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Jane Bristol-Rhys

Marriage has become an expensive proposition in the United Arab Emirates, so much so that it is used by some Emirati men as justification for marrying someone outside Emirati society. This article examines the changes in Emirati weddings over the last 30 years, presents a synopsis of the public discussion of Emirati marriages, and considers how the carefully contained public discussion deflects the comprehensive changes that have transformed Emirati society.

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Land, Nation and Tourist

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.

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Alison K. Smith

Although histories of migration to Siberia describe the eighteenth century as a period of less movement than either the seventeenth or nineteenth centuries, the regulation of such mobility evolved considerably over the course of the century. This article looks at three foci of legislation: the act of getting to Siberia, the act of fixing oneself in an official status in Siberia, and the legislation of forced and targeted mobility. In all these areas, decrees show a change from viewing Siberia as a distinctly different space with its own rules and exceptions to a space more fully integrated with the larger system of governance in the empire and more fully understood as a part of Russia proper, not simply as a mercantile colony.

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From Sickle to Pen

Women's Education and Everyday Mobility in Rural Pakistan

Muhammad A. Z. Mughal

This article discusses the relationship between women’s education and their everyday mobility in the rural areas of Punjab, Pakistan. Based on an ethnographic case study from a village in Southern Punjab, information from semi-structured interviews and observations is used to demonstrate an enhanced access to education has altered women’s everyday mobility trends. However, questions regarding women’s empowerment remain unresolved. Although some rural women have always been engaged in agricultural activities, there have been limitations on their mobility due to cultural sensitivities. I conclude the nature of social and socio-spatial relationships is being negotiated in some cultural contexts of rural Punjab through the changing facets of women’s mobility associated with modern education.

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Retours en Afghanistan

Un nouveau regard sur un terrain revisité

Pierre Centlivres and Micheline Centlivres-Demont

Returning to Afghanistan in 2002 and 2005, the authors revisit the places in the north of the country where they undertook research in the 1970s and observe the ruptures and the continuities in the society after 30 years of crisis and conflict. They comment also on their own changes of perspective brought about by the elapsed time and their return. Finally, they tackle the question of the return and reintegration of the refugees, as well as the concept of the village and the advent of new national and international actors on the Afghan scene.

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Cutting the Face

Kinship, State and Social Media Conflict in Networked Jordan

Geoffrey Fitzgibbon Hughes

The local uptake of new media in the Middle East is shaped by deep histories of imperialism, state building, resistance and accommodation. In contemporary Jordan, social media is simultaneously encouraging identification with tribes and undermining their gerontocratic power structures. Senior men stress their own importance as guarantors (‘faces’), who restore order following conflicts, promising to pay their rivals a large surety if their kin break the truce. Yet, ‘cutting the face’ (breaking truces) remains an alternative, one often facilitated by new technologies that allow people to challenge pre-existing structures of communication and authority. However, the experiences of journalists and other social media mavens suggest that the liberatory promise of the new technology may not be enough to prevent its reintegration into older patterns of social control.

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Laki Charms

'Luck' and Personal Agency in North Mekeo Social Change

Mark S. Mosko

Notions and practices known by the Tok Pisin term laki ('lucky' or 'luck') have for long been widespread across Melanesia. Previous studies have tended to concentrate on laki as 'probabilistic chance' and on its secular (i.e., economic, political, recreational) expressions, most notably in card gambling. Drawing on the perspective of the New Melanesian Ethnography, I focus instead upon the magico-ritual dimensions of laki in a single Papua New Guinean society, North Mekeo, where laki has been adapted to indigenous notions of 'dividual' personal agency that differ radically from exogenous ideas of success through 'pure chance'. On this evidence, I argue that the different perceptions of laki and 'luck' or 'lucky' by North Mekeo and Westerners are indicative of the divergent sorts of agency and sociality that are culturally compatible, respectively, with dividual and individual personhood.

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Building Activist Communities

The Rebel Girls Guide to Creating Social Change

Emily Bent

Jessica K. Taft. 2011. Rebel Girls: Youth Activism & Social Change Across the Americas. New York: NYU Press.

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Per Bjorn Rekdal

The conference excursion has become an essential ingredient for any international conference, and the International Council of Museums (ICOM) general conference held in Rio de Janiero in August 2013 was no exception. The theme of the conference was Museums (Memory + Creativity) = Social Change. Excursions to favelas (slum areas) were among several events offered. Visiting the Favela Museum with museum professionals from across the world provoked quite unexpected memories, as well as many questions about the creative uses of heritage as part of social change. The well-chosen Favela Museum certainly stirred unsettling memories for me.

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V. A. Skubnevskii and lu. M. Goncharov

This article traces developments in Siberian trade and manufacturing in the period between the emancipation of the serfs and the early 1900s. Particular emphasis is placed on the evolving nature and role of the guild merchants. Attention is devoted to social change among the merchants, including education and their significance in local government and philanthropy.