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Thomas M. Wilson

Anthropological attention to political and cultural borders has grown considerably over the last twenty years. This has been due in most part to the increasing scholarly attention paid to international and other political borders, in ways that mirror political and economic elites who have continued to place borders centre-stage in their debates on the good and bad effects of globalisation. Once principally the focus of geography, today the study of borders – including their territorial, geophysical, political and cultural dimensions – has become a primary interest across the disciplines due to changing scholarly approaches to such key research subjects and objects as the state, nation, sovereignty, citizenship, migration and the over-arching forces and practices of globalisation.

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Instrumental Europe

Practices of Daily Engagement with the European Union

Marysia Galbraith and Thomas M. Wilson

Religious organisations that secularise their community outreach to gain European Union (EU) funding, border-city residents whose consumption practices exploit cross-border economic disparities, EU member states that protect their domestic labour market by restricting access to legal work and medical care for citizens of new member states, recently admitted citizens who nevertheless take advantage of increased opportunities for mobility to improve their economic and social standing, and even in some cases use their scepticism about membership to promote their personal or national interests within the EU – all of these examples point to the complex and varied ways in which instrumentality figures in day-to-day dealings with the European Union. This special issue of AJEC seeks to contribute to the anthropological study of the European Union by examining ways in which various individuals, groups and institutions use the EU to pursue their political, economic and social goals at local, national and transnational levels within Europe.

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Polya Ilieva and Thomas M. Wilson

This article examines forms of ideological and political responses to European integration and Europeanisation that are either negative in form and function or that are projected as such for local and national purposes. The concept of 'Euroscepticism' is shown here as a useful linguistic and sociological starting point for examining the transformative power of the EU in the politics of all levels of European societies. The ways in which people express their support, opposition or ennui in regard to the role of 'Europe' in their lives delineates here the instrumentalism in the way they approach advancing European integration. The processes of resisting, negotiating and adapting (and adapting to) European integration are offered here as topics of anthropological significance in their own right. A case study from one former socialist country, Bulgaria, illustrates what may be suggested as a commonplace sentiment throughout the EU - a feeling of marginality due to the disconnection and disaffection that remain at the heart of Euroscepticism in all of its forms. Bulgaria offers a frame through which to reflect on the reformulations in local, regional and national political society as they relate to supranational and transnational forces throughout Europe, and to illustrate how an anthropological attention to the issues of post-socialism in Central and Eastern Europe may bene fit from an examination of the new forces of European integration.

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Tiziana Soverino, Evgenia Mesaritou, Thomas M. Wilson, Steve Byrne, Dino Vukušić, Fabiana Dimpflmeier, Eva-Maria Walther and Eva Schwab

Aníbal Arregui, Gesa Mackenthun and Stephanie Wodianka (eds.) (2018), DEcolonial Heritage: Natures, Cultures, and the Asymmetries of Memory (Cultural Encounters and the Discourses of Scholarship, vol. 10) (Münster: Waxmann), 278 pp., Paperback €34.90, ISBN 9783830937906.