In this article we examine the content and rationale of anti-Americanism in Greece, drawing ethnographic information from two urban centers, Patras and Volos. We pay special attention to the conspiracy theory attributes of this rhetoric, and, instead of dismissing it or seeing it primarily as a manifestation of nationalist thinking, we attempt to unpack the threads of meaning that make it so appealing in local contexts. We look in particular at the etiology of blame within this particular discourse and try to explain the specific readings of history and politics that make it significant in local contexts. We argue that Greek anti-Americanism has an empowering potential for local actors, as it provides them with a certain degree of discursive agency over wider political processes that are beyond their immediate control.
Rhetoric, Agency, and Local Meaning
Elisabeth Kirtsoglou and Dimitrios Theodossopoulos
l'initiative du Groupe de Gestion Binational du Bassin du Río Goascorán (Honduras-El Salvador)
*Full article is in French
English abstract: The Grupo Gestor Binacional de la Cuenca del Río Goascorán (GGBCG) was created in 2007 as an original initiative managing a shared basin in the Eastern part of El Salvador-Honduras boundary. In less than twenty years, the issue of confrontation in this border area has led to a logical approach to reconciliation and cooperation through shared management of the Río Goascorán basin. This article analyzes the ways in which the actors involved understand this cooperation. The initiative that is studied is part of a regional context that is of interest for the management of transboundary river basins. Several elements relevant to the analyzed case are addressed, including the difficulty of cross-border action and shared management, the turnover of the actors involved, and the forms of institutionalization on which the management of transboundary watersheds can be based.
Spanish abstract: Este artículo se interesa en la conformación del Grupo de Gestión Binacional de la Cuenca del Río Goascorán (GGBCG) en el año 2007, como una iniciativa original de gestión de una cuenca compartida en la parte oriental de la frontera Honduras-El Salvador. El artículo muestra cómo en menos de veinte años, la problemática de enfrentamiento en este sector fronterizo dio lugar a una lógica de acercamiento y de cooperación por medio de la gestión compartida de la cuenca del Río Goascorán. También se analizan las formas en que los actores involucrados conciben la cooperación alrededor de la cuenca. El presente artículo resalta varios elementos de reflexión a través del caso analizado: la dificultad de la acción transfronteriza y de la gestión compartida; la renovación de los actores involucrados; así como las formas de institucionalización sobre las cuales puede basarse la gestión de cuencas transfronterizas que invitan a interrogarse sobre la conformación del GGBCG.
French abstract: Cet article s'intéresse à la constitution depuis 2007 d'un Grupo Gestor Binacional de la Cuenca del Río Goascorán (GGBCG) comme initiative originale de gestion d'un bassin partagé sur la partie orientale de la frontière Honduras-El Salvador. L'article montre comment, en moins de vingt ans, la problématique d'affrontement sur ce secteur frontalier longtemps en litige a laissé la place à une logique de rapprochement et de coopération par le biais de la gestion partagée du bassin du Río Goascorán. Il analyse également les formes sous lesquelles les acteurs impliqués conçoivent la coopération autour du bassin. L'initiative étudiée s'inscrit dans un contexte régional d'intérêt pour la gestion des bassins hydrographiques transfrontaliers. Cet article met en lumière plusieurs éléments de réflexion à travers le cas analysé : la difficulté de l'action transfrontalière et de la gestion partagée ; le renouvellement des acteurs mobilisés ; les formes d'institutionnalisation sur lesquelles peut reposer la gestion de bassins transfrontaliers, que la création du GGBCG invite à interroger.
Juxtaposing transnational and local features of Bolivia's crisis
This article argues that the current Bolivian political crisis is ‘made’ both internally and abroad. Yet it is much more than a simple adding up of the two constituent factors: external influences are always mediated by local actors. Local actors turn these influences into meaningful issues and demands in the Bolivian political context. These actors, in turn, are co-constituted by external forces, as is the case with the prominent indigenous movements in the country: their self- awareness and identity politics in part depend upon support and discourses of a transnational nature. The fact that these indigenous movements insist on sovereignty and self-determination with regard to the use of Bolivia’s natural resources is a case in point. This demand, at the same time, is articulated in a setting in which this sovereignty suffers from tightening margins due to the external obligation to restructure both the state and the economy.
Local Ends and Development in a Q'eqchi' Maya Community
In the small Q'eqchi' Maya village of Muqb'ilha', locals refer to the newly developed tourism complex as el otro lado (the other side), in contrast to the 'lived side' where the community resides. While the Candelaria River literally divides the homes of the community's families from the visitor center, the reference goes beyond a physical distinction. The tourism center provides a window to the world beyond this remote community as residents who participate in the enterprise gain economic, social, and human capital through their interaction with outsiders. The Chisec region of Guatemala where Muqb'ilha' is located has recently experienced a boom in NGO activity. This article explores the interaction between indigenous communities and international NGOs, highlighting ways in which local actors use development projects and conservation measures toward their own ends.
When Panamanians Talk about the United States and Its Citizens
In local and informal contexts, Panamanians talk about the power of the United States and describe its citizens in multifaceted and complex terms. In this article I examine those views as they are articulated in informal urban settings in Panama City and in conversations with middle-class Panamanians. My respondents evaluate the US-Panama relationship and discuss individual North Americans with realism, reflecting a graceful but critical spirit of forgiveness toward their more powerful ally. A broader awareness of US colonialism in the past is combined with a pragmatic acknowledgement of opportunities in the present and the desire for a more equal relationship in the future. I argue that the opportunity to voice unreserved opinions about powerful Others can potentially empower local actors.
Perspectives on Free Trade Agreements in Guatemala
Social movements and NGOs working against economic liberalism in Guatemala consider specific entities—the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and, above all, the United States—as their enemies. However, local perceptions of the US in Guatemala are ambiguous. Many Guatemalans claim that US influence on the country has been disastrous, but the US also received many Guatemalan refugees during the civil war and continues to receive illegal migrants from Central America, while countless families depend on remittances that their relatives send back from the US. This article argues that local actors do not simply reproduce images of the great powers as transmitted by the media and NGOs, but create new combinations and elaborate their own interpretations, which make sense at the local level.
Administrative Lists, European Union Food Aid, and the Local Practices of Distribution in Rural Romania
Ştefan Dorondel and Mihai Popa
In this article we analyze local distribution practices within an EU food aid program in Romania. We show that an understanding of this program's implementation can contribute to our understanding of how the state works in present-day Romania and, more generally, to the anthropology of the state. We examine the ways in which local-level bureaucrats gain discretion and exercise it when implementing the program. By securing greater control over a scarce transnational resource, local officials are able to shape national policy according to local distributive models. The described distribution process is conducive to community building, although in very different ways in the two rural settings being studied. We argue for a relational analysis of the workings of the state that explores the embeddedness of local actors and their participation in historically shaped power relations.
The Darfur-Chad border
The area around the border of Sudan and Chad, where Darfur lies, has been an unimportant and unknown backwater throughout history. Today, however, Darfur is all over the international press. Everybody knows about the grim war there. There is no oil currently in production in Darfur. However, there is oil in the south of neighboring Chad and in Southern Sudan, and there might be oil in Darfur. This article considers a case of fighting for oil when there is no oil yet. It takes into account the role of local actors doing the fighting, that is, the army, rebels, and militias; national actors such as the Sudanese and Chadian governments; and international actors, such as multinational oil companies, the United States, China, and the United Nations. It explains how oil can have disintegrative consequences even when it is still only a rumor about a future possibility.
Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Role of the Museum
Heritage has a dual character whereby it can, at the same time, be celebrated for its outstanding universal value while having a special meaning and value for local and, in particular, bearer communities. Basing protection on the former notion of heritage as a universal, global value has been the dominant approach in international law-making since the second half of the twentieth century. More recently, the significance of heritage to local actors has become much better understood and recognised. The tensions associated with this duality have in recent times become evident with the adoption by UNESCO in 2003 of the International Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. In this treaty, international cultural heritage law-making has shifted from a paradigm that gives value predominantly to the material heritage – monuments, sites, artefacts and other objects – to one that celebrates a living heritage that is primarily located in the skills, knowledge and know-how of contemporary human beings. This article examines the aforementioned shift from an emphasis on global to local heritage and the role museums can play in this with regard to safeguarding intangible aspects of heritage.
A Global Discourse on Lao Stages
Using the Lao PDR as a case study, this paper analyses human trafficking as discourse. Human trafficking is identified as a global discourse that is globalized through a set of powerful relations and actors. Following Appadurai, it is argued that this global discourse is not passively received by local actors such as the Lao state. This demonstrated by unravelling the global–local interactions through which it has entered the Lao social landscape. This is complemented with an analysis of a series of events in which the human trafficking discourse is staged on Lao soil. On this basis, the paper argues that the global human trafficking discourse is actively indigenized through, amongst other things, the social practice of staging. In addition, the paper argues that this indigenized discourse is employed by actors in more localized power struggles; in this case, by the Lao state as a response to boundary crises triggered by the phenomenon of cross-border migration into Thailand as an important manifestation of the overarching process of transition.