Drunken Nights, Discovering Africa and Good Music

January 03 2014

Three random things that are worthwile - I'll keep it short. 400 words, let’s go!

Some of the best things tend to happen in the grey area between the fine line of what's wrong and what's right. In that sense, drunken nights are a symbol for this tension. I honestly believe happiness is defined by the experience of contrasts: know the down, appreciate the up.

In about a week, I’m changing my uncluttered life in the Netherlands for a unique field research project in the outskirts of Zambia. Nation states are the building blocks of our modern world order. Successful ones exercise profound influence on the course of world history: international organizations consist of states, multinational companies are still subject to state law, and every citizen is formally part of a state. Failed ones are the black holes of this world – many of today’s problems, ranging from poverty to transnational criminality, are relatable to a malfunctioning state.

However, this was not obvious a few centuries ago. There was a heavy competition between several forms of ways to organize a community: kingdoms, republics, federations, city-states, autocracies and more. The nation state became in our thinking about states nevertheless the dominant form of organizing a community: invisible constructions with a visible impact, rational in their irrationality. The essential question is: how can we understand this phenomenon?

I’m conducting field research in Zambia to explore the emergence of a nation state: how do a national state, national culture and national economy intertwine? I have three months to discover this topic. Excitement prevails, since this will be my first research project and steps into Africa. But I strongly believe that it doesn’t matter how many books one can read or documentaries one can watch - complex processes are best understood when you can feel them, smell them and taste the flavor of reality.

Any suggestions, questions or help regarding this project are more than welcome! I would love to read it: [email protected]

Finally, music. Here are ten songs that are in my opinion very good, but not enough appreciated:

The First Days of Spring – Noah and the Whale
My Body – Young the Giant
Put The Game Down - Hockey
Time’s Ticking – Isbells
Maybe So, Maybe No – Mayer Hawthorne
Fragile Meadow – The Black Atlantic
Fall At Your Feet – Boy & Bear
Death – White Lies
The Great Escape – Patrick Watson
Black Swan Song (acoustic version) – Athlete

Happy new year from a twenty year old Dutch student!

Tycho van der Hoog
[email protected]
Nieuwegein, the Netherlands

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