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‘You May!’

Slavoj Žižek: The post-modern superego

18 March 1999
... women now freely choose their own rules – an instance of the ‘reflexivisation’ of everyday customs in today’s ‘risk society’. According to the risk society theory of Anthony Giddens, UlrichBeck and others, we no longer live our lives in compliance with Nature or Tradition; there is no symbolic order or code of accepted fictions (what Lacan calls the ‘Big Other’) to guide us in our ...

Global Style

Hal Foster: Renzo Piano

20 September 2007
Piano: Renzo Piano Building Workshop 1966-2005 
by Philip Jodidio.
Taschen, 528 pp., £79.99, February 2005, 3 8228 5768 8
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Renzo Piano Building Workshop Vol. IV 
by Peter Buchanan.
Phaidon, 240 pp., £22.95, January 2005, 0 7148 4287 7
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... modernity’ must also be viewed dialectically, countered, say, by the less sanguine notions of a ‘liquid modernity’ and a ‘second modernity’ proposed by the sociologists Zygmunt Bauman and UlrichBeck respectively. For Bauman modernity is now ‘liquid’ because present flows of capital seem able to carry almost anything along with them (maybe not yet ‘all that is solid melts into air ...

War Therapy

Chase Madar: Victors’ Justice

22 April 2010
Victors’ Justice: From Nuremberg to Baghdad 
by Danilo Zolo, translated by M.W. Weir.
Verso, 189 pp., £14.99, October 2009, 978 1 84467 317 9
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... an immoral anachronism. With the criminalisation of war comes the prosecution of war criminals at a growing number of tribunals set up by the UN and endorsed by liberal humanitarians from Habermas to UlrichBeck. Zolo, characteristically, disagrees: ‘There is justice as tailored to the major powers and their political and military authorities, who enjoy total impunity for war crimes – and above all ...


Jordan Sand: In Tokyo

28 April 2011
... of more nuclear facilities, providing the illusion – if not the reality – of greater energy security. Nuclear power is the quintessential heavy infrastructure, a physical embodiment of what UlrichBeck has called the risk society, a society in which the greatest hazards are of human manufacture, and their threat comes ‘clad in numbers and formulas’ rather than in more tangible form. The ...

Vanity and Venality

Susan Watkins: The European Impasse

29 August 2013
Un New Deal pour l’Europe 
by Michel Aglietta and Thomas Brand.
Odile Jacob, 305 pp., £20, March 2013, 978 2 7381 2902 4
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Gekaufte Zeit: Die vertagte Krise des demokratischen Kapitalismus 
by Wolfgang Streeck.
Suhrkamp, 271 pp., £20, March 2013, 978 3 518 58592 4
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The Crisis of the European Union: A Response 
by Jürgen Habermas, translated by Ciaran Cronin.
Polity, 120 pp., £16.99, April 2012, 978 0 7456 6242 8
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For Europe! Manifesto for a Postnational Revolution in Europe 
by Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Guy Verhofstadt.
CreateSpace, 152 pp., £9.90, September 2012, 978 1 4792 6188 8
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German Europe 
by Ulrich Beck, translated by Rodney Livingstone.
Polity, 98 pp., £16.99, March 2013, 978 0 7456 6539 9
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The Future of Europe: Towards a Two-Speed EU? 
by Jean-Claude Piris.
Cambridge, 166 pp., £17.99, December 2011, 978 1 107 66256 8
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Au Revoir, Europe: What if Britain Left the EU? 
by David Charter.
Biteback, 334 pp., £14.99, December 2012, 978 1 84954 121 3
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... a technocratic dictatorship’, Verhofstadt preferred to call it a ‘transitional stage’ – after all, nation-states had existed for centuries before universal suffrage. The Munich sociologist UlrichBeck’s German Europe at first strikes a refreshingly critical note. It opens with his incredulity on hearing a radio newsreader announce in late February 2012: ‘Today the German Bundestag will ...

All Together Now

John Lloyd: The British Trade Union

19 October 2000
British Trade Unions and Industrial Politics. Vol. I: The Postwar Compromise, 1945-64 
edited by John McIlroy and Nina Fishman et al.
Ashgate, 335 pp., £35, January 2000, 0 7546 0018 1
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British Trade Unions and Industrial Politics. Vol. II: The High Tide of Trade Unionism, 1964-79 
edited by John McIlroy and Nina Fishman et al.
Ashgate, 389 pp., £35, January 2000, 0 7546 0018 1
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The TUC: From the General Strike to New Unionism 
by Robert Taylor.
Palgrave, 299 pp., £45, September 2000, 0 333 93066 5
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... more talented, more exciting – nor more revolutionary. Such vision as there is on the Left comes from those who write about globalisation. In What Is Globalisation? the German sociologist UlrichBeck writes about ‘how democracy will be possible without the securities of the work society’ and suggests that public or civic labour – that is, work currently performed ‘invisibly’ in the ...

Like a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader

John Lloyd: Globalisation

2 September 1999
The Lexus and the Olive Tree 
by Thomas Friedman.
HarperCollins, 394 pp., £19.99, May 1999, 0 00 257014 9
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Global Transformation 
by David Held and Anthony McGrew.
Polity, 515 pp., £59.50, March 1999, 0 7456 1498 1
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... population. In the rich countries, the imperative of contentment has suppressed what remained of ‘security politics’ after the collapse of the Soviet Union; we live in what the German sociologist UlrichBeck calls a post-military state. We have also woven about us a ‘human rights regime’ which has, as Held & Co put it, entrenched in international law the notion that a legitimate political power ...
28 October 1999
Václav Havel: A Political Tragedy in Six Acts 
by John Keane.
Bloomsbury, 532 pp., £25, September 1999, 0 7475 4458 1
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... to violate international law because they acted as direct instruments of the ‘higher law’ of God – a clear-cut case of religious fundamentalism. Havel’s statement is a good example of what UlrichBeck, in an article in Die Süddeutsche Zeitung last April, called ‘militaristic humanism’ or even ‘militaristic pacifism’. The problem with this approach is not that it is inherently ...

Dirty Little Secret

Fredric Jameson: The Programme Era

22 November 2012
The Programme Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing 
by Mark McGurl.
Harvard, 466 pp., £14.95, November 2012, 978 0 674 06209 2
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... of that subjectivity so often loosely identified as individualism. McGurl offers a few sociological references (Wright Mills, Pine and Gilmore, Thomas Frank), and even a few socio-economic ones (UlrichBeck, Anthony Giddens). The point is, however, not necessarily to endorse these (many are standard culture critiques), but rather to indicate the direction in which literary theory opens onto other ...
5 January 2017
How Will Capitalism End? 
by Wolfgang Streeck.
Verso, 262 pp., £16.99, November 2016, 978 1 78478 401 0
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... back what remained of the welfare state; the elected governments of Italy and Greece were sacrificed; referendums were cancelled or ignored.In early 2014, as the likes of Habermas and the late UlrichBeck called on their fellow Germans to make the elections to the Strasbourg Parliament the constitutive moment of a European demos, Streeck’s mind was on darker themes. In January 2014 at the ...

In the Opposite Direction

David Blackbourn: Enzensberger

25 March 2010
The Silences of Hammerstein 
by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, translated by Martin Chalmers.
Seagull, 465 pp., £20, 1 906497 22 2
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... happenings with hippy acting-out (Jimi Hendrix was a later visitor), began life in Enzensberger’s Berlin apartment. Its members included his ex-wife, Dagrun, his young daughter and his brother Ulrich. It’s hard to imagine a more impeccably radical pedigree. Fast forward 40 years, and what we have looks like a journey from left to right. The critic of the Vietnam War has witnessed the Khmer ...

Bear, Bat, or Tiny King?

Deborah Friedell: The Rorschach Test

2 November 2017
The Inkblots 
by Damion Searls.
Simon and Schuster, 406 pp., £20, February 2017, 978 1 4711 3041 0
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... the Frenchman’s duty to kill as many Germans as possible, while it’s our duty to sit here right in the middle and say “Good morning” to our schizophrenic patients every day.’ His father, Ulrich, was a painter who spent years writing a treatise on ‘the laws of form’, which he thought would apply to everything in nature, if only he could figure out what they were. His obituary in 1903 ...

Then came the Hoover

Hugh Pennington: The Allergy Epidemic

22 June 2006
Allergy: The History of a Modern Malady 
by Mark Jackson.
Reaktion, 288 pp., £25, May 2006, 1 86189 271 3
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... influence, where industry drives practice and policy, and where an insatiable public demand for therapy creates superb opportunities for quacks and charlatans. Jackson’s account is underpinned by UlrichBeck’s Risk Society (1986). Beck describes a new modernity, one no longer coextensive with industrial society. These days, the risks created by industry and science are of a new kind, ‘somehow ...

Depicting Europe

Perry Anderson

20 September 2007
... two problems of this magnitude, shouldn’t it issue a further challenge: to defend and promote a cosmopolitan order on the basis of international law’ – or, as his compatriot the sociologist UlrichBeck puts it, ‘Europeanisation means creating a new politics. It means entering as a player into the meta-power game, into the struggle to form the rules of a new global order. The catchphrase for ...

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