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'An Expensive Death'

Walter Benjamin at Portbou

John Payne

As we returned south in the gloaming to Portbou, the doubts resurfaced. The Right is gathering strength again, not least in France and Spain. The borders may be open within Europe, but they remain largely closed to refugees and asylum-seekers from beyond Europe's borders. These nameless people include the bodies washed up every week on the shores of the Straits of Gibraltar, Africans trying in vain to escape tyranny, war and hatred and - the greatest oppression of all - poverty. What happened at Portbou is important to all of us. We all need to descend that staircase, confront our own mortality, confront the harm we do every day to one another and to our planet. The crimes that are committed by soldiers, police and bureaucrats - in our names.

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J. Brandon Colvin

People are bad at recognizing liars. Data culled from several psychological experiments demonstrates that even the most well trained individuals – government agents, police officers, and so on – can barely succeed at a 50 percent rate. Lying and deception, however, are fundamental narrative elements in several film genres – particularly the detective film and the female gothic, genres that peaked in popularity in 1940s Hollywood. Considering their real-life lack of proficiency, how do viewers successfully spot deception in such films? Drawing on findings from a handful of experiments, this article brings cognitive psychological concepts to bear on two 1940s films: Out of the Past (1947) and Secret Beyond the Door (1948). The article claims that filmmakers, particularly actors, exaggerate, simplify, and emphasize deception cues to selectively achieve narrative clarification or revelation. This process reveals not only how viewers recognize deception, but how actors stylize real-life behavior in service of narrative and aesthetic priorities.

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Staying out of Place

The Being and Becoming of Burundian Refugees in the Camp and the City

Simon Turner

Based on ethnographic fieldwork among Burundian refugees living clandestinely in Nairobi and living in a refugee camp in Tanzania, the article argues that displacement can be about staying out of place in order to find a place in the world in the future. I suggest that the term displacement describes this sense of not only being out of place but also being en route to a future. Burundians in the camp and the city are doing their best to remain out of place, in transition between a lost past and a future yet to come, and the temporary nature of their sojourn is maintained in everyday practices. Such everyday practices are policed by powerful actors in the camp and are ingrained in practices of self-discipline in Nairobi. Comparing the two settings demonstrates that remaining out of place can take on different forms, according to context.

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Perveez Mody

This article examines claims about the substantive importance of black letter law for those having marriages of choice in India and offers a critique of the ways in which legal procedure is manipulated. The law is 'bent' not only by the courts and the police to undermine the intentions of legislators and to uphold conservative communal values but also by ordinary people who seek to promote their own agendas and to make moral and instrumental claims. These can make significant space for individual desires and self-choice in the realm of intimate relationships. 'Love jurisdiction' is used to explore this process of 'intermanglement' through which love, romantic relationships and moral rights in relationships get entangled (and sometimes mangled) through legal statute, procedures and everyday practices.

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Louise K. Davidson-Schmich, Jennifer A. Yoder, Friederike Eigler, Joyce M. Mushaben, Alexandra Schwell and Katharina Karcher

Konrad H. Jarausch, United Germany: Debating Processes and Prospects

Reviewed by Louise K. Davidson-Schmich

Nick Hodgin and Caroline Pearce, ed. The GDR Remembered:Representations of the East German State since 1989

Reviewed by Jennifer A. Yoder

Andrew Demshuk, The Lost German East: Forced Migration and the Politics of Memory, 1945-1970

Reviewed by Friederike Eigler

Peter H. Merkl, Small Town & Village in Bavaria: The Passing of a Way of Life

Reviewed by Joyce M. Mushaben

Barbara Thériault, The Cop and the Sociologist. Investigating Diversity in German Police Forces

Reviewed by Alexandra Schwell

Clare Bielby, Violent Women in Print: Representations in the West German Print Media of the 1960s and 1970s

Reviewed by Katharina Karcher

Michael David-Fox, Peter Holquist, and Alexander M. Martin, ed., Fascination and Enmity: Russia and Germany as Entangled Histories, 1914-1945

Reviewed by Jennifer A. Yoder

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Austerity against the Homo Sovieticus

Political control, class imaginings, and ethnic categorization in the Vilnius riots of 2009

Daiva Repečkait

This article analyzes the public discourse on the riots of 16 January 2009, in Vilnius, when protest against economic shock therapy ended in violent clashes with the police. Politicians and the media were quick to ethnicize the riots, claiming an “involvement of foreign influences” and noting that the rioters had been predominantly “Russian-speaking.” Analyzing electronic and print media, the article identifies a wider tendency, particularly among middle-class Lithuanian youth, of portraying the social class consisting of “losers of the post-soviet transition” as aggressive and primitive Others. A pseudo-ethnicity that combines Rus sian language and culture with lower-class background into a notion of homo sovieticus comes to stand for what is hindering the “clean up” of Lithuania and middleclass aspirations to form a new European identity. As such, the riots serve as a lens that illuminates the way ethnicity is flexibly utilized to shift political loyalties.

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On “tribes” and bribes

“Iraq tribal study,” al-Anbar's awakening, and social science

Roberto J. González

The concept of the “tribe” has captured the imagination of military planners, who have been inspired partly by social scientists. Interest in tribes stems from events in Iraq's al-Anbar province, where the US military has co-opted Sunni “tribal” leaders. Some social scientists have capitalized on these developments by doing contract work for the Pentagon. For example, the “Iraq tribal study”—prepared by a private company consisting of anthropologists and political scientists among others—suggests employing colonial-era techniques (such as divide and conquer) for social control. It also advocates bribing local leaders, a method that has become part of the US military's pacification strategy. Such imperial policing techniques are likely to aggravate armed conflict between and among ethnic groups and religious sects. Observers report that the US strategy is creating a dangerous situation resembling the Lebanese civil war, raising ethical questions about social scientists' involvement in these processes.

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People's Mic and democratic charisma

Occupy Wall Street's frontier assemblies

Chris Garces

The People's Mic is a new genre of political speech. In Occupy Wall Street (OWS) general assemblies, this tactile media for public deliberation was integral to embodying new political community across American cities in a globally oriented movement of the squares. Whether or not OWS has exemplified direct democracy per se, the People's Mic has cultivated new forms of democratic charisma between previously disaggregated constituencies-a “leaderful charisma“, with historical roots in pious American oratorical traditions (“hallowed speech“) and more recent movements for intercultural solidarity building (global justice, horizontalist, feminist, etc.). In this article, I signal how the People's Mic atavistically conjured and resembled the American town hall meeting in a contemporary and heterogeneous US frontier assembly. Before its strategic incapacitation, the Occupy movement's widespread use of People's Mic served to undermine the authority of private-public monopolies and to place a check on mounting police repression of urban space.

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Dissenting Voices?

Controlling Children’s Comics under Franco

Rhiannon McGlade

The installation of the Franco dictatorship sparked an inadvertent boom in the production of comics. While many cartoonists hailing from Barcelona’s rich satirical tradition went into exile or clandestine publication, still more turned to the children’s comics market that had become firmly rooted in the Catalan capital since the 1920s. Until the 1950s, comics remained relatively free from censorial intervention, and the development of characters such as La Familia Ulises, Carpanta and Doña Urraca offered cartoonists an outlet for covert critique. However, in 1952, the Junta Asesora de la Prensa Infantil was established to police children’s publications for ‘inappropriate’ content, marking a turning point in the history of Spain’s comics genre. This article discusses the implications of specific legislation for editors, artists and their comic strip characters, focusing on the publications Pulgarcito, TBO and DDT.

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Sandra Edith Medellín Mendoza and Joana Cecilia Chapa Cantú

There exists few studies on Mexico related to research of the factors involved in the decision-making process of individuals when choosing whether to be a law-abiding citizen or a criminal. From the perspective of members of criminal markets—i.e., victims, felons, and the government—this work explains under a general equilibrium model how the delinquency rate for felonies, such as theft, in the various Mexican states function as structural parameters for wages, taxes, police reliability, and legal penalties. The results suggest that, in an environment of low accusation and punishment, the only variable in this model which has a real effect in reducing crime are monetary penalties, due to the fact that the felon must face this kind of penalty once accused, captured, and jailed.

Spanish Existen pocos estudios para el caso mexicano donde se investiga cuáles son los factores que intervienen en la toma de decisiones de los individuos al elegir entre ser criminal o no. Desde la perspectiva de los integrantes del mercado del crimen, esto es, víctimas, delincuentes y gobierno, este trabajo explica bajo un modelo de equilibrio general, cómo responde la tasa de delincuencia para delitos como el robo de las entidades federativas mexicanas ante cambios en los parámetros estructurales como salarios, impuestos, productividad de la policía y las penas consideradas en el marco legal. Los resultados encontrados sugieren que en un contexto de bajas tasas de denuncia y castigo, la única variable de política que en el marco de este modelo tiene efecto para reducir el crimen son las penas monetarias, ya que estas las enfrenta el criminal una vez que es denunciado, capturado y encarcelado.

French Rares sont les études au Mexique qui s'interrogent sur les facteurs liés au processus de prise de décision chez les individus concernant leur choix de devenir ou non des criminels. Fondé sur les opinions des agents du crime organisé, dont les victimes, les criminels et le gouvernement, cet article analyse sur la base d'un modèle d'équilibre général, la manière dont le taux de délinquance, à l'instar des détournements des fonds publics dans des régions mexicaines, réagit aux changement des paramètres structurels tels que les salaires, les impôts, l'efficience de la police et la fiabilité des sanctions dans le cadre juridique. Les résultats suggèrent que dans un contexte pareil marqué par un faible taux de plaintes et de sanctions, la seule variable de politiques susceptibles de réduire efficacement la criminalité, sont les sanctions pécuniaires, auxquelles les criminels seraient systématiquement confrontés en cas de dénonciation, d'arrestation ou d'emprisonnement.