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Anthropological Engagement at a Global Women's Health Conference

A Report on the Women Deliver Conference, Kuala Lumpur 2013

Margaret MacDonald, Debra Pascali Bonaro and Robbie Davis-Floyd

This past May a major international conference called Women Deliver took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Women Deliver is a relatively new but significant force in the international reproductive health arena. Since its first conference in 2007 in London with 1,500 attending, it has rapidly grown in size and reputation. The second conference took place in Washington DC in 2010 with 3,000 attendees. Women Deliver Kuala Lumpur was the biggest conference of the decade devoted to women’s and girl’s health and well-being; it brought together 4,500 people from hundreds of organisations in 149 countries around the world, including heads of state, ministers of health and women’s issues, major UN agency representatives, non-governmental organisations, scientists and scholars, major donors (including Melinda Gates and Chelsea Clinton), mainstream media, youth, filmmakers and even royalty.

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From Epistemology of Suspicion to Racial Profiling

Hans Gross, Mobility, and Crime around 1900

Gal Hertz

Hans Gross (1847–1915), the founder of Austro-Hungarian criminology, developed an epistemology of suspicion that targeted and profiled individuals as well as social and ethnic groups based mainly on their uprootedness and displacement. The scientific practices of observation and analysis he implemented in criminal investigations were anchored in epistemological assumptions that redefined and questioned both the object of study (namely, the criminal) and the subject (the investigator). By transferring scientific ideas and methods from the natural and social science into police work and judicial processes, Gross’s study of crime merged biological and social perspectives. This meant the categories of deviancy were attached to foreignness and social difference, migration and effects of urban life. His epistemology was underlined by social Darwinism, and his forensics, far from being an objective study, advocated what is today known as racial profiling.

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Gianfranco Baldini and Guido Legnante

On 29 November and 13 December 1998, elections were held for

the renewal of fifty-eight municipal councils in towns comprising

more than 15,000 inhabitants, as well as of four provincial administrations.

The feature that most caught the attention of politicians

and commentators, apart from changes in the political balance of

the coalitions, was the turnout for these elections. For the first time

in the electoral history of republican Italy, non-voters in the provincial

elections in some cases amounted to more than 50 percent of

the electorate. Largely blamed for this fall in electoral participation

was the frequency with which voters had been recently called to

the polling booths; and this accelerated the process of modifying

the law on the direct election of the mayor, it being proposed,

amongst other things, that all the administrative elections should

be combined into a single annual round of voting.

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Eva Kalousová

‘When I witnessed thousands of children being sent to gas, I swore that if I ever escape this hell alive one day I will devote my future life to the education of Jewish youth when such injustice exists.’ These were the words of Honza Brammer, a survivor of Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, a former tutor of young prisoners in these camps and a colleague of the well-known Fredy Hirsch. This young man, originally from Uherský Brod in Moravia, left Czechoslovakia in 1949 for Israel and there accomplished his war decision. He became an organizer of schools in the Israeli desert and besides the work he loved, his life-long passion was photography. Honza Brammer or Dov Barnea as he called himself in the Eretz took hundreds of pictures of people, places and the nature of Israel throughout the post-war decades and his photographs present an interesting mosaic of everyday life there.

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Migration – A New Normal

A Muslim Perspective

Amira Abdin

This article aims to answer the following questions: how do we define religion? What does the Qur’anic text say about pluralism? The article looks at verses of the Qur’an that deal with the value of the human being and verses that deal with pluralism. In the Qur’an, away from the historical narrative we find that interaction between people should be based on respect, equality and dignity. We look at the current situation of immigrants and host countries and how both should deal with it, how the socio-political situation encouraged Europe to accept these migrants. How are the migrants dealing with their new life and their responsibility to their new country, and what is the responsibility of the host country towards the immigrants? The situation of the immigrants is difficult for them as well as for their host countries. Both should work hard on integration and at facilitating mutual respect and acceptance.

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'Communities and Jewish Identity in Europe'

Transcript of First Plenary of the Third General Assembly of European Jewry, Budapest (20–23 May 2004)

Anthony Lerman, Barry Kosmin, Mikhail Chelnov, Shmuel Trigano and Alberto Senderey

The European Jewish reality today confounds predictions of decline with demographic decline. We can see that predictions of Jewish decline don't mean that the data was wrong, but rather the interpretation of the data on Jewish life was wrong. To look at the inevitably flawed data and not see trends that cannot be altered is just bad futurology. The fact is (and we know it from our daily life, work life as well as leisure life) that today information is power. Without information about who we as Jews in Europe are, we cannot seriously build a future. The kind of information we need about ourselves is not just how many we are and where we are. This kind of information is sometimes impossible to know definitively. We really need to know what kind of Jews we are, what kind of Jewish identities form our being, what makes up Jewish identities today.

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Liana Chua

This article centers on the somatic modes through which ghosts, spirits, and other unseen beings are apprehended as felt experiences by the Bidayuh, an indigenous group of Malaysian Borneo. Such experiences reveal a local epistemology of supernatural encounters that associates vision with normality and its suspension with both sensory and social liminality. The second half of the article explores how this model has been extended to contemporary Bidayuh Christianity, thus rendering God, Jesus, and other personages viscerally real in people's lives. Drawing on the ethnography and recent developments in the anthropology of religion, I argue that these 'soul encounters' hold important theoretical and methodological lessons for anthropologists, pushing us to reshape our conceptions of belief, as well as our approaches to the study of ostensibly intangible religious phenomena.

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Beneficial Bonds

Luck and the Lived Experience of Relatedness in Contemporary Japan

Inge Daniels

This article explores the Japanese notion of luck as a relational mode of action that encapsulates a complex understanding about self, society, and cosmos. Drawing on ethnographic data gathered in 30 urban homes in the Kansai region (Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, Nara) in 2003, I aim to demonstrate how, by engaging in a range of material practices, people create beneficial connections with spirits, people, and places to protect the home from malevolent influences and to ensure the happiness and well-being of its occupants. It will be argued that this protective system can be maintained only through both the relentless 'labor of luck' performed by married women as 'moral persons' and the persistent circulation of luck between religious institutions, commercial businesses, and homes.

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Prelude

An Accountability, Written in the Year 2108

Carolyn Nordstrom

This 'archaeology of the future' examines how we, as scholars and anthropologists, will be read—and judged—in the time to come. Twenty-second-century theoreticians may well ask (as we today ask of colonial-era scholarship): “Did the scholars in the early twenty-first century see in their analyses new kinds of warfare, unparalleled forms of violence, potentialities yet to be developed?“ Through an analysis of events likely to unfold over the course of the next 100 years (from changing power constellations to anthropology's attempt to commit disciplinary suicide), this article affirms an anthropology that takes ontological reflexivity seriously; that no longer accepts outdated heuristics dividing theory from theoretician from Being (production of the world); and that grounds this approach in an accountability recognizing epistemology as dynamic, honest, and emergent.

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Martin Holbraad

This issue includes our First Book Symposium, a new feature for Social Analysis that replaces the book reviews section we have had for a number of years. In each regular issue of the journal, we shall be devoting this feature to a single book written by a first-time author, which in one way or another develops new potentials for anthropological analysis (this being the core intellectual mission of our journal). The book will be subjected to sustained critique by relevant scholars, to which the author will then respond. We hope that this more focused approach will allow for a deeper engagement with emerging currents of analysis than what the shorter book review format allows, providing also a platform for books by scholars who are not already established and well known.