Nineteenth-century hot air balloons as early drones
Digital drone surveillance practices can erase notions of a three-dimensional space continuum and destabilise territorial boundaries. This chapter, however, aims to show that this process of spatial flattening is not exclusively a feature of digital, but also of analogue forms of surveillance. Its focus is aerial surveillance from hot air balloons, which was initiated by the Montgolfier brothers in 1783. Analysing nineteenth-century poetic literature about ballooning (Jean Paul), this chapter aims to show that the balloon view triggered new forms of spatial perception (loss of central perspective, the diffusion of spatial boundaries, blind spots). As the literary works show, this flatting of the horizon was closely entwined with a critique of social hierarchies and seen as a symbol for social mobility; issues also at stake in current deliberations about fluid surveillance and space. This chapter critically discusses the similarities of hot air balloon reconnaissance with contemporary drone surveillance technologies and initiates a debate about whether forms of pervasive surveillance and their reconfigurations of communities are an exclusive effect of the digital.
Chapter 1 starts by examining the thesis advanced by Mark Kelly that Foucault’s research project is intentionally and irreparably non-normative. Contra Kelly, I argue that in important senses, Foucault cannot avoid being normative. Furthermore, I suggest, drawing on writers such as Paul Patton, Nancy Fraser, and Pierre Hadot, that the absence of normative criteria that can ground his project constitutes a major failing of his approach. The chapter then seeks to demonstrate the pervasiveness of the normative as well as to document important researches in the area, which have helped to produce the recent ‘normative turn’ in philosophy.
Chapter 5 restates Foucault’s critique of Hegel and Marx by summarizing the major influences on Foucault’s intellectual development of two of his central teachers, Jean Hyppolite and Louis Althusser. The chapter charts how Foucault’s own position developed in relation to his studies of Hegelian and Marxist philosophy, a position that ultimately rejected all teleological conceptions of history. This included not only those positions associated with Hegel and Marx, but also with the later ‘ethics of recognition’ associated with Charles Taylor, and the ‘ethics of self-realization’ developed by T. H. Green, and influential among the British Hegelians. Foucault’s ethics are beyond Hegel and Marx, whether in their classical or more recent formulations.
This chapter focuses on the church of St Euphemia in Calabria, asking questions which have eluded scholarly attention, notably what kind of institution was the Benedictine monastery and how does it compare to other churches in Norman Italy? What drove its foundation, who were its patrons and ‘intellectual architects’ and whose vision and ambitions did it reflect? St Euphemia’s medieval library was destroyed in an earthquake in 1638. The sole surviving document is the abbey’s foundation charter, which is reproduced in full here. Signed by Duke Robert Guiscard, the charter prima facie presents St Euphemia as a ‘ducal’ foundation whose revival and renovation on the site of a derelict church were motivated by princely piety and a concern for the salvation of souls. However, closer analysis reveals that the document was likely the work of Abbot Robert de Grandmesnil, formerly of St Évroult, and that its model was not Lombard or Byzantine but Norman. Indeed, evidence suggests that St Euphemia’s foundation charter was modelled specifically on that of St Évroult. The chapter ultimately finds that St Euphemia followed the specific vision and aspirations of Robert de Grandmesnil and was less a ‘ducal’ church than an ‘abbatial’ one. More specifically, it was the brainchild of an exiled Norman abbot who (re)created a ‘new St Évroult’ on the shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Based on several years of ethnographic fieldwork, French London provides rare insights into the everyday lived experience of a diverse group of French citizens who have chosen to make London home. From sixth-form students to an octogenarian divorcee, hospitality to hospital staff, and second-generation onward migrants to returnees, the individual trajectories described are disparate but connected by a ‘common-unity’ of practice. Despite most not self-identifying with a ‘community’ identity, this heterogenous migrant group are shown to share many homemaking characteristics and to enact their belonging in common ways. Whether through the contents of their kitchens, their reasons for migrating to London or their evolving attitudes to education and healthcare, participants are seen to embody a distinct form of London-Frenchness. Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s theories of ‘symbolic violence’ and ‘habitus’, inventively deconstructed into its component parts of habitat, habituation and habits, the book reveals how structural forces in France and early encounters with ‘otherness’ underpin mobility, and how long-term settlement is performed as a pre-reflexive process. It deploys an original blended ethnographic lens to understand the intersection between the on-land and online in contemporary mobility, providing a rich description of migrants’ material and digital habitats. With ‘Brexit’ on the horizon and participants subsequently revisited in a post-referendum Epilogue, the monograph demonstrates the appeal of London prior to 2016 and the disruption to the migrants’ identity and belonging since. It offers an unprecedented window onto the intimate lifeworlds of an under-researched diaspora at a crucial point in Britain’s history.
The kingdom of Sicily, Egypt and the Holy Land, 1154–87
Alan V. Murray
This chapter offers a reassessment of the Sicilian expeditions to Egypt in 1154–87. Historians have largely assumed that these expeditions were a response to appeals for assistance from King Amalric of Jerusalem and were intended to coordinate with Amalric’s attempts to seize control of Lower Egypt and take pressure off the beleaguered kingdom of Jerusalem. This chapter broadens the discussion by undertaking a more critical examination of the expeditions in the context of the changing balance of power between the kingdom of Jerusalem and its Muslim enemies. The chapter exposes the tensions between the king of Sicily and the king of Jerusalem, notably their disparate attitudes toward Byzantium. Byzantium was Amalric’s preferred ally in his Egyptian ambitions, whereas Sicilian hostility to the empire had continued unabated since Manuel Komnenos’ invasion of Apulia in 1155–56. William II of Sicily was keen to make his mark with an impressive foreign adventure, but he was unwilling to share the spoils with Amalric. The Sicilian attack on Alexandria in 1174 can best be understood as an attempt to derive economic gain from Egypt before Saladin became too powerful. Similarly, the attacks on Tinnīs in the following years were probably designed to hit home while Saladin and his forces were occupied in Syria and Palestine. It was not until after Saladin had overrun the kingdom of Jerusalem that William II deigned to send a fleet to aid the few remaining beleaguered Frankish garrisons.
Evolving conflict trends and implications for the recognition of armed
The nature of conflicts (and conflict actors) is constantly evolving, and
since the 2010s we have entered into the era of ‘violent extremism’.
However, such labels are subject to historical change, too, and they enable
certain practices and kinds of behaviour towards armed non-state actors
(ANSAs) while precluding others. How ANSAs are labelled has important
ramifications for whether their claims to recognition can be met. This
chapter takes a practitioner’s perspective in order to explore the purpose,
dilemmas and options for recognition of ANSAs through soft-power
‘engagement’ by governments or third parties (state or non-state) actors –
through the prism of contemporary conflict trends, that is, in the era of
violent extremism. The chapter opens up a broad perspective on several ANSAs
active in various conflicts and world regions. It traces the labels given to
ANSAs historically and analyses the practices of engagement related to them.
While the term ‘recognition’ has so far not entered the conceptual
world of practitioners in the field of conflict transformation, the chapter
tries to evaluate whether and how it could be a useful conceptual addition.
In particular, it tries to delimit recognition from engagement, as well as
identifying how the two concepts relate to each other. In the conclusion,
the arguments made in the chapter are used to critically reconsider the
novelty of ‘violent extremists’ and give an outlook on how the concept of
recognition could be used in dealing with these groups.
Writers in British society and tales of their private lives and personal affairs
Chapter 2 explores the cycle of British biographical pictures from the 2000s which examined the creative writing lives and personal relationships of a varied set of authors By focusing on three films centring on the extreme (but not necessarily exceptional) situations experienced by Oscar Wilde (1854–1900), Sylvia Plath (1932–1963) and Iris Murdoch (1919–1999), I will consider how these authors are depicted living a life in exile after imprisonment for homosexual offences; seeking to be creative while coping with a partner’s adulterous behaviour and facing losing their memory and powers of reason after being struck down by a terrible illness (Alzheimer’s disease). The films offer powerful portrayals of individuals seeking love, sexual fulfilment and success in their chosen careers over a period in British social history spanning the 1890s to the 1990s, while having to deal with situations which lead to despair, debilitation and eventually death.
Aesthetic and intercultural learning and the (re)construction of identity
This chapter examines how Japanese-style gardens can provide places for learning about aesthetics and transculturalism, and for maintaining constructs of cultural identity. It argues that gardens offer sites where visitors can enjoy aesthetically rich somatic experiences while learning about intercultural histories. As lieux de mémoire, sites of memory, gardens can sustain traces of the past that continue to condition appreciations of the present. This project has developed through a triangulation between two initial research interests, in aesthetic learning, and in learning in cultural institutions, and in the poignant contexts of immigration, alienation, and dispossession of Nikkei Japanese American communities during the twentieth century. The study enhances appreciations of how aesthetic experiences in garden settings can offer insights into the conventions and practices of other cultures, and mediate the sensory, socio-cultural, ethical, and cognitive fabric through which communities crystallise some sense of identity. In exploring the narratives of Japanese and Japanese American citizens in Oregon, this research clarifies how gardens can inform processes of re-conceptualising notions of identity and belonging. It finds, in the spatio-temporal experiences of movements and transitions, borders and passages, of these Japanese-style gardens, metaphors for migrations and intercultural encounters, and media informing the reconstruction and repositioning of cultural identities.
As war has been considered by many to be one of the most gendered of all human activities, this chapter suggests that perhaps one of the reasons this form of warfare is so troubling and difficult to classify in contemporary conceptual frameworks is precisely that it defies the gendered categories that have constituted theories of war and political violence in International Relations. Inspired by feminist critiques of the war/peace distinction in terms of sexualised violence against women, the chapter draws on queer and black feminist thought to analyse not only how the drone challenges our understanding of what war is, but also how it must be understood as a gendering and racialising technology. Given the much noted ‘voyeuristic intimacy’ of the drone and its fetishised, even sublime qualities, and the predator/prey ‘manhunt’ structure of this form of violence, the chapter argues that to understand the gender politics of the drone we must examine the mutual constitution of both the concept of gender as a technology of embodiment and a racializing technology.