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Erika Friedl

Abstract

Ideas about childhood and children’s experiences in a tribal area in southwest Iran have been changing along with major local sociopolitical relations over the past century quite in accordance with the functionalist model of education and socialization. However, in the most recent stage – a globalizing, consumer-driven society in a closed, totalitarian political system – child-rearing prepares children to have great aspirations and be dedicated consumers without furnishing opportunities and habits to attain the one and sustain the other. The ethnographic details about this development described in this article in the format of three stages are based on longitudinal anthropological fieldwork in Boir Ahmad over 50 years.

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Conflicts in Children’s Everyday Lives

Fresh Perspectives on Protracted Crisis in Lebanon

Erik van Ommering

Abstract

Based on child-oriented, ethnographic research in Lebanese school communities, this article offers an alternative approach to understanding the multitude of conflicts affecting Lebanon. It highlights how young Lebanese engage with corollaries of conflict in their everyday lives and simultaneously points to sources of security and resilience that children employ to confront adverse conditions. These resources, which are located in homes, schools, the environment and the ways in which young people engage their surroundings, all face unique conflict-induced pressures and dynamics. Approaching children in their generational and political contexts can help us identify and strengthen their capacities to confront, rather than reinforce, adverse conditions. In turn, this may offer a more sustainable way of promoting peace in conflict-affected societies.

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Enfants du maquis en Algérie

Un héritage explosif

Abderrahmane Moussaoui

Résumé

Dans la politique de sortie de violence initiée en Algérie, après « la décennie noire » des années 1990, des enfants nés et ayant grandi dans les maquis posent un problème épineux. Redescendus en ville, avec leurs parents, à la faveur de la loi sur la réconciliation, le cas de ces enfants âgés de dix ans et plus, continue à poser de sérieuses questions. Malgré les avancées notables qu’a pu réaliser la politique de réconciliation, le cas de ces « enfants sans existence légale » ou « enfants d’identité inconnue » semble avoir été, pour le moins, négligé. Le dossier de ces enfants est une sorte de point aveugle ; et leur cas pose un certain nombre de problèmes, à commencer par leur identification et l’établissement de leurs filiations. Leur difficile réinsertion dans une société mal préparée à les intégrer pourrait constituer une sorte de bombe à retardement.

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Introduction

Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Children in the Middle East

Erika Friedl and Abderrahmane Moussaoui

Abstract

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.

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Julie Pluies

Résumé

Cet article, basé sur ma recherche doctorale dans un service pédopsychiatrique marocain, s’intéresse aux dispositifs cliniques élaborés pour accueillir et traiter les inquiétudes parentales et professionnelles envers la santé des enfants. Les réponses institutionnelles, politiques et cliniques sont discutées. Ce travail considère également les inquiétudes des enfants et du chercheur qui, souvent tues, sont omniprésentes et co-construisent les dispositifs de soins et la manière dont ceux-ci sont étudiés. Une ethnographie à l’hôpital et aux domiciles familiaux, offre une compréhension plus fournie de ces inquiétudes omises. En conclusion, un hiatus entre les différentes réponses apportées révèle l’absence d’égard pour l’attention, réciproque et symétrique, présente entre enfants et adultes. Je propose de veiller soigneusement aux inquiétudes enfantines pour porter l’aller-mieux enfantin et éloigner les inquiétudes de tous.

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Methodology Matters in Iran

Researching Social Movements in Authoritarian Contexts

Paola Rivetti

Abstract

How can scholars conduct fieldwork in an authoritarian environment, engaging ‘dangerous’ topics such as social movements in Iran? How can they overcome the limitations imposed by the authoritarian state and win the trust of activists? This article reflects on the knowledge that scholars produce under such difficult circumstances, arguing that the deployment of non-mainstream research practices and methods can benefit the scholarship, exposing under-studied and overlooked aspects of the topic investigated. More specifically, the article elaborates on how methodological choices inform the knowledge we produce and how they can therefore be used to overcome structural limitations generating innovative and fairer scholarship.

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Reports

Publications, Films and Conferences

Roxanne Varzi, Fadi A. Bardawil, Soheila Shahshahani, and Konstantina Isidoros

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Seized in Beirut

The Plundered Archives of the Palestinian Cinema Institution and Cultural Arts Section

Rona Sela

Abstract

One of the biggest acts of plunder by Israel was of a vast Palestinian film archive looted by Israeli military forces in Beirut in 1982. The films are managed under the repressive colonial control of the Israel Defense Forces Archive, which thus conceals many of them and information regarding their origin. This article documents my efforts to disclose the films and locate their institutions in Beirut, to chart their history, name their film-makers and open a discussion about returning them. It also provides a deeper understanding of colonial mechanisms of looting and truth production. I discuss the Third Palestine Cinema Movement and the various institutions that were part of the Palestinian revolution in the 1970s, with a focus on the Cultural Arts Section managed by Ismail Shammout.

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Whose Austria?

Muslim Youth Challenge Nativist and Closed Notions of Austrian Identity

Farid Hafez

Abstract

The Austrian Muslim Youth was founded in 1996 by young Muslims of different ethnic backgrounds and has become the largest multi-ethnic, co-educational, German-speaking youth organization in Austria today. Since its inception, it has presented the concept of an ‘Austrian Muslim identity’ as a key philosophy. In this article, I ask how the idea of this identity was negotiated. I suggest that this concept is not reinforcing nativist notions. Rather, the formation of an Austrian Muslim identity can be seen as an attempt to create safe spaces to empower young Muslims to live their religion while fully participating in Austrian society. Hence, this concept speaks to two audiences simultaneously, challenging nativist notions and offering young Muslims ways to see themselves as possessing multiple and hybrid identities.

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Gabriela Kiliánová