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Statehood and Intercultural Dialogue

Study of Slovenian Transition

Peter Simoničm

Contemporary political rituals have been a neglected topic in Slovenian ethnology and anthropology. This article presents celebrations of Slovenian statehood in the period of transition - from 1991 to the present - which were being organised in the Republic Square (Trg Republike) and cultural centre Cankarjev dom in Ljubljana, and have been outlining the components of Slovenian political mythology and offering solutions for the new national future. The analysis is focused on the holders of political, cultural and media systems. It attempts to disclose the significance and use of the concept of intercultural dialogue in contemporary Slovenian society by exploring the relationship between ritual and its social background.

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Death of a Statesman - Birth of a Martyr

Martyrdom and Memorials in Post-Civil War Lebanon

Are John Knudsen

This article furthers the study of post–civil war memorialisation in Lebanon by analysing the trajectory of the late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri from statesman to martyr. This transformative process offers a window into the symbolism of Lebanese statehood, and demonstrates how the politicisation of confessional martyrs is used to decry injustice and stake out claims to the state. There is no tradition for prosecuting and punishing political murders in Lebanon, causing victims to be pronounced martyrs. Impunity is therefore the major reason why martyrs and memorialising are so widespread. To this end, the article offers a semiotic reading of Hariri’s posthumous transformation from political patron to patron saint, and is a contribution towards the importance of martyr symbolism for understanding the purported weakness of Lebanese statehood.

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State and Warfare in Mexico

The Case of Ayotzinapa

Alessandro Zagato

More than three years after the murder and kidnapping of students of the Normal Rural School Isidro Burgos of Ayotzinapa on 26 September 2014, a coherent and truthful explanation of what happened still needs to be determined. The logistics and decision-making processes put in place before, during, and after the attack raise questions about the nature of the Mexican state, its institutions, and its order/execution chain, as well as the character of the actors involved. Starting from this paradigmatic case, the aim of this article is to examine the current increase in violence in Mexico. The analysis takes into account the dispersed ‘clusters of power’—actual war machines—that have been developing in a situation of social and political decomposition brought about by a new cycle of capitalist expansion and accumulation.

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Contingent Statehood

Clientelism and Civic Engagement as Relational Modalities in Contemporary Bosnia and Herzegovina

Larissa Vetters

This article analyzes clientelism and civic engagement as two relational modalities adopted by the residents of Mostar to obtain state-funded housing assistance in the face of rapid political transformation, economic insecurity, and post-conflict reconstruction. Couched in historical and contemporary discourses of deservingness and harking back to spatial imaginaries that evolved during the socialist era, both modalities converge in the notion of raseljeni, a post-war administrative category denoting an internally displaced person. Despite their apparent differences, the ultimate goal of both modalities is to establish sustainable channels of communication and productive relations with state authorities. Such relational modalities not only facilitate citizens' access to public resources, but also lend continuity and coherence to a fragmented state apparatus. In the process, they give rise to distinct political subjectivities and notions of political community.

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No Sovereignty without Freedom

Machiavelli, Hobbes and the Global Order in the Twenty-first Century

Samuel Salzborn

In outlining a model of sovereignty, this article makes constructive reference to the ideas of Machiavelli and Hobbes concerning the fundamental structures of modern statehood, and ultimately argues for a sovereignty without morality – but not without restraints. A central element is the idea that in terms of legal theory, limitations on sovereignty should not come from some other context, but should instead be developed solely in reference to itself and its inherent contradictions: this could be the future of sovereignty.

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Ariel L. Feldestein

This year, Israel marks the sixtieth anniversary of the establishment of the state. It is an opportune time to study anew the discussions in the People's Administration, which was founded on the eve of the declaration of statehood. In this article, I will examine the course of the discussions and the voting with regard to the declaration, as reflected in the primary sources, in the oral interviews with members of the People's Administration, and in the historiographic descriptions.

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William F.S. Miles

On 17 April 2008, at the age of ninety-four, the foremost Black French intellectual-cum-politician of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries passed away. Born in the northwestern fishing village of Basse Pointe on the southeastern Caribbean island of Martinique on 26 June 1913, Aimé Césaire rose from humble beginnings to become a giant in the annals of colonial and postcolonial francophone literature. As the holder of several elected offices, from city mayor of the capital of Martinique to representative in the National Assembly of France, he was also a significant political actor. He was largely responsible for the legislation that, following World War II, elevated four of France’s “Old Colonies” in the West Indies and Indian Ocean into full French states (départements). A dozen years later he founded a political party that would struggle to roll back the very assimilating, deculturalizing processes that statehood (départementalisation) unleashed.

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The Many Faces of the State

Living in Peace and Conflict in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh

Nasir Uddin and Eva Gerharz

Reconsidering the trend in anthropology to conceptualize the multifaceted nature of the state and to focus on the local social dynamics beneath the institutional framework of the state, we argue that “state” is not a single governing entity but rather a multilayered body of practices at various levels of the society. We configure “state” as constructed, imagined, and negotiated by people in their everyday life in four dimensions: zones of limited statehood depicted as “peripheries,” “local state” by which the center governs locales, “public discourse” that represents dominant notions of “stateness,” and ambivalent positioning of political elites who represents state in the margin. This argument is substantiated with the reference to the case of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, a southeastern part of Bangladesh.

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Orit Rozin

This article portrays the shaping of the Israeli nation and the shaping of the Israeli family at the early stages of statehood and nation-building, in times of economic strain, austerity, and massive emigration. Food supply, food consumption, and food distribution will be discussed. It is assumed that these aspects of daily life express, construct, produce, and reproduce social relation and hence have close affinity to both social and national order. Israeli legislators discussing the austerity policy, Israeli housewives struggling to feed their families, and food habits of immigrants under economic and cultural duress are some of the topics discussed. The study portrays the role of the state in building the nation's social net and constructing its character through food repertoire. The role played by the state will be compared to that of other social and cultural agents.

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Uzi Meshulam and the ‘Mishkan Ohalim’ Affair

The Influence of Radical Ultra-Orthodoxy

Motti Inbari

In March 1994, a protest led by the late Rabbi Uzi Meshulam burst onto the Israeli scene when the Rabbi and his followers barricaded themselves for 47 days in the town of Yehud. They demanded that a government committee be set up to investigate the disappearance of Yemenite children, who, the Rabbi charged, had been snatched from their parents in immigrant camps during the early years of Israeli statehood. In this article I present how the dualistic yet non-violent anti-Zionist Satmar Hasidic ideology, which Meshulam had adopted, led to a violent confrontation between the Rabbi’s followers and the Israeli police. Despite the high profile of this clash at that time, very little was reported about the Rabbi’s worldview and beliefs. This article is intended to fill that gap.