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Vigilance

On Conflict, Social Invisibility, and Negative Potentiality

Henrik Vigh

This article analyzes the relationship between conflict, social invisibility, and negative potentiality. Taking its empirical point of departure in fieldwork conducted in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, it illuminates the manner in which people orient themselves toward precarious prospects and potentialities. Little attention has been paid to the orientational effects generated by long-term conflict—that is, the way that violence, as an underlying possibility, an imagined oncoming event, influences social life. Moving from the empirical to the theoretical, and from the specific to the general, the article compares two areas of conflict and orientation toward negative potentiality before moving on to a more general discussion of invisibility and potentiality in social life and theory.

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The Perceptibility of the Invisible Cosmology

Religious Rituals and Embodied Spirituality among the Bahraini Shi‘a

El-Sayed El-Aswad

This article analyses the relationship between the seen and the unseen in the cosmology and practices of Bahraini Shi'a. Rather than contrasting the visible and the invisible, the study delineates the hierarchical relations between them, within a whole or cosmology, as reflected in various discursive and non-discursive actions that are supported by the religious beliefs of Bahraini Shi'a. Issues of the Hidden Imam, concealment, dissimulation and other unseen dimensions of the cosmos are discussed. The article finds that the Shi'a construct the invisible in their social world by using visible ways of creatively enacting their hidden thoughts and beliefs, as represented in their religious discourses, rituals and body symbolism. Their belief in a divine higher power provides a source of emotional, spiritual and socio-political empowerment.

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"Once We Had a House"

Invisible Citizens and Consociational Democracy in Post-war Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Azra Hromadzic

One of the most important goals of peace-building programs around the world is the establishment of a social order that would lead to stability. In the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), this includes a spatial reorganization of people and territory that assumes a fixed relationship between them. This spatial governmentality relies on a set of rigid assumptions about belonging, territoriality, and politics that make ethnically 'mixed' citizens spatially unmappable, bureaucratically invisible, and socially undesirable. Spanning more than 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork in BiH, I focus on the transformation of Yugoslav mixed citizens into 'invisible citizens' in the context of post-war democratization. The experiences of these people provide a fruitful site from which to understand and critique the peace-building efforts in BiH and beyond.

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Carolyn Nordstrom

Trillions of dollars move through the world’s markets illegally, and millions of people work in extra-state activities. They move everything from the dangerous (narcotics, toxic wastes, arms) through the luxurious (diamonds and art) to the necessary and the mundane (food, clothing, and electronics). Not only are fortunes made on these profits—empires are built. Empires that are, for various reasons, largely invisible. Illegal transactions are generally embedded in networks that span the globe. The most successful of these networks control finances and resources larger than many of the world’s countries. They can quite literally develop or cripple national emergent economies. These networks are not states, nor are they competing to become states. They thrive precisely because they constitute a different order of politics and economics than formal legal states (Nordstrom 2001). Illegal networks continuously intersect with states as they launder money into legality, move goods across the borders of il/legality, and turn corruption into politics by another name. But it is the tension between state and extra-state that gives both their power.

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Erin Moore Daly

This article explores the hidden, suppressed elements of New Orleans leading up to and immediately following Hurricane Katrina. The article is juxtaposed with excerpts from Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities in order to provide a lens through which to ask questions not typically raised by government officials, city planners, and science and technology experts. This uncovers aspects of New Orleans that must not be overlooked in the rebuilding process. If policy, culture, and technology render aspects of New Orleans invisible, then only by revealing these aspects can one ascertain the truth of the city.

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Brett Holman

British society through what he called the ‘Invisible Hand’, which he identified with German-born men naturalised as British citizens. Neither aerial bombardment nor naturalised Germans had featured largely in Le Queux's prewar writing, but by resorting to

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A Theory of ‘Animal Borders’

Thoughts and Practices toward Non-human Animals among the G|ui Hunter-Gatherers

Kazuyoshi Sugawara

kind of vaccination that he had invented to his sons and saved them from death. Without any knowledge about invisible agents such as allergens or antibodies, some sense of corporeality led him to an attempt to negotiate with the demonic force raging

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Narratives of the Invisible

Autobiography, Kinship, and Alterity in Native Amazonia

Vanessa Elisa Grotti and Marc Brightman

Koelewijn 2003: 338) Native Amazonian societies live and engage with a world in which what is visible is never given, where things and people change form and where appearances are deceiving. Apprehending the invisible—that is, relating to persons who cannot

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Intimidation, reassurance, and invisibility

Israeli security agents in the Old City of Jerusalem

Erella Grassiani and Lior Volinz

the visibility and invisibility of the security agents are crucial. We argue that these relationships, as part of the policing strategies, consist of the constant visible presence of police, security personnel, and cameras in the heart of the Muslim

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“SpiritS Follow the words”

Stories as Spirit Traces among the Khmu of Northern Laos

Rosalie Stolz

word for spirit at all. When I asked for the direction from which the eagle came, she only indeterminately indicated the direction by bowing her head slightly to her left. Spirits, from the Khmu point of view, are invisible and intangible beings that