Exploring the Eclipse of Equality

Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Eclipse Passes Through The Page 99 Test

In Guest Blogger, Media and Politics, Reviews on May 2, 2013 at 9:55 am

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Today’s post will be a bit different. I was contacted by the author of the official blog of the Campaign for the American Reader, who asked me to put The Eclipse of Equality through the Page 99 test. The idea is that if you take a random page from the book from a section that is not overworked and through through, you can judge the quality of the whole for yourself. I had a lot of fun playing this game, and I think the test basically works. You can read for yourself over at Marshal Zeringue’s blog.

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Living the Cascade: Why Johan Galtung remains the indispensable man

In Intellectual History, Reviews on May 12, 2010 at 10:22 am

I was having a chat with one of ICAR’s most thoughtful master’s students, Jay Filipi, yesterday in which he asked me about the soul of the field of Conflict Resolution. Jay’s question touched on what most of us likely ask ourselves all the time who have joined this strange enterprise that goes by the name of Conflict Resolution, Conflict Transformation and Peace Studies. He wondered what it was that made CR any different for me from my home discipline Sociology. Couldn’t one think of it as a kind of sub-field of (fill in your own home discipline here)?

My answer is that yes one could think of it in that way, but I don’t think that this is the right answer. Instead, I think that we get a sense of how to think of the field from Andrea Bartoli’s Lynch lecture given this Monday. Andrea, who is self consciously and brilliantly attempting to invite us to invent some coherent collective purpose for our field, focused on the second side of the escalation curve, the one that in most models goes down from the peak of escalation, but in his model climbs up from the well of despair. What we do that others do not is to investigate why conflicts fall into the well and why they climb back out.  This is why ICAR is called the Institute of Conflict Analysis and Resolution. The Analysis part is the climb up the hill or the fall down the well. The Resolution part is the climb back down the hill or the ascension from the well. Andrea knows what this thing is that is emerging and he cares little if we call it resolution, transformation or peace so long as we do it (well he is sticking to resolution, but has “a rose by any other name” attitude toward it). If you want to know Read the rest of this entry »

A and B, but not enough C: Galtung on the state of American Conflict Resolution

In Reviews on April 26, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Well you missed another session of bracing conversation with Johan Galtung last night–that is unless you were among the roughly twenty people who turned out to fifth and K to see the great peace scholar do his thing at Busboys and Poets. The evening was well worth the effort to turn out. Not only is the space really a pleasant venue for an intellectual evening, but Professor Galtung’s lecture provided just what one would come to expect from one of the twentieth century’s great radical social scientists.  Perched in the corner of the room like some cross between Nick Cave of the Bad Seeds and Spaulding Gray on his way to Cambodia, he offered his evaluation of the War on Terror and the so-called American Empire. If you are American or Israeli, you almost have to root against him, because his views are so pessimistic, but love him or hate him, he offers a take on world affairs all his own.

If I could highlight one special moment of the evening (apart from the fact that my four year old daughter listened dutifully to the entirety of the lecture without disruption), I would point to Galtung’s evaluation of the Conflict Resolution field in the United States. After sharing an anecdote about Prime Minister Zapatero of Spain and how he handled the terrorist attack there with an accommodating civilizational posture, he suggested that Spain had the leading intellectual peace community in the world. He imagined that this might surprise the audience, and in his avuncular way averred that we are doing alright here in the U.S., but are unable to produce good scholarship due to our Anglo-American fascination Read the rest of this entry »

The Red and the Green: Whatever happened to the Civilian Conservation Corps?

In Domestic Politics, Reviews on April 3, 2010 at 10:11 am

The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.

FDR’s Oglethorpe Address

You have probably heard the saying that America has no ideologies, it is one. I always attribute the saying to the historian Richard Hofstadter, but like all great lines, it can roam and be attached to whoever first said it to you–if you take that person to be relatively clever. A corollary of the idea is that America, being an ideology, tolerates no others. This is why Socialism found shallow roots here and the seeds of Communism fell on rocky soil. While some of the most interesting social science has been written about the failure of class politics to take hold in the United States (Seymour Martin Lipset’s oeuvre comes to mind), the history of the American political mainstream is far more pragmatic.

Part of that pragmatism that revealed the bold, persistent experimentation that was the only ideology that Franklin Roosevelt seemed to have, was the New Deal program the Civilian Conservation Corps. If you don’t know what that is, I suggest that you take a trip over to American Experience to watch a really inspirational hour long program on the CCC. The program began Read the rest of this entry »