Other Academic Units
A Post-Development Perspective on the EU’s Generalized Scheme of PreferencesTrade policy is generally considered to be a key leverage in the pursuit of labor norms, environmental standards, and human rights. This is even more so for the European Union (EU), which exerts an extensive market power and exclusive competences in trade while lacking a full-fledged foreign policy. In recent years, there has been a growing demand for making sustainable development provisions “enforceable” and for more frequently applying trade sanctions. Taking a post-development perspective, we interrogate the EU’s enforceability discourse around the trade–sustainability nexus. We focus specifically on the conditionality behind the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP). The EU GSP regime bears the “carrot” (reduced tariffs), the “stick” (preferential tariff withdrawals), and increasingly intrusive “monitoring” mechanisms. Drawing on the post-development literature, we problematize the discourses that fundamentally enframe the EU GSP conditionality regime: development through trade, performance of power, and epistemic violence. Empirically, we analyze these frames by looking at public-facing texts produced by policy elites in the EU as well as in Cambodia and the Philippines during the two most recent GSP reform cycles since 2014. We argue that the dominant discursive acts of policy elites in the EU and the two target countries congeal into a global presupposition that there is no alternative to the EU GSP regime, thereby effacing counterhegemonic perspectives and stripping emancipatory notions such as “dialogue” and “partnership” of their radical potential. This formulation demands a genuine commitment to researching with the very people the EU is intent on regulating, reforming, and rescuing to unsettle taken-for-granted views about EU trade sanctions.
Steppingstones in larger struggles. How can we combine colliding struggles in the care crisis?The question of whether to increase the caregiver benefit is a controversial one among policy experts and movement actors. It is criticized as counterproductive to the emancipation of disabled people and women. At the same time, it becomes the goal of organizing campaigns as it provides immediate solutions, particularly to low-income families. This spotlights two questions: 1. How can activists fight for large-scale, transformative outcomes and achieve real, tangible changes in people’s lives? 2. How can a constituency fight for its liberation without leaving other constituencies behind? Drawing on the analysis of the Hungarian caregivers’ struggle, I reveal prospects for an emancipatory resolution of these two questions. I suggest seeing the struggles of affected constituencies as different dimensions of the care crisis and propose an organizing framework that engages with the deep structural underpinnings of capitalism and takes the issues of power and control inherent in care relations seriously.
The role of social media in facilitating minority mobilisation: The Russian‐language pro‐war movement in Germany amid the invasion of UkraineThis article examines the mobilisation of minority groups along ethnic and national lines through social media, an area that has not been fully explored. The study analyses the case of Russian‐speaking minority members who were mobilised in support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 via the messaging app Telegram. By taking a bottom‐up perspective, the article reconstructs the pathways of the actors in these mobilisation processes and draws upon diverse literature in digital nationalism, social movements and media studies. The study suggests that social media facilitates minority mobilisation through three primary functions: It allows for the reproduction of ethnicised and racialised boundaries and homogenisation within ethnicised echo chambers and provides a ‘window of opportunity’ for micro, meso and macro levels of actor engagement in facilitating offline mobilisation. Overall, this article provides a theoretical foundation for understanding how social media enables and enhances minority mobilisation and introduces novel empirical data on the emerging pro‐war movement prevalent on Telegram and in offline networks of the Russian‐speaking minority in Germany. The study contributes to the developing field of user‐generated nationalism and highlights the need for more bottom‐up research on emerging patterns of online ethnicised mobilisation.
Political liberalism and the metaphysics of languagesMany political theorists believe that a state cannot be neutral when it comes to languages. Legislatures cannot avoid picking a language in which to conduct their business and teachers have to teach their pupils in a language. However, against that, some political liberals argue that liberal neutrality is consistent with the state endorsement of particular languages. Claims to the contrary, they say, are based on a misguided understanding of what neutrality is. I will argue that this line of argument fails, for two reasons. First, the primary challenge to which political liberals should respond is not that of reconciling the promotion of languages with liberal neutrality but, rather, that of reconciling liberal neutrality with the fact that reasonable people disagree about the existence and nature of languages. Second, even if everyone accepted the existence of languages along essentialist lines, one should still doubt the possibility of state neutrality with respect to them, regardless of the conception of neutrality one prefers. The reason why is that human beings cannot care about or value languages so when a state promotes a particular language, it is not supporting the preferences of its citizens but, rather, acting on perfectionist or simply irrational grounds.