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Mette Louise Berg, Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh and Johanna Waters

This second volume of Migration and Society marks our continued intellectual engagement with authors, artists, and guest editors to make the journal a dynamic platform for exchange and debate across disciplines and fields of thought and action around the issue of migration. Migration continues to be an ongoing issue of global import, and in the past few years we have seen powerful stakeholders around the world developing processes, dialogues, policies, and programs to respond to the challenges and questions that it raises. As editors of Migration and Society, we remain committed to the importance of fostering critical examinations of, and reflections on, migration and the way it is framed and understood by all actors. As these processes and policies have increasingly aimed to “control,” “manage,” “contain,” and “prevent” migration, the need for careful attention to migrants’ everyday practices, desires, aspirations, and fears is particularly urgent, as is the importance of situating these both historically and geographically.

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Migration as Survival

Withheld Stories and the Limits of Ethnographic Knowability

Gerhild Perl

How to write about survival? How to tell survival? By exploring manifold reasons to withhold a story, I shed light on the limits of ethnographic knowledge production and the politics of storytelling that mobilize one story and silence another. Through engaging with the fragmented narrative of a Moroccan survivor of a shipwreck in Spanish waters in 2003, I reconceptualize the movement called “migration as survival” by theorizing it as an ethnographic concept. I explore the different temporalities of survival as living through a life-threatening event and as living on in an unjust world. These interrelated temporalities of survival are embedded in the afterlife of the historical time of al-Andalus and the resurgent fear of the Muslim “Other.” By suggesting an existentially informed political understanding of the survival story, I show how the singularity of the survivor is inscribed in a regime of mobility that constrains people and their stories.

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Gerald Sim

This article questions the standard history being constructed about the adoption of digital cinematography in commercial cinema, a narrative whose broad assumptions resonate with industry professionals, including cinematographers. Digital image acquisition is frequently taken to be motivated by an industrial push to cut production costs, which impinges on the creative autonomy of film artists. This perception overlooks parts of Hollywood's current business model concerning production values and theatrical exhibition that will sustain film cinematography in the foreseeable future. These findings then lead the article to address filmmakers and critics who fear that photorealist aesthetics will be supplanted by digital images that possess a different visual signature. Prognostications that the digital look will replace that of film as the norm appear inaccurate.

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Lesley Gill

The post–Great Recession, zombielike resurrection of neoliberalism has taken much of Europe and the United States on a hard-right detour into a twilight zone of populist nationalism, where far-right critiques of the status quo resonate more deeply with the white working class than leftist analyses. As rising fears of cultural eclipse, economic decline, and elite resentment drive the appeal of right-wing nationalists in the United States, Europe, India, and beyond, what role should intellectuals, and especially anthropologists, play in countering the creeping authoritarianism and growing inequality of our times? What kind of leverage can intellectual labor have on social reality? How can intellectuals broaden the boundaries of political possibility so that progressive, transformative collective action becomes imaginable?

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Clifford Rosenberg

Between the world wars, France attracted more immigrants per capita than any other country in the world. Roughly 3 million had settled in the Hexagon by 1931, seven percent of the total population according to official statistics. They came primarily from Italy, Poland, and Spain, but also Russia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Rumania, political refugees and workers alike. France also welcomed a greater non-European minority than any other country on the continent. Well over a hundred thousand arrived, almost exclusively from North Africa, especially Algeria.1 The level of immigration rose so high so fast that many commentators began to worry about the threat of increased crime and miscegenation. Some even feared for the survival of French culture.

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Dreams from Beyond as Politics from Below

The Social Life of Dream Stories within the Hizmet-AKP Conflict in Turkey

Ida Hartmann

Building on ethnographic fieldwork in Istanbul in 2015, this article traces how certain people within the Hizmet community drew on dream stories to understand and manoeuvre within the escalating falling-out with the AKP government. It suggests that, in this context, dream stories were circulated within the community to reframe the conflict against the horizon of the afterlife but prevented from spilling into the wider public sphere out of fear that Hizmet critics would use dream stories to denounce the community as a threat to Turkish republican tradition. The article thus proposes to see the social life of dream stories as a ‘politics from below’ through which relations between the religious and the political refracted and notions of national and religious belonging were negotiated and contested.

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Paying the Price of War

Narratives of Trauma of Iraqi Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Jordan

Laure Bjawi-Levine

The occupation of Iraq and the ensuing sectarian violence have created an Iraqi refugee community, estimated at 700,000 to 1 million, which Jordan has hosted for several years. Residing for the most part in Amman's low-rent neighbourhoods, many Iraqis have overstayed their visas and live in fear of deportation. Marginalised both economically and socially, and forgotten by the U.S. and the international community, poverty-stricken Iraqi refugees and asylum seekers suffer not only from the traumatic experience of sectarian persecution and their escape from Iraq, but also from the stress and fatigue of their long-lasting transit to nowhere. Their narratives show a profound distress and a struggle for survival that is both psychological and economical, since their (il)legal status as 'guests' denies them the possibility of obtaining work permits.

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‘Loving and Cruel, All at the Same Time’

Girlhood Identity in The Craft

Emily Chandler

The teen horror film The Craft (1996) has remained a cult classic with girl audiences for two decades. Scholarship about the film has focused on its negative representation of girls’ friendships, sexuality, and desire for power. In this article, I honor the significance of girl culture by accounting for The Craft’s appeal to girl audiences. I argue that The Craft’s relevance to girls arises from its subversion of teen film tropes. The Craft explores adolescent girls’ fear of isolation by depicting a mentally ill teenager who draws strength and happiness from the company of her friends, and becomes depressed when they oust her. By flouting the imperative for adolescent girl protagonists to be white, middle-class, mentally healthy, and normatively bodied, The Craft portrays girls’ desire for understanding over the pursuit of so-called popularity, girls’ anger arising from marginalization, and girls’ exploiting of friendship as a weapon.

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'The poet remained alone amidst the corpses of words . . .'

The Deportation Poetry of André Ulmann and Maurice Honel

Gary D. Mole

In an article entitled ‘Témoignage du camp et poésie’, published in 1948, the former deportee Robert Antelme, author of the now classic deportation text L’Espèce humaine, identifies what he sees as the respective problems of prose and poetic testimonies. The prose account, claims Antelme, in its supposed stark objectivity, all too often reads like some abstract accusatory act, a photograph that may provoke fear and trembling, but from which lessons cannot be explicitly learnt. Poetry, on the other hand, would run the risk of fleeing the reality of the camps, of allowing it to be only glimpsed through melodic counterpoint or nostalgic themes, thus enveloping the reality in a mist of words but never really penetrating it. In fleeing prosaic description, then, poetry would risk falling into obscurity.

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The Specter of Communism

Denmark, 1848

Bertel Nygaard

The modern concept communism emerged in the French public sphere in 1840 and rapidly gained currency in other European countries as well. Though primarily used as a term of derision, its radicalization of already-established senses of accelerating change and worldly futurity secured its incorporation in complex unities of utopian hopes and dystopian fears all over the political spectrum of the time. The Danish public sphere of the 1840s reveals three basic modes of using communism, each linked in its peculiar way to new uses of the concept democracy: conservative equations of democratic political equality (particularly, universal male suffrage) and communist attacks on private property in favor of a community of goods; leftist democratic denials of such equations and the emergence of anticommunist democratic positions; and, between the two extremes, liberal distinctions between their own moderate conception of democracy and the false, “communist” democracy of the left .