by Lucio Esposito and Ulrike G. Theuerkauf
It is a well-established argument in the economics and political science literature that a country’s level of economic development has an impact on people’s political orientations. Following the central tenets of Social Modernisation Theory, high income levels and solid welfare provisions at the national level facilitate the fulfilment of people’s basic survival needs, so that post-materialist issues (relating e.g. to questions of multiculturalism, LGBTQ+ rights or the protection of the environment, rather than questions of economic survival) are likely to play a bigger role for the ideological identities of those individuals who grow up under conditions of macro-economic security compared to those who do not.
Based on these insights, we ask how the relationship between individuals’ understanding of what it means to be “economically well off” and their self-placements on a left-right scale may differ depending on their macro-economic context. In a novel contribution to existing scholarship, we use different conceptualisations of economic well-being to analyse research participants’ political orientations. Using original data from a cross-country survey with 3,449 undergraduate students, our findings show distinct patterns for research participants in high-income countries (Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK) as opposed to those in non-high-income countries (Bolivia, Brazil, and Kenya). In the latter countries, research participants’ left–right orientations are associated with a materialist conceptualisation of economic well-being which centres on assessments of their family’s real-life economic status. In high-income countries, by contrast, Left-Right self-placements correlate with a post-materialist conceptualisation of economic well-being that is based on normative judgments about inequality aversion. These findings support the central tenets of Social Modernisation Theory, as they highlight the relevance of research participants’ macro-economic context for their ideological orientations.
‘Left’ and ‘Right’: A Contested but Useful Tool to Map Political Preferences
The left–right distinction is a contested but useful tool to map political preferences. Tracing its origins to the seating arrangement in the French revolutionary parliament—‘where “radical” representatives sat to the left of the presiding officer’s chair, while “conservatives” sat to the right’—the left–right distinction provides important ‘simplifying’ functions for the benefit of individuals, groups, and the political system as a whole: For the individual, ‘left’ and ‘right’ help to make sense of ‘a complex political world’ around them, to orient themselves within this world, and make political decisions. At the group level, ‘left’ and ‘right’ serve to summarise political programmes and, in doing so, contribute to the development of group cohesion and social trust. For the political system as a whole, the left–right distinction provides shortcuts for the identification of key political actors and issues, facilitates communication between citizens and their political representatives, and helps to make political processes overall more efficient. Not surprisingly, given its multiple benefits, ‘worldwide evidence shows the continued relevance of the L[eft] R[ight] divide for mass politics’.
At the same time, however, it is important to note that—despite its usefulness as a category of practice as well as analysis—the left–right distinction comes with a range of conceptual and empirical challenges. The arguably most notable challenge is that ‘left’ and ‘right’ have no fixed meaning, as their definition—and their specific association with attitudes towards issues such as taxation, welfare spending, multiculturalism, foreign policy, or group rights—tend to vary depending on space, time, and even individuals. Previous research has identified multiple factors that influence the context-dependent meaning of ‘left’ and ‘right’, including, for instance, a country’s political regime type, its geopolitical location, political elite behaviour, and levels of economic development. As scholars of International Development, we are particularly interested in the interaction effects between levels of economic and political development (here: countries’ macro-economic context and their populations’ political orientations), which leads us to Social Modernisation Theory as our analytical framework.
Economic Conditions and Ideological Orientations
Broken down to its central tenets, Social Modernisation Theory argues that a country’s economic conditions have an impact on its people’s political norms, values, and beliefs. Put differently, economic conditions at the macro-level are seen as an important driver of ideological orientations at the micro-level, as a high level of economic development combined with a robust welfare state (at the national level) is expected to enhance people’s feelings of material security, their intellectual autonomy, and social independence (at the individual level). This is because a macro-economic context of high economic development and solid welfare provisions makes it generally easier to fulfil basic survival needs, thus reduces the urgency of economic security concerns for large parts of the population, and opens up space for greater engagement with post-materialist issues. As we discuss in further detail below, this is not to say that there is a linear, irreversible and unidirectional pathway of economic and political development—but rather an expectation that ideological orientations are likely to change when the macro-economic context does, too.
Following Social Modernisation Theory, rising income levels and improved welfare provisions in highly industrialised societies after the end of the Second World War have had a twofold effect: on the one hand, they helped to meet crucial (material) survival needs for a majority of the population in these societies. On the other, they made economic security concerns less urgent and allowed non-economic issues to become increasingly relevant for the ideological identities of those individuals who experienced macro-economic security in their pre-adult years.
Of course, none of this is to say that economic issues cease to play a role for people’s ideological orientations once a country has reached a certain level of economic development—economic issues still matter for the content of ‘left’ and ‘right’ also in advanced industrial societies. What Social Modernisation Theory does point out, however, is that the economic bases of ideological orientations may become weaker (and their non-economic bases stronger) when there is a sustained rise in levels of income and welfare provisions.
Put differently, Social Modernisation Theory explains how economic conditions affect the relative relevance of materialist and post-materialist issues for people’s political identities: For individuals who grew up at a time of economic prosperity and solid welfare provisions, post-materialist issues are likely to play an important role for their ideological orientations—meaning that attitudes towards issues which go beyond material survival needs and instead centre on questions of self-expression, belonging, and the quality of life (such as attitudes towards LGBTQ+ rights, multiculturalism or the protection of the environment) form an important part of their political identity. Conversely, materialist issues—which centre on questions of material security, such as the stability of the economy or levels of crime—are likely to play a more prominent role for the ideological orientations of individuals who did not experience macro-economic security in their pre-adult years.
Two qualifications are important to note at this point: First, changes in the relative relevance of materialist and post-materialist issues for the social construction of ideological identities do not happen overnight, but are notable especially in the form of intergenerational differences. Second, these changes are not irreversible, as rising inequalities in the distribution of economic wealth, economic crises, and associated economic insecurities can lead to shifts in the proportion of materialist and post-materialist values amongst a given population. As highlighted by authors such as Inglehart and Norris, the development of ideological orientations does not follow a linear, unidirectional pathway, but is itself subject to changes and reversals depending on broader contexts, including e.g. the recession of 2007–9 or—one can assume—the current cost-of-living crisis.
Irrespective of these qualifications, Social Modernisation Theory’s fundamental insight still stands, as multiple studies, using different research designs, have corroborated the political value shifts to which economic development can lead. We expand on these findings by asking how the relationship between left-right political orientations and conceptualisations of economic well-being may differ depending on research participants’ location in either a high-income or non-high-income country.
Economic Well-Being and Self-Placements on a Left-Right Scale
In a nutshell, Social Modernisation Theory describes a process of social construction—driven by economic development—in which post-materialist issues become increasingly important for the content of ideological identities, while materialist issues decrease in relevance. Following this line of argumentation, we should expect materialist issues to be particularly relevant for left-right self-placements amongst research participants in non-high-income countries, and post-materialist issues to be particularly relevant for left-right self-placements amongst research participants in high-income countries.
For the purpose of our analysis, we use different conceptualisations of economic well-being to quantify materialist and post-materialist value orientations. In doing so, we make an original contribution to public opinion research, as economic well-being is a widely-discussed term in the economics literature that, so far, has been hardly used in assessing political orientations.
In its broader meaning, economic well-being refers to the socially constructed nature of what it means to be economically well-off. A more refined definition allows us to distinguish between the materialist and post-materialist dimension of economic well-being: In its materialist conceptualisation, economic well-being centres on (absolute and relative) assessments of one’s own, ‘real-life’ economic standing, which affects feelings of economic (in)security. In its post-materialist conceptualisation, economic well-being reflects normative judgments about different types of economic inequality, which go beyond one’s own real-life economic standing.
Disaggregated into its materialist and post-materialist dimension, we can use the different conceptualisations of economic well-being to analyse correlates of ideological identities which may relate either to feelings of economic security (the materialist dimension of economic well-being) or value-judgments about economic inequality (the post-materialist dimension of economic well-being). Following the central claims of Social Modernisation Theory, we would expect left-right self-placements to be associated with the post-materialist dimension of economic well-being in high-income countries, and the materialist dimension of economic well-being in non-high-income countries.
Quantifying the Materialist and Post-Materialist Dimension of Economic Well-Being
Our findings are based on survey data that were collected from 3,449 undergraduate students in three non-high-income countries (NHICs hereafter: Bolivia, Brazil, and Kenya) and four high-income countries (HICs hereafter: Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK) in 2007. We rely on World Bank data to distinguish HICs from NHICs, with NHICs’ GNI per capita ranging from US$ ≤ 935 to US$11,455, and HICs’ GNI per capita at US$ > 11,455 in 2007.
The fact that we only include data from university students in our sample limits the external validity of our findings, which means that we cannot (and do not seek to) draw inferences for the entire population of the countries under analysis. At the same time, there are multiple benefits to gathering data from university students only, as it enables researchers to reach a relatively large number of highly literate respondents in one setting and reduces the potentially confounding effect of different education levels.
The survey that we presented to university students asked respondents to place themselves on a 7-point Likert scale ranging from ‘extreme left’ to ‘extreme right’, with an additional option to state ‘I don’t have a political view’. In the English version of the questionnaire, this was presented as follows:
How would you define your political views?
o extreme left o left o centre-left o centre o centre-right o right o extreme right o I don’t have a political view
To capture the materialist dimension of economic well-being, we asked respondents to assess their family’s actual economic status in absolute and relative terms, by referring first to their family income without any benchmark, and then to their family’s relative standard of living compared to other families in the respondent’s country. In the English questionnaire, the relevant survey questions read as follows:
How would you evaluate the current income of your family?
o very low o low o sufficient o high o very high o excellent
How would you compare the standard of living of your family with that of other families in your country?
o very much lower o lower o almost the same o higher o very much higher
Based on research participants’ answers, we coded two variables that capture the materialist dimension of economic well-being, labelled ‘Income’ and ‘RelStandard’ respectively.
To capture the post-materialist dimension of economic well-being, we use two variables that quantify respondents’ normative judgments of hypothetical inequality situations. For the first variable, respondents were asked to take the role of an external observer and assess the condition of two individuals, John and Paul, living in two isolated societies, A and B, which are identical in everything other than inhabitants’ income levels. Respondents were given six hypothetical scenarios and asked to assess whom of the two individuals (John or Paul) they regarded as being economically better off in each scenario. To illustrate, the numbers in the example below represent income vectors that describe hypothetical income distributions in societies A and B. An absolutist attitude to economic well-being would indicate Paul as being better off, because Paul has a higher income, even though John enjoys a higher hierarchical position. A relativist attitude, by contrast, would indicate John as being better off due to his relative economic standing.
The six hypothetical scenarios enable us to quantify inequality aversion and, in doing so, help us to capture a post-materialist understanding of economic well-being. The variable that we derive from research participants’ answers to the six hypothetical scenarios is labelled ‘Absolutist’ and ranges from 0 to 6, depending on how many times respondents have adopted an absolutist stance in their normative assessment.
The second variable to capture the post-materialist dimension of economic well-being is derived from respondents’ answers when presented with an ‘island dilemma’ scenario. The island dilemma provides a different way to quantify attitudes towards inequality aversion, and is phrased as follows in the English questionnaire:
D and E are two islands where the inhabitants are identical in all respects other than income. Prices are the same in the two islands. Suppose that you have to migrate to one of them. In island D your income would be 18 Fantadollars—much lower than most people’s incomes in D—whilst in island E it would be 13 Fantadollars—the same as most people’s incomes in E. Income levels will remain constant throughout people’s lives. Where would you choose to go?
Respondents’ answers were used to code a dichotomous variable labelled ‘IslandAbs’, which takes on the value 1 when respondents expressed their preference for a situation of higher income despite worse relative standing (i.e. when they chose island D) and the value 0 when respondents preferred lower income but better relative standing (i.e. when they chose island E). Both the Absolutist and IslandAbs variable help us to quantify the post-materialist dimension of economic well-being, as they focus on respondents’ normative attitudes towards economic (in)equality in hypothetical scenarios, and thus go beyond their own material conditions.
Economic Context Matters
Having coded our key variables, we run a series of multivariate probit regression analyses to test the association between different conceptualisations of economic well-being and respondents self-placements on a left-right scale. Our control variables include respondents’ gender, age, discipline of study, year of study, their mother’s and father’s professions as well as country dummies. To reduce the risk of Type I error and potential bias in our results, we cluster standard errors at the classroom level. We also conduct multiple robustness tests, available in the online appendix of our article.
Overall, our empirical results lend strong support to our theoretical expectations, as we find a rather striking pattern depending on research participants’ location in a NHIC or HIC. These findings remain robust across multiple model specifications, and are illustrated in the Figures below:
As can be seen in the left panel of Figure 2, the probability that respondents in NIHCs place themselves on the left side of the Likert scale of political orientations decreases with rising Income levels. It is as high as 69.7% to 73.1% for students who reported ‘low’ or ‘very low’ Income levels, but only 29.6% to 43.7% for those who reported ‘very high’ or ‘excellent’ Income levels. Conversely, the probability that NHIC respondents place themselves on the right side of the Likert scale increases with Income, as it is only 11.5% to 13.6% for respondents who reported ‘low’ or ‘very low’ Income levels, but 48.3% to 33.8% for those who reported ‘very high’ or ‘excellent’ Income levels. The materialist dimension of economic well-being as captured in the Income variable thus clearly correlates with NHIC respondents’ political orientations. Notably, however, there are no clearly identifiable patterns for HIC respondents (see the right panel of Figure 2), meaning that the materialist dimension as captured in the Income variable has no discernible impact on HIC respondents’ left-right self-placements.
The difference between respondents in NHICs and HICs emerges rather strikingly also in Figure 3, which shows predicted values of political preferences at different levels of RelStandard. In NHICs, the probability of research participants placing themselves on the left side of the Likert scale decreases along RelStandard levels, from 83.1% for respondents who reported their family’s relative economic standing to be ‘very much lower’ than others, to 42.3% for those who reported it to be ‘very much higher’ (left panel of Figure 3). Conversely, the probability that research participants place themselves on the right side of the Likert scale increases from 6.2% for those who report their family’s relative economic standing to be ‘very much lower’, to 35.2% for those who report it to be ‘very much higher’. As was the case for Figure 2, no clear pattern emerges for respondents in HICs (right panel of Figure 3), meaning that the materialist dimension as captured in the RelStandard variable has no discernible impact on their Left-Right self-placements either.
Figures 4 and 5 contain post-estimation predicted margins of respondents’ Left-Right self-placements at different levels of Absolutist and IslandAbs—the two variables that we use to capture the post-materialist dimension of economic well-being. In contrast to Figures 2 and 3, there is no clear pattern for NHICs, as illustrated in the nearly flat lines in the left panels of Figures 4 and 5. For HICs, however, respondents’ ideological self-placements vary at different values of Absolutist and IslandAbs (right panels of Figures 4 and 5). Here, the probability that respondents in HICs place themselves on the left side of the Likert scale of political orientations decreases from 53.0% to 41.1% along the Absolutist domain. Conversely, the probability that respondents in HICs place themselves on the right side of the Likert scale increases along the same domain from 37.2% to 49.0%. For the ‘island dilemma’, respondents in HICs who have chosen the island denoting inequality aversion are 12.7% more likely to place themselves on the left rather than right of the political spectrum.
Taken together, these figures illustrate that respondents’ left-right self-placements are linked to a materialist conceptualisation of economic well-being in NHICs (but not in HICs), and to a post-materialist conceptualisation of economic well-being in HICs (but not in NHICs).
Using multivariate analyses with data from 3,449 undergraduate students, we find robust empirical evidence that the relationship between research participants’ left-right self-placements and conceptualisations of economic well-being differs depending on their high-income or non-high-income context. In non-high-income countries, left-right self-placements correlate with the materialist (but not the post-materialist) dimension of economic well-being. In high-income countries, by contrast, they correlate with the post-materialist (but not the materialist) dimension. These findings support our theoretical expectations based on Social Modernisation Theory that a country’s macro-economic context affects micro-level patterns of ideological orientations. They also illustrate the usefulness of economic well-being as a conceptual tool in public opinion research, as its materialist and post-materialist dimensions help to unveil distinct patterns in the correlates of ideological orientations across macro-economic contexts.
. R. Inglehart, The Silent Revolution: Changing Values and Political Styles among Western Publics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1977); R. Inglehart, Modernization and Postmodernization: Cultural, Economic, and Political Change in 43 Societies (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997); R. Inglehart and J.-R. Rabier, ‘Political realignment in advanced industrial society: from class-based politics to quality-of-life politics’, Government and Opposition, 21 (1986), pp. 456–479.
. The classification of Kenya as a low-income country; Bolivia as a lower-middle-income country; Brazil as an upper-middle-income country; and Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK as high-income countries at the time of the survey (2007) is based on the World Bank. See The World Bank, World Bank Country and Lending Groups: Historical Classification by Income in XLS Format, 2019, available at https://datahelpdesk.worldbank.org/knowledge base/articles/906519-world-bank-country-and-lending-groups .
. J. M. Schwartz, ‘Left’, in Joel Krieger (Ed.) The Oxford Companion To Politics of the World, [online] 2nd edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), para. 1.
. O. Knutsen, ‘Value orientations, political conflicts and left-right identification: a comparative study’, European Journal of Political Research, 28 (1995), pp. 63–93; P. Corbetta, N. Cavazza and M. Roccato, ‘Between ideology and social representations: four theses plus (a new) one on the relevance and the meaning of the political left and right’, European Journal of Political Research, 48 (2009), pp. 622–641.
. Knutsen, op. cit., Ref. 4.
. Knutsen, op. cit., Ref. 4; E. Zechmeister, ‘What’s left and who’s right? A Q-method study of individual and contextual influences on the meaning of ideological labels’, Political Behavior, 28 (2006), pp. 151–173; Corbetta, Cavazza and Roccato, op. cit., Ref. 4.
. Knutsen, op. cit., Ref. 4; Zechmeister, op. cit., Ref. 6; Corbetta, Cavazza and Roccato, op. cit., Ref. 4.
. Knutsen, op. cit., Ref. 4; Zechmeister, op. cit., Ref. 6; Corbetta, Cavazza and Roccato, op. cit., Ref. 4.
. A. Freire and K. Kivistik, ‘Western and non-Western meanings of the left-right divide across four continents’, Journal of Political Ideologies, 18 (2013), p. 172.
. K. Benoit and M. Laver, Party Policy in Modern Democracies (London: Routledge, 2006); R. J. Dalton, ‘Social modernization and the end of ideology debate: patterns of ideological polarization’, Japanese Journal of Political Science, 7 (2006), pp. 1–22; R. J. Dalton, ‘Left-right orientations, context, and voting choices’, in Russel J. Dalton and Christopher J. Anderson (Eds.) Citizens, Context, and Choice: How Context Shapes Citizens’ Electoral Choices (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), pp. 103–125; R. Farneti, ‘Cleavage lines in global politics: left and right, East and West, earth and heaven’, Journal of Political Ideologies, 17 (2012), pp. 127–145.
. Benoit and Laver, op. cit., Ref. 10.
. S. Hix and H.-W. Jun, ‘Party Behaviour in the Parliamentary Arena: the Case of the Korean National Assembly’, Party Politics, 15 (2009), pp. 667–694.
. Zechmeister, op. cit., Ref. 6.
. Inglehart, The Silent Revolution, op. cit., Ref. 1; Inglehart, Modernization and Postmodernization, op. cit., Ref. 1.
. Inglehart, The Silent Revolution, op. cit., Ref. 1; Inglehart, Modernization and Postmodernization, op. cit., Ref. 11; Inglehart and Rabier, op. cit., Ref. 1.
. Inglehart, The Silent Revolution, op. cit., Ref. 1; Inglehart, Modernization and Postmodernization, op. cit., Ref. 1; Inglehart and Rabier, op. cit., Ref. 1; R. Inglehart and C. Welzel, Modernization, Cultural Change and Democracy: The Human Development Sequence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005).
. Inglehart and Welzel, op. cit., Ref. 16; Inglehart, The Silent Revolution, op. cit., Ref. 1; Inglehart, Modernization and Postmodernization, op. cit., Ref. 1; R. Inglehart, ‘Globalization and postmodern values’, The Washington Quarterly, 23 (2000), pp. 215–228.
. Inglehart, The Silent Revolution, op. cit., Ref. 1; Inglehart, Modernization and Postmodernization, op. cit., Ref. 1; Inglehart and Welzel, op. cit., Ref. 16; Dalton, op. cit., Ref. 10.
. Inglehart, The Silent Revolution, op. cit., Ref. 11; Inglehart, Modernization and Postmodernization, op. cit., Ref. 1; Farneti, op. cit., Ref. 10; R. Inglehart, ‘Aggregate stability and individual-level flux in mass belief systems: The level of analysis paradox,’ American Political Science Review, 79 (1985), pp. 97-116; R. Inglehart and P. R. Abramson, ‘Economic security and value change,’ The American Political Science Review, 88 (1994), pp. 336-354.
. See for instance, Benoit and Laver, op. cit., Ref. 10; Dalton, Social Modernization, op. cit., Ref. 10.
. Inglehart, The Silent Revolution, op. cit., Ref. 1; Inglehart and Welzel, op. cit., Ref. 16; Dalton, Social Modernization, op. cit., Ref. 10.
. Inglehart, The Silent Revolution, op. cit., Ref. 1; Inglehart, Modernization and Postmodernization, op. cit., Ref. 1; Inglehart and Rabier, op. cit., Ref. 1.
. Inglehart, The Silent Revolution, op. cit., Ref. 1; Inglehart, Modernization and Postmodernization, op. cit., Ref. 1; Inglehart and Rabier, op. cit., Ref. 1; Inglehart and Welzel, op. cit., Ref. 16.
. Inglehart, The Silent Revolution, op. cit., Ref. 1; Inglehart, Modernization and Postmodernization, op. cit., Ref. 1; Inglehart and Rabier, op. cit., Ref. 1; Inglehart, Globalization, op. cit., Ref. 17.
. R. Inglehart and P. Norris, ‘Trump and the populist authoritarian parties: the silent revolution in reverse’, Perspectives on Politics, 15 (2017), pp. 443–454.
. Inglehart and Norris, op. cit., Ref. 25.
 See, for instance, R. A. Giacalone and C. L. Jurkiewicz, ‘The interaction of materialist and postmaterialist values in predicting dimensions of personal and social identity,’ Human Relations, 57 (2004), pp. 1379–1405; M. A. C. Gatto and T. J. Power, ‘Postmaterialism and political elites: The value priorities of Brazilian federal legislators,’ Journal of Politics in Latin America, 8 (2016), pp. 33–68; D. E. Booth, ‘Postmaterial Experience Economics,’ Journal of Human Values, 24 (2018), pp. 83–100; M. D.Promislo, R. A. Giacalone and J. R. Deckop, ‘Assessing three models of materialism-postmaterialism and their relationship with well-being: A theoretical extension,’ Journal of Business Ethics, 143 (2017); pp. 531–541.
. Inglehart, The Silent Revolution, op. cit., Ref. 1; Inglehart and Welzel, op. cit., Ref. 16; Dalton, Social Modernization, op. cit., Ref. 10.
 A. C. Pigou, The Economics of Welfare (London: Macmillan, 1932); R. H. Frank, ‘The demand for unobservable and other nonpositional goods,’ American Economic Review, 75 (1985), pp. 101–116; F. Carlsson, O. Johansson-Stenman and P. Martinsson, ‘Do you enjoy having more than others? Survey evidence of positional goods,’ Economica, 74 (2007), pp. 586–598; L. Corazzini, L. Esposito and F. Majorano, ‘Reign in hell or serve in heaven? A cross-country journey into the relative vs absolute perceptions of wellbeing,’ Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 81 (2012), pp. 715–730.
 See, for instance, Pigou, op. cit., Ref. 29; Frank, op. cit., Ref. 29; Corazzini, Esposito and Majorano, op. cit., Ref. 29.
. Inglehart, The Silent Revolution, op. cit., Ref. 1; Inglehart, Modernization and Postmodernization, op. cit., Ref. 1; Dalton, Social Modernization, op. cit., Ref. 10.
 Cf. also Gatto and Power, op. cit., Ref. 27; Promislo, Giacalone and Deckop, op. cit., Ref. 27; Booth, op. cit., Ref. 27.
. World Bank, op. cit., Ref. 2.
. Y. Amiel and F. A. Cowell, ‘Measurement of income inequality: Experimental test by questionnaire’, Journal of Public Economics, 47 (1992), pp. 3–26.
. See also P. C. Bauer, P. Barberá, K. Ackermann and A. Venetz, ‘Is the left-right scale a valid measure of ideology? Individual-level variation in associations with ‘left’ and ‘right’ and left-right self-placement’, Political Behavior, 39 (2017), pp. 553–583; P. J. Henry and J. L. Napier 2017, ‘Education is related to greater ideological prejudice’, Public Opinion Quarterly, 81 (2017), pp. 930–942; D. L. Weakliem, ‘The effects of education on political opinions: An international study’, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 14 (2002), pp. 141–157.
. See also Y. Amiel, F. A. Cowell and W. Gaertner, ‘To be or not to be involved: a questionnaire-experimental view on Harsanyi’s utilitarian ethics’, Social Choice and Welfare, 32 (2009), pp. 299–316.
 Cf. also Gatto and Power, op. cit., Ref. 27; Promislo, Giacalone and Deckop, op. cit., Ref. 27; Booth, op. cit., Ref. 27.
. B. R. Moulton, ‘Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates’, Journal of Econometrics, 32 (1986), pp. 385–397; B. R. Moulton, ‘An illustration of a pitfall in estimating the effects of aggregate variables on micro units’, The Review of Economics and Statistics, 72 (1990), pp. 334–338.
by Emily Katzenstein
Emily Katzenstein: You describe your own work in terms of ‘decolonising urban spaces’ through artistic interventions. Can you tell us what that decolonisation means in this context? What projects are you currently working on?
Yolanda Gutiérrez: At the moment, I have two different kinds of projects. One is the Urban Bodies Projects. That’s a project that deals with the colonial past of European cities. I am working with local dancers in each city. The next one will be in Mexico City, and then one, next year, in Kigali. My second project is the Decolonycities Project. That’s a project about dealing with the German colonial past in the city of Hamburg, through the eyes of those who were colonised. I am planning to do five projects in five countries—Togo, Cameroon, Tanzania, Namibia, and Rwanda [countries Germany colonised in the late 19th and early 20th century—eds.]
And then I have the Bismarck-Dekolonial Project, which I started when this Bismarck controversy arose. In Hamburg, they are renovating the Bismarck monument for €9 million. It became a big controversy and overlapped with the Black Lives Matter protests in the U.S., and here in Germany. Here in Hamburg, activists started to paint or graffiti all kinds of colonial monuments and symbols of white supremacy. Suddenly, overnight, these monuments had been altered. But you can’t really do that with the Bismarck statue because they’re currently renovating it and it’s surrounded by protective walls. So, we’ve been having a two year long discussion about what should happen with the Bismarck monument.
The discussion in Hamburg was driven by a lot of activists, especially people of colour. For me, however, it was important to see what would happen if we brought in the perspectives of artists from former German colonies (Namibia, Cameroon, Togo, Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania—eds.) who are living with the consequences of Bismarck’s role in Germany’s colonial past. So I acted as a producer and curator, and I invited artists from the countries that Germany colonised in Africa to stage their own performances in Hamburg, at historical sites that are linked to Germany’s colonial past. The artists who participated were Isack Peter Abeneko, Dolph Banza, Vitjitua Ndjiharine, Stone, Moussa Issiaka, Fabian Villasana aka Calavera, Sarah Lasaki, Faizel Browny, Samwel Japhet, and Shabani Mugado.
That’s a political statement. When the invited artists put themselves in the spaces that have some significance in Germany’s colonial history, they appropriate those spaces. The artists put on performances that reinterpreted the meaning of the places in which they performed. During the International Summer Festival, when the invited artists from Bismarck-Dekolonial put on their performances, for example, the audience could participate in what I call a decolonising audio-walk: you could see the artists’ performance while simultaneously listening to an audio track that plays the sounds of German troops leaving the Hamburg port, for example—a huge event at the time. So, the audio of German troops leaving from the Hamburg port is juxtaposed with the performance of the artists from Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Cameroon. You are listening to an audio track about the event of German colonial troops leaving from the Hamburg port, and, simultaneously, you see the performances of artists who are descendants of those who were most directly affected by Germany’s colonial policy.
We often tend to think of history as something stale, dead—something that belongs in the past, that we don’t care about. In discussions of Germany’s colonial past, that is a reaction that you encounter quite often. People say: That’s in the past and there is nothing that we can do about it. The past cannot be undone. And my reaction is: Yes, the past cannot be undone but we can change the perspective of how we look at history.
EK That is something that brings the different contributions of this series together—the sense that the past is, in a sense, contemporaneous, and that the stories that we tell about the past are crucial to our sense of who we are today. Can I come back to the question I asked earlier? What does decolonisation mean when it comes to artistic interventions? How do you conceive of decolonisation in your own work?
YG: Yes, my work reflects on the fact that history has been written by the colonisers. For hundreds of years, the colonial gaze has shaped our understanding of the societies that Europeans colonised. For example, during the Spanish conquest of Latin America, Spanish priests often took on the role of historians. Their impressions of the societies they encountered was heavily influenced by the own cultural presuppositions. For example, they had certain notions about the role of women in society, notions about gender roles, etc. That coloured and distorted their view of the societies they tried to describe. In the case of women in Aztec society, for example, they confused expectation and reality, and described what they expected to find—they portrayed Aztec women as unemancipated and occupying a predominantly domestic role, because that’s the way they saw the role of women in Catholic Spain. But now there are new histories of indigenous societies. There was an amazing exhibition in the Linden Museum Stuttgart on Aztecs culture, for example, that reflected very critically on the ways of seeing that have shaped European impressions of Aztec society over generations. That is what I am trying to do in terms of my artistic interventions—to publicise and communicate ‘unwritten’ histories, untold stories, and marginalised historical perspectives.
To do that, I work closely with historians. For example, my most recent project is situated in Namibia, which was colonised by Germany in the late 19th and early 20th century. From the beginning, I’ve collaborated with Jan Kawlath, a doctoral student in history at the University of Hamburg. His PhD investigates how the departure of German colonial troops was publicly celebrated to performatively construct images of Germany as a colonial power. And when we visit the historical sites at which we will stage performances, we listen to his writings about events that took place there, and his writing about these places and sites informs our choreography.
In that sense, my work is influenced by Gloria Wekker’s work on the cultural archive. Wekker writes so powerfully about the importance of the cultural archive. There’s also a James Baldwin quote that captures it well: “History is not the past, it is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history. If we pretend otherwise, we literally are criminals.”
EK: In your work, you’ve experimented with different modes of presentation and media to stage decolonising artistic interventions. You already mentioned the ‘decolonising audio-walk’. Can you explain the concept of a decolonising audio walk?
YG: Yes, I use the concept of decolonising audio walks in all my projects. The audience has head-phones, and walks to historical sites that have some significance in the colonial past of the city. When you arrive at a site, you see the performance while listening to the audio soundtrack. It is a combination of different types of information, historical facts, interviews with experts, statements by artists, music, etc. etc. Afterwards, you walk to the next site, and so on. It is a way to incorporate a lot of different elements: Dance, audio—it’s an embodied experience for the audience because they walk through the city. Walking through the city allows you to see familiar places with new eyes. I mean, normally, once you’ve lived in a city for a while, you assume you know the place and you’re not going to go on a tour of the city. But then, during the decolonising audio walk, you experience yourself not knowing the city that you assumed you knew, and that allows you to uncover the histories that are normally not talked about.
EK On the website of the Bismarck-Dekolonial Project, you raise a question that I found fascinating, and that I wanted to put to you: namely, what kinds of artistic interventions are effective in contributing to decolonising urban spaces? How do you think about the different artistic strategies and interventions one can stage, and about the differences in the impact they have? With regards to the ‘decolonising audio-walk’, is there a tension between this momentary performative intervention and the monuments that embody permanence? Can performances effectively contest the built environment?
YG: Performances in urban spaces are a way to reach people easily. By contrast, universities have, for a couple of years, been doing a lot of “Ringvorlesungen” (series of lectures by different speakers), where you have artists and academics talk to each other about decolonisation. I have been following all these discussions, and I think that’s also an interesting approach, but they don’t reach a broad audience. Similarly, in the arts, there are many exhibitions that deal with decolonisation, but they are framed in a very particular way, and it’s for a particular audience; they don’t reach as many people. And what I really love about dance is that it allows me to juxtapose different temporalities and sensory impressions—historical accounts or sounds from the past are juxtaposed with a performance that’s very much in the moment. You can connect the history to which you are listening to what you see. In that sense, it’s a way to demonstrate the contemporaneity of the past. It’s like puzzle pieces coming together.
But audio walks, and performances more generally, are ephemeral, and that is my big challenge. You can put on as many performances as you like—for example, during the International Summer Festival 2021 in Hamburg, we put on five performances every day, which was already a lot. But even if you do a hundred performances per day, it doesn’t change the fact that it is ephemeral. So right now, my big question is how we can turn this into something more permanent. Because it’s all about memory, right? It’s about memorials and historical sites that need to be decolonised. And the challenge for me is: How can I, as an artist in the performing arts, leave a print that’s permanent? I am trying to get ‘into memory’ and I am still trying to figure out how far we can go with these performances and audio-walks in historical sites, what their impact is.
So that’s my big next challenge. I always say that the fact that the artists who participated in the Bismarck-Dekolonial Project—Isack Peter Abeneko, Dolph Banza, Vitjitua Ndjiharine, Stone, Moussa Issiaka, Fabian Villasana aka Calave, Sarah Lasaki, Faizel Browny, Samwel Japhet, and Shabani Mugado—put on these performances around the Bismarck monument means that the space has been altered. It is no longer the same space, no longer holds the same meaning. The traces they left are ephemeral but they are there, nonetheless. There is a trace. That’s why I want to work on putting up a QR code or something similar. At the moment, my idea is to combine it with a visually appealing sculpture or something else that attracts passers-by, so that they say: “What’s that? I want to know more.” And then they can use the QR code to watch the performance that happened in the space.
EK: One of the questions that always structures debates about contested monuments, it seems to me, is how we should think about the relationship between meaning and monuments. As an artist, how do you think about this relationship between monuments and meaning? Can we speak of a ‘hegemonic’ meaning of particular monuments or should we think about a multiplicity of meanings? Should we oppose hegemonic meanings with counter-hegemonic meanings, or prioritise showcasing the diversity and multiplicity of possible interpretations and meanings? What’s your approach to this?
YG: In Germany, we haven’t spent enough time reflecting Germany’s colonial past. The Second World War is obviously a horrific part of Germany’s history, and it tends to overshadow everything else, including Germany’s colonial past. But that means that you miss crucial connections, and that people don’t know Germany’s colonial past. For example, that the idea of the concentration camps was first developed during the genocide of the Herero and Nama in Namibia, camps that were built in the beginning of the 20th century. For me, the representation of Bismarck is a symbol of the power that Germany had in the world at that time. In the case of Bismarck, this is dangerous, because it works as a magnet for the right-wing, and we experienced that in a very, very bad way. During the performance of Vitjitua Ndjiharine, a visual artist from Namibia, one person in the audience suddenly went up to her and gave the Hitlergruß. He was facing the Bismarck monument, and stood in front of her, and gave the Hitlergruß.
So, trying to deal with this statue and with what it represents is exactly where the power is, for me. I mean, just look at it. The sheer measure of the monument is so imposing. And I think that’s the way that Germans were feeling when they colonised Namibia. If you read the writings of German colonial officials at the time, there is this feeling of supremacy. And that’s difficult to deal with, especially now, when they are polishing the Bismarck monument and literally making it whiter.
EK: There have been many proposals as to what should happen with the Bismarck monument. Some have argued that the monument should be removed altogether, others have argued that it should be turned on its head, and yet others propose letting it crumble. I assume letting it crumble is not really an option for safety reasons, but I’ve always liked the symbolism of it. What do you think should happen with the monument?
YG: I think if you vanish the Bismarck monument that doesn’t mean that you’ve vanished the meaning of Bismarck in the minds of people; what his figure means for people. And you can’t simply let the monument crumble—the size of the monument means that that is unfeasible. There were issues with the static of the monument, that’s why they’re renovating it. I mean with some monuments, you can let them crumble, no problem, but given the size of the Bismarck monument that’s not feasible.
But you know what? I could see it happening in a video, a video that’s then projected unto the Bismarck monument. That’s something that we have experimented with, too. We didn’t pull the statue down but we did what we call ‘video mapping.’ We did it at night, and that’s when I really felt like an activist. I had a generator, and it was midnight, and we had to set everything up. That’s the first time where I had to inform the municipality and said: Hey, I'm going to do this at the Bismarck monument. And they said, OK, that’s fine. You're going to destroy it. Nothing is going to happen. But I mean, you could see the change—suddenly the Bismarck monument became the canvas instead of the symbol it usually represents.
Of course, that’s a temporary intervention. But I am also convinced that we need a permanent artistic intervention. I think we need an open space for discussions. For example, I could imagine a garden around the monument, a place where we can keep this dialogue and this discussion going once the renovation is done.
I am not a visual artist, obviously, but I was on a podium discussion about decolonising and recontextualising the Bismarck statue with several other artists. There were two very interesting women, Dior Thiam, a visual artist from Berlin, and Joiri Minaya, a Dominican- American artist based in New York. Joiri Minaya has already covered two colonial statues at the port of Hamburg, a statue of Vasco da Gama and a statue of Christopher Columbus, with printed fabrics of her own design—it’s very interesting work. As I said, I am not a visual artist, but I think that a permanent art intervention is necessary. Because what I do is so ephemeral, and I have the sense that we need to reach as broad an audience as possible.
EK: The discussions about what to do with the Bismarck monument have been ongoing for the last two years. What impact has the debate had? Do you get the sense that the debate has contributed to a broader political awareness of Bismarck’s role in Germany’s colonial past in Hamburg? Or is this largely a debate amongst a relatively narrow set of actors?
YG: Yes, the question about impact. What I got tired of were all these discussions on advisory boards, and advisory committees: People discuss a lot. I am a maker, and I sat at a lot of these discussions and said, yes, we can keep discussing but we also need to do something now. And people had a lot of reasons for why we couldn’t do anything until later. But to me it seemed wrong to wait until the renovations are finished. It seemed like a strange idea to stage an intervention once Bismarck’s shining in all his glory, you know. The discussions are good and all, but they are not enough. They don’t reach enough people; they don’t reach communities. I think it would be fantastic to have something like the project Monument Lab in the United States here in Germany. Monument Lab is combination of different layers of communities—they bring together artists, activists, municipal agencies, cultural institutions, and young people. That’s precisely what we need to do around the Bismarck statue. We need a multilayered participatory process that includes different groups in society.
 Due to pandemic-related travel restrictions, Isack Peter Abeneko could only participate remotely from Dar es Salaam.
 Gloria Wekker, White Innocence: Paradoxes of Colonialism and Race. Durham, 2016.
 As cited in I Am Not Your Negro, directed by Raoul Peck (2016; New York: Magnolia Pictures, 2017), Netflix. (1:26:32).
 Behörde für Kultur und Medien Hamburg, “(Post) colonial Deconstruction: Artistic interventions towards a multilayered monument”, 16.09.2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=6215&v=hRFzASv_ea4&feature=emb_logo
 For images of the covered statues and an explanation about the symbolism of the printed fabrics, see the link above at 1:25-1:30.
by Mirko Palestrino
The study of social identities has been a key focus of political and social theory for decades. To date, Ernesto Laclau’s theory of social identities remains among the most influential in both fields. Arguably, key to this success is the explanatory power that the theory holds in the context of populism, one of the most studied political phenomena of our time. Indeed, while admittedly complex, Laclau’s work retains the great advantage of providing a formal explanation for the emergence of populist subjects, therefore facilitating empirical categorisations of social subjectivities in terms of their ‘degree’ of populism. Moreover, Laclau framed his theoretical set up as a study of the ontology of populism, less interested in the content of populist politics than in the logic or modality through which populist ideologies are played out. Unsurprisingly, then, Laclau’s work is now a landmark in populism studies, consistently cited in both empirical and theoretical explorations of populism across disciplines and theoretical traditions.
On account of its focus on social subjectivities, Laclau’s theory is exceptionally suited to explaining how populist subjects emerge in the first place. However, when it comes to accounting for their popularity and overall political success, Laclau’s theoretical framework proves less helpful. In other words, his work does a great job in clarifying how—for instance—‘Remainers’ and ‘Leavers’ came to being throughout the Brexit debate in the UK but falls short of formally explaining why both subjects suddenly became so popular and resonant among Britons. As I will show in the remainder of this piece, correcting this shortcoming entails expanding on the role that affect and temporality play within Laclau’s theoretical apparatus.
Firstly, the political narratives articulating populist subjects are often fraught with explicitly emotional language designed to channel individuals’ desire for stable identities (or ontological security) towards that (populist) collective subject. Therefore, we can grasp the emotional resonance of populist subjects by identifying affectively laden signifiers in their identity narratives which elicit individual identifications with ‘the People’. Secondly, just like other social actors, populist subjects partake in the social construction of time--or the broader temporal flow within which identity narratives unfold. By looking at the temporal references (or timing indexicals) in their narratives, then, we can identify and trace additional mechanisms through which populist subjects tap into the emotional dispositions of individuals--for example by constructing a politically corrupt “past” from which the subject seeks to distance themselves.
Laclau on Populism
According to Laclau, the emergence of a populist subject unfolds in three steps. First, a series of social demands is articulated according to a logic of equivalence (as opposed to a logic of difference). Consider the Brexit example above. A hypothetical request for a change in communitarian migration policies, voiced through the available EU institutional setting, is, for Laclau, a social demand articulated through the logic of difference--one in which the EU authority would not have been disputed and the demand could have been met institutionally. Instead, the actual request to withdraw from the European legal framework tout-court, in order to deal autonomously with migration issues, reaggregated equivalentially with other demands, such as the ideas of diverting economic resources from the EU budget to instead address other national issues, or avoid abiding to the European Courts rulings. It is this second, equivalential logic that represents, according to Laclau, the first precondition for the emergence of populism. Indeed, according to this logic, the real content of the social demand ceases to matter. Instead, what really matters is their non-fulfilment--the only key common denominator on the basis of which all social demands are brought together in what Laclau calls an equivalential chain.
Second, an ‘internal frontier’ is erected separating the social space into two antagonistic fields: one, occupied by the institutional system which failed to meet these demands (usually named “the Establishment” or “the Elite”), and the other reclaimed by an unsatisfied ‘People’ (the populist subject). The former is the space of the enemy who has failed to fulfil the demands, while the latter that of those individuals who articulated those demands in the first place. What is key here, however, is the antagonisation of both spaces: in the Brexit example, the alleged impossibility to (a) manage migration policies autonomously, (b) re-direct economic resources from the EU budget to other issues, and (c) bypass the EU Court rulings, is precisely attributed to the European Union as a whole--a common enemy Leavers wish to ‘take back control’ from.
Third, the populist subject is brought into being via a hegemonic move in which one of the demands in the equivalential chain starts to signify for all of them, inevitably losing some (if not all) of its content--e.g. ‘take back control’, irrespectively of the specific migration, economic, or legal issues it originated from. Importantly, the resulting signifier will be, as in Laclau’s famous notion, (tendentially) empty--that is, vague enough to allow for a variety of demands to come together only on the basis of their non-fulfilment, without needing to specify their content. In turn, the emptiness of the signifier allows for various rearticulations, explaining the reappropriations of signifiers between politically different movements. Again, an emblematic case in point exemplifying this process is the much-disputed idea of “the will of the people” that populated the Brexit debate. While much of the rhetorical success of the notion among the Leavers can be rightfully attributed to its inherent vagueness, the “will of the people” was sufficiently ‘empty’ (or, undefined) as to be politically contested and, at times, even appropriated by Remainers to support their own claims.
Taken together, these three steps lead to an understanding of populism as a relative quality of discourse: a specific modality of articulating political practises. As a result, movements and ideologies can be classified as ‘less’ or ‘more’ populist depending on the prevalence of the logic of equivalence over the logic of difference in their articulation of social demands.
Affect as a binding force
While Laclau’s framework is not routed towards explaining the emotional resonance of populist identities, affect is already factored in in his work. Indeed, for Laclau, the hegemonic move leading to the creation of a populist subject in step three above is an act of ‘radical investment’ that is overwhelmingly affective. Here, the rationale is precisely that a specific demand suddenly starts to signify for an entire equivalential chain. As a result, there is no positive characteristic actually linking those demands together--no ‘natural’ common denominator that can signify for the whole chain. Instead, the equivalential chain is performatively brought into being on account of a negative feature: the lack of fulfilment of these demands. Without delving into the psychoanalytic grounding of this theoretical move, and at the risk of overly simplifying, this act of signification--or naming--can be thought of as akin to a “leap of faith” through which one element is taken to signify for a “fictitious” totality--a chain in which demands share nothing but the fact they have not been met.
What, however, leads individuals to take this leap of faith? According to Ty Solomon, a theorist of International Relations interested in social identities, it is individuals’ quest for a stable identity that animates this investment. While a steady identity like the one promised by ‘the People’ is only a fantasy, individuals--who desire ontological stability--are still viscerally “pulled” towards it. And the reverse of the medal, here, is that an identity narrative capable of articulating an appealing (i.e. ontologically secure) collective self is also able to channel desire towards that subject. Our analyses of populism, then, can complimentarily explain the affective resonance--and political success thereof--of populist subjects by formally tracing the circulation of this desire by identifying affectively laden signifiers in the identity narratives articulating populist subjects. It is not by chance, for example, that ‘Leavers’ campaigning for Brexit repeatedly insisted on ideas such as ‘freedom’, or articulated ‘priorities’, ‘borders’, and ‘laws’ as objects to be owned by the British people.
In short, beyond suggesting that the investment bringing ‘the People’ into being is an affective one, a focus on affect sheds light on the ‘force’ or resonance of the investment. Analytically, this entails (a) theorising affect as ‘a form of capital… produced as an effect of its circulation’, and (b) identifying emotionally charged signifiers orienting desire towards the populist subject.
Sticking in and through time
If affect is present in Laclau’s theoretical framework but not used to explain the rhetorical resonance of populist subjects, time and temporality do not appear in Laclau’s work at all. As social scientists working on time would put it, Laclau seems to subscribe to a Newtonian understanding of time as a background condition against which social life unfolds--that is, time is not given attention as an object of analysis. Subscribing instead to social constructionist accounts of time as process, I suggest devoting analytical attention to the temporal references (or timing indexicals) that populate the identity narratives articulating ‘the People’.
In fact, following Andrew Hom, I conceive of time as processual--an ontology of temporality that is best grasped by thinking of time in the verbal form timing. On this account, time is but a relation of ordering between changing phenomena--one of which is used to measure the other(s). We time our quotidian actions using the numerical intervals of the clock. But we also time our own existence via autobiographical endeavours in which key events, phenomena, and identity traits are singled out and coordinated for the sake of producing an orderly recount of our Selves. Thinking along these lines, identity narratives--be they individual or collective--become yet another standard out of which time is produced. Notably, when it comes to articulating collective identity narratives such as those of populist subjects, the socio-political implications of time are doubly relevant. Firstly, the narrative of the populist subject reverberates inwards--as autobiographical recounts of individuals take their identity commitments from collective subjects. Secondly, that same timing attempt reverberates also outwards, as it offers an account of (and therefore influences) the broader temporal flow they inhabit--for instance by collocating themselves within the ‘national biography’ of a country.
Taking the temporal references found throughout populist identity narratives, then, we can identify complementary mechanisms through which the social is fractured in antagonistic camps, and desire channelled towards ‘the People’. Indeed, it is not rare for populist subjectivities to be construed as champions of a new present that seeks to break with an “old political order”--one in which a corrupt elite is conceived as pertaining to a past from which to move on. Take, for instance, the ‘Leavers’ campaign above. ‘Immigration’ to the UK is found to be ‘out of control’ and predicted to ‘continue’ in the same fashion--towards an even more catastrophic (imagined) ‘future’--unless Brexit happens, and that problem is confined to the past.
Overall, Laclau’s work remains a key reference to think about populism. Nevertheless, to understand why populist identities are able to ‘stick’ with individuals the way they do, we ought to complementarily take affect and time into account in our analyses.
 B. Moffitt, The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style, and Representation (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2016), p. 31.
 In this short piece I mainly draw on two of the most recent elaborations of Laclau’s work, namely E. Laclau, On Populist Reason (London: Verso, 2005); and E. Laclau, ‘Populism: what’s in a name?’, in Panizza (Ed.) Populism and the Mirror of Democracy (London: Verso, 2005) pp. 32–49.
 See C. Rovira Kaltwasser, P. Taggart, P. Ochoa Espejo, and P. Ostiguy, ‘Populism: an overview of the concept and the state of the art’, in C. Rovira Kaltwasser, P. Taggart, P. Ochoa Espejo, and P. Ostiguy (Eds) The Oxford Handbook of Populism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), pp. 1–24.
 See Why Vote Leave? What would happen…, Vote Leave Take Control Website 2016. Available at http://www.voteleavetakecontrol.org/why_vote_leave.html. Accessed 30 June 2022.
 See J. O’Brien, ‘James O'Brien Rounds Up the Meaningless Brexit Slogans Used by Leave Campaigners’, LBC [Online], 18 November 2019. Available at https://www.lbc.co.uk/radio/presenters/james-obrien/meaningless-brexit-slogans/ Accessed 30 June 2022.
 See, for instace, W. Hobhouse, ‘Speech: The Will of The People Is Fake’, Wera Hobhouse MP for Bath [Online], 15 March 2019. Available at: https://www.werahobhouse.co.uk/speech_will_of_the_people. Accessed 30 June 2022.
 T. Solomon, The Politics of Subjectivity in American Foreign Policy Discourses (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2015).
 See B. J. Steele, Ontological Security in International Relations: Self-identity and the IR State (London: Routledge, 2008); and T. Solomon, ‘Time and subjectivity in world politics’, International Studies Quarterly, 58 (4) (2014), pp. 671–681.
 Why Vote Leave? What would happen…, Vote Leave Take Control Website 2016. Available at http://www.voteleavetakecontrol.org/why_vote_leave.html. Accessed 30 June 2022.
 S. Ahmed, The Cultural Politics of Emotion (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004), p.45.
 A. R. Hom, ‘Timing is everything: toward a better understanding of time and international politics’, International Studies Quarterly, 62 (1) (2018), pp. 69–79; A. R. Hom, International Relations and the Problem of Time (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020).
 A. R. Hom and T. Solomon, ‘Timing, identity, and emotion in international relations’, in A. R. Hom, C. McIntosh, A. McKay and L. Stockdale (Eds) Time, Temporality and Global Politics (Bristol: E-International Relations Publishing, 2016), pp. 20–37; see also and T. Solomon, ‘Time and subjectivity in world politics’, International Studies Quarterly, 58 (4) (2014), pp. 671–681.
 Why Vote Leave? What would happen…, Vote Leave Take Control Website 2016. Available at http://www.voteleavetakecontrol.org/why_vote_leave.html. Accessed 30 June 2022.
by Emily Katzenstein
Recent years have seen successive waves of “statue wars”—intense controversies over the visible traces of European colonialism in built commemorative landscapes. The most recent wave of controversies about so-called “tainted” monuments—monuments that honour historical figures who have played an ignominious role in histories of slavery, colonialism, and racism—occurred during the global wave of Black Lives Matter protests that started in reaction to the murder of George Floyd in the summer of 2020. During a summer of global discontent, demonstrators famously toppled statues of Jefferson Davis (Richmond, Virginia), and Edward Colston (Bristol), beheaded a Columbus statue (Boston), and vandalised statues of King Leopold II (Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent), Otto von Bismarck (Hamburg), Winston Churchill (London), and James Cook (Melbourne), to name just a few examples.
These spectacular events sparked heated public debates about the appropriateness and permissibility of defacing, altering, or permanently removing “contested heritage”. These public debates have also led to a renewed interest in questions of contested monuments and commemoration in political theory and political philosophy. So far, however, this emergent debate has focused primarily on normative questions about the wrong of tainted commemorations and the permissibility of defacing, altering, or removing monuments. Engagement with the political-sociological and aesthetic dimensions of monuments, monumentality, and commemoration, including their relationship to political ideologies and subjectivities, by contrast, has remained relatively thin in recent debates about commemoration and contested monuments in political theory. This means that crucial questions about the role of commemorative landscapes in political life and in the constitution of political subjectivities have remained underexplored. For example, there has been only a relatively superficial reconstruction of the ideological stakes of the debate over the fate of contested colonial monuments. Similarly, while there have been several powerful defences of vandalising and defacing “tainted commemorations,” the literature in political theory and political philosophy has not yet engaged fully with innovative aesthetic strategies for contesting colonial monuments through decolonising artistic practices.
This series, Contested Memory, Contesting Monuments, seeks to curate a space in which emergent debates about monuments and commemoration in political theory can be in conversation with debates about the politics of the built commemorative landscape in political science, anthropology, sociology, and area studies that explore political-sociological and aesthetic dimensions of monuments and commemoration. Importantly, it also seeks to facilitate a direct exchange of perspectives between scholars of monuments and commemoration in the academy, on the one hand, and memory activists and artists who are actively involved in today’s politics of memory and monuments, on the other.
This is intended to be an open-ended series but we start with a wide-ranging series of inaugural contributions. In the first contribution to the series, Moira O’Shea traces the history of contesting Confederate monuments in the US and reflects on our relationship to the past. Upcoming contributions include an interview with Yolanda Gutierrez, a Mexican-German performance artist, and the founder of Bismarck Dekolonial, in which we discuss the realities of attempting to decolonise the built environment through artistic interventions; Chong-Ming Lim’s exploration of vandalising tainted commemorations; Sasha Lleshaj’s Sound Monuments, which reflects on very idea of monumentality, and connects struggles over ‘contested heritage’ to political contestations of ‘soundscapes’; and Tania Islas Weinstein and Agnes Mondragón analyses of the political uses and abuses of public art in contemporary Mexican politics.
 Mary Beard, "Statue Wars," Times Literary Supplement, 13.06.2020 2015.
 Chong‐Ming Lim, "Vandalizing Tainted Commemorations," Philosophy & Public Affairs 48, no. 2 (2020).
 Joanna Burch-Brown, "Should Slavery's Statues Be Preserved? On Transitional Justice and Contested Heritage," Journal of Applied Philosophy 39 no. 5 (2022).
 Helen Frowe, "The Duty to Remove Statues of Wrongdoers," Journal of Practical Ethics 7, no. 3 (2019); Johannes Schulz, "Must Rhodes Fall? The Significance of Commemoration in the Struggle for Relations of Respect," Journal of Political Philosophy 27, no. 2 (2019); Burch-Brown, "Should Slavery's Statues Be Preserved? On Transitional Justice and Contested Heritage."; Lim, "Vandalizing Tainted Commemorations."; Macalester Bell, "Against Simple Removal: A Defence of Defacement as a Response to Racist Monuments," Journal of Applied Philosophy 39 no. 5 (2021).
 Daniel Abrahams, "Statues, History, and Identity: How Bad Public History Statues Wrong," Journal of the American Philosophical Association, First View , pp. 1 - 15 (2022).
 Bell, "Against Simple Removal: A Defence of Defacement as a Response to Racist Monuments."; Ten-Herng Lai, "Political Vandalism as Counter-Speech: A Defense of Defacing and Destroying Tainted Monuments," European Journal of Philosophy 28, no. 3 (2020); Lim, "Vandalizing Tainted Commemorations."
by Moira K. O'Shea
Questions of how we relate to our history have been at the forefront of U.S. national discourse as debates about school curricula, the renaming of military bases and public institutions, and other topics seem to be represented in online fora and the pages of newspapers every week. In these debates, we argue not only about how to represent the past, but whether the past is really past at all. Not least among the arguments that touch on these issues is the debate around Confederate monuments and other public commemorations of historical figures who have participated in oppression in various forms. Cities such as Richmond, Chicago, and New York have commissioned studies of their monuments, inviting comment and, in the case of Chicago and New York, issuing reports on the state of their urban representation of historical figures and events. While the last ten years have seen two waves of monument removals—the first in 2015-2017, and the second in 2020—controversies around the appropriateness of public monuments are no new phenomenon. In this essay, I outline a history of the debates around the removal of monuments to illustrate how our current debates about monuments have a past of their own that we have forgotten. Inherent in these debates and the suggestions for what to do with problematic monuments are diverse and sometimes contradictory understandings of our relationship to history. Take, for example, the removal of four Confederate monuments in New Orleans almost six years ago.
The removal began around 2 a.m. on April 24, 2017. While the police and onlookers watched, and snipers stood guard, workers with covered faces began to dismantle the monument to the Battle of Liberty Place. Despite worries to the contrary, there was little disruption, and around 5 a.m. the monument was loaded onto a flatbed and driven away. For the third and perhaps last time in 126 years, the monument was removed from public sight. Amid protests that sometimes turned violent, the city of New Orleans removed three more monuments over the next 25 days. By May 5th, a bright Friday afternoon, the last of the monuments, that of Robert E. Lee, was hauled away, leaving Lee Circle without a statue of its namesake for the first time in 133 years.
At first glance, it might seem as if the events leading to the removal of these monuments began in June 2015, when then-mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu, called for the removal of four monuments: the statues of Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard, Jefferson Davis, and the monument to the Battle at Liberty Place. Or one might assume that these events were sparked by contemporary events, such as the shooting of nine Black worshipers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina by a White man and the subsequent removal of the Confederate flag from that state’s capitol building. Indeed, as New Orleans newspapers such as the Times-Picayune and the Advocate, and national newspapers such as the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Washington Post covered the story, coverage of the monuments frequently referenced these events. As in subsequent waves of monument removals, public commentary linked controversies surrounding the monuments to broader contemporary issues of racial justice and racial violence, making questions about the future of Confederate monuments all the more salient.
However, as I will show, the contestation—and eventual removal—of confederate monuments in New Orleans cannot be understood simply in terms of contemporary events, or as the actions of a single politician. Instead, the removal of these monuments must be understood as part of a much longer history of contesting confederate monuments in New Orleans. In the words of a local councilman, “I am the descendant of slaves. Before I knew there was a person called Mitch Landrieu, the people I cared about were talking about the need to take those statues down.” Indeed, in the case of these four monuments in New Orleans, very public contestations had occurred since at least the 1960s. For example, groups such as the NAACP, Concerned Clergy, and Black Lives Matter held protests in 1974, 2000, and 2014 respectively, seeking the removal of the monument to the Battle of Liberty Place, and later, to Robert E. Lee.
Throughout these controversies, monuments were sometimes temporarily removed or were amended with the addition of explanatory or exculpatory plaques; however, they were always returned, until 2017. As support for monument removal in public discourse grew over the decades—from being expressed primarily in the pages of newspapers such at the Louisiana Weekly, which began by serving predominantly the African American community, to being outspoken in the pages of the Times Picayune, a newspaper that has struggled with issues of race—the arguments both for and against the monuments themselves have remained remarkably stable, with both sides articulating their desires in terms that reflect distinct and divergent understandings of the relationship between the past and the present. It seems our disagreements about the past have their own past.
The monuments that were eventually removed in 2017 honoured three important figures of the Civil War and one event during the post-war Reconstruction period: Robert E. Lee, the commander of the confederate army; P.G.T. Beauregard, a confederate general and native son of New Orleans; Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy; and the Battle of Liberty Place. This battle, or really skirmish, took place on September 14th, 1874, when the integrated Metropolitan Police attempted to block the White League, a paramilitary organisation associated with anti-Black and anti-Republican violence, from receiving a shipment of arms. The Metropolitan Police were quickly overwhelmed, and the White League overthrew the government of Republican Governor William Kellogg. Although the city came back under Republican and Union control, the “battle” has been characterised by some as a fight for liberty from the rule of Republican “carpetbaggers.”
The monuments were all erected in the post-Reconstruction years between 1884, with the unveiling of the R.E. Lee monument, and 1915, with the unveiling of the P.G.T. Beauregard monument. They were part of an attempt to romanticise and valorise the Civil War, known as the Lost Cause, and were erected in a political climate that saw the rolling back of civil liberties and voting rights for African Americans. The Lee monument was unveiled on January 22, 1884—George Washington’s birthday. In the dedication speech given at the unveiling and articles written at the time, attempts were made to link the two historical figures as men equally dedicated to honour and country, thereby attempting to lift Lee to the status of Washington in the pantheon of national heroes. In one opinion piece written at the time, the author remarks that they “were both charged with rebellion” (emphasis in the original). After these monuments were unveiled, commemorative activities, often organised by the United Daughters of the Confederacy or the Sons of Confederate Veterans, were held annually into the 1970s, with speeches, organised laying of wreaths, and musical performances.
However, beginning in the 1960s and 70s, public protest surrounding the monuments began to arise in New Orleans. Perhaps first among the four monuments to be the subject of this attention was the monument to the Battle of Liberty Place. This monument had become a rallying place for white supremacist groups including the Ku Klux Klan, and a site at which speakers at commemorative events in the 1960s decried federal interventions impinging on ‘school choice’ (read desegregation) and other areas as akin to those of the Reconstruction era. In 1964, the monument was put into storage for approximately five years to make way for the construction of the International Trade Mart. Groups that supported the monument extracted a promise from the mayor at the time that it would be returned to its original site and that the removal would be handled “just as was the repair and restoration of the Robert E. Lee statue on St. Charles.” While the monument was in storage, commemorative activities continued to take place without the monument itself, and after the monument was returned in 1970, the speeches at subsequent commemorations included reference to the idea that it was not only White Leaguers who were against the “carpetbaggers,” but that Black New Orleanians also rallied against Reconstruction “interlopers.” These narratives, which explained the monument not in terms of race, but in terms of liberty, ran directly counter to a plaque that had been added to the monument by the Crescent White League in 1932 that “recognised white supremacy in the South.”
In 1974, the NAACP New Orleans College Chapter and the New Orleans NAACP Youth Council organised protests against the monument. In a page of letters to a local newspaper, the Times Picayune, about the Battle of Liberty Place monument, readers began to voice tropes that continue to resonate in contemporary debates about the fate of contested monuments. These letters are predominantly supportive of the monument. They range from arguments about the destruction of history and assertions that “slavery was never truly the issue behind the Civil War,” to fears of a ripple effect:
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People must be embarked upon a movement to destroy everything related to history. Should they continue, and be successful with their asinine efforts to remove the Liberty Monument… probably their next move would be to destroy the Coliseum in Rome.
The single opposition to the monument came in a letter written by a self-identified young Black man who, nevertheless, did not want the monument to come down. He explained:
[as someone] opposed to white supremacy… [I] cannot accept the views that the plaque proclaims. But the monument should be allowed to stand, for it is a constant reminder of what can happen if blacks should become zeal-less in their efforts to gain and keep the rights that so many have paid the price for.
This movement was seemingly put to rest by the installation of an additional plaque that read: “Although the Battle of Liberty Place and this monument are important parts of New Orleans’s history, the sentiments in favour of White supremacy expressed thereon are contrary to the philosophy and beliefs of present-day New Orleans.”
By 1981 the controversy began anew. Then-Mayor Dutch Morial was accused of having tried quietly to remove the monument without public notice. However, by this time, opposition to the monument had a clear voice in the pages of the Times-Picayune. Comparing a page of letters called “Your Opinions” in 1981 to a similar page mentioned above in 1974, an almost complete reversal can be seen. Instead of almost all letters being in support of the monument, almost all were in favour of taking it down. Letters in opposition to the monument draw attention to the continued injustices taking place in New Orleans at the time: “The doctrine of white supremacy is alive and well, waiting for the right political climate to re-release itself. This is evident in the popular upsurge of the Klan.” Others applauded the mayor for initiating a symbolic “decision to further King’s vision of peace, love, and brotherhood.”
As in recent controversies, contemporary events sharpened the debate. Police shootings of four Black New Orleanians in the Algiers neighbourhood as well as KKK activities were cited, not as precipitating forces, but as events that made the issue of the monument all the more pressing. Former KKK grand wizard David Duke tried unsuccessfully to obtain a restraining order preventing the removal of the monument and claimed equivalency between the monument to Martin Luther King, Jr. and the monument to the Battle of Liberty Place. However, these claims are vehemently contradicted in opinion pieces appearing around the same time. In the end, the matter was left unresolved. The City Council of New Orleans voted to retain for itself the final say in the removal of any monument, statue, or plaque in the city of New Orleans and planned to remove the inscription referencing white supremacy. Instead of removing the inscription, it was, in the end, simply covered over.
In 1989 it was reported that the monument was to be moved due to “traffic engineering” and to improve access to the Canal Street ferry and the Aquarium and that city officials did not know if the monument would be returned when the work was finished. This set off the largest and most protracted controversy until the monument’s removal. Lasting four years, it involved state and federal preservationists, a suit by a local pharmacist against the city for emotional damages caused by the absence of the monument, and federal Housing and Urban Development officials demanding repayment of funds used for the traffic improvement if the monument was not returned.
Despite the fact that the monument was not on the National Register of Historic Places, the idea that it might be eligible, its being considered historically significant by the Louisiana Landmarks Society and other groups, and the fact that the roadway, sidewalk, and traffic-signal improvements were in part federally funded, led to the necessity of an agreement being negotiated with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. This agreement stipulated that the monument be re-erected by May 1, 1991. Whether or not there were underlying reasons for the monument’s initial removal, it became clear that the city administration was loath to return it to its initial location. In April of 1991, a four-month extension was granted to the city, and while the city attempted to give the monument to the Louisiana State Museum, their offer was refused. Having missed a September deadline as well, federal historic preservation officials began action to coerce repayment of funds, and a private citizen brought a suit against the city and the mayor’s office. After missing three deadlines, the city was, in the end, forced to re-erect the monument, although in a slightly less prominent position, but protests broke out at the re-dedication ceremony, which was marked by speeches by David Duke, among others, as well as by the very public, forceful arrest of a respected civil rights leader, Avery Alexander.
Public discourse regarding the monument was more negative at this time than during any of the previous incidents. Opposition to the monument and to arguments that it was not connected to racism used David Duke’s involvement to illustrate their points. One staff writer argued:
First supporters of the Liberty Monument tried to tell us that the controversial piece of stone that sits at the foot of Iberville Street has absolutely nothing to do with race. Then, they brought in former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke for the monument’s rededication ceremony last Sunday and obliterated that argument.
Others leveraged analogies between Hitler and the Holocaust to express disagreement with a previously published article calling for a nuanced understanding of the Battle of Liberty Place:
If a citizens’ group in Munich, Germany, attempted to dedicate a memorial to commemorate Adolph Hitler's futile effort in 1923 to take over the German government—what we now call the Munich Beer Hall Putsch—surely Mr. Gill would understand if the Jewish citizens of that city were a bit nervous about any such attempt. Certainly, Mr. Gill’s support of these Jews would not waver, even if the citizens’ group argued that the memorial did not celebrate Hitler’s later persecution of the Jews and other minorities (after all, no Jews were killed in Hitler’s putsch) and was only meant to commemorate the Fuehrer’s wonderful record of German economic recovery and his all too successful establishment of the Third Reich.
The tide of sentiment had clearly turned. Despite this, supporters of the monument continued to advance arguments in favour of preserving the monument that would sound familiar to observers of today’s monument controversies, citing a need to honour history and fear of a ripple effect (that is, the argument that if one is removed, many or all will be removed). During public hearings on the monument held in 1993, Rev. Henry McEnery asked: “Should we demand the Egyptian pyramids be destroyed because they were built by slaves?”
Like the 1981 conflict, this controversy was also left somewhat unresolved. It left the monument under a federal protection order but with a new law that enabled the New Orleans City Council to remove monuments that are considered nuisances and a new amendment to the monument with the addition of a plaque honouring “Americans on both sides.” The plaque listed the names of the members of the Black and White members of the metropolitan police who died in the skirmish and concluded with a missive that it was “[a] conflict of the past that should teach us lessons for the future.”
In the most recent controversy, the office of the New Orleans Mayor, Mitch Landrieu, spoke of discussions surrounding the 2018 tricentennial of New Orleans, saying:
Part of this process should include a close examination of the historical symbols throughout our city and what changes could be made as we approach 2018, including the Robert E. Lee statue in Lee Circle. These symbols say who we were in a particular time, but times change. Yet these symbols—statues, monuments, street names, and more—still influence who we are and how we are perceived by the world.
The statements of the mayor and the mayor’s office set off another round of controversy, and in this controversy, ultimately opposition to the monuments succeeded. In the months after June of 2015, there were at least three opportunities for public commentary at City Council meetings, heated public discourse in newspapers and online, and the creation of several committees and organisations with the purpose of either taking down or retaining this and other confederate monuments. While the shooting of nine people in a Charleston, SC, church and the subsequent removal of the confederate flag from that state’s capitol in Columbia may have preceded and even given greater urgency to the issue of the monuments in New Orleans, both the Mayor and citizens who fought to take them down insisted that the movement is not a response to these other actions, but something with deeper roots.
Despite a 6-1 resolution of the New Orleans City Council in December 2015 to remove the monument to the Battle of Liberty Place as well as those to Lee, Davis, and Beauregard, the process faced numerous obstacles. A lawsuit to keep the monuments, which stayed the city’s hand for a number of months, was resolved in favour of the City Council’s resolution; however, the city was not able to immediately remove the monuments. At first there was difficulty finding a contractor to do the actual work, the first contractor having rescinded his bid due to death threats and his Lamborghini having been set on fire; later, continuing lawsuits stymied the removal. It was only two years later that the monuments were finally removed.
In this most recent example, a culmination of both narrative style and legal precedent can be seen. Opponents of the monuments declare that these monuments were erected to propagate the ideology of the Lost Cause and that they reflect and perpetuate a history of pervasive inequality in the United States. If David Duke and Hitler are considered anathema to the supporters of the monuments, then they must also consider the monuments and their symbolism to be highly inappropriate in the public sphere. In leveraging these narrative tropes, a memorial and moral dissonance is asserted which attempts to put supporters of Confederate monuments in a difficult position. By drawing these connections, monuments are burdened with additional memorial frameworks—most strikingly, that of the holocaust—and ostensibly supporters of the monuments would then have difficulty maintaining that they support the monuments simply as representations of military figures or objects of the past that have no bearing on the present.
Supporters of Confederate monuments use their own well-established narrative tropes: one might be characterised by the separation of history and current social problems; another might be characterised as predicting a ripple effect that would generate an overwhelming number of similar claims. These tropes are remarkably similar to those expressed almost twenty-five years earlier. After Mayor Landrieu called out a local businessman for his support of the monuments (for which he later apologised), the man in question responded with a two-page ad in The Advocate in which he addressed Mayor Landrieu directly:
I ask you, Mitch, should the Pyramids in Egypt be destroyed since they were built entirely from slave labour? We all have learned about the power and abuses of the Pharaohs and the plight of the slaves since the Pyramids are still with us today. What about the Roman Coliseum? It was built by slaves, who lived horrible lives under Roman oppression, but it still stands today and we learn so much from seeing it. Egypt and Italy should be grateful they had no Mitch Landrieu in power or these magnificent structures would not exist for the world to see today.
When supporters of the monuments use the tactic of ripple effect or bring out the example of the Colosseum or the pyramids of Egypt, they argue for a moral and historical equivalence between these objects and those like Confederate monuments: they are part of a difficult past, but it is a past from which we can learn.
As these comments by supporters and opponents of confederate monuments demonstrate, there exist radically different views on what monuments have to do with history, and the role that history plays and ought to play in present-day life. Opponents of the monuments see an incongruence between the values represented by the monuments and the values of equality and justice that should characterise present-day society. They assert that it is because injustice continues in the present that the past is not really past, and that the monuments themselves should be understood as destructive, reflecting and participating in a continuing legacy of racism in the United States. Supporters of Confederate monuments take different views. While most agree that the past associated with these monuments diverges from our understandings of what society ought to be today, they argue that the monuments themselves are not problematic precisely because they should be understood as historical rather than contemporary objects and protected for their historical value. Another group of participants in the debate call for a process of “fixing” or contextualising the monuments by adding plaques or explanatory material in order to present them “in the context of their time.” Thus, the three distinct temporal relationships to the monuments emerge in the narrative tropes that are used to support varying positions as well as in the suggestions for how to respond to the monuments themselves.
Over the last five decades during which it was in public view, the Battle of Liberty Place monument was removed, returned, amended, and re-amended. Yet, it continued to be site through which struggles over the role of history in the present took place. If monuments such as the Battle of Liberty Place can be materially amended or even removed while the narratives surrounding them remain relatively stable, how are we to think about the past and the possibility of reshaping our public spaces? The choice between keeping or toppling monuments seems inadequate to the task of bridging divergent understandings of the role of history in the present, and yet the presence of heavy material symbols such as Confederate monuments cannot be ignored. It is time, then, to radically rethink the role, form, and lifespan of monuments in our public spaces.
 Quoted in Robert McClendon in the Times Picayune, December 18, 2015, “Charges May Not End with Four Statues - Liberty Place Under Protective Order”
 For more information on the construction of Confederate monuments, see Winberry, John. “‘Lest We
Forget’: The Confederate Monument and the Southern Townscape.” Southeastern Geographer 23, no. 2 (November 1983): 107–21, and Fahs, Alice., and Joan. Waugh, eds. The Memory of the Civil War in American Culture. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.
 R.E. Lee Monumental Association (New Orleans), and Charles E. Fenner. Ceremonies
Connected with the Unveiling of the Statue of General Robert E. Lee, at Lee Circle, New Orleans,
La., Feb. 22, 1884: Oration. 46 p. New Orleans: W.B. Stansbury & Co., Print., 1884.
 1884. “Washington and Lee” Times Picayune, January 22.
 C.f. Fealing, Ken. 1981. “Mayor Takes Steps to Remove Liberty Monument from Canal Street” Louisiana Weekly, January 24.
 C.f. 1963. “Tribute Paid to Liberty Battle Heroes by Herbert” Times Picayune, September 14 and 1967. “Herbert Says U.S. Courts Hurt Freedom of Choice” Times Picayune, September 15.
 1964. “Mayor Pledges Obelisk to Stay: Move from Canal Street Site Opposed” Times-Picayune, December 19. The removal of Robert E. Lee referred to in this piece occurred in 1954 when the wood of the pedestal had dry-rotted and had to be replaced. As far as I can tell, the only outcry was from the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which did not want the statue to be removed from the pedestal at all.
 Theodore, William. 1974. “Against Despotism” Times-Picayune, February 19.
 Sloan, L. 1974. “Coliseum Next?” Times-Picayune, February 19.
 Hunter, Joe. 1974. “Meaning for Blacks” Times-Picayune, February 19.
 Marcelia, Vanward. 1981. Times-Picayune, January 26
 Smith, M.D. 1981. “Pulverize Monument” Times-Picayune, January 26
 DuBos, Clancy., & Massa, Joe. 1981. “Monument inscription will be removed by city” Times-Picayune, February 27
 C.f. Eggler, Bruce. 1989. “Monument to whites is canned on Canal”. Times-Picayune, October 11.
 Frazier, Lisa. 1993. “Celebrating Old Divides” Times-Picayune, March 12.
 Epstein, James. 1993. “Liberty Monument - How to satisfy everybody” Times Picayune, April 6.
 Finch, Susan. 1993. “Monument Hearing Is Divided - History Invoked for And Against” Times-Picayune, June 30. Incidentally, there is now broad consensus among Egyptologists that the pyramids were built with paid labour.
 Section 146-611 of the Code of the City of New Orleans.
 Barry, Jarvis. 2015. “Statue of Lee and issue for N.O. - Mayor concerned how symbol fits in city’s future” Times-Picayune, June 24.
 Stewart, Frank. 20176. “An Open Letter from Frank Stewart to Mayor Mitch Landrieu.” The Advocate, May 3.