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Sorcery, Revenge, and Anti-Revenge

Relational Excess and Individuation in the Gran Chaco

Florencia Tola

This article focuses on sorcery, revenge, and anti-revenge among the Qom people in Argentina. For them, death is the result of sorcery or a shamanic attack. When a relative dies, the family may decide to avenge him through practices performed on his body. Nonetheless, under specific circumstances relatives decide not to take revenge, performing what I refer to as ‘anti-revenge’. Ethnographic analysis of relations among victims, aggressors, and avengers reveals how alternation between relational excess and fissures makes individuation possible. The processes responsible for the composite character of personhood lead to a relational excess that needs to be restrained. The relation between revenge and anti-revenge is a key aspect of a Qom understanding of personhood, in which individuation needs to be achieved to avoid indifferentiation.

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Emma Celeste Bedor

Revenge pornography emerged in a flurry moral panic in 2010 when Hunter Moore created the website Is Anyone Up? (isanyoneup.com), where anonymous Internet users submitted nude photos for thousands of unknown purveyors to view. Moore’s endeavor appeared ingenious: What better way could angry exes enact revenge and humiliation on former partners than by displaying their naked photos, against their will and without consent, on a notorious website? The site’s “spirit of retaliation,” apparent from an anthem whose lyrics consisted of “Cheated on me and broke my heart / Gonna show the world your private parts” lives on due to the emergence of other revenge pornography sites, despite the fact that isanyoneup.com was disbanded and Moore recently arrested. Using a critical theoretical framework, this article illustrates that victims of revenge pornography are emblematic of post-feminist and neoliberal hostilities. As such, this article contends that revenge pornography is about revenge and humiliation, not sex.

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Karsten Harries

The phrase ‘Spirit of Revenge’ is taken from Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, where it names the deepest source of human self-alienation. In Sartre – but perhaps I should be more precise and say in Being and Nothingness – as I will try to show, the spirit of revenge finds paradigmatic expression.

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A Holy War and Revenge for Kishinev

Austrian Rabbis Justify the First World War

Marsha L. Rozenblit

During the First World War Austrian rabbis played a major role in constructing a meaningful justification for the war that enabled both soldiers and those on the home front to endure the bloody conflict. Because Austria's main enemy in the first two years of the war was Russia, the 'evil empire' that persecuted its Jews, Austrian Jews, and rabbis in particular, saw the war as a just and holy war to liberate the Jews of Austrian Galicia, occupied by the Russian army at the beginning of the war, and also those of Russia itself. The war thus was a war of revenge for Kishinev; that is, for the pogroms in Russia. Such a definition of the war meant that Jews could fight both as loyal, patriotic citizens of Austria and also for a specific Jewish cause at the same time. In their sermons and writings, rabbis cogently expressed this wartime ideology, which persisted even after the Central Powers defeated Russia. Then rabbis, indeed Jewish spokesmen in general, understood the war in terms of guaranteeing the survival of the Habsburg Monarchy which protected the Jews from anti-Semitism and the dangers of nationalism.

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Henry Bacon

Bioculturalist approach can be fruitfully employed to explain why fictional violence is such an integral part of both our art and entertainment. In any cultural context aggression related biological traits are controlled and shaped in order to ensure both the internal order and the security of a community. William Flesch has argued that his process is guided by the tendency to admire altruistic punishers, who without self-interest assume the task of punishing evildoers. Spectators of such actions tend to react to it emotionally, both spontaneously and via reflection, thus giving the experience both an emotional and a meta-emotional aspect. This plays an important role in relating to the ways in which resorting to violence is justified in mainstream films. This scenario has a strong emotional appeal, even if the spectator would deplore such means in real life contexts. This discrepancy emerges even more strongly in the revenge scenario, which in a fictional context can appear satisfying and empowering despite the moral qualms the spectator might have concerning the ethics of revenge. Because of the deeply ingrained cult of individuality and doubts about the efficacy of government in maintaining law and order, these narrative patterns have developed especially strongly within American popular culture. However, judging by the worldwide success of such films, their appeal is nonetheless quite universal.

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The Revenge of Neglected Issues

EU Founders and Social Policy

George Ross

The founders of European integration had to make momentous choices that have since deeply marked the EU. They decided to focus their efforts on market-building, hypothesizing that economic interdependency would lead in time to “spillover“ beyond the new Europe's original mandates, a decision that left many key dimensions of national sovereignty outside the mandate of integration. One of these dimensions was social policy, roughly defined as the welfare state and labor relations. This division between what the EU could and could not do has lasted, with limited exceptions, to the present. Market integration over time, however, indirectly shifted the ground under national social models, sometimes imposing adjustments that have worked against the legitimacy of Europeanization. More recently the EU, concerned about the need for social policy reform to confront globalization, has attempted to coordinate national social model change by “soft power“ methods. These methods, by and large, have not been effective. This essay will discuss the consequences of the founders' choices historically.

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Jeffrey Kopstein and Daniel Ziblatt

A core lesson of Germany's federal election of September 2005 is the enduring legacy of the communist past in East Germany, a legacy that substantially shapes politics in unified Germany. Fifteen years after unification, the crucial difference in German politics still lies in the East. The 2005 election demonstrated the enduring east-west divide in German party politics. The result is that Germany today has two coherent party systems, one in the East and one in the West. Combined, however, they produce incoherent outcomes. Any party that hopes to win at the federal level must perform well in the very different circumstances in the East.

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Eve Rachele Sanders

The letter was the single most widely used property in Tudor-Stuart plays. In that memorable stage direction from The Spanish Tragedy, the letter is an instrumental device in the plot. It provides Hieronimo, the central protagonist of the revenge tragedy, with targets for revenge by identifying his son’s killers by name. However, the letter also is a sign for the interior state of mind of its writer, the beautiful Bel-imperia, in issuing a call for reprisal. It is a materialisation of what immaterial passions ultimately drive the action: desire, loss, and rage. Red ink. Blood signifies the authenticity of the words on the page. They come, literally, from Bel-imperia’s heart. And yet, the macabre medium of the message brings Hieronimo to see in it fatal implications for himself. ‘Hieronimo, beware’, he says to himself, ‘thou art betrayed, / And to entrap thy life this train is laid’. (Indeed, in another revenge tragedy, Bussy D’Ambois, an adulterous wife is forced at knifepoint to lay a snare for her lover with that very deception of a letter inscribed in her blood). This single moment in Thomas Kyd’s tragedy, Hieronimo’s reception of Bel-imperia’s ‘bloody writ’, captures the complex of attitudes that governed the circulation of letters as stage properties.

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Who (the) Girls and Boys Are

Gender Nonconformity in Middle-Grade Fiction

Michele Byers

In this article I use four middle-grade novels to query the relationship between gendered forms of childhood and gender nonconformity in tweens. For the young characters in these novels, objects and spaces of gender enfranchisement— including gendered forms of childhood—are often out of reach. Using conceptual tools such as the orientation of objects, queer futures, and the transgender gaze, this work examines the ways in which these novels narrate their main characters’ yearning for things that will make their gender identities legible, and how they, as agentic subjects, attempt to take revenge on the rules and structures of gender normativity.

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Paul Jankowski

"Pour le cas où il m’arriverait quelque chose,” Jean-Claude Méry explained in his sudden confession that day in May 1996. The fallen fundraiser, ailing and embittered, was consigning to videotape rich recollections, professional secrets so generally embarrassing that their revelation could only assure his own peace of mind. Or was he plotting posthumous revenge on the Hôtel de Ville occupants who had disowned him? For last fall, there they emerged on the television screen, their most questionable sources of revenue divulged in the mummified spite of a dead financier.