This biographical and, in part, phenomenological anthropology of older people in post-industrial England illuminates a local and generationally specific communitarian critique of and form of resistance against the process of individualisation. Rather than presenting communitarianism conventionally as an abstract political ideology or set of ideas about locality, it is conceptualised as emerging from and being reinforced by experiences of ageing, especially bodily ageing. It these respects, the article responds positively to Tatjana Thelen and Cati Coe’s call to take the anthropology of ageing out of its current condition of relative intellectual marginality, by recognising ageing and its related care arrangements as key structuring features within societies and political organisation and by treating them as a window onto understanding broad-scale social and political processes.
This article describes the recent Sydney riots and the commentary surrounding them. The author demonstrates how, through processes of ‘analytical et nic cleansing’, ‘ethnic homogenization and specification’, and ‘blame displacement’, the Lebanese Muslim community, a target of the initial rioters, came to be victimized in commentary on the riots. While the riots may not have been particularly significant in themselves, the commentary surrounding them provides an important window onto the state of cultural politics in Australia at a specific juncture in time when multi-culturalism is simultaneously hegemonic but subject to attack from Australia’s ruling federal political regime. The author claims, moreover, that the victimization of Lebanese Muslims is indicative of a particular current process in which a discourse of multi-culturalism, engendered largely by its liberal advocates and drawing on the scholarly works of anthropologists and other social scientists, is utilized to undermine multi-culturalism as a form of social policy and organization.