This article considers the significance of the incorporation of blood donation as a widespread feature of commemorative political rituals in India. It places the rituals in the context of the current campaign in India to replace paid with non-remunerated donation, and explains how this campaign has led to the circulation of a store of ethical capital that the ritual organizers endeavor—through these blood-shedding commemorations—to capture for political ends. It is argued that there is nothing purely political about memorial blood donation—that its performance relies upon certain established religious themes in order to achieve political efficacy, and that this works both ways. The article highlights the role of blood donation in facilitating bodily transactions across and between different temporal locations, and finishes with a case study that demonstrates the risk involved in these rituals of remembrance.
A Study in Indian Political Ritual
Capture and Excess
Developing Deleuze and Guattari's concepts of territorialization and the apparatus of capture, this article explores the role that Sri Lankan Hindu temples have played in the formation of ethnicity and ethnic conflict. Analyzing three contemporary events, the article introduces ways in which many different Sri Lankans (Sinhalese and Tamil) interpret their country's predicament and seek to resolve or prolong it. The events also reveal how scholarship becomes entangled in ethnic nationalism. I then examine in greater detail a village in which temple construction was a critical feature of identity formation during the creation of Sri Lanka as a colonialist and capitalist bureaucratic space. Through this account, I argue that the formation of polarized ethnicity in Sri Lanka is the product of multiple refractive forces, of which temples are one, and not the end result of a singular colonialist bureaucratic agency.
T. M. S. Evens
This essay argues that the Manchester case study method or situational analysis has theoretical implications more radical than Gluckman was in a position to see, implications bearing on the nature of the reality of society. In effect, the essay is an anthropological exercise in ontology. It maintains that the problems situational analysis was designed to address were integral to, and hence irresolvable in, the Durkheimian social ontology then characterizing British social anthropology, and that situational analysis insinuated an altogether different ontology. The latter is adumbrated here by appeal to certain Heideggerian concepts in an effort to bring into relief the unique capacity of situational analysis to capture social practice in its dynamic openness and, correlatively, in relation to human agency as a distinctively creative force.
Statist Imperatives and Bureaucratic Aesthetics in Divided Jerusalem
This article discusses one vector of statist control in present-day Jerusalem, a divided city that is held together primarily by the bureaucratic and military grip of the Israeli state. This vector is composed through the positioning of four architectural forms, the last three of which have, in particular, qualities of walls, but of walls that enfold. I refer to them as the 'museum-wall', the 'mall-wall', and the 'separation barrier'. These physical forms are brought into conjunction through the idea of vector, used loosely in a topological way (as distinct from topographical), in which value is carried (non-linearly) through space—that is, it is enhanced and made more powerful as it is shaped in its continuing. These walls capture and contain, folding into themselves that which they circumscribe and thereby recursively fortifying themselves.
On Claiming Land in South Africa
In the context of transitional justice, how does the reinvented state come to be assumed as a social fact? South African land restitution interpellates victims of apartheid- and colonial-era forced removals as claimants, moral and legal subjects of a virtuous 'new' state. In the emotional narratives of loss and suffering called forth in land claim forms, the state is addressed as a subject capable of moral engagement. Claim forms also 'capture' affects related to the event of forced removals as an unstable political resource. However, within an ultimately legal and bureaucratic process, the desire for recognition is typically not reciprocated. Moreover, material settlements are indefinitely delayed due to political and institutional complications. The resulting disillusionment is counterweighed by persistent aspirations for state redress.
Engaging Humphrey and Laidlaw’s ‘archetypal actions of ritual’, this article explores the thing-like and seemingly externally derived quality of ritualized action in ‘alternative’ medical settings in Mongolia. The cultural rupture of the Soviet era presents a case study in which the continuity of ritualized action cannot be assumed in ritual making during the post-1990 (re)construction of national culture. Elements derived from shared public knowledge have become constituted in ritual more recently and frequently than can be accounted for by an aperture-like model, where previously external elements gradually filtered in. Building on regional literature concerning loss of ritual form and recent syncretic innovation, I suggest that the affordances of form—mobility, iterability, and malleability—capture the politics inherent in the reordering of associations in the making of ritual.
It is hard to predict how future historians will characterise our era. Perhaps the end of the Cold War will be mentioned, although negative labels (such as also those of ‘post-modernism’ or ‘post-industrial society’) are not very conducive to understanding. ‘Globalisation’ might also be considered something typical for our epoch – even if it is mysterious how this term, which is so overloaded with diverse meanings, could ever capture the minds of the contemporaries so thoroughly. A more plausible characterisation of the changes in the status of global society which took place in the fourth quarter of the twentieth century appears to be the reference to the triumphant transition to liberal democracy. This regime form has become the ‘normal’ form of government. In 1974, scarcely 30 per cent of the existing states could qualify as democracies; today these comprise more than 60 per cent.
An Introductory Note
Dmitry V. Arzyutov
What do we know about the fieldwork of the ethnographers/ anthropologists of the North? How did they organize their research and what ideas have they left behind in their now archived field notes? Historians of anthropology along with anthropologists attempt to find answers to these questions through the analysis of field notes, diaries, letters, and reports, as well as published and unpublished works from the fieldworkers of the past. Despite the thousands of field notes and multiple narratives about how pre-Soviet and Soviet anthropologists heroically conducted their research in “uncivilized conditions” in remote areas, and how they were captured by ideologies of evolutionism, Soviet modernization and development, we still know little about their field research as a practice. This issue titled, “Beyond the Anthropological Texts: History and Theory of Fieldworking in the North” aims to start a discussion on the history and ethnography of ethnographic fieldworking in the North and Siberia.
This paper argues that the two models of collective responsibility David Miller presents in National Responsibility and Global Justice do not apply to nations. I first consider the 'like-minded group' model, paying attention to three scenarios in which Miller employs it. I argue that the feasibility of the model decreases as we expand outwards from the smallest group to the largest, since it increasingly fails to capture all members of the group adequately, and the locus of any like-mindedness becomes too abstract and vague to have the causal force the model requires. I thereafter focus on the 'cooperative practice' model, examining various ways in which the analogy Miller draws between an employee-led business and a nation breaks down. In concluding I address the concern that my arguments have worrying consequences and suggest that, on the contrary, the rejection of the idea of national responsibility is a positive move.
I argue that 'negative' freedom or freedom as absence of impediment is better described as freedom within a putative 'private' sphere, where individuals are allegedly protected from the coercive interference of other agents. As such it is characterised by four problems as an account of freedom under modern conditions. I then consider two alternatives, within which freedom is identified with politics or political action, and argue that they are therefore also inappropriate for understanding modern freedom. Yet, I do not discard them completely. In the main part of the paper, I draw on Machiavelli's emphasis on institutionalised class conflict as constitutive of freedom and propose a conception of freedom that captures the manifold conditions for freedom of action today. This realistic, modern conception of freedom identifies freedom with power across four domains; and it follows from this, I argue pace Pettit, that representative, partisan political institutions are requirements for freedom and democracy.