Although hijab has long been a subject of fascination in western1 culture for some time, in the last several years the girl in hijab has been in the sociopolitical spotlight. As Katherine Bullock and Gul Jafri (2000) noted over twenty years ago, “Because of this Western cultural fixation on Muslim women's dress as a symbol of oppression, Muslim women often have to focus on that aspect of their identity as well, even if they would rather talk of something else” (37). With hijab being the most visible way to identify and be identified as Muslim as Wahiba Abu-Ras and Zulema Suarez (2009 along with Hodan Mohamed (2017) remind us, those who observe hijab with their dress experience the world in unique ways. The experiences of girls and young women in hijab are undoubtedly shaped by what Kimberlé Crenshaw (1989) and Patricia Hill Collins (2015) call intersectionality and under bell hooks's (2013) conceptualization of interlocking systems of domination. Central to these systems of oppression that shape the lives of Muslim girls and women are Edward Said's (1978) concept of Orientalism and what Jasmin Zine (2006) terms gendered Islamophobia as Lila Abo-Lughod's (2013) discussion of dominant narratives of Muslim women as oppressed clearly demonstrates.
Hijabi Girlhood in the Intersections
Violence, Resistance, Reclamation
Salsabel Almanssori and Muna Saleh
(In)visible Muslim Girls
There are days I feel invisible, and days I wish I were. As a Brown Shia woman in hijab, I often feel as though people fail to see me, or do not care to. My experiences as a hijabi woman had me feeling simultaneously visible and invisible as those around me tried to decide which version of the Muslim girl I was—the oppressed Muslim girl who needed to be saved, the radical, or for those within my community, the good Muslim girl. The reality is I am none of these. In re/telling my stories, I explore how misrepresentations in the media made me question aspects of my identity and created feelings of (in)visibility, had me striving to be the model minority, and finally, how the hijab became a source of pride and a tool of resistance.
Inflation as Talk, Economy as Feel
Notes Towards an Anthropology of Inflation
Whether with central bankers or strolling passers-by, inflation is a recurring term, one that encapsulates contemporary life in Tunisia. How does a concept of economics become everyday talk? Through three stories, I show how what I call ‘inflation-talk’—a mode of small talk that operates as critique and affect—circulates across discursive spaces, ultimately becoming a medium to question economic transformations and reveal political disillusions in post-revolutionary Tunisia. I consider how inflation has become a ‘feel’ of the economy, meaning a measurement not solely for economists but for people to make sense of their everyday. Ultimately, I ask how in times of global inflation, anthropologists, especially ones working in North Africa and West Asia, can theorise a critical anthropology of inflation.
Hamlet and the Nordic Countries
Nely Keinänen and Per Sivefors
The story of Shakespeare's Nordic play is also, inevitably, one of cultural exchanges before, during and after the early modern period. From its origins in Nordic tradition to its re-introduction in the Nordic countries through Shakespeare's play, the story of Hamlet from the Middle Ages to the present is inextricably bound up with Nordic history and culture. In tracing some of these links, this special issue develops our recent work on the early dissemination of Shakespeare in the Nordic countries, focusing here on that most Nordic of plays, Hamlet. Although there is already a great deal of criticism on Hamlet in various national or regional contexts, very little of this has focused on the Nordic countries.1 It is therefore fitting, we believe, to provide a necessarily brief outline of the rich and varied history that Shakespeare's play has had in Northern Europe.
Justice and the Politics of Identity
Becoming and Structure in Iris Young
Michaele L. Ferguson
In this article I recuperate a structure-oriented account of a politics of becoming from the work of Iris Young, one that rejects identity politics to focus instead on redressing structural injustice. Young offers a theorization of democracy that at once acknowledges our inner multiplicity and our individual capacity to shape our identity, and views equality and inclusion as important political goals that require eliminating structural injustice. For Young, fully embracing the multiplicity and fluidity of groups entails a shift away from conceptualizing groups in terms of identity, toward viewing groups as structural positions. Emancipation thus cannot be achieved through including marginalized identities (e.g., through group-based representation) but only through attention to how particular social positions become the site of structural advantage or disadvantage.
Land and ocean grabs and the relative surplus population in Ghana
Jasper Abembia Ayelazuno
Situated in the context of the land and ocean grabs in Ghana post-2007–2008 global economic crises, this article argues that the country is experiencing “primitive accumulation” without capitalist industrialization. I draw on the insights of agrarian political economy to argue that this has created cheap laborers without industrial capital to exploit. The corollary of this is the creation of additional “relative surplus population”, worsening the country's (un)employment crisis. However, this “relative surplus population” is not marginal to global capitalist accumulation and exploitation; on the contrary, it is important to them. The article draws on ethnographic fieldwork in Ghanaian communities to document the voices of the dispossessed and semi-proletarianized about their experiences with the crisis of (re)production inflicted on them by global capitalism.
The Lottery and the Middle Class
Navigating the Boundaries of Risk-Taking and Class-Making in Istanbul
I focus on middle-class engagement with lotteries and numerical games of chance, to understand the symbolic boundary-making processes in the Turkish context. Based on 18 months of ethnographic research (2021–2022) with people who regularly participate in state-regulated games of chance in Istanbul, I argue that the middle class(es) have diversified subjectivities with elusive moral boundary-making and differentiated views on risk-taking that transcend the classic distinction between the old middle class and the new middle class. The uncertain socioeconomic situation has rendered my participants precariat and made them move beyond the illusionary boundaries of a perceived stability or ‘in-betweenness’ of the middle class. To mitigate future uncertainty, they engage in speculative ventures, such as games of chance and entrepreneurial pursuits and act beyond what has been considered safe, rational, or secure economic activities.
Made for Maids
Female Domestic Workers and the Use of Mobile Phones in the Slums of Urban Morocco
In this article, I am concerned with how female domestic workers use the mobile phone to expand employment opportunities in the shantytowns of urban Morocco. I examine how mobile telephony is a resource for human agency and action, not just a force for culture change. Second, I describe how mobile phone use has resulted in higher revenues by enlarging the circle of economic activity and by enabling supplementary informal income-generating possibilities. Third, I explore how the mobile phone has allowed them not only to generate more revenue but also to escape the stifling conditions of their workplace and renegotiate the gender politics of private-domestic space.
The Mainstreaming of Global Inequality, 1980–2020
Christian Olaf Christiansen
This article maps the conceptual history of global inequality from its marginal status in the 1980s, its minute mainstreaming within research and globalization discourse from the mid-1990s to the late 2000s, until its popularization, politicization, and “economization” in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, recession, and the publication of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century in 2014. Asking when, why, and how global inequality became a key concept, it draws upon quantitative and qualitative analysis of global inequality in scientific articles, books, and public media. It traces transformations in the term's temporal and spatial meanings and situates these in the contexts of rising within-nation and declining between-nation inequality, inequality research, inequality in public media, and broader discursive fields.
The making of a racialized surplus population
Romania's labor-housing nexus
In capitalist Eastern Europe, surplus population is created at the intersection of economic restructuring, leading to the decline of jobs, the absorption of housing in broader circuits of capital accumulation, and the state's disinvestment in social housing. Drawing on the lived experiences of the impoverished Roma from Baia Mare (Maramureș county, Romania), I analyze how racialization produces them as surplus-as-laborer and surplus-as-tenant. The article explores the historically constituted labor-housing nexus. Capitalist enterprises are interested in having permanent access to a cheap and flexible labor force that reproduces in housing conditions that are as low cost as they are inadequate. Private real estate capital excludes those who cannot afford the fast-rising level of the ground rent while the post-socialist state refuses to invest in public housing.