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Introduction

Politics and Power after the 2017 Bundestag Election

Eric Lagenbacher

Although it has not been that long since the articles of the previous special issue devoted to the 2017 Bundestag election and its aftermath have been published, the political situation in Germany appears to have stabilized. After almost six months without a new government, German politics has sunk back into a kind of late-Merkel era normality. Public opinion polls continue to show that the CDU/CSU is slightly above its election outcome, the SPD is still down in the 17–18 percent range, the FDP has lost about 2 percent of its support, while the AfD, Greens and Left Party are up 1–2 percent.

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C.W.R.D. Moseley

We are living at a time of what seems like unprecedented social, political, moral, epistemological and environmental uncertainty. It seems we are moving into – or are already in – what some historians call a ‘general crisis’. They usually apply that term to the seventeenth century. But however different his view of the world may have been to ours, Chaucer was himself living through just such a period, when ancient certainties and assumptions seemed radically unstable, when society seemed to be sliding into irresolvable war and chaos, and the weather was reliably unreliable. Famine stalked every happy harvest. Dame Fortune seemed to be at her most unpredictable. And ancient voices from that anxious time may have something to tell us in our own.

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Introduction

Popular Religious Practices and Perceptions in the Middle East and Central Asia

Mary Elaine Hegland

People at the popular level often hold religious perceptions and engage in religious practices that make sense to them within their own existential situations, even if they fall outside orthodoxy. Although political leaders and religious authorities may attempt to mould people’s religious perceptions and practices according to their own ideas and interpretations of religion, people frequently find ways to evade or ignore such pressures, to rationalise their deviations or to continue to live and think according to their own self-generated religious frameworks. The authors of the articles in this special issue provide examples of how people’s actual practices and religious beliefs arise out of their own personal situations and histories though at odds with the pronouncements of religious specialists.

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Introduction

The Generative Power of Political Emotions

Mette-Louise Johansen, Therese Sandrup and Nerina Weiss

Moral outrage has until now been conceptualized as a call to action, a reaction to injustice and transgressions, and a forceful motor for democratic participation, acts of civil disobedience, and violent and illicit action. This introduction goes beyond linear causality between trigger events, political emotions, and actions to explore moral outrage as it is experienced and expressed in contexts of political violence, providing a better understanding of that emotion’s generic power. Moral outrage is here understood as a multidimensional emotion that may occur momentarily and instantly, and exist as an enduring process and being-in-the-world, based on intergenerational experiences of violence, state histories, or local contexts of fear and anxiety. Because it appears in the intersubjective field, moral outrage is central for identity politics and social positioning, so we show how moral outrage may be a prism to investigate and understand social processes such as mobilization, collectivities, moral positioning and responsiveness, and political violence.

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Introduction

Mimetic Governmentality, Colonialism, and the State

Patrice Ladwig and Ricardo Roque

Engaging critically with literature on mimesis, colonialism, and the state in anthropology and history, this introduction argues for an approach to mimesis and imitation as constitutive of the state and its forms of rule and governmentality in the context of late European colonialism. It explores how the colonial state attempted to administer, control, and integrate its indigenous subjects through mimetic policies of governance, while examining how indigenous polities adopted imitative practices in order to establish reciprocal ties with, or to resist the presence of, the colonial state. In introducing this special issue, three main themes will be addressed: mimesis as a strategic policy of colonial government, as an object of colonial regulation, and, finally, as a creative indigenous appropriation of external forms of state power.

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‘Is Anthropology Legal?’

Anthropology and the EU General Data Protection Regulation

Cassandra Yuill

In May 2018, the European Union (EU) introduced the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) with the aim of increasing transparency in data processing and enhancing the rights of data subjects. Within anthropology, concerns have been raised about how the new legislation will affect ethnographic fieldwork and whether the laws contradict the discipline’s core tenets. To address these questions, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London hosted an event on 25 May 2018 entitled ‘Is Anthropology Legal?’, bringing together researchers and data managers to begin a dialogue about the future of anthropological work in the context of the GDPR. In this article, I report and reflect on the event and on the possible implications for anthropological research within this climate of increasing governance.

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The “Mangle” of Human Practice

Museu do Amanhã’s Artistic Staging as a Socioscientific Narrative on Climate Change

Rodanthi Tzanelli

Praça Mauá, 1 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20081-240, Brasil https://museudoamanha.org.br/en

We are accustomed to museums full of heritage displays from bygone eras, helpfully “seriated” for the visitor to tell a story of linear human progress toward an “end”: the great metanarrative of (Western) modernity. This is not so with the Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow) in Rio de Janeiro. A joint public-private partner venture (by the City of Rio de Janeiro, the Roberto Marinho Foundation, Banco Santander, the British Gas Project, and the government of Brazil), the museum was conceptualized as a dark but openended narrative on climate change and the future of humanity.

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Denise Turner and Bronwen Gillespie

The Comfort of People Daniel Miller, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2017, ISBN 978-1-5095-2432-7, 226 pp.

How Development Projects Persist: Everyday Negotiations with Guatemalan NGOs Erin Beck, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017, ISBN 978-0-8223-6378-1, 266 pp.

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Sprinkles and Spacing

Mothers’ Reactions to Nutrition Programmes in Guatemala’s Dry Corridor

Bronwen Gillespie

This article explores women’s reactions to public health nutrition work in Guatemala, looking specifically at multi-micronutrients, or sprinkles. This anthropological research was carried out in two rural communities in Chiquimula, one of which was in the Maya Ch’orti’ region, during the 2017 seasonal period of scarcity. Taking as a starting point the limitations of a medicalised approach to malnutrition, this article discusses how multi-micronutrients are ill-suited as a solution for child malnutrition in situations of precarity. Though they are designed to be physiologically effective in reducing nutrition deficiencies in the body, they appear less useful once socio-economic conditions are considered. Women’s experience with malnutrition emergencies will be explored to show how health decision-making must be understood in relation to their social context as well as to their expectations for the future.

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Too Little, Too Late?

The Challenges of Providing Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare to Men on College Campuses

Lilian Milanés and Joanna Mishtal

Scholarship and advocacy work regarding reproductive health have often focused on women’s experiences. Concerns about men’s sexual and reproductive healthcare (SRH) have historically been on the margins in this context. In the United States, young men are at the greatest risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), yet are the least likely to seek SRH. Based on research with 18 healthcare providers in a large public Florida university clinic, we examined providers’ perspectives about expanding men’s SRH provision and utilisation. Research findings demonstrate inconsistent provider strategies in treating men’s SRH needs and a clinical environment that has low expectations of men receiving preventive care, further perpetuating the placement of SRH responsibility upon women. This article contributes to applied and medical anthropology scholarship on health inequalities through its discussion of the challenges and barriers that contribute to poor SRH for young men and the critical role of providers in this context.