This book is a history of an illusion. It is also a history of the dream that preceded the illusion. The book discusses statistics as the field of tension between the scientific claims of neutrality and universality on the one hand and the political and economic reality of the conflicting interests of nation-states on the other. The various paths of state- and nation-building that European countries traversed in the nineteenth century are recognisable in the objectives of government statistics and are reflected in the topics selected for statistical study and in the categories used in the research. Each congress was clearly dominated by the specific interests of the country in which the statisticians convened. The book shows in each case how the organisation of government statistics and national concerns influenced the international agenda. It describes the perceptions, goals and dilemmas of the protagonists and their contact with each other, and in so doing unravels the complex relationships between science, government and society, wherever possible from their point of view. The genesis of international statistics was inspired by a desire for reform. Belgium's pioneering role in the European statistical movement was informed both by its liberal polity and the special status of statistics within it, and by Adolphe Quetelet's key position as an intellectual. The consolidation of the Grand Duchy of Baden, a new medium-sized state in the Rhine Confederation and later in the German Confederation, offered great opportunities for the development of official statistics.
What is it like to be a Muslim possessed by a jinn spirit? How do you find refuge
from madness and evil spirits in a place like Denmark? As elsewhere in
Europe and North America, Danish Muslims have become hypervisible through
intensive state monitoring, surveillance, and media coverage. Yet their religion
remains poorly understood and is frequently identified by politicians,
commentators, and even healthcare specialists as the underlying invisible cause
of ‘integration problems’. Over several years Christian Suhr followed
Muslim patients being treated in a Danish mosque and in a psychiatric hospital.
With this book and award-winning film he provides a unique account of the
invisible dynamics of possession and psychosis, and an analysis of how the
bodies and souls of Muslim patients are shaped by the conflicting demands of
Islam and the psychiatric institutions of European nation-states. The book
reveals how both psychiatric and Islamic healing work not only to produce relief
from pain, but also entail an ethical transformation of the patient and the
cultivation of religious and secular values through the experience of pain.
Creatively exploring the analytic possibilities provided by the use of a camera,
both text and film show how disruptive ritual techniques are used in healing to
destabilise individual perceptions and experiences of agency, so as to allow
patients to submit to the invisible powers of psychotropic medicine or God.
This chapter considers the history of those polities that were formed across western Europe in the wake of the Roman Empire: many relatively short-lived, but others of much greater longevity, some of which are seen as the ancestors of modern European nation-states. It considers first their nature as ‘states’, questioning the utility of that term to describe what were often very large territories indeed, extensively governed but in a very shallow manner, with only limited purchase on the lives of the governed. It turns then to the question of identity, initially picking up the theme of ethnic labels raised in the first chapter, before turning to law and social status as arguably much more important markers of identity. Finally, it considers the religious life of the period: the great proliferation of holy men (and some women), the Christian saints, accounts of whose lives give us so much of our evidence for this period, and the widespread foundation of monasteries, in which those accounts were written and copied.
Nationalism has reasserted itself today as the political force of our times, remaking European politics wherever one looks. Britain is no exception, and in the midst of Brexit, it has even become a vanguard of nationalism's confident return to the mainstream. Brexit, in the course of generating a historically unique standard of sociopolitical uncertainty and constitutional intrigue, tore apart the two-party compact that had defined the parameters of political contestation for much of twentieth-century Britain. This book offers a wide-ranging picture of the different theoretical accounts relevant to addressing nationalism. It briefly repudiates the increasingly common attempts to read contemporary politics through the lens of populism. The book explores the assertion of 'muscular liberalism' and civic nationalism. It examines more traditional, conservative appeals to racialised notions of blood, territory, purity and tradition as a means of reclaiming the nation. The book also examines how neoliberalism, through its recourse to discourses of meritocracy, entrepreneurial self and individual will, alongside its exaltation of a 'points-system' approach to the ills of immigration, engineers its own unique rendition of the nationalist crisis. There are a number of important themes through which the process of liberal nationalism can be documented - what Arun Kundnani captured, simply and concisely, as the entrenchment of 'values racism'. These include the 'faux-feminist' demonisation of Muslims.
There was yet another unintended consequence. Quetelet needed the help
of the national state to meet his goal of universal standardisation. For their
part, states were devoting all their administrative energy to building the nation:
railways, schools, social legislation and statistics contributed to the internal ‘unification’ of the Europeannation-states. Paradoxically, Quetelet’s goal
became less and less achievable as the national state assumed greater control
over statistics. The evolution of national statistics was driven forward by a
barrage of incentives – a
A preliminary interrogation of Bauman’s Eurocentric, white, male gaze
outside Europe, in the colonies, builds Eurocentrism into the
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The dark side of modernity
heart of the narrative, for it was in Europe that the nation-state
emerged, but only in a process of constant intertwining with imperialism and colonialism, as we shall see. In turn, this means that
the centrality of imperialism in forming the internal identities of
Europeannation-states, especially Britain, is completely erased by
Bauman, and this sort of exclusion of the ‘outside’ of Europe, resulting in a treatment of
banks discussed above could hardly be starker.
While nation-building and militarism have a natural fit, the history of British militarism is especially nationalist, even putting the Second World War aside. Unlike most other Europeannation-states, British troops must swear allegiance to the monarch. This may seem archaic, but, as military scholar Victoria Basham argues, it is symbolic of a unique, nationalist configuration of the British citizen-soldier.
In other Europeannation-states, citizen
workers to avoid making mistakes.
By the end of this development, the strict liability of the employer became a common feature for occupations in Europeannationstates – hence Ewald's argument that such a transition from individual accountability to social insurance should be understood as the beginning or the origin of modernity.
In practical terms, the emergence of the concept of the ‘accident’ meant that employers and
the later 1970s, but we do not use it here with all of its specifically Foucauldian connotations. We use it in its more liberal sense, as a term that enables the consideration of forms of social organization beyond the narrow strictures of the traditional study of government and governance, with its constitutionalist and top-down perspectives, and its intrinsic connection to the teleological search for the origins of modern Europeannation-states (i.e. interpreting the medieval evidence in the light of what we know would later happen). In this way, Caldwell’s first
be achievable but the deflationary straitjacket in which the troika placed Greece and other stricken eurozone members conspires against such a benign outcome. 19
Almost incredibly, re-designing the architecture of a trans-national Europe continues to preoccupy the leading EU decision-makers. Barroso, the Commission chief, is fixated with a federation of Europeannation-states though meagre details are forthcoming about what new forms of centralisation this will entail. 20 It has become a vast displacement exercise which is only likely to deepen the sense of