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The Meanings of the Move?

From “Predicaments of Mobility” to “Potentialities in Displacement”

Stephen C. Lubkemann

ABSTRACT

In this article I draw comparatively on ethnographic material from my work with war-affected populations from postcolonial Mozambique and diasporan Liberia to argue for a fundamental shift in the conceptualization and study of displacement. I argue first for a need to shift from an emphasis on physical mobility as the sine qua non of “displacement,” to an empirical investigation of the less-than-self-evident relationship between physical mobility and social mobility. I illustrate how the meanings and outcomes of physical mobility are far from given but must be treated as an empirical problem, in which the social opportunity structures that cultural agents ultimately navigate are reconfigured in complex, contradictory, and inadvertent ways that simultaneously generate new and socially differentiated challenges as well as opportunities.

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Antonius C. G. M. Robben

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Staying out of Place

The Being and Becoming of Burundian Refugees in the Camp and the City

Simon Turner

ABSTRACT

Based on ethnographic fieldwork among Burundian refugees living clandestinely in Nairobi and living in a refugee camp in Tanzania, the article argues that displacement can be about staying out of place in order to find a place in the world in the future. I suggest that the term dia-placement describes this sense of not only being out of place but also being en route to a future. Burundians in the camp and the city are doing their best to remain out of place, in transition between a lost past and a future yet to come, and the temporary nature of their sojourn is maintained in everyday practices. Such everyday practices are policed by powerful actors in the camp and are ingrained in practices of self-discipline in Nairobi. Comparing the two settings demonstrates that remaining out of place can take on different forms, according to context.

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Using International Criminal Law to Resist Transitional Justice

Legal Rupture in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

Mikael Baaz and Mona Lilja

ABSTRACT

An increasing body of literature focuses on negotiations of transitional justice, but not much has been written so far regarding contestations over its practices and the refusal of states and individuals to participate. Given the remaining legalistic dominance, this is particularly true regarding the field of international criminal law. Very little, if any, work in international criminal law engages with the topic of “resistance.” Departing from this gap in research, focusing on Cambodia and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the objective of this article is to introduce, discuss, and analyze the “strategy of rupture”—as developed by the late French lawyer Jacques Vergès—and the ways in which this legal defense has been applied in practice at the ECCC in order to resist not only the Tribunal per se, but also the entire Cambodian transitional justice process and, by extension, the post–Cold War global liberal project.

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Violence and Identification

Everyday Ethnic Identity in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Torsten Kolind

ABSTRACT

Structurally inspired anthropological analyses of war and violence tend to claim that conflicts have an inherent potential to create unambiguous identities. Based on ethnographic data from everyday life among the Muslim population of Stolac in postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina the article shows that this is not necessarily the case. Instead of resorting to the politically created dichotomous categories of ethnic exclusion, the Muslims of Stolac favored ambiguous identifications highlighting coexistence and interethnic respect. In this way of refraining from exclusive ethnic antagonistic identifications they experimented with ways of inhabiting the world together with the ethnic others; mainly the Croat population of Stolac.

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Ashley B. Lebner

This article begins by exploring why secular studies may be stagnating in anthropology. Contrary to recent arguments, I maintain that rather than widening the definition of secularism to address this, we should shift our focus, if only slightly. While secularism remains a worthy object, foregrounding it risks tying the field to issues of governance. I therefore suggest avoiding language that privileges it. Moreover, in returning to Talal Asad's 'secular', it becomes evident that care should be taken with the notion of 'secularism' to begin with, even if he did not emphasize this analytically. Conceiving of secularism as a transcendent political power, as Asad does, is not only a critique of a secularist narrative, but also a secularist truism itself that can potentially cloud ethnography if applied too readily. A way forward lies in carefully attending to secular concepts, as Asad suggests, and in exploring a version of secularity inspired by the work of Charles Taylor.

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Judith Casselberry, Stephen D. Glazier, Minna Opas, Viola Teisenhoffer, Anastasios Panagiotopoulos, Brendan Jamal Thornton, Joseph Trapido, Sergio González Varela, Bruno Reinhardt, Cristóbal Bonelli, Bernardo E. Brown, and Grete Viddal

ABRAMS, Andrea C., God and Blackness: Race, Gender, and Identity in a Middle Class Afrocentric Church, 195 pp., references, index. New York: New York University Press, 2014. Paperback, $26. ISBN 9780814705247.

CHRISTENSEN, Jeanne, Rastafari Reasoning and the RastaWoman: Gender Constructions in the Shaping of Rastafari Livity, 202 pp., bibliography, index. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014. Hardback, $80. ISBN 9780739175736.

COX, James L., The Invention of God in Indigenous Societies, 192 pp., notes, bibliography, index. Durham: Acumen, 2014. Paperback, $ 31. ISBN 9780520280472.

DAWSON, Andrew, Santo Daime: A New World Religion, 240 pp., notes, bibliography, index. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013. Paperback, $40. ISBN 9781441154248.

DESCOLA, Philippe, Beyond Nature and Culture, trans. Janet Lloyd, 488 pp., notes, bibliography, index. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013. Hardback, $52. ISBN 9780226144450.

FLORES, Edward Orozco, God’s Gangs: Barrio Ministry, Masculinity, and Gang Recovery, 243 pp., notes, references, index. New York: New York University Press, 2013. Paperback, $22. ISBN 9781479878123.

GESCHIERE, Peter, God’s Witchcraft, Intimacy and Trust: Africa in Comparison, 243 pp., notes, references, index. 328 pp., notes, references, index. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013. Hardback, $75. ISBN 9780226047584.

Johnson, Paul Christopher, ed., Spirited Things: The Work of “Possession” in Afro-Atlantic Religions, 344 pp., notes, bibliography, index. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014. Hardback, $97.50. ISBN 9780226122625.

KLASSEN, Pamela E., Spirits of Protestantism: Medicine, Healing, and Liberal Christianity, 348 pp., notes, bibliography, index. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011. Paperback, $29.95. ISBN 9780520270992.

KOHN, Eduardo, How Forests Think: Toward an Anthropology Beyond the Human, 288 pp., notes, bibliography, index. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013. Paperback, $29.95. ISBN 9780520276116.

LUHRMANN, T. M., When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God, 464 pp., notes, bibliographic notes, bibliography, index. New York: Vintage Books, 2012. Paperback, $20. ISBN 9780307277275.

RAMSEY, Kate, The Spirits and the Law: Vodou and Power in Haiti, 448 pp., illustrations, maps, notes, bibliography, index. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011. Hardback, $50. ISBN 9780226703794.

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Cosmogony Today

Counter-Cosmogony, Perspectivism, and the Return of Anti-biblical Polemic

Michael W. Scott

In this article I review critical thought about cosmogony in the social sciences and explore the current status of this concept. The latter agenda entails three components. First, I argue that, even where cosmogony is not mentioned, contemporary anthropological projects that reject the essentialist ontology they ascribe to Western modernity in favor of analytical versions of relational non-dualism thereby posit a 'counter-cosmogony' of eternal relational becoming. Second, I show how Viveiros de Castro has made Amazonian cosmogonic myth—understood as counter-cosmogony—iconic of the relational non-dualist ontology he terms 'perspectival multinaturalism'. Observing that this counter-cosmogony now stands in opposition to biblical cosmogony, I conclude by considering the consequences for the study of cosmogony when it becomes a register of what it is about—when it becomes, that is, a form of polemical debate about competing models of cosmogony and the practical implications that they are perceived to entail.

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Debate

In Response to Charlie

Faisal Devji, Jane Garnett, Ghassan Hage, and Sondra L. Hausner

There is a close relation between satire and secularism as the latter came to emerge in Europe. Secularism, as is well-known, gained strength historically as a reaction to an era of European interreligious violence and massacres. It was not only a desire for the separation of church and state, as the classical formula has it. It was also an attempt to keep religious affect out of politics. This was in the belief that religion, because it is faith rather than reasoned thinking, produces too much of a narcissistic affect—that the faithful are unable to ‘keep their distance’ from what they believe in. It was thought that this narcissism was behind the murderous intensity of religiously driven conflicts. Being able to laugh at yourself literally means being able to not take yourself overly seriously. This, in turn, is crucial for the deintensification of the affects generated by the defense of what one believes in and for the relativization of one’s personal beliefs. Such relativization, as Claude Lévi- Strauss argued, is crucial for thinking oneself comparatively and in relation to others (the opposite of narcissism).

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Glossolalia and Linguistic Alterity

The Ontology of Ineffable Speech

Evandro Bonfim

This article proposes a revised definition of glossolalia based on the ritual value of incomprehensible speech, which allows for an approach to meaning emergence in non-human languages and the issue of extreme linguistic alterity. The main social and acoustic features associated with glossolalia will be presented through the case study of a Christian charismatic community in Brazil (the Canção Nova), showing us how linguistic evidence supports different notions of Christian personhood and an iconic-based communication between human and divine beings.