both a narrative and political infrastructure that draws upon an array of different
mechanisms of control to regulate life. While religion, ideology and tribal loyalties
have been moulded to meet domestic and regional needs, rulingelites have also created
formal structures with the aim of ensuring the survival of the regime. Constitutions
have been designed to draw upon cultural reserves to ensure that regimes are often
taken to be representative of states, while opponents are often marginalised. They are
imbued with a range of mechanisms to help
Witchcraft and the symbolics of hierarchy in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Finland
Raisa Maria Toivo
of the ruling group. But
equally, it might serve as a vehicle for criticism and complaint, thus providing
a valuable opportunity for malcontents to vent their dissatisfaction with, and
opposition to, the rulingélite.33
Beyond the witch trials
As Stuart Clark puts it, ‘witchcraft was constituted by an act of revolt’, and
represented the opposite of perfect government.34 In some European laws,
including the Swedish Rural Law of 1442, witchcraft appeared among the
statutes against treason (högmålabalken).35
Vidskepelse was considered as inversionary as
A dialogue with Islam as a pattern of conflict resolution and a security approach vis-à-vis Islamism
Islamism matters in the first place as an alternative political
order envisioned by the Islamists as counter-elites opposed to the
rulingelites. To be sure, in considering the professed commitment
to democracy, this is not to suggest that the rulingelites in the
Maghreb, or in any other part of the world of Islam, are more
democratic than the challenging Islamist counter-elites. Religious fundamentalism as
’s republics: a threat to its territorial integrity?’, Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty Research Report, 2:20 (14 May 1993), 36.
18 Dunlop, The Rise of Russia, p. 62.
19 M. Filippov and O. Shevtsov, ‘Asymmetric bilateral bargaining in the new
Russian Federation: a path dependence explanation’, Communist and PostCommunist Studies, 32 (1999), 70.
20 J. T. Ishiyama, ‘The Russian proto-parties and the national republics’,
Communist and Post-Communist Studies, 29: 4 (1996), 397.
21 See D. Lane and C. Ross, From Communism to Capitalism: RulingElites from
Gorbachev to Yeltsin, (New
structures and ultimately, political life.
With its focus on the regulation of life, Islam has long possessed a political dimension.
As we have seen, however, with the plurality of views and interpretations, political
decisions require legitimisation –often by the ulema –who justify rule by stressing that
their authority is a consequence of either the sovereignty of Divine Law, or the contract
between ruler and ruled.40 The relationship between rulingelites and prominent clerics
is then of paramount importance when considering stability within a territory, where
increasingly fractious relationship between ordnung and ortung, new sites
of contestation emerge. Amid an influx of people from different backgrounds, latent
racism increases, often resulting in acts of violence against incoming residents. The
emergence of an increasingly tech-savvy generation poses a new set of challenges for
rulingelites, particularly across urban environments.
There are also longer-term implications for those displaced from their homes
within the context of the collapse of internal and external politics. Those forced to flee
from Syria, Yemen or Iraq
Association and distinction in politics and religion
The degree of the private cultivation of identity, beyond any public gaze, differs from instance to instance, as does its relation with the narrative presented to the world beyond the elite. But it is always present.
The rituals of Negara, the nineteenth-century Balinese state described by Clifford Geertz, provide an example of an exceptionally high degree of solipsistic identity cultivation by a rulingelite. There was in a very real sense more ritual than ruling, and the king's palace was a temple rather than either a residence or an office or
The Ottoman system was the antithesis of the European nation-state system. It was a patrimonial empire headed by a Sultan-Caliph whose rule was legitimated by the implementation of the Islamic law, the outward sign of the supranational Islamic umma . The rulingelite’s multi-national origins reflected the universalistic aspect of the state: Greeks were prominent in the bureaucracy; Mamluks (slave soldiers) of Christian origin rose to top military and political office, while in the provinces Turkish landed notables and Arab religious leaders ( ulama ) linked state
As Dogu Ergil writes, the disconnection of the Turkish society from its past allowed the rulingelite to see the people as an entity ready to be molded according to their vision of what society and the nation should be. 2 Accordingly, separation from culture of the past was not confined to religious practices. In the pursuit for the unique Turkish nationalism ( Milliyetcilik ), different from the cultures and civilization in its proximity, Turkey severed ties with basic features of the Arab, Persian and Islamic worlds, emphasizing instead the modern and Western
demonstration of agency –seen to be possible even within bare life3 –amid efforts to
improve political life.
After decades of political marginalisation where rulingelites had created political
and social conditions tantamount to bare life, there was little hope of lasting change.
Although the decade prior to the uprisings had been punctured by political protest,
these efforts were largely unsuccessful as instruments of state security pervading
all aspects of society were able to crush the protesters. At this point, grievances and
resentment continued to fester, as regimes