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A Ritual Demystified

The Work of Anti-wonder among Sufi Reformists and Traditionalists in a Macedonian Roma Neighborhood

Galina Oustinova-Stjepanovic

Abstract

This article describes how an iconic mystical Sufi ritual of body wounding, zarf, was stripped of its mystical credentials and conventional efficacy amid tensions between Rifai reformists and traditionalists in a small Roma neighborhood in Skopje, Macedonia. The death of a sorcerer and a funeral event-series set the scene for acts of ‘anti-wonder’ and demystification by the Rifai reformists. Despite the history of socialist secularism and inadvertently secularizing Islamic reforms in the region, demystification signaled not the loss of enchantment per se, but a competition for legitimate forms of wonder. In addition to accounting for socio-historical context and relational forms of Islam, the real challenge is how to see a demystified ritual for its explicit intellectual capacity to stimulate speculation about itself.

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Sacred Spaces and Civic Action

Topographies of Pluralism in Russia

Melissa L. Caldwell

Abstract

This article examines several key sites where Russia's civic and religious bodies intersect in pursuit of social justice goals. Based on ethnographic fieldwork among religious communities and social justice organizations in Moscow, the article focuses on the physical, social, and legal spaces where church and state, secular and sacred, civic and personal intersect and the consequences of these intersections for how Russians understand new configurations of church and state, private and public, religious and political. Of particular concern is the emergence of new forms of religious and political pluralism that transcend any one particular space, such as for worship, community life, or political support or protest, and instead reveal shifting practices and ethics of social justice that are more pluralist, progressive, and tolerant than they may appear to be to outside observers.

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(Un)seen Seas

Technological Mediation, Oceanic Imaginaries, and Future Depths

Stephanie Ratté

Abstract

Remote technologies and digitally mediated representations now serve as a central mode of interaction with hard-to-reach sea spaces and places. This article reviews the literature on varied scholarly engagements with the sea and on the oceanic application of technologies—among them geographic information systems, remotely operated vehicles, and autonomous underwater vehicles—that allow people to envision and engage with deep and distant oceanic spaces. I focus on the extension of a digital and disembodied human presence in the oceans and the persistence of frontier fictions, in which the sea figures as a site of future-oriented possibilities. Finally, I ask what the emphasis on “seeing” through technological mediation means for how we imagine vast spaces, and consider how these elements of the oceanic imaginary can be productively complicated by drawing attention to the materiality of the oceans and the scalar politics of dynamic spaces.

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Unbuilt and Unfinished

The Temporalities of Infrastructure

Ashley Carse and David Kneas

Abstract

Infrastructures have proven to be useful focal points for understanding social phenomena. The projects of concern in this literature are often considered complete or, if not, their materialization is assumed to be imminent. However, many—if not most—of the engineered artifacts and systems classified as infrastructure exist in states aptly characterized as unbuilt or unfinished. Bringing together scholarship on unbuilt and unfinished infrastructures from anthropology, architecture, geography, history, and science and technology studies, this article examines the ways in which temporalities articulate as planners, builders, politicians, potential users, and opponents negotiate with a project and each another. We develop a typology of heuristics for analyzing the temporalities of the unbuilt and unfinished: shadow histories, present absences, suspended presents, nostalgic futures, and zombies. Each heuristic makes different temporal configurations visible, suggesting novel research questions and methodological approaches.

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The Urban Politics of Mega-Events

Grand Promises Meet Local Resistance

John Lauermann

Abstract

This article reviews recent scholarship on the urban politics of mega-events. Mega-events have long been promoted as drivers of urban development, based on their potential to generate beneficial legacies for host cities. Yet the mega-event industry is increasingly struggling to find cities willing to host. Political arguments that promote mega-events to host cities include narratives about mega-event legacy—the potential for events to generate long-term benefits—and mega-event leveraging—the idea that cities can strategically link event planning to other policy agendas. In contrast, the apparent decline in interest among potential host cities stems from two political shifts: skepticism toward the promises made by boosters, and the emergence of new kinds of protest movements. The article analyzes an example of largely successful opposition to mega-events, and evaluates parallels between the politics of mega-events and those of other urban megaprojects.

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What Makes a Megaproject?

A Review of Global Hydropower Assemblages

Grant M. Gutierrez, Sarah Kelly, Joshua J. Cousins, and Christopher Sneddon

Abstract

This article reviews how global hydropower assemblages catalyze socio-ecological change in the world's rivers. As a quintessential megaproject, massive dams and the hydropower they generate have long captivated the modernist development imaginary. Yet, despite growing recognition of the socio-ecological consequences of hydropower, it has recently assumed a central role in supporting renewable energy transitions. We highlight three trends in hydropower politics that characterize global hydropower assemblages: mega-dams as markers of nation-state development; river protection by territorial alliances and social movements opposed to hydropower; and transitions from spectacular, centralized hydropower installations to the propagation of small and large hydropower within climate mitigation schemes. We offer insights on how global hydropower assemblages force examination beyond traditional categories of “mega” through more holistic and grounded analyses of significance.

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Achieving the Ordinary

Everyday Peace and the Other in Bosnian Mixed-Ethnicity Families

Keziah Conrad

Abstract

In Bosnia, 20 years after a war of ethnic cleansing, mixed-ethnicity families swim against the stream of nationalist separatism that insists all Bosnians should be neatly sorted into ethnic categories. When asked about their experiences, however, mixed families in Sarajevo during fieldwork from 2011 to 2012 repeatedly insisted that they were just “ordinary,” “normal” families. In this article, I look closely at an ordinary evening in the life of one such family, examining how they achieve this atmosphere of everydayness within which ordinary kin relationships are sustained despite the volatility of differences in ethnic and religious affiliation. Using a conversation analytic approach and building on the work of ordinary ethics theorists, I argue that the sense of being an ordinary family is an accomplishment constituted through active intersubjective work.

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Book Reviews

Abhishek Choudhary, Rhys Machold, Ricardo Cardoso, Andreas Hackl, Martha Lagace, and Carly Machado

How Rivalries End By Karen Rasler, William R. Thompson, and Sumit Ganguly. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013. 280 pp. 4 illus. Hardback. ISBN 978-0-8122-4498-4.

The Privatization of Israeli Security By Shir Hever. London: Pluto Press, 2018. 256 pp. Hardcover. ISBN 978-0-7453-3720-3.

Working the System: A Political Ethnography of the New Angola By Jon Schubert. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2017. 270 pp. 5 illus. Hardcover. ISBN 978-1-5017-1369-9.

Overlooking the Border: Narratives of Divided Jerusalem By Dana Hercbergs. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2018. 284 pp. 46 illus. Hardcover. ISBN 978-0-8143-4108-7.

Out of War: Violence, Trauma, and the Political Imagination in Sierra Leone By Mariane C. Ferme. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2018. 336 pp. Paperback. ISBN 978-0-52029-438-7.

Sporadically Radical: Ethnographies of Organised Violence and Militant Mobilization Edited by Steffen Jensen and Henrik E. Vigh. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press. 290 pp. Paperback. ISBN 978-8-76354-602-7.

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Book Reviews

Estella Carpi, Sandy F. Chang, Kristy A. Belton, Katja Swider, Naluwembe Binaisa, Magdalena Kubal-Czerwińska, and Jessie Blackbourn

THE MYTH OF SELF-RELIANCE: Economic Lives Inside a Liberian Refugee Camp. Naohiko Omata. New York: Berghahn Books, 2017. 194 pages, ISBN 9781785335648 (hardback).

DIASPORA'S HOMELAND: Modern China in the Age of Global Migration. Shelly Chan. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018. 280 pages, ISBN 9780822370420 (hardback), 9780822370543 (paperback).

NONCITIZENISM: Recognising Noncitizen Capabilities in a World of Citizens. Tendayi Bloom. New York: Routledge, 2018. 222 pages, ISBN 9781138049185 (hardback).

PROTECTING STATELESS PERSONS: The Implementation of the Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons across EU States. Katia Bianchini. Brill Nijhof: Leiden, 2018. 382 pages, ISBN 9789004362901 (hardback).

HOPE AND UNCERTAINTY IN CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN MIGRATION. Nauja Kleist, and Thorsen Dorte, eds. New York: Routledge, 2017. 200 pages, ISBN 9781138961210 (hardback).

THE IMPACT OF MIGRATION ON POLAND: EU Mobility and Social Change. Anne White, Izabela Grabowska, Paweł Kaczmarczyk, and Krystyna Slany. London: UCL University Press, 2018. 276 pages, ISBN 9781787350687 (open access PDF).

UNLEASHING THE FORCE OF LAW: Legal Mobilization, National Security, and Basic Freedoms. Devyani Prabhat. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. 225 pages, ISBN 9781137455741 (hardback), ISBN 9781349928118 (paperback).

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“Coaching” Queer

Hospitality and the Categorical Imperative of LGBTQ Asylum Seeking in Lebanon and Turkey

Aydan Greatrick

Abstract

This article argues that Northern responses to, and recognition of, LGBTQ refugees bind queer organizations in Lebanon and Turkey, which support such refugees, in a state of contradiction. This contradiction is defined both by the failure of Northern LGBTQ rights discourses to account for Southern ways of being queer, but also by the categorical imperative of hospitality, which asks that the “right” refugee appears in line with the moral, political, raced, and gendered assumptions of Northern host states. In recognizing this imperative, this article observes how queer organizations in Lebanon and Turkey navigate this contradiction by simultaneously “coaching” their beneficiaries on how to appear “credible” in line with Northern assumptions about sexual difference, while working to accommodate the alterity of those they support.