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David Farrell-Banks

Right-wing populist, nationalist and extremist groups frequently make discursive use of the past to support their political agenda. This contribution briefly examines the use of the 1683 Siege of Vienna in political discourses. It shows how certain parts of European heritage are mobilised globally to present a singular view of European identity as white and Christian. This identity is constructed in opposition to a Muslim and migrant ‘other’. The contribution shows that this notion of European identity is used not as a call for European unity, but to serve nationalistic needs when utilised by far-right groups. Moreover, this piece calls for greater recognition of how heritages are mobilised across borders in the interests of advancing a politics of exclusion and division.

Open access

Philip McDermott and Sara McDowell

Does cultural heritage create either bridges of engagement or walls of division within and beyond Europe? To capture these diverse interpretations, we provide some initial discussion on the concept of heritage and how this relates to identity, memory and the past. In order to introduce the various studies that comprise the forum, we identify a series of collective themes explored by our contributors. These are: the use of heritage sites and practices as a means of exploring questions of European unity; the idea of a decolonizing heritage alongside the reframing of contested transcultural encounters; and finally, the potential for heritage as a form of conflict resolution.

Open access

Hubert Wierciński

This paper explores the problem of knowledge and knowledge making among Polish primary care doctors. Following Kirsten Hastrup and Tim Ingold, I argue that doctors are skilful social-weavers capable of exploring and reconciling various orders of knowledge. Thus, through a diverse set of knowledgeable yarns – originating from professional and state regimes, and embedded in today’s social relationships and economies – doctors are involved in the art of weaving a fabric composed of many, it would seem, contradictory orders of knowledge. The fabric in question is one in a constant state of reworking – although it is one that establishes a meaningful and knowledgeable environment in which the doctors can perform.

Open access

Healing through Heritage?

The Repatriation of Human Remains from European Collections as Potential Sites of Reconciliation

Carsten Wergin

This Forum contribution builds on the ethnographic engagement with restitution projects as places of transcultural encounter. Based on data collected in 2019 during repatriation ceremonies in Berlin and Leipzig, I show how a responsibility for human remains that was shared between European museums and Australian Indigenous custodians set in motion processes of healing, both among Indigenous groups and those working with these collections in Europe. I further argue that ethnographic museums change in these processes from supposedly passive exhibition spaces to spaces of socio-critical engagement. Finally, I explore the decolonial potential of such collaborative engagements with heritage within and beyond European borders that are motivated by provenance research and repatriation practices.

Open access

Amy Reid

Cultural heritage in Cyprus has been a contentious issue throughout the island’s tumultuous history. The official partition of the island in 1974, after years of conflict between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities, has resulted in the destruction and neglect of heritage sites on both sides of the Cypriot ‘border’. However, in recent years there has been an increase in organisations that aim to use heritage as a tool to unite both communities. This contribution examines the work of one such organisation, the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage in Cyprus (TCCH).

Open access

The Neighbourhood as Home Away from Home?

Potentials and Dilemmas of Homemaking in the Public Among the Somali Swedes in Rinkeby, Stockholm

Aurora Massa and Paolo Boccagni

Home, as a special attachment to (and appropriation over) place, can also be cultivated in the public urban space, under certain conditions that we explore through a case study in Rinkeby, Stockholm. This article analyses various forms of homemaking in the public among the Somali-Swedes who live there. It shows how, in the case of vulnerable immigrants, a neighbourhood feels like home insofar as it facilitates a continuity with their past ways of living, sensuous connections with a shared ‘Somaliness’, reproduction of transnational ties, and protection from the sense of being ‘otherised’ that often creeps among them. However, homemaking in the public is ridden with contradictions and dilemmas, including those of self-segregation. The grassroots negotiation of a sense of home along these lines invites a novel approach into the everyday lived experience of diverse neighbourhoods in European majority-minority cities.

Open access

Ontological Opportunism

Reanimating the Inanimate in Physics and Science Communication at CERN

Anne Dippel

Understanding inanimate ‘nature-as-such’ is traditionally considered the object of physics in Europe. The discipline acts as exemplary discursive practice of scientific knowledge production. However, as my ethnographic investigation of doing and communicating high energy physics demonstrates, animist conceptions seep into the ontological understanding of physics’ ‘objects’, resonating with contemporary concepts of new materialism, new animism and feminist science and technology studies, signifying an atmospheric shift in the understanding of ‘nature’. Drawing on my fieldwork at CERN, I argue that scientists take an opportunist stance to animate concepts of ‘nature’, depending on whom they’re talking to. I am showing how the inanimate in physics is reanimated especially in scientific outreach activities and how the universalist scientific cosmology overlaps with indigenous cosmologies, as for example the Lakota ones.

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Refugees and Fish Fingers

How Visegrad Policymakers Used Emancipatory Narratives to Establish a ‘Right to Reject’

Lucia Najslova

Emancipatory narratives and acts often emerge in struggle against injustice and marginalisation. This article shows the ease with which they can be employed to justify the denial of rights. The space-time is ‘post-socialist’ Eastern Europe, more specifically, the Visegrad platform set up in the 1990s to facilitate entry of three such states into the European Union (EU). The ethnography begins in 2015, when Arab and/or Muslim refugees appeared in Europe in what most EU politicians deemed as unsettling numbers. I read moments from conversations with policymakers and activists, as well as archive material, through lenses of solidarity and sovereignty. This approach allows us to see that delegitimisation of others’ rights can well be a product of relational insecurity, in this case, frustration in the Visegrad’s ‘policy world’ with the region’s recent Westernisation.

Open access

Eliseu Carbonell, Laurent Sébastien Fournier, Lara Houston, Maarja Kaaristo, Agnieszka Pasieka, and Markéta Slavková

Review: Kockel, Ullrich; Clopot, Cristina; Tjarve, Baiba; and Nic Craith, Máiréad (2020) Heritage and Festivals in Europe. Performing Identities. London: Routledge. 213 pp. ISBN: 978-0-367-18676-0.

Máiréad Nic Craith, (2020) The Vanishing World of The Islandman. Narrative and Nostalgia, London, Palgrave Macmillan, Palgrave Studies in Literary Anthropology.

Martínez, Francisco and Patrick Laviolette (2019) Repair, Brokenness, Breakthrough: Ethnographic Responses. Oxon & New York. Berghahn Books. 340 pp., 69 illus., bibliog., index, ISBN 978-1-78920-331-8, $135.00 /  99.00 Hb

Anu Lounela, Eeva Berglund and Timo Kallinen (eds) (2019) Dwelling in Political Landscapes: Contemporary Anthropological Perspectives. Studia Fennica Anthropologica 4 (Helsinki: The Finnish Literature Society), 293 pp., ISBN 978-951-858-087-7

Michał Buchowski (ed) (2019) Twilight Zone Anthropology. Voices from Poland. RAI/Sean Kingston Publishing. Vol. 2 of the RAI Country Series (series editor David Shankland)

Tom Scott-Smith (2020) On an Empty Stomach: Two Hundred Years of Hunger Relief. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 268 pp., Hardcover $35.00, ISBN: 9781501748653.

Open access

Marie-Luce Gélard


This text touches on the consumption of dry or dried products from the point of view of valorization and dessication as a norm of the “good”. Dried foods are also those which can circulate in the intra- and extranational migratory contexts thus allowing the commonality of sharing in absence. They also allow us to establish a clear distinction between human foods and demonic foods. And at last, they are the only ones to possess healing powers in the universe of therapeutic rituals linked to alimentation.


Ce texte propose d'aborder la consommation des produits secs et/ou séchés dans une perspective de valorisation de la dessiccation comme norme du « bon ». Les nourritures séchées sont aussi celles qui peuvent circuler dans le contexte migratoire intra et extranational permettant le partage au travers de la commensalité des absents. Elles permettent d'établir une nette distinction entre nourritures humaines et nourritures démoniaques. Enfin, elles seules possèdent des pouvoirs de guérison dans l'univers des rituels thérapeutiques liés à l'alimentation.