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Crisis, Power, and Policymaking in the New Europe

Why Should Anthropologists Care?

Bilge Firat

At a time when European integration faces many crises, the efficacy of public policies decided in Brussels, and in member state capitals, for managing the everyday lives of average Europeans demands scrutiny. Most attuned to how global uncertainties interact with local realities, anthropologists and ethnographers have paid scant attention to public policies that are created by the EU, by member state governments and by local authorities, and to the collective, organised, and individual responses they elicit in this part of the world. Our critical faculties and means to test out established relations between global–local, centre–periphery, macro–micro are crucial to see how far the EU's normative power and European integration as a governance model permeates peoples' and states' lives in Europe, broadly defined. Identifying the strengths and shortcomings in the literature, this review essay scrutinises anthropological scholarship on culture, power and policy in a post-Foucaultian Europe.

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Catherine Emerson

This article explores attitudes toward boyhood shaped by the traumatic experiences of the First World War. It focuses particularly on the work of the little-known French author, Paul Cazin, and his attempts to commemorate the entirety of “the lost generation” by transcending divisions of religion and secularism that characterized boyhood activities in France before the war. The figure of the “Manneken-Pis” enables him to do this and is particularly suited to the expression of conflicting attitudes toward militarism in boyhood. Cazin’s intellectual program leads to a reading of the famous Manneken-Pis fountain depicting a urinating boy as a religious artifact. A variety of interwar responses to the statue demonstrate the strength of emotion provoked by the figure of the young boy. The fact that these responses have been enshrined in modern cultural and artistic practices suggests the extent to which the experience of the First World War still conditions attitudes toward boyhood.

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Brian L. Wright and Donna Y. Ford

As early as preschool, Black boys face low and negative expectations that contribute to excessive subjective-based discipline, over-referrals by teachers to special education, and under-referrals by teachers to gifted education. An increasing body of research demonstrates that the predominantly White female teaching force is complicit in allowing deficit thinking to compromise their views of Black boys’ languages, literacies, strengths, and cultural ways of being. We present an overview of these issues, with most attention devoted to gifted education, as it is a neglected topic when it comes to Black boys. We also share a formula for educators to adopt that sets minimum representation percentages in order to be equitable in gifted education for Black students in general and Black boys in particular.

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Zhuoyao Li

Recent discussions by Martha Nussbaum and Steven Wall shed new light on the concept of reasonableness in political liberalism and whether the inclusion of epistemic elements in the concept necessarily makes political liberalism lose its antiperfectionist appeal. This article argues that Nussbaum’s radical solution to eliminate the epistemic component of reasonableness is neither helpful nor necessary. Instead, adopting a revised understanding of epistemic reasonableness in terms of a weak view of rationality that is procedural, external and second-order rather than a strong view that is substantial, internal and first-order can help political liberalism maintain an epistemic dimension in the idea of reasonableness without becoming perfectionist. In addition, political liberalism can defend a stronger account of respect for persons against liberal perfectionism on the basis of the revised understanding of epistemic reasonableness. Both arguments serve to demonstrate the strength of the political liberal project.

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Javanese Kanuragan Ritual initiation

A Means to Socialize by Acquiring Invulnerability, Authority, and Spiritual Improvement

Jean-Marc de Grave

Kanuragan is a secret ritual initiation tied to local cosmological practices and cults used by the Javanese as a source of self-help on issues related to health, welfare, and protection. At basic levels, the practitioners of kanuragan use special entities called aji to gain strength and invulnerability. At the next level, the teaching of the master involves a specific mystical knowledge tied to the acquisition of spiritual authority. This article describes the process of transmission, the persons involved, and the role that kanuragan plays in Javanese society for security purposes and in warfare. The analysis shows how kanuragan competes with new secular and religious systems of value as well as with sorcery and new embodied practices such as sports competitions, to provide comparative insights on the formation of social categories.

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Ian Roxborough

What will be the future of war? No-one can tell for sure, and so there is much speculation and many contending views. In this article I discuss one of those views, the notion that war of the future will primarily be a protracted form of terrorism, insurgency, and low-intensity conflict within 'failed' states and civilizations, which will sometimes lapse into ethnic cleansing and genocide. It will be 'dirty war'. The antagonists will be rage-filled 'warriors'. War will be fought in the wastelands of the Third World. Wars will occur because of state failure, rather than because of state strength and expansion. They will feature 'irregular' forces rather than the disciplined hierarchical armies that have been the defining characteristic of recent Western military history. Frequently, the military forces of developed societies will be drawn into these conflicts. This is a plausible view of the future, one that is influential in Washington, and a number of serious academics2 subscribe to it.

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Ian Birchall

It is one of Sartre's greatest strengths that his declared aim was 'to write for his own time'. From the 1940s onward, he became ever less interested in 'timeless' questions, and ever more concerned to explore the concrete realities of his own age. This engagement with the contemporary makes it particularly tempting to consider what Sartre's responses to the events of our own age would be. Ever since his death in 1980, those of us who have drawn insight and inspiration from Sartre's works have tended to ask how Sartre might have judged particular political developments. And because of the central place given to violence in his thought, as well as his detailed reflections on the Second World War and the wars in Algeria and Vietnam, it is only natural to ask how Sartre would have responded to the appalling events of 11 September 2001 and the subsequent 'war on terror'.

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The 'Empty Tomb' as Metaphor

Finding Comfort in Nothingness

Donna Young

This article considers the ways in which Roman Catholic pilgrims on a tour in the Holy Land reacted to displays of emotion, exposing both the fragility and the strength of a religious community struggling with uncertainties concerning belief and practice. Participants focused on a reading of the biblical gospel that, in its original form, omitted the story of Christ's resurrection. The pilgrims were encouraged to identify themselves with the earliest Christians confronted by an empty tomb and to explore the lessons in Mark's gospel for a community of Christians in crisis. The 'empty tomb' is read here as a metaphor for the 'limits of meaning', found in all practices of interpretation, whether exegetical or anthropological. Attention is focused on how various actors responded to each other and to a place, the Holy Land, which challenges the interpretive skills of most, particularly those encouraged to remain open and respectful of the stories and religious traditions of others.

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The Sibirica Editorial Team

This second issue of volume 7 marks the completion of three volumes of Sibirica under the current editorship and with our publisher, Berghahn Books. We have been working to improve the content and delivery of the journal, organizing several issues around special themes, often as the result of interdisciplinary conferences related to the region. Our partnership with Berghahn has been great from the start and is only gaining strength. They have been expanding the electronic infrastructure for web access to subscribers, and Sibirica is accessible through Ingenta via links on Berghahn’s own website. We are in the process of digitizing all the back issues of Sibirica, all the way to its first incarnation as photocopied typescripts in the 1980s. This will give subscribers and others easy access to important scholarly material on Siberian studies.

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The Rape of the Lock

Desire between Couple(t)s – a Counselling Intervention

Dennis Brown

I want, here, to focus on this originary motive for the poem, and to suggest ways in which it informs the poet’s larger purpose – to create a social poem which negotiates tensions within the age-old battle of the sexes. The finished masterpiece, I shall argue, has relevance not only to contemporary debates about the ideology of gender3 but, in particular, to the rise of our now-ubiquitous ‘counselling’ culture. For such a discussion it is important that the ‘Offence’ occurred within a tightly knit, ‘marginal’ group, and that the poetic strategy develops a phantasmagoric ‘interpretation’ of the incident, as a proto-Freudian6 narrative in which attentive intelligence has transformed the strength of Desire into mock-heroic sweet reason.