In August 2011, I attended the exhumation of Severiano Clemente González, conducted by the Forum for Memory in the Castilian town of La Toba, Guadalajara. Mr González was one of the over 130,000 civilian victims of the 1936–1939 Spanish Civil War and ensuing Franco dictatorship (1939–1975). Even after Spain’s democratic constitution in 1978, most families could not recover their loved ones, owing to an unofficial ‘Pact of Silence’ whereby major political actors agreed not to legislate, litigate or discuss the still controversial past in the public sphere (Encarnación 2014). Since 2000, however, civil society organisations such as the Forum for Memory and the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory (ARMH) have been leading a series of forensic exhumations – modelled after similar state-led interventions in Latin America, Southern and Eastern Europe (Ferrándiz 2010; Rubin 2014).
The Agency of the Dead at Spanish Mass Grave Exhumations
Jonah S. Rubin
Iranian Women and Cosmetic Nose Surgery
In this article, the author investigates, from an anthropological point of view, why many Iranian women (and even some men) resort to rhinoplasty – that is, surgery to alter the appearance of the nose – for cosmetic purposes. When did this phenomenon begin in Iran? Which social classes and ages are concerned? What is the relationship between this practice and Iranian society in general? Is it the result of foreign cultural influences? What comparisons can be made with other cultures? Born of a micro-sociological case, these interrogations address the anthropology of Iranian society, which, like many others, has been engaged for several decades in an ‘exchange process’ that today is commonly known as globalisation.
The Queer Cartography of French Gay Men's Geo-social Media Use
Dominique Pierre Batiste
Why do gay men utilise geo-social media applications such as Grindr and Scruff? Social media scholarship describes technological mediations and changes to social space and communities; however, there are theoretical gaps concerning what geo-social technology means for gay men. I suggest that gay men's ability to see other gay men, via geo-social media, reveals the queer cartography of any geographical location. This re-mapping of social space proves the public sphere less heteronormative than purported, cultivates community between gay men who may initiate face-to-face contact utilising geo-locative technology, and allows gay men to interact with one another outside of specifically gay spaces. This research is based in Toulouse, France, and adds to scholarship concerning French gay men's resistance to heteronormativity. This research also holds global significance concerning subjugated communities' uses of geo-social technology in their resistance against dominant cultures.
Anthropological debates on kinship in the Middle East have centred on the 'problems' of patriparallel cousin marriage and milk kinship. A focus on Middle Eastern reactions to assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilisation allows a fresh perspective on the study of kinship in the region. My own research has investigated Islamic legal reactions to assisted reproductive technologies and the practice of assisted reproduction in Lebanon. Islamic legal reaction is diverse, as are the uses made of these techniques by non-specialist Muslims. Considerations of propriety and public reputation remain uppermost, although matters of kinship are debated and new patterns and ideologies of relatedness are potentially emerging.
The Making of Sunni versus Shi'ite Test-Tube Babies
Marcia C. Inhorn
In vitro fertilisation and even newer assisted reproductive technologies are part of everyday life in the contemporary Middle East. There, IVF is practised according to local Islamic norms, which have been reinforced by fatwas from lead- ing religious authorities. As this article will show, ideological differences between dominant Sunni and minority Shi’ite forms of Islam are currently shaping the practices of test-tube baby-making in the Muslim world, particularly regarding the use of third-party gamete donation and new technologies to overcome male infertility. Such divergences have led to gender transformations within infertile marriages in the Muslim Middle East, with potentially profound implications for women’s marital security and family formation.
Between Religious Restrictions and Medical Opportunities
In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is gradually becoming available in Georgia, but while the medical technologies are being developed, the Georgian Orthodox Church opposes the idea of having a child through what it declares to be unnatural ways. Despite the authority of the Church, the Orthodox discourse about IVF is not directly incorporated into the everyday lives of people. Ethnographical observation has allowed an exploration of how childless women in Georgia reconcile modern reproductive technologies with their religion. In order to explain the hybridity in women’s attempts to make official religiosity better adapted to everyday life, I use the concept of bricolage as applied to the social practices of women who assemble different, seemingly disjointed, resources in coping with problematic situations.
In the past decade there has been a shift of focus from individual archaeological sites to an approach that incorporates the dynamic interplay of land, climate, society, economy, ritual and technical innovation. A growing understanding of past climates and environments, coupled with the use of satellite technology and other means of remote sensing, has opened new avenues of interpretation. Classic problems, such as the origins and spread of agrarian societies, have benefited from an array of new scientific methods, and there is increasing attention to social and ritual aspects of society.
Kinship in the Middle East
Soheila Shahshahani and Soraya Tremayne
The study of kinship remains central to anthropology and to understanding the social world in which we live. Although key debates on kinship have stayed embedded in anthropological studies, the impact of global changes affecting marriage, divorce, family structure, and the inevitable consequences of the interaction between biotechnologies and social and cultural practices have all served to bring back kinship into anthropological discourse in a forceful way. As a result, there is a tendency to move away from the distinction between the biological and social aspects of kinship and to focus on emerging forms of relatedness and their broader implications. In such an approach, relatedness is viewed as a process that is fluid and mutable, and that is constructed through active human agency. It expands to include changing gender relations, new family forms and the outcome of assisted reproductive technologies.
Pour une lecture du fait guerrier en Afghanistan à partir d'images filmées
Agnès Devictor and Camille Perréand
Based on an analysis of films shot by Youssouf Janessar, the cameraman of the Afghan commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, this article presents a study of the Afghan wars between 1982 and 1992. It considers the act of filming in its anthropological meaning and the ethnographic dimension as translated by these images. The article first deals with the link between Massoud and recorded images and, more widely, his relationship with modern technology in combat. It then proposes an anthropological analysis of fighters based on a reading of these images, which record traces of behaviour, comportment and appearance - a repository of non-verbal communication between fighters - and which represent very rich material for the anthropological study of war.
The Challenge for Europe
Máiréad Nic Craith
Heritage has traditionally been associated with material objects, but recent conventions have emphasized the significance of intangible culture heritage. This article advocates a holistic approach towards the concept and considers key challenges for Europe's heritage at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Reflecting on the notion of 'European', it considers the question of how one defines European heritage and which European heritage is to be protected. It explores links between national and European conceptions of identity and heritage and queries issues of ownership, language and representation. A number of ethical issues are raised - such as the role of women in the transmission of heritage and the implications of information technology for copywriting traditional practices. The author also asks how one ensures that the process of globalisation facilitates rather than eliminates local cultural heritages? How does one enhance the local so that it becomes glocal and not obsolete?