Yulia Karpova

This chapter introduces the concept of the ‘aesthetic turn’ to describe the gradual broadening of the meaning of aesthetics after the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953 and the greater openness of the USSR to the outside world that followed. The aesthetic turn resulted in the formation in the USSR of what philosopher Jacques Rancière calls an ‘aesthetic regime of arts’ – a mode of identifying different arts as equal and valuable in their specificity. The chapter analyses the new aesthetic regime of arts by highlighting its key concepts: realism, contemporaneity and taste. These concepts acquired new meanings during the 1950s–early 1960s: realism was now seen as a specific quality of things, not depictions; contemporaneity appeared as a measure of social relevance of an object’ and taste became a tool for probing the limits between authenticity and appearance.

in Comradely objects
Open Access (free)
Nico Randeraad

The series of international statistical congresses ended somewhat abruptly with the Budapest gathering in 1876. Articles published in international statistics journals conveyed the urgency of the need for organisational reforms. Anyone who has followed the debate about the future of the European Union will have seen many parallels between contemporary events and the dealings of the international statistical congresses. The International Statistical Institute (ISI), which was established in London in 1885, was in many ways the congress's natural successor. The founders of the ISI emphasised the professionalism of the institute and limited membership to 150 to keep out the 'free-floating intelligentsia', who in the opinion of many experts had had a disruptive influence on the congresses. ISI publications, in particular the Bulletin de l'Institut international de statistique, addressed the subjects and methods of statistical research more systematically and with greater precision than the congress reports.

in States and statistics in the nineteenth century
Open Access (free)
Farah Karim-Cooper

This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book examines the role of the senses in the reception of art and the experience of intense emotion. It addresses the ways in which the passions, humours and senses merge within the complex physiology of the human body. The book shows us to what extent theories of vision were in flux and how the eyes were seen both as the "most noble, perfect and admirable" of the senses, while being burdened with the notion of 'visual deception'. As a result of this dichotomy, the ability of sense perception to enlighten or harm an individual meant that people were constantly reminded to be vigilant, guarded and to regulate their sensory activities. In addition to hierarchies and dichotomies, the senses are beset by conflict, vulnerable to deception and held hostage to the emotions.

in The senses in early modern England, 1558–1660
Nico Randeraad

In 1855 Parisians believed that their city was the centre of the world. Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Dieterici, who represented the Prussian kingdom in 1855 as he had in 1853, observed a bellicose mood among the French. The absence of the peacemaker, Adolphe Quetelet, may be one reason for Dieterici's about-face and less-than-conciliatory attitude towards the French. Quetelet wrote about Charles Dupin's graphical innovation in his journal, Correspondance mathématique et physique, and announced that an education map of the Netherlands was being prepared. Dupin's linear progress diktat was well suited to the Napoleonic climate. In many ways, Napoleonic statistics foreshadowed the form that statistics would take as the nineteenth century progressed. By the time the second international statistical congress began in 1855, statistics had acquired a permanent place in the machinery of government, in the academies and in public opinion in France.

in States and statistics in the nineteenth century
Reflections on the relationship between science and society from the perspective of physics
Lucio Piccirillo

Piccirillo moves from the premise that science, in any form and format, is a valuable enterprise. If this is accepted, then scientists should enjoy a substantial degree of freedom from various forms of restrictions. Financial restrictions obviously call into question wider issues about the morality of resource rationing. Other forms of restrictions, based on ignorance, fear or political or ideological credo, are harder to justify. Scientific freedom is not just a political or ideological matter. It is also a matter for scientists to actively deal with: it is the role of scientists to explain, in accessible terms, the importance of scientific endeavours that may appear either grand and remote, incomprehensible and detached from the life of many laypeople, or otherwise frivolous and trivial. Piccirillo takes on this role and discusses examples of seemingly grand and frivolous science, such as the Large Hadron Collider and the Markov chain, explains their purposes and importance and shows that there is a big added value to society from small and big science if they work together.

in The freedom of scientific research
Simon Mabon

In recent years, cities have become key sites of political interactions. World Bank data suggests that 65% of the region’s population live in cities, although in the Gulf, this figure is much larger. As a consequence, regulating life in cities has become increasingly important. Legislation designed to regulate life finds most traction within urban areas, where jobs and welfare projects – not always under the auspices of the state – offer a degree of protection. Beyond this, the aesthetics of a city can be used to develop a national identity, which also brings about exclusion. Decisions over infrastructural and development projects are taken for political reasons, driven by domestic and regional concerns, but impacting on the lives of citizens and non-citizens within states and across space. Within the urban environment, identities, groups and networks interact and collide, simultaneously reinforcing and challenging communities, identities and the state itself. Amidst an array of tribal, ethnic, religious, political and ideological loyalties, regulating life within the city is of paramount importance for regime survival. As such, the city is the arena through which networks of patronage – family, tribal, religious or bureaucratic – can be mobilised to retain power.

in Houses built on sand
Open Access (free)
Edmund Howes’s Annales
Ben Dew

The chronicler Edmund Howes was interested in trade and, like his more illustrious contemporaries Francis Bacon (ch. 1) and William Camden (ch. 2), provided an analysis of the state's management of commercial affairs. Howes, however, had much closer connections with the workshops, warehouses and offices of the City than the other writers discussed in this book. And it was through describing the activities of individuals attached to these locales, the chapter argues, that he was able to develop a highly innovative account of English commercial history. In dealing with Howes's writing, the chapter begins by looking briefly at his life, before exploring the account of Jacobean immigration, manufacture and trading companies developed in the Annales (1615, 1632). The chapter's final section shows how Howes's work shaped the approach to Jacobean commerce of one of the most popular historical works of the seventeenth century: Richard Baker's Chronicle (1643).

in Commerce, finance and statecraft
Staging class aboard the omnibus
Masha Belenky

This chapter considers the omnibus as a central urban site where class relations and class identity were articulated, debated, and contested. Contemporary writers noted that the name omnibus was particularly well-suited to a mode of public transport that was by law open to everyone regardless of class, rank, or social standing. In theory, this vehicle embodied democratic promise, class equality, and French Republican values. Yet a careful analysis of contemporary documents shows that the omnibus was a much more ambivalent class signifier than heretofore believed. While some works hailed it as a symbol of progress and democratic potential, a space in which social distinctions became irrelevant, and all passengers were treated equally, others bemoaned that the omnibus fell short as a vehicle of equality. Finally, some documents reveal a profound anxiety about class mixing aboard the omnibus, which for many symbolized the upending of existing social hierarchies. The omnibus was thus a locus for engaging with both class aspirations and class anxieties. Some urban observers perceived social mobility as a promise, while others saw it as a dangerous challenge to the social order.

in Engine of modernity
Contested narratives of the independence struggle in postconfl ict Timor-Leste
Henri Myrttinen

Timor-Leste's struggle for independence cost the lives of more than 108,000 people, the majority of them unarmed civilians. The supposedly unifying narrative of the nation struggling as one for independence, of which the claim of the nation over the remains of the dead heroes is one manifestation, is however not uncontested. This chapter focuses on three aspects of the socially, culturally and politically complex debate. Following a brief historical outline, it looks at the role of the dead in narratives of the state, the role of narratives of continued struggle and competing efforts of state and non-state actors to collect the remains of the fallen and demand recognition. The end of the struggle and the 'realness' of independence is questioned not only through the dead, however, but also through the state's politics of recognition.

in Governing the dead
Open Access (free)
History, time and temporality in development discourse
Uma Kothari

This chapter focuses on two areas in which history can make a contribution, conceptually and methodologically, to understanding constructions of time and the past in development policy. First, it explores the problematic way in which the discourse writes and conceals its history, and addresses how we can usefully engage an historical perspective to move beyond a bounded history that simply charts a linear chronology of events and sequential theoretical positions. Second, the chapter argues that how we understand, invoke and imagine time and temporality in development, particularly in relation to other people in different places, reproduces and embeds global hierarchies and distinctions. It suggests that a postcolonial historical analysis can offer ways of writing different histories and of moving beyond the problematic framing of time.

in History, historians and development policy