The longing for authenticity, on an individual or collective level, connects the search for external expressions to internal orientations. What is largely referred to as production of authenticity is a reformulation of cultural values and norms within the ongoing process of modernity, impacted by globalization and contemporary transnational cultural flows. This collection interrogates the notion of authenticity from an anthropological point of view and considers authenticity in terms of how meaning is produced in and through discourses about authenticity. Incorporating case studies from four continents, the topics reach from art and colonialism to exoticism-primitivism, film, ritual and wilderness. Some contributors emphasise the dichotomy between the academic use of the term and the one deployed in public spaces and political projects. All, however, consider authenticity as something that can only be understood ethnographically, and not as a simple characteristic or category used to distinguish some behaviors, experiences or material things from other less authentic versions.
Amazonia and Siberia, classic regions of shamanism, have long challenged ‘western’ understandings of man’s place in the world. By exploring the social relations between humans and non-human entities credited with human-like personhood (not only animals and plants, but also ‘things’ such as artifacts, trade items, or mineral resources) from a comparative perspective, this volume offers valuable insights into the constitutions of humanity and personhood characteristic of the two areas. The contributors conducted their ethnographic fieldwork among peoples undergoing transformative processes of their lived environments, such as the depletion of natural resources and migration to urban centers. They describe here fundamental relational modes that are being tested in the face of change, presenting groundbreaking research on personhood and agency in shamanic societies and contributing to our global understanding of social and cultural change and continuity.
Scholarship related to environmental questions in Latin America has only recently begun to coalesce around citizenship as both an empirical site of inquiry and an analytical frame of reference. This has led to a series of new insights and perspectives, but few efforts have been made to bring these various approaches into a sustained conversation across different social, temporal and geographic contexts. This volume is the result of a collaborative endeavour to advance debates on environmental citizenship, while simultaneously and systematically addressing broader theoretical and methodological questions related to the particularities of studying environment and citizenship in Latin America. Providing a window onto leading scholarship in the field, the book also sets an ambitious agenda to spark further research.
“Shared” sites, where members of distinct, or factionally opposed, religious communities interact—or fail to interact—is the focus of this volume. Chapters based on fieldwork from such diverse sites as India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, China, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, and Vietnam demonstrate how sharing and tolerance are both more complex and multifaceted than they are often recognized to be. By including both historical processes (the development of Chinese funerals in late imperial Beijing or the refashioning of memorial commemoration in the wake of the Vietnam war) and particular events (the visit of Pope John Paul II to shared shrines in Sri Lanka or the Al-Qaeda bombing of an ancient Jewish synagogue on the Island of Djerba in Tunisia), the volume demonstrates the importance of understanding the wider contexts within which social interactions take place and shows that tolerance and intercommunalism are simultaneously possible and perpetually under threat.
Everyday practice of religion is complex in its nature, ambivalent and at times contradictory. The task of an anthropology of religious practice is therefore precisely to see how people navigate and make sense of that complexity, and what the significance of religious beliefs and practices in a given setting can be. Rather than putting everyday practice and normative doctrine on different analytical planes, the authors argue that the articulation of religious doctrine is also an everyday practice and must be understood as such.
Colour permeates contemporary visual and material culture and affects our senses beyond the superficial encounter by infiltrating our perceptions and memories and becoming deeply rooted in thought processes that categorise and divide along culturally constructed lines. Colour exists as a cultural as well as psycho-physical phenomenon and acquires a multitude of meanings within differing historical and cultural contexts. The contributors examine how colour becomes imbued with specific symbolic and material meanings that tint our constructions of race, gender, ideal bodies, the relationship of the self to others and of the self to technology and the built environment. By highlighting the relationship of colour across media and material culture, this volume reveals the complex interplay of cultural connotations, discursive practices and socio-psychological dynamics of colour in an international context.
In July 1995, the Bosnian Serb Army commanded by General Ratko Mladic attacked the enclave of Srebrenica, a UN “safe area” since 1993, and massacred about 8,000 Bosniac men. While the responsibility for the massacre itself lays clearly with the Serb political and military leadership, the question of the responsibility of various international organizations and national authorities for the fall of the enclave is still passionately discussed, and has given rise to various rumors and conspiracy theories. Follow-up investigations by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and by several commissions have dissipated most of these rumors and contributed to a better knowledge of the Srebrenica events and the part played by the main local and international actors. This volume represents the first systematic, comparative analysis of those investigations. It brings together analyses from both the external standpoint of academics and the inside perspective of various professionals who participated directly in the inquiries, including police officers, members of parliament, high-ranking civil servants, and other experts. Evaluating how institutions establish facts and ascribe responsibilities, this volume presents a historiographical and epistemological reflection on the very possibility of writing a history of the present time.
At the turn of the century, Sigmund Freud’s investigation of the mind represented a particular journey into mental illness, but it was not the only exploration of this ‘territory’ in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Sanatoriums were the new tourism destinations, psychiatrists were collecting art works produced by patients and writers were developing innovative literary techniques to convey a character’s interior life. This collection of essays uses the framework of journeys in order to highlight the diverse artistic, cultural and medical responses to a peculiarly Viennese anxiety about the madness of modern times. The travellers of these journeys vary from patients to doctors, artists to writers, architects to composers and royalty to tourists; in engaging with their histories, the contributors reveal the different ways in which madness was experienced and represented in ‘Vienna 1900’.
Education systems and textbooks in selected countries of the Middle East are increasingly the subject of debate. This volume presents and analyzes the major trends as well as the scope and the limits of education reform initiatives undertaken in recent years. In curricula and teaching materials, representations of the “Self” and the “Other” offer insights into the contemporary dynamics of identity politics. By building on a network of scholars working in various countries in the Middle East itself, this book aims to contribute to the evolution of a field of comparative education studies in this region.
Children and youth, regardless of their ethnic backgrounds, are experiencing lifestyle choices their parents never imagined and contributing to the transformation of ideals, traditions, education and adult–child power dynamics. As a result of the advances in technology and media as well as the effects of globalization, the transmission of social and cultural practices from parents to children is changing. Based on a number of qualitative studies, this book offers insights into the lives of children and youth in Britain, Japan, Spain, Israel/Palestine, and Pakistan. Attention is focused on the child’s perspective within the social-power dynamics involved in adult–child relations, which reveals the dilemmas of policy, planning and parenting in a changing world.