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47.2 - Drifting Apart/Transforming Cities

HSR Forum - Matthias Dembinski & Dirk Peters (eds.): Drifting Apart: The Dissociation of States from International Cooperation and its Consequences.

The international order is in turmoil. The dissociation of states from international institutions, that is, withdrawals from international organizations such as Brexit or retreat from international cooperation such as Russia’s drift out of a pan-European security order, is the most visible expression of this crisis. The recent trend toward de-globalization is likely to make dissociation even more prominent in the future. Despite their political significance, the consequences of dissociation have hardly been explored in academic debates. This HSR Forum addresses this gap by bringing together five studies of historical and contemporary cases of dissociation: Iran’s dissociation from the West, East Germany’s withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact, Russia’s drift from European security cooperation, China’s distancing from global financial institutions, and Brexit. The introduction to this forum develops a common research framework and sets out joint conclusions. The cases indicate that dissociation contributes to heightened tensions in future relations between exiting and remaining states, and that withdrawal from international institutions often has domestic effects that complicate these processes. They also show that the extent of future tensions depends on how dissociation was managed. In particular, the emphasis on conflicts over basic norms and values, in contrast to distributional conflicts, increases the level of tensions.

HSR Forum - Colin Arnaud, Nora Lafi & Alessandra Ferrighi (eds.): Transforming Cities, Negotiating Centrality: Markets and Civic Buildings in Comparative Perspective (XVth c. – XXth c.)

According to an established narrative, Western towns have been modernized during 19th century for hygienical reasons. The markets and the civic buildings, which have usually formed a spatial unity since the Middle Ages, have been separated from each other. This process was supposed to begin in Europe and to be only later and partly actualised in Asia and Africa following the Western model. This HSR Forum on the spatial interactions between political and commercial centres questions this narrative: Did this process begin in the 19th century? Did it only represent the response to a hygienical matter, or also to social conflicts? Was the Western city the only model for the modernization of city centres? Two articles regarding the Early Modern Period (about the market infrastructure of Polish Towns and about the Cathedral Square of Milan), a third article about the new civic and market buildings of Coimbra (Portugal) in the 19th century, and a fourth article on the transformations of the Kasbah in Tunis in the Modern Period bring open answers to these questions. The search for tendentially inclusive or exclusive central places, here analysed through the notions of horizontal and vertical centrality, offers conceptual tools for a perspective change.