Articles from 11/2012

12 November 2012

Italy’s most philosophical town

A little Italian town has made world news by appointing a municipal philosopher. Its Mayor, a philosophy teacher, Ada Fiore said her mission was to get the 5,800 residents of this town in the southern Puglia region to take time out to ponder existential questions. "All we are saying is 'look at the direction the world is heading in, it's not okay,'" she said, adding that Italy's real problem was not the economic crisis but "the crisis in the relationship between man and his surroundings". Under her leadership the town council has put up plaques with quotes from…Read

Philosophy World News / November 2012

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS), also known as drones, are aircraft either controlled by ‘pilots’ from the ground or increasingly, autonomously following a pre-programmed mission. (While there are dozens of different types of drones, they basically fall into two categories: those that are used for reconnaissance and surveillance purposes and those that are armed with missiles and bombs.

Bradley Strawser, assistant professor of philosophy at Monterey’s Naval Postgraduate School is reported as saying; “both ethically and normatively, there’s a tremendous value in using drones.” “You’re not risking…Read

The Dynamic of Globalization


Globalization is an abstract concept. It does not refer to a concrete object, but to (an interpretation of ) a societal process. Therefore the concept cannot be defined easily. To make clear what one means with 'globalization' it is necessary to explain the whole theory in which ones use of the concept is embedded. For some, globalization refers to Americanization, for others it is about the growing importance of the world market, yet others use it to describe a cultural or an ideological reality: globalization as the victory of 'market plus democracy'. For most authors,…Read

Without growth, Europe will unravel

The eurozone crisis has exposed the conflict between economic needs and sovereignty. If there’s no recovery, all bets are off. ‘You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama’s chief of staff, quipped in late 2008 as Wall Street descended into chaos in the waning days of the Bush presidency and the new administration prepared its response. Four years on, many influential figures in Europe feel the same way, judging from president of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso’s widely discussed call this month for closer…Read

Democracy in What State?

Democracy in What State?

Columbia University Press kindly sent me a review copy of Democracy in What State?, a work that I eagerly devoured, both because of its all-star contributors — Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, Daniel Bensaid, Wendy Brown, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Ranciere, Kristin Ross, and Slavoj Žižek — and because of its accessible style (even Nancy writes relatively clearly here!).

This collection originated in the French publisher’s desire to imitate one of the organs of the surrealist movement, which asked major thinkers to answer a seemingly obvious or banal…Read

Communication, Culture & Philosophy

In the modern world the field of global communications has an enormous influence on society. It has changed the way people interact with each other. Until relatively recently, interactions between cultures took place in ways which were relatively local (traders, soldiers and missionaries travelling slowly and expensively from place to place) or technically limited (such as sea-borne letters or chains of hilltop beacons). This meant that cultures changed very slowly, and most major changes were beyond the scope of a single life.

Such a conservative mechanism secured the stability of any local culture, while slowly adapting new…Read

States + Boundaries


Viewed from an IPE perspective the world appears to be shrinking rapidly. With the global spread of electronic telecommunications, epitomised by, but not restricted to, the internet, some commentators are suggesting that we are in the grip of a change as radical as the industrial revolution, or even the Renaissance. As markets become more timecompressed and as money flows become increasingly independent of state borders, it seems timely to ask: W(h)ither the state?

Unpacking this short question suggests immediately two possibilities: either the state could wither away (without the &lsquo…Read

My Globalized family/ Reflections on the spatial changes in the contemporary world

Last April, my 86 years old grandmother rediscovered, thanks to the Internet, her brother, after an absence of over 50 years.

He left Romania after the Second World War and finished by settling down in Australia, at the beginning of the 50’s. The mail censorship practiced by the Communist regime silenced abruptly their brotherly relation. She was therefore sure that he was no longer alive. Still, she insisted that I help her find his descendants. Since then, I witness her desire and stubborn willingness to recover this memory. Thus, I have learned that a letter travels…Read


Viewed from space, our planet Earth doesn’t look any bigger or smaller than it did ten thousand years ago.

However, look closely and you’ll notice less green, more artificial light and a fine ring of debris otherwise known as “space junk”. Globalisation hasn’t literally made the world any smaller, although it might seem that way. But it has mixed people together, and changed their sense of identity.

My close relatives are disbursed through half a dozen countries around the planet, which is hardly  unusual these days.…Read