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Managing Danger in Fieldwork with Perpetrators of Political Violence and State Terror

Jeffrey A. Sluka

The ethnography of state terror is “high risk” research and there are real personal dangers for anyone who conducts fieldwork on this issue. Managing such dangers has particularly become an issue for those conducting primary research with perpetrators of state terror—the “rank and file” who apply the electric cattle prods and pull the triggers—and all of the researchers I know who have taken this path have been threatened in one form or another. Th is article reviews the core literature and latest developments in managing the physical dangers inherent in the ethnography of political violence and state terror, particularly fieldwork or primary research with the actual perpetrators themselves, makes practical recommendations for managing such dangers, and presents some ideas for developing risk management plans or protocols for researcher survival in perilous field sites.

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Methods, Interpretation, and Ethics in the Study of White Supremacist Perpetrators

Kathleen M. Blee

Interpretive and ethical frameworks circumscribe how we study the perpetrators of politically motivated violence against civilian populations. This article revisits the author’s studies of two eras of white supremacism in the United States, the 1920s and 1980s–1990s, to examine how these were affected by four frameworks of inquiry: the assumption of agency, the allure of the extraordinary, the tendency to categorical analysis, and the presumption of net benefit. It concludes with suggestions on how scholars can avoid the limitations of these frameworks.

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Times of Violence

The Shifting Temporalities of Long-Term Ethnographic Engagement with Burundi

Simon Turner

For more than two decades I have been engaged with trying to understand the violent conflicts in Burundi and how Burundians live with and through violence. How do they experience violence, make sense of it, talk about it, try to predict it, and

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Love and Violence

Sartre and the Ethics of Need

Katharine Wolfe

Love and Violence: Sartre and the Ethics of Need It could be argued that Jean-Paul Sartre's Critique of Dialectical Reason substitutes Being and Nothingness' s ontological account of interpersonal violence, arising from bad faith, for a

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Violence and Identification

Everyday Ethnic Identity in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Torsten Kolind

. This came as a surprise to me during my fieldwork, and it also stands in opposition to structurally inspired anthropological analyses of war and violence. Such analyses have primarily focused on the inherent potential of violence and war to create

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On Violence, Race, and Social Theory

Thinking with Wacquant and Du Bois

Ali Meghji

In this article, I offer an engagement with Wacquant's checkerboard of ethnoracial violence . Colleagues of mine will know that Wacquant's scholarship has influenced the way I think about racialization and racism in two principal ways. First

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Counter-Violence and Islamic Terrorism

Is Liberation without Freedom Possible?

Maria Russo

ambiguous and almost apparently contradictory thoughts (in particular concerning the theme of violence), but also because Sartre himself would have invited us to proceed beyond his proposal, which, moreover, was made before he could deliver his final legacy

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Ordinary Violence, Emotion, Information, and Anxiety

Some Themes in Recent Work on Colonial Violence

William Palmer

The study of violence has increasingly emerged as an intriguing subject for historical inquiry. Resulting largely from the “cultural turn” of the 1970s and 1980s, many historians moved away from traditional narratives of political, diplomatic, and

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A Checkerboard of Ethnoracial Violence

Loïc Wacquant

(differential distribution in social and physical space), seclusion (forced institutional parallelism, including the ghetto, camp, and reservation), and violence (from assault to pogrom to ethnic cleansing and racial war of extermination) (see Wacquant 2022 and

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Assessing Violence in the Modern World

Richard Bessel

How are we to assess changing levels of violence in the modern world? The answer put forward by Canadian-born Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker is unambiguous: “Violence has been in decline over long stretches of history, and today we are probably