réserves et les pensionnats autochtones puisque les Premières Nations n’étaient pas considérées comme des acteurs historiques, à proprement parler, de leur époque. Même qu’on a écrit le plus sérieusement du monde qu’elles vivaient dans la « préhistoire ». On trouve « anachronique » de juger les leaders colonialistes d’alors à l’aune des valeurs décoloniales « d’aujourd’hui » parce que Big Bear, Poundmaker, One Arrow et tous ceux qui se sont rebellés contre l’occupation des Prairies par le gouvernement canadien n’étaient pas perçus comme des interlocuteurs civilisés qui ont participé à définir la pensée de leur temps, mais comme des barbares à pendre. » – « On parle beaucoup, particulièrement depuis la pandémie, de la polarisation grandissante de la société. On disserte à raison du rôle des médias sociaux dans la radicalisation des citoyens, des algorithmes, de la violence en ligne. » – « Je sens toutefois qu’à travers les critiques légitimes de cette polarisation se mêle aussi dans certains cas autre chose. Quelque chose comme de la nostalgie, de l’ordre du Make Society Great Again. Parce qu’il était beaucoup plus simple de soumettre le débat public à la vieille étiquette des clubs privés, où l’on pouvait convenir d’être en désaccord avec bonhomie, lorsque les personnes dont on déterminait les conditions de vie n’étaient pas dans la pièce. Parce qu’il est plus facile de garder son sang-froid dans les échanges intellectuels lorsque ce n’est pas de son humanité à soi qu’on veut débattre calmement. Parce qu’on se déchirait moins sur les héros de l’Histoire quand on n’imaginait pas que les descendants des vaincus allaient faire leur place à l’université auprès des héritiers des « civilisés ». Parce que c’était tellement plus gai de répéter des clichés en classe avant que les femmes, les personnes trans et non-binaires aient l’audace de lever la main et de s’imaginer comme des sujets producteurs de savoirs scientifiques. Parce que les réseaux sociaux ont aussi, malgré tout, mis fin au monopole de quelques journaux et postes de télévision sur le choix des acteurs sociaux les plus influents. » – « Il transparaît de tout ça une peur de perte de contrôle de ceux qui se considèrent aujourd’hui comme les gardiens de la parole publique « civilisée » face à ceux dont le statut de barbares irrecevables est toujours en négociation, et dont l’acceptation est encore conditionnelle à une amabilité sans limites. » – « A-t-on peur, donc, que la société se polarise, ou a-t-on peur de considérer des perspectives qui ne sont pas nouvelles, mais que l’on avait réussi jusque-là à ignorer, et de plonger dans les remises en question que cette inclusion suscite nécessairement ? Peut-on admettre que si la violence des propos est si forte dans l’espace virtuel, c’est qu’il se joue un peu des deux à la fois ? »]
      • [Quelques commentaires-réactions par le lectorat à la chronique d’Emilie Nicolas : « Révélations : Comment donner au petit catéchisme régressif uoque des allures de Pierre de Rosette, de Saint-Graal de la pensée « éveillée » ? Rien n’est plus simple selon la chroniqueuse. Il suffit de jeter dans la marmite de l’anachronisme bêtifiant quelques morceaux choisis de l’histoire humaine, de napper généreusement les chicots malodorants de simplisme abusif, en saupoudrant le tout de pincées de misérabilisme féministe, autochtone, etc. Et hop ! Des siècles de réflexion et de lutte sociales et politiques résumés à quelques « hommes de lettres importants ». Des millénaires d’humanité sont pilonnés au clivage civilisés/bon sauvage. Alors, la culture d’annihilation, la quête de bouc émissaire, l’intimidation, l’eugénisme idéologique et le racisme politique se révélent en épiphanies de la parole libérée ! » – « On peut toujours revendiquer la justice sociale et les réformes qui s’imposent sans pour autant utiliser les invectives et les insultes en guise d’argumentation. À qui profite la division des citoyens? Ce sont les oligarques que vous dénonciez avec justesse qui profitent de la polarisation. À qui profite la division des citoyens? Ce sont les oligarques que vous dénonciez avec justesse qui profitent de la polarisation. Tant et autant que les citoyens sont polarisés comme la population divisée des États-Unis, les oligarques peuvent s’enrichir à leur guise sans entrave à leur cupidité. » – « Merci pourquoi? Pour la pensée antiraciste, qui est la reségrégation des races selon des critères que personne ne contrôle dont la couleur de peau et les traits physiologiques et physionomiques? La pensée antiraciste est le retour aux assisses de l’eugénisme qui est basé sur de fausses recherches biologiques, génétiques et des pratiques immorales et anti-sociales. Le concept de la race, qui n’existe pas en biologie ou en sciences, est avant tout une catégorie d’exclusion sociale. Que dire des mulâtres ou des gens comme Tiger Woods, qui est de descendance asiatique, noire et autochtone? On les classe où? Pour la pensée décoloniale dans un monde déjà décolonisé afin de renforcer nos différences parce qu’on ignore l’importance du vécu et de la spécificité humaine? Cette dernière semble être un relent de tribulations totalitaires qui stigmatise les population dites « blanches » ou « racisés ». C’est un dogme basé sur la prémisse du dénie de la question d’identité et repose sur le déterminisme culturel et social. On voit aussi que la révolution haïtienne a été un grand succès dans ce pays. Pour l’intersectionnalité, ce concept flou social et inatteignable, qui nous fait penser tout de suite au principe d’incertitude d’Heisenberg en physique quantique? Plus on essaie de mesurer son effet, plus notre détermination de son moment devient imprécis et semble disparaître. Lorsqu’on l’observe directement, on voit une certaine chose et lorsqu’on ne regarde plus, il devient son contraire. Pour le movement « woke » qui aseptise les sociétés les rendant caduques et incapables de se défendre? Il ne faut pas exposer les étudiants universitaires aux idées contraires à leur perception parce que le débat d’idée est mort. C’est la censure qui prend le relais parce que le tout est basé sur des concepts flous qui ne sont pas vérifiables et reproductibles. Cela annonce la fin de l’Empire américain qui sera remplacé pour un mouvance encore plus tyrannique. Non, je n’ai pas peur. » – « Courage! Regardons-nous le nombril pendant que la planète flambe. Ce qui cloche avec cette philosophie « woke » est qu’on ramène tout à l’individu et oublie complètement le collectif. Surtout lorqu’on a l’impression que le texte s’adresse à des sudistes américains propriétaires de colonies d’esclaves et non à des Québécois qui, il n’y a pas si longtemps, étaient eux-mêmes les esclaves des Anglais. Les milliardaires exploitants doivent être morts de rire. On se demande d’ailleurs si ce ne serait pas quelques uns d’entre eux qui financeraient cette entreprise de destruction des mouvements collectifs disant « Regardez-moi! Je n’ai pas de genre et je m’affirme. Mais je suis toujours exploité… » » – « Trés bon texte. Évidemment qu’ils ont peur. Heureusement que nous sommes de moins en moins prisonniers du passé qu’ils s’inventent pour ne pas grandir. » – « J’adhère. » – « Merci… : Une franchise qui détonne dans le monde bien pensant des privilégiés. »]
      • Dossier « Vivre ensemble » – Centre Justice et Foi / Lancement du guide de dialogue À l’écoute des voix autochtones
      • Décortiquer la compétence culturelle
      • Pour la santé de nos droits et libertés – Ligue des droits et libertés
      • The difference between racism, not racist and anti-racist (13 mai 2021) – CCDI Webinar (hosted by: Devika Pandey and Anne-Marie Pham)
        • [« In the last year, racism has been a central to the conversation and is shaping policy and discourse in politics, the workplace and in the news cycle. This webinar will review what racism is and the key differences between ‘not being racist’ versus ‘being anti-racist’. We conclude the webinar with tips and practices on how to be actively anti-racist in our workplaces. »]
  • Peacemaking in Cyberspace – by Crisis Group
    • [« This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Hugh Pope talk to conflict mediator Adam Cooper, of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, about the hidden world of peace diplomacy, cyber mediation and the pros and cons of social media during peace processes. »]
  • How opinion polls served the colonial project, and why it matters – by Kiran Phull
    • [extrait : « My research explores the thorny history of the scientific study of public opinion. I examine the global history of political opinion polls and social surveys, tracing how western opinion science operated in coordination with colonial power as a means of identifying, classifying, and governing racial subjects. »]
  • Repairs : ESCLAVAGE & INDEMNITÉS – Empire colonial français du XIXe siècle
    • [« Il présente les données sur les indemnités payées par Haïti en 1825 aux propriétaires français, et celles versées, en 1849, par la France, aux propriétaires d’esclaves de l’empire français. »]
    • [« Historiens, juristes, philosophes, anthropologues et géographes apportent un regard scientifique et documenté sur une problématique globale. »]
    • [« Diversité des indemnités historiques et des demandes de réparation contemporaines liées à l’esclavage dans le monde. »]
    • [« Indemniser l’esclavage : Jessica Balguy présente les débats qui ont mené à l’élaboration de la loi d’indemnisation de 1849 de l’empire colonial français. »]
    • [« Faire justice de l’irréparable : Magali Bessone propose une réflexion sur nos responsabilités contemporaines face à la traite et à l’esclavage. »]
  • Victorine Desprez, Margot Mikolasek et Louise Sella, « Quel état des lieux de l’éducation pour toutes et tous au XXIè siècle ? », La Revue des droits de l’homme [En ligne], Actualités Droits-Libertés, mis en ligne le 10 mai 2021
    • [Résumé : « A partir de rapports rendus par l’UNICEF et l’UNESCO en 2020, faisant état des avancées en matière de scolarisation des filles ces vingt-cinq dernières années, l’article suivant s’attache à dresser un bilan de l’éducation pour toutes et tous au XXIe siècle. Entre la forte hausse de la scolarisation des filles et l’évolution vers une totale parité au sein des établissements scolaires, l’engagement des Etats pour une éducation optimale est flagrant. La France adopte une démarche globalement fidèle à ces rapports, mettant en œuvre une scolarisation maximale des filles. Néanmoins, ce constat positif est à nuancer, tant au niveau mondial que français, par l’omniprésence du sexisme, frein à une scolarité de qualité. L’absence de visibilité du genre féminin et le manque de protection des filles face aux violences sexistes et sexuelles, montrent que des progrès restent à faire. »]
  • Leitão Ferreira, J. M. (2021). Children’s life in superdiversity contexts: Impacts on the construction of a children’s citizenship – the Portuguese caseCurrent Sociology.
    • [Abstract : « This article develops a reflexive and interpretive analysis of the life of children in superdiversity contexts, systematizing some of its impacts on the construction of a children’s citizenship, with particular reference to the Portuguese case. The article promotes the conceptual construction of the child in the 21st century through the correlation of qualitative analysis variables based on a multidisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary theoretical framework. The article introduces the child protection system in Portugal within a framework of European and international influences. It identifies the indicators present in public policies and in the social welfare system that affect child protection in a cross-analysis with the professional practices that intervene with children and families. The author addresses the questions of the ecosocial dimension in the territorialized intervention of family policies in contemporary and multiple approaches to superdiversity. For policy-makers and practitioners in local government, NGOs and social services, appreciating the dimensions and dynamics of superdiversity has profound implications for how they might understand and deal with modes of difference and their interactions within the population. The article concludes with a systematization on the current problems regarding the child as a citizen in contemporary society. »]
  • Niger ‘scandal of the century’ exposed in FinCEN Files sparks lawsuit demanding action – by Will Fitzgibbon
    • [« Publisher Moussa Aksar was targeted as his reporting on millions in disappearing defense spending was submitted in a request to force a government inquiry. »]
  • Canadian government considers ‘right to disconnect’ : The impact on Canadian businesses would be ‘enormous’ – by Emily Douglas
    • [« Dans son portrait général des inégalités économiques au Canada et au Québec, l’Observatoire a cherché à comprendre les tendances des quatre dernières décennies, à dégager les consensus scientifiques concernant leur évolution et à répertorier les principales causes contribuant à expliquer les constats les plus marquants. » – « Les inégalités économiques désignent les disparités dans la distribution de ressources valorisées entre les membres d’une société. Bien que ces ressources soient multiples, l’Observatoire en a retenu trois dans son rapport : LE REVENU, la richesse (patrimoine), et LA CONSOMMATION, chaque angle fournissant un éclairage complémentaire. Ce deuxième billet d’une série de trois se penche plus spécifiquement sur l’une de ces ressources matérielles : le patrimoine. »]
  • Ako, by Hiroshi Teshigahara
  • International repatriation of human remains of indigenous peoples – by International Council of Museums (ICOM)
  • Huang, C., & Kang, D. (2021). State Formation in Korea and Japan, 400–800 CE: Emulation and Learning, Not Bellicist CompetitionInternational Organization, 1-31. 
    • [Abstract : « State formation occurred in Korea and Japan 1,000 years before it did in Europe, and it occurred for reasons of emulation and learning, not bellicist competition. State formation in historical East Asia occurred under a hegemonic system in which war was relatively rare, not under a balance-of-power system with regular existential threats. Korea and Japan emerged as states between the fifth and ninth centuries CE and existed for centuries thereafter with centralized bureaucratic control defined over territory and administrative capacity to tax their populations, field large militaries, and provide extensive public goods. They created these institutions not to wage war or suppress revolt: the longevity of dynasties in these countries is evidence of both the peacefulness of their region and their internal stability. Rather, Korea and Japan developed state institutions through emulation and learning from China. The elites of both copied Chinese civilization for reasons of prestige and domestic legitimacy in the competition between the court and the nobility.« ]
    • [extraits de l’article de recherche : « Simmons, Dobbin, and Garrett identify four distinct causal mechanisms through which diffusion can take place: coercion, competition, learning, and emulation. As Solis and Katada describe them, coercion exists when strong actors intentionally force weaker actors to adopt practices; competition is a horizonal process where polities try to increase their competitiveness relative to peers; rational learning occurs when states assess costs and benefits; and emulation is where actors adopt policies or ideas deemed appropriate from a social-cultural perspective. These causal processes are not mutually exclusive, even if the bellicist literature treats a particular kind of competition—interstate war—as monocausal in the European case. Coercion from China was absent in the historical era under study. Indeed, during some of this period, even when it was divided and militarily weak, its ideas and civilization were enduring and eagerly sought. While the conventional bellicist literature implies that competition over territory and survival was the key causal mechanism in diffusion, in East Asia learning and emulation were the main means. Perhaps they even played a larger role in the European statebuilding experience than the bellicist thesis credits them for. » – « In the case of competition, states can compete with each other in different areas: for capital and export-market share, as in the contemporary world, or for territory and prestige, as in historical Europe. While this process may involve intentional copying (through learning or emulation), it is more of a selection process, in which states that develop strong institutions survive, while others are selected out. » – « As alternatives to competition, learning and emulation are similar causal mechanisms, distinguished by the logic of consequences and the logic of appropriateness. Learning involves both a simple tactical level of “how to better achieve a particular goal,” and a deeper level of “what goals they should pursue.” Learning is intentional and conscious, best recognized “when we see a highly successful policy change in country A, followed by similar changes in countries B and C.” Learning is based on a decision, after a cost–benefit analysis, that one behavior works better than another. Dobbin, Simmons, and Garrett define learning as “when new evidence changes our beliefs,” and “people add new data to prior knowledge and beliefs to revise their assessment of that knowledge,” a process often described as Bayesian updating. » – « Emulation reflects a similar process but focuses more on how actors aspire to and copy from others they respect or admire. This is a “focus on the intersubjectivity of meaning—both legitimate ends and appropriate means are considered social constructs [where] there is a broad consensus on a set of appropriate social actors, appropriate societal goals, and means for achieving those goals.” In the contemporary era, Boli-Bennett and Meyer argue that what is “appropriate” in terms of actors, goals, and policy means has diffused around the world. This focus on emulation is similar to the “practice turn” in international relations, which has focused on the “socially meaningful patterns of action which, in being performed more or less competently, simultaneously embody, act out, and possibly reify background knowledge and discourse in and on the material world.” Rather than being based on cost–benefit calculations, emulation is more aspirational. Simmons, Dobbin, and Garrett note that “countries embrace new norms for symbolic reasons, even when they cannot begin to put them into practice.” Failure of emulation is not necessarily rejection but rather inability. Johnston, for example, sees emulation as coping and adaptation, and particularly relevant for a country in a novel, unfamiliar environment. » – « Distinguishing Between Learning and Emulation : Distinguishing between learning and emulation can be difficult because they are similar processes. Solingen points out that “mechanisms often operate in tandem and interactively and are hard to disentangle from each other” and that “learning and emulation [are] arguably separated by the extent to which alternatives are thoroughly considered and lessons ‘rationally’ learned, as opposed to merely imitated.” Experimental research in the natural sciences finds it challenging to neatly distinguish between emulation and learning among chimpanzees and other primates. Drawing on the parallel ideas of authority and coercion, Lake recognizes the analytical challenges of distinguishing them in practice: “there is no ‘bright line’ separating these two analytic concepts, and I offer none here.” » – « In fact, as noted before, many of these causal mechanisms could be present at the same time—they are not mutually exclusive. In particular, while learning is an assessment of costs and benefits—and, empirically, there should be Bayesian updating that leads to changes in practices—it only takes place with agreement about what is desirable. As Simmons, Dobbin, and Garrett put it, learning “is fostered by a cluster of intersubjectively defined conditions: shared norms, beliefs, and notions of evidentiary validity.” In contrast, pure copying or mimicking is a sign of emulation. In emulation, “followers may copy almost anything, and they may copy ritualistically. Evidence of ritualistic copying of policies suggests an effort to mimic the success of leading states without fully comprehending the roots of that success.” Writing about the contemporary era, Dobbin, Simmons, and Garrett observe that “evidence of the power of new policy norms is that countries often sign on when they have no real hope of putting new policies into practice.” » – « It is probably impossible to definitively differentiate between emulation and learning. Yet as a probative way of organizing research, we use three main ways to distinguish them: whether the overall scale of borrowing was total or selective; whether justification was based on the logic of consequences or appropriateness; and, for each individual case, whether there was mimicry or modification. » – « First, the overall scale of borrowing can provide clues. If there is only selective or occasional borrowing, it implies a deliberate process in which conscious decisions are made about whether to accept part but not all of another country’s norms, behaviors, and institutions. However, if the scale of borrowing is essentially total, it implies emulation. Total borrowing implies that there was no deliberate or conscious choosing or arguing about the costs and benefits of each individual element. It seems implausible that a country could rationally evaluate another country’s ideas and, in every single case, conclude that the benefits outweigh the cost and thus consciously learn and copy. It seems more likely that a large overall scale of borrowing is simply emulation—unquestioned imitation based on the acceptance of the overall traits as something to be valued or desired. » – « Second, we examine the types of justification given at the time for a particular choice. For emulation, justification is more likely to emphasize the logic of appropriateness, with appeals to legitimacy and authority dominating the discussion. For learning, justification is more likely to be based on the logic of consequences, with explicit discussion of costs and benefits. » – « Third, outright mimicry with no modifications for the borrowing country is widely agreed to be emulation. Selective borrowing or modification to suit local circumstances implies more conscious deliberation, and that would imply learning. When there is a tension between the imported idea and domestic society, if society is expected to change, that implies emulation. In contrast, localization to new circumstances implies learning; and attempts to indigenize imply new evidence that changes beliefs. » – « The Absence of Bellicist Pressures : War and preparations for war were not the cause of state formation in East Asia in Phase 2. Rather, a relative absence of war was the result of a particular type of state formation within a particular regional civilization centered on China. Indeed, the patterns of warfare in Europe and East Asia were systematically different. In contrast to the recurrent bellicosity of similarly sized multipolar European states, East Asia was a hegemonic system dominated by China that also shared a particular set of norms and values. Dincecco and Wang are representative of the scholarly consensus that “in centralized China … the most significant recurrent foreign attack threat came from Steppe nomads … External attack threats were unidirectional, reducing the emperor’s vulnerability.” Rosenthal and Wong concur: “Periodically, the people living beyond the Great Wall mobilized armies that could threaten major disruptions. These types of threats typically brought dynasties to their knees, but they occurred very infrequently and were separated by long periods of stable rule … Rates of conflict were radically different in China and Europe.” » – « Korea and Japan also experienced patterns of war much different from those in Europe. Kelly finds “a lengthy period of peace among Confucian states, plus strong evidence that this peace was based on their shared Confucianism.” Indeed, compared to European polities, China, Korea, and Japan were remarkably stable and long-enduring, both internally and externally. Mark Peterson observes that the history of Korea “is remarkably stable and peaceful,” and Kirk Larsen notes that there were “critical moments in which the Chinese dynasty possessed both the capability and the momentum necessary to complete aggressive expansionistic designs [against Korea] but decided not to do so.” » – « Remarkably, between the fifth and eighth centuries there was only one interstate war involving Korea, Japan, or China: the Korean War of Unification of 660–668. For centuries before and after the period discussed here, Japan, Korea, and China did not compete with each other for territory, prestige, or authority. Most importantly, from the third to the fifth century, China was divided and posed no military threat to the Korean peninsula or Japan. Thus, the initial centuries of state formation in both Korea and Japan occurred without any threat from China at all and without any war between these countries. » – « Michael Seth points out: Chinese culture was introduced to Korea at a time when China itself was politically weak and divided … Chinese states were useful sources of cultural ideas and practices, but during this period of political disunity in China they were not in a position to threaten the existence of the Korean states. Nor was there any great empire with universalistic pretensions and the ability to dazzle its neighbors with cultural brilliance or intimidate them with military might. As a result, the process of state building during the Three Kingdoms period [in Korea] was largely an indigenous development, and Chinese cultural borrowing was done on a purely voluntary basis. » – « There is almost nothing in the historical record to link state formation with this war. In particular, there are three bellicist hypotheses that do not find support in the historical record: the more advanced the state formation, the better the state performs in war; state formation as an effect of war; and state formation as a cause of war. » – « First, if the bellicist account explained East Asia, it should have been the most state-like polity that defeated its rivals; and that state should have continued to pursue territorial expansion. Yet the victor, Silla, was considered the most backward of the Three Kingdoms and was the last to Sinicize because it was isolated and far away. Koguryŏ was the first to import Buddhism and Confucianism, and even Paekche was considered cultural and institutionally superior to Silla. These signs of state formation, which had slowly been adopted over the centuries, were not reforms aimed at war fighting; they were aimed at improving domestic governance and gaining prestige. Lee and de Bary reflect a historiographic consensus that Silla “had the lowest standard of culture and was the last to develop as a state.” » – « The second causal mechanism in the bellicist thesis is state formation as effect: war and preparations for war result in state formation. There is no evidence that Korean or Japanese state formation was undertaken as preparation for war or for war itself. The centuries in which these countries did not fight but instead engaged in emulation, learning, and state formation belie the idea that war was the cause and state formation the effect. As Seth points out, over a span of nearly three centuries there were no interstate wars that spurred institutional development in Korea or Japan. » – « The third bellicist causal mechanism is state formation as cause: the more state formation, the more war. Those states that did develop state institutions were more powerful—the more state-like countries should have engaged in more war than the less state-like, and should have used their relative advantage in state-building capacity to expand. However, this also was not the case in the East Asian experience. The Tang refrained from annexation, and the Silla did not expand beyond the peninsula. Moreover, as we show later, Japan before and after the Korean War of Unification had quite clear boundaries that did not include continental expansion. » – « In addition to the three causal elements of the bellicist argument, there is a temporal assumption embedded in its logic: state-building and war should occur at or around the same time. However, the timing of this war does not fit that argument. This war occurred long after state consolidation began in East Asia, and it ended quickly, with no further impact on state formation, even while state consolidation continued for centuries thereafter. There were no identifiable shifts in military technology that sparked the only war during these centuries. Therefore, it is only plausible to conclude that the war was incidental to state formation in Korea, either as cause or effect. » – « The Absence of Japanese Territorial Ambitions » – « Describing and explaining state formation in Korea and Japan is fundamentally about understanding the transformative and enduring impact of Chinese civilization across the East Asian region and across thousands of years. The best way to understand Chinese civilization and its neighbors is as core and periphery—a massive hegemon’s influence. This was not multipolarity—East Asian state formation was distinctive from the 1,000 “state-like political units” in fourteenth-century Europe, and 500 similarly sized units in sixteenth-century Europe, that competed viciously for territory and survival. » – « State formation was inseparable from, and formed a central element of, wider Sinicization. Sinic civilization was an enduringly powerful force, even as Chinese hegemony waxed and waned over the centuries. Even during times of political division on the Chinese plain, there were regionwide expectations of a return to central, unified rule, and the ideas and institutions that had developed in China remained highly influential across the region. » – « Historians call the new, centralized order built in Japan in the fifth to eighth centuries the ritsuryo state, because it was based on Chinese-style penal (ritsu) and administrative (ryo) codes. Sugimoto and Swain characterize Japanese borrowing of culture and technology from China in two historical waves; Chinese Wave I began circa 600 and lasted until 894. » – « The impact of Chinese civilization was comprehensive, including language, education, writing, poetry, art, mathematics, science, religion, philosophy, social and family structure, political and administrative institutions and ideas, and more. The government-related strands are almost impossible to understand outside this larger civilizational context. » – « As Murai describes it, “Needless to say, China was located at the center of this regional world-system; Japan and surrounding areas, [which] were located on its periphery, can be thought of as forming, or aspiring [to form], a subsystem with a certain degree of autonomy from China.” » – « Holcombe observes that it was “roughly in the third century CE when a coherent East Asian cultural region that included China, Japan, and Korea first emerged.” As Batten describes it, “Japan, like other regions of East Asia, can be regarded in many periods as a periphery of China. Not only were the two countries part of the same political/military network, but power relations took an unequal, hierarchical form, with China playing the role of core and Japan playing that of periphery.” » – « The peripheral states had their own unique cultures and social organizations. Although Chinese civilization was foundational in Korea and Japan, their societies retained key elements of indigenous cultures. China clearly was not engaged in diffusion by coercion—there was no Chinese pressure on its neighbors to adopt Chinese ideas or institutions. Even some of the most influential ideas, such as Buddhism, were not Chinese inventions but came to Korea and Japan through China. This allowed the surrounding peoples and polities to contest, modify, and adapt Chinese and other imported ideas to their own ends. Some societies closely copied a range of Chinese practices which were deemed highly prestigious. Others experimented with just some Chinese ideas, while some—such as the diverse semi-nomadic peoples of the northern and western frontiers—resisted almost all foreign cultural and political ideas but still interacted with China, occasionally using Chinese practices and ideas in their foreign relations. » – « The key events in the Sinicization of Korea and Japan began with the importation of Buddhism to Korea in the early fourth century, and the numerous Japanese tribute missions that traveled to China during the fifth century. Most importantly, these both brought with them Chinese language and writing systems. Over the next century, the Korean kingdom of Silla adopted Buddhism and by the sixth century had begun to use Chinese-style titles and administrative codes for its government. In the sixth century, monks from the Korean kingdom of Paekche introduced Buddhism to Japan, where it quickly became influential. In the seventh century, both Korea and Japan began to use the Chinese calendar and timekeeping to provide far more precise organization of state activities; and both states increasingly used Chinese-style administrative and legal codes and engaged in national taxation. Both states created national conscript armies, founded national Confucian academies to train bureaucrats, and implemented civil service examinations to select officials on the basis of merit, not heredity. » – « The key institutional innovation in East Asia was the emergence of the world’s first civil services. As Woodside describes it, these were “embryonic bureaucracies, based upon clear rules, whose personnel were obtained independently of hereditary social claims, through meritocratic civil service examinations.” The transformation over these few centuries was remarkable: by the end of the eighth century, both Korea and Japan were recognizably Sinicized across government, religion, philosophy, and society. » – « Confucianism as a Governance Model : The evidence for emulation is reinforced by examining the justifications made at the time. Overwhelmingly, the motivations were based on a logic of appropriateness, not consequences. An example of the influence of Chinese civilization on Korea comes from King Chinhung of Silla (r. 540–576). In 568, he installed a monument at Maun Pass, and the inscription is replete with Confucian ideas. Ideas such as the Way (dao) are woven into the justification for the King’s reign. » – « Both histories begin with invocations of Chinese Confucian ideology as represented in the principle of yin–yang. For instance, the Kojiki begins, “Heaven and Earth first parted, and the Three Deities performed the commencement of creation; the yin and the yang then developed,” while the Nihon Shoki begins, “Of old, Heaven and Earth were not yet separated, and the yin and the yang not yet divided.” The Nihongi declares, “Let the swords and armor, with the bows and arrows of the provinces and districts, be deposited together … let all the weapons be mustered together … let the officials who are sent there prepare registers of the population and also take into account the acreage of cultivated land.” » – « The appeals to Confucianism continued. In 757, for example, Empress Koken (r. 749–758) proclaimed, “To secure the rulers and govern the people, nothing is better than the Confucian rites.” The justifications and debates in the historical record in both Korea and Japan lead to the clear conclusion that elites in both these countries desired and aspired to conform to Chinese traits simply because they were seen as more appropriate—that is, for reasons of emulation, rather than learning. » – « Systematic Mimicry in State-Building » – « Further evidence of emulation in Korea and Japan’s state-building could be seen in their culture, language, and clothing. The importation of Chinese writing and literary forms was so dominant that only fifty poems written in vernacular Korean survive from the entire period prior to the fifteenth century, “compared to thousands of Korean documents written in Chinese” from the same time. » – « As Sugimoto and Swain point out, “the cultural gap that had to be bridged to introduce new knowledge from China for the reshaping of Japan was overwhelming. The Japanese had not even developed their own system of writing, yet they wanted to import the highest levels of Chinese learning and science, along with Sinicized Buddhist teaching.” » – « Domestic Politics: Prestige and Legitimacy Against a Noble Class »]
    • [« Summary : By any definition, Korea and Japan in this period were states: centralized, bureaucratically administered, and defined over territory. Chinese civilization, as expressed by institutions, lasted for many centuries in both Korea and Japan, and its norms and ideas were pervasive in Korean and Japanese society and culture. Well after the eighth century, successive dynasties continued, deepened, and expanded the import of Chinese elements. In particular, the Choson dynasty of Korea (1392–1910) was seen as deeply influenced by neo-Confucianism. Korea used the lunar calendar and the civil service examination system based on Confucian classics until 1896. In Japan, the ritsuryo system survived for centuries. Only after five hundred years, by the time of the Ashikaga Shogunate (1338–1573), had the system begun to break down. The long time frame—centuries of emulation—is significant. Yet the process of state formation is not linear, and there were reversions and evolution, as some ideas were kept and other discarded. Sinic civilization remained influential up to the twentieth century, even while some elements were modified and others were abandoned. » ]
    • [extraits – Conclusion : « Deeply institutionalized and territorially defined states in historical East Asia emerged and developed under the shadow of a hegemonic international system through a combination of emulation and learning, not bellicist interstate war. Many of these institutions lasted over 1,000 years in both Korea and Japan. The research presented in this paper reveals that the bellicist argument linking war and state-making is a partial explanation based on one particular region and time, not a universal theory. We view this paper as introducing agenda-setting research that takes a central issue in the discipline—state formation—and opens up entirely new theoretical and empirical avenues for research. We identify two avenues as particularly important. » – « Theoretically, future research can more explicitly adjudicate between different mechanisms of diffusion. Emulation, learning, and competition are not mutually exclusive causal mechanisms. Theorizing this underexamination of noncoercive mechanisms of diffusion may be one useful way to go beyond a simple negation of the bellicist thesis. This would have the additional benefit of avoiding the trope of the West versus the rest. What were the domestic political causes of emulation? Most studies of diffusion do not explore the domestic politics, but instead simply identify a causal path without delving into the prior causal factors about why a certain path was chosen. Moving back along the causal chain is a potentially rewarding area of research. As Vu points out, “elite politics is another important cause of bureaucratization or its absence.” » – « In East Asia, state-building was an effort by the court to curb nobles’ power. One way to curb the power of the nobles and to channel their ambitions is to create a state with institutions and administration. This is potentially the opposite of the North–Weingast “contractualist” approach to state formation in Europe. Rather than nobles building limits on the sovereign, it appears that, in historical East Asia, many of the reforms were undertaken to strengthen the court against an aristocracy. As Vu notes, in ancient East Asia, “states dominated society but were not predatory,” in contrast to Levi’s claims about ancient Europe. » – « Empirically, the argument presented here that emphasizes the importance of emulation and learning in state formation can be generalized across the region. By 973 the Vietnamese state had been recognized as a Chinese Song tributary, and within a century it had created centralized provinces, founded a Royal Confucian Academy, used Chinese in all its writings, implemented a national tax, and created a national military based on universal conscription. By 1471, the Vietnamese bureaucracy consisted of a civil service staffed through a three-stage examination system. The civil service comprised nine ranks, with set salaries, staffed by more than 5,300 officials, “with at least one official supervising every three villages.” » – « Societies that rejected Chinese civilization were more rare. Located mostly on the sparsely populated northern and central Asian steppe, some semi-nomadic societies saw almost nothing about Chinese civilization as appropriate or desirable. The societies of the central Asian steppe did not accept or value Sinic civilization, and hence did not have the same domestic internal court battles experienced by those that accepted Chinese hegemony. This contrast highlights how the instrumental-learning rationale of domestic competition is only possible within a larger cultural context that values, deems appropriate, and provides meaning to certain institutions and norms. » – « As Wright concludes: China’s failure to solve its barbarian problem definitively before the advent of the Manchu Qing dynasty was a function neither of Chinese administrative incompetence nor of barbarian pugnacity, but of the incompatibility and fixed proximity between very different societies, ecologies, and worldviews. Many statements in historical records strongly suggest that the Chinese and the Nomads had clear ideas of their differences and were committed to preserving them against whatever threats the other side posed. » – « In sum, truly global and international scholarship that explains the bases of state formation across time and space has only begun. »]
  • From Solon to Socrates : Aristotle’s model of correct and deviant government – by Eugenia Russell
    • [« What does it mean to be ruled by the “best” and how can an ideal system of government go wrong? »]
    • [extraits : « Aristotle explores what makes a man good absolutely in relation with what makes one good to govern and be governed, namely his education and habits: “a man becomes good in the same way and by the same means as one might establish an aristocratically or monarchically governed state, so that it will be almost the same education and habits that make a man good and that make him capable as a citizen or a king” (Aristot. Pol. 3.1288). » – « The Aristotelian ideal of virtue is based on his concept of the Virtuous Mean. Because the idea of aristocracy is based on the rule of the aristoi, there is a connection between his discussion of best government and his virtue ethics. » – « Aristotle names twelve virtues in his Nicomachean Ethics, all of which have one common characteristic: their measure of moderation (the Virtuous Mean). For example, in terms of military virtue, Courage is seen as the Virtuous Mean, Cowardice as the Vice of Deficiency and Rashness as the Vice of Excess. In terms of excellence Aristotle is influenced in his approach by the Homeric ideal and the military virtue of Homeric heroes. »]
    • Aristeia and philotimia : Two key concepts of the ancient Greek world – by Eugenia Russell
    • Ancient aristocracy – by Josho Brouwers
  • The Call of the Void, by Arianne Shahvisi
    • [extrait : « George Everest didn’t want the mountain to be named after him. He was given the honour to mark his work as surveyor-general in colonial India but, as he pointed out, he had never laid eyes on the mountain, Indians struggled to pronounce his name, and it could not be easily transliterated into Devanagari. Had anyone bothered to ask around, they’d have found two names for the mountain already in use: Chomolungma (‘Holy Mother’) in Tibetan and Sagarmāthā (‘the Head in the Great Blue Sky’) in Nepali. If they really wanted to rename it after someone, what about the Bengali mathematician who calculated its height, Radhanath Sikdar? If you’re a great white man you risk having your name slapped on a great white mountain even when you’ve never seen it, someone else did the work, and it already has a name (or two). The punch line is that everyone now bungles his name; he pronounced it ‘Eve-rest’. »]
  • Oleg Ponomarev shares the experiences of transgender men and women in Russia, by Marigold Warner
« There’s less than a month to submit your entries to our early Rome essay contest! Details can be found in this post – the deadline is 20th June at 23:59 PST.
Other upcoming deadlines for submissions:
1 July – Proposal deadline for our dedicated month on Greece in September – if you have something for us on Greece in general, get your proposal in by then as we will be aiming for a broader perspective on the ancient world in the months following.
1 August – Proposal deadline for our HORRORS AND MONSTERS month in October, covering all aspects of ancient monsters from their use across the ancient world to their reception in modern media – and reception of the ancient world in horror media in general.
1 September – Proposal deadline for THE GLOBAL ANCIENT WORLD, our theme in November, focusing on the ancient world beyond Greece and Rome. Got something on Ancient China? Africa? Pre-American America? Let us know! We would also appreciate specialist proof-readers for this one!
DM us if you have any questions about submitting an article! »
by dave (william blake)
by dave
by dave
Le Sémaphore « Léon Tolstoï : La Mort d’Ivan Ilitch (1969 / France Culture). Portrait de Léon Tolstoï peint par Ilia Répine, 1887. Diffusion sur France Culture le 15 février 1969. Une adaptation de Georges Govy, réalisée par Evelyne Frémy. Court roman de Léon Tolstoï, « La Mort d’Ivan Ilitch », écrit en 1886, est l’histoire d’un homme confronté à la mort. Au début de cette nouvelle, le héros – magistrat – est satisfait de sa vie. À mesure toutefois que se développe en lui une douleur qui ne veut pas disparaître et qu’il comprend que sa mort approche, il prend conscience aussi que son entourage ne le voit pas sous un jour aussi avantageux qu’il l’imaginait ; d’abord révolté, il se voit à mesure de ses réflexions obligé de constater que cette image peu flatteuse qu’on a de lui est fondée.
Alors qu’il passe par un extrême désespoir se produit pourtant une sorte de transfiguration, un sentiment d’immense pardon venant d’il ne sait où qui le réconcilie avec lui-même, lui rend la sérénité, et ressemble beaucoup à ce que nous nommons aujourd’hui l’expérience de mort imminente : « Et la mort ? Où est-elle ? » Il chercha son ancienne peur et ne la trouva plus. « Où était-elle ? Quelle mort ? Il n’y avait pas de peur, parce qu’il n’y avait pas de mort. »
La mort représente l’un des thèmes centraux de l’œuvre de Tolstoï. Mais c’est dans « La Mort d’Ivan Ilitch » qu’elle apparaît de la manière la plus nue, la plus épurée, libérée des artifices romanesques. Un peu comme dans « Thérèse Raquin » d’Émile Zola où le peintre médiocre, auteur d’un crime, finit par créer sous l’emprise perpétuelle de terribles remords et d’angoisses qui l’étreignent des œuvres fortes et sincères, Ivan Ilitch découvre à la fin de sa vie le mensonge, l’hypocrisie omniprésente, la haine, l’affreuse solitude et la reconnaissance de l’échec humain de sa vie – tout entière tournée sur les convenances, l’égoïsme et les plaisirs faciles – et à laquelle la mort semble pourtant apporter à la fois un douloureux repentir et presque une rédemption.
Le narrateur n’accompagnera toutefois pas Ilitch au-delà du seuil de la mort, ni ne laissera entendre que cet au-delà existe. Un homme se penchant sur sa vie au moment ultime aura simplement établi la paix avec lui-même et en aura sauvé au moins les derniers instants
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« La démocratie : le meilleur système politique ? #3 Les Premiers – Passé sauvage – Réponse : sans doute pas. Des alternatives ? On peut regarder du côté des Iroquois avec leur démocratie primitive et puis aussi chez les indiens Guayaki (Paraguay) qui eux se passent carrément d’État. »
« Que s’est-il passé en 1177 av. J.-C. ? Comment expliquer l’effondrement des brillantes civilisations de Méditerranée en l’espace de quelques décennies ? Qui sont les Peuples de la Mer dont les destructions marquent la fin de l’âge du Bronze ? »
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