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Demetris Tillyris

Contra the prevalent way of thinking about the dirty-hands problem, this article suggests that dirty hands need not necessarily entail suffering and that a politician who does not suffer for his dirty-handed acts should not be cast as a bad politician. In so doing, the article: (i) argues that the connection between DH and suffering is unsatisfactorily totalising and rests on a contentious conception of conflict as a dysfunction and (ii) develops an alternative account of the good dirty-handed politician, which is associated with what proponents of the prevalent view of the problem find impossible: calm acceptance of – even indulgence in – one’s dirt. This recognition has important implications for our contemporary culture of contrition and for the way we evaluate the characters of our politicians.

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Robyn Ashworth-Steen

Halbertal comments, this seems to be one of Maimonides’ weakest philosophical arguments. 7 By denying the existence of evil and considering it as the absence of good it does not address the pain and suffering that is certainly very real to the ones

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Note on the Question of Animal Suffering in Medieval Islam

Muslim Mu‘tazilite Theology Confronted by Manichean Iranian Thought

Didier Gazagnadou

suffering are not commonplace in medieval Islamic thought. However, the work of Cheikh Bouamrane on human freedom in Mu‘tazilite thinking devotes a section to this question ( Bouamrane 1978: 158–160 ). Indeed, rich and intense debates took place during the

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Everyday Suffering and the Abstract Time-Reckoning of Law

Reflections on the Allocation of Responsibility for an Asbestos Disaster in Italy

David Loher

the everyday experience of suffering and death – and to the subsequent and so far unsuccessful legal struggles ‘to obtain justice’, as the president of the victim's association AFeVA (Associazioni Famigliari Vittime Amianto) phrased it in her

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Human Rights, Victimhood, and Impunity

An Anthropology of Democracy in Argentina

Michael Humphrey and Estela Valverde

This article explores human rights politics in the transition from dictatorship to democracy in Argentina. Its ethnographic focus is the phenomenon of families of victims associations, usually led by mothers, that first emerged to protest against mass disappearance under the military dictatorship. Democracy has also produced new families of victims associations protesting against different forms of state abuse and/or neglect. They represent one face of the widespread protest against a 'culture of impunity' experienced as ongoing insecurity and injustice. Private grief is made an emotional resource for collective action in the form of 'political mourning'. The media, street demonstrations, and litigation are used to try to make the state accountable. State management of this public suffering has sought to determine legitimate victimhood based on a paradigm of innocence. The political mourning of victims and survivors charts the social margins of citizenship in the reduced, not expanded, neo-liberal democratic state in Argentina.

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Otherwise than Meaning

On the Generosity of Ritual

Don Seeman

The thought experiment ‘ritual in its own right’ implies a suspension of dominant interpretive paradigms in anthropological research. This essay begins by juxtaposing the foundational accounts of Weber and Geertz—both of whom associate ritual with the quest for meaning in suffering—with the phenomenological account of Emmanuel Levinas, who argues that suffering is inherently “useless” and therefore resistant to meaning’s claim. All three theorists are then juxtaposed with the Warsaw ghetto writings of a twentieth-century Jewish mystic, Kalonymos Shapira, whose work exemplifies the tension between meaningful and useless suffering in a real social setting. Shapira’s work bears comparison with Levinas’s, and lends support to the idea that our preoccupation with meaning may stem from a particular religious genealogy of social theory. Ritual can be analyzed as a ground of intersubjectivity or transcendence rather than meaning, which makes it more akin to medicine, in Levinas’s terms, than to theodicy.

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Jonathan Skinner

Kilshaw, Susie (2009), Impotent Warriors: Gulf War Syndrome, Vulnerability and Masculinity (Oxford: Berghahn Books). ISBN 978-1-84545-526-2 (hardback only) xiv + 228pp. excl. Appendix, Bibliography, Index. £55.00.

Lambert, Helen and Maryon McDonald (eds.) (2009), Social Bodies (Oxford: Berghahn Books). ISBN 978-1-84545-553-8 (hardback only) 169pp. excl. Contributors, Index. £43.00.

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Howard Cooper

He appeared at the end of the day. Suddenly. Out of nowhere. I had seen my last patient. I was ready to go home. The end of another day. Thank God. I opened the door to leave my consulting room – and there he was. Standing still, staring – or so it seemed to me – fixing me with that gaze, that look I came to know, and hate. And love. Those eyes which looked inside me until I could not bear it any longer. The emptiness. The loneliness. The endless horror of it all.

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Eric Langenbacher

Jörg Friedrich, Der Brand: Deutschland im Bombenkreig 1940-1945 (Munich: Propyläen Verlag, 2002)

Günther Grass, Crabwalk (Orlando: Harcourt, 2002)

W. G. Sebald, On the Natural History of Destruction (New York: Random House, 2003)

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Giving Aid Inside the Home

Humanitarian House Visits, Performative Refugeehood, and Social Control of Syrians in Jordan

Ann-Christin Wagner

visits. I revisit Boltanski’s theory of a “politics of pity” in communicating distant suffering, arguing that volunteers’ first-hand experience of Syrians’ plight and their later testimonies to a European audience cannot be studied in isolation from each