Hannah Arendt and Alexander and Margarete Mitscherlich produced influential accounts of the postwar West-German population's silence or inarticuleteness. The Mitscherlichs claimed that this silence was symptomatic of a blocked process of mourning; Arendt saw it as a legacy of brutal totalitarian rule. However, both viewed the rapid economic recovery as evidence of the German inability to engage in discursively mediated therapeutic and political processes. Frantic busyness was a form of silence. This paper presents a critical reassessment of these approaches. By drawing on Albert Hirschman's theory of exit and voice, it argues that economic activity possesses a communicative dimension. The alleged retreat from politics is not a symptom of muteness but rather indicates people's preference for an alternative mode of communication. Arendt and the Mitscherlich may be right in assuming a correlation between the postwar economic recovery and ostensible political apathy, but lack the conceptual means to clarify the relationship.
Georges Franju's Eyes Without a Face
This essay proposes a reading of Georges Franju's Eyes Without a Face that focuses on the cultural and philosophical contexts of the face, its destruction, and imagined reconstruction in postwar France. The film foregrounds the protagonist's lack of a face and the effort to restore it into a cinematic argument heralding the ruin of natural beauty and genuine face-to-face relations, an approach that in turn theorizes the postwar world as premised on ethical and aesthetic opacity. By considering contemporary treatments of the face, as well as the representations of injury and violence, the essay argues that at stake in the political and aesthetic judgments proposed by the failed face transplants in the film was a concern with the technological reconstruction of a natural and pure state, a reconstruction that was now seen as impossible and could have devastating consequences at the ethical and aesthetic levels.
Postwar reconciliation and the gender of inter-national encounters
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.
Sacrifice, Anti-sacrifice, and the Rearticulations of Conflict in Sri Lanka
Since 2009, in the aftermath of Sri Lanka’s ethnic war, certain contingents of Sinhala Buddhists have lodged attacks against religious minorities, whom they censure for committing violence against animals in accordance with the dictates of their gods. Considering these interventions against sacrifice in spaces of shared Hindu and Buddhist religiosity, this article examines the economies of derogation, violence, and scapegoating in post-war Sri Lanka. Within Sinhala Buddhism, sacrifice is considered bio-morally impure yet politically efficacious, whereas meritorious Buddhist discipleship is sacrificial only in aspirational, bloodless terms. Nevertheless, both practices fall within the spectrum of Sinhala Buddhist religious life. Majoritarian imperatives concerning postwar blood impinge upon marginal sites of shared religiosity—spaces where the blood of animals is spilled and, ironically, where political potency can be substantively shored up. The article examines the siting of sacrifice and the purifying majoritarian interventions against it, as Buddhists strive to assert sovereignty over religious others.
In 1946 in London was held the first post-war conference of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ). Rabbi Dr Leo Baeck, already in his seventies, gave the presidential address. He said: ‘Since the last conference of our World Union a
Everyday Ethnic Identity in Bosnia and Herzegovina
prevent or create war ( Sorabji 2008 ). Also, current evidence seems to suggest that the idea of komšiluk may today be profoundly changing as a consequence of the postwar predicament ( Henig 2012 ). The fourth and last element relates to many Bosnians
Life narratives in postwar Mostar
In situations in which an entire population is affected by war and great political-economic transformations, as was the case in Bosnia and Herzegovina, generational differences exist regarding the extent to which people experience these events as disruptions to their lives. Even in a nationally divided city like Mostar after the 1992-1995 war, generational experiences-of past and present times as well as of future prospects (or the lack thereof)-are crucial for the way people rethink the past and (re)position themselves in the present. In the case of the generation of the "Last Yugoslavs", I argue that the disruption of their life course and the resulting loss of future prospects prevent people from narrating the local past and their lives in a meaningful and coherent way.
patronage system militated, thank God, against that. What really eluded the reformist organizations was the God experience. Though tidied up traditional prayers were repeated and the old pietism streamlined, there were two gaping holes in post-war Judaism
The 2013 Babylution protests and desire for political transformation in postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina
disagreement at hand was not at all unusual, since such disputes have become routine fixtures of postwar political life. 3 However, this time, with the life of a sick newborn at stake, many Bosnian citizens were losing both their patience and their postwar
Nostalgia and risk in Ludwigshafen
Peter Phillimore and Patricia Bell
This article takes cultural understandings of industrial risk in a center of the global chemical industry as an opening that, perhaps unexpectedly, highlights nostalgia for a particular period in (West) Germany's postwar history. Based on fieldwork in Ludwigshafen, we reflect on memories among an older generation of residents that evoke the severity of industrial pollution from the city's vast chemical industry during the 1950s and 1960s. Although the pollution of that era is hardly mourned, it was portrayed as emblematic of a culturally defining era, an era valorized as one of enormous achievement in a more straightforward time. We draw on Tim Ingold's concept of “taskscapes” and his emphasis on skill and Tim Edensor's discussion of “excessive spaces” and “multiple absences” to explore the selectivity of the nostalgia of Ludwigshafen's older residents, in which the celebration of the rebuilding of the postwar chemical industry, and its dominant company BASF, simultaneously obscured problematic memories associated with the city's chemical industry in wartime.