Ikki’s eiland. De horzel van het Koninkrijk

20150318_112041

De horzel van het koninkrijk
Aristoteles noemde Athene een paard en waarschuwde de regering van die stad dat hij als een horzel de heren zou blijven lastigvallen. En dat doen (ex-) koloniën ook. Ze blijven hun moederland aan een moeizaam onderdeel van de geschiedenis herinneren.

Maart 2015. De komende maanden ga ik me buigen over de stand van zaken op Bonaire; vijf jaar na de keuze om een deel van Nederland te blijven.
De verkiezingen op 18 maart jl. waren vermoedelijk de laatste waarbij de ‘oude’ bevolking (de in Caribisch Nederland geboren inwoners en de Europese Nederlanders die al geruime tijd op Bonaire woonachtig zijn) in de meerderheid was. De bevolkingsgroei is spectaculair. O.a. door een sterke toename van nieuwe Europese Nederlanders op het eiland sinds 2010. De houding van deze groep wordt door de Bonairiaan en de oude Europese Nederlander met enige verbazing bekeken om het maar vriendelijk te formuleren.

De wijze waarop de Nederlandse overheid het beleid in de praktijk brengt, zal tegen het licht worden gehouden. Dat zal leiden tot opmerkingen over de rol van taal en bijvoorbeeld de psychologische capriolen die nu eenmaal horen bij het dekolonisatieproces.
Iedere medaille heeft twee kanten.
In de gesprekken houdt de Bonairiaan zichzelf ook een spiegel voor. Corruptie, de oude politiek, criminaliteit, alles komt ter sprake. Waardoor er, voor zover haalbaar, een evenwichtig beeld ontstaat.

Ga naar: http://ikkiseiland.com/

Bookmark and Share

Open Culture ~ Free Philosophy eBooks

OwlThe page features a growing list of Free Philosophy eBooks, presenting essential works by Aristotle, Hegel, Kant, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein and many other philosophers. You can generally read these texts on your Kindle, iPad & iPhone, or web browser. For those interested in philosophy, you won’t want to miss our collection of Free Online Philosophy Courses.

Enjoy: http://www.openculture.com/free-philosophy-ebooks

Bookmark and Share

Regional Studies Association 2nd North America Conference 2016

Atlanta_Conference_photo_600_420Cities and Regions: Managing Growth and Change
Wednesday 16th – Friday 17th June 2016
Historic Academy of Medicine, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

#RSAUSA2016
Abstract submission deadline: 28th February 2016

In the wake of the global financial crisis, cities have searched for new policies and practices capable of addressing major shifts in socio-economic relations at the urban and regional scale. These divergent and differentiated efforts have led to the intensification of underlying problems in some cities and a return to growth in others.

Regional policies, particularly in the North American context, responded to economic challenges by adopting new technologies and new institutional and organizational forms to manage growth and change at the city scale. The result is a complex and uneven landscape of public and private actors delivering financial services, scaling-up supply chains, coordinating firm networks, diffusing process and material innovations, and organizing new forms of civic representation and participation.

This conference provides a platform for researchers to address the effects of these policy, organizational, and institutional innovations and their impact on work, identity, governance, production networks, infrastructure investments, technology diffusion, and ultimately place. The conference will focus on the policy implications of emerging forms of governance and policy delivery relative to uneven development and inequality in a post-crisis era of ongoing market liberalization, financialization, and global competition.

The inter-related processes of industrialization, urbanization, and regional and local development are complex. These processes pose a major challenge for regional policy, firstly for our conceptualizations of regional and urban development and, secondly, for specifying appropriate policy-fixes to provide the conditions for sustainable, smart, and equitable economic growth.

The 2016 RSA North America Conference, in the 51st Year of the Regional Studies Association, is an opportunity to discuss these issues, to chart future research imperatives, and to address concerns and challenges confronting policymakers and practitioners. The conference organizers are keen to attract papers and sessions addressing a broad research and policy agenda, including contributions from disciplines that offer relevant insights associated with recasting our cities and regions.

Read more: http://www.regionalstudies.org/rsa-north-american-conf

Bookmark and Share

Achille Mbembe ~ On The State Of South African Political Life

Photo: www.ru.ac.za

Achille Mbembe – Photo: www.ru.ac.za

In these times of urgency, when weak and lazy minds would like us to oppose “thought” to “direct action”; and when, precisely because of this propensity for “thoughtless action”, everything is framed in the nihilistic terms of power for the sake of power – in such times what follows might mistakenly be construed as contemptuous.
And yet, as new struggles unfold, hard questions have to be asked. They have to be asked if, in an infernal cycle of repetition but no difference, one form of damaged life is not simply to be replaced by another.

The force of affect
Indeed the ground is fast shifting and a huge storm seems to be building up on the horizon. May 68? Soweto 76? Or something entirely different?
The winds blowing from our campuses can be felt afar, in a different idiom, in those territories of abandonment where the violence of poverty and demoralization having become the norm, many have nothing to lose and are now more than ever willing to risk a fight. They simply can no longer wait, having waited for too long now.
Out there, from almost every corner of this vast land seems to stretch a chain of young men and women rigid with tension.
As tension slowly swells up, it becomes ever more important to hold on to the things that truly matter.

A new cultural temperament is gradually engulfing post-apartheid urban South Africa. For the time being, it goes by the name “decolonization” – in truth a psychic state more than a political project in the strict sense of the term.
Whatever the case, everything seems to indicate that ours is a crucial moment in the redefinition of what counts as “social protagonism” in this country. Mobilizations over crucial matters such as access to health care, sanitation, housing, clean water or electricity might still be conducted in the name of the implicit promise inherent to the struggle years – that life after freedom will be “better” for all.
But fewer and fewer actually believe it. And as the belief in that promise fast recedes, raw affect, raw emotions and raw feelings are harnessed and recycled back into the political itself. In the process, new voices increasingly render old ones inaudible, while anger, rage and eventually muted grief seem to be the new markers of identity and agency.

Psychic bonds – in particular bonds of pain and bonds of suffering – more than lived material contradictions are becoming the real stuff of political inter-subjectivity. “I am my pain” – how many times have I heard this statement in the months since #RhodesMustFall emerged? “I am my suffering” and this subjective experience is so incommensurable that “unless you have gone through the same trial, you will never understand my condition” – the fusion of self and suffering in this astonishing age of solipsism and narcissism.

So it is that the relative cultural hegemony the African National Congress (ANC) exercised on black South African imagination during the years of the struggle is fast waning. In the bloody miasma of the Zuma years, these years of stagnation, rent-seeking and mediocrity parading as leadership, there is hardly any center left standing as institutions after institutions crumble under the weight of corruption, a predatory new black élite and the cynicism of former oppressors.
In the bloody miasma of the Zuma years, the discourse of black power, self-affirmation and worldliness of the early 1990s is in danger of being replaced by the discourse of fracture, injury and victimization – identity politics and the resentment that always is its corollary.
Rainbowism and its most important articles of faith – truth, reconciliation and forgiveness – is fading. Reduced to a totemic commodity figure mostly destined to assuage whites’ fears, Nelson Mandela himself is on trial. Some of the key pillars of the 1994 dispensation – a constitutional democracy, a market society, non-racialism – are also under scrutiny. They are now perceived as disabling devices with no animating potency, at least in the eyes of those who are determined to no longer wait. We are past the time of promises. Now is the time to settle accounts.
But how do we make sure that one noise machine is not simply replacing another? Read more

Bookmark and Share

André Fernandes ~ Renewable Energy In Slums

Renewable energy is a great opportunity to decrease costs, amplify the access to electricity in underserved areas and generate jobs/income opportunities in the communities.
In Brazil, it’s common to see in many slums illegal access to electricity, as people say “gato”. In addition to be illegal, the lack of a proper installation let the whole slum vulnerable to accidents, like a fire.

And in addition to the solar energy, what other sources of energy can we imagine for slums?

From the feedback given by Laurent – see on the comments – this idea also connects directly to sanitation management, that’s another huge challenge to face in slums. And IDEO has already worked on a business model for sanitation management in Ghana. Check here: http://fr.slideshare.net/jocelynwyatt/ghana-sanitation-opportunities
Considering this IDEO business model on sanitation management, what else could we consider?

Read more: https://challenges.openideo.com/renewable-energy-in-slums

Bookmark and Share

Thando Njovan ~ On Achille Mbembe’s “The State Of South African Political Life”

Stellenbosch

http://slipnet.co.za/

In light of the events concerning institutional reform in South Africa over the last two years, Achille Mbembe’s essay on the political life of the black majority is both timely and important. As other commentators have noted, however, the premises of his arguments are somewhat off-base. While T.O. Molefe critiques the connection Mbembe establishes between black majority rule and the actual material power and say in structural issues in South Africa, Nomalanga Mkhize argues that if the current generation does not have the terms to say what they mean it is because they have been failed by the education system. My own points of disagreement with Mbembe involve the pathologisation of black narrative, specificallyfically as this pertains to the aftermath of Apartheid, the resonances of which can be felt to this day. In what follows, I briefly engage with these concerns and points of disagreement.

Although concentrating primarily on the issue of movements such as Rhodes Must Fall for the greater part of his essay, Mbembe connects this to criticism of the ANC government and what he perceives as a politics of impatience and a pathology of victimisation among the black middle-class. With regards to the latter, he argues that there is no real discussion going on about politics because the terms of communication have been delimited by the appeal to affect, to “raw emotions and raw feelings [which] are harnessed and recycled back into the political itself”. This appeal, he maintains, leads to a shutting down of conversation because at any point black people can just say that “you would not understand unless you have endured the same”. There are several reasons why this leap in logic is problematic.

Firstly, Mbembe is collapsing distinctions between strata of political life for black South Africans, strata which are interrelated but distinct. On the one hand, we have the black-led ANC government which has been criticised for not meeting the promises of democracy, for corruption, and so on. On the other hand, we have the disillusionment with the socio-political dream of the Rainbow Nation where all people are treated as equally in the eyes of the law, God, socially, etc. Likewise, located within these systems are the black poor, working class, middle-class, and the elite. Any discussion of political life must therefore account for the levels of difference, difficulties, and privileges as signified by the political location of these subjects.
Both of these strata are further complicated by issues of capital and economic mobility. Black life is, in other words, multiferous and varied and cannot be accounted for or analysed using blanket terms such as “black South Africans”. “In the bloody miasma of the Zuma years,” Mbembe contends, “the discourse of black power, self-affirmation and worldliness of the early 1990s is in danger of being replaced by the discourse of fracture, injury and victimization – identity politics and the resentment that always is its corollary”. This generalisation does not do justice to the multiplicity of black life in South Africa. This means that if we are to start having a conversation about the political state of affairs in our country, there is indeed a need to come up with new terms of engagement, as Mbembe himself acknowledges.

Secondly, it is quite clear that Mbembe is directly referring to the recent nation-wide student ‘uprisings’ in his diagnosis of the mobilisation of affect and what he contemptuously calls “the fusing of self and suffering in this astonishing age of solipsism and narcissism”. This mobilisation, he argues, occurs within a discourse which anachronistically appropriates figures such as Frantz Fanon and Steve Biko. Rather than condemning these associations, perhaps a more crucial questions should be: what kind of resonances do the student movements derive from Fanon and Biko and how are these resonances be remodelled to reflect contemporary circumstances? Two possible answers to these questions appear to be most relevant at present.

As exemplified by Mbembe’s own stance on affect, academia has a long and abiding suspicion of emotive language. Lewis Gordon and others have however highlighted Fanon’s use of anecdotal narrative to frame his philosophical musings. I would even go so far as to say that his philosophical and psychoanalytical observations stem directly from his engagement with his personal narrative. I do not share this suspicion of narrative, perhaps because I think there are certain dynamics which only come to light via the vehicle of narrative, rather than the stringent and sometimes over-policed language of academese. In the aftermath of human rights abuses such as apartheid, perhaps the main form of narrative that black South Africans can muster currently is that of the autobiographical. There is nothing remarkable or out of place about this, as many societies have adopted this strategy in the past (e.g. dearth of autobiographical writing on the Holocaust and slavery by survivors and/or their descendents). With regards to the uses of personal narrative to mobilise political thought, South Africa is by no means exceptional. This means that political mobilisation and, indeed its very language, need not adhere to established forms in order to be legitimate. In other words, the terms of engagement must be opened up to be more inclusive of all voices.

In his essay, Mbembe employs the psychoanalytical diction with reference to libidinal drives, while simultaneously attempting to regulate the terms through which the psychological impact of injustice on the psyche of black subjects. Rather than seeing expressions of pain as redemptive or as a means of gaining coherence with the self and with others, he instead perceives it as a destructive exercise. How do we heal if we are not able to express our pain? How is regulating the means through which this pain is expressed a constructive act? To be clear, I am not advocating for the freeflow acceptance of hate speech and racial hatred. Rather, I’m arguing that black people also need space to feel – yes, I’m using affect – themselves. Telling them that their stories do no intellectual work is misplaced. Is it not therefore possible that expressions of pain arise not so much out of victimhood, but rather as attempts to make sense of being survivors of an unjust past in order to come to terms with it and find ways or renegotiating a just future?

Perhaps it is the case that our discussions of political life are inadequate precisely because they neglect to factor in the psychological dynamics embedded within political discourse. What would be valuable would be to examine the ways in which the political and the psychological overlap to form a communal imaginary across all racial divides. It remains to be established how and in what form this kind of work could be undertaken.

Thando Njovane is a Flanagan Scholar and a literature PhD Candidate at the University of York. She holds a research MA from Rhodes University and has published on trauma and African fiction as well as higher education in South Africa. She is the founder and chair of Finding Africa, and a contributor to the Bokamoso African Leadership Forum

Published in: http://slipnet.co.za/view/blog/on-achille-mbembes-the-state-of-south-african-political-life/

See: http://rozenbergquarterly.com/achille-mbembe-on-the-state-of-south-african-political-life/

 

Bookmark and Share

  • About

    Rozenberg Quarterly aims to be a platform for academics, scientists, journalists, authors and artists, in order to offer background information and scholarly reflections that contribute to mutual understanding and dialogue in a seemingly divided world. By offering this platform, the Quarterly wants to be part of the public debate because we believe mutual understanding and the acceptance of diversity are vital conditions for universal progress. Read more...
  • Support

    Rozenberg Quarterly does not receive subsidies or grants of any kind, which is why your financial support in maintaining, expanding and keeping the site running is always welcome. You may donate any amount you wish and all donations go toward maintaining and expanding this website.

    10 euro donation:

    20 euro donation:

    Or donate any amount you like:

    Or:
    ABN AMRO Bank
    Rozenberg Publishers
    IBAN NL65 ABNA 0566 4783 23
    BIC ABNANL2A
    reference: Rozenberg Quarterly

    If you have any questions or would like more information, please see our About page or contact us: info@rozenbergquarterly.com
  • Like us on Facebook

  • Follow us on Twitter

  • Archives