“The public sphere” refers primarily to a realm of our social life, accessible to all citizens, in which something approaching public opinion can be formed.  The emergence of the internet and online communication has caused a dramatic shift in the conception of the public sphere. Modernity has provided the basis for the democratization of knowledge; however, entertainment is privileged over information in a mediatized public sphere. While the public sphere has classically been the site where experts and intellectuals have reigned, the processes of populist ‘democratization’ and mediatization that have accompanied its growing commercialization have seen the authority of traditional experts become relatively weakened as more fashionable figures of authority like celebrities take center stage.
Over the past week, leaders from over 200 countries met in Glasgow for COP 26. This was the 26th meeting of the signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (referred to as the Conference of the Parties), and featured delegates from all around the world, representing nations, NGOs, and different industries. Meetings like these occur for two main reasons. Firstly, they provide a form of accountability: World leaders are expected to give highly public accounts of their efforts to mitigate climate change, exposing them to possible shaming if their efforts are not deemed substantial enough. Secondly, they provide a space where common goals and plans can be formulated: Nations can plan on future collaboration and push their peers to adopt more (or less) ambitious goals and plans. This combination of recapitulation and planning offers a centralized platform for more organized mitigation and increased accountability.
Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has been expanding its network of proxy groups across the Middle East and using them as a major strategy to expand its regional influence (Lane). As cyber space emerges more prominently as a new battlefield in the recent decade, Iran has become one of the most active actors in cyber warfares. The state actor carries on its tradition of utilizing proxies as part of its tactics in the cyber domain.
On the surface, it would appear that the landscape of German politics is moving further left with the first victory of the center-left party in nearly 20 years. The Green Party’s reentrance to the governing coalition for the second time in their history furthers this sentiment. Still, the nominal change in party leadership conceals a continuity of centrism in German politics. Scholz was primarily popular among Germans due to his similarities to Merkel, despite belonging to the opposition party. Scholz adopted many overt references to Merkel on the campaign trail, including mimicking Merkel’s signature rhombus hand gesture and referencing himself by the female version of Chancellor, Kanzlerin. While previously unpopular among his party, Scholz’ centrist tendencies have positioned him perfectly as Merkel’s true successor. Laschet’s public relations missteps only served to distance himself from the collected, authoritative image of Merkel. In many ways, Merkel’s opposition party saw popular success in styling themselves in her image.
With the United States clearly positioning itself to take a much more active role militarily in East Asia–a proposition that necessarily brings increased attention to Guam’s strategic advantage–it is critical to understand how the United States’ current relationship with Guam exemplifies an unequal framework that denies Guamanians influence over the United States’ military policy that consumes the island’s land and places it in far more direct danger of attack than any location on the mainland.
Globally prominent pieces of South Korean media, such as Squid Game and Parasite, represent a growing discontent with the conditions which have been created and engendered by global neoliberalism. South Korea represents a particularly salient microcosm of this from its historical context as a strategic incubator for American capitalist development and the implications of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis on its 21st-century socioeconomic landscape.
Religious freedom has been on attack within India for the past decade as rampant discrimination against religious minorities becomes increasingly enshrined within the legal language of the country. Despite the right to freedom of religion being clearly outlined within the 1949 Constitution of India and the country’s accession to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, the plight of religious minorities within the country have only reached unparalleled levels.2 Importantly, the lack of geopolitical accountability against the Modi administration and those perpetuating religious violence condones and exacerbates the incredibly pervasive and longstanding religious persecution against Indian minority communities.
Situated near the major maritime choke point at Bab el Mandeb and along the Gulf of Aden, Somalia is strategically placed in the global maritime navigation and trade network. Under this backdrop came the golden age of Somali piracy (2007-2012), which is almost exclusively predicated on a method of hijack-and-ransom, constraining the seamless flow of goods in the global supply chain network. The rise of piracy was rooted in foreign maritime predation and the state response, but also sustained by the anchoring of pirates to their local communities and their distinct approach to hijacking at sea. Through these interlinking mechanisms, both piracy and counter-piracy measures reflect and challenge logics of supply chains, security, and imperialism. Beyond illuminating those neglected from the global network, they highlight the interconnectedness of security and trade, the prevailing discourse around piracy and violence, and the naturalization of racial hierarchy in ransom negotiations.
China stands alone among developed economies for its lack of property tax, a status that it has maintained over the years despite being the second largest economy in the world. However, with the nation’s largest real estate giant Evergrande tipping on the edge of a default crisis, the government may finally be compelled to cast off this unique position and to finally impose one.
In early October this year, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislative body, decided to authorize a five-year property tax pilot program in selected cities such as Shenzhen, Hangzhou, and Hainan. This economic move is of great significance in regulating China’s real estate sector, but the stakes are high.
The 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 26) has officially begun✝. There are high expectations for the conference, which is expected to be the most important climate meeting since that which produced the 2015 Paris Agreement. Six years later, global progress has left much to be desired, and despite COP’s past successes, there are factors it is not addressing or giving due attention.