About a year ago – some of us had just met at the Göttingen congress of the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF) and discussed the idea of a Festschrift for her ninetieth birthday – we heard of the sudden death of Ina-Maria Greverus, founder-editor of this journal. In his contribution to the twenty-fifth anniversary issue of AJEC, Ullrich Kockel had recounted how the founders of AJEC had ‘set out to bridge the various real and imagined gulfs between disciplines and approaches’ and how ‘successive editorial teams have, in different ways, tried to continue that original project while negotiating contemporary pressures’, noting that ‘[a]long the way, the founding spirit may sometimes have appeared ousted by the hegemonic criteria of academic respectability’ but proved resilient in the face of such pressures (Kockel 2012: 58). With this in mind, the editorial board discussed the idea of a special issue featuring contributions by members of the board past and present as well as others whose paths had crossed with Ina-Maria’s, and we decided to issue an ‘open-format’ call, encouraging a variety of reflexive, reminiscent, or otherwise discursive engagement with Ina-Maria, her work, and her influence – both academic and personal – on so many of us, of her own as well as of younger generations.
Ina-Maria Greverus, AJEC and the Anthropology of Europe
Ulrich Kockel and Elisabeth Timm
Lili Di Puppo and Jesko Schmoller
Emerging Kinship in a Changing Middle East
The introduction to this issue has two strands. First, it contextualises the articles, which address kinship from varied perspectives, and situates them in their broader cultural context. Second, it adopts a comparative perspective by differentiating between the present articles with those published a decade earlier on the same themes in this journal, to examine whether, how and to what extent kinship has changed in the face of modernity, globalisation, wars, migrations and political change. It concludes that, compared with a decade ago, kinship has not only not weakened, but it has revived further and penetrated other institutions beyond family, or called upon to ensure and protect the continuity of cultural norms and values, from the threats paused by modernity and by the global, cultural and political invasions.
Critical Heritages of Migration and Belonging
A New Paradigm for Understanding Belonging?
Previous studies of place attachment have tended to focus on the positive (rather than negative) reasons why individuals associate themselves with a particular place, while studies on memory and identity have frequently been based on negative experiences of and in place. Drawing on interviews and focus groups, this article highlights how Germans and Poles with a history of forced migration have different perceptions of the same geographical ‘home’, and how their tangible and intangible encounters during a museum visit helped to generate these understandings. It argues that a people-place-process complex of attachment provides a more useful conceptualisation of belonging than either place attachment or memory, because it encapsulates a greater breadth of ideas that contribute towards these feelings.
Introducing Elisabeth Timm
Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Children in the Middle East
Erika Friedl and Abderrahmane Moussaoui
For several reasons there exist only relatively few ethnographic studies of children in the Middle East or in the diaspora. Accordingly, the articles in this issue of Anthropology of the Middle East represent thematically and theoretically highly divergent projects, all based on ethnographic topics and methodologies. Geographically they encompass different locations, and thematically they range from the history of childhood in Iran to matters of socio-cultural integration in Austria; from legal matters concerning youths in Algeria to socio-psychological problems of schoolchildren in Lebanon and to parent-child dynamics in Morocco. The short research, book and conference reports in this issue emphasize approaches and topics in critical anthropology as applied to the Middle East.
The Expectations of 1989–1991 Revisited
Martyrdom and Memorials in Post–Civil War Lebanon
Are John Knudsen
This article furthers the study of post–civil war memorialisation in Lebanon by analysing the trajectory of the late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri from statesman to martyr. This transformative process offers a window into the symbolism of Lebanese statehood, and demonstrates how the politicisation of confessional martyrs is used to decry injustice and stake out claims to the state. There is no tradition for prosecuting and punishing political murders in Lebanon, causing victims to be pronounced martyrs. Impunity is therefore the major reason why martyrs and memorialising are so widespread. To this end, the article offers a semiotic reading of Hariri’s posthumous transformation from political patron to patron saint, and is a contribution towards the importance of martyr symbolism for understanding the purported weakness of Lebanese statehood.