In the editorial note of the first issue of Regions & Cohesion, we directly asked ourselves and our readers: What role do people play in regional integration processes? Regions have, indeed, developed in different ways and for different reasons. One of the main questions behind the mission of this journal asks: Are territories serving their citizens, or do citizens serve the needs of expanding territories and interconnected markets?
Carmen Maganda and Harlan Koff
Arab Women's Subalterniy During Political Struggles
Arab Spring movements in many Arab countries revealed a gap at the heart of Arab society and politics: the large-scale subalternity of Arab women in such movements. In this essay, I hypothesize that, with few exceptions, Arab women have always avoided participation in social and political activism because of their fear of political rape – raping women as punishment during political turmoil. The essay traces the history of political rape through different stages of Arab history. The examples are taken from history, literature and international reports and they mainly cover three countries: Syria, Egypt, and Libya. These examples prove that vulnerable women’s horror at any possibility of their being sexually abused and then rejected by their families and society has always haunted them, preventing them from struggling or protesting. The essay concludes that subalternity is the only stance from which Arab women can encounter political rape. Then, the essay discusses the subalternity of Arab women in the light of the thought of the postcolonial critic Gayatri Spivak. This argument leads to the contention that the silence of Arab women vulnerable to political rape should not be considered passive and that feminist theories and actions cannot be successful in supporting subaltern Arab women without the ethical responsibility theorized by Spivak as the most appropriate approach to the subaltern female. This approach entails respecting subaltern Arab women’s culture and fears and avoiding any attempt to make them copies of the European feminist self. Subaltern Arab women who are afraid of being sexually abused have the right to protect their bodies and stick to their culture while still participating in public life.
Creative Practices/Resistant Acts
Nesreen Hussein and Iain MacKenzie
forms that include the performed as well as the performative. Notably, the symposium was held less than two years after the first sparks of the Arab Spring were ignited in Tunisia at the end of 2010, which was followed by the revolutions that spread
Evolving Relations with Egypt and Libya
Elisabetta Brighi and Marta Musso
The Mediterranean and the Middle East have long constituted an important “circle” in Italy’s foreign policy, with Egypt and Libya playing a particularly important role. During 2016, two sources of tension emerged in Italy’s relations with these countries. The first reflects a wider European situation. Like the rest of the EU, Italy has followed strategic interests—on migration, energy, and security—that sometimes conflict with the promotion of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, which the EU claims to promote in its external relations. The Regeni affair, involving a murdered Italian graduate student, exemplified this tension. The second source results from the role of corporate interests in Italy, especially those of oil and energy companies, in relation to the country’s “national interests.” Italian foreign policy toward both Libya and Egypt seems to have been driven by a combination of somewhat overlapping but also divergent national and corporate interests.
Protest and Disorder after the Global Crash
Bob Jeffery, Joseph Ibrahim, and David Waddington
The years since the onset of global recession, circa 2008, have led to an unprecedented rise in discontent in societies around the world. Whether this be the Arab Spring of 2011 when popular uprisings against authoritarian regimes cascaded across North Africa and the Middle East, or the rise of left-wing, anti-capitalist and far-right movements in the developed 'north', ranging from the Indignados in Spain, Syriza and the Golden Dawn in Greece, Le Front National in France, student movements in Quebec, or the allegedly less articulate explosion of rage characterizing the English Riots of 2011, it is clear that Fukuyama's thesis regarding the final ascendency of liberal capitalism (and its puppet regimes in the developing world) was grossly misplaced. In Badiou's (2012) terms we are witnessing 'the rebirth of history', where all bets regarding the trajectories of local and global political economies are off.
A response to Narotzky, Collins, and Bertho
Ida Susser and Stéphane Tonnelat
When our article was first written, the Occupy movement was in full swing and we were clearly in optimistic mode. However, as all studies of social movements have shown, from the antiapartheid struggles of South Africa to the rebellious nineteenth century in France or Britain, the road of mobilization is never straightforward. Nor did we assume that “Occupy” in the United States or even the popular rebellions of the Arab Spring would lead to a blossoming of democratic nations. We take these understandings from writers such as Eric Hobsbawm (1996), who understood the French Revolution and the British industrial revolution as complementary processes that set the stage for the imperfect and unequal nation-states of France and Britain today. In South Africa (to pick one historic moment), after the high school students who took to the streets in protest in Soweto were mowed down by South African army tanks, the streets were virtually quiescent for a decade. However, over 40 years of fascism in South Africa, the 1950s bus boycotts, the 1960s Sharpeville massacre, the famous trials of Mandela and others, the Soweto school children, and finally the union mobilization in a United Front and international sanctions led to the end of apartheid. But, as we are all now aware, these battles did not end inequality or neoliberalism.
Anthropology, radical theory, and social movements
Riccardo Ciavolella and Stefano Boni
This theme section inquires into the contribution of political anthropology to radical theories, social imagination, and practices underlying political “alternatives”, which we propose to call “alterpolitics”. The issue of an alternative to contemporary powers in globalization is a central topic in social movements and radical debates. This sense of possibility for political alternatives is associated with the desertion of the belief in “the end of history”: the current economic crisis and the decline of Western hegemony presumably announce a radical transformation of the neoliberal world, opening space to alternatives. Actually, the reconfiguration of twentieth-century capitalism is associated with a growing mistrust of political institutions, the crisis being “organic”, in the Gramscian sense (Gramsci 1975). Recent social movements and insurrections around the world—from the “colored revolutions” in Central Asia to the Spanish indignados, the US Occupy movement, the Arab Spring, uprisings in Bosnia—have raised the issue of alternatives as a reaction to the incapacity of capitalist political institutions—from electoral democracy to dictatorships—to deal with people’s problems and meet their aspirations for emancipation and a better future.
Benjamin Abrams and Giovanni A. Travaglino
contention in digital societies, through the lens of a single, meticulously researched case. This issue’s fourth article also considers contention in digital societies—namely, the Arab Spring. Charles Mitchell, Juliet Dinkha, and Aya Abdulhamid’s “The Silent
Personal Method: Anthropological Writings Drawn from Life ( London : SAGE ). Fosshagen , K. ( 2014 ) Arab Spring: Uprisings, Powers, Interventions ( New York and Oxford : Berghahn Books ). Gammeltoft , T. M. ( 2014 ) Haunting Images: A Cultural
( Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press ). 10.2307/j.ctt1d98bfp Denny , R. and P. Sunderland (eds.) ( 2014 ), Handbook of Anthropology in Business ( Walnut Creek : Left Coast Press ). Fosshagen , K. ( 2014 ), Arab Spring: Uprisings, Powers