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Open access

The History in Procession

Shiʿite Identity Formation through Frames of Arbaʿyin Pilgrimage Narrative

Ahmad Shekarchi


This article investigates emerging patterns of pilgrimage in the context of Shiʿite Islam and studies the case of Arbaʿyin based on two weeks of participatory observation, walking from the al-Faw peninsula in the far south of Iraq to the city of Karbalâ. I identify three narratives in this pilgrimage—tribal, ideological and orthodox—and discuss their commonalities and differentials. The maʿāzīb system of the tribal narrative is the core of the comparison, yet each narrative is interrelated with the others through the central themes of war, political Islam and religious seminaries. In the last section, I explore recent transformations of these themes as well as the pilgrims’ configuration. The tribal narrative of Arbaʿyin presents itself as a rival to the ideological narrative pilgrimage. Although this narrative is based on the social structure of a tribal system, it struggles with new transformations and challenges in form and content.

Open access

‘I Certainly Wasn't as Patient-Centred’

Impacts and Potentials of Cross-Training Paramedics as Community Health Workers

Ryan I. Logan


This article explores how a group of paramedics were cross-trained as community health workers (CHWs) in Indiana. Cross-training paramedics as CHWs provided a foundation to better understand the social issues that occur outside of the hospital and clinic, thereby enabling further empathy among paramedics and seeking means to connect patients to other health and social services agencies. I detail how earning a certification as a CHW shifted the mindset of the paramedics and their approach toward caregiving. Ultimately, I argue how cross-training healthcare professionals can further expand the general awareness of CHWs and possible opportunities for employment. However, steps must be taken to ensure that reducing the CHW model to a cross-training opportunity will not minimise the impacts of hiring a full-time CHW.

Open access

Ideas, History and Social Sciences

An Interview with Quentin Skinner

Jérémie Barthas and Arnault Skornicki

Part of a collective project for promoting the study of the history of political ideas within the field of the social sciences in French academia, this interview focuses on method, and more specifically on Prof. Quentin Skinner's relationship to the social sciences (from Max Weber to Peter Winch and Pierre Bourdieu). Questions were sent in French, via email, to Quentin Skinner, who answered them in English. The answers were then translated into French and the interview was published in Vers une histoire sociale des idées politiques, ed. Chloé Gaboriaux and Arnault Skornicki (Villeneuve d'Ascq: Presses Universitaires du Septentrion, 2017). For editorial reasons, one question and response, regarding method in the Italian tradition of the history of ideas, had to be omitted; it is reintroduced here. The questions have been translated for Theoria by Victor Lu. Quentin Skinner is Emeritus Professor in the Humanities at Queen Mary University of London and co-director of the Centre for the Study of the History of Political Thought (London); Arnault Skornicki is Senior Lecturer at Paris Nanterre University (Institut des Sciences Sociales du Politique); and Jérémie Barthas is Researcher at the CNRS (Institut d'Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine).

Open access

Identity in Sensible and Ephemeral Experiences

Religion, History, Society and Politics Revisited through Everyday Life Practices, Tourism, Symbols and Rituals

Soheila Shahshahani


In this introduction I try to bring together the commonalities of articles which are about many different topics, including food, nationalism, rituals, the creation of icons, the importance of tourism, language, and celebrations that give meaning to the lives of very diverse people. Perhaps the Middle East as the crescent of civilisation can be comprehended in a nutshell in this collection of articles, which are written mostly by anthropologists but also by a political scientist and sociologists, to show the viability of methodology of anthropology.

Free access

Matthieu Béra


First, we return to the question of ‘revelation’ that has never been taken as an object of research. There has always been reluctance to take it seriously. However, Durkheim changed his thematic and theoretical perspectives from 1897, focusing on religious facts. Second, we explain how to treat revelation as a ‘thing’, as an object of research, insisting on the exegetical method by positioning ourselves prior to the emergence of ‘revelation’ (1895) to identify the paths that were decisive for Durkheim. All the articles in the special issue follow this approach. Third, we show how Durkheim went about ‘treating religious facts as things’, via the comparative method: by comparing the objectification of religion in other disciplines (history, law, psychology, philosophy), to arrive at a sociological synthesis; by comparing religious facts (and especially sacrifice) within different religions. The six articles in the special issue demonstrate the importance of the comparative method in social science. They ought to be compared with each other.


Dans un premier temps, nous revenons sur la question de la révélation en rappelant qu'elle n'a jamais été traitée comme un objet de recherche à part entière. Il y a toujours eu des réticences à la prendre au sérieux. Pourtant, dans les faits, à partir de 1897, Durkheim a bien changé d'optiques, thématique et théorique, en ne s'intéressant plus qu'aux faits religieux. Dans un second temps, nous expliquons comment traiter la révélation ‘comme une chose’, en insistant sur la méthode exégétique, en se positionnant en amont de la révélation (1895), pour repérer les cheminements décisifs de Durkheim. Tous les articles du dossier suivent cette voie. Dans un troisième temps, nous montrons comment Durkheim s'y est pris pour ‘traiter les faits religieux comme des choses’ , via la méthode comparative : en comparant l'objectivation du religieux telle qu'elle était proposée par les autres disciplines (histoire, droit, psychologie, philosophie, ethnologie…), puis en comparant les faits religieux (et spécialement le sacrifice) entre différentes religions. Les six articles du dossier démontrent l'importance de la méthode comparative en science sociale. Ils doivent eux-mêmes être comparés entre eux.

Free access

Laurent J. G. van der Maesen, Harry G. J. Nijhuis, and Alan Walker

In Memoriam: Bas van der Horst (1951–2022)

On Discourses Inside the United Nations, Urban–Rural Relationships, and the Impacts on Inequality of Ageism and Digitalization

The Current State of Socioenvironmental and Ecological Challenges in 2022 from an Academic Perspective

Open access

In support of free-standing Indigenous legal systems

Comparisons of US tribal courts and Canadian First Nations courts

Bruce Granville Miller


US and Canadian approaches to tribal legal orders have taken different paths, and here I argue that the Canadian model should move towards free-standing Indigenous courts as they currently exist in the United States. The Canadian approach has focussed on the issue of over-incarceration of Indigenous prisoners, but even newer efforts have stopped short of recognising at least partial criminal and civil jurisdiction. The Canadian approach fails to support Indigenous jurisdiction and community rebuilding and leaves Indigenous peoples vulnerable to non-Indigenous judges, who fail to accommodate Indigenous approaches to justice. Early attempts at shared jurisdiction have been naïve regarding Indigenous internal social processes and the struggle over what constitutes proper cultural practices. My data come from my own work with Coast Salish tribes, where I have studied tribal histories and legal practices on both sides of the international border as well their views of federal policy in both Canada and the United States.

Open access

Stephen Grant Baines


This article examines affirmations of differentiated Indigenous rights that are present in national and international legislation in the State of Roraima, Brazil, through significant efforts by Indigenous political movements, including activities by Indigenous lawyers. By creating internal mechanisms for solving conflicts, such activists contribute significantly to realising rights present in the Federal Constitution (1988) and the Indian Statute (Law 6.001/1973), and in international legislation such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 169 (1989). These mechanisms include the setting up, by the Indigenous Council of Roraima (CIR) and local Indigenous leader councils, of written customary laws (regimentos internos) as an alternative for solving conflicts to avoid sending people to violent and overcrowded prisons. The efforts of Indigenous organisations, activists, and lawyers also seek to overturn a commonplace notion of equality before the law, which fails to consider existing inequalities.

Full access

Inertia and Reactiveness in Germany's Russia Policy

From the 2021 Federal Election to the Invasion of Ukraine in 2022

Jonas J. Driedger


Despite signs that Russia was preparing an invasion of Ukraine, the newly elected German government stayed with pre-existing approaches that involved engagement and the threat of limited sanctions. However, in February 2022, just before the invasion began, Germany blocked the Nord Stream 2 pipeline system, announced weapon deliveries to Ukraine, and massively increased defense spending. This article shows that inertia and reactiveness heavily influenced the timing, nature, and extent of this massive shift in Germany's Russia policy. German leaders continued the existing policy in part because it had been formed by still influential figures and was in line with societal views. However, at the dawn of the invasion, the failure of previous policies had become undeniable, pressure from Ukraine and nato allies peaked, and societal views finally shifted. Reacting to this untenable situation, key figures in the German elite pushed through a series of measures that nato allies and Ukraine had long demanded.

Open access

The Integration Spectacle

Migration, politics, and multiculturalism in a Finnish suburb

Ville Laakkonen


Migration politics in Finland are centered around “social integration” and “multiculturalism.” While the stated aims of such politics are equality and social mobility, the results are often contradictory, perpetuating the hierarchies and inequalities they propose to overcome. Utilizing Guy Debord's notion of the “society of the spectacle,” I argue that there is a neoliberal Integration Spectacle that projects the appearance of societal change but is, in reality, an immobilizing force that works to obscure a particular racialized social order. I draw on my fieldwork in and around Varissuo, an international working-class suburb on the edge of Turku, western Finland, to analyze how both migrant residents of the area and the professionals within the so-called integration economy engage with, reproduce, and deal with this discrepancy.