W. Friese et al. (eds.), Ascending and Descending the Acropolis: Movement in Athenian Religion; and T. Møbjerg et al. (eds.), The Hammerum Burial Site: Customs and Clothing in the Roman Iron Age (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2019)

A review of the books: W. Friese et al. (eds.), Ascending and Descending the Acropolis: Movement in Athenian Religion; and T. Møbjerg et al. (eds.), The Hammerum Burial Site: Customs and Clothing in the Roman Iron Age (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2019)

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Ole Høiris, Ole Marquard and Gitte Adler Reimer (eds.), Grønlændernes syn på Danmark. Historiske, kulturelle og sproglige perspektiver (Aarhus: Aarhus Universitets foreleg, 2019)

A review of the book: Ole Høiris, Ole Marquard and Gitte Adler Reimer (eds.), Grønlændernes syn på Danmark. Historiske, kulturelle og sproglige perspektiver [The Greenlander’s view of Denmark. Historical, Cultural and Language Perspectives](Aarhus: Aarhus Universitets foreleg, 2019)

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Rune Frederiksen, Elizabeth R. Gebhard & Alexander Sokolicek (eds.), The Architecture of the Ancient Greek Theatre, Monographs of the Danish Institute, Volume 17 (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press and The Danish Institute at Athens, 2015)

A review of the book: Rune Frederiksen, Elizabeth R. Gebhard & Alexander Sokolicek (eds.), The Architecture of the Ancient Greek Theatre, Monographs of the Danish Institute, Volume 17 (Aarhus:  Aarhus University Press and The Danish Institute at Athens, 2015)

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Caspar Jørgensen & Morten Pedersen (eds.), Industrial Heritage in Denmark: Landscapes, Environments and Historical Archaeology (Aarhus: Kultur Styrelsen & Aarhus University Press, 2015)

Book review of: Caspar Jørgensen and Morten Pedersen (eds.),  Industrial Heritage in Denmark: Landscapes, Environments and Historical Archaeology (Aarhus: Kultur Styrelsen and Aarhus University Press, 2015), 285 pp. ISBN 978 87 7124 108 2

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Pia Guldager Bilde & Mark L. Lawall (eds.), Pottery, Peoples and Places. Study and Interpretation of Late Hellenistic Pottery (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2014)

Getting to know the past is never easy and the challenge is even more arduous when one faces prehistory or, as in this case, antiquity. Lack of material evidence, unevenness in its distribution, absence of or conflicting written sources are just some of the obstacles that historians and archaeologists must face.

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George Hinge and Jens A. Krasilnikoff (eds.), Alexandria: A Cultural and Religious Melting Pot (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2009)

The Canopus region of Egypt on the Mediterranean coast was already inhabited and a port prior to Alexander’s founding of his city. Pseudo-Callisthenes reports that Alexander awaited “an oracle from the god as to where he should found a city bearing his name” (Krasilnikoff, “Alexandria as Place,” 26).[1] According to this account, Alexander was visited in his sleep by the god who spoke thus to him: “King, to you I speak. the god of the ram’s horn. / If you wish forever to flourish in youth eternal, / Build an illustrious city above the island of Proteus/ Where once Aion Plutonius first took his throne as ruler… (Krasilnikoff, “Alexandria as Place,” 26-27).

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Pia Guldager and Jane Hjar Petersen (eds.), Meetings of cultures in the Black Sea region. Between conflict and coexistence, (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2008)

The meetings of cultures in the Black Sea region was the subject of the seventh international conference in Black Sea Studies, held in January 2006 by the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre.

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November 2020 – Issue 15(3)

This special issue of Nordicum-Mediterraneum contains select papers from the research seminar Environmental Aesthetics and Citizenship (https://estenci.wordpress.com/), coordinated by Neli Dobreva, Oleg Bresky, Mogens Chrom Jacobsen and Oliver Kauffmann at the École des Arts de la Sorbonne, University Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, in partnership with the research circles Patterns of Dysfunction in Contemporary Democracies. Impact on Human Rights and Governance, … Continue reading November 2020 – Issue 15(3)

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When the Treasury and its Models Seize Power

This paper explains how short- and medium-term macroeconomic projections are undertaken within the Danish Ministry of Finance (DMF) by the use of an annual macroeconometric model, ADAM, together with a theoretical, structural general equilibrium model, DREAM. DREAM is used to calculate the structural public sector budget deficit, which by law is required never to exceed ½ percent of GDP. This legal restriction on fiscal policy gives the structural model (and the ‘model-operators’) a hitherto unseen political power. This ‘institutional’ status of DREAM causes a number of questions about democracy to be asked. First, why has an elected government accepted to surrender its legal right to undertake an active fiscal policy? Secondly, how can it be that DREAM – a neoliberal general equilibrium model without proper empirical tests and operated by anonymous civil servants – has been elevated to a position akin to a high court’s? The paper demonstrates how this model set-up within the DMF reproduces reality poorly. Therefore, these models should rather be seen as social constructs predetermined be neoclassical/neoliberal economic theory, which has to be acknowledged as a democratic challenge.

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“Crisis and Crisis Scenarios: Normativity, Possibilities and Dilemmas” (Lysebu Conference Centre in Oslo, Norway, April 9th — 12th, 2015)

This special issue of Nordicum-Mediterraneum contains select proceedings from the third meeting of the Nordic Summer University research circle called “Crisis and Crisis Scenarios: Normativity, Possibilities and Dilemmas”, held April 9th — 12th, 2015 at the Lysebu Conference Centre in Oslo, Norway. The circle’s research program runs from 2014 to 2016 and is aimed at examining the concept of crisis as it is used today in academia and public discussion. In this collection of papers from the symposium we present some of the different ways in which the topic of the study group was addressed.

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Critique of War Reason. A Perspective on Self-referential Systems, 11th-21st Centuries

This paper is a summary of my 700-page very academic thesis, in Danish, to be published by Aarhus University Press (AUP). A shorter booklet based on it was published by AUP too (November 2014, 250 pages) and so were a number of shorter articles in English, French and German. In Luhmann’s systems theory and in sociology at large there is a missing link consisting in the lack of a sociology of war. A number of German systems theoreticians use Luhmann’s theory to fill that gap. Yet Luhmann (born 1927), who was a soldier and a prisoner of war from age 15-17, would not write a “Der Krieg der Gesellschaft”. The attempt to narrow this lacuna is indeed a heavy burden and a difficult task, in which it is decisive firstly to get the basic distinctions right about a second order observation of war as a conflict system – to be distinct from a military organisational system. This, I do by beginning with a reconceptualization of Carl von Clausewitz’ form analysis and self-description of war from Vom Kriege (1832). The central point is to observe the self-reference of war, or how war became war about war. Conflict is basically a problem of essentially contested communication. Once this historical self-reference established around the 17th century was in place, war became delimited by its structural couplings to religion, mass media (propaganda), finance, welfare for victims and veterans, law, politics and other functional systems. The costs of war increased, reconstituted and transformed modern society in a way that has formed a range of risks and – of course – neglected blind spots.

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Teaching History in a multicultural society

Meeting the history and heritage of the majority culture in a pluralist society might, at worst, mean giving up the control of one’s own past and assimilating into a new ’master narrative’. By re-defining history as a school subject, putting at its core not a set narrative of the past but the cognitive process of thinking about the past, the very process of knowing and understanding might form a ground for a shared experience of history while at the same time allow for the co-existence of different narratives. History curricula in the Nordic countries have for the last two decades gradually moved in this direction. Whether classroom work has done so as well remains less certain. Recent studies suggest that History teachers acknowledge that teaching and learning must adjust to the reality of pluralism but are less confident about how to meet the challenge in concrete terms. 

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The World of Wars: Risky Systems – A second-order observation of future wars

The world of the future will not be one without wars. The many hopes we have about a future peace governed by a more or less confederal state will not make wars obsolete. Regular wars and irregular wars will continue and probably on different subjects than we are used to. The article proposes that the form of war will be more about temporalities, i.e. fast interchanges or, rather, more risky protracted wars of attrition and exhaustion and less on tactical well defined territories. The West can neither dominate such wars nor establish one world that is ruled or even governed. The risk is that we have the systems we have. They have their own path dependencies, their temporal bindings and their own stories to tell. In the worst case, the West sticks to an imaginary of almighty power – and then it will lose. We tend to forget that our present past will be experienced and told differently in the future. The “extreme 20th century” will have another history and another impact. Its extremes will be narrated as more extreme, and its temporal bindings become easier to observe. The much celebrated “revolutions in military affairs” will not dominate future war systems. Unipolarity is fading away. Kantian convergences may appear.

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The Paradigmatic Struggle for Legitimacy of the Danish Welfare State regarding the Provision of Welfare Services – Taking care of vulnerable children and youths as a core problem

The Danish welfare state constitutes a paradigmatic case of the welfare struggle of modern welfare states. Taking care of vulnerable children and youths is used as a case study here, to illustrate the efforts of the welfare state to acquire legitimacy as a body of public administration. That is, the efforts to close the gap between the welfare state´s ideology of doing what is ‘good’ for its citizens and doing this in practice. In this article, we analyze this struggle for legitimacy of the Danish welfare state with illustrations based on the case study. We present the concepts of biopower and moral blindness, in order to test the legitimacy of the welfare state´s provision of welfare services at the beginning of this century. We propose a new paradigm to improve the welfare state´s legitimacy. Our case is considered critical. 

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Has the Competition among Professions in the Nordic Welfare States Intensified? A Danish Case

Has the competition among professions in the Nordic welfare states intensified in recent decades? Yes, and in a manner that has resulted in predictable classic struggles and conflicts among professions. We argue that the struggles and conflicts that arise translate into insufficient provision of welfare services for taxpayers’ money. To avoid this predicament, further developing co-operation among professions is important. Public managers, as argued in this article using a Danish case, play a significant role in achieving this. The Danish case studied shows how some public managers, in their efforts to create co-operation among professions, have developed a modern, dialogue-based management technique built on dialectical refutation, similar to Socratic elenchus. 

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The Idea of University in a Cosmopolitan Perspective

The aim of this paper is to show why the humanities are more necessary than ever as part of the university education in our contemporary cosmopolitan age. We need the humanities if our educational institutions are to overcome the threats from narrow-minded politicians and business people to reduce education in schools and universities to simple instruction in management without guidance from the cultures of the world as expressed in art and literature, knowledge of languages, history and philosophy.

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