The Anthropological Journal of European Cultures, initiated by German scholar Ina-Maria Greverus together with Christian Giordano in 1990, played a central role in the fundamental changes that the hitherto more or less nationally confined European ethnologies have undergone since then. The journal mediated the intensifying exchange between eastern and western Europe, while its attempt to cross boundaries in particular between an anthropology of Europe and European ethnology remains key.
Investigating European Cultures, Bridging Disciplines
Gabriela Kiliánová and Tatiana Podolinská
Déjà vu in the South
Jon P. Mitchell
For good reasons, anthropology some decades ago deconstructed the Mediterraneanist picture of familialist societies in the South. However, this deconstruction unexpectedly had its political twin in Malta’s fight against corruption to meet the conditions for EU-membership in 2004. Drawing on a deeper concept of “territoriality”, introduced by anthropologist Ina-Maria Greverus, the article considers lately observed new variants of nationalist positions that paradoxically are deeply entwined with clientelistic dynamics against the state, culminating in the recent murder of critical journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Nicholas De Genova
The anthropological conundrum
Douglas R. Holmes
Fascism in our time is emerging not as a single party or movement within a particular nation-state but rather as a dispersed phenomenon that reverberates across the continent nested within the political contradictions of the European Union. Rather than focusing on a specific group to determine whether it is or is not “fascist,” we must look at how diverse parties and movements are linked together in cross-border coalitions revealing the political ecology of contemporary fascism and the intricate division of labor that sustains it. Underwriting contemporary fascism is an “illiberal” anthropology that can colonize every expression of identity and attachment. From the motifs and metaphors of diverse folkloric traditions to the countless genres of popular culture, fascism assimilates new meanings and affective predispositions.
Anthropological Perspectives on the Process of European Integration
After the fall of the Iron Curtain a new concept of Europe as a socially relevant object of study emerged in the social sciences challenging the model of Europe as historical entity, or a philosophical or literary concept. This concept provoked an upsurge of interest in the study of European identity among anthropologists who began to study how Europeanness is constructed and articulated both by the architects of the EU themselves and at a grass-root level. Drawing on notions of European culture and identity, this text examines the image of Europe/the EU in post-communist Europe, particularly in the Czech Republic, from two different perspectives. First, how the institutionalisation of Europe as a cultural idea is viewed by some of the Czech political commentators, and second, from an ethnographically grounded anthropological perspective, focusing on how and at what levels a Czech local community identifies with Europe and the EU. Drawing on a broad range of data, the text attempts to provide new insights into the pitfalls of collective European identity in the making, with the emphasis on its cultural dimension in the post-communist Czech Republic.
Perspectives from SIEF, EASA and SAE
Ullrich Kockel, Susana Narotzky, and Deborah Reed-Danahay
AJEC @ 21: A Perspective from the Société Internationale d’Ethnologie et de Folklore (SIEF)
AJEC @ 21: A Perspective from the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA)
AJEC @ 21: A Perspective from the Society for the Anthropology of Europe (SAE)
Andrés Barrera-González and Anna Horolets
There are two meanings attached to the concept ‘Europeanist’ when applied within the boundaries of our discipline. The term can be used to refer to the practice of anthropology in Europe (e.g. Grillo 1980; Macdonald 1993). This usage primarily indicates the region where fieldwork and research is carried out, as when we label other such fields of anthropological practice ‘Africanist’ or ‘Americanist’. It is thus a mere indication of the regional focus of interest. A more circumscribed usage would take Europeanist anthropology as the anthropology of Europe (e.g. Goddard, Llobera and Shore 1994; Barrera-González 2005). The broader object of study being Europe itself, the term could not be properly applied to whatever piece of research and writing done on some part of Europe. Instead, it would entail studies with a substantial comparative dimension and/or a regional outlook.
Europe between Nostalgia and Promise
The three articles published in this Forum section were all finalists for the Graduate Student Prize of the Society for the Anthropology of Europe (SAE), which met at the American Anthropological Association’s 2013 meeting in Chicago. While they deal with different parts of Europe (Bulgaria and Romania and Spain, respectively), what unites them is a shared interest in issues of loss, social memory, identity, agency and death, and, in particular, the way people experience temporality and change (see Connerton 1989; Forty and Küchler 1991). The authors brilliantly capture the mood of uncertainty and anxiety facing Europeans in a period of unprecedented uncertainty, insecurity and austerity. What they also show is how Europe’s poor and marginalised are both shaped by and, in turn, try to shape or subvert the national and European policy regimes to which they are subjected.
Global Concerns, Local Responses in EU Agriculture
The article examines developments and challenges faced by both anthropologists and rural communities since the 1960s. It argues that a shift in methodological and thematic terms has occurred, raising a number of issues for the establishment of a research agenda on the anthropology of Europe. The most important shift concerns the recon figuration of rural Europe, from the farm or village to more 'complex' social settings in which the presence of the state, bureaucracies, new social actors and markets are integrated into local phenomena. Attached to this rescaling is the issue of how anthropologists define their fieldwork and the objects of their study. Finally, heritage and conservation, which are at the heart of the process of a European core identity and of a European rural imaginary, provide a new critical framework to think about the connection between local concerns and global changes.