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Stars without the money

Sakha ethnic music business, upward mobility and friendship

Aimar Ventsel

The Sakha have had their own popular music since the 1970s. During the Soviet era, music culture was controlled by the state. Starting in the 1990s, new pop-music institutions and venues emerged and new entrepreneurs entered the music business as club owners, managers, producers, DJs, etc. In this article, I examine multiple social relations in the music business. Music has become a possibility for village youth to leave their villages and gain fame as artists. The Sakha music world contains various networks where criminal structures, artists, businessmen and media are interlinked. Through this linkage, music is used to gain a community's support for semi-legal business activities. At the same time, both the artists and producers present themselves to the public as the custodians of Sakha 'national' culture. The article discusses ways in which the artists' popularity is connected to their position in the music business, and how ethnic symbols are used to gain success.

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A geography of debauchery

State-building and the mobilization of labor versus leisure on a European Union border

Gustav Peebles

By comparing the spatial organization of Swedish labor and leisure practices today with the movements and stereotypes tied to previous generations of Sweden's sizeable population of so-called "vagrants," this article studies the impact of state policy on the spatial imagination of both citizens and other sojourners within its bounds. Because the ethnographic research for the article took place in a new transnational city that is being created by the European Union and various local proponents, the article then considers the same issue at the EU level, to pursue the question of the EU's "state-ness" and the status of migrant laborers within that emerging polity.

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Money Can't Buy Me Hygge

Danish Middle-Class Consumption, Egalitarianism, and the Sanctity of Inner Space

Jeppe Trolle Linnet

In this article, the style of social interaction known as hygge is analyzed as being related to cultural values that idealize the notion of 'inner space' and to other egalitarian norms of everyday life in Scandinavian societies. While commonly experienced as a pleasurable involvement in a social and spatial interior, hygge is also examined as a mode of withdrawal from alienating conditions of modernity. In spite of its egalitarian features, hygge acts as a vehicle for social control, establishes its own hierarchy of attitudes, and implies a negative stereotyping of social groups who are perceived as unable to create hygge. The idea of hygge as a trait of Scandinavian culture is developed in the course of the interpretation, and its limitations are also discussed against ethnographic evidence that comparable spatial and social dynamics unfold in other cultural contexts.

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The Currency of Proof

Euro Competence and the Refiguring of Value in Greece

Thomas M. Malaby

The rollout of the euro as a hard currency involved unprecedented logistical organization oriented toward security; yet just as central to its success was the pedagogical project of enlisting those within the euro-zone to be competent with the new currency. This paper explores two forms of euro competence in Greece: the accurate recognition and use of the currency, and the learned refiguring of the values of everyday products. These competencies were, however, only partially anticipated and targeted by the institutions involved in the rollout; in key respects these competencies were generated by the rollout event itself. These competencies can furthermore be seen as epistemic practices; they came to serve as the grounds for truths about the monetary system itself, about Greeks as Europeans, and about the morality of economic transactions.

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Jane Bristol-Rhys

Marriage has become an expensive proposition in the United Arab Emirates, so much so that it is used by some Emirati men as justification for marrying someone outside Emirati society. This article examines the changes in Emirati weddings over the last 30 years, presents a synopsis of the public discussion of Emirati marriages, and considers how the carefully contained public discussion deflects the comprehensive changes that have transformed Emirati society.

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‘Love Merchandized’

Money in Shakespeare’s Sonnets

Manfred Pfister

The state of our national, European and global economies is of a kind to strike headlines every day on toppling markets, monetary imbalances or dubious financial transactions and thus puts the question of money, its nature, value and uses, into high

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Hadas Weiss

accumulation, he developed analytical tools that can help make sense of the present moment. My goal here is to brush the dust off Meillassoux’s (1981) magnum opus, Maidens, Meal and Money , and demonstrate its relevance for the era of financialization

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Injury and Measurement

Jacob Grimm on Blood Money and Concrete Quantification

Anna Echterhölter

, such matters would be resolved by contracts indicating precise monetary sums. But these agreements would be meaningless if the units of measurement were not clearly indicated therein. Metrology, or measurement, connects money’s referentiality to

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Creative Encounters

African Trade and Chinese Oil Production in Western Chad

Nikolaus Schareika

primary school to start work in a garage that specialized in car painting. But it was the smell of money rather than paint that Iba learned to adore when his boss sent him to the market to buy supplies. There Iba engaged in bargaining and realized that he

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God's Delivery State

Taxes, Tithes, and a Rightful Return in Urban Ghana

Anna-Riikka Kauppinen

Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; And to God the things that are God's. — Matthew 22:21 “Boys come home! Now! Stop wasting my money!” Elikem 1 shouted at the television screen. We were at the office of Mepex, a Ghanaian media company