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Gerhild Perl

How are politics generated by grief actually lived, and how do they endure? By exploring long-term repercussions of Europe’s lethal borders, I show what shape shared grief takes in the minute encounters between ‘ordinary people’ across borders and how alternative politics are lived as a vivid critique of the moral economy of the EU border regime. Therefore, I explore intimate uncertainties that arise both in the confrontation with death and in the unexpected affection between strangers. The analysis of a single shipwreck in 2003 indicates the need for more ethnographically nuanced, historically informed and translocal approaches to death during migration in anthropology.

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John Dunn

Responding to Hugo Slim’s critique, John Dunn defends his notion of the “Epoch of Revolution.” The response advances that this protracted epoch was defined by the unique way in which the category of revolution itself defined key possibilities for collective political, social, and economic transformation. In doing so, Dunn argues, this category transformed the conditions of political action across a large part of the world. Dunn classifies Slim’s cases as instances of rebellion that, though significant and important, do not share the teleological character of revolution.

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David P. Shankland and Soraya Tremayne

The consideration of faith and ethnic minorities in the Middle East remains today, as it has been for some time, immensely relevant. In this issue, we see this subject approached from a refreshingly wide perspective. Yet, in spite of their diversity, the topics addressed by the contributors reflect many shared situations in today’s Middle East, and possibly beyond, which often have their roots in mass migration, war and conflict, and globalisation. Through their work, we see once more the way that anthropology is uniquely qualified to reflect upon the reformulation of cultures in the modern world whilst simultaneously highlighting the fate of those who fall between the interstices of dominant political paradigms.

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Sick Weather Ahead

On Data-Mining, Crowd-Sourcing and White Noise

Carlo Caduff

The main concern of this article is with the ways in which technologies of data-mining and crowd-sourcing have made it possible for citizens to contribute to the expansion of infectious disease surveillance as both a concrete practice and a compelling fantasy. But I am less interested in participation as such, and more concerned with the epistemological effects that this technological mediation might have for the possibility of epidemic events to become shared objects of knowledge. What happens with epidemic events when they become targets of data-mining and crowd-sourcing technologies?

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Negotiating between Shi’a and Catholic Rituals in Iran

A Case Study of Filipina Converts and Their Adult Children

Ashraf Zahedi

Religious rituals, while comforting for believers, may be uncomfortable for those who do not share their manifold meanings. Catholic Filipinas who marry Muslim Iranian men face mandatory conversion to Islam, necessitating ongoing negotiations between Christianity and Islam. My research suggests that these Filipinas held their first religion dear while participating in – for them – unpleasant Shi’a Muslims rituals. Their Filipino/Iranian children, familiar from birth with Shi’a Islam, felt at home with both religions, no matter which one they chose for themselves. The discussion of converts’ perceptions of Shi’a rituals contributes to the literature on transnational marriages and marriage migration.

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Traditional Medical Popular Culture in Boir Ahmad, Iran

Explanatory Models, Philosophies and Behaviour

Erika Friedl

Analysis of my ethnographic data on medical popular culture in tribal south-west Iran, mostly from 1965 to 1983, suggests several traditional explanatory models and philosophical tenets that guide approaches to health issues. Empirical knowledge of natural processes motivates people to observe their bodily requirements. The belief in God's autocratic power is tempered with God's purported wish that people use their abilities to take responsibility for their health, complicating the notion of 'fate'. The various models provide health management choices. Traditionally, patients and healers shared these models, acting on the same cosmological assumptions.

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Introduction

Central Asia

Aftandil Erkinov and Soheila Shahshahani

Unlike previous issues, the focus of this issue is not on a theme but on a geographical area. Thee reasoning behind this choice of topic is that since we are an anthropology journal, with culture being our primary concern, we aim to study the cultures of peoples regardless of political boundaries. Iran and Turkey have their own distinct histories and traditions, yet they share similarities and unity in culture, making it imperative for us to consider Central Asia. Although this special issue is dedicated to the region, topical articles about Central Asia will always be welcomed for future issues.

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Regina Franco

A World Family Portrait is a joint project of the Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion (RISC) and Regions and Cohesion. It aims to promote interdisciplinary and cross-cultural communication through images and essays on the different faces of humanity, including, but not limited to, our similarities and our differences, our strengths and our weaknesses, our hopes and our concerns, our legacies and our aspirations, as well as our interactions with each other and our world. This project seeks to establish a dialogue between human experiences, academic reflections and shared ethics, such as mutual respect, the protection of human dignity and solidarity.

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A. James McAdams

The author ponders over the identity of the last self-identifying East German and wonders what he or she will say before leaving memories of the region behind. He distinguishes among three possible candidates for this honor: the ordinary citizen with little aspiration to political or social notoriety; the enthusiast with an interest in perpetuating the old regime's values; and the dissident activist dedicated to transforming that order. After identifying the likely last East German, the author speculates about the message our protagonist will have to share with the leaders of unified Germany. Finally, he provides reasons for why the Federal Republic can benefit from this advice.

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Silvia Rief, Antonino Palumbo, John Craig, Dorothy Sheridan, Barry Stierer and Gabriela Edlinger

Myra H. Strober (2011): Interdisciplinary Conversations. Challenging Habits of Thought

Review by Silvia Rief

Hans Radder (ed.) (2010): The Commodification of Academic Research: Science and the Modern University

Review by Antonino Palumbo

Gabriela Pleschová (ed.) (2010): IT in Action: Stimulating Quality Learning at Undergraduate Students

Review by John Craig

Les Back (2010-11): Academic Diary, http://www.academic-diary.co.uk/

Sally Fincher, Janet Finlay, Isobel Falconer, Helen Sharp and Josh Tenenberg (2008-11): The Share Project, http://www.sharingpractice.ac.uk/homepage.html

Review by Dorothy Sheridan and Barry Stierer

Sabine Hikel (ed.): Leaving Academia: Offering Resources for Academic Leavers and Accounting for the Phenomenon of Brain Drain in Academia, http://www.leavingacademia.com/

Review by Gabriela Edlinger