For ours and many past generations, the question of individual and community freedom and choice has been at the forefront. From the looming existential threat of climate change to the globalising force of neoliberal capitalism, it often seems that agency is confined to the government or corporate realms.
For this issue of Leviathan, we asked our contributors to focus on the concept of agency itself to highlight the complex ways in which grassroots organisations, nationalist states, individuals moving through the powerful current of social media algorithms, and people caught between forces of oppression–to name a few examples– negotiate agency today.
Gabriel Gomez interrogates the approaches in Costa Rica to climate change, arguing for a future that puts indigenous land rights above profit and on a level with environmentalism. Seungcheol Lee dissects the South Korean state’s increasing presence in the lives of its citizens since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over in North America, Quinn Farr analyses the extent to which the United States Supreme Court is becoming politically polarised and its wide-ranging effects on the American rule of law. Meghan Gauld focuses on American influence abroad, questioning the assumptions of superiority underlying US foreign policy in
recent decades. Syeda Mahmood details the activism and hardships of the Khwajasira community in India. Focusing on the role of the state, Jack Liddall compares nationalist causes in Punjab and Tamil Nadu and
their differing relationships with democracy in India. Over to Africa, Harvey Graham argues that the South African COVID-19 vaccine distribution program could be a blueprint for the rest of the world. With the reality of Brexit slowly coming to fruition, Jasmine Thompson proposes a way forward for Ireland with identity as a focal point. Mouna Chatt outlines the conflicting position of Muslim women in Denmark, underscoring their agency amidst repression. On a global scale, the rise of right-wing extremism as propelled by social media and algorithms is traced by Natasha Prentice.
This issue is brought to you by a team of students at the University of Edinburgh who are themselves from a variety of backgrounds. We are proud of our hard work through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
On a personal note, our entire Executive Committee graduated in the spring of 2022 and will thus be moving on from Leviathan. For all of us, working on this journal was an incredibly gratifying experience; it challenged us intellectually and brought together an amazing community. We have made lifelong friends and a product we are proud of.
We hope you enjoy reading this, Volume 12 Issue 2 of Leviathan. We sincerely enjoyed making it.