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European Judaism Editorial

Vol. 1 No. 1 Summer 1966

European Judaism

Mercifully the destruction of the European Jewish communities was not total, and at the close of the conflict about 20 per cent of the original population remained to face the future. In some countries, such as France, a high proportion of the total population survived, while in Britain the community was totally spared. Russian Jewry, though continuing its prewar isolation and despite losses from the German occupation, still lives on as a numerically substantial part of the Jewish people. The troubles in North Africa and the Middle East have forced an immigration from those areas into the European continent.

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Cultural Heritage in Europe

Ethnologists' Uses of the Authentic

Wolfgang Kaschuba

This article deals with the often problematic connection between European and ethnological world images. After a short retrospective on the ethnological heritage, it elaborates current social and political problems and determines the ethnological position in these discourses. Finally, it recommends the imagination of an 'ethnology of the present', which increasingly focuses its lens on the European margins, across boundaries, and on movements: ethnology as a 'social ethnography' of the culturally vagrant, ambivalent and fluid.

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Livia Jiménez Sedano

This is a brief reflection on the consequences of the commodification of dance cultures from the former colonised world and the ways they are consumed in Europe. Inspired from ten years of fieldwork, the ethnic structuring of postcolonial dance floors in European cities proves an empirical basis to start this line of thought. Instead of promoting respect and interest in the dance forms and the cultural contexts in which these dance forms developed, aficionados tend to consider that these are less evolved, beautiful and interesting than the appropriations they develop in their home countries. As a result, commodification leads to reinforcing previous stereotypes and emic hierarchies of value. The kinetic metaphor of the bodies that scream but cannot listen structures the text and its arguments.

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Larisa Deriglazova

This article discusses the fluctuation of Russian attitudes towards Europe during the last twenty-five years. ‘Europeanness’ is connected to EU efforts of ‘Europeanisation’ and ‘normalisation’ of Russia on EU terms. At the same time, the EU has tried to monopolise the notion of ‘Europe’ and pretends to fulfil all its ideals and values. The continued expansion of the EU towards Russia’s former partners, and conflicts in contested neighbourhoods, has ushered in the feeling among Russians of being ‘different’ (‘Europeans’, yet with a desire to be great, strong and feared). Russia once again plays the role of a revisionist power, thus undermining the EU claim to represent the whole of Europe. Russia may be excluded from formal European organisations, but it cannot be excluded from an ‘imaginable’ community of Europe as a cultural phenomenon to which many Russians still attribute personal and collective meaning.

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Emplacing Smells

Spatialities and Materialities of ‘Gypsiness’

Andreea Racleș and Ana Ivasiuc

As one of the most stereotyped minorities, the Roma are particularly ‘good to think’ in relation to constructions of Europeanness. In the production of ‘Gypsiness’, the body, the space, and the materiality of the dwelling are linked through smell as signifiers of a racial and cultural inferiority that does not ‘belong’ in and to Europe. Drawing on research projects carried out in the outskirts of Rome and in a small Romanian town, our contribution relies on a juxtaposed ethnography of constructions of ‘Gypsiness’ in relation to the spatial, sensorial and material inscriptions of the body. The article will examine the relationship between space and the social production of smell, discussing how spaces inhabited by Roma play a role in ‘doing’ Europeanness in a contrastive mode.

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Memorialising Europe

Revitalising and Reframing a 'Christian' Continent

Peter Jan Margry

In the economic and political unification process of Europe, the idea of the creation of a pan-European identity was put high on the political agenda. With the failure of this effort, the emphasis shifted to the apparently less fraught concept of 'shared cultural heritage'. This article analyses how the politically guided rediscovery of Europe's past has contributed to the creation of a 'Religion of Heritage', not only by raising up a political altar for cultural heritage, but also through the revitalisation, instrumentalisation and transformation of the Christian heritage, in order to try to memorialise and affirm a collective European identity based on its Christian past. In the context of this process, the network of European pilgrims' ways appears to have been an especially successful performative form of heritage creation, which has both dynamised Christian roots as a relevant trans-European form of civil religion that has taken shape, capitalising on the new religious and spiritual demands created by secularisation, and responded to the demand for shared - and Christian inspired - European values and meanings in times of uncertainty and crisis.

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Instrumental Europe

Practices of Daily Engagement with the European Union

Marysia Galbraith and Thomas M. Wilson

Religious organisations that secularise their community outreach to gain European Union (EU) funding, border-city residents whose consumption practices exploit cross-border economic disparities, EU member states that protect their domestic labour market by restricting access to legal work and medical care for citizens of new member states, recently admitted citizens who nevertheless take advantage of increased opportunities for mobility to improve their economic and social standing, and even in some cases use their scepticism about membership to promote their personal or national interests within the EU – all of these examples point to the complex and varied ways in which instrumentality figures in day-to-day dealings with the European Union. This special issue of AJEC seeks to contribute to the anthropological study of the European Union by examining ways in which various individuals, groups and institutions use the EU to pursue their political, economic and social goals at local, national and transnational levels within Europe.

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European Bodies

Who Embodies europe? Explorations into the Construction of european Bodies

Anika Keinz and Paweł Lewicki

In this special issue we focus on processes of europeanisation and the work of colonial legacies and their impact on the production of the european body, a body that is always already racialised, classed and gendered. ‘european body’ can be observed in discourses and practices that constitute the normal/desired/legitimate body and concomitantly impacts notions about the civilised/cultured body, often linked to whiteness, secularism, legitimate class and gender performances. We ask to look back across pasts and into the present in order to explore who currently marks the boundaries of what is considered civilised, cultured, “normal” and comes to define what is considered a european body. What embodies the present, which and whose body epitomises europeaness and how does europeanisation generate (tacit) knowledge about the legitimate body?

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Museum Europe

Negotiating Heritage

Sharon Macdonald

This article is concerned with some of the implications of the fact that Europe is so widely seen as a place replete with heritage, museums and memory, and also with the continuing expansion in numbers and types of heritage, museums and memory. It seeks to explore some of the ways in which heritage, in particular, is understood (including what it calls 'sticky heritage'), and especially the cultural and social work that it is often seen as able to do. To this end, the article reviews a number of trends in heritage developments, especially the diversification of what it calls 'Museum Europe' (e.g. in the establishment of museums or exhibitions about migration) and the kinds of citizenship that this mobilises. Some of the dilemmas as well as capacities of these developments are discussed. At the same time, the article reviews some of the directions in heritage research and the implications of this, and of 'Museum Europe' itself, for anthropology, ethnology and related disciplines.

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Discarded Europe

Money, Trash and the Possibilities of a New Temporality

Elana Resnick

How are time and materiality felt in periods of expectation, when change is awaited but never comes, at least not in the way anticipated? Disappointment may set in, but in the expanding European context in which I conducted research, something else occurs: sensory experiences of time and materiality intermingle and shape each other. These experiences of temporal-material relations, in a context of historical disorientation, are the basis of a new European temporality. My ethnographic research on waste management in Bulgaria, conducted between 2010 and 2013, with informal garbage collectors, city street sweepers, waste company officials, Sofia citizens, municipal representatives and ministry employees, provides the empirical foundation for this piece.