In this article we chart the histories and political translations of atheist cultures in Angola. We explore the specific translations of atheist ideologies into practical actions that occurred in the post-independence period in the 1970s–1980s and perform an ethnographic exploration of their legacies in contemporary Angola. We also debate the problem of atheism as an anthropological concept, examining the interfaces between ideology, political agency, and social praxis. We suggest that atheism is inherently a politically biased concept, a product of the local histories and intellectual traditions that shape it.
Ruy Llera Blanes and Abel Paxe
In addressing mounting environmental problems in recent years, many Iranian environmentalists have increasingly adapted discourses and implemented programs that are modeled on scientific ecology. Does this mean the verbatim transfer of Western scientific modernity in Iran? My analyses suggest otherwise. This article explores the unique ways in which a burgeoning environmental awareness unfolds in Iranian contexts by investigating how conceptions of "nature" shape the environmentalists' discourses and practices. It appears that an ecological scientific conception of nature is becoming an important frame of reference among such environmentalists. However, another conception of nature-one framed in relation to Iranian nationhood-makes a key contribution to environmentalism in Iran. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in 2009-2011 in Tehran, this study demonstrates how "Iranian nature" is delineated and practiced through the environmentalists' (re)engagements with certain objects-maps, posters, and photographs-in relation to which local ways of conceptualizing nature are elaborated.
Hindu Mobilization beyond the Bourgeois Public Sphere
This article develops the notion of interconnected publics as a means to understand better both the escalation of Hindu political activism in the 1990s in India and its subsequent waning in the new millennium. I argue that the prime visibility of Hindu fundamentalism in the 1990s was a result of the effective—yet tenuous—connection between various spaces for public communication. The emerging 'inter-public' effectively imbricated the private viewing of religious soap operas with public ritual and political debate to produce, for a short historical moment, the image of a vibrant, forceful, and dominant Hindu nation. The aim of this article is to contribute to Indian studies by discussing the essential, yet in the literature mostly neglected, connections between devotional practices, media Hinduism, and political mobilization. At the broader conceptual level, I argue for a theory of inter-publics that interrogates how multiple 'micropublics' link up to create tangible political effects.
Moral Reckoning in Post-GFC Iceland
Mary Hawkins and Helena Onnudottir
Land is central to Icelandic identity. It is birthright, heritage, a site of memory and belonging; mountains and fjords are the stuff on which Icelandic dreams are made. Land is made culture through story and song, told at family gatherings, and sung at schools and on hiking trips. Icelandic identity was built on this imagining, coupled to a vision of Icelanders as an exceptional people, a Viking race. The events of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), which exposed institutional corruption, caused many Icelanders to doubt the Viking image. At the same time, Iceland has been invaded by tourists. This article, based on participant observation, a survey and interviews, argues that one significant effect of the post-GFC foreign invasion has been a transformation of the cultural and moral order in Iceland, away from the boasting Viking and towards a new set of values within which land and nature occupy an even more central place.
Expatriates, Stateless Peoples and the Politics of Citizenship
In this article I examine why Kuwait and other migrant-receiving countries in the Persian Gulf have failed to enfranchise migrant workers and their descendants through citizenship. I contend that the increasing exclusion of expatriate workers from these societies can be understood in comparison with the disenfranchisement of the stateless populations to which these governments are host. I argue that nationalist narratives that portray these groups as threatening to the host societies have been extremely significant in creating an atmosphere of increasing isolation and exclusion for both expatriates and stateless peoples. I conclude by examining what the Kuwaiti case tells us about how notions of membership and belonging develop and the significant role of historic and political circumstances in shaping these notions.
In this paper I examine the use of the concept of "normality" in debates about German foreign policy since unification. In the early 1990s, left-wing intellectuals such as Jürgen Habermas tended to criticize the idea of "normality" in favor of a form of German exceptionalism based on responsibility for the Nazi past. A foreign policy based on the idea of "normality" was associated above all with the greater use of military force, which the right advocated and the left opposed. Thus, "normality" became a synonym for Bündnisfähigkeit. Yet, from the mid 1990s onwards, some Social Democrats such as Egon Bahr began to use the concept of "normality" to refer instead to a foreign policy based on sovereignty and the pursuit of national interests. Although a consensus has now emerged in Germany around this realist definition of foreign-policy "normality," it is inadequate to capture the complex shift in the foreign policy of the Federal Republic since unification.
An Interview with Vice Mayor Lefteris Papagiannakis
Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou and Nina Papachristou
In this interview with UCL’s Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou, Lefteris Papagiannakis explains his role as Athens’ vice mayor for migrants and refugees. He discusses the city’s responses to the arrival of thousands of refugees and migrants in the last few years. He reflects on the complex relationship of the municipality of Athens with non-government support networks, such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international organizations, as well as autonomous local activists, in providing support services to migrants. Papagiannakis also addresses how Athens negotiates its support for these groups in the current European anti-immigrant climate, and the relationship between the Greek economic crisis and the so-called “refugee crisis.”
This article explores the ideological underpinnings of the major Jewish political camps in Israel and the Yishuv—the left, the Orthodox, the national right, the bourgeois center—and evaluates the extent to which they are compatible with liberal democracy as commonly understood in the West. It also analyzes quasi-democratic and non-democratic aspects of older Jewish traditions based on the Torah, the Talmud, and the Halakhah. While the history of Zionism and the Zionist movement contained definite democratic components, Israel’s political system was shaped by a range of anti-democratic traditions whose resonance is still felt today.
Remaking the World Cultures Displays at the National Museum of Scotland
The opening of the World Cultures galleries in Edinburgh in 2011 marked the renewal of the well-loved, much visited, and rebranded National Museum of Scotland, a museum that has long envisaged its role in national and international terms. Tracing an episodic trajectory over 150 years, the article highlights key moments (in the 1850s upon founding, the 1940s after World War II, and the late 2000s during the renovation) when culture and citizenship were subjects of debate. This museum historiography forms the explanatory framework for the principles underlying the development of new World Cultures galleries and the collecting of indigenous North American art and material culture. Two galleries—Artistic Legacies and Living Lands—are used to explore the theoretical underpinning and representational practices deployed, and how voices, objects, images, and partnerships were used not only to respond to critiques of ethnographic museum display but also to engender more open and optimistic connectivities.
Examining the Alternative for Germany in European Context
Founded just five years ago, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) represents the biggest opposition party in the German parliament. This article addresses three questions in European comparative perspective: What is the nature of the AfD as a relevant political party in the Bundestag? What explains its rise and popularity? What is the party’s behavior and impact in parliament, and on German politics in general? Examining platforms, the article first identifies programmatic and ideological shifts that have turned the AfD from a single issue anti-Euro party into the first radical right-wing (populist) party in parliament since the Nazi era. Second, voter analyses suggest that the AfD’s political radicalization has not undermined but increased its appeal. Third, the robust electoral support for radical positions makes it likely that the party seeks to further deepen political conflicts. Behavior in parliament shows that the party follows its European counterparts’ polarizing strategic orientations, reinforcing the Europeanization of a nativist sociocultural “counter-revolution.”