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.
Understanding Mobilities in a Dangerous World
Gail Adams-Hutcheson, Holly Thorpe and Catharine Coleborne
The mobilities framework offers a particularly informative and potent paradigm through which to draw together interdisciplinary scholarship about the present world. In this introduction—and indeed, derived from a symposia on mobilities in a dangerous world—we explore the dynamics of contemporary mobilities through a critical focus on “dangerous” spaces and places. We discuss the potential of a sustained dialogue between mobilities studies and our focus on risk, adversity, and perceptions of danger. Although disasters link to four of the articles, ideas are expanded to draw on the multiple scales of risk and danger in everyday life within and across an array of international contexts. In this special issue, dynamic mobilities are facilitated by ships, skateboards, buildings, art, and cities; they are also encountered in darkness, in light, and through bodies as well as physical and imagined movements.
Accumulating and Dispersing Fortune in Mongolia
This article explores practices concerned with the accumulation of fortune in present-day Mongolia. By contrasting practices associated with the accumulation of animal herds, children, and immovable property, we see how some are viewed as morally commendable while others are considered morally suspect. It is suggested that when people accumulate too much fortune, misfortune strikes, thereby ensuring the redistribution and release of fortune. By examining the different ways in which fortune and wealth may be released, harnessed, or contained, more general ideas about new ways of accumulating wealth and the dangers of excess in the market economy emerge.
Sociological Research in the Regions of Eastern and Western Siberia
Valentin G. Nemirovskiy and Anna V. Nemirovskaya
This paper analyzes feelings of insecurity and fear amongst the population of Siberian regions in the face of various perceived dangers, based on research conducted in the Krasnoiarsk and Altai Territories, Novosibirsk and Omsk Regions, and the Republics of Khakassiia and Buriatiia, in the context of the general Russian situation. Quantitative methods—frequency, correlation, and factor analysis on survey data obtained from formalized face-to-face interviews—are used to gain an understanding of what factors respondents feel are “ugrozhaiushchie zhiznedeiatel'nosti” (activities threatening to social life). Siberians feel especially vulnerable to gender- and age-related discrimination, as well as governmental abuse of power and the threats inherent in economic development: chronic poverty, environmental threats, officials' arbitrariness, and crime and law enforcement authorities themselves. They also feel threatened by the presence of migrant groups and social minorities. However, an internal locus of control reduces their fears of threats to social life activities.
The Legacy of the 1917 Espionage Act in the United States
During the Great War the frenzy to control opposition to war resulted in several efforts to limit freedom of speech. State legislation, gubernatorial proclamations, and municipal ordinances had the immediate impact of controlling dissent, but the cessation of the war ended such activities. Congressional passage of the Espionage Act in 1917 changed this dynamic and left behind a long-term legacy. Several cases argued on behalf of defendants imprisoned for opposing the nation’s war effort arrived at the United States Supreme Court for review. Justices for the first time defined the boundaries of the First Amendment by arguing that expressions could pose a “clear and present danger” during a national crisis. This interpretation has led to passage of recent legislation, including the USA PATRIOT Act, and has been used to justify the arrest of individuals who leak sensitive information.
This article examines the conceptual structure of the Social City Program as it has been formulated in legislation and applied in practice. It raises serious questions as to the actual impact of the program as formulated, and suggests that conceptual clarity may help both to expose its flaws and to propose alternate positive potentials. The program has a complex intellectual underlay, and clarity in the concepts used can avoid some potential dangers in its implementation. More specifically, integration is not the opposite of exclusion, and inclusion is not the same as reducing poverty. Spatial clustering can either support or weaken solidarity. Enclaves and ghettos are not the same thing, although both reflect a clustering of population groups. Finally, emphasizing "social capital" can be a way of highlighting the strength of the oppressed or blaming them for their own oppression-and these distinctions are loaded with consequences for policy.
This article analyzes local concerns with nature and natural changes in response to the tsunami of 2004 based on anthropological fieldwork in the South Indian fishing village of Tharangambadi. It explores the fishermen's effort to restore confidence in their environment after the disaster, and argues that this entails a subtle strategy of relating to climate and weather that aims at gradually transferring the rupture of the tsunami to a more manageable pattern of seasonal variation. In analytical terms, the article investigates how the fishermen work to reassert their subjectivity in the aftermath of the overwhelming disaster through operating with different perspectives on their environment. In conclusion, the article suggests that these shifting perspectives more generally reflect notions of different intensities of change and creative local modes of adaptation ensuing from a disruption like the tsunami.
Stereotypes, Risk and National Identity in a Spanish Enclave in North Africa
How do stereotypes – as rhetorical, homogenising claims about the Self and Other – survive despite their users having personal experiences that contradict them? This article addresses this question by examining why the Christian and Muslim inhabitants of the Spanish enclave of Ceuta insist the ‘moro’ is a cunning, hostile antagonist, even when their interactions with Moroccans tend to be profitable, and even as ethnographers of mainland Spain report widespread revisions of the Moorish migrant’s negative image and the country’s Islamic past. Building on the interpretative model of stereotypes developed by Herzfeld, Brown and Theodossopolous, I argue that the ‘moro’ persists as an unequivocally malevolent character because it (1) is cultivated by a number of financially interested actors and (2) is central to the discursive strategies Ceutans use to respond to the political threats to their españolidad from both north and south.
Mary N. Hampton
This article analyzes the differences in U.S., EU, and German perceptions of threat. The secularist and cosmopolitan turns in EU European identity formation have had a tremendous impact on how security issues are interpreted, especially in Germany. The traditional conception of threat has been re-defined. Yet, recent events are threatening the success forged through a half century of EU elite-driven culture change. Renationalization and a return to defining threat as fear of strangers have emerged across the EU.
Fear of Jihadism and the Terrorist Threat in Southern Mali
This article explores hostile narratives and moral outrage in the context of rising conflict in urban Mali, with a specific emphasis on religious and spatial politics in Bamako. Based on ethnographic observations, interviews, and group discussions, the article examines the specific forms that moral outrage may take in contexts of insecurity and an imminent threat of violence. It argues that moral outrage concerns the transgression of values that are intrinsic to moral being. In the Mali setting, moral outrage emerges as justifiable when people fail, or refuse, to make visible or prove their moral being. Suspected ill-doers are ascribed economic, political, and religious agendas that threaten what it means to be Muslim and that violate the value of the mutual solidarity of the Muslim community and of the nation. At the same time, the public expression of moral outrage contributes to a broader negotiation of identities and state-society relationships.