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The Power of Silence

Sonic Experiences of Police Operations and Occupations in Rio de Janeiro's Favelas

Sterre Gilsing

Abstract

This article examines the sonic dimension of police operations and occupations by tracing how the everyday life changed sonically in favelas in Rio de Janeiro during their occupation by Pacifying Police Units. I tune into the silencing practices of these security policies and conclude that a moral silencing of a racialized and gendered class of people takes place. A focus on silence helps us to understand sound as a technology of power, which enables the Brazilian state to operate along a gendered sonic color line. The cases I discuss are two instances of silencing that are a product of the operations and occupations: first, the silencing of the soundscape of the favela during police operations, and second, the silencing of funk parties. These ethnographic instances elucidate how racialized processes of negation of black subjectivity and black cultural expressions take place in the Olympic city.

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Racialized Governance

The Production and Destruction of Secure Spaces in Olympic Rio de Janeiro

Margit Ystanes and Alexandre Magalhães

Abstract

Based on ethnographic fieldwork, this article explores the eviction of residents from Vila Autódromo, a neighborhood that was decimated as Rio de Janeiro prepared to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. Inspired by Achille Mbembe's notion of “necropolitics” and Mindy Fullilove's concept of “root shock,” we argue that forced evictions in Rio constitute a form of racialized governance. The authorities exclude favela residents from the citizenry security interventions are intended to protect and conceptualize them instead as security risks. This exclusion reflects the spatial expression of racial hierarchies in the city and produces a public security governance that in the case of Vila Autódromo terrorized residents and destroyed life conditions in their community. Racialized governance therefore exacerbates insecurity for large parts of the population.

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Sheikhs and the City

Urban Paths of Contention in Sidon, Lebanon

Are John Knudsen

Abstract

This article examines the rise and fall of the “Assir movement,” a neo-Salafist campaign led by a charismatic local sheikh who, after years of community activism, rose to prominence in the wake of the Syrian uprising (2011–present) protesting the Sunnis’ political decline and disempowerment. To understand the Assir movement's popular appeal, it is necessary to examine the pathways of contention in specific urban contexts and the extension of Salafism to secondary cities such as Sidon, where Sheikh Ahmad Assir's neo-Salafism became a political force and can be classified as a new social movement. Neo-Salafism combines populism with sectarianism, and this accounts for its widespread support after 2011, when the Syrian uprising increased Sunni-Shia tensions and shifted the locus of contentious politics from the capital, Beirut, to Sidon, a Sunni-majority city and the seat of the Assir movement. Ultimately, this led to an armed confrontation that crushed the movement, eroded its popular support, and was followed by an electoral defeat in which local elites reasserted control.

Open access

Suburban Dissent

Defining Neighborhood Space and Place in Perth, Western Australia

Jocelyn D. Avery

Abstract

This article discusses a Western Australian community's campaign against the development of a disability justice center in their Perth neighborhood. The history of the location provides context for an examination of the campaign that draws on the mainstream and social media reporting of the protests. Taking a spatial approach to the analysis situates the disability justice center as an unwanted place within the neighborhood space as imagined, created and reproduced by the residents. The center was, in effect, socially produced by the social relations and political economy of the campaign long before it was a built reality. While politics lay at the heart of the protests, the analysis reveals groups that were marginalized by the campaign and excluded from the community. The campaign brought the community together to protest against the inclusion of anomalous others in their neighborhood, but at the expense of the potential occupants of the disability justice center, many of whom are Aboriginal people. I argue that protests can bring people together and reinforce the idea of community, but protests also reveal who is excluded—inadvertently or not—and may compromise the rights of these “others.”

Open access

“Where Is the New Constitution?”

Public Protest and Community-Building in Post–Economic Collapse Iceland

Timothy Heffernan

Abstract

Following mass demonstrations in response to the country's 2008 economic collapse, a dynamic civil society has emerged in Iceland focused on democratic reform through rewriting the constitution. This article demonstrates how, in the absence of the new constitution that was promised by the government, protesters are pursuing an unfinished project of reform by holding small, routinized protests founded on an ethic of empathic solidarity (samkennd). By exploring the aesthetic elements of these meetings, I argue that the protest site is being used to highlight and condemn ongoing government transgression while also providing a space to prefigure a future free of political corruption. To this end, explicit signage is shown to be reshaping political discourse while also extending (and denying) kin bonds between protesters.

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Adjudicating Religious Intolerance

Afro-Brazilian Religions, Public Space, and the National Collective in Twenty-First-Century Brazil

Elina I. Hartikainen

Allegations of religious intolerance push courts to deliberate on questions that are constitutive of the problem space of secularism. In addition to legal opinions on the character and scope of religious freedom vis-à-vis conflicting rights, these arbitrations result in authoritative statements on what constitutes religion, how it may inhabit public space, and, ultimately, what interests and values underpin the national collective. This article analyzes three high-profile court cases alleging religious intolerance against Afro-Brazilian religions that were tried in Brazil during the first two decades of the 2000s. It demonstrates how at this time of rapid religious transformation the adjudication of such cases acted as a key site for the Brazilian legal establishment to redefine the place of religion in the broader context of rights and laws that regulate religion in public spaces.

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Mariske Westendorp, Bruno Reinhardt, Reinaldo L. Román, Jon Bialecki, Alexander Agadjanian, Karen Lauterbach, Juan Javier Rivera Andía, Kate Yanina DeConinck, Jack Hunter, Ioannis Kyriakakis, Magdalena Crăciun, Roger Canals, Cristina Rocha, Khyati Tripathi, Dafne Accoroni, and George Wu Bayuga

Bielo, James, Materializing the Bible. Digital project. http://www.materializingthebible.com.

Casselberry, Judith, The Labor of Faith: Gender and Power in Black Apostolic Pentecostalism, 240 pp., notes, index. Durham, NC : Duke University Press, 2017. Paperback, $25.95. ISBN 9780822369035.

Clark, Emily Suzanne, A Luminous Brotherhood: Afro-Creole Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans, 280 pp., notes, index. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2016. Hardback, $34.95. ISBN 9781469628783.

Cowan, Douglas E., America´s Dark Theologian: The Religious Imagination of Stephen King, 272 pp., notes, index. New York: NYU Press, 2018. Hardback, $30.00. ISBN 9781479894734.

Darieva, Tsypylma, Florian Mühlfried, and Kevin Tuite, eds., Sacred Places, Emerging Spaces: Religious Pluralism in the Post-Soviet Caucasus, 246 pp., illustrations, bibliography, index. New York: Berghahn Books, 2018. Hardback, $90.00. IS BN 9781785337826.

Daswani, Girish, Looking Back, Moving Forward: Transformation and Ethical Practice in the Ghanaian Church of Pentecost, 280 pages, figures, notes, index. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015. Paperback, $30.95. ISBN 9781442626584.

Giraldo Herrera, César E., Microbes and Other Shamanic Beings, 274 pp., index. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. Paperback, $99.99. ISBN 9783030100414.

Kaell, Hillary, ed., Everyday Sacred: Religion in Contemporary Quebec, 356 pp., figures, notes, index. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017. Hardback, $110.00. ISBN 9780773550940.

Kripal, Jeffrey J., Secret Body: Erotic and Esoteric Currents in the History of Religions, 448 pp., appendix, notes, index. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017. Paperback, $35.00. ISBN 9780226679082.

Cabot, Zayin, Ecologies of Participation: Agents, Shamans, Mystics and Diviners, 352 pp., preface, index. London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2018. Hardback, $110.00. ISBN 9781498568159.

Lauterbach , Karen, Christianity, Wealth, and Spiritual Power in Ghana, 221 pp., appendix, index. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. Paperback, $119.99. ISBN 9783319815299.

Liberatore, Giulia, Somali, Muslim, British: Striving in Securitized Britain, 304 pp., figures, index. London: Bloomsbury, 2017. Paperback, $32.50. ISBN 9781350094628.

Mansur, Marcia, and Marina Thomé, dirs., The Sound of Bells (O Som dos Sinos), documentary film, Portuguese, 70 min. Estúdio Crua, 2016. $320.00. https://store.der.org/the-sound-ofbells-p1012.aspx.

Oosterbaan, Martijn, Transmitting the Spirit: Religious Conversion, Media, and Urban Violence, 264 pp., notes, bibliography, index. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2017. Paperback, $39.95. ISBN 9780271078441.

Srinivas, Tulasi, The Cow in the Elevator: An Anthropology of Wonder, 296 pp., notes, references, index. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018. Paperback, $26.95. ISBN 9780822370796.

Taneja, Anand Vivek, Jinnealogy: Time, Islam and Ecological Thought in the Medieval Ruins of Delhi, 336 pp., illustrations, notes, references, index. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2018. Paperback, $30.00. ISBN 9781503603936.

Wilcox, Melissa M., Queer Nuns: Religion, Activism, and Serious Parody, 336 pp., notes, bibliography, index. New York: NYU Press, 2018. Paperback, $30.00. ISBN 9781479820368.

Restricted access

Winnifred Fallers Sullivan

There are some things we seem to need to learn over and over and over. Among them are the ways in which modern legal efforts to expel the sacred—or, perhaps more pointedly, as Neena Mahadev shows in her article, interventions to end it—condemn us to its constant reproduction. State secularism results not in the evacuation of the sacred but in an almost neurotic picking at the scab of the wound—and the continuous management of what Hussein Agrama (2012: 186) has called the “problem-space of secularism.” The four articles collected here are exemplary in their fine-grained analysis of this reality, both of the often pathetic inadequacy of regulatory efforts and, even more interestingly, of the glimpses we have of religious life lived in the in-between spaces of formal policing efforts, whether of church or state. The spatial gesture uniting this collection—siting pluralism—proves particularly potent. Sometimes imagined as uncompromisingly singular (i.e., spatial ‘locative’ religion as opposed to utopian portable religion) and at other times as spatial in a plural, less exclusive sense, the spaces/places of these articles are teeming with contradiction and multiplicity.

Open access

Valentina Napolitano

This article explores the tension between Pope Francis as a ‘trickster’ and as a much-needed reformer of the Catholic Church at large. He is an exemplar of the longue durée of an embodied ‘Atlantic Return’ from the Americas to the ‘heart’ of Catholicism (Rome and the Vatican), with its ambivalent, racialized history. Through the mobilization of material religion, sensuous mediations, and the case of the Lampedusa crosses in particular, I engage with an anthropological analysis of Francis as a Criollo and the first-ever Jesuit pope. Examining Francis’s papacy overlapping racial and ethico-political dimensions, I identify coordinates around which the rhetorical, affective, and charismatic force of Francis as a Criollo has been actualized—between, most crucially, proximity and distance, as well as pastoral versus theological impulses. This article advances an understanding of Francis that emerges from a study of the conjuncture of affective fields, political theology, racialized aesthetics, and mediatic interface.

Free access

Introduction

A Decade of <em>Religion and Society</em>

Sondra L. Hausner, Ruy Llera Blanes, and Simon Coleman

This volume of Religion and Society is a special one. First, with this edition we celebrate our 10th anniversary. While our personnel have changed to some degree, our remit has remained largely the same. We present theoretically and methodologically challenging studies of religion through a variety of formats that place religion at the center of analysis and enable those who study religious phenomena to engage in debate and dialogue with each other. In recent years, our approach has also cemented ties with the Society for the Anthropology of Religion, a subsection of the American Anthropological Association. Over the entirety of the last decade, we have continued to publish exceptional interdisciplinary scholarship in social and cultural analyses of religion.