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Berghahn Journals is the journals division of Berghahn Books, an independent scholarly publisher in the humanities and social sciences. A peer-review press, Berghahn is committed to the highest academic standards and seeks to enable innovative contributions to the scholarship in its fields of specialty.

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  • EnviroSociety

    New Featured Article!: “Beyond the Anthropocene”

    The latest Environment and Society featured article is now available! This month’s article—”Beyond the Anthropocene: Un-Earthing an Epoch”—comes from Volume 6 (2015). In their article, Valerie Olson and Lisa Messeri examine the Anthropocene’s emerging rhetorical topology, showing that Anthropocene narratives evince a macroscale division between an “inner” and “outer” environment.

    Visit the featured article page to download your copy of the article today before it’s gone! A new article is featured every month.

    A simple model of Earth using Autodesk Maya (photograph by Kevin Gill via Flickr, CC BY 2.0).



    VALERIE OLSON
     is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine. She currently serves on the Sustainability Initiative Executive Committee, the Task Force on Sustainability Education, the Water UCI core committee, the Salton Sea Initiative advisory committee, and the UCI OCEANS Initiative. Her book, American Extreme, is an ethnography of US human spaceflight as a form of environmental systems knowledge production, sociality, and governance.

    LISA MESSERI is an Assistant Professor of Sociocultural Anthropology at Yale University. Her recent publications include Placing Outer Space: An Earthly Ethnography of Other Worlds (Duke University Press, 2016). You can follow her on Twitter @lmesseri.

  • FocaalBlog

    David Hamou and Ida Susser: Where to Catalonia?: Is this commoning? What for independence?

    As we sit here in Barcelona, a historic center of anarchism and left resistance, the questions debated in the most recent Focaal special section “Exploring the urban commons” confront us. As demonstrators take to the streets following the unauthorized referendum for Catalonian independence, many of the people involved are fighting for a new independent state, others are demanding a people’s right to choose, and still others are protesting police brutality and the legacy of Franco represented by the current ruling party. Is this an instance of commoning, or is it an instance of nationalist exclusivity? The dilemma of the relation of nationalism to progressive liberation is an old one, but always historically contingent, and appearing in a new form in this exploration of the commons.

    There has been much discussion about the common/commoning and a growing interest among activists seeking a praxis that does not lead to stultifying oppressive states and at the same time promotes the principle of self-government and institutional creativity. This vision of commoning as a political praxis of self-governed coactivity and co-obligation means to break away from the logic of state sovereignty as top-down management of society (Dardot and Laval 2014). A central question for Stavrides (2015) and this Focaal issue concerns how to practice commoning without creating closed exclusive groups that may claim territory and resources but shut others out or precipitate a group of second-class citizens of immigrant laborers. In the current Focaal issue, we argue that the concept of an open commons is possible. In contrast to a closed exclusive commons, a commons without borders has been conceptualized as a commons based on thresholds (Stavrides 2015) that connect internationally linked networks, sometimes visualized as “a municipalism of the common”—as illuminated in a piece by Hamou (forthcoming) on fearless cities, and summarized here. As we describe below, in Catalonia, the “Commons”—Barcelona en Comú and Catalunya en Comú—now in alliance with Podemos for the 21 December elections, refuse to be part of the “blocs” (the unilateral independence bloc and the constitutional bloc) and are building on a non-nationalist version of Catalan sovereignties.

    Events leading up to current conflict

    The situation of division that Catalonia now faces is the result of several years of stalling between the central government and the Catalan authorities. In June 2006, 73.23 percent of the 48.8 percent of the Catalans who participated in the referendum voted in favor of the new Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia. But in 2010, after the right-wing Partido Popular (Popular Party), which came to power in 2011, legally contested it, the Constitutional Court of Spain declared unconstitutional the major part of the new statute, including the article inscribing the concept of “Catalan people” in the statute. This decision provoked a wave of protest around Catalonia, and every year since then on Catalonia Day (11 September). In 2015, the right-wing independentist Catalan government got a tiny majority—in alliance with the anticapitalist party, the Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP)—which enabled them to implement their independentist agenda and to call for the 1 October referendum. Unlike the previous vote, this referendum was not approved by the national government and was regarded by the Spanish parliament as illegal.

    The Spanish government took an unremitting authoritarian approach to the challenge of the Catalan independentist movement. Police brutality during the 1 October elections paved the way for an ongoing repressive strategy. The Spanish government’s suspension of Catalan autonomy by using Article 155 of the Constitution and the incarceration of the democratically elected Catalan government form part of this aggressive strategy, violating basic human rights.

    In this situation, some of the progressive movements in Catalonia, including the CUP, consider separation from Spain as the only possible way to get rid of the post-Francoist regime of 1978. This small fraction of the independence movement in Catalonia was formed earlier but also incorporated the energy of 15-M, the mass demonstrations protesting austerity in 2011 (see Susser 2017). CUP demonstrators are clearly standing up to an oppressive national government. Barcelona en Comú and Podemos, which support self-determination for Catalonia but are not independentist, see themselves as transforming Spain toward a more equitable and transparent democracy, but CUP sees such transformation as facilitated by an independent Catalonia in which democratic participation will be promoted free of the heritage of Franco, the transition, and the current conservative state.

    The sense of hopelessness toward a Spanish state and a Constitution that may seem immovable and unable to cope with democratic challenges has been the main engine to shift popular opinion in favor of independentist aspirations. Indeed, most stages of the independentist process, and especially the 1 October elections, would not have been possible without strong support from some neighborhood movements and self-organized citizens.

    Unilateral independence bloc: Toward a social republic or another state sovereignty?

    But the anticapitalist perspective on independence (represented by the CUP) is in a minority both in the independentist coalition and in public opinion. The ruling Catalan European Democratic Party, PDeCAT (formerly called Convergència i Unió), is a neoliberal party that has implemented austerity policies in Catalonia. In fact, it made the decision to send the Catalan police to brutally quell the protesters during the 15-M. This party saw independence as an opportunity for less regulation and the opening of a wider neoliberal market. It was also tainted by huge scandals of corruption.

    The policy of the now ex-government of Catalonia in the field of human and social rights has been clearly regressive. In Barcelona, the processes of gentrification and touristification of the city are attracting financial capital and creating a new speculative real estate bubble. In this context, rent regulation seems to be an indispensable policy to guarantee the right to housing. Barcelona City Council has tried to implement this measure, but this policy must be decided at the regional level, and the Catalan government ruled by PDeCAT has refused to implement it so far. Another example of this regressive policy is the proposition of law to modify Law No. 1/2000 on Civil Procedure presented by the PDeCAT in March 2016. This proposition introduces a new regulation against squatting and increases the lack of protection for people in the process of losing their homes. Under these conditions, a national victory for Catalonia does not necessarily facilitate the anticapitalist aspirations of the CUP or represent a new opportunity for the practice of an open common.

    Moreover, as we follow the situation with commoning in mind, we must ask if the very project of building a new nation-state at a smaller scale but without transforming its structure may be a turn to a risky form of exclusivity and authority. The political principle of the common has emerged from social struggles against both the private and the state appropriation of spaces and resources (Dardot and Laval 2014).

    In that sense, Catalan nationalism can be seen as being opposed to commoning, as it provokes a certain degree of reification of identities. According to Dardot and Laval, the common can be defined not by belonging to the same territorial unit, community, or identity but only by active participation in the same activity: “The common has to be thought of as co-activity, and not as co-belonging, co-property or co-possession” (Dardot and Laval 2014: 48; my translation). Following this perspective on commoning, building a new Catalan nation-state might reproduce the top-down hierarchical structure of power without questioning it. Even if there is a great temptation to leave the Spanish vessel, raising one flag against another, one hymn against another, one “nation” against another, may simply elect a new exclusivity without a transformation of state powers.

    Hundreds of thousands of people march through the streets of Barcelona during the general strike in Catalonia, called as protest against police violence during the day of the referendum on independence of Catalonia (photograph by Adolfo Lujan, via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

    Hundreds of thousands of people march through the streets of Barcelona during the general strike in Catalonia, called as protest against police violence during the day of the referendum on independence of Catalonia (photograph by Adolfo Lujan, via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

    On 15 June 2011, during the 15-M Movement, there was a call to “Stop the Parliament” (“Aturem el Parlament”). Thousands of indignados blocked access to the regional parliament in an attempt to prevent the government from voting for the regional budget that included harsh cuts. Six years later, on 10 October 2017, when the Catalan government was about to declare independence, protesters gathered around the Catalan parliament again, but this time under the slogan “It’s time for democracy! Let’s support the parliament.” From “Stop the Parliament” to “Support the Parliament” lies a path that goes from a radical transformation of democratic forms to a renewed support of the same institutions that have not been transformed in any way and continue to implement harsh neoliberal policies.

    Catalunya en Comú: The commons beyond the blocs?

    The confrontation between two nationalisms, Spain and Catalan, is a welcome distraction for two conservative parties that have been discredited by years of regressive policies and corruption scandals. Indeed, the debate about social policy and inequalities has been inaudible throughout the independentist process.

    As noted earlier, aside from the “unilateral independence bloc” of Catalan and the “constitutional bloc” of the current government of Spain, there is another rising political space that considers itself part of the commons movement: the municipalism of the commons. This bottom-up movement, which came to municipal power with the election of Ada Colau as mayor of Barcelona in 2015, is now challenged and threatened by the independentist process. In Catalonia, the partisans of the municipalism of the common have sided with a strategy that extends the two blocs, and are building on a non-nationalist version of Catalan sovereignties.

    In 2011, the 15-M Movement gathered hundreds of thousands of people in the squares of more than a hundred cities in Spain. The precariat, weary of several years of crisis, surged into the streets, not to protest yet again but to reappropriate public space (Susser 2017). One of the most emblematic political slogans of this moment was “They don’t represent us” (“No nos representan”). This uprising inspired citizen platforms, created by participants in the 15-M Movement, members of social movements, and people affected by the crisis. Defying traditional parties, the new platforms surprisingly won the 2015 municipal elections in 16 cities in Spain, including Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Zaragoza, and Cadiz.

    Whereas, at the national level, Podemos is struggling to come to power, the municipal level is another facet of this political renewal. Municipalism draws its strength and takes its principles from experiences of rebellion through the ballot. First of all, municipalism is based on the local level, as it is inspired by social movements. But this local government must be self-governing: people should make decisions for their own daily life. This is why municipalism includes other forms of participation, beyond representative elections. This bottom-up policy must be implemented from the relationships that bring people together in neighborhoods. To implement this policy, the new municipalism is interested in maintaining close ties between those who are inside and those who are outside political institutions (social movements, organized citizenry, and civil society).

    This municipalist laboratory, which is testing its own capacity to bring change from within the institutions, is now challenged by the independentist movement. On 12 November 2017, Barcelona en Comú’s militant base voted to end the political pact with the PSC (Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya, closed to the Spanish Social Workers’Pparty [PSOE] that voted in favor of Article 155 at the national level), leaving Barcelona City Council as ruled by a minority government. This new situation will further complicate an inventive political experience that was already muzzled by the system of alliances within City Hall and by confrontation with the government of Catalonia. In this context of amputated competence of the municipal scale, and in view of the forthcoming regional elections on 21 December, the partisans of the municipalism of the common decided to create a new political party, Catalunya en Comú, whose objective is to scale-up municipalism to the region.

    As mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau wants her political movement to be “involved in the construction of new scenarios of self-government that give us more democracy, and not less  ” (Eldiario 2017). She calls for “ni DUI ni 155”—neither DUI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence) nor 155 (removal of Catalonia’s autonomy by using Article 155 of the Constitution). The position of the municipalism of the common could be summarized by this statement.

    The supporters of municipalism promote the right of the Catalan people to decide their status, but a radical change for them would be a shift from the state sovereignty to a narrative of sovereignties, in plural and with a lowercase “s.” In an interview by the P2P Foundation, Joan Subirats, an academic who is close to Catalunya en Comú, specifies this shift: “We want to recover the collective capacity to decide what affects us. So it’s fine to talk about the sovereignty of Catalonia, but we also need to talk about digital sovereignty, water sovereignty, energy sovereignty, housing sovereignty—sovereignty in the sense of the capacity to decide over that which affects us” (Ambrosi and Thede 2017). This vision based on social rights is much closer to what the practice of open commons could be. Indeed, this collective empowerment can be likened to the principle of the common as self-government. To “recover the collective capacity to decide over” the water, for instance, involves struggling against the private appropriation of water by big firms, which restricts the access to this resource, but also struggling against the hierarchical state management of water, which restricts the democratic running of this resource. Water sovereignty, thus, can be seen as the common self-government over a common resource. The political obligation between citizens would be based no longer on a national identity but rather on a free will coactivity. Hence, the core of the discussion would move from “independence” to “interdependencies”: “We are very interdependent, so how do we choose our interdependencies? That would be real sovereignty, not to be independent because that’s impossible, but rather how to better choose your interdependencies so that they have a more public content” (Ambrosi and Thede 2017).By creating Catalunya en Comú, supporters of the municipalism of the common are trying to scale up their challenges. Municipalism was born in the cities because municipal institutions were seen as less petrified in the strong inertia of political institutions. But is it possible to change public regional institutions into more common institutions? Can the common bring a real political “alteration”[1] of an institution such as the Catalan parliament? At the city scale, Barcelona en Comú was run by neighborhood committees, but how can a bottom-up regional party deal with the distance from its bases? Those are some of the main challenges Catalunya en Comú might face.

    A new fearless cities alliance

    If the city and the regional scales represent an opportunity for experimenting with open commons, there is also a need to circumvent the nation-state from above by building an international alliance that connects and strengthens local commoning experiences. Certainly, every struggle follows its own logic, and popular resistance movements must adopt political strategies adapted to the local context. But all across the globe, urban movements emerge and organize around similar principles: local radical democracy, commons, self-government, relationships with social movements, feminization of politics, reception of refugees. Is it time to create spaces to encounter, to meet up, and to pool what is known, to discover new affinities that would be the basis of joint action?

    The International Municipalist Summit of Fearless Cities that took place in Barcelona 9–11 June 2017 provided the opportunity to create a new translocal network. Radical social movements and representatives of new municipalist citizen platforms from 180 cities from more than 40 countries and 5 continents gathered at this event, including activists from the new self-governed Kurd communes in Northern Syria, from the struggle for the municipalization of water in Zagreb City, from the fight against white supremacy in the United States, and from the feminization of politics in Barcelona City Council.

    The Fearless Cities summit brought together not only points of view but also practical experiences and strategic decisions. Indeed, this new international commoning alliance takes up the challenge of a loose, active, and nonhierarchical network: “To explain this idea, it’s important to underline that by ‘network’ we mean a way of working, rather than a formal structure. And we are not referring to an institutional network of cities. Rather, we mean a political space made up of movements and organizations that may be in government, opposition or not participate in electoral politics at all” (Shea Baird et al. 2016).The alliance of fearless cities could therefore be a sharing of experiences giving rise to a new action coalition. In this way, municipalist partisans hope to avoid the trap of local isolation while at the same time anchoring radical democracy at a local level by reinventing the sharing of power between political institutions and social movements and building an internationalist alternative that goes beyond the nation-state.

    In conclusion, the question of the commons and commoning in Barcelona is a strategic challenge. Would an independent Catalunya provide the space for a more horizontalist, redistributive political state, or would it simply become a new territory for neoliberal control by the current majority parties? Alternatively, does the ongoing struggle for the commons represented by Barcelona en Comú and now, Catalunya en Comú, represent a new avenue for the building of a new political party that, in collaboration with Podemos, would actually transform the legislative and political arena throughout Spain? We would suggest that the current conflict over Catalan independence may be to some extent a diversion from the potential for political transformation that is represented by the ongoing struggle of Catalunya en Comú and Podemos.


    David Hamou is a PHD researcher at the Sophiapol Laboratory in the Department of Sociology at the Universitè Paris Nanterre.  His research lines include commoning, non-state institutions, social movements, and legal struggle for social rights in Southern Europe and South America. He is a collaborator of the Observatori Desc in Barcelona, where he has published special reports on economic, social, and cultural rights. He has previously undertaken field research in Argentina and France on ethnic minorities’ political and corporal struggles.

    Ida Susser is Professor of anthropology at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She has conducted ethnographic research on the politics of the urban, the environment and health. Her recent publications include Norman Street: Poverty and Politics in an Urban Neighborhood (updated edition, 2012) featuring a section on “Claiming a Right to New York City,” AIDS, Sex, and Culture: Global Politics of Survival in Southern Africa (2009), and the coedited volumes Rethinking America: The Imperial Homeland in the 21st Century (with Jeff Maskovsky, 2009) and Wounded Cities: Destruction and Reconstruction in a Globalized World (with Jane Schneider, 2003).


    Note

    [1] Foucaldian concept that was updated by Pierre Sauvêtre (2015) to describe the political movement of the common.


    References

    Ambrosi, Alain, and Nancy Thede. 2017. Catalunya en Comú: Building a country in common(s)—Interview with Joan Subirats. P2P Foundation, 20 April. https://blog.p2pfoundation.net/catalunya-en-comu-building-country-commons-interview-joan-subirats/2017/06/10.

    Dardot, Pierre, and Laval Christian. 2014. Commun: Essai sur la revolution au XXIe sièle. Paris: La Découverte.

    Eldiario. 2017. Ada Colau: “No en mi nombre: Ni 155 ni DUI.” 27 October. http://www.eldiario.es/catalunya/politica/MINUTO-Diada_13_685361458_14913.html.

    Hamou, David. Forthcoming. Municipalisme du commun: Vers une alliance transnationale des “villes sans peur.” In L’alternative du commun.

    Sauvêtre, Pierre. 2015. Foucault avec Marx: La pratique altératrice comme praxis révolutionnaire et les lutes contemporaines pour le commun. In Marx & Foucault: Lectures, usages, and confrontations, ed. Christian Laval, Luca Paltrinieri, and Ferhat Taylan, 272–285. Paris: La Découverte.

    Shea Baird, Kate, Enric Bárcena, Xavi Ferrer, and Laura Roth. 2016. Why the municipal movement must be internationalist. Medium, 21 December. https://medium.com/@BComuGlobal/why-the-municipal-movement-must-be-internationalist-fc290bf779f3.

    Stavrides, Stavros. 2015. Common space as threshold space: Urban commoning in struggles to re-appropriate public space. Footprint: Delft Architecture Theory Journal 16. doi:10.7480/footprint.9.1.896.

    Susser, Ida. 2017. Commoning in New York City, Barcelona, and Paris: Notes and observations from the field. Focaal 79: 6–22.


    Cite as: Hamou, David, and Ida Susser. 2017. “Where to Catalonia?: Is this commoning ? What for independence?” FocaalBlog, 11 December. www.focaalblog.com/2017/12/11/david-hamou-and-ida-susser-where-to-catalonia-is-this-commoning-what-for-independence.

  • Museum Worlds

    “Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire” is now at San Francisco’s de Young Museum

    House of the WaterlilyThe 1,000-year-old former Mesoamerican city, Teotihuacan, is on display at the de Young Museum in San Francisco and, after Feb. 11, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The de Young Museum provides an interactive digital story about the major exhibition, “Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire”. To celebrate, we’re presenting our new title: HOUSE OF THE WATERLILY: A Novel of the Ancient Maya World by Kelli Carmean

     

  • Berghahn Journals Blog

    Visit Berghahn Booth #306 at AAA 2017


    We are especially excited to invite you to join us on Friday December 1st at 3:30pm in the exhibit hall area for a wine reception to be held at the Berghahn booth to celebrate the launch of our new series titled Studies in Social Analysis under general editor Martin Holbraad, who has also been appointed editor of Social Analysis, the journal. We hope to see you there!


    If you are unable to attend the conference, we would like to extend a special discount offer. For the next 30 days, receive a 25% discount on all Anthropology titles. Visit our website and use discount code AAA17 at checkout.

    For more information on New and Forthcoming titles, please check out our brand new interactive online Anthropology & Sociology 2018 Catalog.

    Below is a preview of some of our newest releases on display:


    Studies in Social Analysis

    The focus of this series is on ‘analysis’, understood not as a synonym of ‘theory’, but as the fertile meeting-ground of the empirical and the conceptual. It provides a platform for exploring anthropological approaches to social analysis in all of their variety, and in doing so seeks also to open new avenues of communication between anthropology and the humanities as well as other social sciences.

     

    BEING GODLESS
    Ethnographies of Atheism and Non-Religion
    Edited by Ruy Llera Blanes and Galina Oustinova-Stjepanovic

     

    Drawing on ethnographic inquiry and the anthropological literature on doubt and atheism, this volume explores people’s reluctance to pursue religion. The contributors capture the experiences of godless people and examine their perspectives on the role of religion in their personal and public lives. In doing so, the volume contributes to a critical understanding of the processes of disengagement from religion and reveals the challenges and paradoxes that godless people face.

    Read Introduction: Godless People, Doubt, and Atheism

     

    EMPTINESS AND FULLNESS
    Ethnographies of Lack and Desire in Contemporary China
    Edited by Susanne Bregnbæk and Mikkel Bunkenborg

     

    As critical voices question the quality, authenticity, and value of people, goods, and words in post-Mao China, accusations of emptiness render things open to new investments of meaning, substance, and value. Exploring the production of lack and desire through fine-grained ethnography, this volume examines how diagnoses of emptiness operate in a range of very different domains in contemporary China: In the ostensibly meritocratic exam system and the rhetoric of officials, in underground churches, housing bubbles, and nationalist fantasies, in bodies possessed by spirits and evaluations of jade, there is a pervasive concern with states of lack and emptiness and the contributions suggest that this play of emptiness and fullness is crucial to ongoing constructions of quality, value, and subjectivity in China.

    Read Introduction

     

    STRAYING FROM THE STRAIGHT PATH
    How Senses of Failure Invigorate Lived Religion
    Edited by Daan Beekers and David Kloos

     

    “This rich collection of ethnographic studies of failure goes a long way in moving anthropological accounts of ethical and religious life beyond false dichotomies, including the very distinction between failure and success itself.” · Michael Lambek, Canada Research Chair University of Toronto Scarborough

    If piety, faith, and conviction constitute one side of the religious coin, then imperfection, uncertainty, and ambivalence constitute the other. Yet, scholars tend to separate these two domains and place experiences of inadequacy in everyday religious life – such as a wavering commitment, religious negligence or weakness in faith – outside the domain of religion ‘proper.’ Straying from the Straight Path breaks with this tendency by examining how self-perceived failure is, in many cases, part and parcel of religious practice and experience. Responding to the need for comparative approaches in the face of the largely separated fields of the anthropology of Islam and Christianity, this volume gives full attention to moral failure as a constitutive and potentially energizing force in the religious lives of both Muslims and Christians in different parts of the world.

    Read Introduction: The Productive Potential of Moral Failure in Lived Islam and Christianity

     

    STATEGRAPHY
    Toward a Relational Anthropology of the State
    Edited by Tatjana Thelen, Larissa Vetters, and Keebet von Benda-Beckmann

     

    Stategraphy—the ethnographic exploration of relational modes, boundary work, and forms of embeddedness of actors—offers crucial analytical avenues for researching the state. By exploring interactions and negotiations of local actors in different institutional settings, the contributors explore state transformations in relation to social security in a variety of locations spanning from Russia, Eastern Europe, and the Balkans to the United Kingdom and France. Fusing grounded empirical studies with rigorous theorizing, the volume provides new perspectives to broader related debates in social research and political analysis.

     

    AFFECTIVE STATES
    Entanglements, Suspensions, Suspicions
    Edited by Mateusz Laszczkowski and Madeleine Reeves

     

    In recent years, political and social theory has been transformed by the heterogeneous approaches to feeling and emotion jointly referred to as ‘affect theory’. These range from psychological and social-constructivist approaches to emotion to feminist and post-human perspectives. Covering a wide spectrum of topics and ethnographic contexts—from engineering in the Andes to household rituals in rural China, from South African land restitution to migrant living in Moscow, and from elections in El Salvador to online and offline surveillance among political refugees from Uzbekistan and Eritrea—the chapters in this volume interrogate this ‘affective turn’ through the lens of fine-grained ethnographies of the state. The volume enhances the anthropological understanding of the various ways through which the state comes to be experienced as a visceral presence in social life.

    For a full list of titles in the series please visit http://www.berghahnbooks.com/series/studies-in-social-analysis


    NEW SERIES:

     

    STARRY NIGHTS
    Critical Structural Realism in Anthropology
    Stephen P. Reyna

     

    Starry Nights: Critical Structural Realism in Anthropology offers nothing less than a reinventing of the discipline of anthropology. In these six essays – four published here for the first time – Stephen Reyna critiques the postmodern tenets of anthropology, while devising a new strategy for conducting research. Combative and clear, Starry Nights provides an important critique of mainstream anthropology as represented by Geertz and the postmodern legacy, and envisions a mode of anthropological research that addresses social, cultural and biological questions with techniques that are theoretically rigorous and practically useful.

    Read Introduction

     

    EUROPEAN ANTHROPOLOGIES
    Edited by Andrés Barrera-González, Monica Heintz and Anna Horolets

     

    In what ways did Europeans interact with the diversity of people they encountered on other continents in the context of colonial expansion, and with the peasant or ethnic ‘Other’ at home? How did anthropologists and ethnologists make sense of the mosaic of people and societies during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, when their disciplines were progressively being established in academia? By assessing the diversity of European intellectual histories within sociocultural anthropology, this volume aims to sketch its intellectual and institutional portrait. It will be a useful reading for the students of anthropology, ethnology, history and philosophy of science, research and science policy makers.

    Read Introduction: Strength from the Margins: Restaging European Anthropologies

     

    METHODOLOGIES OF MOBILITY
    Ethnography and Experiment
    Edited by Alice Elliot, Roger Norum, and Noel B. Salazar
    Afterword by Simone Abram

     

    Research into mobility is an exciting challenge for the social sciences that raises novel social, cultural, spatial and ethical questions. At the heart of these empirical and theoretical complexities lies the question of methodology: how can we best capture and understand a planet in flux? Methodologies of Mobility speaks beyond disciplinary boundaries to the methodological challenges and possibilities of engaging with a world on the move. With scholars continuing to face different forms and scales of mobility, this volume strategically traces innovative ways of designing, applying and reflecting on both established and cutting-edge methodologies of mobility.

    Read Introduction: Studying Mobilities: Theoretical Notes and Methodological Queries



    NEW:

     

    Feminist Perspectives on Culture, Nation, and History in the South Caucasus
    Edited by Maia Barkaia and Alisse Waterston
    Afterword by Elizabeth Cullen Dunn

     

    As Georgia seeks to reinvent itself as a nation-state in the post-Soviet period, Georgian women are maneuvering, adjusting, resisting and transforming the new economic, social and political order. In Gender in Georgia, editors Maia Barkaia and Alisse Waterston bring together an international group of feminist scholars to explore the socio-political and cultural conditions that have shaped gender dynamics in Georgia from the late 19th century to the present. In doing so, they provide the first-ever woman-centered collection of research on Georgia, offering a feminist critique of power in its many manifestations, and an assessment of women’s political agency in Georgia.

    Read Introduction: Contextualizing Gender in Georgia: Nation, Culture, Power and Politics

     

    Edited by Keith Hart

    Volume 5, The Human Economy

     

    A human economy puts people first in emergent world society. Money is a human universal and now takes the divisive form of capitalism. This book addresses how to think about money (from Aristotle to the daily news and the sexual economy of luxury goods); its contemporary evolution (banking the unbanked and remittances in the South, cross-border investment in China, the payments industry and the politics of bitcoin); and cases from 19th century India and Southern Africa to contemporary Haiti and Argentina. Money is one idea with diverse forms. As national monopoly currencies give way to regional and global federalism, money is a key to achieving economic democracy.

    Read Introduction: Money in a Human Economy

     

    Uncertain Futures for Higher Education in the Knowledge Economy
    Edited by Susan Wright and Cris Shore

    Volume 3, Higher Education in Critical Perspective: Practices and Policies

     

    Universities have been subjected to continuous government reforms since the 1980s, to make them ‘entrepreneurial’, ‘efficient’ and aligned to the predicted needs and challenges of a global knowledge economy. Under increasing pressure to pursue ‘excellence’ and ‘innovation’, many universities are struggling to maintain their traditional mission to be inclusive, improve social mobility and equality and act as the ‘critic and conscience’ of society. Drawing on a multi-disciplinary research project, University Reform, Globalisation and Europeanisation (URGE), this collection analyses the new landscapes of public universities emerging across Europe and the Asia-Pacific, and the different ways that academics are engaging with them.

    Read Introduction: Privatizing the Public University: Key Trends, Countertrends and Alternatives

     

    Understanding Social Thought and Conflict
    Perri 6 and Paul Richards

     

    Mary Douglas’s innovative explanations for styles of human thought and for the dynamics of institutional change have furnished a distinctive and powerful theory of how conflicts are managed, yet her work remains astonishingly poorly appreciated in social science disciplines. This volume introduces Douglas’s theories, and outlines the ways in which her work is of continuing importance for the future of the social sciences. Mary Douglas: Understanding Human Thought and Conflict shows how Douglas laid out the agenda for revitalizing social science by reworking Durkheim’s legacy for today, and reviews the growing body of research across the social sciences which has used, tested or developed her approach.

    Read Introduction

     

    Strathernian Conversations on Ethnography, Knowledge and Politics
    Edited by Ashley Lebner
    Afterword by Marilyn Strathern

     

    Marilyn Strathern is among the most creative and celebrated contemporary anthropologists, and her work draws interest from across the humanities and social sciences. Redescribing Relations brings some of Strathern’s most committed and renowned readers into conversation in her honour – especially on themes she has rarely engaged. The volume not only deepens our understanding of Strathern’s work, it also offers models of how to extend her relational insights to new terrains. With a comprehensive introduction, a complete list of Strathern’s publications and a historic interview published in English for the first time, this is an invaluable resource for Strathern’s old and new interlocutors alike.

    Read Introduction: Strathern’s Redescription of Anthropology

     

    Biology, Culture, and Society
    Edited by Sallie Han, Tracy K. Betsinger, and Amy B. Scott
    Foreword by Rayna Rapp

    Volume 37, Fertility, Reproduction and Sexuality: Social and Cultural Perspectives

     

    As a biological, cultural, and social entity, the human fetus is a multifaceted subject which calls for equally diverse perspectives to fully understand. Anthropology of the Fetus seeks to achieve this by bringing together specialists in biological anthropology, archaeology, and cultural anthropology. Contributors draw on research in prehistoric, historic, and contemporary sites in Europe, Asia, North Africa, and North America to explore the biological and cultural phenomenon of the fetus, raising methodological and theoretical concerns with the ultimate goal of developing a holistic anthropology of the fetus.

    Read Introduction: Conceiving the Anthropology of the Fetus: An Introduction

     

    The Conundrum of Cultural Difference, From Tunisia to Japan
    Marnia Lazreg

     

    Foucault lived in Tunisia for two years and travelled to Japan and Iran more than once. Yet throughout his critical scholarship, he insisted that the cultures of the “Orient” constitute the “limit” of Western rationality. Using archival research supplemented by interviews with key scholars in Tunisia, Japan and France, this book examines the philosophical sources, evolution as well as contradictions of Foucault’s experience with non-Western cultures. Beyond tracing Foucault’s journey into the world of otherness, the book reveals the personal, political as well as methodological effects of a radical conception of cultural difference that extolled the local over the cosmopolitan.

    Read Introduction

     

    CONTRARIAN ANTHROPOLOGY
    The Unwritten Rules of Academia
    Laura Nader

     

    Analyzing the workings of boundary maintenance in the areas of anthropology, energy, gender, and law, Nader contrasts dominant trends in academia with work that pushes the boundaries of acceptable methods and theories. Although the selections illustrate the history of one anthropologist’s work over half a century, the wider intent is to label a field as contrarian to reveal unwritten rules that sometimes hinder transformative thinking and to stimulate boundary crossing in others.


     

    NEW IN PAPERBACK:

     

    Genres and Contexts in the Twenty-First Century
    Edited by Helena Wulff

     

    Writing is crucial to anthropology, but which genres are anthropologists expected to master in the 21st century? This book explores how anthropological writing shapes the intellectual content of the discipline and academic careers. First, chapters identify the different writing genres and contexts anthropologists actually engage with. Second, this book argues for the usefulness and necessity of taking seriously the idea of writing as a craft and of writing across and within genres in new ways. Although academic writing is an anthropologist’s primary genre, they also write in many others, from drafting administrative texts and filing reports to composing ethnographically inspired journalism and fiction.

    Read Introducing the Anthropologist as Writer: Across and Within Genres

     

    Edited by Catherine Dolan and Dinah Rajak
    Afterword by Robert J. Foster

    Volume 18, Dislocations

     

    The Anthropology of Corporate Social Responsibility explores the meanings, practices, and impact of corporate social and environmental responsibility across a range of transnational corporations and geographical locations (Bangladesh, Cameroon, Chile, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, India, Peru, South Africa, the UK, and the USA). The contributors examine the expectations, frictions and contradictions the CSR movement is generating and addressing key issues such as  the introduction of new forms of management, control, and discipline through ethical and environmental governance or the extent to which corporate responsibility challenges existing patterns of inequality rather than generating new geographies of inclusion and exclusion.

    Read Introduction: Towards an Anthropology of Corporate Social Responsibility

     

    Edited by Keith Hart

    Volume 2, The Human Economy

     

    Political constitutions alone do not guarantee democracy; a degree of economic equality is also essential. Yet contemporary economies, dominated as they are by global finance and political rent-seekers, often block the realization of democracy. The comparative essays and case studies of this volume examine the contradictory relationship between the economy and democracy and highlight the struggles and visions needed to make things more equitable. They explore how our collective aspirations for greater democracy might be informed by serious empirical research on the human economy today. If we want a better world, we must act on existing social realities.

    Read Introduction

     

    Cars, Canoes, and Other Metaphors of Moral Imagination
    Edited by David Lipset and Richard Handler

     

    Metaphor, as an act of human fancy, combines ideas in improbable ways to sharpen meanings of life and experience. Theoretically, this arises from an association between a sign—for example, a cattle car—and its referent, the Holocaust. These “sign-vehicles” serve as modes of semiotic transportation through conceptual space. Likewise, on-the-ground vehicles can be rich metaphors for the moral imagination. Following on this insight, Vehicles presents a collection of ethnographic essays on the metaphoric significance of vehicles in different cultures. Analyses include canoes in Papua New Guinea, pedestrians and airplanes in North America, lowriders among Mexican-Americans, and cars in contemporary China, Japan, and Eastern Europe, as well as among African-Americans in the South. Vehicles not only “carry people around,” but also “carry” how they are understood in relation to the dynamics of culture, politics and history.

    Read Introduction: Charon’s Boat and Other Vehicles of Moral Imagination

     

    Edited by Michael Jackson and Albert Piette

     

    What is existential anthropology, and how would you define it? What has been gained by using existential perspectives in your fieldwork and writing? Editors Michael Jackson and Albert Piette each invited anthropologists on both sides of the Atlantic to address these questions and explore how various approaches to the human condition might be brought together on the levels of method and of theory. Both editors also bring their own perspective: while Jackson has drawn on phenomenology, deploying the concepts of intersubjectivity, lifeworld, experience, existential mobility, and event, Piette has drawn on Heidegger’s Dasein-analysis, and developed a phenomenographical method for the observation and description of human beings in their singularity and ever-changing situations.

    Read Introduction: Anthropology and the Existential Turn

     

    Varieties of Liminality
    Edited by Agnes Horvath, Bjørn Thomassen, and Harald Wydra

     

    Liminality has the potential to be a leading paradigm for understanding transformation in a globalizing world. As a fundamental human experience, liminality transmits cultural practices, codes, rituals, and meanings in situations that fall between defined structures and have uncertain outcomes. Based on case studies of some of the most important crises in history, society, and politics, this volume explores the methodological range and applicability of the concept to a variety of concrete social and political problems.

    Read Introduction: Liminality and the Search for Boundaries


    Berghahn Journals


    NEW in 2018!

    Migration and Society is an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal advancing debate about emergent trends in all types of migration.

     

     

     

     

    Journal of Legal Anthropology

    The Journal of Legal Anthropology (JLA) is a peer-reviewed journal committed to anthropological understandings of socio-legal and cultural encounters.


     

    Now under the editorship of Martin Holbraad!

    Social Analysis is an international peer-reviewed journal devoted to exploring the analytical potentials of anthropological research.

    Receive Free Access to the top viewed articles until Dec 9!

     

     

    Anthropological Journal of European Cultures engages with current debates and innovative research agendas addressing the social and cultural transformations of contemporary European societies.

    Current Issue: Volume 26, Issue 2: Changing Places, Changing People: Critical Heritages of Migration and Belonging

     

     

    Anthropology in Action is a peer-reviewed journal publishing articles, commentaries, research reports, and book reviews in applied anthropology.

    Current Issue: Volume 24, Issue 3

     

     

    Anthropology of the Middle East is a peer-reviewed journal provides a forum for scholarly exchange between anthropologists and other social scientists working in and on the Middle East.

    Current Issue: Volume 12, Issue 1: The Anthropology of Children in the Middle East

     

     

    Boyhood Studies is a peer-reviewed journal providing a forum for the discussion of boyhood, young masculinities, and boys’ lives by exploring the full scale of intricacies, challenges, and legacies that inform male and masculine developments.

    Current Issue: Volume 10, Issue 2: Contemporary Boys’ Literacies and Boys’ Literatures

     

     

    The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology is a peer-reviewed journal providing a forum for the discussion of boyhood, young masculinities, and boys’ lives by exploring the full scale of intricacies, challenges, and legacies that inform male and masculine developments.

    Receive free access to the Marilyn Strathern lectures until the end of the year!

     

     

    Conflict and Society expands the field of conflict studies by using ethnographic inquiry to establish new fields of research and interdisciplinary collaboration.

    Current Issue: Volume 3

     

     

    Durkheimian Studies expands the field of conflict studies by using ethnographic inquiry to establish new fields of research and interdisciplinary collaboration.

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    Environment and Society publishes critical reviews of the latest research literature on environmental studies, including subjects of theoretical, methodological, substantive, and applied significance.

    Current Issue: Volume 8: Measurements and Metrics

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    Provides insights into contemporary socio-ecological issues with posts from top scholars in the social sciences that engage readers interested in current environmental topics.

     

    Focaal is a peer-reviewed journal advocating an approach that rests in the simultaneity of ethnography, processual analysis, local insights, and global vision.

    Current Issue: Volume 2017, Issue 78: Boredom after the global financial crisis: From privilege to precarity

    FOCAALBLOG

    It aims to accelerate and intensify anthropological conversations beyond what a regular academic journal can do, and to make them more widely, globally, and swiftly available.

     

    Girlhood Studies is a peer-reviewed journal providing a forum for the critical discussion of girlhood from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

    Current Issue: Volume 10, Issue 2: Technologies of Nonviolence: Reimagining Mobile and Social Media Practices in the Lives of Girls and Young Women

     

     

     

    Journeys is an interdisciplinary journal that explores travel as a practice and travel writing as a genre, reflecting the rich diversity of travel and journeys as social and cultural practices as well as their significance as metaphorical processes.

    Current Issue: Volume 18, Issue 1

     

     

    Learning and Teaching is a peer-reviewed journal that uses the social sciences to reflect critically on learning and teaching in the changing context of higher education.

    Current Issue: Volume 10, Issue 2

     

     

     

    Museum Worlds is a multidisciplinary, refereed, annual journal that publishes work that significantly advances knowledge of global trends, case studies, and theory relevant to museum practice and scholarship around the world.

    Current Issue: Volume 5

    MUSEUM WORLDS COMPANION SITE

    Complements the journal by bringing current museum themes, practices, and developments to the forefront of global discussions in the field of Museum Studies.

     

    Nature and Culture is a forum for the international community of scholars and practitioners to present, discuss, and evaluate critical issues and themes related to the historical and contemporary relationships that societies, civilizations, empires, regions, nation-states have with Nature.

    Current Issue: Volume 12, Issue 3

     

     

    Regions and Cohesion is a needed platform for academics and practitioners alike to disseminate both empirical research and normative analysis of topics related to human and environmental security, social cohesion, and governance.

    Current Issue: Volume 7, Issue 2

     

     

    Religion and Society: Advances in Research responds to the need for a rigorous, in-depth review of current work in the expanding sub-discipline of the anthropology of religion.

    Current Issue: Volume 8

     

     

    Sibirica is a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal covering all aspects of the region and relations to neighboring areas, such as Central Asia, East Asia, and North America.

    Current Issue: Volume 16, Issue 2

     

     

     

    Transfers is a peer-reviewed journal publishing cutting-edge research on the processes, structures and consequences of the movement of people, resources, and commodities.

    Current Issue:  Volume 7, Issue 3: Mobilities in a Dangerous World

     

     

     

  • Berghahn Journals Blog

    Africa Week

     

    This week is Africa Week! Africa Week celebrates and showcases Africa’s continuous advancements and achievements with respect to social, economic, political and environmental development. Read more here

     

    In honor of Africa Week, we would like to provide you with a special discount offer. Receive a 50% discount on all African Studies titles found on our website until November 17, 2017. At checkout, simply enter the discount code UNAF17. Browse our newly published online African Studies 2017 Catalog or use the subject searching features on our website­ for a complete listing of all published and forthcoming titles.


    Here is a preview of some of our newest releases:

     

    The Lives of Somali Youth Raised in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya
    Catherine-Lune Grayson

     

    Chronic violence has characterized Somalia for over two decades, forcing nearly two million people to flee. A significant number have settled in camps in neighboring countries, where children were born and raised. Based on in-depth fieldwork, this book explores the experience of Somalis who grew up in Kakuma refugee camp, in Kenya, and are now young adults. This original study carefully considers how young people perceive their living environment and how growing up in exile structures their view of the past and their country of origin, and the future and its possibilities.

    Read Introduction

     

    AT HOME IN THE OKAVANGO
    White Batswana Narratives of Emplacement and Belonging
    Catie Gressier

     

    “This book is an important contribution to anthropological studies of belonging, minorities, settler populations, whiteness, identity, tourism, and autochthony. A thoroughly thought-provoking, intimate, and detailed ethnography that is worth reading to gain an insight into how a white community in a postcolonial nation construct their belonging as Africans.” · American Anthropologist

    An ethnographic portrayal of the lives of white citizens of the Okavango Delta, Botswana, this book examines their relationships with the natural and social environments of the region. In response to the insecurity of their position as a European-descended minority in a postcolonial African state, Gressier argues that white Batswana have developed cultural values and practices that have allowed them to attain high levels of belonging. Adventure is common for this frontier community, and the book follows their safari lifestyles as they construct and perform localized identities in their interactions with dangerous wildlife, the broader African community, and the global elite via their work in the nature-tourism industry.

    Read Introduction: Waiting for the Flood

     

    Personhood, Nationhood, and the Post-Conflict Moment in Rwanda
    Laura Eramian

     

    This ethnography of personhood in post-genocide Rwanda investigates how residents of a small town grapple with what kinds of persons they ought to become in the wake of violence. Based on fieldwork carried out over the course of a decade, it uncovers how conflicting moral demands emerge from the 1994 genocide, from cultural contradictions around “good” personhood, and from both state and popular visions for the future. What emerges is a profound dissonance in town residents’ selfhood. While they strive to be agents of change who can catalyze a new era of modern Rwandan nationhood, they are also devastated by the genocide and struggle to recover a sense of selfhood and belonging in the absence of kin, friends, and neighbors. In drawing out the contradictions at the heart of self-making and social life in contemporary Rwanda, this book asserts a novel argument about the ordinary lives caught in global post-conflict imperatives to remember and to forget, to mourn and to prosper.

     

    The Conundrum of Cultural Difference, From Tunisia to Japan
    Marnia Lazreg

     

    Foucault lived in Tunisia for two years and travelled to Japan and Iran more than once. Yet throughout his critical scholarship, he insisted that the cultures of the “Orient” constitute the “limit” of Western rationality. Using archival research supplemented by interviews with key scholars in Tunisia, Japan and France, this book examines the philosophical sources, evolution as well as contradictions of Foucault’s experience with non-Western cultures. Beyond tracing Foucault’s journey into the world of otherness, the book reveals the personal, political as well as methodological effects of a radical conception of cultural difference that extolled the local over the cosmopolitan.

    Read Introduction

     

    Development, Tourism and the Politics of Benevolence in Mozambique
    João Afonso Baptista

    Volume 30, EASA Series

     

    Drawing on ethnographic research in the village of Canhane, which is host to the first community tourism project in Mozambique, The Good Holiday explores the confluence of two powerful industries: tourism and development, and explains when, how and why tourism becomes development and development, tourism. The volume further explores the social and material consequences of this merging, presenting the confluence of tourism and development as a major vehicle for the exercise of ethics, and non-state governance in contemporary life.

    Read Introduction

     

    RETURNING LIFE
    Language, Life-Force and History in Kilimanjaro
    Knut Christian Myhre

    Volume 32, Methodology & History in Anthropology

     

    A group of Chagga-speaking men descend the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro to butcher animals and pour milk, beer, and blood on the ground, requesting rain for their continued existence. Returning Life explores how this event engages activities where life-force is transferred and transformed to afford and affect beings of different kinds. Historical sources demonstrate how the phenomenon of life-force encompasses coffee cash-cropping, Catholic Christianity, and colonial and post-colonial rule, and features in cognate languages from throughout the area. As this vivid ethnography explores how life projects through beings of different kinds, it brings to life concepts and practices that extend through time and space, transcending established analytics.

     

    SEEKERS AND THINGS
    Spiritual Movements and Aesthetic Difference in Kinshasa
    Peter Lambertz

     

    Focusing on the intricate presence of a Japanese new religion (Sekai Kyûseikyô) in the densely populated and primarily Christian environment of Kinshasa (DR Congo), this ethnographic study offers a practitioner-orientated perspective to create a localised picture of religious globalization. Guided by an aesthetic approach to religion, the study moves beyond a focus limited to text and offers insights into the role of religious objects, spiritual technologies and aesthetic repertoires in the production and politics of difference. The boundaries between non-Christian religious minorities and the largely Christian public sphere involve fears and suspicion of ‘magic’ and ‘occult sciences’.

     

    The Decolonial Mandela
    Peace, Justice and the Politics of Life
    Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni

     

    “This is a completely original contribution to our understanding of Mandela. It provides a long overdue decolonial perspective that situates Mandela’s life and thought within current academic debates and the political and ethical challenges facing global humanity. It will be essential reading across multiple disciplines.” · Ramon Grosfoguel, University of California, Berkeley –

    A significant contribution to the emerging literature on decolonial studies, this concise and forcefully argued volume lays out a groundbreaking interpretation of the “Mandela phenomenon.” Contrary to a neoliberal social model that privileges adversarial criminal justice and a rationalistic approach to war making, Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni identifies transformative political justice and a reimagined social order as key features of Nelson Mandela’s legacy. Mandela is understood here as an exemplar of decolonial humanism, one who embodied the idea of survivor’s justice and held up reconciliation and racial harmony as essential for transcending colonial modes of thought.

    Read Introduction: Mandela Phenomenon as Decolonial Humanism

     

    Thresholds of Identities and Illusions on an African Landscape
    Stuart A. Marks

     

    “This is a superb book. It brings together Stuart Marks’ detailed long-term work on hunting and other issues among the Bisa of the Manyamadzi Corridor of Zambia since the 1960s.” · Robert K. Hitchcock, Michigan State University

    The “extensive wilderness” of Zambia’s central Luangwa Valley is the homeland of the Valley Bisa whose cultural practices have enriched this environment for centuries. Beginning with the intrusions of warlords and later British colonials, successive generations have experienced the callousness and challenges of colonialism. Their homeland, a slender corridor surrounded by three national parks and an escarpment, is a microcosm of the political, economic and cultural battlefields surrounding most African protected areas today. The story of the Valley Bisa diverges from the myths that conservationists, administrators, and philanthropists, tell about Africa’s environmental and wildlife crises.

    Read Introduction: On Poaching an Elephant: Calling the Shots and Following the Ricochets

     

    Edited by Axel Fleisch and Rhiannon Stephens

    Volume 25, Making Sense of History

     

    “This pioneering volume is the first to apply the methods of conceptual history to the languages and cultures of sub-Saharan Africa, and as such will be welcomed by a wide variety of scholars. It is a major achievement.” · Willibald Steinmetz, Bielefeld University

    Employing an innovative methodological toolkit, Doing Conceptual History in Africa provides a refreshingly broad and interdisciplinary approach to African historical studies. The studies assembled here focus on the complex role of language in Africa’s historical development, with a particular emphasis on pragmatics and semantics. From precolonial dynamics of wealth and poverty to the conceptual foundations of nationalist movements, each contribution strikes a balance between the local and the global, engaging with a distinctively African intellectual tradition while analyzing the regional and global contexts in which categories like “work,” “marriage,” and “land” take shape.

    Read Introduction: Theories and Methods of African Conceptual History

     

    Development Paradoxes, Belonging and Participation of the Baka in East Cameroon
    Glory M. Lueong

     

    Development interventions often generate contradictions around questions of who benefits from development and which communities are targeted for intervention. This book examines how the Baka, who live in Eastern Cameroon, assert forms of belonging in order to participate in development interventions, and how community life is shaped and reshaped through these interventions. Often referred to as ‘forest people’, the Baka have witnessed many recent development interventions that include competing and contradictory policies such as ‘civilize’, assimilate and integrate the Baka into ‘full citizenship’, conserve the forest and wildlife resources, and preserve indigenous cultures at the verge of extinction.

    Read Introduction

     

    Music, Ideology and Economic Collapse, from Paris to Kinshasa
    Joe Trapido

    Volume 19, Dislocations

     

    “This is a highly impressive, utterly original, often brilliant book on both the empirical and theoretical levels… A wonderful ethnography of music production, performance, spectacle, and deceit.” · Nancy Rose Hunt, University of Michigan

    Based on fieldwork in Kinshasa and Paris, Breaking Rocks examines patronage payments within Congolese popular music, where a love song dedication can cost 6,000 dollars and a simple name check can trade for 500 or 600 dollars. Tracing this system of prestige through networks of musicians and patrons – who include gangsters based in Europe, kleptocratic politicians in Congo, and lawless diamond dealers in northern Angola – this book offers insights into ideologies of power and value in central Africa’s troubled post-colonial political economy, as well as a glimpse into the economic flows that make up the hidden side of the globalization.

    Read Introduction

     

    WITCHCRAFT, WITCHES, AND VIOLENCE IN GHANA
    Mensah Adinkrah

    “By attending to witch hunts in all its facets in Ghanaian society, [the author] offers the most in-depth examination of witchcraft to date… Although the author focuses on Ghana, the work draws attention to the fact that witchcraft-related violence is not unique to the country, but very much a part of global history, past and present. The wide variety of sources it pulls together and the human face it gives to witchcraft related violence are the biggest strengths of Witchcraft, Witches, and Violence. This is a valuable book for both undergraduate and graduate students in anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, and African studies.“ · International Journal of African Historical Studies (IJAHS)

    This book provides a detailed account of Ghanaian witchcraft beliefs and practices and their role in fueling violent attacks on alleged witches by aggrieved individuals and vigilante groups.

    Read Introduction: Witchcraft Violence in Comparative Perspective

     

    MASKS AND STAFFS
    Identity Politics in the Cameroon Grassfields
    Michaela Pelican

    Volume 11, Integration and Conflict Studies

     

    The Cameroon Grassfields, home to three ethnic groups – Grassfields societies, Mbororo, and Hausa – provide a valuable case study for the anthropological examination of identity politics and interethnic relations. In the midst of the political liberalization of Cameroon in the late 1990s and 2000s, local responses to political and legal changes took the form of a series of performative and discursive expressions of ethnicity. Confrontational encounters stimulated by economic and political rivalry, as well as socially integrative processes, transformed collective self-understanding in Cameroon in conjunction with recent global discourses on human, minority, and indigenous rights. The book provides a vital contribution to the study of ethnicity, conflict, and social change in the anthropology of Africa.

    Read Introduction

     

    BEYOND THE LENS OF CONSERVATION
    Malagasy and Swiss Imaginations of One Another
    Eva Keller

    Volume 20, Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology

     

    “This book will make a great addition to undergraduate courses on Anthropology of the Environment and/or Development or Political Ecology. Keller’s highly readable style, in turn, will satisfy both those new to the subject and scholars already familiar with the topics of conservation practice in Madagascar. It could even become an important resource for those conservation experts who are trying – and (as the study shows) failing – to establish connections between distant places and people.” · Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute

    The study investigates how the Malagasy farmers living at the edge of the park perceive the conservation enterprise and what people in Switzerland see when looking towards Madagascar through the lens of the zoo exhibit. It crystallizes that the stories told in either place have almost nothing in common: one focuses on power and history, the other on morality and progress. Thus, instead of building a bridge, Nature conservation widens the gap between people in the North and the South.

    Read Introduction

     

    IMPERIAL PROJECTIONS
    Screening the German Colonies
    Wolfgang Fuhrmann

    Volume 17, Film Europa

     

    “Woldgang Fuhrmann succeeds with this impressive overview of German colonial film, largely neglected in the scholarly literature, to present convincingly the interaction of individual protagonists with various institutions. The bibliography conveys the depth of his research that can be considered exemplary. This also applies to the filmography that will inspire future research. The few illustrations are well selected and expressive.” · Filmblatt

    By promoting business and establishing a new genre within the fast growing film industry, films of the colonies were welcomed by organizations such as the Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft (German Colonial Society). The films triggered patriotic feelings but also addressed the audience as travelers, explorers, wildlife protectionists, and participants in unique cultural events. This book is the first in-depth analysis of colonial filmmaking in the Wilhelmine Era.

    Read Introduction

     

    EVIDENCE, ETHOS AND EXPERIMENT
    The Anthropology and History of Medical Research in Africa
    Edited by P. Wenzel Geissler and Catherine Molyneux

     

    “Each of the chapters is noteworthy. Together, they offer a promising opportunity to broaden the field of postcolonial science studies in ways that remind us how ethicality is at the heart of these encounters of science… the volume will be useful to medical anthropologists, science studies scholars, and generalist scholars of Africa and global health. Individual chapters, as well as whole sections of the book, will be particularly useful for teaching at the upper-division undergraduate or graduate levels.” Medical Anthropology Quarterly

    Global debates about the politics and ethics of this research are growing and local concerns are prompting calls for social studies of the “trial communities” produced by this scientific work. Drawing on rich, ethnographic and historiographic ­­­material, this volume represents the emergent field of anthropological inquiry that links Africanist ethnography to recent concerns with science, the state, and the culture of late capitalism in Africa.

    Read Introduction: Studying trial communities: anthropological and historical inquiries into ethos, politics and economy of medical research in Africa


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  • Berghahn Journals Blog

    Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day

     


    For a limited time, we’re pleased to offer access to these relevant journal articles for free in honor of Indigenous Peoples Day:

     

     

     

     

     


     

    Indigenous Revival and the Conservation of Sacred Natural Sites in the Americas
    Edited by Fausto Sarmiento and Sarah Hitchner

    Volume 22, Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology

     

    This book presents current research in the political ecology of indigenous revival and its role in nature conservation in critical areas in the Americas. An important contribution to evolving studies on conservation of sacred natural sites (SNS), the book elucidates the complexity of development scenarios within cultural landscapes related to the appropriation of religion, environmental change in indigenous territories, and new conservation management approaches. Indigeneity and the Sacred explores how these struggles for land, rights, and political power are embedded within physical landscapes, and how indigenous identity is reconstituted as globalizing forces simultaneously threaten and promote the notion of indigeneity.

    Read Introduction

     

    Environmental Knowledge in the Northeast Kula Ring
    Frederick H. Damon

    Volume 21, Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology

     

    Trees, Knots and Outriggers (Kaynen Muyuw) is the culmination of twenty-five years of work by Frederick H. Damon and his attention to cultural adaptations to the environment in Melanesia. Damon details the intricacies of indigenous knowledge and practice in his sweeping synthesis of symbolic and structuralist anthropology with recent developments in historical ecology. This book is a long conversation between the author’s many Papua New Guinea informants, teachers and friends, and scientists in Australia, Europe and the United States, in which a spirit of adventure and discovery is palpable.

    Read Introduction

    Related Link: This book is accompanied by a large online repository of images: https://pages.shanti.virginia.edu/Trees_Knots__Outriggers/

     

    Leadership, Masculinity and Wealth in the Amazon
    Marc Brightman

     

    Amerindian societies have an iconic status in classical political thought. For Montaigne, Hobbes, Locke, Hume and Rousseau, the native American ‘state of nature’ operates as a foil for the European polity. Challenging this tradition, The Imbalance of Power demonstrates ethnographically that the Carib speaking indigenous societies of the Guiana region of Amazonia do not fit conventional characterizations of ‘simple’ political units with ‘egalitarian’ political ideologies and ‘harmonious’ relationships with nature. Marc Brightman builds a persuasive and original theory of Amerindian politics: far from balanced and egalitarian, Carib societies are rife with tension and difference; but this imbalance conditions social dynamism and a distinctive mode of cohesion. The Imbalance of Power is based on the author’s fieldwork in partnership with Vanessa Grotti, who is working on a companion volume entitled Living with the Enemy: First Contacts and the Making of Christian Bodies in Amazonia.

    Read Introduction

     

    Confronting Electoral Communism and Precarious Livelihoods in Post-Reform Kerala
    Luisa Steur

    Volume 20, Dislocations

     

    In Kerala, political activists with a background in Communism are now instead asserting political demands on the basis of indigenous identity. Why did a notion of indigenous belonging come to replace the discourse of class in subaltern struggles? Indigenist Mobilization answers this question through a detailed ethnographic study of the dynamics between the Communist party and indigenist activists, and the subtle ways in which global capitalist restructuring leads to a resonance of indigenist visions in the changing everyday working lives of subaltern groups in Kerala.

    Read Introduction: Research and Activism in, on, and Beyond a Capitalist World System

     

    Embodiment and Experience among the Orang Rimba of Sumatra
    Ramsey Elkholy
    Foreword by Tim Ingold, University of Aberdeen

     

    For the Orang Rimba of Sumatra – and tropical foragers in general – life in the forest engenders a kind of “connectedness” that is contingent not only on harmonious relations between people, but also between people and the non-human environment, including those supernatural agencies of the forest that people depend on for their spiritual and emotional wellbeing. Exploring this world, anthropologist Ramsey Elkholy treats embodied action and perception as the basis of shared experience and shows how various forms of embodied experience constitute the very foundations of human culture. In a unique methodological contribution, Elkholy adopts a set of body-centered approaches that reflect and capture the day-to-day, moment-to-moment ways in which people engage with the world. Being and Becoming is an important contribution to phenomenological anthropology, hunter-gatherer studies, and to Southeast Asian ethnography more generally.

    Read Introduction

     

    Development Paradoxes, Belonging and Participation of the Baka in East Cameroon
    Glory M. Lueong

     

    Development interventions often generate contradictions around questions of who benefits from development and which communities are targeted for intervention. This book examines how the Baka, who live in Eastern Cameroon, assert forms of belonging in order to participate in development interventions, and how community life is shaped and reshaped through these interventions. Often referred to as ‘forest people’, the Baka have witnessed many recent development interventions that include competing and contradictory policies such as ‘civilize’, assimilate and integrate the Baka into ‘full citizenship’, conserve the forest and wildlife resources, and preserve indigenous cultures at the verge of extinction.

    Read Introduction

     

    Conceptions of Personhood in a Papua New Guinea Society
    Franziska A. Herbst

    Volume 5, Person, Space and Memory in the Contemporary Pacific

     

    Biomedical Entanglements is an ethnographic study of the Giri people of Papua New Guinea, focusing on the indigenous population’s interaction with modern medicine. In her fieldwork, Franziska A. Herbst follows the Giri people as they circulate within and around ethnographic sites that include a rural health center and an urban hospital. The study bridges medical anthropology and global health, exploring how the ‘biomedical’ is imbued with social meaning and how biomedicine affects Giri ways of life.

    Read Introduction

     

    Luck, Spirits and Ambivalence among the Siberian Orochen Reindeer Herders and Hunters
    Donatas Brandišauskas

    NEW SERIES: Volume 1, Studies in the Circumpolar North

     

    Nowhere have recent environmental and social changes been more pronounced than in post-Soviet Siberia. Donatas Brandišauskas probes the strategies that Orochen reindeer herders of southeastern Siberia have developed to navigate these changes. “Catching luck” is one such strategy that plays a central role in Orochen cosmology — luck implies a vernacular theory of causality based on active interactions of humans, non-humans, material objects, and places. Brandišauskas describes in rich details the skills, knowledge, ritual practices, storytelling, and movements that enable the Orochen to “catch luck” (or not, sometimes), to navigate times of change and upheaval.

    Read Introduction: Luck, Spirits and Places

     

    The Gwich’in Natives of Alaska
    Steven C. Dinero

     

    The Gwich’in Natives of Arctic Village, Alaska, have experienced intense social and economic changes for more than a century. In the late 20th century, new transportation and communication technologies introduced radically new value systems; while some of these changes may be seen as socially beneficial, others suggest a weakening of what was once a strong and vibrant Native community. Using quantitative and qualitative data gathered since the turn of the millennium, this volume offers an interdisciplinary evaluation of the developments that have occurred in the community over the past several decades.

    Read Introduction

     

    Studies in Native Amazonian Property Relations
    Edited by Marc Brightman, Carlos Fausto, and Vanessa Grotti
    Foreword by James Leach

     

    The first book to address the classic anthropological theme of property through the ethnography of Amazonia, Ownership and Nurture sets new and challenging terms for anthropological debates about the region and about property in general. Property and ownership have special significance and carry specific meanings in Amazonia, which has been portrayed as the antithesis of Western, property-based, civilization. Through carefully constructed studies of land ownership, slavery, shamanism, spirit mastery, aesthetics, and intellectual property, this volume demonstrates that property relations are of central importance in Amazonia, and that the ownership of persons plays an especially significant role in native cosmology.

    Read Introduction: Altering Ownership in Amazonia

     

    MASKS AND STAFFS
    Identity Politics in the Cameroon Grassfields
    Michaela Pelican

    Volume 11, Integration and Conflict Studies

     

    The Cameroon Grassfields, home to three ethnic groups – Grassfields societies, Mbororo, and Hausa – provide a valuable case study for the anthropological examination of identity politics and interethnic relations. In the midst of the political liberalization of Cameroon in the late 1990s and 2000s, local responses to political and legal changes took the form of a series of performative and discursive expressions of ethnicity. Confrontational encounters stimulated by economic and political rivalry, as well as socially integrative processes, transformed collective self-understanding in Cameroon in conjunction with recent global discourses on human, minority, and indigenous rights. The book provides a vital contribution to the study of ethnicity, conflict, and social change in the anthropology of Africa.

    Read Introduction

     

    Thresholds of Identities and Illusions on an African Landscape
    Stuart A. Marks

     

    “Few academic books display such depth as does this one, but then few anthropologists devote over five decades to the same communities and issues. Anthropologist Marks first worked among Zambia’s Valley Bisa people in 1966, returning frequently for further research. The result is a masterwork of description, interpretation, and self-reflection.” · Choice

    The “extensive wilderness” of Zambia’s central Luangwa Valley is the homeland of the Valley Bisa whose cultural practices have enriched this environment for centuries. Beginning with the intrusions of warlords and later British colonials, successive generations have experienced the callousness and challenges of colonialism. Their homeland, a slender corridor surrounded by three national parks and an escarpment, is a microcosm of the political, economic and cultural battlefields surrounding most African protected areas today. The story of the Valley Bisa diverges from the myths that conservationists, administrators, and philanthropists, tell about Africa’s environmental and wildlife crises.

    Read Introduction: On Poaching an Elephant: Calling the Shots and Following the Ricochets


    Berghahn Journals:

    Editor-in-Chief: Claudia Mitchell, McGill University

    ISSN: 1938-8209 (Print)
    ISSN: 1938-8322 (Online)

    Volume 10/2017, 3 issues p.a. (spring, summer, winter)


    Editor: John P. Ziker, Boise State University

    ISSN: 1361-7362 (Print)
    ISSN: 1476-6787 (Online)

    Volume 16/2017, 3 issues p.a. (spring, summer, winter)

     

     

Top Article Downloads


  1. Under the Shadow of Empire: Indigenous Girls' Presencing as Decolonizing Force
    Girlhood Studies, vol. 7, #1, Summer 2014
  2. Forget Dawkins: Notes toward an Ethnography of Religious Belief and Doubt
    Social Analysis, vol. 59, #2, Summer 2015
  3. Blaming Sexualization for Sexting
    Girlhood Studies, vol. 7, #1, Summer 2014
  4. Out of the Closet? German Patriotism and Soccer Mania
    German Politics & Society, vol.24, #3, Autumn 2006
  5. Rape Culture and the Feminist Politics of Social Media
    Girlhood Studies, vol. 7, #1, Summer 2014
  6. Less Than One But More Than Many: Anthropocene as Science Fiction and Scholarship-in-the-Making
    Environment and Society, vol. 6, #1, Summer 2015
  7. Staging "small, small incidents": Dissent, gender, and militarization among young people in Kashmir
    Focaal, vol. 2011, #60, Summer 2011
  8. An Inquiry into the Roots of the Modern Concept of Development
    Contributions to the History of Concepts, vol. 4, #2, Autumn 2008
  9. Misunderstood, misrepresented, contested? Anthropological knowledge production in question
    Focaal, vol. 2015, #72, Summer 2015
  10. Theatres of virtue: Collaboration, consensus, and the social life of corporate social responsibility
    Focaal, vol. 2011, #60, Summer 2011

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