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Princeton Studies in Culture/Power/History

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Settling Accounts

Violence, Justice, and Accountability in Postsocialist Europe

John Borneman

As new states in the former East bloc begin to reckon with their criminal pasts in the years following a revolutionary change of regimes, a basic pattern emerges: In those states where some form of retributive justice has been publicly enacted, there has generally been much less of a recourse to collective retributive violence. In Settling Accounts, John Borneman explores the attempts by these aspiring democratic states to invoke the principles of the "rule of law" as a means of achieving retributive justice, that is, convicting wrongdoers and restoring dignity to victims of moral injuries. Democratic regimes, Borneman maintains, require a strict form of accountability that holds leaders responsible for acts of criminality. This accountability is embodied in the principles of the rule of law, and retribution is at the moral center of these principles.

Drawing from his ethnographic work in the former East Germany and with select comparisons to other East-Central European states, Borneman critically examines the construction of categories of criminality. He argues against the claims that economic growth, liberal democracy, or acts of reconciliation are adequate means to legitimate the transformed East bloc states. The cycles of violence in states lacking a system of retributive justice help to support this claim. Invocation of the principles of the rule of law must be seen as a chance for a more democratic, more accountable, and less violent world.

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Social Bodies

Science, Reproduction, and Italian Modernity

David G. Horn

Using as his example post-World War I Italy and the government's interest in the size, growth rate, and "vitality" of its national population, David Horn suggests a genealogy for our present understanding of procreation as a site for technological intervention and political contestation. Social Bodies looks at how population and reproductive bodies came to be the objects of new sciences, technologies, and government policies during this period. It examines the linked scientific constructions of Italian society as a body threatened by the "disease" of infertility, and of women and men as social bodies--located neither in nature nor in the private sphere, but in that modern domain of knowledge and intervention carved out by statistics, sociology, social hygiene, and social work.

Situated at the intersection of anthropology, cultural studies, and feminist studies of science, the book explores the interrelated factors that produced the practices of reason we call social science and social planning. David Horn draws on many sources to analyze the discourses and practices of "social experts," the resistance these encountered, and the often unintended effects of the new objectification of bodies and populations. He shows how science, while affirming that maternity was part of woman's "nature," also worked to remove reproduction from the domain of the natural, making it an object of technological intervention. This reconstitution of bodies through the sciences and technologies of the social, Horn argues, continues to have material consequences for women and men throughout the West.

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Spiritual Interrogations

Culture, Gender, and Community in Early African American Women's Writing

Katherine Clay Bassard

The late eighteenth century witnessed an influx of black women to the slave-trading ports of the American Northeast. The formation of an early African American community, bound together by shared experiences and spiritual values, owed much to these women's voices. The significance of their writings would be profound for all African Americans' sense of their own identity as a people.

Katherine Clay Bassard's book is the first detailed account of pre-Emancipation writings from the period of 1760 to 1863, in light of a developing African American religious culture and emerging free black communities. Her study--which examines the relationship among race, culture, and community--focuses on four women: the poet Phillis Wheatley and poet and essayist Ann Plato, both Congregationalists; and the itinerant preacher Jarena Lee, and Shaker eldress Rebecca Cox Jackson, who, with Lee, had connections with African Methodism.

Together, these women drew on what Bassard calls a "spirituals matrix," which transformed existing literary genres to accommodate the spiritual music and sacred rituals tied to the African diaspora. Bassard's important illumination of these writers resurrects their path-breaking work. They were cocreators, with all black women who followed, of African American intellectual life.

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Welfare, Modernity, and the Weimar State

Young-Sun Hong

This is the first comprehensive study of the turbulent relationship among state, society, and church in the making of the modern German welfare system during the Weimar Republic. Young-Sun Hong examines the competing conceptions of poverty, citizenship, family, and authority held by the state bureaucracy, socialists, bourgeois feminists, and the major religious and humanitarian welfare organizations. She shows how these conceptions reflected and generated bitter conflict in German society. And she argues that this conflict undermined parliamentary government within the welfare sector in a way that paralleled the crisis of the entire Weimar political system and created a situation in which the Nazi critique of republican "welfare" could acquire broad political resonance.

The book begins by tracing the transformation of Germany's traditional, disciplinary poor-relief programs into a modern, bureaucratized and professionalized social welfare system. It then shows how, in the second half of the republic, attempts by both public and voluntary welfare organizations to reduce social insecurity by rationalizing working-class family life and reproduction alienated welfare reformers and recipients alike from both the welfare system and the Republic itself. Hong concludes that, in the welfare sector, the most direct continuity between the republican welfare system and the social policies of Nazi Germany is to be found not in the pathologies of progressive social engineering, but rather in the rejection of the moral and political foundations of the republican welfare system by eugenic welfare reformers and their Nazi supporters.

Originally published in 1998.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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What Was Socialism, and What Comes Next?

Katherine Verdery

Among the first anthropologists to work in Eastern Europe, Katherine Verdery had built up a significant base of ethnographic and historical expertise when the major political transformations in the region began to take place. In this collection of essays dealing with the aftermath of Soviet-style socialism and the different forms that may replace it, she explores the nature of socialism in order to understand more fully its consequences. By analyzing her primary data from Romania and Transylvania and synthesizing information from other sources, Verdery lends a distinctive anthropological perspective to a variety of themes common to political and economic studies on the end of socialism: themes such as "civil society," the creation of market economies, privatization, national and ethnic conflict, and changing gender relations.

Under Verdery's examination, privatization and civil society appear not only as social processes, for example, but as symbols in political rhetoric. The classic pyramid scheme is not just a means of enrichment but a site for reconceptualizing the meaning of money and an unusual form of post-Marxist millenarianism. Land being redistributed as private property stretches and shrinks, as in the imaginings of the farmers struggling to tame it. Infused by this kind of ethnographic sensibility, the essays reject the assumption of a transition to capitalism in favor of investigating local processes in their own terms.

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