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Migration as Survival

Withheld Stories and the Limits of Ethnographic Knowability

Gerhild Perl

How to write about survival? How to tell survival? By exploring manifold reasons to withhold a story, I shed light on the limits of ethnographic knowledge production and the politics of storytelling that mobilize one story and silence another. Through engaging with the fragmented narrative of a Moroccan survivor of a shipwreck in Spanish waters in 2003, I reconceptualize the movement called “migration as survival” by theorizing it as an ethnographic concept. I explore the different temporalities of survival as living through a life-threatening event and as living on in an unjust world. These interrelated temporalities of survival are embedded in the afterlife of the historical time of al-Andalus and the resurgent fear of the Muslim “Other.” By suggesting an existentially informed political understanding of the survival story, I show how the singularity of the survivor is inscribed in a regime of mobility that constrains people and their stories.

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Militarization via Education

A 1945 Primer from Socialist Macedonia

Darko Leitner-Stojanov

This article examines the textual and visual content of the first postwar primer in socialist Yugoslav Macedonia in order to understand the messages that it contains relating to techniques of militarization. After outlining the historical context in which this primer was developed, with reference to teachers’ memories and archival sources, the article analyzes the role of teaching materials in connection with the experience of the Second World War and the politics of the new communist state. This content analysis identifies six militaristic messages and values communicated to the pupils, who are addressed as future soldiers.

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Sue Frohlick, Kristin Lozanski, Amy Speier and Mimi Sheller

What mobilizes people to take up reproductive options, directions, and trajectories in ways that generate the possibilities and practices of mobilities? People’s desires for procreation or to resolve fertility challenges or partake in sperm donation, egg freezing, or surrogacy; the need for abortion services; and forced evacuation for childbirth care all involve movement. Reproductive aspirations, norms, and regulations move people’s bodies, as well as related technologies and bioproducts. At the same time, these corporeal, material, in/tangible mobilities of bodies, things, and ideas are also generative of reproductive imaginaries and practices. Reproduction is mobile and movement affects reproduction. Building from an interdisciplinary workshop on reproductive mobilities in Kelowna, Canada, this article aims to push the mobilities framework toward the edges of feminist, affect, queer, decolonizing, materialist, and nonrepresentational theories in thinking through both reproduction and movement.

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Moving-with-Others

Restoring Viable Relations in Emigrant Gambia

Paolo Gaibazzi

The article argues for an intersubjective understanding of mobility among aspirant migrants in the Gambia. Among other factors, Gambian young men’s desire to reach Europe and other destinations may stem from an experience of dispersal and abandonment in migrant households. Emigration becomes a way of restoring the viability of relationships, in a socioeconomic sense of regenerating ties and flows between migrants and nonmigrants, as well as in an existential-kinetic sense of experiencing others as moving closer to oneself. By highlighting intersubjective mobility, the article contributes to widening the scope of an existential take on movement and stasis. It further revises popular and scholarly views on the role of families and migrants in shaping aspirations to emigrate.

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Ana B. Amaya and Philippe De Lombaerde

This introduction to the special section explores the nexus between global health governance and international health diplomacy. In these dynamic governance spaces, particular attention is paid to the multi-level and multi-actor character of global health governance and how health diplomacy functions in such a complex context. It is pointed out that the regional level plays both vertical (i.e., as an intermediary between the global and national levels) and horizontal (i.e., interregional) roles. The contributions to the special section develop the conceptual understanding of those interactions and analyze a number of concrete cases, including the African Union, ASEAN, the European Union, SADC, and UNASUR.

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“My Visa Application Was Denied, I Decided to Go Anyway”

Interpreting, Experiencing, and Contesting Visa Policies and the (Im)mobility Regime in Algeria

Farida Souiah

This article explores the ways people targeted by restrictive migration and mobility policies in Algeria experience, interpret, and contest them. It focuses on the perspective of harragas, literally “those who burn” the borders. In the Maghrebi dialects, this is notably how people leaving without documentation are referred to. It reflects the fact that they do not respect the mandatory steps for legal departure. Also, they figuratively “burn” their papers to avoid deportation once in Europe. Drawing on qualitative fieldwork, this article outlines the complex and ambiguous attitudes toward the legal mobility regime of those it aims to exclude: compliance, deception, delegitimization, and defiance. It contributes to debates about human experiences of borders and inequality in mobility regimes. It helps deepen knowledge on why restrictive migration and mobility policies fail and are often counterproductive, encouraging the undocumented migration they were meant to deter.

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‘My Waka Journey’

Introducing a New Co-Editor

Patrick Laviolette

It’s safe to say that the world of publishing is where much of my academic passion resides. After co-editing EASA’s flagship journal, Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale, with Sarah Green for the past four years, what I feel I most strongly bring to AJEC is an interdisciplinary research profile and an international trajectory. With formative years in Edinburgh and London, I have been exposed to the diverse subfields of human ecology and medical anthropology as well as material, digital and visual culture studies. Indeed, much of my research has occurred in quite multi- or transdisciplinary settings, often dealing with the formulation of British and European sociocultural identities. This parallels the interests of many ethnographers who explore the anthropologies of the familiar or even ‘at home’ topics.

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Gabriela Kiliánová and et al

The success of an academic journal depends on many factors. Let us, however, only mention two of them: its high-quality editing and its continuity. The Anthropological Journal of European Cultures is prosperous because it fulfils both of these criteria. This means it has been published periodically, nonstop for nearly three decades under the supervision of editors with significant dedication to the journal.

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Nurturing Romanian Socialists

Reading Primers Before, During and After the Second World War

Simona Szakács-Behling and Mihai Stelian Rusu

Drawing on a sample of children’s reading primers published between 1938 and 1953 in Romania, this article explores ways in which both the monarchic and the communist regimes used primary education to fashion political subjects before, during, and after the Second World War. Theoretically grounded in a sociological approach and empirically grounded in textual and visual thematic content analysis, the findings reveal significant semantic shifts in understandings of the “nation” in relation to internal and external anchors, including religion, monarchy, and work, but they also indicate important continuities relating to an ethos of political submission (toward God and king, or the party and the Soviet Union) and patriotic solidarity (with the Romanian Orthodox nation or the workers’ proletarian nation).

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On quasi-constitutional treaties

The case of transboundary freshwater compacts

Stephen Mumme

Through analysis of North American water treaties, this article specifies criteria for determining the quasi-constitutionality of freshwater treaties in order to determine if some of them have quasi-constitutional standing. These criteria, temporal, substantive, and contextual, are applied to treaties found in the Transboundary Freshwater Dispute Database at Oregon State University (TFDD). Of 74 agreements (with 50 years standard duration), only six agreements meet or come close to meeting the quasi-constitutional standard, not counting the North American treaties. We conclude that while quasi-constitutional treaties are rare among the more than 600 in the TFDD, they reinforce international water law and strengthen social cohesion among the contracting states. They also highlight the importance of both substantive and contextual conditions in consolidating support for such treaties.