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Society

Essays and videos on social issues, history, political life and the future
Care from afar | Aeon
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History of technology

Care from afar

For over a century telemedicine has promised healthcare for all. But will it ever replace seeing a human being in person?

Jeremy A Greene

Sleepwalk to the gift shop | Aeon
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History of ideas

Sleepwalk to the gift shop

Romanticism once radically challenged conventional pieties. Now it’s little more than marketable schlock. What happened?

Fiona Sampson

The haunted city | Aeon
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Cities

The haunted city

The city, for all its mechanical speed, artificial light and industrialisation, is the most uncanny of human habitats

Azania Imtiaz Khatri-Patel

Philosopher of the apocalypse | Aeon
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Thinkers and theories

Philosopher of the apocalypse

From the ashes of the Second World War, Günther Anders forecast a new catastrophe: technology would overwhelm its creators

Audrey Borowski

Last days at Paradise High | Aeon
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Childhood and adolescence

When Paradise, California burned, its teens became instant climate refugees

23 minutes

The infamous overpopulation bet | Aeon
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Demography and migration

In 1980, two feuding professors bet on the fate of humanity. Who won?

5 minutes

The power of water | Aeon
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Global history

The power of water

Far more potent than oil or gold, water is a stream of geopolitical force that runs deep, feeding crops and building nations

Giulio Boccaletti

East of Zionism | Aeon
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Nations and empires

East of Zionism

In 1900 my grandfather’s generation imagined a modernising Arab world, multireligious and progressive. What happened?

Ussama Makdisi

Can culture degenerate? | Aeon
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Beauty and aesthetics

Can culture degenerate?

Tempting it might be, but the idea that culture has become vacuous and banal comes with unsavoury implications

Christy Wampole

After neurodiversity | Aeon
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Neurodiversity

After neurodiversity

We live in a world that must move beyond identity politics and embrace new models of the mind. Enter psydiversity

Bonnie Evans

The road from Rome | Aeon
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Nations and empires

The road from Rome

The fall of the Roman Empire wasn’t a tragedy for civilisation. It was a lucky break for humanity as a whole

Walter Scheidel

Brand India | Aeon
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Nations and empires

Brand India

How a country used myth and mystique to tempt global investors – and seeded a toxic Hindu nationalism in the process

Ravinder Kaur

La lectora | Aeon
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Work

The last of her kind, Gricel regales Cuban cigar-rollers with readings and good humour

10 minutes

The subjective turn | Aeon
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History of ideas

The subjective turn

For Hegel, human nature strives through history to unchain itself from tradition. But is such inner freedom worth the cost?

Jon Stewart

The rise and rise of creativity | Aeon
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History of ideas

The rise and rise of creativity

Once seen as the work of genius, how did creativity become an engine of economic growth and a corporate imperative?

Steven Shapin

Thirty glorious years | Aeon
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Economic history

Thirty glorious years

Postwar prosperity depended on a truce between capitalist growth and democratic fairness. Is it possible to get it back?

Jonathan Hopkin

Repetition and rupture | Aeon
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History

Repetition and rupture

Reinhart Koselleck, the last great theorist of history, sought in the apparent chaos of events a science of experience

Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann

My little piece of privacy | Aeon
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Technology and the self

A curtain that twitches as people walk by creates a delightful paradox of privacy

3 minutes

The fist of modernity | Aeon
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Progress and modernity

Modern policing was set up to protect the powerful from a ‘criminal underclass’

22 minutes

Money and modern life | Aeon
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Cities

Money and modern life

Sociologist Georg Simmel diagnosed the character of modern city life: finance, fashion and becoming strangers to one another

Daniel Lopez

Tea and capitalism | Aeon
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Economic history

Tea and capitalism

The China tea trade was a paradox: a global, intensified industry without the usual spectacle of factories and technology

Andrew Liu

Kitezh-Vladimirskoe | Aeon
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Travel

Postcards from Vladimirskoye – the sleepy town near the ‘Russian Atlantis’

9 minutes

The theorist of belonging | Aeon
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Political philosophy

The theorist of belonging

Judith Shklar fled Nazis and Stalinism before discovering in African-American history the dilemma of modern liberalism

Samantha Ashenden & Andreas Hess

Maesteg | Aeon
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Work

A cabbie’s tour of his Welsh hometown where the jobs are gone but the stories remain

10 minutes