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Transit Migration in Niger

Stemming the Flows of Migrants, but at What Cost?

Sébastien Moretti

Since 2015, the European Union has stepped up its efforts to curb irregular migration from sub-Saharan Africa through increasingly restrictive measures targeting transit countries along migratory routes, including Niger. While the EU has heralded the success of its policies to limit migration through Niger, EU migration policies have disrupted the economic system in Agadez, where transit migration has been one of the main sources of income and a factor of stability since the end of the Tuareg rebellions in 2009. This article discusses the impact that EU migration policies may have at the local level in countries of transit, and highlights the potential for these policies to fuel tensions between local and national authorities. The Agadez case study illustrates the importance of a multilevel approach to migration governance that takes into full consideration the role of local authorities and local communities in countries of transit.

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Using Art to Resist Epistemic Injustice

The Aesthetics of the Oppressed and Democratic Freedom

Gustavo H. Dalaqua

This article argues that the aesthetics of the oppressed—a series of artistic practices elaborated by Augusto Boal that comprises the theatre of the oppressed, the rainbow of desire technique, and legislative theatre—utilizes art in order to resist epistemic injustice and promote democratic freedom. By constraining people’s ability to know and explore the potentialities of their bodies and desires, epistemic injustice perpetuates oppression and blocks the advent of democratic freedom. Whereas the theatre of the oppressed tackles corporal oppression, the rainbow of desire technique resists psychological oppression by encouraging the oppressed to critically examine their desires and self-knowledge. Finally, legislative theatre furthers democratic freedom by allowing citizens to protest against any epistemic injustice that might result from the enactment of laws made by representatives.

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When Transit States Pursue Their Own Agenda

Malaysian and Indonesian Responses to Australia's Migration and Border Policies

Antje Missbach and Gerhard Hoffstaedter

The growing literature on transit countries places much emphasis on the policy interventions of destination countries. In the case of Southeast Asia, Australian policies have disproportionate effects across borders into the region, including those of Indonesia and Malaysia. However, so-called transit countries also counterweigh foreign policy incursions with domestic politics, their own policies of externalizing their borders, and negotiations with destination countries to fund their domestic capacity. While Malaysia and Indonesia share many characteristics as transit countries, they are also noteworthy cases of how they negotiate their own interests in making difficult decisions regarding irregular migration in the region and how responsibility and burdens should be shared.

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"Your debts are our problem"

The politicization of debt in Azerbaijan

Tristam Barrett

Unlike in other countries with debt-saddled populations, the issue of consumer debt has been weakly politicized in Azerbaijan. There have been no social movements of the kind that occurred around the financial crises in the United States, the European periphery, or even in Ukraine’s post-revolution attempt at a “financial Maidan.” The lack of a public politics of debt left banks to act as predators, using a weak court system to intimidate people and obtain repayment of debts. Yet the constraints to the public sphere within which a contentious politics might unfold does not mean no such politicization exists. Using the example of Antikollektor, a successful anti-debt-collection agency in Baku, this article demonstrates the usefulness of building an understanding of civil society outside of the reductivist frames that shape recent debates over the authoritarian backlash against foreign-funded organized civil society in the former Eastern Bloc.

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Multiscalar moral economy

Global agribusiness, rural Zambian residents, and the distributed crowd

Tijo Salverda

This article addresses the relevance of the moral economy concept in light of unequal socioeconomic relations between a European agribusiness and rural residents in Zambia. It argues that the moral economy concept offers a helpful heuristic device for analyzing how relationships are constituted, negotiated, and contested among interdependent actors with “opposing” socioeconomic interests. To explain the dynamics of their relationships, however, the moral economy concept has to extend beyond its usual, spatially restricted (i.e., local) focus. Instead, “external,” distant, non-local actors, such as foreign critics concerned about “land grabbing,” also influence the local character of moral-economic exchanges between the agribusiness and rural residents. Hence, the article proposes a multiscalar perspective to account for the influence of a wider array of actors.

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Jonathan A. Allan, Chris Haywood and Frank G. Karioris

As noted in our introduction, the Journal of Bodies, Sexualities, and Masculinities hopes to do things differently. One of these differences, which perhaps may not be all that different, is that our journal will have a rotating cover image. Each issue will include a different image that is reflective of the journal or perhaps of a particular article in the issue. One goal behind this practice is to promote spaces and places that may be unknown to scholars working in the field; as such, we will work with various archives to acquire images that we can freely disseminate, and in each issue we will provide a brief overview of the archive consulted to obtain the cover image. Too often archives work in isolation; sometimes they are funded by private sources and are not part of the academy.

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Afterword

Comparison in the Anthropological Study of Plural Religious Environments

Birgit Meyer

Highlighting common threads in the pieces by Beekers, Kasmani and Mattes, and Dilger, this concluding essay reflects on the potential of comparison as conceptual innovation in the anthropological study of religious plurality. Asking how to develop innovative practices of comparison for the sake of grasping the dynamics of plural societies in the light of the articles in this collection, I argue that it is necessary to transcend the bifurcation of the study of religions, which was accentuated with the rise of the anthropologies of Islam and Christianity, in favor of a focus on the secular configuration as a whole, paying attention to power dynamics that assign different spaces for action to different religions (notwithstanding their equality in legal terms). The point of comparison, understood as a critical project geared toward conceptual innovation, is not only to discern so far overlooked, unexpected differences and similarities, but also to understand how these differences and similarities, as well as the possibility to compare as such, are outcomes of long-standing entanglements.

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Afterword

The Urban and the Carceral

Steffen Jensen

In this afterword, I consider some of the important insights that are generated in this special issue. The thorough and detailed consideration of the ways in which detainees and formerly incarcerated persons survive confinement and the constraints imposed on them illustrates the power of ethnography. Each of the contributions builds on strong empirical material and sometimes decade-long engagement with people in and on the brink of confining institutions. In this way, the contributions form a comprehensive empirical foundation for understanding confinement beyond the carceral institutions, while also allowing us to ask new kinds of questions about confinement beyond site. While firmly rooted in prison ethnography, the special issue thus inspires urban studies and anthropologists more broadly to think concertedly about the role of confinement, not only as the fate of many urban residents but as an ever-present element of the urban imaginary and of urban life.

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America's Favorite Doll?

Conflicting Discourses of Commodity Activism

Diana Leon-Boys

Emilie Zaslow. 2017. Playing with America’s Doll: A Cultural Analysis of the American Girl Collection. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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Daniela R. P. Weiner

During the Allied occupation of the Axis countries, education and the revision of educational materials were seen as a means of ensuring future peace in Europe. Most scholarly literature on this topic has focused on the German case or has engaged in a German-Japanese comparison, neglecting the country in which the textbook revision process was first pioneered: Italy. Drawing primarily on the papers of the Allied occupying military governments, this article explores the parallels between the textbook revision processes in Allied-occupied Italy and Germany. It argues that, for the Allied occupiers involved in reeducation in Italy and Germany, the reeducation processes in these countries were inextricably linked. Furthermore, the institutional learning process that occurred in occupied Italy enabled the more thorough approach later applied in Germany.