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Liberal emplacement

Violence, home, and the transforming space of popular protest in Central America

Staffan Löfving

This article is about the changing meaning of home among people engaged in the Guatemalan guerrilla movement. It shows that during the war, the revolutionary committed struggled for home more in terms of communal spheres of insurgent societal transformation than in terms of the defense or reconstruction of family or house. Though the counterinsurgency state was bent on their annihilation, it was only with the implementation of liberal peace that their commitment was ultimately destroyed. Most of them then opted for 'return' to their pre-war settlements and they gave up the political project of preserving their progressive civil organization. 'Home' under liberal peace in post-revolutionary Central America is continuously held together mainly by the migration of youth in search of opportunities elsewhere as hope for improved living conditions has become a question no longer of transforming but of leaving society in order to save oneself and/or one's household. The notion of liberal emplacement is brought forward in this article to conceptualize the destruction of political movement through the creation of an individualized necessity of spatial movement.

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Between Labor Migration and Forced Displacement

Wartime Mobilities in the Burkina Faso–Côte d’Ivoire Transnational Space

Jesper Bjarnesen

The significant number of involuntary returns of labor migrants to Burkina Faso is a relatively neglected aspect of the armed conflict in Côte d’Ivoire. Between 500,000 and 1 million Burkinabe migrants were forced to leave Côte d’Ivoire between 2000 and 2007, placing tremendous pressure on local communities in Burkina Faso to receive and integrate these mass arrivals, and causing those returning labor migrants an acute sense of displacement. Th is article analyzes the experiences of displacement and resettlement in the context of the Ivorian crisis and explores the dialectics of displacement and emplacement in the lives of involuntary labor migrant returnees; their young adult children; and Burkinabe recruits returning aft er their service in the Forces Nouvelles rebel forces in Côte d’Ivoire.

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Building a House in Nepal

Auspiciousness as a Practice of Emplacement

John Gray

The subject of auspiciousness and inauspiciousness in South Asian society has largely been analyzed as a temporal condition in which there is a harmonious or inharmonious conjunction of people and events in time. In this article, the construction of houses by high-caste people living in a hamlet in Nepal is used to argue for a reconceptualization of auspiciousness and inauspiciousness as practices of emplacement in space and time. The analysis demonstrates how the rituals associated with the various stages of construction ensure the new house's compatibility with its spatial milieu—the soil, the site, the cardinal directions, and the reigning deities, as well as the vital force of the earth. Together with the auspicious timing of each stage of construction and its associated ritual with the owner's horoscope, the result of the building process shows auspiciousness to be a harmonious conjunction of person, place, and time.

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Staying out of Place

The Being and Becoming of Burundian Refugees in the Camp and the City

Simon Turner

Based on ethnographic fieldwork among Burundian refugees living clandestinely in Nairobi and living in a refugee camp in Tanzania, the article argues that displacement can be about staying out of place in order to find a place in the world in the future. I suggest that the term displacement describes this sense of not only being out of place but also being en route to a future. Burundians in the camp and the city are doing their best to remain out of place, in transition between a lost past and a future yet to come, and the temporary nature of their sojourn is maintained in everyday practices. Such everyday practices are policed by powerful actors in the camp and are ingrained in practices of self-discipline in Nairobi. Comparing the two settings demonstrates that remaining out of place can take on different forms, according to context.

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Nefissa Naguib, Pauline Peters, Nancy Ries, Murray Garde, Zhiying Ma and Frédéric Keck

Jessica Barnes, Cultivating the Nile: The Everyday Politics of Water in Egypt (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014), 248 pp., illustrations, notes, references, index. Paperback. ISBN 9780822357568.

Catie Gressier, At Home in the Okavango: White Botswana Narratives of Emplacement and Belonging (New York: Berghahn Books, 2015), 258 pp., illustrations, bibliography, references, index. E-book. ISBN 9781782387749.

Svetlana Stephenson, Gangs of Russia: From the Streets to the Corridors of Power (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2015), 288 pp., appendix, glossary, references, index. Paperback. ISBN 9781501700248.

M. Eleanor Nevins, Lessons from Fort Apache: Beyond Language Endangerment and Maintenance (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), 280 pp., appendices, references, index. Hardback. ISBN 9781118424230.

Jie Yang, Unknotting the Heart: Unemployment and Therapeutic Governance in China (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2015), 288 pp., notes, references, index. Hardback. ISBN 9780801453755. Paperback. ISBN 9780801456602.

Ghassan Hage, Is Racism an Environmental Threat? (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2017), 140 pp., references, index. Paperback. ISBN 9780745692272.

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Singularity and Uncertainty

Counter-Ethics of Gender and Sexuality in an Indian Dream Analysis

Sarah Pinto

On the cusp of India’s Independence, a young woman in Punjab met with a psychiatrist for a conceptual experiment – the development of a ‘more objective’ and ‘Oriental’ theory of dream analysis. Known to us only as Mrs A., not only did she offer a ‘daydream’ to analyst Dev Satya Nand, she presented an intimate account of mid-twentieth-century upper-class Indian marriage, sexuality and womanhood. In her portrayal of the stakes of kinship, she posed an alternate vision – an ethic of singularity and uncertainty formed out of, but departing from, concepts of security and emplacement. This article explores Mrs A.’s account, using the work of twenty-first-century artist Shahzia Sikander to theorize her vision of possibility, and developing the concept of a counter-ethic – a formulation that presses against the parameters of an overarching ethic, occupying its conceptual and social infrastructure, but nurturing a new vision at the points it cannot be sustained.

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Commentary

Breathing Fresh Air into Mobility Studies from Down Under

Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga

As Georgine Clarsen summarizes this special section on Australian and settler colonial Pacific, these four articles add to the “rereading [of] settler-colonial formations through practices and representations of movement [and] circulation.” But that is only half the truth. They also constitute counterrepresentations. They deal not only with the stasis that follows European settling as a process but also with counter- and antimobilities that Indigenous peoples mount: against inward movement, against disruptive settling and forceful displacement of the Indigenous from their lands, and against emplacement and settlement upon it. The scholars in this special section present an example for studies of mobility in the colonial setting in two ways. First, they decenter technology and center the human factor, for which they get full marks. Second they allow mobilities to emanate from the subjects and context of study, rather than letting conceptions of Western-centric, technocentric history of transport and mobility studies guide them.

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Signs of Radical Democracy?

Deleuze, Badiou, Rancière and Tahrir Square, 2011

Bert Olivier

How should one make theoretical sense of what has been called 'the miracle of Tahrir Square' – the fact that the Egyptian people successfully ousted a dictator in a peaceful manner, where militant groups had failed to do so by force? In this article it is argued that Deleuze/Guattari's notion of the subject in terms of desiring-machines, flows, schizophrenic production and the 'body-without-organs', enables one to theorise human subjectivity as being in process, and not 'self-identical', as mainstream thinking would have it. Deleuze's thought on societies of control further suggests the concept of rhizomatic lines of subversion of hegemonic networks from within the latter. Further, Alain Badiou's consonant conception of the subject – as one of multiple 'emplacements' – represents a spatial perspective on individual subjects which similarly eschews the pitfalls of an abstract notion of human subjectivity in favour of one that conceives of the subject as inescapably 'placed' in multiple spatial coordinates, as it were. In addition, Jacques Rancière's radicalisation of 'politics' in terms of 'equality' and 'dissensus' enables one to grasp the fleeting events of Tahrir Square as paradigmatic of 'true' democracy. In this way these theoretical positions provide a model that is commensurate with evidence that the 2011 Egyptian uprising avoided the trap of hierarchical thinking and practice, pursuing the goal of political liberation and (radical) democratisation along non-hierarchical, 'leaderless', complex, rhizomatic communicational networks instead. This avoided the paralysing tendency to think and behave on the basis of oppositionally conceived, mutually exclusive adversarial agencies – the 'us' and 'them' syndrome. The article explores the implications of this complex notion of subjectivity, on the one hand, in relation to the radical democratic practice displayed in Tahrir Square, on the other.

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Portrait

Eileen Barker

Linda Woodhead, James T. Richardson, Martyn Percy, Catherine Wessinger and Eileen Barker

. If the group enhances its status by claiming scientific credentials, it would be foolhardy to question them. Similarly, if the accepted model of success lies in establishing a theoretical emplacement and attracting followers—all within the safety of