Revista THEOMAI   /  THEOMAI   Journal
Estudios sobre Sociedad, Naturaleza y Desarrollo / Society, Nature and Development Studies


número 8 (segundo semestre de 2003)  
number 8 (second semester of 2003)




Human Progress and Development
Werner Bonefeld

If development as human progress takes itself seriously, it has to reveal the deceitful publicity of development as capitalist freedom. Development as capitalist freedom is currently discussed under the heading globalisation. The pros and cons of the globalisation debate are well established; has the economy escaped the national state irretrievably or does the national state retain regulative power over the economy. The question, then, is that of relative autonomy; has globalisation established the autonomy of the economy over the state or does the state at least potentially retain autonomy over the economy, should the balance of class forces change in favour of labour. This article approaches globalisation from quite different perspectives. It explores the human content of globalisation and analyses the political constitution of economic categories. The conclusion discusses the issue of human progress as human self-emancipation and offers some practical suggestions, both on the danger of nationalist conceptions of anti-globalisation and on anti-globalisation as a project of human freedom. The argument urges that in the struggle for the equality of individual human needs, it is precisely necessary to avoid ever again to counterpose "society" as an abstraction to the individual (Marx). (Article in English)


Notes on the Argentinian crisis (by mid 2002)
Héctor Alimonda y Ruy de Villalobos

This text was prepared between April and July 2002, as the Argentine chapter of a Mexican-based reading on Democracy and Regional Integration on selected Latin American countries (not published yet). At that time, Argentina was at the bottom its deep crisis, and it seemed unrealistic to draw scenarios for the future. Therefore, the authors prefered to focus their work towards 1) a critical analysis of the Political Economy of the national crisis and its relations with the world economy and 2) to focus some political micro dimensions of the extended social unrest, emphasizing the experience of the "Asambleas Populares". In 1) the paper examines the long-term patterns of the Argentinean crisis, the performance of the "Plan de Convertibilidad", the macro "Bubble Crash" of 2001/02 and a brief analysis of its implications with the regional integration process with Brazil (MERCOSUR) is carried out. In 2) the authors sketch the ongoing crisis and weakening of the National State in Argentina. The paper also considers the vanishing of political identities and public arenas under the hegemonic structural adjustment priorities, the growing popular uprisings and the current experiences (at mid 2002) of grassroots movements in rebuilding, "from below", the political culture and the rules of the representative game. Numerous events, at national and international level, have occurred since this paper was written. Although some of them are different to a number of assumptions included in the paper (particularly, the role of US and Brazil in relation with Argentine negotiations with creditors), the basic variables of the economic and political analysis are still valid." (Article in Spanish)


Postmodern Myths
Takis Fotopoulos

The aim of this paper is to propose a theoretical framework on postmodernism from the viewpoint of the Inclusive Democracy project. In the first part of the paper, the crucial issue will be examined whether there has really been a break with modernity, as postmodernists assume, in the political, economic, scientific and cultural spheres. In the second part, the post-modern theoretical paradigm and politics will be assessed and in the final part the Inclusive Democracy approach on the issues raised by postmodernists will be discussed. The conclusion drawn from this paper is that a new form of neoliberal modernity has emerged in the last quarter of a century or so rather than a new era of postmodernity. (Article in English)


Methodological nstruments given by the theory of the "structuration" in the analysis of industrial spaces: the iron and steel industry
Marta Isabel Kollmann

As geography studies the social construction of space is no any longer possible to mantain a “sustantive” interpretation of space. The evolution of the social thoutht and social theory have rescued space as a subject of their concern..
Studies about industries traditionally were approached, since their geographical distribution and since a conception of space as something passive, as just a container of phisical forms related with such activity and at the most, only with considerations about “spatial factors” like site and situation in order to explain their localizations. Giddens´s
theory, we think, provides both the theoretical concepts and an interesting methodology for the explanation of the construction of industrial spaces. In relation to our task, namely, the Argenine steel Industry, Giddens’s theory : 1- has the advantage to incorporating the concept of “ structuration” overcoming the deterministic structuralist explanation about the behavior of agents and actors in space-time; and 2- it allows for the unraveling the relations scheme through: a) the knoledge of differents agents and actors involved, whether private organizations or individuals, b) the properties of domination, legitimation and signification of the phisical and social context in wich they act, c) the different rationalities among the various alternatives of actions, d) how these are being monitored and e) the changes in power and capacity to carry them on.
(Article in Spanish)


Overcoming the Welfare State. Local safety policies in the Venetian area
Francesca Vianello& Francesco Faiella

This article intends to describe a process of transformation recently affecting the whole Europe. It is the progressive overcoming of welfare State traditionally meant as garantuee for all citizens of the essential services for their own subsistence and wellbeing allocated on the basis of the principles of universality, solidarity and equity. Since it is a process that largely affects all social policies, we have thought it right to choose a definite visual angle from which to observe from closer the evolution and strenghtening of the neoliberist trends. We have choosen the visual angle of security itended as a public good, the substanzial definition of which appears to be profoundly linked to the idea of the State and society to which it refers. Our starting point is the passage from an attitude of concern linked to the topic of public order to a diffuse sense of alarm related to the urban security. This shift has been underlined by several authors. In the public communication, this shift can be seen as a changing point of observation: the general accountability of the central State in managing its citizens security has been, or at least can be, replaced by that of the local communities. Therefore our interest has moved to the local contents that are often characterizing the traditional theme of public safety, especially in relation with the different strategies of prevention and security. It is in fact in the tension between a preventive and a repressive point of view that we can foresee the possibility of a real change, tied to the local dimensions of the new security projects. (Article in English)


State, University and agrarian economy (agroexportadora) in Argentina:
the development of the departments of Agronomy and Veterinary of Buenos Aires and La Plata Universities (1904-1930)

Osvaldo Fabián Graciano

This paper has the main purpose of reconstructing the historical development of the first Agronomy and Veterinary department of the country, in the national universities of Buenos Aires and La Plata. The creation of these institutes of agrarian teaching in the first years of the XX century, was impelled by the national State with the objectives of organise a scientific complex of research and agricultural experimentation and to form the professional resources that could manage, within the state bureaucratic apparatus, the productive development of the agricultural economy of the Pampas. The development of the above mentioned departments was also the answer from the State to the demands of the cattle sectors of the Pampas that had promoted the agronomic and veterinary teaching in the country as from the end of the XIX century.
(Article in Spanish)


Migration and new urban spaces. The case of Bologna metropolitan area (Italy)
Carla Landuzzi

This essay deals with the commuting patterns of the different foreign groups of residents between the centre and the outer belt of the metropolitan system of the city of Bologna. Over the past decade, there has been a decrease in the number of foreign people living both in the centre (main town) and in the villages located in the first outer belt; this has been counter-balanced by an increase in the foreign population of the further external belt, i.e. in the Northern flatland and Southern hilly and mountainous land of the system. In the latter, about 30% of the foreign population is now made up by young people under the age of 18. The place chosen for settling down is generally related with the person’s particular national group and its peculiarity. Each individual migrant, or group of migrants, may follow one main migratory strategy, but we may as well identify for some groups more than one migratory sector, or pattern. Some newly formed migratory patterns related to groups of migrants who are now entering the productive cycle of the economy are especially interesting and worth analysing. (Article in Italian)


Eco-Economic Development Under Social Constraints: How to Re-Direct it toward Sustainability?
Lucio Muñoz

There are social limits to eco-economic growth, yet they are not actively accounted for within this new dominant paradigm. This situation has very important implications under sustainable development and sustainability. This paper has four goals: a) to call for the dropping of the term "sustainable development" from the development literature in order to allow for the clear specification and presentation of existing alternative paths toward sustainability; b) to summarize the characteristics and limits underlying the Eco-Economic Development model; c) to point out the limiting and compounding effect of social agents within this model; and d) to indicate the need to incorporate social factors as active agents in order to turn the Eco-Economic model toward Sustainability. (Article in English)


Political Militancy and Faith in the Sem Terra Movement
Laura Zordan

The particular line of struggle adopted by a group of Sem Terra settled in Rosana –in the state of San Paolo- prompted the consideration of some religious features of the agrarian conflicts that have been bathing Brazil and the other Latin American countries in blood for years. Since 1960s, the activities carried out by a big part of the Catholic Church, influenced by the Theology of Liberation together with posseiros and sem terra, have stimulated the joining of the various experiences of resistance into a unique national movement, i.e. the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST). (Article in Italian)


Conflicts and contradictions in the growth of the Great Buenos Aires metropolitan area
Floreal Forni

In this work we will try to present the most crucial social problems that exist in the expansion process of one of the most important metropolitan areas in the world. The competition for the territory in the periphery is the aspect of human ecology that will mainly be focused in the analysis (Article in Spanish)



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Instrucciones para los autores /Instructions for Authors
Consejo Editorial/Editorial Board  

Theomai: palabra de origen griego que significa ver, mirar, contemplar, observar, pasar revista, comprender, conocer
Theomai is a word of greek origin wich means: to see, to contemplate, to observe, to understand, to know

Revista Theomai es una publicación de la Red de Estudios sobre Sociedad, Naturaleza y Desarrollo
Theomai Journal is published by  Society, Nature and Development Studies Network

Universidad Nacional de Quilmes