Migrants to Europe often perceive themselves as entering a secular society that threatens their religious identities and practices. Whilst some sociological models present their responses in terms of cultural defence, ethnographic analysis reveals a more complex picture of interaction with local contexts. This essay draws upon ethnographic research to explore a relatively neglected situation in migration studies, namely the interactions between distinct migration cohorts - in this case, from the Caribbean island of Montserrat, as examined through their experiences in London Methodist churches. It employs the ideas of Weber and Bourdieu to view these migrants as 'religious carriers', as collective and individual embodiments of religious dispositions and of those socio-cultural processes through which their religion is reproduced. Whilst the strategies of the cohort migrating after the Second World War were restricted through their marginalised social status and experience of racism, the recent cohort of evacuees fleeing volcanic eruptions has had greater scope for strategies which combat secularisation and fading Methodist identity.
Montserratian Migrants' Experiences of Global Processes in British Methodism
The middle class-ification of Britain
Jeanette Edwards, Gillian Evans, and Katherine Smith
The articles collected in this special section of Focaal capture, ethnographically, a particular moment at the end of the New Labour project when the political consequences of a failure to address the growing sense of crisis among working-class people in post-industrial Britain are being felt. These new ethnographies of social class in Britain reveal not only disenchantment and disenfranchisement, but also incisive and critical commentary on the shifting and often surprising forms and experiences of contemporary class relations. Here we trace the emergence of controversies surrounding the category “white working class“ and what it has come to stand for, which includes the vilification of people whose political, economic and social standing has been systematically eroded by the economic policies and political strategies of both Conservative and New Labour governments. The specificities of class discourse in Britain are also located relative to broader changes that have occurred across Europe with the rise of “cultural fundamentalisms“ and a populist politics espousing neo-nationalist rhetorics of ethnic solidarity. This selection of recent ethnographies holds up a mirror to a rapidly changing political landscape in Britain. It reveals how post-Thatcherite discourses of “the individual“, “the market“, “social mobility“ and “choice“ have failed a significant proportion of the working-class population. Moreover, it shows how well anthropology can capture the subtle and complex forms of collectivity through which people find meaning in times of change.
Contentious Housing Practices in Contemporary South Africa
Kerry Ryan Chance
This article examines the informal housing practices that the urban poor use to construct, transform, and access citizenship in contemporary South Africa. Following the election of Nelson Mandela in 1994, the provision of formalized housing for the urban poor has become a key metric for 'non-racial' political inclusion and the desegregation of apartheid cities. Yet, shack settlements—commemorated in liberation histories as apartheid-era battlegrounds—have been reclassified as 'slums', zones that are earmarked for clearance or development. Evictions from shack settlements to government emergency camps have been justified under the liberal logic of expanding housing rights tied to citizenship. I argue that the informal housing practices make visible the methods of managing 'slum' populations, as well as an emerging living politics in South African cities.
Kathleen M. Blee
Interpretive and ethical frameworks circumscribe how we study the perpetrators of politically motivated violence against civilian populations. This article revisits the author’s studies of two eras of white supremacism in the United States, the 1920s and 1980s–1990s, to examine how these were affected by four frameworks of inquiry: the assumption of agency, the allure of the extraordinary, the tendency to categorical analysis, and the presumption of net benefit. It concludes with suggestions on how scholars can avoid the limitations of these frameworks.
Talal Asad, Jonathan Boyarin, Nadia Fadil, Hussein Ali Agrama, Donovan O. Schaefer, and Ananda Abeysekara
Europeans), human beings are essentially defined neither by language and religious belief nor by form of life but by race. 1 The point, of course, is that priority given to identity in terms of ‘race’ fails to pay adequate attention to beliefs, habits, and
Liesa Rühlmann and Sarah McMonagle
nation-state ‘norm’. Many plurilingual individuals experience acts of ‘linguicism’ ( Skutnabb-Kangas 1988 ), which are acts of racism based on the languages they speak. However, critical reflections on ‘race’ and ‘racism’ are still largely absent in
Vladimir Arsen’ev’s Economic Expertise and Challenges of Rationalizing Imperial Diversity in the Taiga
/ethnographer/topographer, etc.), or, for example, the career military officer or Arsen'ev “the vanquisher,” valiantly strengthening the “buffer which had been withstanding the onslaught of the yellow race.” 8 This article does not look to add another alter ego of Arsen
The Shifting Political Implications of Cousin Marriage in Nineteenth-Century America
)appropriate difference and similarity” (Goldfarb and Schuster, this issue). These anxieties articulated the differential valuation of class- and race-based hierarchies and equalities—inclusions and exclusions—that were as central to shifting ideas about kinship and
Materializing Affinity in Japanese Foster and Adoptive Care
Kathryn E. Goldfarb
difference, including boundaries between family and non-family and visible markers of otherness, such as ethnicity and race. ‘You Don’t Know from Which Horse the Bone Comes’ My research explores a marginalized and in many ways invisible world of Japanese
Travel, Travel Writing, and Old Age
their sixties and seventies; some even carry on into their eighties. This phenomenon of the older travel writer has received little or no critical attention (gender, race, sexuality, and nationality have provided important analytical frames, but age is