This article analyzes divisions within Belarusian protest communities by focusing on a particular group: the professional protesters. In Belarus, this group occupies a crucial position in between the international structures of democracy promotion and the internal attempts of political mobilization against the politics of President Aliaksandr Lukashenka. Performativity as an analytical perspective is employed to define positionality of professional protesters in relation to other political subjects and within the system of democracy promotion. The article shows implications of neoliberal rationality for social and political changes for protest communities in Belarus. It argues that the financial assistance obtained by protest professionals, as well as nondemocratic leader ship style of the oppositional leaders, fills the Belarusian protest field with suspicions and accusations, add to a hierarchical and exclusionary way of participation in decision-making, and alienate activists from protest politics.
Enacting Politics, Reinforcing Divisions
Leyla Neyzi, Nida Alahmad, Nina Gren, Martha Lagace, Chelsey Ancliffe, and Susanne Bregnbæk
Sacrificial Limbs: Masculinity, Disability, and Political Violence in Turkey, by Salih Can Açıksöz. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2019. 272 pp. 19 illus. Paperback. ISBN 978-0-5203-0530-4.
For the Love of Humanity: The World Tribunal on Iraq, by Ayça Çubukçu. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018. 240 pp. 7 illus. Hardcover. ISBN 978-0-8122-5050-3.
Life Lived in Relief: Humanitarian Predicaments and Palestinian Refugee Politics, by Ilana Feldman. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2018. 320 pp. 20 illus. Hardcover. ISBN: 978-0-520-29963-4.
Peaceful Selves: Personhood, Nationhood, and the Post-Conflict Moment in Rwanda, by Laura Eramian. New York: Berghahn Books, 2019. 202 pp. 3 illus. Paperback. ISBN: 978-1-78920-493-3.
Counterrevolution: The Global Rise of the Far Right, by Walden Bello. Blackpoint: Fernwood Publishing, 2019. 196 pp. Paperback. ISBN: 978-1-77363-221-6.
Critique of Identity Thinking, by Michael Jackson. New York: Berghahn Books., 2019. 207 pp. Hardcover. ISBN 978-1-78920-282-3.
Four Exhibitions on Jerusalem
Sa’ed Atshan and Katharina Galor
This article compares four Jerusalem exhibits in different geographical and political contexts: at the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem, the Palestinian Museum in Birzeit, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Jewish Museum Berlin. It examines the role of heritage narrative, focusing specifically on the question of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is either openly engaged or alternatively avoided. In this regard, we specifically highlight the asymmetric power dynamics as a result of Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem, and how this political reality is addressed or avoided in the respective exhibits. Finally, we explore the agency of curators in shaping knowledge and perspective and study the role of the visitors community. We argue that the differences in approaches to exhibiting the city’s cultural heritage reveals how museums are central sites for the politics of the human gaze, where significant decisions are made regarding inclusion and exclusion of conflict.
A Masculinities Perspective on the Enduring Warrior Ethos of Rio de Janeiro’s Police
Celina Myrann Sørbøe
The Police “Pacification” Unit (Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora—UPP) program in Rio de Janeiro pledged to pacify both militarized police officers and the communities they patrolled: favelas occupied by armed drug traffickers. While the UPPs promoted a softer approach, police practices remained permeated with logics of violence. In understanding why, this article examines how an enduring “warrior ethos” influences the occupational culture of the police. I frame this warrior ethos by reference to notions of masculinity and honor both in the police culture and in the favela, and approach the warrior as a masculine performance. This masculinities perspective on the ways in which policing activities are framed and enacted provides important insights into why it was so difficult to change police attitudes and practices.
Racialized Pacification and Police Moralism from Rio’s Favelas to Bolsonaro
Tomas Salem and Bjørn Enge Bertelsen
The Pacifying Police Units, rolled out in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympics, were part of a police intervention conceived to end the logic of war that characterized the city’s public security policies. As such, it adopted “so” strategies of policing aimed at reducing violence and asserting state sovereignty in “pacified” favelas. Drawing on a postcolonial framework of analysis, we argue that these favelas can be understood as sites for experiments in imperial statecraft, where a new set of socio-moral relations that we call police moralism were inscribed onto spaces and bodies. Pacification, in this context, means the reassertion of Brazil’s historical racial order. In our conclusion, we read the moral order implemented in the favelas as a prefiguration of President Jair Bolsonaro’s right-wing authoritarianism on a national scale.
Performance, Power, Exclusion, and Expansion in Anthropological Accounts of Protests
This introductory article offers a theoretical frame for the current special section, discussing protests’ value for analyzing performance, power, expansion, and exclusion, and contributes its own case study from the ongoing anti-logging protests in Estonia. While arising from power imbalances, protests hold powerful tools for achieving their aims. The introduction considers protests’ ability to expand in space, through time, and beyond topics, and to capture wider support, creating communities in the process. At the same time, considering the contexts of protests, it also demonstrates how such movements get caught up in the normative features of human sociality, reproducing the existing power relations, including those the protests aim to challenge. The Estonian case study enables further insight into this by analyzing dispossessions that protests both aggravate and suffer from.
Exceptionalism and Necropolitical Security Dynamics in Olympic Rio de Janeiro
Margit Ystanes and Tomas Salem
For more than a decade, urban development in Rio de Janeiro was driven by the urgency of preparations for mega-events such as the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. During these years, Brazilian authorities used the megaevents to create a state of exception that legitimized a broad range of state security interventions across the city. While Brazilian authorities presented the events as an opportunity to create a modern, dynamic, and socially inclusive city, this special section argues that the security interventions implemented in Rio during the years of Olympic exceptionalism intensified racialized and gendered inequalities and reproduced historical patterns of necropolitical governance that has sought to render black life in Brazil impossible.
Contentious Activism Facing Megaprojects, Authoritarianism, and Violence
This article analyzes community activism and state interventionism within a context of racialized and gendered violence that is both direct/physical and structural. It presents a case study of Manguinhos, a cluster of favelas in Rio de Janeiro experiencing the federal Growth Acceleration Program (PAC), which provided political opportunities for community contentions. A main finding is that an oligarchic-patrimonial system suppressed the participatory-democratic aspirations of the federal government and local activists alike. Nevertheless, new rounds of activism keep surging against a prevailing military-repressive logic. Observations and interviews from fieldwork have been supplemented with written sources—relevant public documents, media sources, and research publications.
Mega-Event Security as Camouflage in Rio de Janeiro
This article reconsiders sport mega-event security in the context of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The article essentially argues that the mega-event organizers used a security spectacle to camouflage Rio’s politics of death in the many favelas and peripheral neighborhoods. Conceptually, this contribution centralizes different notions of spectacle and camouflage and situates both in the history of violent and racial policing of the poor in Brazil. Empirically, the piece explores, across three sections, how (1) the city was transformed into a spectacular fortress by adapting standardized mega-event security measures to the specific public security conditions in Rio; (2) the Olympic fortress was nonetheless selectively porous and permeable; and (3) the spectacle served to camouflage the other wise deadly police deployments of socio-spatial patterns along lines of class and racial inequalities.
The Politics of Kinship and Women’s Composite Agency
Sif Lehman Jensen
This article, from the perspective of how agency is nested in this choice, explores why women marry imprisoned insurgents from the southern Philippines. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Maharlika Village, a major Muslim community in Manila, the article discusses how women negotiate gender relations, family, and insurgency politics against the backdrop of political conflict and their precarious everyday lives. The analysis asks how prison marriages feed into the women’s everyday maneuvering of the metropole, and how marrying a political prisoner is embedded in moral and gendered obligations arising from the entangled relationship between kinship and insurgency politics. Theoretically, the article argues that prison marriages are part of the women’s composite agency, which captures how they aim at fulfilling contradictory desires, notions of morality and gendered obligations, which enables them to momentarily attain their own aspirations.