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What Makes a Megaproject?

A Review of Global Hydropower Assemblages

Grant M. Gutierrez, Sarah Kelly, Joshua J. Cousins and Christopher Sneddon

This article reviews how global hydropower assemblages catalyze socioecological change in the world’s rivers. As a quintessential megaproject, massive dams and the hydropower they generate have long captivated the modernist development imaginary. Yet, despite growing recognition of the socio-ecological consequences of hydropower, it has recently assumed a central role in supporting renewable energy transitions. We highlight three trends in hydropower politics that characterize global hydropower assemblages: mega-dams as markers of nation-state development; river protection by territorial alliances and social movements opposed to hydropower; and transitions from spectacular, centralized hydropower installations to the propagation of small and large hydropower within climate mitigation schemes. We offer insights on how global hydropower assemblages force examination beyond traditional categories of “mega” through more holistic and grounded analyses of significance.

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Smita Yadav

Sites of pilgrimage and heritage tourism are often sites of social inequality and volatility that are impaired by hostilities between historical, ethnic, and competing religious discourses of morality, personhood, and culture, as well as between imaginaries of nationalism and citizenship. Often these pilgrim sites are much older in national and global history than the actual sovereign nation-state in which they are located. Pertinent issues to do with finance—such as regimes of taxation, livelihoods, and the wealth of regional and national economies—underscore these sites of worship. The articles in this special issue engage with prolix travel arrangement, accommodation, and other aspects of heritage tourism in order to understand how intangible aspects of such tourism proceed. But they also relate back to when and how these modern infrastructures transformed the pilgrimage and explore what the emerging discourses and practices were that gave newer meanings to neoliberal pilgrimages. The different case studies presented in this issue analyze the impact of these journeys on the pilgrims’ own subjectivities—especially with regard to the holy sites being situated in their imaginations of historical continuity and discontinuity and with regard to their transformative experiences of worship—using both modern and traditional infrastructures.

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Indian-Jewish Shrine Hopping in Israel

The "Multisensoriality" of Religiously Defined Practice, Emotion, and Belief

Gabriele Shenar

Focusing on the aesthetic, moral, and affective economies of one-day multisite pilgrimage tours of Indian-Jewish Israelis to the tombs of tzaddikim (“righteous persons”) as well as venerated sites of biblical figures in Israel, the article explores how the neoliberal idea of entrepreneurial competitiveness assists in mobilizing and sustaining culturally valued moral and aesthetic inclinations. Furthermore, it foregrounds the “multisensoriality” of religiously defined practice, emotion, and belief and their role in the production of an Indian-Jewish ambiance and the narratives that it elicits. Clearly, throughout their pilgrimage, Indian-Jewish Israelis carve out their own spaces in which they author the sacred sites and cultural landscapes that they visit through aesthetic engagement, embodied ritual, and, more generally, sensory enactment. However, in order to achieve the desired ambiance, Indian-Jewish pilgrims must to some extent become entrepreneurs or consumers in Israel’s flourishing market of folk veneration both with regard to homegrown and imported saintly Jewish figures.

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Marc Roscoe Loustau

Why do post-pilgrimage slideshows help Transylvanian Hungarian Catholics perform domestic devotional labor? There is growing interest in breaking open pilgrimage research, and scholars have recently begun studying rituals of return—including pilgrims’ practice of using photographs to narrate their journeys after returning home. I contribute to this effort by sketching out the general characteristics of Transylvanian Hungarian Catholics’ post-pilgrimage slideshows about the Medjugorje shrine. I then give a detailed description of an exemplary case: a married couple’s presentation for their children gathered around the family computer. Although we might expect pilgrims to routinize stories and images from a chaotic journey, many slideshows were quite disorganized and impressionistic. This disorganization helped travelers tailor their stories to the diverse spiritual interests of guests in a changing Transylvanian Hungarian Catholic religious landscape. Family members’ conversations also dramatized how neoliberalism in Romania has emerged alongside new global pilgrimage sites like Medjugorje. Medjugorje appeals to pilgrims because it is a privileged site for advertising national wares on the global market.

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Reassembling the Lucky Gods

Pilgrim Economies, Tourists, and Local Communities in Global Tokyo

Tatsuma Padoan

This article intends to analyze the emergence of new subjectivities and economic discourses, and the semiotic construction of sacred places in global Tokyo as inventively constituted within the popular urban pilgrimage routes of the Seven Lucky Gods (shichifukujin). While a specific neoliberal discourse in Japan linked to tourism and the media has promoted the reinvention of traditional pilgrimage sites as New Age “power spots” informed by novel forms of temporality and subjectivity, urban communities living in those places, with their specific concerns and problems related to the local neighborhoods, often generate pilgrimage spaces that are radically different from those of the “neoliberal pilgrims.” I will thus argue that the pilgrimage of the Seven Lucky Gods emerges as a double discourse through which religious institutions and urban collectives semiotically assemble themselves not only by rebranding older sites as neoliberal power spots through media and tourism practices, but also by creatively producing hybrid subjectivities, sacred places, and alternative ontologies that are set apart from neoliberal economies.

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Rebuilding, Remembrance, and Commerce

Perspectives on the Economic Revitalization of Lower Manhattan

Kate DeConinck

The 9/11 attacks claimed the lives of thousands of New Yorkers and also devastated the economy in Lower Manhattan. Many local businesses and restaurants were forced to close, and thousands of residents were displaced from their homes. For more than a decade, the neighborhoods surrounding the World Trade Center site struggled to stay afloat economically. However, recent years have witnessed the revitalization of this area as developers have built new office and retail spaces as well as museums and memorials that attract visitors from around the globe. Drawing from fieldwork conducted between 2010 and 2017, this article analyzes the significance of these rapid economic developments for individuals who were personally affected by the attacks. Some persons condemned the changes as immoral, believing that money and respectful remembrance cannot coexist. Others viewed the revitalization as redemptive, the product of the communitas that had united citizens after the tragedy.

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Sacred Journeys

A Lucrative Revenue Stream

Shadia Taha

Pilgrimage has been performed by members of all religions, and all beliefs, from prehistoric times to the present. The visitation of religious and sacred sites represents a significant economic resource for many faith establishments and organizations. In this article, I will explore the Muslim Hajj to Mecca as a case study. The study is based on ethnographic research using interviews and observation. The economic impact of pilgrims is a multifaceted and complex subject. Pilgrims spend money on transport, accommodation, and other services; hence, they contribute to the economy of the host state. My research suggests that there is a particular type of relationship between the economic and the spiritual aspects of pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

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Siseko H. Kumalo

The historical debate, in African philosophy, on personhood has been characterised by radical and moderate communitarianism seen through the scholarship of Menkiti (1984) and Gyekye (1997) and continues contemporarily with scholars considering its implications on contemporary conceptions of rights.

Responding to Chemhuru’s compatibilist view that, he maintains, safeguards and guarantees individual rights, I showcase how his conception of the community as prior to the individual betrays his project. Using the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights to contextualise rights discourse in Afro-communitarianism, Chemhuru avers that once collective rights have been gained, individuals can claim their rights. I critique this position to suggest that Chemhuru undermines his own project of compatibilism through placing the community prior to the individual. Using the Civil Union Act (2006) as a legislative framework that safeguards and guarantees individual human rights, I test Chemhuru’s compatibilist view. I conclude by highlighting the divergences between constitutionalism and Afro-communitarianism.

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Anti-social security

The changing contours of the hegemonic field in the twenty-first-century United States

Jeff Maskovsky

Gavin Smith’s (2014) Intellectuals and (Counter-) Politics is a tour de force. It calls for anthropology to attend more carefully to the history of moves by the dominant capitalist blocs to enhance the conditions for their own reproduction and to the ways in which different subordinated and subaltern groups respond to these moves. This is, of course, a well-established line of inquiry. Yet, in Intellectuals, Smith breathes new life into an intellectual project that has been sidelined in recent years, as other preoccupations take hold in the discipline of anthropology and beyond. Smith rethinks what is meant by realist history, arming a new generation of insurgent scholars, readers, and activists, inside and outside the academy with a new set of intellectual priorities. The book thus exemplifies the best kind of politicized writing in anthropology and in other disciplines.

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Douglas Bruster

Q1 Hamlet (1603) routinely sets prose speeches so that they appear to be blank verse. This article argues that such was an attempt to confer prestige upon the text, particularly in the wake of the saturation of Shakespeare books on the literary marketplace around 1600 – a phenomenon that saw his prose works achieve less favour than those in pentameter. The publishers of Q1 Merry Wives (1602) and Q1 Hamlet may have hedged their bets on these Shakespeare texts by amplifying their verse, long the gold standard of the Shakespearean brand. Like The True Tragedie of Richard III (published 1594) and The Famous Victories of Henry V (entered 1594), which presented their opening pages to readers as iambic pentameter, Q1 Hamlet seems to have beautified its dialogue for readers in the early modern book marketplace.