In this text, acclaimed art historian T.J. Clark offers a new vision of the art of the past two centuries, focusing on moments when art responded directly, in extreme terms, to the ongoing disaster called modernity.
The Paris of the 1860s and 1870s was supposedly a brand-new city, equipped with boulevards, cafés, parks, and suburban pleasure grounds--the birthplace of those habits of commerce and leisure that constitute "modern life." Questioning those who view Impressionism solely in terms of artistic technique, T. J. Clark describes the painting of Manet, Degas, Seurat, and others as an attempt to give form to that modernity and seek out its typical representatives--be they bar-maids, boaters, prostitutes, sightseers, or petits bourgeois lunching on the grass. The central question of The Painting of Modern Life is this: did modern painting as it came into being celebrate the consumer-oriented culture of the Paris of Napoleon III, or open it to critical scrutiny? The revised edition of this classic book includes a new preface by the author.
"How do rebels give up arms and return to the same political processes that they had once sought to overthrow? The question of weaning rebels away from extremist groups is highly significant in the context of counterinsurgency as well as pacification of insurgencies. Existing explanations focus mostly on state capacity, counterinsurgency operations, or on socioeconomic development. This book, drawing primarily on several rounds of interviews with Maoist rebels as well as other stakeholders in conflict zones, shows that from the rebel's perspective, what is of paramount importance in whether or not they quit extremism is the ease with which they can exit and lay down their arms without getting killed in the process. This fear is further exacerbated by the belief that while they could lose their lives, the Indian state, they believed, would lose nothing even if it failed to protect retired rebels and keep its side of the bargain. This created a problem of credible commitment, which, in the absence of institutional mechanisms, is addressed locally by informal exit networks that grow out of grassroots civic associations in the gray zones of democracy-insurgency interface. The book shows that a lot of Maoist rebels quit in the South of India because robust and harmonic exit networks in the South resolve the problem of credible commitment locally and create conditions for safety and reintegration of former Maoists. In the North, on the other hand, very few rebels quit the same insurgent organization during the same time because scrawny, discordant exit networks in the North exacerbate rebels' fear, discouraging retirement and impeding reintegration. This book also highlights how the various steps in the process of disengagement from extremism are linked more fundamentally to the nature of societal linkages between insurgencies and society, thereby bringing civil society into the study of insurgency in a theoretically coherent way"--