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Open access

Peter Lugosi, Thiago Allis, Marcos Ferreira, Eanne Palacio Leite, Aluizio Pessoa, and Ross Forman

This article examines how migrants create value through food-and hospitality-related enterprises, focusing on the ways in which they exercise their agency in mobilizing various cultural resources and on how their organizational practices intersect with identity work. Drawing on empirical research conducted in São Paulo, Brazil, it explores how specific dishes, knowledge of food, recipes, craft skills, and migration histories are transformed into valued cultural resources in these kinds of enterprises. The article explores three themes: first, how foods become “pliable heritage” through migrants’ identity work; second, how migrants’ ongoing identity work shapes their activities and experiences in food and hospitality businesses; and third, how migrants’ individual identity work is entangled in collective interests and the activities of a wider set of (migrant) stakeholders.

Open access

The Powerful (Vagueness of) Numbers?

(Non)Knowledge Production about Refugee Accommodation Quantifications in UNHCR's Global Trends Reports

Ulrike Krause

Abstract

The Global Trends Reports represent UNHCR's key tool to share information about annual developments in relation to displacement, primarily through numbers. Among the many subjects covered, they often also address different forms of accommodation. But how do such quantifications produce (non)knowledge and link with the humanitarian landscape? This article explores accommodation categories, quantifications, and local categorizations as presented in the Global Trends Reports published from about 2003 to 2020. While the numbers appear to display precise knowledge on refugees’ whereabouts, gaps prevail in the reports: accommodation categories remain undefined, calculations are partly unclear, and local recategorizations occur suddenly without explanation. This article argues that these issues produce nonknowledge, and that the reports’ continuous attention to accommodation data simulates refugees’ controllability and governability.

Open access

Reflecting on Crisis

Ethics of Dis/Engagement in Migration Research

Ioanna Manoussaki-Adamopoulou, Natalie Sedacca, Rachel Benchekroun, Andrew Knight, and Andrea Cortés Saavedra

Abstract

This article offers a collective “gaze from within” the process of migration research, on the effects the pandemic has had on our interlocutors, our research fields, and our positionalities as researchers. Drawing from our experiences of researching a field in increasing crisis, and following the methodological reflections of the article written by our colleagues in this issue, we discuss a number of dilemmas and repositionings stemming from—and extending beyond—the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Focusing on issues of positionality, ethics of (dis)engaging from the research field, and the underlying extractivist nature of Global North academia, we propose our own vision of more egalitarian and engaged research ethics and qualitative methodologies in the post-pandemic world.

Open access

UK University Initiatives Supporting Forced Migrants

Acts of Resistance or the Reproduction of Structural Inequalities?

Rebecca Murray

Abstract

This article reports on a decade (2008–2018) of university-led “sanctuary scholarships,” which mitigate the challenges encountered by forced migrants with unsettled immigration status in accessing university: primarily financial barriers imposed by their categorization as international students and ineligibility for student funding. Secondary and primary empirical data was analyzed to i) map a decade of sanctuary scholarships delivered across the UK; ii) extend the debate from access to HE to interrogate the efficacy of sanctuary scholarships as a solution; and iii) assess the extent to which sanctuary scholarships challenge the structural exclusion of forced migrants from UK HE across three indices: growth and development, HEI investment, and student success. The findings reveal the extent to which neoliberal and administrative immigration logics are manifest in bordering practices specific to universities, and the interaction of the higher education border with university-led initiatives shaped by hospitality, in the context of anti-migrant hostility.

Open access

“Voluntary Return” without Civil Society?

How the Exclusion of Nongovernment Actors from the Austrian and British Return Regimes Affects the Quality of Voluntariness

Reinhard Schweitzer

Abstract

This article looks at the implementation of so-called “assisted voluntary return” policies in Austria and Britain, where state agencies have recently replaced nongovernmental organizations as providers of return counseling. To better understand how such a shift affects the in/voluntariness of return, I identify three dimensions along which the “quality” of voluntariness can be assessed and relate them to concrete aspects of return counseling practice: absence of coercion; availability of acceptable alternatives; and access to adequate and trusted information. Based on original qualitative data, I show that even within an overall restrictive and oppressive regime, return counselors can make room for voluntariness by upholding ethical and procedural standards—if they retain substantial independence from the government.

Open access

Welcoming Acts

Temporality and Affect among Volunteer Humanitarians in the UK and USA

Rachel Humphris and Kristin Elizabeth Yarris

Abstract

This article compares local volunteer mobilizations offering welcome to forced migrants in the USA (Oregon) and UK (Yorkshire). We contribute to literature on volunteer-based humanitarianism by attending to the importance of affect and temporality in the politics of welcoming acts, presenting the notion of “affective arcs.” While extant literature argues that volunteers become increasingly contestational, we identify a countertendency as volunteers move from outrage toward pragmatism. Through long-term ethnographic engagement, we argue that affective arcs reveal a particular understanding of “the political” and an underlying belief in a fair nation state that has not reckoned with colonial legacies in migration governance. By carefully tracing affective arcs of volunteer humanitarian acts, this article offers original insights into the constrained political possibilities of these local forms of welcome.

Open access

Paul FitzPatrick

Abstract

My visit to the Stateless Heritage exhibition at the Mosaic Rooms, London, led me to reexamine how the concept of “heritage” is used to create and preserve particular narratives of the state, in this case by proposing Dheisheh Refugee Camp in Palestine as a World Heritage Site. Central to the exhibition was the madafeh, seen as a space of openness and hospitality. I am not a refugee and do not speak for refugees. I interpret the Decolonizing Art and Architecture Research (DAAR) collective's decolonizing project in the context of attempts to make room for people seeking asylum within “asylum dispersal areas” such as Doncaster, where I live—attempts in which the madafeh could play an important role.

Open access

Juan Javier Rivera Andía

Valeri, Valerio, Classic Concepts in Anthropology, 280 pp., appendix, bibliography. Chicago: HAU Books, 2018. Paperback, $30.00. ISBN 9780990505082.

Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo, The Relative Native: Essays on Indigenous Conceptual Worlds, 366 pp., bibliography, index. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. Paperback, $35.00. ISBN 9780990505037.

Ab ramson, Allen, and Martin Holbraad, eds., Framing Cosmologies: The Anthropology of Worlds, 336 pp., bibligraphical references, index. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2014. Paperback, $35.00. ISBN 9781526107183.

Open access

Ayala Fader

To share/sharing/shared/a share of/to share with. What do we create when we share objects, embodied experiences, languages, or ideas with others? Intimacy? Ties of obligation? A sense of belonging to something despite differences of investments and position? In this special section, Hillewaert and Tetreault experiment with reimagining the notion of ‘sharedness’. They have assembled a set of articles that use the term when describing less hegemonically spiritual and religious communities from a variety of places, traditions, and social formations. Some contributors focus on communities marginalized by more dominantly recognized state or institutional religiosity (Riley, Cochrane, Tetreault). Others ask what constitutes the grounds for defining religious/spiritual communities at all (Hillewaert, Elisha). The majority of the communities discussed probably fit most comfortably in scholarship on new religious movements or New Age scholarship (Elisha). What links these contributions is a focus on processes by which participants’ sharedness is achieved despite their differences of belief, practice, or both, which might seem to threaten their existence as a collectivity. That is, the authors consider how difference rather than sameness becomes the grounds for creating a sense of joint purpose. They also emphasize that sharedness is a jumping-off point, a category for ethnographic investigation specifically through attention to language, materiality, and embodiment. This contrasts to assumptions that community of any sort necessarily relies on or emerges from participants’ sameness.

Open access

Amira Mittermaier

Abstract

Amid a moment of crisis, how might the anthropology of religion shift its focus from ethics to politics? This 2021 Rappaport Lecture, delivered at the Society for the Anthropology of Religion (SAR) Biennial Meeting on 15 May 2021, begins by highlighting three ways in which our field has taken on politics in recent years: by troubling the distinction between ethics and politics, by thinking religion together with pressing political issues, and by taking a critical look at our conceptual horizons. Elaborating on this third way, it proposes that the anthropology of religion needs to move beyond the human horizon by ethnographically grappling with something bigger, namely, God. Prompted by a reflection on the phrase Allāhu akbar (God is the greatest), the lecture maps the challenges posed by a god greater than the human imagination and considers a range of writing strategies that might help make our texts more hospitable to such a figure. Bringing Islam into the conversation about the relationship between theology and anthropology, it suggests that the figure of God directs us toward the evasive and unknowable—that which exceeds our grasp and analysis.