Hiring home cleaning is a contested phenomenon in Sweden and increasingly so when informally recompensed. During the last decade, pigdebatten (the maid debate), a proposal for subsidized, paid home cleaning has divided the public debate along political lines as well as in terms of gender and class. Drawing on the historical notions of what type of work an economy includes (and excludes), this article addresses the contestation of paid home cleaning as a transaction of work. How do buyers negotiate and justify svart (black market) cleaning as an acceptable transaction in time and space when separating the public from the private? This case study is based on interviews with a group of women indicted for having bought cleaning services from an immigrant without a working permit, a case that created a heated media debate in 2003 and 2004.
Lotta Björklund Larsen
the Courtly and the Popular in The Merry Wives of Windsor
This paper explores the controversy as to whether The Merry Wives of Windsor is a celebration of royal and aristocratic power and of an imagined national community, or a suburban comedy whose viewpoint is that of the contemporary English middle-class. Drawing on recent work on female authority in household and community, it is suggested that Shakespeare's Windsor is not only discontinuous with the culture of nobility, but is presented as a parallel world or alternative universe where things are done quite differently. The play thus engages in a critique of the aristocratic values embodied in the Order of the Garter, and offers an alternative source of power in the domestic lives of ordinary women.
Citizenship and environment-as-common-property in highland Peru
Mattias Borg Rasmussen
emerge in the encounters between state and citizens in the context of mining. In the conclusion I argue that the actions to reclaim Lake Conococha were not only a battle for natural resources and clean water; more fundamentally, by claiming specific
It was the biggest political scandal in postwar German history. As revelation followed revelation in late 1999, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party finance (Parteifinanz) affair tarnished careers, most notably those of former chancellor Helmut Kohl and, separately, his longtime heir apparent Wolfgang Schäuble. When both fell, their party gained a new cadre of leaders. Most analysts expected the fallout ultimately to spread much further, fatally crippling the CDU and perhaps destroying it altogether. Voices could be heard to the effect that this scandal was on the same scale as one that rocked Italy a decade earlier, when the "Clean Hands" investigation unearthed massive evidence of bribery and corruption.
'European Turks' and Negotiations of Neighbourliness at 'Home'
This article examines how Turks returning from Germany to Turkey self-fashion as 'orderly neighbours'. By maintaining aesthetically pleasing homes and gardens, keeping public spaces clean, and obeying rules and laws in public, return migrants believe they act as modern 'European-Turks' and exemplify good neighbourliness. Many neighbours, however, feel these actions are unnecessary or even disruptive to Turkish communities. In conversation with the burgeoning anthropology of ethics, this research explores how local, national and transnational assemblages foster reflections and debates on neighbourly ethics. Further, this study highlights anxieties about individualism, reciprocity, 'modernity' and 'European-ness' in today's Turkey.
On 3 March 2008, four workmen lost their lives, asphyxiated by sulfur
fumes, going one after another into a tanker at the Truck Center in
Molfetta in the province of Bari, a company specializing in the maintenance
and cleaning of heavy vehicles. Those involved were the owner
of the company, aged 64, and three workmen, respectively, 44, 37, and
24 years old. The following morning, a fifth workman, who was barely
20 and had tried to save his companions, died at the hospital in Monopoli.
“Deaths Caused by Solidarity,” headlined some newspapers, but the
truth is that these deaths were foreseeable because none of the victims
were in possession of protective equipment. Little more than a month
later, on 16 April 2008, at Cornate d’Adda in the province of Milan, an
explosion in the chemical factory Masterplast caused the deaths of two
workmen, the company foreman, aged 47, and a 28-year-old employee
from Burkina Faso. And the list of deaths continues.
Donatella della Porta, Salvatore Sberna and Alberto Vannucci
This chapter examines two episodes of large-scale corruption that erupted in 2014: the procurements process for the MOSE tidal barrier project, which is intended to surround and protect Venice, and the contracts signed in the run-up to Expo 2015 in Milan. The chapter shows how networks of corruption have survived the “clean hands” scandal of the early 1990s and thrive in a world of neo-liberal policies that promote privatization, deregulation, and liberalization. These policies have not led to a reduction in corruption; rather, they have shifted governance structures toward private figures who, in the name of the free market, often end up with better opportunities to corrupt or to be corrupted.
Political control, class imaginings, and ethnic categorization in the Vilnius riots of 2009
This article analyzes the public discourse on the riots of 16 January 2009, in Vilnius, when protest against economic shock therapy ended in violent clashes with the police. Politicians and the media were quick to ethnicize the riots, claiming an “involvement of foreign influences” and noting that the rioters had been predominantly “Russian-speaking.” Analyzing electronic and print media, the article identifies a wider tendency, particularly among middle-class Lithuanian youth, of portraying the social class consisting of “losers of the post-soviet transition” as aggressive and primitive Others. A pseudo-ethnicity that combines Rus sian language and culture with lower-class background into a notion of homo sovieticus comes to stand for what is hindering the “clean up” of Lithuania and middleclass aspirations to form a new European identity. As such, the riots serve as a lens that illuminates the way ethnicity is flexibly utilized to shift political loyalties.
Political subjectivities and the imagination of Iceland after the economic crash
The economic crash in Iceland created a sense of social and political collapse that extended far beyond the economic realm. Calls for a “New Iceland” were invoked, where the Icelandic political arena would be “cleaned” and reimagined in drastic ways. In this article, I explore how ideas circulating in the wider European region about how Icelanders dealt exceptionally well with the crisis not only failed to reflect the lived effects of the collapse but also echoed long-standing nationalist ideals of Icelanders’ imagined reality of themselves. I show how nation branding in Iceland after 2010 added to the conception that Iceland dealt with the crisis in an exceptional way, and I critically ask why Iceland received such a positive depiction in the international media.
Performance Characteristics among the Balengou
Ngambouk V. Pemunta
This article examines the 'gendered field' of kaolinite clay production and its integration into the local socio-cultural universe of the Balengou of the Western region of Cameroon. Kaolinite clay is produced and ingested mainly by women, especially during pregnancy so as to ensure that their children are born 'clean'. Used as a herbal additive, the clay is also believed to be imbued with sacred qualities and has a symbolic role in various communal rituals. Although geophagy—the practice of eating earth—is associated with harmful health effects, the various affordances offered by kaolinite clay as a valuable object of material culture constitute a specific entanglement of nature and culture. This study makes a modest contribution to the literature on the 'politics of value' and on the relationality of human/non-human interactions.