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Open access

Marco Solimene, Mariann Vaczi, Paul Manning, Bozena Sojka, Stephen Quilley, Anna Zhelnina, and Aimar Ventsel

Peter Berta (2019), Materializing Difference: Consumer Culture, Politics, and Ethnicity among Romanian Roma (Toronto: University of Toronto Press), 390 pp., $67.50, ISBN 9781487500573.

Niko Besnier, Susan Brownell and Thomas F. Carter (eds) (2018), The Anthropology of Sport: Bodies, Borders, Biopolitics (Berkeley: University of California Press), 336 pp., $29.95/£25.00, ISBN 9780520289017.

Martin Demant Fredriksen (2018), An Anthropology of Nothing in Particular (Winchester: Zero Books), 118 pp., £10.99, ISBN 9781785356995.

Caroline Hornstein-Tomić, Robert Pichler and Sarah Scholl-Schneider (eds) (2018), Remigration to Post-Socialist Europe: Hopes and Realities of Return (Münster: LIT Verlag), 467 pp., £39.90, ISBN 3643910258.

Peter Mulholland (2019), Love's Betrayal: The Decline of Catholicism and Rise of New Religions in Ireland (Oxford: Peter Lang), 362 pp., £73.62, ISBN 9781787071278.

Michał Murawski (2019), The Palace Complex: A Stalinist Skyscraper, Capitalist Warsaw, and a City Transfixed (Bloomington: Indiana University Press), 338 pp., $40.00, ISBN 9780253039996.

Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov (2017), Two Lenins: A Brief Anthropology of Time (Chicago: Hau Books), 150 pp., $22.05, ISBN 0997367539.

Open access

Sight and Touch between East and West

Ethics, Ethnography and Social Theory

Liene Ozolina

Abstract

In this Forum contribution, I develop the idea of the learnings of post-socialism beyond Eastern Europe. I propose retaining the distinctness of the peripheral vision ‘from the East’ and purposely keeping its ‘provinciality’ in order to illuminate the qualities and shortcomings of the theory at the centre. The note starts with an ethnographic encounter in Riga and draws on it to show how the peripheral vision of post-socialist Eastern Europe can challenge the stubborn boundary between morality and social theory.

Open access

Theory from the Peripheries

What Can the Anthropology of Postsocialism Offer to European Anthropology?

Ognjen Kojanić

Abstract

This article argues for the benefits of a relational approach to understanding centres and peripheries across scales in anthropology, as opposed to an approach based on substantive notions of geographic areas. Based on an extensive literature review, I expose how the salience of the division into Western and Eastern Europe, and, increasingly, into Northern and Southern Europe, obscures the divisions on other scales within and across these divisions. Instead, I argue for thinking relationally about centres and peripheries, highlighting two relevant contributions that the anthropology of post-socialism can make to a European anthropology: one is based on analyses of how places become peripheral, while the other starts from analyses of political-economic changes and their social impacts after the collapse of socialism.

Open access

Clothing and Colours in Early Islam

Adornment (Aesthetics), Symbolism and Differentiation

Hadas Hirsch

Abstract

The article discusses the colour subtext in the founding texts of Islam, namely, the Koran and jurisprudence. These texts were the raw material to create a scale of colours appropriate and inappropriate for clothing, and to analyse the role of colours in differentiating among subjected groups. Colours were positioned on a scale as preferred, permitted or prohibited for clothing based on their symbolic interpretations and perceptions of adornment and aesthetics. The use of colours for clothing as a means to establish and reinforce gendered differentiation reflects the patriarchal and hierarchal nature of Muslim societies. The other use of colours was to create religious-political differentiation between the Muslim ruling elite and two different subject populations, namely, their non-Muslim tributaries and rebels against the regime.

Open access

Dreams of Prosperity – Enactments of Growth

The Rise and Fall of Farming in Varanger

Marianne Elisabeth Lien

Abstract

An old tractor serves as an ethnographic entry point to shifting articulations of resources in coastal Finnmark, North Norway. Idle since the 1970s, the tractor is a relic of agricultural dreams, turned to rubble as novel layers of the Varanger landscape are conjured as resourceful. Farming in Finnmark was a geopolitical strategy to secure national borders and to expand a post-war welfare state, it was also a colonial effort to cultivate farmers in the far north. This article details the back-breaking practices required to make thin Arctic topsoil collaborate in realizing modernist dreams of agricultural growth, while state interventions sought to ensure national borders and national identity. The author highlights dialectic relations between mapping and forgetting, crucial in the making of resources and colonizing practices.

Open access

Editorial

Reinventing Anthropological Topics

Soheila Shahshahani

Abstract

In this issue of AME you have articles which are within established anthropological topics. What is new in them is first, new data from the field, second, new search within old data, and finally new perspective of researchers from the area. So, while kinship, law, methodology, archaeology remain the pillars of our field, they are “reinvented” through new research by scholars some of whom are from the area. Syria, Iraq, and Iran are presented, and Kordish studies relates to all countries which have a Kord population. Our journal being concerned with culture and not political borders, we include an exquisite article on emblems in Uzbekistan which proves the persistence of cultural similarities in symbols from the Middle East and Central Asia.

Open access

The ‘Frame’ at Adab

American Archaeological Misbehaviour in Late Ottoman Iraq (1899–1905)

Jameel Haque

Abstract

This article uses archival sources from the US State Department to examine conflicts that arose between American archaeologists and the Ottoman state during the years 1899 to 1905 in Ottoman Iraq (Mesopotamia). While contextualising many of the practices of Western archaeologists, this article examines two conflicts that emerged between the American digs at Niffur and Adab and the Ottoman Imperial Museum. The article both augments and disputes aspects of Craig Crossen's article ‘The Sting at Adab’, published in the Spring 2013 issue of Anthropology of the Middle East. This article's main contribution is to argue that conflicts that emerged surrounding antiquities demonstrate the growing strength/maturity of the Ottoman state apparatus and the implementation and continuation of nineteenth-century governmental reforms known as the Tanzimat.

Open access

Icelandic Resource Landscapes and the State

Experiments in Energy, Capital, and Aluminium

James Maguire

Abstract

: This paper offers an ethnographic perspective on the relationship between resource landscapes and the state in Iceland during a period of financial experimentation. In particular, it analyses a shift from the production of thermal water for local use to the production of electricity for the global aluminium market. This shift, the paper argues, is not merely a technocratic exercise in further resource extraction, it also indexes some of the tenuous connections between resource making and state making. The paper ends by offering a perspective on the recursive relationship between resource instabilities and instabilities within the state.

Open access

Babak Rezvani

Abstract

This article discusses the ethno-political and immaterial cultural representations of Russia's and Georgia's Muslim minorities as reflected in their anthroponyms, toponyms, flags and coats of arms. It is obvious that Such representations reflect cultural expressions, as they may depict ethnic or religious symbols. Both Russia's and Georgia's attitudes towards Islamic cultural expressions are rather liberal. Symbols and names tell a lot about a people's cultural freedom and orientation. However, it appears from research that religious practice and freedom do not necessarily correlate perfectly with representation of symbols. In accordance with the legacy of the Soviet nationalities policy, by which certain ethnic groups were afforded privileges in an autonomous region, the current representations of immaterial culture and ethno-political culture seem to have a territorial rationale.

Open access

Magdalena Rodziewicz

Abstract

The rising popularity of ‘white marriages’, relationships between a man and a woman who live together but are not married, has caused a commotion in the Iranian public sphere in the last few years. The debate includes state institutions and religious circles, who feel anxious about the change in gender relations among Iranians, but also academics who elaborate on the causes and consequences of the phenomenon. An important aspect of this controversy concerns legal issues, since according to Shiite law any intimate relationship of an unmarried couple is considered illegal. This article analyses this key aspect of the ongoing dispute and attempts to elaborate on the question of how the gap between people's expectations and desires and the legal capacity of Islamic rulings is addressed in contemporary Iran.