Investment broker Bernie Madoff ran what is still considered the largest Ponzi scheme in history, defrauding thousands of investors over a 20-year period of more than $20 billion. He worked his game almost entirely through kinship connections—relatives, friends of relatives, and relatives of friends. The relationship between kinship and capitalism has drawn renewed attention by anthropologists, part of a broader effort to rethink capitalism not as a free-standing ‘economy’ but as deeply embedded in a wide range of social relations. In this article I use the Madoff case to illustrate, and develop further, several aspects of the kinship/capitalism connection. I also consider briefly the boundary between fraud and ‘legitimate’ capitalism, which many economic historians consider a fuzzy boundary at best.
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The Case of Bernie Madoff
Sherry B. Ortner
Emotion, Law, and Witchcraft Accusations in a Botswana Village Customary Court
Pnina Werbner and Richard Werbner
Legal anthropologists have been latecomers in the debate surrounding law and emotion, a movement responding to the notion that the law is ‘imbued with emotion’. As in the US and Europe, in Botswana cases of public insults are emotionally charged, and this is particularly so in witchcraft insult hearings. Akin to hate crimes, these insults threaten public peace, kinship amity, and decency. Members of a customary court mobilize an elaborate moral lexicon from everyday life in order not simply to ascertain the forensic facts, but to persuade offenders to regain their rational good sense, reach a self-conscious emotional balance, and recover spiritual calmness. The procedure culminates in a dialogue intended to restore public peace and to elicit an apology or show of regret from defendants and forgiveness from insulted plaintiffs.
Contrasts and Congruence within and between Germany and England
Eleanor Brown, Beatrice Szczepek Reed, Alistair Ross, Ian Davies and Géraldine Bengsch
This article is based on an analysis of the treatment of the European Union in a sample of textbooks from Germany and England. Following contextual remarks about civic education (politische Bildung) in Germany and citizenship education in England and a review of young people’s views, we demonstrate that textbooks in Germany and in England largely mirror the prevailing political climate in each country regarding Europe. At the same time, the analysis reveals a disparity between the perspectives presented by the textbooks and young people’s views. The textbooks in Germany provide more detail and take a more open approach to Europe than those in England. Finally, we argue that the textbooks may be seen as contributing to a process of socialization rather than one of education when it comes to characterizations of Europe.
Seth Schindler, Simin Fadaee and Dan Brockington
There is renewed interest in megaprojects worldwide. In contrast to high-modernist megaprojects that were discrete projects undertaken by centralized authorities, contemporary megaprojects are often decentralized and pursued by a range of stakeholders from governments as well as the private sector. They leverage cutting-edge technology to ‘see’ complex systems as legible and singular phenomena. As a result, they are more ambitious, more pervasive and they have the potential to reconfigure longstanding relationships that have animated social and ecological systems. The articles in this issue explore the novel features of contemporary megaprojects, they show how the proponents of contemporary megaprojects aspire to technologically enabled omnipresence, and they document the resistance that megaprojects have provoked.
Protestantischer Einfluss in griechischen Schulbüchern?
*Full article is in German
English abstract: In the nineteenth century, Anastasios Diomedes Kyriakos, a Greek professor of theology at the newly founded University of Athens, wrote a much heeded scholarly work of Greek ecclesiastical history. Kyriakos had been profoundly influenced by his German Protestant theological predecessors whose ideas, including those about Byzantium, found their way into his work, such that Byzantium was presented as an empire in constant decline. This article addresses the question whether this negative presentation of Byzantium was also adopted in Kyriakos’ school textbooks for ecclesiastical history at a time in which Byzantium was generally perceived proudly as part of Greek national historiography and identity.
German abstract: Anastasios Diomedes Kyriakos, griechischer Theologieprofessor an der neu gegründeten Universität von Athen, verfasste im 19. Jahrhundert ein bedeutsames akademisches Werk für Kirchengeschichte. Sein Werk war sehr stark von seinen deutschen, evangelischen theologischen Vorbildern geprägt, was sich nicht zuletzt bei seiner Byzanz-Darstellung niederschlägt, denn genau wie seine Vorbilder zeichnet er Byzanz als ein Reich im stetigen Verfall. Der vorliegende Aufsatz befasst sich vor allem mit der Frage, ob diese negative Byzanz-Darstellung auch in Kyriakos’ Schulbüchern für Kirchengeschichte tradiert worden ist, in einer Zeit, in der Byzanz eigentlich mit Stolz als Teil der griechischen Nationalgeschichtsschreibung und Identität betrachtet wurde.
Israel and BDS
This article examines the securitization of delegitimization as a national security threat in Israel. The article contains three elements. First, theoretically, it analyzes legitimacy as a national security asset and delegitimization as a risk to ontological security. Second, it traces the Israeli response to delegitimization, providing an empirically rich account of this approach. Finally, it seeks to provide an assessment, albeit preliminary, of the effectiveness of the Israeli response. It concludes by discussing policy implications, emphasizing the benefits and counterproductive outcomes of an otherwise successful securitization process. Although Israel has had success curbing delegitimization with regard to political elites at the state level, it continues to lose ground with both the grassroots and Western liberal audiences.
This article explores the ideological underpinnings of the major Jewish political camps in Israel and the Yishuv—the left, the Orthodox, the national right, the bourgeois center—and evaluates the extent to which they are compatible with liberal democracy as commonly understood in the West. It also analyzes quasi-democratic and non-democratic aspects of older Jewish traditions based on the Torah, the Talmud, and the Halakhah. While the history of Zionism and the Zionist movement contained definite democratic components, Israel’s political system was shaped by a range of anti-democratic traditions whose resonance is still felt today.
Music and Poetry in the Wedding Songs of the Moroccan Sephardim
This article presents a selection of Moroccan Sephardi wedding songs based on authentic recordings from the author’s own field work and representing the various Jewish communities in northern Morocco. Among the musico-poetic songs of the Moroccan Sephardim, the wedding songs are, certainly, the richest repertoire, with special songs that fulfil a definite function in each of the stages of the Sephardic wedding. This repertoire is performed by women, more often than not in group singing, with men joining in the repeated refrain. The author analyses examples of these wedding songs considering the themes and structures of their texts, the different ways in which the stanzas are organized, especially the serial and the accumulative structures.
Contra the prevalent way of thinking about the dirty-hands problem, this article suggests that dirty hands need not necessarily entail suffering and that a politician who does not suffer for his dirty-handed acts should not be cast as a bad politician. In so doing, the article: (i) argues that the connection between DH and suffering is unsatisfactorily totalising and rests on a contentious conception of conflict as a dysfunction and (ii) develops an alternative account of the good dirty-handed politician, which is associated with what proponents of the prevalent view of the problem find impossible: calm acceptance of – even indulgence in – one’s dirt. This recognition has important implications for our contemporary culture of contrition and for the way we evaluate the characters of our politicians.
In addition to offering insight into the discipline of sociology, sociology of education textbooks constitute a major source of sociological knowledge. This article examines the scholarly content of Indonesian sociology of education textbooks by focusing on the degree of commonality between their core content and sources, and between their core content and academic scholarship. The results of this examination reveal a low level of commonality among the core contents of the seven selected textbooks—a heterogeneity that reflects not so much the plurality of Indonesian society and educational institutions or the application of sociological theories and approaches required by the Indonesian curriculum, but rather the diversity of the textbooks’ sources and their authors’ scholarly publication records.