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Anthropology of Europe Redux

Déjà vu in the South

Jon P. Mitchell

For good reasons, anthropology some decades ago deconstructed the Mediterraneanist picture of familialist societies in the South. However, this deconstruction unexpectedly had its political twin in Malta’s fight against corruption to meet the conditions for EU-membership in 2004. Drawing on a deeper concept of “territoriality”, introduced by anthropologist Ina-Maria Greverus, the article considers lately observed new variants of nationalist positions that paradoxically are deeply entwined with clientelistic dynamics against the state, culminating in the recent murder of critical journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

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Cross‐currents: critical essays on art and culture in Malta edited by Vella, Raphael

JON P. MITCHELL

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A fourth critic of the Enlightenment

Michel de Certeau and the ethnography of subjectivity*

Jon P. Mitchell

This paper examines the potential contribution of the work of Michel de Certeau (1925–1986) to anthropological theories of agency, resistance and subjectivity. It argues that de Certeau's work shares with contemporary anthropological theory a legacy of the counter‐Enlightenment that combines a profound pessimism about modern society with an emphasis on the redemptive possibility of populism, expressivism and pluralism. Whilst in anthropology these developed into a complex theorisation of agency, resistance and subjectivity as embedded in socio‐cultural context, de Certeau appears to systematically avoid a coherent Rather, he offers a of agency, resistance and subjectivity that sees resistance through ‘tactics’ as the manifestation of an enduring counter‐modern human spirit, and as inherently morally good. The paper closes with a caution against anthropologists adopting a similar ‘theological’ stance towards resistance.

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Ritual structure and ritual agency. ‘Rebounding violence’ and Maltese 1

Jon P. Mitchell

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For Belief

Embodiment and Immanence in Catholicism and Mormonism

Jon P. Mitchell and Hildi J. Mitchell

This article argues for belief, suggesting that the reason why anthropologists might have moved against belief is their persistent attachment to a linguistic model of religion that sees the job of the anthropologist of religion as being one of translation. In such a model, the absence of the word 'belief' signals the absence of the process. We argue for the enduring utility of belief, not as a linguistic category, but as a description of experiential processes at the heart of religion. Using examples from popular Catholicism and Mormonism, we contend that such processes are rooted in the body. Through bodily practice and performance, religion is generated as an immanent force in the world—people come to believe.

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Book Reviews

Jack Hunter, Annelin Eriksen, Jon Mitchell, Mattijs van de Port, Magnus Course, Nicolás Panotto, Ruth Barcan, David M. R. Orr, Girish Daswani, Piergiorgio Di Giminiani, Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen, Sofía Ugarte, Ryan J. Cook, Bettina E. Schmidt, and Mylene Mizrahi