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Open access


Anthropologies of Forensic Expertise in the Aftermath of Mass Violence

Zahira Aragüete-Toribio

throw them into the sea? It is a doubt that I cannot answer’. The words uttered by Violeta Berríos in Guzmán's documentary elucidate the emotive labour ( Harries 2017 ) triggered by the disappearance of a body and the compelling force that ‘wanting to

Open access

High-rise social failures

Regulating technologies, authority, and aesthetics in the resettlement of Taipei military villages

Elisa Tamburo


This article focuses on the “social failure” of the relocation of the residents from informal historical settlements—military dependents’ villages (juancun)—to high-rise blocks in Taiwan. How does the relocation impact the community and restructure social relationships? I argue social failure is the product of new regulative regimes deriving from the new governance of the high-rise, rather than of the built form of the complexes in itself. New home technologies such as intercoms, elevators, and electronic keys contribute to arguments over safety and convenience, while new regulations, implemented by new forms of authority, including condominium meetings and building administrators, foster the disappearance of household informal economies. Finally, the high-rise dictates new aesthetic norms, which prevent established practices and routines, while promoting what I call aesthetic of assimilation.

Open access

The potential of intangible loss

Reassembling heritage and reconstructing the social in post‐disaster Japan

Andrew Littlejohn

Attitudes towards cultural heritage have long been characterised by an ‘endangerment sensibility’ concerned with preventing losses. Recently, however, critical heritage scholars have argued that loss can be generative, facilitating the formation of new values and attachments. Their arguments have focused primarily on material heritage, whose risk of damage and disappearance is accelerating due to growing environmental crises. After Japan’s 2011 tsunami, however, heritage scholars there began probing a related question: what happens when supposedly ‘intangible’ heritage is damaged? Taking this question as a starting point, I ask how recent applications of assemblage theory in studies of heritage can shed light on destruction's role in forming and reforming places and peoples. Drawing on fieldwork in Japan’s disaster regions, I argue that disassembly is a form of damage rendering both the things mediating heritage and its reciprocal mediation of social life matters of concern. I suggest that the potential of loss lies in how heritage can be made to translate other interests during its reassembly. By contrast, attempts to perpetuate pre‐existing relations can render the social more rather than less precarious, depending on the context.

Open access

Situating the Investigation on Clandestine Graves in Mexico

Between the Forensic and Affective Turns

Carolina Robledo Silvestre and Paola Alejandra Ramírez González

arrived at his grandparents’ house when he was only two years old, and they raised him as their own. They always remember him as a likeable, smiling and playful boy. By the time of his disappearance, José Manuel was working eight hours a day at a

Open access

(Un)Doing the Colombian Armed Conflict

Forensic Knowledge, Contradicting Bodies, Unsettling Stories

María Fernanda Olarte-Sierra

actors, practices and objects of the armed conflict also as contextualised in given socio-cultural, historical and political moments ( Uribe 2008 ; Castillejo-Cuellar 2014 ). AUC: A Geography of Disappearance-Death-Disappearance The paramilitary

Open access

Householding and social reproduction

Comment on Newberry and Rosen

Deborah James

for those who “cannot be responsible for themselves”; and indeed that women—in the face of the disappearance of the necessary infrastructure— become that infrastructure ( 2015: 105 ). If we add financialized debt into the mix, such points also echo

Open access

The Grace in Hierarchy

Seniors, God, and the Sources of Life in Southern Ethiopia

Julian Sommerschuh

and situations with the slightest potential for sin—even if doing so means losing good things, too. The disappearance of commensality from church life illustrates this. Eating together has long been at the heart of Aari sociality, and Christians

Open access

“Going vertical” in times of insecurity

Constructing proximity and distance through a Kenyan gated high-rise

Zoë Goodman

” refers exclusively to those of South Asian provenance. 3 HAKI Africa, a Mombasa-based human rights organization, documented 80 cases of killings and disappearances on the Kenyan coast between 2012 and 2016. 4 Informants’ names are pseudonyms. 5

Open access

Jason Dockstader and Rojîn Mûkrîyan

forms of mass political violence as well, ranging from distinct kinds of genocide such as utilitarian genocide, policide, or democide to ethnic cleansing to demographic controls like forced assimilation or displacement to mass disappearance to torture

Open access

Humpty Dumpty Populism

Theopolitics and the Retreat of the Politico-theological in Venezuela (and Elsewhere)

Rafael Sánchez

present and visible so as to make it available to its sovereign dictates is frustrated by these spirits’ ceaseless coming and goings. Indeed, in and of itself, these migrant spirits’ appearances and disappearances suffice to make any sovereign go mad