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Jewish Space Reloaded

An Introduction

Eszter B. Gantner and Jay (Koby) Oppenheim

In 1996 the historian Diana Pinto published her often since quoted and discussed article on ‘A New Jewish Identity for Post-1989 Europe’. She was one of the first Jewish intellectuals to reflect on the fall of the Iron Curtain and the resulting political changes and their possible consequences for Jewish communities in Europe. In her article, she introduced the term ‘Jewish space’ that motivates the focus of this issue, as well as the term ‘voluntarily Jewish’, which describes the construction of identity free of external prescription. Pinto situates Jewish space in the context of the Erinnerungspolitik European democracies engaged in during the 1980s, when Holocaust memorialisation began to assume an institutional form through the establishment of Jewish museums, research institutes and exhibitions.

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Managing Time and Making Space

Canadian Students' Motivations for Study in Australia

Heather Barnick

This article examines the ways in which Canadian students on an exchange or study abroad programme in Australia articulated the value of their experience in connection with time and, more particularly, time constraints. Where Canadian universities often promote study abroad programmes in connection with the global knowledge-based economy, students' desires to travel abroad were more often rooted in a desire to take 'time out' while remaining productive towards the completion of future goals. Students' narratives reveal a connection between time management, travel, and the formations of a class identity. Rather than analysing time strictly as a form of capital, however, insights are generated around time as practice, that is, how time becomes an important factor in students' continual negotiations of space, social relationships, and what could be called a 'lifetime itinerary'.

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Amanda J. Reinke

Informal justice refers to those legal practices that are traditionally outside the purview of formal law and legal systems. Since the advent of widespread social critique in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s, informal justice models have become increasingly popular and implemented in communities and within the legal system itself. The existence of informal justice mechanisms alongside and within formal justice systems in the US raises a number of questions for applied anthropologists interested in legal anthropology. In this article, I leverage four years of ethnographic fieldwork in the US to argue for the capacity of applied anthropologists to effectively work in grey juridical spaces that are beside and between the law, activism, and emerging bureaucratic regimes.

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Henrike Rau

Ireland’s transition from a predominantly rural to a (sub)urban society over the course of the twentieth century coincided with fundamental changes in its socio-cultural and environmental fabric (Corcoran et al. 2007; Moore and Scott 2005; Punch 2004).1 In particular, the recent suburbanization of many Irish towns and cities has raised interesting questions about the spatial organization of human social life. How important is public space for democratic participation? What kinds of spaces do people require to engage with others, or to get involved in community activities? Can we use spatial resources more sustainably and, if so, what are the consequences of such a transition for public and private spaces?

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Spaces for Transdisciplinary Dialogues on the Relationship between Local Communities and Their Environments

The Case of a Rural Community in the Calchaquí Valley (Salta, Argentina)

Martha Crivos, María Rose Martínez, Laura Teves and Carolina Remorini

Our ethnographic research focuses on the perception and use of components of the natural environment in terms of routine activities carried out by the residents of a rural community in the Calchaqui Valley (Salta, Argentina). Life in this community is characterised by the presence of traditional subsistence activities – agriculture, cattle farming, textile manufacturing and ancestral medical practices – coexisting with business ventures focused on monoculture and export, tourism centred on landscape intervention and promotion of native products, and the growing key role of public policies in the areas of health and human development. In this context, a joint reflection on viability and sustainability of local and global practices and resources must be undertaken. Implementing intersectoral forums and focus-group discussions, governmental and non-governmental actors, researchers and local people must work conjointly to achieve a fresh patrimonial awareness of livelihood strategies based on their long interaction with a specific environment.

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After having devoted space in the last few open issues of German Politics and Society to excellent articles focusing on topics of culture and micropolitics, we feature in this issue three articles solidly anchored in macropolitics.

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Sophie Toupin

I propose the concept of squatting as a way of exploring and understanding the recent Occupy movement and other manifestations that have taken hold of a physical and virtual space. To do this, I focus on squatting as a protest tactic employed by social movements, to gather, create and transform private and public spaces in common spaces. I follow Miguel Martinez (2006) premise that squatting has been aimed at constructing liberating spaces for living, communicating, and criticizing the global city and confronting capitalism. Using such framework to analyse the Occupy movement helps bring to the forefront what appears to be a somewhat similar experience, this time however, not solely via the occupation of buildings, but also via the occupation of parks or squares. The act of reclaiming and decommodifying open ‘public’ spaces in an attempt to create autonomous experiments visible to and ‘experimentable’ by all seem to have brought much visibility, appeal and relative openness to and of the occupy movement. From there, I discuss the particularities with moments of squatting, particularly with the occupied social centers movement, and instances of occupy sites in North America to underline a number of hidden and visible characteristics and features these phenomena share. In North America, the concept of squatting, including the practice of occupied social centers, seems to have had much less prevalence and impact on social movements than in Europe, but the occupy movement seems to have opened up new repertoire of actions for both activist and non-activists a like.

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Emplacing Smells

Spatialities and Materialities of ‘Gypsiness’

Andreea Racleș and Ana Ivasiuc

As one of the most stereotyped minorities, the Roma are particularly ‘good to think’ in relation to constructions of Europeanness. In the production of ‘Gypsiness’, the body, the space, and the materiality of the dwelling are linked through smell as signifiers of a racial and cultural inferiority that does not ‘belong’ in and to Europe. Drawing on research projects carried out in the outskirts of Rome and in a small Romanian town, our contribution relies on a juxtaposed ethnography of constructions of ‘Gypsiness’ in relation to the spatial, sensorial and material inscriptions of the body. The article will examine the relationship between space and the social production of smell, discussing how spaces inhabited by Roma play a role in ‘doing’ Europeanness in a contrastive mode.

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Experiencing In-betweenness

Literary Spatialities

Tahmineh Hooshyar Emami

“Exploring in-betweenness” is the name of a collection of experiments that originate from my background in Architecture, overlapped with an interest in actual and perceived spaces of refuge. The result is a two-part experiment in which firstly, creative writing and literary analysis were used as vehicles to criticize and suggest alternative hierarchical arrangements of space, and secondly, the experiment which constitutes the topic of this article, where the actual and constructed dialogues between words and buildings are further explored. The author as both an insider and an observer aims to explore the relationship between space, lived experiences and sociological narratives. In “Literary Spatialities,” critical spatial writing is used to position the reader as the author through reflective passages and visual reconstructions to explore border encounters between refugee and host communities.

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Penny Welch and Susan Wright

This issue of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences concentrates on approaches to learning, teaching and assessment in the social sciences and features contributors from universities in many different parts of the world. Themes that run through the whole issue include learning from experience, responding to students’ needs and making space for creativity and risk-taking.