Ordure and Disorder

The Case of Basra and the Anthropology of Excrement

in Anthropology of the Middle East
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In this article I demonstrate that issues surrounding excrement in Iraq intersect sites where power and order, the state and its absence, and everyday moral order and its erasure become painfully evident. In the first piece of ethnography, I recount daily walks taken with an informant through the war-torn streets of Basra (Iraq), where in some places human excrement fills the streets. The second part of the article pursues the same theme in the context of a prison, where the lack of toilet facilities becomes a physical and symbolic means of torture.

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