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Human Rights, Victimhood, and Impunity

An Anthropology of Democracy in Argentina

Michael Humphrey and Estela Valverde

This article explores human rights politics in the transition from dictatorship to democracy in Argentina. Its ethnographic focus is the phenomenon of families of victims associations, usually led by mothers, that first emerged to protest against mass disappearance under the military dictatorship. Democracy has also produced new families of victims associations protesting against different forms of state abuse and/or neglect. They represent one face of the widespread protest against a 'culture of impunity' experienced as ongoing insecurity and injustice. Private grief is made an emotional resource for collective action in the form of 'political mourning'. The media, street demonstrations, and litigation are used to try to make the state accountable. State management of this public suffering has sought to determine legitimate victimhood based on a paradigm of innocence. The political mourning of victims and survivors charts the social margins of citizenship in the reduced, not expanded, neo-liberal democratic state in Argentina.

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Yechiam Weitz

This article deals with the disappearance of Menachem Begin, the leader and the chairman of the Herut movement and the sixth Prime Minister of Israel (1977-1983). He disappeared from the political arena for about half a year: from the defeat of his party in the elections of the Second Knesset (26 July 1951) until the debate in the Knesset about the reparations from West Germany. Four central topics will be discussed: (1) the reasons for his disappearance; (2) his whereabouts and activities during that period; (3) the reason for his return to the political arena and the connection between his return and the debate about the reparations; and (4) the significance of this story for Begin's biography.

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Persistence and Disappearance of Traditional Patrilocality

Matrimonial Strategies and Postnuptial Residence Patterns in Two Eastern Siberian Communities of the Twenty-First Century

Vincent Zvénigorosky, Dariya Nikolaeva, Georgii Romanov, Aisen Solovev, Nikolai Barashkov, Éric Crubézy, Sardana Fedorova, and Christine Keyser

This article describes current matrimonial strategies and residence patterns in two communities in the Sakha Republic. In Tolon, a rural settlement in central Sakha, community exogamy is predominant and patrilocality is detectable in postnuptial residence patterns. In the sub-Arctic town of Khonuu no gendered residence patterns are observed. Khonuu has an airport and serves as a regional capital. In Khonuu matrimonial decisions follow the immigration of men and couples rather than traditional strategies connected with horse- and cattle-based subsistence. This article discusses the possible biological, historical, and cultural reasons that explain the observance or lack of observance of traditional marriage in the contemporary Sakha Republic.

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Liminality and Missing Persons

Encountering the Missing in Postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina

Laura Huttunen

has happened to him. I never heard about him again . —Bosniak woman, born in 1965 in Prijedor, Bosnia-Herzegovina In many armed conflicts, forced disappearances and hiding the bodies of victims of mass atrocities are used strategically to create

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Uzi Meshulam and the ‘Mishkan Ohalim’ Affair

The Influence of Radical Ultra-Orthodoxy

Motti Inbari

days of Israeli statehood. The so-called Yemenite Children Affair concerns the alleged disappearance of hundreds of babies and toddlers of new immigrants, mainly from Yemen, to the recently founded State of Israel. In most cases, parents were told in

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Aparecida Vilaça, Simon Coleman, Máire Ní Mhaonaigh, Don Seeman, and Joel Robbins

What if a Religion Is Not Made to Last? Aparecida Vilaça

The Sense of an Ending Simon Coleman

Constructing Continuity Máire Ní Mhaonaigh

But Whose Categories Are These? Don Seeman

Author's Reply: On Morality, Time and Religious Disappearance Joel Robbins

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Marc Abélès

This article addresses the issue of the influence of neoliberalism on French research institutions, especially the future of the CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research), a public organisation devoted exclusively to doing research. CNRS's detractors argue that there is no reason to keep a specific research organisation in France. The hiring of fewer and fewer researchers, as soon as the baby-boomers retire, means the disappearance of what is considered, at the European level, a French exception. In this paper I try to analyse the impact of the change occuring in research policy, and to characterise the specific features of the global ideological context.

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Transmitting Memory Between and Beyond Generations

The Rotterdam Bombardment in Local Memory Culture and Education from 1980 to 2015

Susan Hogervorst

This article analyses three local educational projects about the Nazi bombing of Rotterdam in May 1940, all of which took place from 1980 to the present day in the context of the dynamic memory culture of the bombardment. These three contexts testify to a process by which memory, increasingly derived from authentic locations and objects instead of individual memories, is put to use in education. Moreover, increased awareness of the disappearance of eyewitness generations means that young people are becoming key consumers and auxiliary producers of memory.

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Mari Rysst

The article is based on ethnographic fieldwork in two field sites in Oslo, Norway, that involved a sample of sixty-seven children. I discuss how ten year-old girls do gender and romance in the light of “junior” and “senior” (hetero)sexuality in the social context of romance. Considering the Norwegian media's worry concerning a presumed sexualization of childhood and the disappearance of childhood, I describe in detail what happens between partners in what is known as a going-out-with-relationship. These relationships, primarily characterized by play and not by physical intimacy, illustrate that sexual innocence in childhood still exists.

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How to Scale Factional Divisions in Conflict Situations

Finding Perpetrators and Switchboard Operators in Post-Authoritarian Argentina

Antonius C.G.M. Robben

In conducting fieldwork among perpetrators of state violence, it is a major methodological problem to gain access to competing factions within the research population. Ethnographers often succeed in finding access to at least one faction but this successful rapport might then immediately close off other factions that mistrust the ethnographer’s politics, intentions, or alleged sympathies. The ethnographic challenge is to find intermediaries or switchboard operators, as they are called in this article, who have established informal channels of communication between hostile factions. Switchboard operators have the following characteristics: discretion, neutrality, lack of formal power, disinterestedness, trustworthiness, and they act as a conduit of communication. This article describes how switchboard operators were located in Argentina, and how they played a crucial role in my fieldwork among a broad spectrum of military perpetrators who had terrorized the Argentine people between 1976 and 1983 with enforced disappearances and state repression.