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Walking Back to Happiness?

Modern Pilgrimage and the Expression of Suffering on Spain's Camino de Santiago

Keith Egan

This article examines the experiences of walkers along the Spanish Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. It explores their journeys as exercises in narrative adjustment, social practices, and somatic experiences of a crippling loss of control over the course of their lives. Using a phenomenological method of descriptions, the article argues that mobility is a trope that expresses existential issues in a bodily idiom. It draws attention to the value of inter-subjective experience as a potential source of existential mobility, one that finds metaphorical expression in the slow daily rhythms structuring pilgrims' journeys and that impacts on the researcher as much as the pilgrims.

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Yves Pourcher

As seen from France, World War I was first and foremost a matter of transporting men who had to be brought en masse to the front. This article describes the first departures and analyzes the sentiments they elicited: sadness, resignation, fear. Men climbed into the trains and went off to war: these first voyages were followed by countless others that bore little resemblance to those of August 1914. Wounded, exhausted, discouraged, and occasionally rebellious, soldiers passed through the railway stations, which had become the heart and soul of the country. In the towns, fear spread as supplies began to be scarce and living conditions deteriorated. Life unfolded to the rhythm of the passing trains until, at the end and in the aftermath of the war, other train cars arrived bearing those who had died.

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Yves Pourcher

As seen from France, World War I was first and foremost a matter of transporting men who had to be brought en masse to the front. This article describes the first departures and analyzes the sentiments they elicited: sadness, resignation, fear. Men climbed into the trains and went off to war: these first voyages were followed by countless others that bore little resemblance to those of August 1914. Wounded, exhausted, discouraged, and occasionally rebellious, soldiers passed through the railway stations, which had become the heart and soul of the country. In the towns, fear spread as supplies began to be scarce and living conditions deteriorated. Life unfolded to the rhythm of the passing trains until, at the end and in the aftermath of the war, other train cars arrived bearing those who had died.

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Water Defences

The Arts of Swimming in Nineteenth-Century Culture

Vybarr Cregan-Reid

In Charles Dickens’s The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870), the Minor canon of Cloisterham Cathedral is introduced to the reader as a thoroughly muscular Christian. Crisparkle’s moral fibre is designated by a prolonged succession of adjectives; indeed, the only point at which this adjectival rhythm is ruptured is when the text pauses to describe the Reverend’s sophisticated and frequent swimming rituals. So proficient a swimmer is he, that when the crews that drag the river searching for Drood’s body fail to find any clues, it is Crisparkle we are told, who ‘threw off his clothes, […] plunged into the icy water, and swam for the spot. Climbing the timbers, he took from them […] a gold watch, bearing engraved upon its back E. D.’ (198).

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Test Run -- Stop and Go

Mapping Nodes of Mobility and Migration

Michael Hieslmair, Michael Zinganel and Tarmo Pikner

When increasing numbers of people are obliged to spend increasing amounts of time in transit then nodes and hubs alongside major traffic corridors – where traffic comes to halt and exchange between actors en route happens – represent new forms of urbanity and public space, sites where both individuals' routes, routines, and rituals and political transitions and urban transformations can be explored. If we follow Henri Lefebvre's thesis that urbanity is no longer defined by density but by the degree of difference performed at specific places, then these nodes paradigmatically represent new forms of urbanity and public space. What remained largely unexplored in the investigations so far was emphasising these nodes as polyrhythmic ensembles, linked to their temporal adaptability – reacting on daily, weekly and seasonal rhythms of traffic flows – and their interdependence on one another.

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Mark L. Solomon

In this deeply personal article, Mark Solomon explores the universal dichotomy between group solidarity and individual dissent by reflecting on two formative experiences of his own life. The first was his inspiring teenage encounter with Lubavitch Hasidism and his revulsion at its extreme, particularistic views about Jewish souls, which led to a loss of faith in Judaism and a four-year spiritual struggle over whether to convert to Christianity. Later, as an Orthodox rabbi, he had to deal with a growing awareness of being gay and the need to come out, once again leaving the solidarity of the traditional Jewish family structure for a dissenting way of life. Individual dissent can create a new sense of community and bring with it a solidarity among outsiders. The challenges of belonging and personal freedom are part of the perpetual rhythm of life and can be a source of growth and energy.

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The Ritual Experience of Continuity

Flow and Participation in Punu Twin Dancing

Carine Plancke

While focusing on its dynamics, Bruce Kapferer considers ritual as a means for readjusting the flow of life, thus undermining Claude Lévi-Strauss's vision of ritual as a vain search for continuity. This article shows the potential of Kapferer's approach for understanding the dance rituals that the Punu of Congo-Brazzaville dedicate to twins, who, as waterspirits, embody the source of life. Advancing Victor Turner's attempt to account for the generative power of ritual, it discloses the means through which these rituals afford a lived experience of revitalizing continuity whereby the part embraces the whole and a focused, self-intensifying energetic dynamic unfolds and continuously readjusts its own flow. The analysis of rhythm and its actualization in song and dance turns out to be essential in this regard.

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Steffen Dalsgaard

In sociological literature, the most commonly accepted meaning of 'the state' is based on a spatial definition that describes it as an entity exercising sovereignty within a bounded territory. However, the state is also made present in time, and state forms have a profound impact on the temporalities of social events and interaction, for instance, through rhythms and schedules. Consequently, this article discusses how the state in Manus Province, Papua New Guinea, can be understood with reference to temporality as much as to spatiality and materiality. Here, the state is seen as being personified in its politicians, who are in control of its resources. In this understanding, the state is both facilitated and limited by the presence, attention, and duration of the politicians, who are obliged to recognize personal relationships through which kin or acquaintances can challenge bureaucratic control of space and of time.

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How Things Hold

A Diagram of Coordination in a Satoyama Forest

Elaine Gan and Anna Tsing

This article experiments with combining three concepts— coordination, assemblage, diagram—to make vivid the composition of a satoyama forest in central Japan. The forest comes to life as a more-than-human assemblage that emerges through coordinations established by evolutionary and historical accommodations to life cycles, seasonal rhythms, and activity patterns. These coordinations are expressed through a diagram of intersecting temporalities of people, plants, and woodlands that condition the flourishing or decline of wild matsutake mushrooms. Working diagrammatically, we can better articulate how juxtapositions of humans and non-humans become assemblages that hold together through coordinations—without a unified purpose or design. We argue that understanding coordination is key to more livable multispecies worlds.

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Peter McLaren and Ramin Farahmandpur

As we lean into the gusty winds of the approaching millennium, squaring our shoulders and lowering our heads against an icy unknown, we discover much to our surprise that the future has already arrived; that it has silently imploded into the singularity of the present. We are lost in a crevice in the ‘wrong side’ of history, in a furious calm at the end of a century-old breath, doing solitary confinement in the future anterior. Time has inhaled so hard that it has lodged us in its lungs, compressing us into shadowy, ovaloid spectres out of the horror classic, Nosferatu. Capitalism has authored this moment, synchronising the heartbeat of the globe with the auto-copulatory rhythms of the marketplace; deregulating history; downsizing eternity.