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

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

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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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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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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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Jane F. Hacking, Jeffrey S. Hardy and Matthew P. Romaniello

This special issue of Sibirica is devoted to exploring Russia’s complicated relationship with Asia. Along with an edited volume (Russia in Asia: Imaginations, Interactions, and Realities, forthcoming), it is an outgrowth of the “Asia in the Russian Imagination” conference that was held at the University of Utah in March 2018. This conference brought together an interdisciplinary body of scholars from the United States, Canada, and Russia to discuss how Russians imagined and interacted with the peoples of Eurasia. Chronologically this conversation spanned the Russian Empire, Soviet Union, and post-Soviet Russia, and included not just the geography and peoples possessed by Russia but also the bordering states of Japan, China, and the Ottoman Empire. This is certainly not a new line of inquiry, but there is still much to be understood about these complex relationships, both real and imagined.

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Austrian "Gypsies" in the Italian archives

Historical ethnography on multiple border crossings at the beginning of the twentieth century

Paola Trevisan

The archival documents I work with concern Sinti (“Gypsy”) families belonging to the Austrian Empire, stopped by the Italian authorities between 1908 and 1912. By following Anna Laura Stoler’s proposition, I read the police records through an ethnographic lens, connecting the anti-Gypsy policy of both states with the strategies adopted by the Sinti families to inhabit and/or cross borders. Thus, the border becomes the space where the sovereignty of the state came into play and where the categories of “citizen” and “foreigner” become explicit through the daily controls on those who attempt to cross. Intertwining research in the archives with anthropological literature and fieldwork, this article presents a historical ethnography of those Sinti families who experienced the borders as “Gypsies,” a category that calls for critical analysis because it goes beyond the foreigner/citizen dichotomy.

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"Avoiding the mistakes of the past"

Tower block failure discourse and economies of risk management in London's Olympic Park

Saffron Woodcraft

A powerful dystopian imaginary dominates political and cultural representations of Britain’s postwar tower blocks, which continue to be linked to social dysfunction and alienation despite extensive empirical research that challenges such claims. Th is article asks what contested declarations of failure “do” by examining how “tower block failure” is discursively deployed by placemaking professionals—planners, architects, housing managers, regeneration practitioners—engaged in the construction of a “model” mixed-tenure neighborhood in London’s Olympic Park. Examining how the aesthetic figure of the “failed” high-rise housing estate is configured in relation to the normative models of citizenship and community that infuse social and spatial policy, I argue “failure” is entangled with a speculative, future-oriented economy of risk management, which refracts wider questions about the nonobvious forms that power takes in the neoliberal city.

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Beyond the Individual Body

Spinoza's Radical Enactivism and You Were Never Really Here

Francesco Sticchi

Since the emergence of embodied cognitive theories, there has been an ever-growing interest in the application of these theories to media studies, generating a large number of analyses focusing on the affective and intellectual features of viewers’ participation. The body of the viewer has become the central object of study for film and media scholars, who examine the conceptual physicality of the viewing experience by associating body states with parallel intellectual and moral constructions. In this article, I contribute to the study of embodied cognition and cinema by drawing upon Baruch Spinoza’s philosophy, especially from his process-based notion of the body. I will put this ecological and dynamic concept of the body in connection with recent studies on enactive cognition, and define a radical enactivist approach to be applied in the discussion of the experiential dynamics of Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here.

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Book Reviews

Hegelianisms without Metaphysics?

David James, Bahareh Ebne Alian and Jean Terrier

The Actual and the Rational: Hegel and Objective Spirit, by Jean-François Kervégan. Translated by Daniela Ginsburg and Martin Shuster. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018. xxiii + 384 pp.

Avicenna and the Aristotelian Left, by Ernst Bloch. Translated by Loren Goldman and Peter Thompson. New York: Columbia University Press, 2019. xxvi +109 pp.

Critique of Forms of Life, by Rahel Jaeggi. Translated by Ciaran Cronin. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2018. xx + 395 pp.