The practice of archaeologists and other heritage specialists to embed with the US military in Iraq has received critical attention from anthropologists. Scholars have highlighted the dire consequences of such a partnership for cultural heritage protection by invoking the imperialist dimension of archaeological knowledge production. While critical of state power and increasingly of militarized para-state actors like the self-proclaimed Islamic State, these accounts typically eclipse other forms of collaboration with non-state organizations, such as private military and security companies (PMSCs). Focusing on the central role of private contractors in the context of heritage missions in Iraq since 2003, I demonstrate that the war economy's exploitative regime in regions marked by violent conflict is intensified by the growth of the military-industrial complex on a global scale. Drawing on data from interviews conducted with archaeologists working in the Middle East, it becomes clear how archaeology and heritage work prop up the coloniality of power by tying cultural to economic forms of control.
Heritage politics and private military contractors in Iraq
Maria Theresia Starzmann
African immigrants in twentieth-century Spain and Indians in nineteenth-century Ecuador
The article simultaneously explores three lines of reflection and analysis woven around the comparative reverberations (in space and time) between citizenship and the administration of populations (states of exception) in the Republic of Ecuador during the nineteenth century and the Kingdom of Spain in the twenty century. The first thread tries to answer the question whether it is possible for concepts generated in a country of the Global South to be used usefully in analyzing a different Northern reality, inverting the usual direction in the flows of transfer and importation of “theory.“ The second theme of comparative reverberation explores a network of concepts concerning the citizenship of common sense and the administration of populations, that is the “back-patio“ aspect of citizenship, particularly its historical formation in the domination of populations in the Republic of Ecuador during the nineteenth century. It is centered on the process of identification in the daily exchanges between interpares citizens and extrapares non-citizens. The last section involves testing concepts forged in the author's studies of Ecuadorian history for their utility in analyzing the current situation of modern sub-Saharan immigrants in Spain (using concrete examples), and their reclusion to the private sphere in spaces of exception and abandonment. Here, the article concentrates on the difference between the public administration of populations and the private administration of citizens. The article uses documentary material relating to nineteenth-century Ecuador and twentieth-century Spain and Senegal.
Ethnographies of Private Security
Erella Grassiani and Tessa Diphoorn
This introduction emphasizes the value of an anthropological lens within the research on private security. Although much scholarly work has been conducted on private security throughout the past decades, anthropological attention for this subject was somewhat delayed. Yet, the works that have emerged from this discipline through ethnographic fieldwork have provided new and different types of insights, namely bottom-up understandings that explore the daily practices and performances of security and the experiences of the security actors themselves, that other disciplines can unquestionably draw from. As the introductory piece of this section, it also familiarizes the four articles that constitute various “ethnographies of private security.”
The Motorway as a Space of Neoliberalism
The article surveys a giant infrastructural construction project in Poland: the A2 motorway, connecting Poznan´ and Warsaw with the Polish-German border. It was the first private motorway in Poland, and the biggest European infrastructural project, and was realized in a public-private partnership system. The last section of A2 was opened on 1 December 2011, which can be seen as a key moment in Polish socioeconomic transformation. I examine it on two levels: (1) a discourse between government and private investors in which the motorway was the medium of economic and social development and infrastructural “the end” modernization of Poland; (2) practices and opinions of local communities, living along the new motorway. On the first level, the construction of A2 was seen as an impetus for the economic and social development of the regions where the motorway was built. But on the second level, I observe almost universal disappointment and a deep crisis experienced by local economies.
Reconfigurations of public and private
Rosie Read and Tatjana Thelen
State frameworks for welfare and social security have been subject to processes of privatization, decentralization, and neoliberal reform in many parts of the world. This article explores how these developments might be theorized using anthropological understandings of social security in combination with feminist perspectives on care. In its application to post-1989 socioeconomic transformation in the former socialist region, this perspective overcomes the conceptual inadequacies of the "state withdrawal" model. It also illuminates the nuanced ways in which public and private (as spaces, subjectivities, institutions, moralities, and practices) re-emerge and change in the socialist era as well as today, continually shaping the trajectories and outcomes of reforms to care and social security.
What Are Its Possible Futures in South Africa?
David Bilchitz and Daryl Glaser
Liberalism is associated by many with the protection of private property and the insulation of economic markets from state intervention. Yet the liberal tradition is very diverse, and some have taken its concern with equality and liberty in radically egalitarian directions that belie the reduction of liberalism to market-fundamentalist ‘neoliberalism’.
Robert Frodeman, Julie Thompson Klein, Carl Mitcham and Nancy Tuana
Over the course of the last six years, New Directions: Science, Humanities, Policy has taken a case-study approach to questions concerning the nature of knowledge production. Launched in 2001, New Directions promotes interdisciplinary collaborations where physical scientists, social scientists, and humanists work together with public science agencies, the private sector, and communities to deepen our understanding of and develop effective responses to societal problems. Two key elements characterize all New Directions projects. First, by involving the sciences, engineering, and the humanities, in dialogue with the public and private sectors, New Directions unites the two axes of interdisciplinary—the wide and the deep. Second, these experiments in interdisciplinary problem solving function as a means for thematizing the problem of the breakdown between knowledge production and use.
Benjamin Abrams and Giovanni A. Travaglino
When we think about protest, we often associate it with the notion of organized social movements, but studying organized movements only captures a small part of the realities of social protest. Dissent often takes alternative forms, and can be studied from myriad angles. The articles in this issue offer different perspectives on social protest, examining the roles of small activist collectives, organized policing efforts, local private politics, digital communities, and revolutionary vanguards in instances of collective action and political behavior.
Historical Obstacles, Current Situation, Future Challenges
Dan Podjed, Meta Gorup and Alenka Bezjak Mlakar
The article presents the state of applied anthropology in Europe, in particular focusing on the application of anthropological knowledge and skills within the private sector. Firstly, the text depicts the historical context, which has had a strong and often negative impact on the developments in contemporary applied anthropology and specifically on applying anthropology in for-profit endeavours. It then provides an overview of this type of applied anthropology in Europe by identifying its main institutions and individuals. Building on this analysis, the article elaborates on extant challenges for its future development, and outlines the most promising solutions. The authors conclude that it is of crucial importance for European anthropology to make the transition ‘from words to actions’, especially in the areas not traditionally addressed by anthropologists, such as business and design anthropology or consultancy work in the private sector. While the discipline has a longer applied history in areas such as development, human rights and multiculturalism, few anthropologists have played significant roles in the efforts usually associated with the private sector. It is argued that anthropology should – also outside the non-profit and non-governmental sectors – shift from being a descriptive, hermeneutical and interpretative branch of social sciences describing and explaining the past or commenting on the present, to an applied discipline intervening in shaping the future.
Gustavo Lins Ribeiro
Public higher education has been strangled in Brazil by personnel policies, fragmentation through privatisation and competition with a growing private sector. Central to the productivist turn in Brazil is the annual 'CAPES report' which ranks departments and determines their funding. The Forum of Executive Officers of Graduate Programs in Anthropology was created, years ago, to discuss problems regarding anthropology's teaching and research. Its efficacy depends on the political skills of its members to influence interlocutors. We need to understand the sociology of change around us and the power structures of the agencies structuring our field of action to be able to propose solutions.