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John P. Ziker

This paper discusses flexibility in subsistence and exchange strategies and family and community structures in an indigenous community on the lower Enisei River in north-central Siberia. An analysis of available data on mobility, resource use, and social and economic exchanges contributes to understanding the factors that affect resilience of indigenous domestic groups and communities in the region. The historic flexibility of economic strategies and related social structure is described on the basis of data from the 1926/27 Polar Census. Data from the author's 1997 visit to the area (the Tukhard community) illustrates very similar strategies and variation in deployment of these strategies. New patterns of organization are discussed in relation to the issues of community resilience and indigenous rights.

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Hadas Weiss

My goal in this forum essay is to brush the dust off Claude Meillassoux’s (1981) magnum opus, Maidens, Meal and Money, by demonstrating its relevance for the present day. While Meillassoux wrote primarily about precapitalist agricultural communities, he had sketched on their basis a model of social reproduction that incorporates social investments and powers, and he foregrounded the hierarchical and exploitative reproductive orders by which capitalism sustains accumulation. In the context of a renewed interest by feminist scholars in questions of social reproduction, I argue that the analytical tools developed by Meillassoux are at least as helpful in making sense of the age of financialization.

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Drawing Back the Curtains

The Role of Domestic Space in the Social Inclusion and Exclusion of Refugees in Rural Denmark

Birgitte Romme Larsen

This article examines negotiations over social inclusion and exclusion that take place during everyday settlement processes among refugee families located in rural areas in Denmark. Using the case study of a Congolese household, the article shows how local codes of sociability are often concretized and materialized in domestic space in ways that turn the home sphere, with its daily routines and material culture, into a domain of vital importance for the social incorporation of refugee newcomers. This domestic domain is of particular significance in a country where, on the one hand, the integration programs of the welfare state are highly regulatory and tend to intervene deeply in refugees' private spheres and, on the other, cultural homogeneity is emphasized and regarded as closely related to equality.

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Israeli High Court Rulings on the Security Wall

National and International Effects

Udi Sommer

With the ever-growing significance of international law both domestically and internationally, courts mediate much of the give and take between the international system and the national political arenas, thus acting in settings where global and local are mixed. Such a pivotal position, I argue, lends courts the ability to maximize a twofold utility, which is inextricably linked. First, on the international level, judicial institutions play an increasingly important role and form what is essentially a transnational epistemic community. Second, on the domestic level, courts capitalize on this pivotal position to become increasingly central in the decision-making process, forming alliances with other domestic players and thereby securing the implementation of judicial rulings. A case study of decisions of the Israeli Supreme Court concerning the security fence Israel built around the Occupied Territories is offered as an empirical test for the Court-Pivot Dual Utility Model that I present in this article.

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Konstantin Klokov

In recent decades the number of domestic reindeer stock across indigenous communities in the Siberian taiga have fallen dramatically. While this has been viewed as a crisis, this paper discusses how reindeer herders are adjusting their traditional herding strategies to modern conditions. A methodology of contextualization is used to evaluate five reindeer herders’ communities situated in different regions of Eastern Siberia. Changes in Siberian reindeer herding are analyzed according to three main types of contexts differing as to the period of their formation: a) traditional contexts that pre-existed the Soviet system, b) contexts formed in the Soviet time; and c) contexts created by post-Soviet reforms. Under modern conditions reindeer stock reduction is important relative to the economic context, but the role of reindeer herding in cultural and political contexts is increasing. The slow formation of “buffer” social contexts makes the taiga reindeer herding communities’ condition vulnerable.

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City, Community, Nation, State

Participation and Spectacle

Judith Kapferer

The events and sites of a national holiday (17 May in Bergen, Norway) are the grounds from which to draw out meanings of nationalism and tradition, and analyze ideologies of egalitarianism and individualism in a social democratic welfare state. My project has two aims: to open up and deconstruct aspects of the material and symbolic life of the city, and to engage an examination of patterns of local and national community life in relation to shifting evaluations of localism and nationalism within the a changing state formation. Bergen can be thought of as a case study of social order and control, with women, children, and reverence for home life, highlighted in the town’s celebrations. The symbolism of the day discovers community and state in a difficult relation between domestic communities and nationalist ideology in the maintenance of governmentality, a relation mediated by the city itself.

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Katherine Scheil

In late nineteenth- and twentieth-century America, hundreds of Shakespeare clubs met regularly to read, study, and perform Shakespeare's works. Their motives ranged from personal improvement to community betterment, and they were frequently involved in initiatives designed to memorialize Shakespeare and celebrate their own intellectual achievements. Dozens of public gardens, libraries, and other civic projects are a result of the efforts of clubwomen, in small towns and large cities. Privately, club members also memorized Shakespeare by incorporating a variety of domestic practices into their Shakespeare-centered labors, which preserved Shakespeare as a prominent part of American cultural life.

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Cleaning House

the Courtly and the Popular in The Merry Wives of Windsor

Graham Holderness

This paper explores the controversy as to whether The Merry Wives of Windsor is a celebration of royal and aristocratic power and of an imagined national community, or a suburban comedy whose viewpoint is that of the contemporary English middle-class. Drawing on recent work on female authority in household and community, it is suggested that Shakespeare's Windsor is not only discontinuous with the culture of nobility, but is presented as a parallel world or alternative universe where things are done quite differently. The play thus engages in a critique of the aristocratic values embodied in the Order of the Garter, and offers an alternative source of power in the domestic lives of ordinary women.

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Debt, Peonage and Dependency in the kafalah System

Hadrami Migratory Experience in Kuwait

Abdullah M. Alajmi

Studies of immigrants in Kuwait focus on structural aspects overlooking sociohistorical elements and meso-level relationships that develop through migration. This ethnography shows that the immigrant's perspective and the history of the relationship between the receiving society and the immigrant community are both essential for establishing broader and thicker analyses of reality. It argues that because Hadramis and Kuwaiti sponsors were historically linked in personal exchanges originating in the Kuwaiti domestic realm, the meaning and practices of sponsorship comprise a unique migratory and work experience. Normally the immigrant–sponsor relationship is conveyed in terms of pseudokinship, yet references to moral debts and dependency reveal forms of exploitation and dominance. Hadrami–Kuwaiti relationships do not produce significant economic outcomes for the sponsor. Rather, Hadramis are symbolically valued within local hierarchies. This symbolic value has sustained a solid Hadrami presence in Kuwait and secured an income for retiring immigrants at home.

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Instrumental Europe

Practices of Daily Engagement with the European Union

Marysia Galbraith and Thomas M. Wilson

Religious organisations that secularise their community outreach to gain European Union (EU) funding, border-city residents whose consumption practices exploit cross-border economic disparities, EU member states that protect their domestic labour market by restricting access to legal work and medical care for citizens of new member states, recently admitted citizens who nevertheless take advantage of increased opportunities for mobility to improve their economic and social standing, and even in some cases use their scepticism about membership to promote their personal or national interests within the EU – all of these examples point to the complex and varied ways in which instrumentality figures in day-to-day dealings with the European Union. This special issue of AJEC seeks to contribute to the anthropological study of the European Union by examining ways in which various individuals, groups and institutions use the EU to pursue their political, economic and social goals at local, national and transnational levels within Europe.