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Esther Hertzog

Abstract

In this essay, I refer to two documentaries demonstrating some common features of male violence against women in the Jewish and Palestinian societies in Israel. Abeer Zaibak Haddad's film about ‘honor killing’ illustrates the profound threat on girls’ and women's physical safety. Yael Katzir's film is about Jewish women's struggle for religious rights. It is argued that being subjugated to patriarchal control, both Arab and Jewish women are denied fundamental rights. This understanding implies that, despite basic differences in socio-economic conditions and civil rights, women's oppression is present in cultures that are perceived as ‘modern’ and ‘advanced’ just like in those that are perceived as the opposite. Both films point to the failure of the state to ensure women's rights and safety and to women's compliance to men's oppression.

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Livia Jiménez Sedano

Abstract

This is a brief reflection on the consequences of the commodification of dance cultures from the former colonised world and the ways they are consumed in Europe. Inspired from ten years of fieldwork, the ethnic structuring of postcolonial dance floors in European cities proves an empirical basis to start this line of thought. Instead of promoting respect and interest in the dance forms and the cultural contexts in which these dance forms developed, aficionados tend to consider that these are less evolved, beautiful and interesting than the appropriations they develop in their home countries. As a result, commodification leads to reinforcing previous stereotypes and emic hierarchies of value. The kinetic metaphor of the bodies that scream but cannot listen structures the text and its arguments.

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Boundaries and Margins

The Making of the ‘Golden Cage’

Eirini Chrysocheri

Abstract

This article focuses on the Greek community of Alexandria, a socially and territorially bounded Diaspora entity that articulates a sense of connection to place through claims of a historically continuous socio-spatial connection to both Egypt and Greece. Through analyses of visual material collected and produced during fieldwork, I explore the spatial and social boundaries of the community before and after Nasser's 1952 revolution and highlight discontinuities in the narratives and imaginings of the city articulated by different generations. Studying the creation of new borders, I reveal how restriction to, and isolation within, the ‘golden cage’ of Greek areas is both willingly embraced and a source of frustration. I conclude by outlining how spatial and ideological boundaries overlap and how they are shifted and defended by Greek and non-Greek inhabitants of the city.

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The Changing Portrayal of Dancers in Egyptian Films

Three Roles in the Career of Tahia Carioca (1946, 1958 and 1972)

Carolina Bracco

Abstract

This article examines the projected image of dancers in Egyptian cinema. The historical background includes the last period of the Farouk monarchy, the revolution of the Free Officers Movement and the Nasser regime, ending with Nasser's death in 1970, when a new social and political era started blossoming. I consider the socio-political changes and their cultural repercussions as part of a dialectic relationship that affects the portrayal of dancers in three films: The Lady's Puppet (1946), My Dark Darling (1958) and Pay Attention to Zuzu (1972). By examining Carioca's roles in these films, I argue socio-political changes in Egypt have been projected on the image of the dancer while also changing it: she is first seen as a working woman, then as an evil woman and finally as a marginalised woman.

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Elisabeth Timm and Patrick Laviolette

It is with a certain nostalgia and great sadness that we begin this issue by announcing the death of one of our journal's founding editors, Prof. Christian Giordano [1945–2018], in the final days of last year – an obituary will be published in the next issue. With the passing of Ina-Maria Greverus in 2017, AJEC is now orphaned from its two founding editors. At a time when the Soviet Union was collapsing and Europe would begin facing even more drastic changes, Grevenus and Giordano had the collective vision in 1990 of launching the Anthropological Yearbook of European Cultures.

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Emplacing Smells

Spatialities and Materialities of ‘Gypsiness’

Andreea Racleș and Ana Ivasiuc

Abstract

As one of the most stereotyped minorities, the Roma are particularly ‘good to think’ in relation to constructions of Europeanness. In the production of ‘Gypsiness’, the body, the space, and the materiality of the dwelling are linked through smell as signifiers of a racial and cultural inferiority that does not ‘belong’ in and to Europe. Drawing on research projects carried out in the outskirts of Rome and in a small Romanian town, our contribution relies on a juxtaposed ethnography of constructions of ‘Gypsiness’ in relation to the spatial, sensorial and material inscriptions of the body. The article will examine the relationship between space and the social production of smell, discussing how spaces inhabited by Roma play a role in ‘doing’ Europeanness in a contrastive mode.

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European Bodies

Who Embodies europe? Explorations into the Construction of european Bodies

Anika Keinz and Paweł Lewicki

Abstract

In this special issue we focus on processes of europeanisation and the work of colonial legacies and their impact on the production of the european body, a body that is always already racialised, classed and gendered. ‘european body’ can be observed in discourses and practices that constitute the normal/desired/legitimate body and concomitantly impacts notions about the civilised/cultured body, often linked to whiteness, secularism, legitimate class and gender performances. We ask to look back across pasts and into the present in order to explore who currently marks the boundaries of what is considered civilised, cultured, “normal” and comes to define what is considered a european body. What embodies the present, which and whose body epitomises europeaness and how does europeanisation generate (tacit) knowledge about the legitimate body?

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A Film Never Completed

Representing Social Relations in a Mixing Neighbourhood

Regev Nathansohn

Abstract

This is a story and analysis of a film production that has never materialised. The case study features a group of neighbourhood residents who wished to produce a film representing their experiences of living in a mixed neighbourhood in the northern Israeli city of Haifa, where Jews and Arabs live together. The ethnography of their work documents the incommensurability between the social interactions within the group and the content of the film's script. While the group dynamic reflected the mixing atmosphere of the neighbourhood, their script succumbed to the hegemonic discourse of separation in Israel and to steering away from ambiguities. The group's aspiration to create a realistic representation required a political and visual language that was not available as an objective possibility and thus was challenging to imagine.

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From Ebony to Ivory

‘Cosmetic’ Investments in the Body

Chiara Pussetti

Abstract

This article discusses the impact of skin colour inequality in the individual aspirations and prospects of social inclusion and success, social mobility aspirations, professional ambitions and career opportunities. Ethnographically, it studies specific forms of cosmetic investments and self-optimisation in Portugal and its effects on the micropolitics of bodies, correlating the agency of individuals (how they empower themselves maximising certain aspects and minimising others) with the ways in which a European white appearance circulates as a form of capital and commodity, creating body narratives that are very much racialised. By inquiring the actual European understanding of value in bodies, we can also understand the colonial legacy and how it is reproduced through the mutation of bodies.

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Nadzeya Husakouskaya

Abstract

The article studies the emergence of the transgender phenomenon within LGB activism in contemporary Ukraine in relation to an ongoing geopolitical process of Europeanisation, which involves negotiations over the country's belonging to Europe. The article is based on PhD research (2013–2018) and has borrowed from governmentality studies and also from literature about the Europeanisation process. It pays particular attention to the instrumentalisation of sexual diversity and the transfer of ideas from Western to Eastern Europe. Using data from field research, the article brings to light the discrepancies between the globalised frameworks for LGBT activism and localised meanings and practices.