Politics and government


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Police in Hong Kong confront demonstrators defying a ban on rallying and set against a backdrop of mounting threats from China, 31 August 2019. Photo by Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty

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Human rights and justice
Riot acts

History shows that tumult is a companion to democracy and when ordinary politics fails, the people must take to the streets

Antonia Malchik

Cicero, in the Senate, accusing Catilina of conspiracy. Fresco by Cesare Maccari (1889). Palazzo Madama, Rome. Photo by AKG London

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The ancient world
Rules or citizens?

Ancient Athenian and Greek practices afford us insights into how and why to maintain real accountability in public life

Melissa Lane

New York in 1946 from the New Jersey shore, taken with a 40-inch Dallmeyer telephoto lens. Photo by Andreas Feinin/Time Life/Getty

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Political philosophy
Project and system

There are two ways of seeing order in the world: as a spontaneous system or as an intentional project. Which way lies freedom?

Paul Kahn

KFC, McDonald’s, tourists and a Trabant car at the site of the former Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin. Photo by Kay Nietfeld/dpa/AFP/Getty

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Politics and government
The horror of sameness

What people most fear is not difference, but a world in which nothing and nowhere is unique, in which everyplace is the same

Holly Case

Marble statue of an anonymous man wearing a toga, 1st century CE. Gift of John D Crimmins, 1904. Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

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The ancient world
The power of anonymous

Is the figure of the author bad for literature? Un-authored Roman literature and the transcendence of mere individuality

Tom Geue

‘Aristotelian education, like its Platonic predecessor, is almost lifelong.’ In the reading room of Widener Library, Harvard University, 1974. Photo by Constantine Manos/Magnum

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Education
The well-educated person

If we took Aristotle seriously we would revolutionise our educational systems to enable citizens to learn throughout life

C D C Reeve

How much? The big, red Brexit bus. Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty

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Mathematics
Citizens need to know numbers

A single statistic, or its misuse, can help upend a nation. Civic life depends on a basic level of statistical literacy

David Spiegelhalter

Coloured lanterns featuring Peppa Pig characters at Fo Guang Shan during a dharma assembly on the Chinese New Year, 5 February 2019, in Kaohsiung, China. Photo by Chen Xiaoyuan/China News Service/Getty

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Global history
Re-made in China

From Marxism to hip hop, China’s appropriations from the West show that globalisation makes the world bumpy, not flat

Amy Hawkins & Jeffrey Wasserstrom

Members of the Castellers de Sants build a human tower in Tarragona, Spain. October 2017. Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images

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Politics and government
Rebirth of the body politic

Individualism is not a sufficient foundation for social life: the image of the body politic reminds us that we are all one

Nick Romeo & Ian Tewksbury

UN forces patrolling the streets of Port au Prince in Haiti after a devastating earthquake, 22 January 2010. Photo by Jerome Sessini/Magnum

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Poverty and development
After the storm

Few things tell us more about the nature of state sovereignty, and the threats to it, than the politics of disaster relief

Saptarishi Bandopadhyay

Photo by Gulfiya Mukhamatdinova/Getty

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Education
Gold among the dross

Academic research in the US is unplanned, exploitative and driven by a lust for glory. The result is the envy of the world

David Labaree

Internally displaced people fleeing from fighting in the village of Shora, 25km south of Mosul, reach an Iraqi army checkpoint on the Northern outskirts of Qayyarah. Photo by Ivor Prickett/UNHCR/Panos

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War and peace
Separatism is no solution

Partition in Iraq rests on Orientalist ideas – and overlooks what many Iraqis, minorities included, say they want

Alice Su

Artist’s impression of a cylinder colony, endcap view with suspension bridge. Art by Don Davis, 1970s. Image courtesy NASA Ames Research Center

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Space exploration
Rules in space

If we don’t invent a legal framework for space colonisation the consequences could be catastrophic: the time to act is now

Marko Kovic