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Gülcan Kolay

The Turkish Army has been reported many times to use the burning of villages, forest and fields as a strategy in the war against the Kurdish insurgents. However, the army not only destroys the villages, the fields, the forests but also animals. Despite the vast research by academics on the destruction of the villages by the Turkish army, little is known about the damage caused by the army to animals. This article deals with the use of mules for the legal or illegal cross-border trade between Turkey-Iraq and Turkey-Iran, more precisely between Kurdish regions, and the destruction of the mules, who play a very important role in this kind of commerce, by the Turkish Army in the context of conflict against the Kurds.

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Czech Balneotherapy

Border Medicine and Health Tourism

Amy Speier

This essay exemplifies a particular approach to the field of health tourism, whereby the anthropology of tourism and medical anthropology can be used in conjunction. The serious business of healing is not usually associated with the pleasures of relaxation; however, Czech spas have historically been sites of both healing and leisure for visitors. Building on the suggestion of Veijola and Jokinen (1994), the body of the tourist is made the centre of this study. The bodies of patient-tourists at Czech health spas undergo various healing regimens, and their bodies signify a negotiation of national and cultural identities. Just as Bunzl (2000) considers bodies as constituting European cultural landscapes, this essay considers the ways in which German patient bodies at Czech health spas constitute a changing national, political and cultural relationship at a 'border' of Europe.

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Israel's wall and the logic of encystation

Sovereign exception or wild sovereignty?

Glenn Bowman

It seems vital, in the face of escalating Israeli expansionism in the Palestinian Territories and obstructionism in the "Peace Process," to theorize the cultural foundations of a process of containment and dispossession of Palestinians that can no longer convincingly be seen as mere strategy. Symptomatic of the Israeli state program is the "wall" (a.k.a., "the Security Fence" or the "Apartheid Wall") and its radical encroachment into territory designated as the grounds of a future Palestinian state. The following essay attempts an anthropological analysis of the concept of "border" in contemporary Israeli thought and practice, and, in so doing, assesses the impact of a limitless sovereignty on both an encompassed minority population and on international relations more generally.

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Performing the Border

Cartographic Enactments of the German-Polish Border among German and Polish High-school Pupils

Marie Sandberg

On the basis of fieldwork conducted in the two towns Görlitz and Zgorzelec, situated directly on the German-Polish border, this article explores how different versions of the border are enacted among Polish and German high-school pupils. As is usually the case with borders, the German-Polish border has a multiple, even ambivalent character. Inspired by the performative approach within actor-network theory, this article aims to qualify the concept of the multiple border, where multiplicity is understood as heterogeneous practices and patterns of absences and presences that constitute the border. The data, based on ethnographic fieldwork, consist of 'cartographies', maps made by the pupils, followed up by 'walking conversations' in the two towns on the border. The analysis shows that the border is not only enacted differently; also it is suggested that the performances all deal with and constitute an ambivalent border.

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Pelasgic Encounters in the Greek-Albanian Borderland

Border Dynamics and Reversion to Ancient Past in Southern Albania

Gilles de Rapper

In the last ten years, many books and articles dedicated to Pelasgians have been published in Albania, mostly by amateur historians and linguists. These works question the official discourse on the Illyrian origin of Albanians inherited from the socialist era. They also question the relationship of Albanians with Greeks, both in ancient times and in the present. Considering the fact that a significant number of those authors originate from southern Albania and that their books are widely read and appreciated in this Albanian borderland, this article argues that the recent success of Pelasgic theories can be partially explained by the new uses of the border in the post-1991 context and by the state of relations between Albanians and Greeks as experienced at the local level. Imagining the Pelasgians as prestigious ancestors appears as an answer to feelings of inequality and marginality related to new practices of the border.

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Border/land Sustainability

Communities at the External Border of the European Union

Karri Kiiskinen

This article contrasts the Finnish-Russian and Polish-Ukrainian borderlands situated at the external border of the EU. Based on multi-sited fieldwork, it observes how such EU level development concepts as sustainability and multiculturalism address cultural sharing as well as engage communities. Here everyday border crossings are limited, but the policies and practices of cross-border co-operation seek to produce sustainable border crossings in terms of projects and networking. The negotiations of the EU border by local Polish and Finnish actors reflect co-existing and alternative imaginations of borderland heritage. These heritages seem to suggest the 'right' ways not only for border crossings, but also for addressing the continuity and experience of cultural diversity. It is argued that recollections of borderland materiality in these ceded lands become a means for negotiating cultural borders, and verify the difference between European borderlands and borders.

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Cross-Border Networks

Labour Migration from Iran to the Arab Countries of the Persian Gulf

Shahnaz R. Nadjmabadi

This article examines migration between the Iranian coastal regions of the Persian Gulf and the nearby Arab countries. At the centre of the research are questions about cross-border relationships, the construction of transnational spaces in border migration and strategies for maintaining networks in both the home and host countries. The transnational space connecting the Iranian coastal region and the Arab countries resembles other cases of border migration. However, unlike previous studies on border migration, this analysis situates the development of transnational spaces of migrants' lives within the deep-rooted common and historical perspectives in the countries on both sides of the Persian Gulf.

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To Smile and Not to Smile

Mythic Gesture at the Russia-China Border

Caroline Humphrey

This article examines the role of smiling as a performative gesture at the northeast border between Russia and China. It argues that the border is a place where ‘myth’ in the sense proposed by Roland Barthes is manifest in the comportment of people when they see themselves as representing the civilization of one side or the other. In this situation, smiling and not smiling are elements of particular communicative registers that enact political myths in life. Highly gendered, these agentive-performative gestures exist amid other functional and affective registers, which can override them. The article also discusses the ‘helpers’ who mediate in cross-border trade, whose image is also sometimes subject to mythic imagination.

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Borders and justice

A postscript

Mary Bosworth

In this piece I offer an overview of the theme section and reflect on the relationship between academic studies and social justice. By comparing anthropology with my home discipline of criminology, I point to some shared and distinct contributions practitioners in these fields can make to our understanding about border control. Without being too pessimistic, I warn about the limits of ‘humanizing’ research subjects as a means to bring about progressive change, and suggest instead, drawing on the work of the theme section, that more needs to be done alongside and with individuals and local communities.

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Regions, borders, and social policy

The limits of welfare in regional cohesion debates

Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

This first issue of Volume Four of Regions & Cohesion continues a trend of articles that gained momentum in Volume Three, focusing on the territorial aspects of welfare in social cohesion debates. The Summer 2013 issue of the journal presented a collection of articles that specifically discussed the role of borders and border policies in social cohesion politics. Although this collection was not intended to be presented as a thematically specific issue, the simultaneous arrival of these pieces highlighted the importance of borders in defining the territorial limits of cohesion and the ensuing renegotiation of these limits in political debates. For example, the article by Irina S. Burlacu and Cathal O’Donoghue focused on the impacts of the European Union’s social security coordination policy on the welfare of cross-border workers in Belgium and Luxembourg. The article illustrated the limits of this regional policy as cross-border workers do not receive equal treatment compared to domestic workers in the country of employment. Similarly, an article by Franz Clément in the same issue analyzed the “socio-political representation” of cross-border workers and discusses how such workers can mobilize for socioeconomic rights in institutions aimed at worker protection (such as professional associations, trade unions, etc.). Both articles show that despite formal regionalization of legislation concerning social rights and representation, national boundaries clearly present challenges to cross-border workers who have difficulty negotiating rights in both their country of employment and country of residence.