Posts Tagged ‘Spain’

History: Epochs or Trends – Medieval Spain


20 February 2017

By Johan Galtung

Visions of the Past for Constructing a Future: Historiography of Spain

The distinction made by Fernand Braudel between events, trends and permanents, was a gift to historiography, how we conceive of history. This essay favors trends over epochs, seeing epochs as some kind of static racism or prejudice in time–“those people, at that epoch, were like that”, blinding us both to the diversity and to the dynamism.

History unfolds over or in time, the basic variable, the X axis. The events are points. The trends are curves of any shape, not necessarily continuous, could also be “jumpy”. And the permanents are horizontal lines set at a certain value.

Points, curves, lines – with texts indicative of highly complex proactio-actio-reactio relations.

History is the totality. However, trends accommodate the others. Trends are initiated or terminated by events. Trends may together generate events. Permanence is also a trend; lines are also curves.

Trends were identified for an epoch in time, Middle Ages, and a region in space, Spain. Read the rest of this entry »

Police mediation: And idea whose time has come

By Johan Galtung

The state system emerged in the 17th century, with institutions for force. One was for internal and one for external use: the national police and the national military, national standing for the dominant nation in the states. The role of the police was to protect elites against theft and violence by the people; crimes by the law. And the role of the military was to protect the states against each other. Both police and military occasionally initiated violence.

The description just given still holds very well for the USA. “Banking scandals” give us insight in class-conscious “justice”. Police patrol the streets, not the boardrooms. And no arrests.

But wars between states are now dwindling. They yield to wars between dominant and other nations within states, and dominant and other civilizations in the world; using state and non-state terrorism.

How did “modern” elites get these ideas? From intellectuals.

They picked Thucydides who told them that wars there will always be, and von Clausewitz who trivialized them, from Hobbes who told them that people are born violent and have to be controlled, and Machiavelli who told them that the prince has to be feared, not loved.

Or they decided themselves and picked intellectuals to confirm.

The military had an agenda: fight for victory, unconditional surrender of the other side, dictate the terms; call it peace.

The police had an agenda: detect, arrest, court, confession, sentence, punishment; call it justice. Theory: individual and general prevention, punishment not to do it again and as a warning to others.

All false, all nonsense. And wars and crimes are still with us. Read the rest of this entry »

Spain 2050 – Ten predictions

By Johan Galtung

Alfaz; History group, Municipio, Spain

Can we know the future? Rhetorical answer: can we know the past?

We rewrite history all the time, not because facts become dubious and new facts appear, but because our angle, perspective, changes. Say, from a series of kings, presidents etc. and their exercise of military and political power to economic and cultural changes in the life of common people, in their wellbeing and identity. Quite some change.

Will we arrive at that single, true, objective perspective?

No, objectivity may be multi-subjective, not inter-subjective. This is why Al Jazeera is so much better for knowing the present than CNN, which presents the US angle, and if there are other angles a US “expert” will give the final interpretation. Al Jazeera presents many angles of many parties and leaves final interpretations to the viewer.

How can we shed some light into the future? Basically there are two approaches: the Cartesian based on extending trends, and daoism based on holism and dialectics. They do not exclude each other.

Thus, there are three world trends that certainly affect Spain… Read the rest of this entry »

 

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