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Introduction to the Issue

Encountering Hospitality and Hostility

Mette Louise Berg and Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh

, transit, and (non-)arrival. Migration is, in all its heterogeneity, a multidirectional process that is intrinsically related to diverse forms of encounters: with and between different people and objects, places and spaces, temporalities and materialities

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"The Best Avenue of Escape"

The French Caribbean Route as Expulsion, Rescue, Trial, and Encounter

Eric T. Jennings

Can exclusion and rescue constitute the two faces of a same coin? How did the door slam shut on maritime rescue schemes in 1941? How precisely did Varian Fry and HICEM spirit refugees stranded in Southern France to the new world? In answering these questions, this article delineates and analyzes the sinuous routes that led to the emigration of thousands of refugees from Marseille to the French Caribbean in 1940-1941. It exposes some of the ambiguities of this project—including the comparable conditions of refugee internment in Vichy France and in Martinique—and its ultimate undoing. It delves into the encounters and synergies that the exodus engendered, and explores the perspectives of some of the refugees and Martiniquais whose paths crossed.

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Of wolves and men

Postwar reconciliation and the gender of inter-national encounters

Stef Jansen

This article confronts the grammar of liberal reconciliation discourses with the gendered practices of post-war encounters. After violence that is considered national, meetings between people of different nationalities, and the reconciliation of which they are seen to be a vanguard, tend to be considered as morally good in and of themselves. This article subjects such liberal reconciliation discourse to a double ethnographic intervention: first, by privileging the practice of non-elite inter-national encounters over abstract notions of reconciliation, and, second, by tracing the particular gendered subject positions of sameness that shaped and were shaped by such encounters. The article explores how, after the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, men who met across former frontlines evoked “normal life” through mutual recognition of performative competence of motifs of hegemonizing masculinities.

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Reshaping Empire

Airline Travelers and Colonial Encounters in the 1930s

Chandra D. Bhimull

In the 1920s, Imperial Airways, the first national airline and antecedent of British Airways, launched in Britain. Within a few years, it flew passengers to Britain's overseas territories for the first time. This essay analyzes travel writings from these first flyers. It combines anthropological and historical approaches to expose the advent of airline travel transforming colonial encounters. It argues that the integration of high speed and the verticality of flight dramatically altered how metropolitan travelers related to the landscapes and lives literally beneath them. An anthrohistorical inquiry into the impact of airborne mobility, it also wonders how this new way of moving affected people on the ground, especially those in colonies. Scarcely examined in tandem, regard for both groups illuminates how the airliner's three-dimensional movements remapped racial hierarchies. Consideration of this new geometry of power helps us reimagine where empire and oppression, as lived experiences, are located, fueled, and executed.

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Nicolas Mariot

volunteer in 1914. So what can we make of this novel experiment, provoking encounters and contacts on a huge scale and often for the first time, between Parisians and provinciaux , between peasants and city-dwellers, between an overwhelming majority of

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Heta Mulari

come to my mind when someone says ‘metro.’ Olivia (of mixed Latvian and Russian heritage): Yep, that's true. As the two girls state, everyday encounters between different people are an essential part of commuting in the metro and occupying this urban

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Just War

The Metaphysics of Police Vigilantism in India

Beatrice Jauregui

This article describes and explains “police vigilantism” as a mode of authoritative extralegal coercion performed by public police officials conceived as doing their duty to realize justice in the world. Based on ethnographic observations, interviews, and content analysis of news and entertainment media as well as official government reports, this essay examines a specific form of police vigilantism in contemporary India known as “encounter killings”. Demonstrating that encounter killings are widely constituted as a form of ritual purification and social defense by self-sacrificing police, it theorizes a metaphysics of police vigilantism in India that combines generalized experiences of insecurity with shared cosmologies of just war. Comparing this metaphysics with justifications of state violence in other Global South contexts, this study sheds light on how such violence may be legitimated through the conceptual inextricability of law and war as embodied in a uniquely constituted human figure: the police vigilante.

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The Extended Case

Interactional Foundations and Prospective Dimensions

Don Handelman

The extended case is inherently processual, continuously becoming prospective history. Therefore, the dynamics of the extended case are necessarily temporal; there is no separation between the practice of social life and micro history. Here I ground the emerging temporality of the extended case in interpersonal interaction, in the dynamics of the creation and emergence of micro forms that Erving Goffman called encounters. An extended case emerges from a series of encounters as it moves into its own futures. Therefore, the extended case opens time/space to the practice of process, to the foregrounding of practice as intrinsically dynamic. The prospective perspective of the extended case pays close attention to how social life is practiced into existence as emergent phenomena, without assuming or presuming how social order holds together and falls apart. The extended case argues for a dynamic rather than a structural anthropology.

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Novices in bureaucratic regimes

Learning to be a claimant in the United Kingdom

Michelle Obeid

This article tracks the learning experiences of a refugee mother in negotiating her housing rights during her first months of settlement in the United Kingdom. New migrants often experience bureaucracy as “novices” in unfamiliar legal and bureaucratic regimes. By contrast to common depictions of bureaucracies as predominant sites of disenchantment and frustration, I attend ethnographically to the ways in which novice claimants come to trust and value bureaucratic encounters as productive spaces that reveal to them the vocabulary of legitimacy as they learn to inhabit official categories and forge bureaucratic personhoods. I suggest an understanding of migrants’ previous knowledge of non-Western bureaucratic regimes shapes their experiences of ambiguity in bureaucracy.

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Introduction

Elusive Matsutake

Lieba Faier

In this special issue, we draw on our collaborative research as the Matsutake Worlds Research Group to explore the world-making dynamics of multispecies encounters. We center our exploration on matsutake, a gourmet mushroom eaten primarily in Japan. Drawing on cases from around the world, we suggest that the cosmopolitan worlds of matsutake cannot be accounted for by any single agent or individual set of cultural or political economic processes. Rather, we propose that contingent multispecies attunements and coordinations knit together the various world-making processes that allow matsutake to flourish. We use the notion of ‘elusiveness’ to capture these shifting dynamics of attraction, coordination, and elusion.