During the First World War, conflicts between the people’s sacrifices and their political participation led to crises of parliamentary legitimacy. This volume compares British, German, Swedish and Finnish debates on revolution, rule by the people, democracy and parliamentarism and their transnational links. The British reform, although more about winning the war than advancing democracy, restored parliamentary legitimacy, unlike in Germany, where Allied demands for democratisation made reform appear treasonous and fostered native German solutions. Sweden only adopted Western political models after major confrontations, but reforms saw it embark on its path to Social Democracy. In Finland, competing Russian revolutionary discourses and German- and Swedish-inspired appeals to legality brought about the deterioration of parliamentary legitimacy and a civil war. Only a republican compromise imposed by the Entente, following a royalist initiative in 1918, led to the construction of a viable polity.Book Details
The divine kingship and chiefship of the Asante people of central Ghana have been undergoing a shift towards secularization since the start of the colonial era. Timo Kallinen maintains that a close examination of this transformation provides us with a better understanding of secularization processes in Ghana more broadly, and in other post-colonial societies whose historical development likewise differs from that of the modern West, and which have largely confronted secular modernity through encounters with European colonialism. Throughout the volume secularization is understood as a process in modern society whereby divinity is separated from the ways in which both human society is regulated and physical nature is understood to function.
Divine Rulers in a Secular State has been divided into three thematic parts, each with a short theoretical introduction. In the first two, analysis is primarily inspired by the work of Louis Dumont, while in the third the theoretical ideas of Webb Keane and Bruno Latour are of central importance. The undifferentiated order of the pre-colonial Asante kingdom, in which the chiefly and priestly functions of the rulers were not separated, comprises the initial focus. Sacrifices and marriage exchanges, both of which were directed at establishing and perpetuating relations between the living and the spirits of the dead ancestors, are posited as the most important responsibilities of the chief. Also explored are perceptions that the founding of the kingdom and its authority structure are the results of sacrifices offered to various gods by the Asante king and his chiefs.
The second part examines the dissolution of the traditional order since the onset of British colonial occupation. The secularization process was initiated by the aspirations of colonial administrators and missionary bodies who aimed to maintain Christian converts under the ‘political’ authority of their non-Christian chiefs, who were still important ritual leaders. Consequently, it was necessary to start dividing society along ‘political’ and ‘religious’ lines so that only the former was a mandatory concern for all. The kernel of modern citizenship was planted at the same time as the ‘religious’ conscience of individuals started to shape their rights and duties towards their ‘political’ rulers. Furthermore, theories about Asante as a state based on contract and representation were proposed and developed. In the post-colonial era chiefship has been put into the service of the independent nation state – both as an instrument of administration and a nationalistic symbol, while, most recently, chiefs have been depicted as leaders in civil society, even receiving support from global developmental organizations. Yet traditional chieftaincy is strongly criticized by certain Christian groups belonging to the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement, which still see it as integrally linked to traditional cosmologies.
The third part of the book takes the discussion beyond the separation of the categories of religion and politics. Secularization has also has also entailed the dematerialization of religion, establishing it as something that ought to be understood primarily as mental or spiritual; in a secular society ‘things’ like deities, witchcraft, or sacrifices should not be recognized as proper agents and actions at the level of immanent relations. In Ghana such views are effectively contradicted by religious groups which see spiritual forces as the most powerful agents in social relations. The cases discussed deal with attempted state control of anti-witchcraft activities, the efficiency of protective magic during political upheavals, and Pentecostal notions of demonic influences in secular politics. The Conclusions section brings the themes of the book together by discussing the large-scale effects of the secular project in contemporary Ghanaian society.
Research is based on anthropological fieldwork conducted in Ghana in 2000–2001 and 2005–2006, data drawn from several archival sources located in Ghana and the United Kingdom, and the anthropological and historical literature on Ghana and the Asante.Book Details
Democracy is today a concept that is overwhelmingly positively evaluated almost everywhere. A lot has been written about socio-economic and cultural backgrounds of democratic regimes as well as their institutional settings. By contrast, not much is known about the political manoeuvres and speech acts by which 'democracy' has been tied to particular regions and cultures in concrete historical situations.
This book discusses a series of efforts to rhetorically produce a particular Nordic version of democracy. It shows that the rhetorical figure 'Nordic democracy' was a product of the age of totalitarianism and the Cold War. It explores the ways in which 'Nordic democracy' was used, mainly by the social democrats, to provide the welfare politics with cultural and historical legitimacy and foundations. Thus, it also acknowledges the ideological and geopolitical context in which the 'Nordic welfare state' was conceptualised and canonised.
The contributors of the book are specialists on Nordic politics and history, who share a particular interest in political rhetoric and conceptual history.Book Details
Finland celebrated its 85th year of independence in 2002. It is one of the thirteen countries of the world that have preserved their democracy uninterrupted since the First World War. Despite its modest origins and difficult wartime experiences, this dynamic country is now a world leader in many spheres. In 2001 it was named the world's most technologically advanced and also the least corrupt country. Other studies have shown it to have one of the three most competitive economies, the best environmental sustainability, and the second most equal society. Such rapid development has increased the need for information about Finland and what can be learned from its unique experience. This book offers an introduction to the country today, focusing on the most recent research into its politics, policies, and society, viewed in a comparative context. Dynamic Finland has been written for a general audience by two eminent scholars. Pertti Pesonen has been professor of political science in Tampere and Helsinki and at several American universities, and is also the former editor-in-chief of the Aamulehti daily and past chairman of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters. Olavi Riihinen served for 24 years as professor of social policy and Chairman of the Department of Social Policy at the University of Helsinki.Book Details