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“Your debts are our problem”

The politicization of debt in Azerbaijan

Tristam Barrett

a “fully authoritarian state” ( Levitsky and Way 2010: 34 ). It allows us to look beyond the recent backlash against organized civil society to see how particular constituencies of interest may exist outside this framework and be enrolled in local

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Lawyers against the Law

The Challenge of Turkish Lawyering Associations

Joakim Parslow

Despite increasing subordination of the judiciary to executive authorities, Turkish cause lawyering associations are more assertive than ever in their defiance of forced closures and legal persecution. Why would activist lawyers ‘play the game’ of law when the legal system is being undermined? Focusing on the historical genesis of Turkey’s oldest activist lawyering association, the Çağdaş Hukukçular Derneği (ÇHD), I argue that Turkish legal activism results from not just clashing political causes but also the strategies attorneys are forced to adopt to effect change within an authoritarian-corporatist structure designed to constrict their activities. The ÇHD and similar groups are not merely extensions of the formal juridical order; they also constitute a grassroots engagement with the law that refuses to conform to the categories, narratives, procedures and ends of the state’s legal institutions.

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Some Responses to Globalisation in Uzbekistan

State Authoritarianism, Migrant Labour and Neo-traditionalism

Laurent Bazin

Uzbekistan offers a case study of a country that has blocked the liberalisation of its economy and that is being marginalised in the world market as well as in the international community. Even still, two typical expressions of globalisation processes can be identified: first, an attempt to reconstruct the legitimacy of the state through the reinvention of a 'national identity', and, second, the elimination of a specific form of protected salaried work that had arisen during the Soviet era, along with a concurrent proletarianisation of the population, in particular in the rural areas. The research shows that political coercion and the inculcation of a nationalist ideology, on the one hand, and the economic degradation of living standards, on the other, result in the reinforcement of family ties and repression of individuality, in spite of huge labour migrations and a (minimal) introduction of the market.

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Anthropological Reflections on Lebanese Art

How Empathy, the Human Rights Topos and Ideological Attitudes Interact with Aesthetic Perceptions

Gerald A. P.-Fromm and Bariaa Mourad

This article analyses attitudes of the art public related to subjects of the 2011 art exhibition 'Beirut', shown at the Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna. Some Lebanese artworks, especially those of the (pre-)war generation, were oriented towards utopias of their time and socio-political criticism, and still today revolve around the topoi of human rights. Socio-cultural milieux and institutions seem habited by adherents with congruent values. Art, science and education are thus particularly disputed fields since their common creative quests produce knowledge and, depending on the theme, ideology. We contextualise these topics and highlight a few empirically corroborated explanatory models developed by anthropology in order to elucidate the complex interplay between the individual and society. We appeal to those in academia, education and critical art to play a role in the debate on essential humanistic and ethical principles.

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From the “state-idea” to “politically organized subjection”

Revisiting Abrams in times of crisis in Turkey and EU-Europe

Katharina Bodirsky

authoritarian state practice has been stepped up to maintain the political economic regimes that have worked so very well for some and much less so for many others over the last decades. It shows the extent to which governments seem unconcerned with maintaining

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Methodology Matters in Iran

Researching Social Movements in Authoritarian Contexts

Paola Rivetti

movements in authoritarian contexts, generating better and fairer knowledge. This is part of a broader methodological reflection that looks at research methods as an integral part of a research project, not as a mere instrument for gathering evidences, and

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Lesley Gill

, and especially anthropologists, play in countering the creeping authoritarianism and growing inequality of our times? What kind of leverage can intellectual labor have on social reality? How can intellectuals broaden the boundaries of political

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Not Soft Power, But Speaking Softly

‘Everyday Diplomacy’ in Field Relations during the Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Jeremy Morris

characterized by increasing authoritarian and coercive measures, people living in Russia have commensurately become the objects of revanchist great power rhetoric, xenophobia and other strategies for masking or distracting from political failure at home – the

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Education and Godly Technology

Gender, Culture, and the Work of Home Schooling

Michael W. Apple

The secularity of the state is seen by 'authoritarian populist' religious conservatives as imposing a world-view that is out of touch with the deep religious commitments that guide their lives. In the process, authoritarian populists have taken on subaltern identities and claimed that they are the last truly dispossessed groups. To demonstrate their increasing power in educational and social policy, I situate a specific set of technologies—the Internet—within the social context of its use in this community. I focus on the growing home-schooling movement and suggest that to understand the societal meaning and uses of these technologies, we need to examine the social movement that provides the context for their use. I also argue that we need to analyze critically the kind of labor that is required in home schooling, who is engaged in such labor, and how such labor is interpreted by the actors who perform it.

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Aliabad of Shiraz

Transformation from Village to Suburban Town

Mary Elaine Hegland

Anthropological participant observation, in-depth, open-ended interviewing and oral history reveal aspects of social change and modernisation that have taken place in Aliabad, Iran, over more than half a century. These developments have transpired in interplay with economic, political and cultural processes. As a result of economic transformation from sharecropping and trading to urban-style jobs, and due to outside influences as a consequence of advances in transportation, communication, education and travel, villagers have been able to make other choices. Through bottom-up social and political change, relationships in all areas of life have become less authoritarian and hierarchical and more egalitarian and subject to negotiation and individuation.