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Jukka Siikala

It has been claimed that anthropology is in a terminal decline. If so, according to my interpretation, part of this is self-generated. The intellectual suicide of the discipline is closely connected to the decline of serious ethnographic research. The classic backbone of the discipline has been called ‘salvage-ethnography.’ This critical concept implies that ethnography has interest only in the past or faraway places, and this kind of ethnography does not form the basis of the discipline’s current theoretical body. This kind of reductionism—reducing the distance between the anthropologist and the object—not only has led to the deletion of time and miles, but also has had the extreme result of focusing on individual experiences. With growing demands of reflectivity, self has become the object, and thus the empirical content of anthropology has been reduced to Western experiences of the world. Theoretically significant difference has been wiped out in the process. On the other hand, we witness a proliferation of ethnographies done by everybody else but anthropologists. In the following, I look at the recent anthropological practices that unintentionally promote the discipline’s own death and connect them to the shifts in the position of anthropological theory and its nature.

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Constructing a Public Sphere

Materiality and Ideology

Judith Kapferer

The changing cultural and social significance of central city space generates and structures the social formations of capital today. Buildings and landmarks within the city of London are examined here as crucibles for the expression, symbolization, formation, and re-formation of the social orders of the city and the state. Here, the cultural power of state apparatuses to control and order the image and substance of capital and state is challenged by the arts of architecture and cityscape. The relation between public space and private practice is interrogated in locations such as the Square Mile, Trafalgar Square, and Hyde Park, which symbolize and concretize the social relations of the marketplace, the state, and the people. The experience of these places is iconic of the social formations of contemporary society.

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Interview

Propaganda’s Role in Liberal Democratic Societies

Jason Stanley and John B. Min

Stanley and Min discuss how propaganda works in liberal democratic societies. Stanley observes that the inability to address the crisis of liberal democracies can be partially explained by contemporary political philosophy’s penchant for idealized theorizing about norms of justice over transitions from injustice to justice. Whereas ancient and modern political philosophers took seriously propaganda and demagoguery of the elites and populists, contemporary political philosophers have tended to theorize about the idealized structures of justice. This leads to a lack of theoretical constructs and explanatory tools by which we can theorize about real-life political problems, such as mass incarceration. Starting with this premise, Stanley provides an explanation of how propaganda works and the mechanisms that enable propaganda. Stanley further theorizes the pernicious effects that elitism, populism, authoritarianism, and “post-truth” have on democratic politics.

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Ben-Gurion and the Palestinian Refugees

Ideology, Morality, and Praxis

Yossi Goldstein

Abstract

A prominent aspect of the Jewish-Arab conflict over Palestine has been the Palestinian ‘catastrophe’ or ‘Nakba’—the displacement of some 750,000 Palestinians during Israel's War of Independence. David Ben-Gurion, the Yishuv's pre-state leader and Israel's first prime minister, was an influential figure in this process. This article investigates Ben-Gurion's attitude toward the Palestinian refugee problem, highlighting its dynamic nature and its linkage to military developments. Contrary to the conclusions of previous research, only after the Arab states’ invasion and the war's expansion in late May and early June 1948 did Ben-Gurion decide to oppose the refugees’ return. Undeterred by his own ethical misgivings and international efforts to secure repatriation, his view was reinforced over time, as Israel's victories on the battlefield became unequivocal.

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Zohar Segev

This article examines American Zionist leaders' positions on the Jerusalem issue, taking into consideration that from the 1920s until 1948, they acted within the Zionist movement as an independent political force that sought to play an active role in shaping the Yishuv and the State of Israel according to their own worldview. Their position on Jerusalem included recognition of its significance in Jewish history and the necessity of consolidating Jewish nationalism in Palestine. Yet they demonstrated a clear preference for social and economic patterns that, they maintained, had consolidated in Tel Aviv as a counterbalance to Jerusalem.

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Mary P. Corcoran, Jane Gray, and Michel Peillon

This article aims to demonstrate the significant role children play in new suburban communities, and in particular, the extent to which their circuits of sociability contribute to social cohesion in the suburbs. The discussion is located within the field of sociology of childhood, which argues that children are active agents who help to create and sustain social bonds within their neighborhoods. Drawing on focus group discussions and short essays by children on “The place where I live,” we paint a picture of how suburban life is interpreted and experienced from a child's perspective. We argue that children develop a particular suburban sensibility that structures their view of their estate, the wider neighborhood, and the metropolitan core. Although children express considerable degrees of satisfaction with suburban life, they are critical of the forces that increasingly limit their access to suburban public space.

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Death Camps and Designer Dresses

The Liberal Agenda and the Appeal to 'Real Existing Socialism'

Lorna Finlayson

Political philosophers tend to notice their differences more than their similarities. I suggest that contemporary analytic political philosophy in fact exhibits a 'dominant paradigm', the main features of which are a commitment to liberal capitalism and a preference for the designing of 'just institutions.' To subscribe to this paradigm involves making a decision about how to manage the philosophical 'agenda.' In order to focus on certain issues within this paradigm, alternatives, most notably socialism, have to be excluded from prolonged consideration. A popular way of supporting this policy is by reference to the perceived failure of 'real existing socialism.' Taking the late political philosopher Brian Barry, among others, as an example, I argue that this argumentative strategy is unconvincing, and furthermore that its deployment tells a worrying story about the practice of political philosophy.

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Jeppe Nevers

In the literature on European history, World War I and the interwar years are often portrayed as the end of the age of liberalism. The crisis of liberalism dates back to the nineteenth century, but a er the Great War, criticism of liberalism intensified. But the interwar period also saw a number of attempts to redefine the concept. This article focuses on the Danish case of this European phenomenon. It shows how a profound crisis of bourgeois liberalism in the late nineteenth century le the concept of liberalism almost deserted in the first decades of the twentieth century, and how strong state regulation of the Danish economy during World War I was crucial for an ideologization of the rural population and their subsequent orientation toward the concept of liberalism.

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Religious Belief and Practice in Itelmen History

The Historical Efficacy of Ideological Frameworks

David Koester, Viktoria Petrasheva, and Tatiana Degai

Itelmen people of the Kamchatka Peninsula have felt and experienced the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church for over 300 years. Explorers' reports tell us that at the same time that Itelmens rebelled violently against the tsar's representatives, they accepted and appropriated the power of the church. This article examines religiosity in Itelmen history as it is revealed through a critical approach to sources, especially by focusing on Itelmen actions. Missionaries and ethnographers' preconceptions gave shape to their depictions of Itelmen religious beliefs and practices as (1) Christian beliefs, (2) anathema to Christian beliefs, or (3) mere superstitions. In order to speak about Itelmen perceptions, the article focuses primarily on actions taken during this early period of recorded Itelmen history and on the writers who showed an interest in describing how Itelmens thought about religious questions. The article also recounts the little known story of the 1848 Kutkh rebellion.

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Henning Best

This article aims to empirically test the so called low-cost hypothesis. The hypothesis posits that cost moderates the strength of the relationship between environmental concern and behavior. The effects of the behavioral cost and environmental concern on household waste recycling were evaluated, using empirical data collected from 2,695 respondents in Cologne, Germany. Empirically, a clear effect of both behavioral cost and environmental concern can be identified. Recycling rates are higher when a curbside scheme is implemented or the distance to collection containers is low. In addition, the probability of recycling participation rises when the actor has a pronounced environmental concern. This effect of environmental attitudes does not vary with behavioral cost and opportunities. Therefore, the low-cost hypothesis is not supported by the study.