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Crossing Boundaries

The Case of Wanda Wasilewska and Polish Communism

Agnieszka Mrozik

boundaries between social classes, she transgressed her gender role as a woman, she broke the unwritten rules of living in the national community. One of such manifestations was her relationship with bricklayer Marian Bogatko (1906–1940), with whom she lived

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Crossing Boundaries, Exploring the Frontier

Recollections of an Intercultural Wanderer

Ullrich Kockel

Taking Park's postulate of a 'marginal man' as its starting point, this essay reviews some of the key ideas and approaches that have underpinned the development of the Anthropological Journal of European Cultures from its inception. It concentrates on a discussion of the concept of 'cultures' - liminal, hybrid or otherwise - in different contexts and from different perspectives - boundaries and frontiers, places and spaces, migrants and memory - before turning towards the question of what and where Europe is, and what anthropology might have to say on it, concluding with reflections on AJEC's past, present and future contribution. An appendix provides details of the first twenty-one volumes of the journal.

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Moral Topology and the Making of Cosmological Boundaries

The Case of Neo-Pentecostal Exorcism in Brazil

Matan Shapiro

Seeking to uproot evil from people’s life, neo-Pentecostal exorcists in Brazil separate between internal and external bodily surfaces and then ‘close’ the victim’s entire body to protect against further malignant intrusion. Based on fieldwork in Brazil and the analysis of expulsion videos online, I demonstrate that exorcists self-consciously use topological imaginaries of connectedness and disjunction to generate a reality in which demons and humans occupy mutually exclusive ontological domains. I argue that the moral transformation that these rituals encourage is thus contingent on the successful disentanglement of bodily surfaces, which distinguishes inside from outside and humans from demons. I use the term ‘moral topology’ to analyze this process and call for further cross-cultural attention to the ethnographic vitality of topological imaginaries in the making of cosmological boundaries.

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Clare Mac Cumhaill

of the predicate ‘is absent’ to an absentee is true when evaluated relative to those places. 3 My proposal is that while the truth of an evaluation relative to a place is determined by the way the world is at that place, the boundaries of the region

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Mathijs Pelkmans

The renewed relevance of religion in post-Soviet public spheres has been accompanied by conspicuous and controversial conversion processes. This article compares cases of conversion on the Muslim-Christian frontier in Kyrgyzstan and in Georgia. It argues that the notions of boundary and frontier are essential to construct a more dynamic model for understanding 'spiritual' movement in social contexts that are rapidly changing. This approach in turn sheds light on the roles and the nature of social and cultural boundaries in the contemporary world.

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Boundaries and Margins

The Making of the 'Golden Cage'

Eirini Chrysocheri

This article focuses on the Greek community of Alexandria, a socially and territorially bounded Diaspora entity that articulates a sense of connection to place through claims of a historically continuous socio-spatial connection to both Egypt and Greece. Through analyses of visual material collected and produced during fieldwork, I explore the spatial and social boundaries of the community before and after Nasser’s 1952 revolution and highlight discontinuities in the narratives and imaginings of the city articulated by different generations. Studying the creation of new borders, I reveal how restriction to, and isolation within, the ‘golden cage’ of Greek areas is both willingly embraced and a source of frustration. I conclude by outlining how spatial and ideological boundaries overlap and how they are shifted and defended by Greek and non-Greek inhabitants of the city.

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Michael Sheridan

Boundaries have become hot topics in recent social science. Studies of nationalism, globalization, and migration require attention to spatially bounded social phenomena. Gender, race, and class studies focus on bounded categories and the work it

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Afterword

Returning to Cosmology—Thoughts on the Positioning of Belief

Don Handelman

Cosmology may be helpful in positioning belief. I suggest, through discussing the contributions to this collection, that belief, especially propositional belief, is integral to monotheistic cosmoses that are constituted through gigantic fractures (like that between God and human being). Such fractures distinguish between cosmic interior and cosmic exterior. The fracture as boundary is absolute, paradoxical, not to be breached. Thus, the infinite Hebrew God integrates His finite cosmos by holding it together from its outside. The absolute boundary signifies cosmic discontinuity. Here belief in the unfathomable may be central to overcoming such discontinuity and, so, to integrating cosmos. By contrast, an organic cosmos is held together within itself, is more continuous within itself, is more holistic, and, in flowing through itself, obviates any centrality of belief.

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Capitalism, Kinship, and Fraud

The Case of Bernie Madoff

Sherry B. Ortner

Investment broker Bernie Madoff ran what is still considered the largest Ponzi scheme in history, defrauding thousands of investors over a 20-year period of more than $20 billion. He worked his game almost entirely through kinship connections—relatives, friends of relatives, and relatives of friends. The relationship between kinship and capitalism has drawn renewed attention by anthropologists, part of a broader effort to rethink capitalism not as a free-standing ‘economy’ but as deeply embedded in a wide range of social relations. In this article I use the Madoff case to illustrate, and develop further, several aspects of the kinship/capitalism connection. I also consider briefly the boundary between fraud and ‘legitimate’ capitalism, which many economic historians consider a fuzzy boundary at best.

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Bodies, Boundaries and Queer Waters

Drowning and Prosopopæia in Later Dickens

Vybarr Cregan-Reid

The way in which the judgements of the landmark 1860 case Rylands v. Fletcher employed the English language to attempt some kind of clear notion of liability is representative of a much wider cultural anxiety over the status of water as a live, conscious and capriciously dangerous agent. I will suggest that the Victorians' emergent fear of wild and live water represents a kind of cultural imaginary that predetermines Dickens's use of prosopopoeic figurative language. The novels that I will draw upon, principally David Copperfield and Our Mutual Friend, both take the trope of drowning as their focal rhetoric. Because the idea of water being embodied as a feral animal emerged around the 1850s, I will deploy some of Dickens's earlier work that uses the same trope of drowning, but in a more simplified way which envisioned water as the passive recipient of the drownee. As a result of the cultural idea of a live and conscious water, Dickens's later novels and journalism can be seen to be exploring an inherently queer notion of intersubjectivity; as the drownee meets their fate, their body's boundaries become permeable, they and the water which 'takes' them become intermingled. The water takes their life and it dissolves their identity. Dickens's later work and Rylands v. Fletcher both play their part in articulating this wider cultural anxiety and phenomenological presence of water as live monstrosity. Moreover, Dickens's use of water as embodied, raging and stampeding agent, raises some fascinating questions surrounding the taboo nature of gender, sexuality and subjectivity in Victorian culture.