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Rheumatic Irony

Questions of Agency and Self-deception as Refracted through the Art of Living with Spirits

Michael Lambek

The story of a young man from the Western Indian Ocean island of Mayotte who was prevented from a career in the French army by an illness sent by a spirit who possesses his mother inspires reflection on the nature of agency. I suggest that spirit possession and the ill- nesses it produces are intrinsically ironic. The prevalence of irony implies not that we should disregard agency but that perhaps we should not take it too literally.

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Mandinga

Power and Deception in Afro-Brazilian Capoeira

Sergio González Varela

This article is about the meaning of mandinga in Afro-Brazilian capoeira as it is practiced in the city of Salvador, Brazil. Capoeira is an art form that combines elements of ritual, play, and fight. My main argument focuses on the mandinga as an indigenous form of power that shapes social relations, bodily interaction, magic acts, and the definition of a person. The concept of mandinga offers an understanding of the deceptive logic of capoeira and contributes to the development of an ethnographic theory of power. The emphasis here is on the importance of mandinga as a strategy for fighting and as a principle for social interaction with strong ontological implications. It is considered a cosmological force that affects the foundations of subjective reality and the perception of the world.

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Surviving Dehumanizing Times

Life Journeys across Borderlands of Memory and Deception; Michal Giedroyc and Ryszard Kapuscinski

Ignacy-Marek Kaminski

This article combines an auto-ethnographic approach with literary criticism and applied anthropology. It is about the lives of two men whose journeys through the major events of the twentieth century via different routes and moral choices suggest that literary ends do not always justify the means. Ryszard Kapuscinski (1932-2007), a world-renowned Polish journalist-turned-bestselling author, personally witnessed twenty-seven revolutions and military coups. His travel accounts stretch over five continents and have been widely recognized for their poignant dissection of the human condition. However, recent biographical details and examination of Kapuscinski's reporting methods by social researchers and field anthropologists have raised questions about the credibility and ethics of his works. By comparing his lifework and that of the lesser known Polish cross-cultural traveler exiled to Britain, author Michal Giedroyc (b. 1929), this article contextualizes political and personal dilemmas of both writers. They were born 150 kilometers apart in the multi-ethnic eastern Polish borderlands (now in Lithuania and Belarus). Their childhoods were similarly traumatized by the Nazi-Soviet division of Poland in September 1939. Both of their life journeys brought them into a united Europe in 2005 as Polish and British citizens, respectively.

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Tricking Time, Overthrowing a Regime

Reining in the Future in the Yemeni Youth Revolution

Ross Porter

’ constituted a collective act of temporal deception on the part of the revolutionaries. This trickery extended not just to anthropological expectation concerning what time is and how social life moves, but, more crucially, to the regime itself. After a year of

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The making of terrorists

Anthropology and the alternative truth of America's 'War on Terror' in the Sahara

Jeremy Keenan

This article, based on almost eight years of continuous anthropological research amongst the Tuareg people of the Sahara and Sahel, suggests that the launch by the US and its main regional ally, Algeria, in 2002–2003 of a ‘new’, ‘second’, or ‘Saharan’ Front in the ‘War on Terror’ was largely a fabrication on the part of the US and Algerian military intelligence services. The ‘official truth’, embodied in an estimated 3,000 articles and reports of one sort or another, is largely disinformation. The article summarizes how and why this deception was effected and examines briefly its implications for both the region and its people as well as the future of US international relations and especially its global pursuance of an increasingly suspect ‘War on Terror’.

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“My Visa Application Was Denied, I Decided to Go Anyway”

Interpreting, Experiencing, and Contesting Visa Policies and the (Im)mobility Regime in Algeria

Farida Souiah

This article explores the ways people targeted by restrictive migration and mobility policies in Algeria experience, interpret, and contest them. It focuses on the perspective of harragas, literally “those who burn” the borders. In the Maghrebi dialects, this is notably how people leaving without documentation are referred to. It reflects the fact that they do not respect the mandatory steps for legal departure. Also, they figuratively “burn” their papers to avoid deportation once in Europe. Drawing on qualitative fieldwork, this article outlines the complex and ambiguous attitudes toward the legal mobility regime of those it aims to exclude: compliance, deception, delegitimization, and defiance. It contributes to debates about human experiences of borders and inequality in mobility regimes. It helps deepen knowledge on why restrictive migration and mobility policies fail and are often counterproductive, encouraging the undocumented migration they were meant to deter.

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Sensing evil

Counterterrorism, techno-science, and the cultural reproduction of security

Mark Maguire and Pete Fussey

as basic emotional states, deception cues, and, potentially, emotional signs of hostile intent. Today, in a re-imagining of centuries-old criminological positivism, the techno-scientific projects emerging from homeland security include AVATAR

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Introduction

Lenience in Systems of Religious Meaning and Practice

Maya Mayblin and Diego Malara

seriously, argues Keane, would not mean taking people only at face value and resting content with an account of subjectivities; it would mean thinking “dispassionately about the sources and consequences of self-deception, blindness, and distortions” (ibid

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The Fiscal Commons

Tax Evasion, the State, and Commoning in a Catalonian Cooperative

Vinzenz Bäumer Escobar

Monetary Fund], the euro, and capitalism.” He augmented this critique of global economic institutions with a damning judgment of Spanish political structures: “I suppose you've already seen that over here we're living inside of a political deception.” He

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Can Time Be Tricked?

A Theoretical Introduction

Felix Ringel

oneself with more favourable accounts and slight adjustments against one’s better knowledge. Whether as actual lies or self-assuring deceptions, what is tricked is a social, contextually concrete reference to the presumed past, often deeply embedded in