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Following our special issue on culture, we are pleased to present an

open issue of German Politics and Society. Our lead article by James

Ryan Anderson investigates a woefully underresearched area of German

politics and policy making: the Bundestag’s role in shaping the

country’s foreign policy. While the bulk of Anderson’s empirical

data hail from the 1950s and 1960s, the article does an excellent job

in looking at the German Bundestag’s constitutional role as overseer

of the executive and controlling the administration in foreign affairs

by using what the author calls “formal instrumentalities.”

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Sisphyean Struggles

Encounters and Interactions within Two US Public Housing Programs

Erika Gubrium, Sabina Dhakal, Laura Sylvester and Aline Gubrium

We operationalize the concepts of rights, discretion, and negotiation in service provision at two public housing sites, exploring their connections to the generation of shame or dignity building for residents. Using data from in-depth interviews with housing residents and caseworkers, we found that resident rights were limited by a decentralized system that actively prevented them from taking control of their lives. Residents frequently experienced caseworker discretion as personally intrusive, yet there was some, if limited, space for negotiation between caseworkers offering personalized care and residents evaluated as worthy of such focus. These interactions offered the potential for enhanced recognition and dignity.

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Malcolm Cohen

While there exist many instances in the Tanakh of characters who are 'fraught with background' and whose internal workings are hidden, Saul could not be described as one of them. It is not just that his thoughts and feelings become public knowledge in the sense that the reader understands them clearly. In addition his internal life seems to be at the mercy of others, beyond his control. Such is his transparency that psychologists have found it easy to analyse his turmoil. Furthermore, there are literary devices that serve to highlight his openness and exposure compared to the opaqueness of other characters, in particular David.

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Rob Boddice, Christian J. Emden and Peter Vogt

Erin Sullivan, Beyond Melancholy: Sadness and Selfhood in Renaissance England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), xiv, 227 pp.

Sebastian Gießmann, Die Verbundenheit der Dinge: Eine Kulturgeschichte der Netze und Netzwerke [The connectedness of things: A cultural history of webs and networks] (Berlin: Kulturverlag Kadmos, 2014), 500 pp.

Alexander Friedrich, Metaphorologie der Vernetzung: Zur Theorie kultureller Leitmetaphern [A metaphorology of networks: Toward a theory of cultural tropes] (Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink, 2015), 426 pp.

Franziska Rehlinghaus, Die Semantik des Schicksals: Zur Relevanz des Unverfügbaren zwischen Aufklärung und Erstem Weltkriek [The semantics of fate: On the relevance of what is beyond human control between the Enlightenment and World War I] (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2016), 479 pp.

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Philip H. Gordon and Sophie Meunier

The nature of the French economy has changed radically in recent years. Breaking with its mercantilist and dirigiste past, France has since the early 1980s converted to market liberalization, both as the necessary by-product of European integration and globalization and as a deliberate effort by policymakers. Whereas the French state used to own large sectors of the economy, partly to keep them from foreign control, now even a Socialist-led government proceeds with privatization, with scant regard for the nationality of the buyer.

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Robert O. Freedman

The issue of control over the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif is perhaps the most difficult of all the issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to solve. After presenting an analysis of the history of the conflict over the site—holy to both Jews and Moslems—this article argues that only the internationalization of the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif, an idea first suggested by David Ben-Gurion in 1937, will remove the issue as an element in the Israel-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli conflicts. Otherwise, "holier than thou" politics, particularly in the Arab world, will keep the conflict alive.

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Being a Girl Who Gets into Trouble

Narratives of Girlhood

Elaine Arnull

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.

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Data Moves

Taking Amazonian Climate Science Seriously

Antonia Walford

Drawing on fieldwork with researchers and technicians involved in a scientific project in the Brazilian rainforest, this article explores specific aspects of climate science in the Amazon. It suggests that taking science seriously anthropologically requires an investigation into the relation between endo-anthropology and exo-anthropology. This is done recursively by exploring a particular way in which what is 'inside' and what is 'outside' are achieved and negotiated in the scientific practice under study. Researchers and technicians 'do' some crucial distinctions with data, and the article points to the importance of the flux of data and the boundaries and sides that emerge from the control of that flux.

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Introduction

Ethnographic Engagement with Bureaucratic Violence

Erin R. Eldridge and Amanda J. Reinke

Bureaucracies are dynamic and interactive sociocultural worlds that drive knowledge production, power inequalities and subsequent social struggle, and violence. The authors featured in this special section mobilize their ethnographic data to examine bureaucracies as animated spaces where violence, whether physical, structural, or symbolic, manifests in everyday bureaucratic practices and relationships. The articles span geographic contexts (e.g., United States, Canada, Chile, Eritrea) and topics (e.g., migration, extractive economies, law and sociolegal change, and settler colonialism) but are bound together in their investigation of the violence of the administration of decisions, care, and control through bureaucratic means.

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Laurie Kain Hart

This article examines how territory, the built environment, and the entropy of material things through time transmit and modulate legacies of ethno-national and global conflicts. Taking the Greek Civil War as a ‘critical event’, framed by its antecedents and its sequelae, I consider how overlapping histories of war at the international tri-state border of northwest Greek Macedonia and in post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina shape dwelling, the control of space, and historical memory. The analysis explores how catastrophic events become materially embedded, how events age in place, and what role changing infrastructure plays in the commutation or preservation of injuries suffered in violent, especially internecine, conflict.