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Literary Readings as Performance

On the Career of Contemporary Writers in the New Ireland

Helena Wulff

Drawing on an anthropological study of the social organisation of the world of Irish writers, this article investigates the literary reading as performance which has become central for the career and promotion of contemporary writers. How is the reading - live as well as recorded - constituted, and how is it experienced from the writer's point of view? The data are derived from participant observation and interviews at literary festivals and conferences, writers' retreats, book launches and more informal situations with writers, as well as from fiction and essays by the writers. For this article, I asked some of the writers to write short texts on the reading. It turned out that the frames of the reading as performance reach beyond the reading event, and also that a reading includes elements of risk, such as not attracting a big enough audience or performing badly. Finally, the article considers the changing role of the ethnographer.

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PJ Carlino

museum studies scholar Richard Sandell, who argues that museums are “key sites for the enactment and viewing of performances by visitors; performances which regularly feature negotiations of cultural difference.” 2 The exhibit communicates best when

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Peter Herrmann

This article concerns challenges arising from the development of economic globalization as the so-called “creator of a new world order“ and its tendency to deteriorate the foundation of a global order in terms of social justice, solidarity, and human dignity. As main point of referral functions, the report of the "Commission Stiglitz, Sen and Fitoussi" on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress that refers to the European Commission's strategy of development, acknowledges the need for these values. On behalf of this reflection, this article is based on the recent outcomes of the exploration of these social quality issues in a recent published book by the Foundation on Social Quality. The article argues that indicators are needed in order to understand the effects of societal changes in response to the current economic globalization, which increases inequality and the fragmentation of the labor market.

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Diane Duclos, Sylvain L. Faye, Tidiane Ndoye, and Loveday Penn-Kekana

The notion of performance has become dominant in health programming, whether being embodied through pay-for-performance schemes or through other incentive-based interventions. In this article, we seek to unpack the idea of performance and performing in a dialogical fashion between field-based evaluation findings and methodological considerations. We draw on episodes where methodological reflections on performing ethnography in the field of global health intersect with findings from the everyday practices of working under performance-based contracts in the Senegalese supply chain for family planning. While process evaluations can be used to understand contextual factors influencing the implementation of an intervention, we as anthropologists in and of contemporary global health have an imperative to explore and challenge categories of knowledge and practice. Making room for new spaces of possibilities to emerge means locating anthropology within qualitative global health research.

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Marga Munkelt

The article uses performance and life analogies in ten novels for juvenile readers to investigate the young protagonists' quest for identity or orientation. Through their experiences in the theatre and as Shakespeare's colleagues, apprentices, or friends, the young people find out who they are and who they might be or should become. The narratives suggest that, not only as stage-actors but also as life-performers, they relive experiences that can be ascribed also to Shakespeare himself. As seen with their eyes, this Shakespeare is de-bardolatrised and de-mythologised when the life-and-theatre analogies he shares with them are extended to his working methods as a poet and playwright.

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Helen A. Robbins and Leigh Kuwanwisiwma

visible and identifiable during the ceremonies and rituals conducted on the village plazas and in the kivas, the Hopi belief system incorporates great complexity in form and content. Through dance, ritual, prayers, kiva speech, and public performance

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Scholastic Performances

Seamus Heaney and Tony Harrison (Back) at School

Kai Merten

While literature may possibly be, as Derrida claims, ‘the institution which allows one to say everything’, school most certainly is not. As an institution, it is bound up with the political system of a society and inevitably subjected to educational policy. Literature, however, is taught at school, and, as some would claim, institutionalised and canonised thereby. School education, of course, is also a topic within autobiographical poetry that conjures up the days at school or university as part of a reconstructed growth of a poet’s mind. In an unprecendented opening of the school system, the post-war period following the Education Act in 1944 witnessed the introduction of scholarships for marginalised social groups in Britain and campaigns for institutions of higher education in the colonies. Many of the now well-established and internationally renowned poets in English went to school then. Perhaps surprisingly, their class-room poems are not so much about great opportunities and hard-won laurels as about the pressures on, and depressions of, those recently welcomed to a system that distributes social and cultural power. In concentrating on two well-known poems that were both published in the 1970s, Tony Harrison’s ‘Them & [uz]’ and Seamus Heaney’s ‘The Ministry of Fear’, I want to trace the entanglement of poetry and school education from the 1950s, the period reconstructed in the poems, until today. Although critical of the British educational system and its attitude to poetry, these poems are now taught at school. A consideration of the performative dimension of these poems will yield the criteria with which to describe their classroom career.

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Paperwork performances

Legitimating state violence in the Swedish deportation regime

Lisa Marie Borrelli and Annika Lindberg

Deportation regimes mobilise coercive state powers, but also entail extensive paperwork, the latter of which remains underexplored in deportation studies. Building on ethnographic fieldwork in border police units and a migration-related detention centre in Sweden, this article explores how bureaucratic practices of detecting, detaining and ultimately deporting people whose presence has been illegalised are enforced and legitimated through the use of paperwork. Paperwork, we argue, becomes the ‘signature of the state’ that enables state agencies to assert themselves as ‘rational’ actors, even when their own practices are ridden by dilemmas, inconsistency and sometimes arbitrariness. We show how the same documents that are meant to ensure fairness and accountability in bureaucratic processes may render state actions even more unreadable, and further serve to rationalise and legitimise intrusive, violent and discriminatory state actions. The article thus highlights the importance of considering the often-tedious paperwork as essential to the operation of coercive state powers, such as the detainment and deportation of illegalised persons.

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Fabiola Lizama-Pérez, María de los Ángeles Piñar-Álvarez, Alejandro Ortega-Argueta, María Azahara Mesa-Jurado, María del Carmen Sandoval-Caraveo, and Ady Patricia Carrera-Hernández

English abstract: This article assesses the implementation and performance of Local Agenda 21 (LA21) in Mexico over a decade (2004–2013). Official records of municipal evaluations from all 31 Mexican states were analyzed, comprising 39 indicators of four dimensions of sustainable development: institutional, economic, social and environmental. A positive evolution of the implementation of LA21 was observed, with the economic and social dimensions presenting the best and worst performances, respectively. In general, the local governments of northern Mexico performed better than their southern counterparts. The voluntary nature of LA21 implementation is highlighted, yet necessitating a strengthening of municipal capacities in long-term planning, inter-administration continuity, efficacy evaluation, and integration of all sectors into a more coherent municipal agenda.

Spanish abstract: Este estudio analiza la implementación y desempeño de la Agenda Local 21 (AL21) en México en un periodo de una década (2004–2013). Se analizaron registros oficiales de evaluaciones municipales de los 31 estados de la república, que comprenden 39 indicadores de cuatro dimensiones del desarrollo sustentable: institucional, económico, social y ambiental. Se observó una evolución positiva en la implementación de la AL21, con las dimensiones económica y social mostrando el mejor y peor desempeños, respectivamente. En general, los gobiernos locales del norte de México tuvieron mejores desempeños que sus contrapartes del sur. Se destaca la naturaleza voluntaria de la implementación de la AL21, que todavía necesita un fortalecimiento de las capacidades municipales en la planificación de largo plazo, en la continuidad inter-administrativa, la evaluación de eficacia y la integración de todos los sectores en una agenda municipal más coherente.

French abstract: Cette étude analyse la mise en oeuvre et les performances de l’Agenda 21 local (AL21) au Mexique sur une période de dix ans (2004-2013). Les archives officielles des évaluations municipales des trente-et-un états de la République ont été analysées. Elles comprennent trente-neuf indicateurs de quatre dimensions du développement durable: institutionnel, économique, social et environnemental. Une évolution positive a été observée dans la mise en oeuvre du LA21, les dimensions économique et sociale affichant respectivement les meilleures et les plus basses performances. En général, les administrations locales du nord du Mexique ont obtenu de meilleurs résultats que leurs homologues du sud. On souligne la nature volontaire de la mise en oeuvre de la LA21, qui nécessite toutefois encore un renforcement des capacités municipales dans la planification à long terme, dans la continuité inter-administrative, l’évaluation de l’efficacité et l’intégration de tous les secteurs dans un agenda municipal plus cohérent.

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Roger Karapin

Germany has reduced its emissions of greenhouse gases more than almost any other industrialized democracy and is exceeding its ambitious Kyoto commitment. Hence, it is commonly portrayed as a climate-policy success story, but the situation is actually much more complex. Generalizing Germany's per-capita emissions to all countries or its emissions reductions to all industrialized democracies would still very likely produce more than a two-degree rise in global temperature. Moreover, analyzing the German country-case into eleven subcases shows that it is a mixture of relative successes and failures. This analysis leads to three main conclusions. First, high relative performance and high environmental damage can coexist. Second, we should see national cases in a differentiated way and not only in terms of their aggregate performances. Third, researchers on climate policies should more often begin with outcomes, work backward to policies, and be prepared for some surprises. Ironically, the most effective government interventions may not be explicit climate policies, such as the economic transformation of eastern Germany. Moreover, the lack of policy-making in certain areas may undercut progress made elsewhere, including unregulated increases in car travel, road freight, and electricity consumption. Research on climate and environmental policies should focus on somewhat different areas of government intervention and ask different questions.