The reflections in this article were instigated by the repeated and brutal clashes since 2007 between peasants and the state government’s militias—both official and unofficial—over the issue of industrialization. A communist government engaging peasants violently in order to acquire and transfer their lands to big business houses to set up capitalist enterprises seemed dramatically ironic. De- spite the presence of many immediate causes for the conflict, subtle long-term change to the nature of communist politics in the state was also responsible for the present situation. This article identifies two trends that, though significant, are by themselves not enough to explain what is happening in West Bengal today. First, the growth of a culture of governance where the Communist Party actively seeks to manage rather than politicize social conflicts; second, the recasting of radical political subjectivity as a matter of identity rather than an instigation for critical self-reflection and self-transformation.
The ironies of the parliamentary Left in West Bengal
Projit Bihari Mukharji
Entre collaboration, opportunisme et « nécessité de vivre »
Amid severe shortages of raw materials, labor, and transportation, companies in occupied France (1940–1944) sought alternative paths to what is commonly called “economic collaboration.” They worked to find substitute supplies, convert to new product lines, alter their manufacturing methods, and even adapt to the black market. But few businesses could avoid the question of whether to provide goods and services to the occupier. The opportunities to do so were widespread, though they varied according to occupation, economic branch, and the passage of time during the Occupation. The German occupiers thus benefited from the French economy. With decisive help from the Vichy regime, the occupiers managed to force, induce, or entice French enterprises into their war economy—be they large industries formerly mobilized for French national defense, small and medium-sized firms, or agricultural producers.
Narratives of Girlhood
In this article I focus on the narratives of girls who describe the events that shape their lives and get them into trouble. The narratives are explored against Darrell Steffensmeier and Emilie Allan’s (1996) proffered Gender Theory, to consider whether it offers an adequate explanatory framework. The article adds to the body of knowledge about girlhood, gender norms, and transgression and provides fresh insight into the relevance of physical strength to girls’ violence. I conclude that girls are defining girlhood as they live it and it is the disjuncture with normative concepts that leads them into conflict with institutions of social control.
Mimetic Governmentality, Colonialism, and the State
Patrice Ladwig and Ricardo Roque
Engaging critically with literature on mimesis, colonialism, and the state in anthropology and history, this introduction argues for an approach to mimesis and imitation as constitutive of the state and its forms of rule and governmentality in the context of late European colonialism. It explores how the colonial state attempted to administer, control, and integrate its indigenous subjects through mimetic policies of governance, while examining how indigenous polities adopted imitative practices in order to establish reciprocal ties with, or to resist the presence of, the colonial state. In introducing this special issue, three main themes will be addressed: mimesis as a strategic policy of colonial government, as an object of colonial regulation, and, finally, as a creative indigenous appropriation of external forms of state power.
Constructions of Theft and Stealing
Ada I. Engebrigtsen
A proverb common in Romania, generally referring to gypsies, claims that 'your heart is not warm unless you steel'. During the author's fieldwork in a village in Transylvania it was, obvious, however, that the moral judgement on theft and stealing varies greatly according to context. The article discusses the social construction of theft in different empirical contexts and historical periods from wartime looting in India to theft of state property in Romania and how the definition and judgement in each case are embedded in social relations and social structures. The article's main objective is to unmask social relations of power and domination that are often hidden behind definitions and judgements concerning the acquisition of the property of others. Thus theft cannot be understood as either legal or moral; instead, it ties together the moral and the legal, the collective and the individual, objects and persons in different ways in different contexts.
The Case of Sandinismo in the 1980s
Discourse-based analysis continues to be thought of, in some quarters, in overgeneralizing terms. In this article, I emphasize that all instances of it do not share the same suppositions, and I demonstrate its purchase for a critical but nuanced revisiting of processes of national liberation and development. I present support for some of the conclusions that I advanced in an earlier study (Langley 2001), which examines post-1979 Sandinismo as a dispositif within modernity. Ultimately, I focus upon contrasting discourses of the literacy campaign that place Sandinismo in time and space as well as within a historical particularity. I consider how these discourses relate to the ways in which the most marginalized sectors of campesinos (peasants) fared in the context of the Sandinista project. The manner in which they had been ‘spoken’ about shaped and delimited how they ‘spoke’ and might have ‘spoken.’
Narratives of Four Jamaican Girls’ Identity and Academic Success
Rowena Linton and Lorna McLean
Black females achieve high standards of success yet their lived experiences are frequently absent from educational literature in Canada. This article documents the navigational strategies adopted by four Jamaican-Canadian girls to achieve academic success and discusses how they conceptualized their identity and the role(s) their identity played in their schooling experiences. In contrast to the deficiencies that are often highlighted in studies on the schooling experiences of black students, we draw on critical theories to shed light on the positive aspects of these black females’ schooling experiences. Such an approach disrupts negative views of black students as lagging behind in education and provides examples for other students on how to excel in the face of educational barriers. These narratives provide education policy makers with current perspectives on how students struggle to overcome obstacles to achieve academic success in a system that promises to be accessible to all students.
The Reclaiming of Girls’ Education Discourses in Malala Yousafzai’s Autobiography
The cause of girls’ education in developing countries has received unprecedented attention from international organizations, politicians, transnational corporations, and the media in recent years. Much has been written about the ways in which these seemingly emancipatory campaigns reproduce historical discourses that portray women in former colonies as in need of rescue by the West. However, to date little has been written about the ways in which young women’s and girls’ education activists represent themselves. In this article I analyze I Am Malala, the autobiography of Pakistani girls’ education activist Malala Yousafzai, written for her own age group. Using a feminist, poststructuralist approach to discourse analysis, it considers the way in which Yousafzai negotiates and challenges discourses around young women, Pakistan, and Islam. I conclude that a truly emancipatory understanding of girls’ rights would look not to the words and policies of powerful organizations but, rather, to young women themselves.
Lessons from Collaborative Research on Sanctuary in the Changing Times of Trump
Sara Vannini, Ricardo Gomez, Megan Carney and Katharyne Mitchell
We reflect on the experience of a cross-disciplinary collaboration between scholars in the fields of geography, anthropology, communication, and information studies, and suggest paths for future research on sanctuary and migration studies that are based on interdisciplinary approaches. After situating sanctuary in a wider theoretical, historical, and global context, we discuss the origins and contemporary expressions of sanctuary both within and beyond faith-based organizations. We include the role of collective action, personal stories, and artistic expressions as part of the new sanctuary movement, as well as the social and political forms of outrage that lead to rekindling protest and protection of undocumented immigrants, refugees, and other minorities and vulnerable populations. We conclude with a discussion on the urgency for interdisciplinary explorations of these kinds of new, contemporary manifestations of sanctuary, and suggest paths for further research to deepen the academic dialogue on the topic.
Rethinking Power in Turkey through Everyday Practices
In an increasingly authoritarian Turkish context that precludes any serious chance of making tangible political gains, challenging common conception of ‘the political’ may expand our understanding of power dynamics. Attempting to track power relations outside the most official, legitimate, conventional and formalised forms of politics provides alternative and sharper insights into how the political is being reframed and how actors retain, uphold, perpetuate or transform their capacity for agency. In an interdisciplinary perspective, but drawing mainly on anthropological literature and methodology, the issue addresses four questions – both empirically in the Turkish case and more conceptually: politicisation, visibility, social stratification and domination.