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This chapter begins with a discussion of the main insights of labor regimes scholarship, including its focus on questions of labor control and its use of the neo-Gramscian distinction between consensual and coercive mechanisms of labor control. It then explains the analytic limits of this consent–coercion dichotomy when analyzing labor regime dynamics in peripheral regions of world capitalism. It then develops an ideal-typical framework intended to understand the crisis tendencies of labor regimes that exist in peripheral locations of the world market, distinguishing “hegemonic” and “despotic” labor regimes from regimes marked by “crises of labor control” or “counter-hegemony.” It then draws from insights from world-systems scholarships on the social precarity of fully proletarianized labor systems and on the core–periphery dynamics of global commodity chains to explain how the convergence of processes of peripheralization and proletarianization, or peripheral proletarianization, has a particularly destabilizing impact on local labor regimes. It ends with a discussion of how both processes of proletarianization and peripheralization are impacted by larger structural and institutional dynamics associated with the rise and decline of US world hegemony.
Illiberal governments claim that their regimes are simply constitutional and democratic - period. In their line of offense/defense, they are as democratic and constitutional as any other, only more popular and therefore more genuine. The term illiberal democracy is not an oxymoron. The regimes in Venezuela under Chávez, Hungary after 2010, or Poland from 2015 are indeed democracies, but in the plebiscitarian leader democracy sense, as described by Max Weber (with clear despotic potential). Illiberal democracies are democracies of a troubling sort, enabling the totalitarian potential inherent in mass democracy. Illiberal democracies bring to light the authoritarian elements in liberal constitutions, which are historically unfinished and internally vulnerable. The illiberal (authoritarian) elements (enclaves) that inevitably exist in constitutional systems are unleashed in the constitutional order of the plebiscitarian regimes. The illiberal transformation of constitutionalism is facilitated by the authoritarianism inherent in the constitutional order of established democracies and by the populist mobilization of authoritarian predispositions in the citizenry.
Following a comparative approach, this chapter foregrounds transcultural translation as it examines three different productions of Sa’dallah Wannous’ play Rituals of Signs and Transformations in English, French and Arabic that were staged in Beirut, Chicago, Paris, and Cairo. The chapter argues that Wannous’ play carries a prophetic warning about the chaos that is released when rigid political, religious, and gender structures are undermined in a society deformed by a long experience of despotism.
In 1786 Francisco de Miranda, the revolutionary ‘Precursor’ of Latin American independence, toured the Ottoman empire. Focused on the Atlantic dimensions of Miranda’s activism, historians have marginalized his experiences in the Balkans. This article argues that Miranda’s Balkan explorations represented a major inflection point in his revolutionary career. By expanding his experience with consular networks, the Balkans allowed him to develop new revolutionary strategies for channelling his discontent with imperial rule. Rather than resorting to print, consulates enabled Miranda to build secret coalitions in his increasingly public confrontation with what he called imperial ‘despotism’, a type of imperial rule featuring burdensome impositions, limitations on freedom of movement, and ethnic or religious discrimination. By excavating the first Latin American revolutionary encounter with the Balkans and stressing the common forms of anti-imperial mobilization, the article charts a more expansive and inclusive ‘south-eastern’ framework for rethinking the global Age of Revolution.
This chapter considers the intersection of Gothic and Orientalism in the long eighteenth century from the joint perspective of its origins and ideological relevance. Having traced the influence on Gothic of literary materials imported from the East, it examines the terrifying effects of commercial and imperial concerns in works such as William Beckford’s Vathek, Charlotte Dacre’s Zofloya, Matthew Gregory Lewis’s ‘The Anaconda’, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Charles Robert Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer. The relevance of this commercial and imperial imaginary for figurations of subjectivity, the body and sexuality is then explored with reference to George Colman’s Blue-Beard, Robert Southey’s The Curse of Kehama, Byron’s ‘Turkish Tales’, Walter Scott’s ‘The Surgeon’s Daughter’ and the anonymous novel The Lustful Turk. Through its double focus, the chapter argues that, if the East is a foundational feature in early Gothic, the troubling power of Orientalist Gothic depends on distance and alienness, though also, and more perturbingly, on the proximity and contact promoted by an expanding commercial and territorial imperialism.
In this chapter I seek to show that in On the Citizen Hobbes completes a conceptually coherent defense of despotic sovereignty, in a manner not previously appreciated. I will do so by presenting a novel reading of Hobbes’s treatment of the nature of property. I will suggest that ownership consists in having preeminent power with a natural right to exercise that power. On that basis, I shall argue, Hobbes is entitled to conclude that sovereigns, by virtue of their sovereignty, necessarily and fully own their subjects and all they possess. Sovereigns own their subjects and everything they possess because they rule over them with preeminent power and (at a minimum) a natural right to exercise that power. On the Citizen thus contains a philosophically coherent account of why all sovereignty is necessarily despotic. Perhaps even more importantly, it provides him access to a very powerful, but profoundly illiberal, argument against the existence of property titles of citizens against their sovereign: it is a conceptual truth, on Hobbes’s conception of property, that the sovereign owns everything in the commonwealth that can be owned.
Chapters 8 and 9 of On the Citizen present a theory of sovereignty that Hobbes modeled on the master-slave relationship of dominium. To be a sovereign over a state, according to that theory, is really to be a kind of dominus over slaves. The usual view (based on Leviathan, chapter 20) is that this “despotic” form of sovereignty was limited only to those states described by Hobbes as “natural” or “acquired.” This chapter, however, argues that the despotic model of dominium in alterius personam functioned as a general theory of sovereignty to be found in all sovereign states, even in those states instituted, as Hobbes put it, “by mutual pact.” Indeed, the Hobbesian distinction between “instituted” and “acquired” states was not really a difference in the substance of sovereignty. Rather, it was only a difference in how sovereignty was to be constituted and dissolved. The chapter shows that it was originally intended to map onto the Aristotelian distinction between “correct” and “deviant” constitutions. However a state is constituted, Hobbes’s larger point was that statehood always requires dominium, since it is what ultimately activates the bond of obligation making a state more than just a mere association of duty-free individuals.
This essay explores the meaning and normative significance of Locke’s depiction of individuals as proprietors of their own person. I begin by reconsidering the long-standing puzzle concerning Locke’s simultaneous endorsement of divine proprietorship and self-ownership. Befuddlement vanishes, I contend, once we reject concurrent ownership in the same object: while God fully owns our lives, humans are initially sole proprietors of their own person. (Our property rights in our life and body are restricted to possession, use, and usufruct.) Locke employs two conceptions of “personhood”: as expressing legal independence vis-à-vis humans and moral accountability vis-à-vis God. Humans own their person in the first sense. As original proprietors of their own person, individuals are entitled to subject themselves to self-chosen authorities, thereby incurring obligations of obedience. But they may not choose just any authority. Divine ownership of human life delimits personal self-ownership by restricting the ways in which humans can dispose of their persons: we cannot possibly consensually subject ourselves to absolute and arbitrary power. Locke’s rights-forfeiture theory for crime makes slavery and despotism nonetheless potentially rightful conditions. I argue that, paradoxically, divine dominium of human life underpins both the impermissibility of voluntary enslavement and the justifiability of penal slavery. My analysis helps explain why modern Lockean theories of self-ownership that reject Locke’s theological premises have adopted an ambiguous stance toward despotic rule.
This chapter discusses whether empire for Montesquieu was potentially a way of containing the particularities of human life and giving expression to its normative unity. Montesquieu's epistolary novel Persian Letters already exhibits the territorial logic of despotic empire made explicit in the Laws. Montesquieu never excludes any region of the world from despotism. Asia's geography is more favorable to despotic rule. The continent possesses larger and wider plains unbroken by mountains or broad rivers. Anti-imperial sentiments are a feature of all of Montesquieu's writings. Persian Letters summarizes the indictment. In the guise of a fantasy about Descartes in Mexico, Montesquieu gives the reader a picture of a European spiritual civil war between faith and enlightenment. For Montesquieu, women are the natural agents of change. For Montesquieu, Gelon, the king of ancient Syracuse, made "the finest peace treaty mentioned in history".
It is only in §51 of the Metaphysics of Morals, that is, in the second half of the discussion of 'Constitutional Right', that Immanuel Kant introduces a distinction that is fundamental to his exposition of the theory of the state. For here Kant distinguishes between the pure idea of a head of state, and a physical person. In expounding his theory of the political division of powers or authorities, Kant explicitly underlines the comparative and normative function that intrinsically belongs to the concept of the state in idea. In the conceptual context of the Doctrine of Right, despotism represents an explicit perversion of the state in idea insofar as it directly involves a usurpation of legislative authority by executive authority. In the historical reception of Kant's theory of constitutional law, one of the most intensely discussed topics has always been the question concerning the right to resistance or rebellion.
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