Department of Anthropology publications
D. Dalakoglou & P. Harvey (eds.), Roads and Anthropology, a special issue of Mobilities Taylor & Francis, September 2012)
Roads elicit powerful temporal imaginaries, holding out the promise (or threat) of future connectivity, while also articulating the political and material histories that often render these otherwise mundane spaces so controversial. The ethnographic studies that we have gathered here all take advantage of the possibilities that roads offer to those with an interest in the empirical exploration of current sociocultural conditions. Roads are materially embedded in local particularities, but the thematic concerns that these ethnographies raise also speak to a more general sense of promise and uncertainty associated with the idiom and materiality of (auto)mobility – and its association with issues of modernisation, connectivity, growth, displacement and circulation.
Raminder Kaur, Atomic Bombay - Living with the Radiance of a Thousand Suns (Routledge India, September 2012)
How is nuclear power imagined? How does ionising radiation affect our lives? Where is it, what is it, how is it conceptualised and to what ends? Based in the vibrant city formerly known as Bombay, such questions are addressed through the experiences, thoughts and feelings of its residents, many of whom were based in close proximity to a nuclear research centre in the north east of the city.
From the fictionalised superpowers of atomic energy, to its commercial applications to sell commodities such as nasal sprays and pesticides, to the detrimental associations of nuclear power attendant to do with genetic mutation and death, the book provides a historical and ethnographic study on how ideas about nuclear science and bombs are entangled in a range of topics to do with the body, gender, nation, class, knowledge and power.
The author charts a history of the reception of the nuclear bomb in colonial India when it first came to the world’s attention in August 1945, and explores how the A-Bomb catalysed India’s political stance on non-violence, the freedom struggle and social and political imaginaries. The features of the ‘atomic culture industry’ - newspapers, films, documentaries and advertising - from the mid-1940s to the present day are highlighted, as are the practices and viewpoints of Indian nuclear scientists and anti-nuclear activists. And the book ends with an illustrative exploration of nuclear fantasies with a focus on superhero comics and their reception amongst young people.
Altogether, it provides a penetrating and original lens into the intricate ways power seeps through popular culture and urban lives entwined in the rivulets of nuclear cultures in this city on the sea and beyond.
Peter Aggleton, Paul Boyce, Henrietta L Moore, Richard Parker (eds.), Understanding Global Sexualities - New Frontiers (Routledge, June 2012)
Over the course of the past thirty years, there has been an explosion of work on sexuality, both conceptually and methodologically. From a relatively limited, specialist field, the study of sexuality has expanded across a wide range of social sciences. Yet as the field has grown, it has become apparent that a number of leading edge critical issues remain.
This theory-building book explores some of the areas in which there is major and continuing debate, for example, about the relationship between sexuality and gender; about the nature and status of heterosexuality; about hetero- and homo-normativity; about the influence and intersection of class, race, age and other factors in sexual trajectories, identities and lifestyles; and about how best to understand the new forms of sexuality that are emerging in both rich world and developing world contexts.
With contributions from leading and new scholars and activists from across the globe, this book highlights tensions or ‘flash-points’ in contemporary debate, and offers some innovative ways forward in terms of thinking about sexuality – both theoretically and with respect to policy and programme development.
Anne-Meike Fechter, Katie Walsh (eds.), The New Expatriates: Postcolonial Approaches to Mobile Professionals (Routledge, June 2012)
While scholarship on migration has been thriving for decades, little attention has been paid to professionals from Europe and America who move temporarily to destinations beyond ‘the West’. Such migrants are marginalised and depoliticised by debates on immigration policy, and thus there is an urgent need to develop nuanced understanding of these more privileged movements. In many ways, these are the modern-day equivalents of colonial settlers and expatriates, yet the continuities in their migration practices have rarely been considered.
The New Expatriates advances our understanding of contemporary mobile professionals by engaging with postcolonial theories of race, culture and identity. The volume brings together authors and research from across a wide range of disciplines, seeking to evaluate the significance of the past in shaping contemporary expatriate mobilities and highlighting postcolonial continuities in relation to people, practices and imaginations. Acknowledging the resonances across a range of geographical sites in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, the chapters consider the particularity of postcolonial contexts, while enabling comparative perspectives. A focus on race and culture is often obscured by assumptions about class, occupation and skill, but this volume explicitly examines the way in which whiteness and imperial relationships continue to shape the migration experiences of Euro-American skilled migrants as they seek out new places to live and work.
This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.
James Carrier & Peter Luetchford (eds.) Ethical Consumption: Social Value and Economic Practice (London: Berghahn Books, March 2012)
Increasingly, consumers in North America and Europe see their purchasing as a way to express to the commercial world their concerns about trade justice, the environment and similar issues. This ethical consumption has attracted growing attention in the press and among academics. Extending beyond the growing body of scholarly work on the topic in several ways, this volume focuses primarily on consumers rather than producers and commodity chains. It presents cases from a variety of European countries and is concerned with a wide range of objects and types of ethical consumption, not simply the usual tropical foodstuffs, trade justice and the system of fair trade. Contributors situate ethical consumption within different contexts, from common Western assumptions about economy and society, to the operation of ethical-consumption commerce, to the ways that people’s ethical consumption can affect and be affected by their social situation. By locating consumers and their practices in the social and economic contexts in which they exist and that their ethical consumption affects, this volume presents a compelling interrogation of the rhetoric and assumptions of ethical consumption.
Katy Gardner, Discordant Development: Global Capitalism and the Struggle for Connection in Bangladesh (London: Pluto Press, Feb. 2012)
What happens when a vast multinational mining company operates a gas plant situated close to four densely populated villages in rural Bangladesh? How does its presence contribute to local processes of ‘development’? And what do corporate claims of ‘community engagement’ involve? Drawing from author Katy Gardner’s longstanding relationship with the area, Discordant Development reveals the complex and contradictory ways that local people attempt to connect to, and are disconnected by, foreign capital.
Everyone has a story to tell: whether of dispossession and scarcity, the success of Corporate Social Responsibility, or imperialist exploitation and corruption. Yet as Gardner argues, what really matters in the struggles over resources is which of these stories are heard, and the power of those who tell them.
Based around the discordant narratives of dispossessed land owners, urban activists, mining officials and the rural landless, Discordant Development touches on some of the most urgent economic and political questions of our time, including resource ownership and scarcity, and the impact of foreign investment and industrialisation on global development.
Dinah Rajak, In Good Company - An Anatomy of Corporate Social Responsibility (Stanford University Press, 2011)
Under the banner of corporate social responsibility (CSR), corporations have become increasingly important players in international development. These days, CSR's union of economics and ethics is virtually unquestioned as an antidote to harsh neoliberal reforms and the delinquency of the state, but nothing is straightforward about this apparently win-win formula. Chronicling transnational mining corporation Anglo American's pursuit of CSR, In Good Company explores what lies behind the movement's marriage of moral imperative and market discipline.
From the company's global headquarters to its mineshafts in South Africa, Rajak reveals how CSR enables the corporation to accumulate and exercise power. Interested in CSR's vision of social improvement, Rajak highlights the dependency that the practice generates. This close examination of Africa's largest private sector employer not only brings critical attention to the dangers of corporate dominance, but also provides a lens through which to reflect on the wider global CSR movement.
Maya Unnithan-Kumar and Soraya Tremayne (eds), Fatness and the Maternal Body: Women's Experiences of Corporeality and the Shaping of Social Policy (Berghahn, 2011).
Obesity is a rising global health problem. On the one hand, a clearly defined medical condition, it is at the same time a corporeal state embedded in the social and cultural perception of fatness and body shape and size. Focusing specifically on the maternal body, contributors to the volume examine how the language and notions of obesity connect with, or stand apart from, wider societal values and moralities to do with the body, fatness, reproduction, and what is considered “natural.” A focus on fatness in the context of human reproduction and motherhood offers instructive insights into the global circulation and authority of biomedical facts on fatness (as "risky" anti-fit, for example). As with other social and cultural studies critical of health policy discourse, this volume challenges the spontaneous connection being made in scientific and popular understanding between fatness and ill health.
Antonis Vradis and Dimitris Dalakoglou (eds), Revolt and Crisis in Greece: Between a Present Yet to Pass and a Future Still to Come (AK Press, 2011).
How does a revolt come about and what does it leaves behind? What impact does it have on those who participate in it and those who simply watch it? Is the Greek revolt of December 2008 confined to the shores of the Mediterranean, or are there lessons we can bring to bear on social action around the globe? 'Revolt and Crisis in Greece: Between a Present Yet to Pass and a Future' Still to Come is a collective attempt to grapple with these questions. A collaboration between anarchist publishing collectives Occupied London and AK Press, this timely new volume traces Greece's long moment of transition from the revolt of 2008 to the economic crisis that followed. In its twenty chapters, authors from around the world—including those on the ground in Greece—analyse how December became possible, exploring its legacies and the position of the social antagonist movement in face of the economic crisis and the arrival of the International Monetary Fund.
Andrea Cornwall, The Participation Reader (Zed Books, 2011).
Calls for greater participation of those affected by development interventions have a long history. This expert reader explores the conceptual and methodological dimensions of participatory research and the politics and practice of participation in development. Through excerpts from the texts that have inspired contemporary advocates of participation, accounts of the principles of participatory research and empirical studies that show some of the complexities of participation in practice, it offers a range of reflections on participation that will be of interest to those new to the field and experienced practitioners alike. Bringing together for the first time classic and contemporary writings from a literature that spans a century, it offers a unique perspective on the possibilities and dilemmas that face those seeking to enable those affected by development projects, programmes and policies.
Anne-Meike Fechter and Heather Hindman (eds) Inside the Everyday Lives of Development Workers: The Challenges and Futures of Aidland (Kumarian, 2011).
Much and warranted attention is paid to aid recipients, including their livelihoods, saving habits, or gender relations. It is held that a key to measuring the effectiveness of aid is contained in such details. Rarely, however, is the lens turned on the lives of aid workers themselves. Yet the seemingly impersonal network of agencies and donors that formulate and implement policy are composed of real people with complex motivations and experiences that might also provide important lessons about development’s failures and successes. Anne-Meike Fechter and Heather Hindman break new ground by illuminating the social and cultural world of the aid agency, a world that is neglected in most discussions of aid policy. They examine how aid workers’ moral beliefs interlink and conflict with their initial motivations, how they relate to aid beneficiaries, their local NGO counterparts, and other aid workers, their views on race and sexuality, the effect of transient lifestyles and insider language, and the security and family issues that come with choosing such a career. Ultimately, they arrive at a more comprehensive understanding of development processes that acknowledges a rich web of relationships at all levels of the system.
Andrea Cornwall and Deborah Eade (eds), Deconstructing Development Discourse: Buzzwords and Fuzzwords (Practical Action Publishing, 2010).
Writing from diverse locations, the contributors to this volume examine some of the key terms in current development discourse. Why should language matter to those who are doing development? Surely, there are more urgent things to do than sit around mulling over semantics? But language does matter. Whether emptied of their original meaning, essentially vacuous, or hotly contested, the language of development not only shapes our imagined worlds, but also justifies interventions in real people’s lives. If development buzzwords conceal ideological differences or sloppy thinking, then the process of constructive deconstruction make it possible to re-examine what have become catch-all terms like civil society and poverty reduction, or bland aid-agency terms such as partnership or empowerment. Such engagement is far more than a matter of playing word games. The reflections included here raise major questions about how we think about development itself.
Amit Desai and Evan Killick (eds), The Ways of Friendship: Anthropological Perspectives (Berghahn 2010).
Friendship is an essential part of human experience, involving ideas of love and morality as well as material and pragmatic concerns. Making and having friends is a central aspect of everyday life in all human societies. Yet friendship is often considered of secondary significance in comparison to domains such as kinship, economics and politics. How important are friends in different cultural contexts? What would a study of society viewed through the lens of friendship look like? Does friendship affect the shape of society as much as society moulds friendship? Drawing on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Europe, this volume edited by Amit Desai and Sussex anthropologist Evan Killick offers answers to these questions and examines the ideology and practice of friendship as it is embedded in wider social contexts and transformations.
Pamela Kea, Land, Labour and Entrustment: West African Female Farmers and the Politics of Difference (Brill 2010).
Diverse contractual arrangements and forms of exchange established between smallholder farmers, their households and community work groups, are important to our understanding of processes of agrarian transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, little has been written in this area. Challenging portrayals of West African female farmers as a homogenous group, the present study provides an ethnographic account of the contractual relations established between female hosts and migrants, in the exchange of land and labour for agrarian production in a Gambian community. Further, it demonstrates the way in which, despite the liberalization of the economy, local cultural practices, such as that of entrustment, continue to be of significance in affecting the nature and particular character of agrarian transformation and postcolonial capitalist development.
Margaret Sleeboom-Faulkner (ed.), Frameworks of Choice: Predictive & Genetic Testing in Asia (University of Amsterdam Press, 2010).
Frameworks of Choice: Predictive and Genetic Testing in Asia is the first comparative study of predictive and genetic testing in Asia in the English language. The volume presents original theoretical analyses of the cultural and political dimensions of predictive and genetic testing by analysing the social, cultural, political and economic environment of choices that people have before and after they undergo a genetic or predictive test. These frameworks of choice also shed light on the different test options of people in developing countries and affluent welfare societies, explaining the so-called therapeutic gap occurring when no therapies are available after diagnosis.
Filippo Osella and Benjamin Soares (eds), Islam, Politics, Anthropology (Wiley- Blackwell, 2010).
This collection co-edited by Sussex anthropologist Filippo Osella and Benjamin Soares offers critical reflections on past and current studies of Islam and politics in anthropology and charts new analytical approaches to examining Islam in the highly charged atmosphere of the post–9/11 world. Working with an intentionally broad understanding of politics, the volume considers not just the state, formal politics, and organizations, but also everyday politics and micropolitics – arenas where anthropology is especially adept at analysis. Provocative and timely, Islam, Politics, Anthropology represents a valuable contribution to understanding the place of Islam in the 21st century world.
Mollona, Massimiliano, De Neve, Geert, and Parry Jonathan (eds). Industrial Work and Life: An anthropological reader (Berg, 2009).
Industrial Work and Life: An Anthropological Reader is a comprehensive anthropological overview of industrialisation in both Western and non-Western societies. Based on contemporary and historical ethnographic material, the book unpacks the 'world of industry' in the context of the shop floor, the family, and the city, revealing the rich social and political texture underpinning economic development. It also provides a critical discussion of the assumptions that inform much of the social science literature on industrialisation and industrial 'modernity'. The reader is divided into four thematic sections, each with a clear and informative introduction: historical development of industrial capitalism; shopfloor organisation; the relationships between the workplace and the home; the teleology of industrial 'modernity' and working-class consciousness.
Gary Armstrong and Jon P. Mitchell, Global and Local Football Politics and Europeanization on the Fringes of the EU (Routledge, 2009).
What can the history of a nation's football reveal about that nation's wider political and socio-cultural identity? How can the study of local football culture help us to understand the powerful international forces at play within the modern game? Gary Armstrong and Sussex anthropologist Jon Mitchell use long-term and detailed ethnographic research on Malta as a critical case study to explore the dynamics of contemporary football. Situated on the fringes of the EU, and with an appalling record in international competition, the Maltese are nevertheless fanatical about the game. This book examines Maltese football in the context of the island's unique politics, culture and national identity, shedding light upon both Maltese society and on broader processes, both local and global, within the international game. The book explores a range of key issues in contemporary football, such as the dynamics of international player migration, football corruption and ethics, the politics of sponsorship and TV deals, and the global appeal of footballing ‘brands’ such as Manchester United, Juventus and Bayern Munich. This book is essential reading for students and researchers working in Sports Studies, Sociology of Sport, Football, Globalisation, Politics and Ethnic Studies.
Ralph Grillo, Roger Ballard, Alessandro Ferrari, André Hoekema, Marcel Maussen, Prakash Shah (eds), Legal Practice and Cultural Diversity (Ashgate, 2009).
Legal Practice and Cultural Diversity considers how contemporary cultural and religious diversity challenges legal practice, how legal practice responds to that challenge, and how practice is changing in the encounter with the cultural diversity occasioned by large-scale, post-war immigration. Locating actual practices and interpretations which occur in jurisprudence and in public discussion, this volume examines how the wider environment shapes legal processes and is in turn shaped by them. In so doing, the work foregrounds a number of themes principally relating to changing norms and practices and sensitivity to cultural and religious difference in the application of the law. Comparative in approach, this study places particular cases in their widest context, taking into account international and transnational influences on the way in which actors, legal and other, respond.
Raminder Kaur and William Mazzarella (eds), Censorship in South Asia: Cultural Regulation from Sedition to Seduction (Indiana, 2009).
Censorship in South Asia offers an expansive and comparative exploration of cultural regulation in contemporary and colonial South Asia. These provocative essays by leading scholars broaden our understanding of what censorship might mean – beyond the simple restriction and silencing of public communication – by considering censorship's productive potential and its intimate relation to its apparent opposite, "publicity." The contributors investigate a wide range of public cultural phenomena, from the cinema to advertising, from street politics to political communication, and from the adjudication of blasphemy to the management of obscenity.
Margaret Sleeboom-Faulkner (ed.), Human Genetic Biobanks in Asia: Politics of Trust and Scientific Advancement (Routledge, 2008).
This volume investigates human genetic biobanking and its regulation in various Asian countries and areas, including Japan, Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, India and Indonesia. It sheds light on how cultural, socio- political and economic factors influence the set-up of bioethical regulation for human genetic biobanks and how bioethical sensitivities surrounding biobanks are handled. Apart from placing discourses of trust in an international perspective, the comparative materials presented in this volume also put into perspective the concepts of genetic theft and exploitation, and genetic wealth and trust. This collection contains case studies of biobanking practices in societies with different needs and welfare levels, and provides insights into government strategies towards genetic resources by examining bioethics as practised at home.
Geert De Neve, Peter Luetchford, Jeff Pratt and Donald Wood (eds), Hidden Hands in the Market: Ethnographies of Fair Trade, Ethical Consumption and Corporate Social Responsibility (Emerald 2008).
In much of the world's economy, production, exchange and consumption are regulated by the Market, which is widely believed to be based on economic rationality and driven by a desire to consume. But there are different views of how the Market operates, or ought to operate. This edited volume engages with urgent contemporary questions about morality and the economy, the creation and circulation of value, and, ultimately, the possibility of making alternatives work. In doing so, the contributors reveal the many fields of power at work within the Market as well as within the movements advocating more ethical economic relationships.
Ralph Grillo (ed.), The Family in Question: Immigrant and Ethnic Minorities in Multicultural Europe (Amsterdam University Press, 2008).
The family lives of immigrants and ethnic minority populations have become central to arguments about the right and wrong ways of living in multicultural societies. While the characteristic cultural practices of such families have long been scrutinized by the media and policy makers, these groups themselves are beginning to reflect on how to manage their family relationships in a world where migration is a transnational piece of the pluralized global puzzle. Exploring case studies from Austria, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Australia, The Family in Question explores how those in public policy often dangerously reflect the popular imagination, xenophobically stereotyping immigrants and their families, rather than recognizing the complex changes taking place within the global immigrant community.
Andrea Cornwall, Democratising Engagement: What the UK Can Learn from International Experience (Demos Pamphlet, 2008).
Governments around the world are starting to realise that engaging their citizens more in shaping the decisions that affect their everyday lives improves both legitimacy and the quality of public services. In the UK, addressing the democratic deficit is high on the political agenda. But the current model of consultation does not bring in the diversity of voices and perspectives that would make citizen engagement genuinely democratic. This pamphlet draws on the Institute for Development Studies research project Spaces for Change, examining international attempts to democratise citizen engagement. The case studies show that genuine, inclusive engagement requires investment to create an enabling environment and to support society’s least vocal and least powerful people to find and use their voices. As other countries lead the effort to involve the public in meaningful conversations about policy, the pamphlet argues that the UK has much to learn from their experience.
Andrea Cornwall, Sonia Corra, and Susie Jolly, Development with a Body: Sexualities, Development and Human Rights (Zed, 2008).
This book offers compelling insights into contemporary challenges and transformative possibilities of the struggle for sexual rights. It combines the conceptual with the political, and offering inspiring examples of practical interventions and campaigns that emphasize the positive dimensions of sexuality. It brings together reflections and experiences of researchers, activists and practitioners from Brazil, India, Nigeria, Peru, Serbia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK and Zambia. From political discourse on sex and masculinity to sex work and trafficking, from HIV and sexuality to struggles for legal reform and citizenship, the authors explore the gains of creating stronger linkages between sexuality, human rights and development.
Andrea Cornwall, Elizabeth Harrison and Ann Whitehead (eds), Gender Myths and Feminist Fables: The Struggle for Interpretive Power in Gender and Development (Wiley, 2008).
Over the last 30 years, ‘gender’ has gained both official status within development institutions and become a recognised field of research and scholarly enquiry. This book explores how bowdlerised and impoverished representations of gender relations have simultaneously come to be embedded in development policy and practice. ‘Gender myths’ and ‘feminist fables’ abound: women are more likely to care for the environment; are better at working together; are less corrupt; have a seemingly infinite capacity to survive. In tracing the ways in which language and images of development are related to practice, the papers in this collection provide a nuanced account of the politics of knowledge production. They also interrogate the implications for feminist engagement with development, arguing that struggles for interpretive power are not only important for their own sake, but also for the implications they have for women’s lives worldwide.
Anne-Meike Fechter and Anne Coles (eds) Gender and Family Among Transnational Professionals (Routledge, 2007).
While interest in migration flows is ever-growing, this has mostly concentrated on disadvantaged migrants moving from developing to Western industrialised countries. In contrast, Euro-American mobile professionals are only now becoming an emergent research topic. Similarly, debates on the connections between gender and migration rarely consider these kind of migrants. This volume fills these gaps by investigating impact of relocation on gender and family relations among today’s transnational professionals.
Anne-Meike Fechter, Transnational Lives: Expatriates in Indonesia (Ashgate, 2007).
Privileged migrants, such as expatriates living abroad, are typically associated with lives of luxury in exotic locations. This fascinating and in -depth study reveals a more complex reality. By focusing on corporate expatriates, Anne-Meike Fechter provides one of the first book length studies on 'transnationalism from above'. The book draws on the author's extended research among the expatriate community in Jakarta, Indonesia. The findings, which relate to expatriate communities worldwide, provide a nuanced analysis of current trends among a globally mobile workforce.
Andrea Cornwall, Elizabeth Harrison and Ann Whitehead (eds), Feminisms in Development: Contradictions, Contestations and Challenges (Zed, 2006).
This collection of essays by leading feminist thinkers from North and South constitutes a major new attempt to reposition feminism within development studies. Feminism’s emphasis on social transformation makes it fundamental to development studies. Yet the relationship between the two disciplines has frequently been a troubled one. At present, the way in which many development institutions function often undermines feminist intent through bureaucratic structures and unequal power quotients. Moreover, the seeming intractability of inequalities and injustice in developing countries have presented feminists with some enormous challenges. Here, emphasizing the importance of a plurality of approaches, the authors argue for the importance of what ‘feminisms’ have to say to development. Confronting the enormous challenges for feminisms in development studies, this book provides real hope for dialogue and exchange between feminisms and development.
Virinder Kalra, Raminder Kaur, and John Hutnyk, Diaspora and Hybridity (Sage, 2005).
What do we mean by ‘diaspora’ and ‘hybridity’? Why are they pivotal concepts in contemporary debates on race, culture and society? This book is an exhaustive, politically inflected, assessment of the key debates on diaspora and hybridity. It relates the topics to contemporary social struggles and cultural contexts, providing the reader with a framework to evaluate and displace the key ideological arguments, theories and narratives deployed in culturalist academic circles today. The authors demonstrate how diaspora and hybridity serve as problematic tools, cutting across traditional boundaries of nations and groups, where trans-national spaces for a range of contested cultural, political and economic outcomes might arise. Wide ranging, richly illustrated and challenging, it will be of interest to students of cultural studies, sociology, ethnicity and nationalism.
Raminder Kaur, Performative Politics and the Cultures Hinduism: Public Uses of Religion in Western India (Anthem, 2005).
This book focuses on one of the major festivals of western India, the Ganapati Utsava, dedicated to the elephant-headed god. Raminder Kaur uses this occasion as the central anthropological and historiographical site within which to examine the dynamic relationship between spectacle, religion and nationalist politics. In contemporary India, this kaleidoscopic event is of interest to various bodies, including political parties such as the Shiv Sena, the BJP and the Congress, media conglomerates which sponsor competitions associated with religious rituals and the police and regulating organizations of the state which strive to keep religious festivity 'clean' of criminality and excessive political manipulation. At the level of community life and everyday bhakti (religious devotion), Kaur shows that the audiovisual aspects of the festival are today crucial to its enduring appeal among large sectors of urban India's populace. Deploying a single major cultural and religious even
Maya Unnithan-Kumar (ed.), Reproductive Agency, Medicine and the State: Cultural Transformations in Childbearing (Berghahn, 2005).
Recent years have seen many changes in human reproduction resulting from state and medical interventions in childbearing processes. Based on empirical work in a variety of societies and countries, this volume considers the relationship between reproductive processes (of fertility, pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period) on the one hand and attitudes, medical technologies and state health policies in diverse cultural contexts on the other.
Nigel Eltringham, Accounting For Horror: Post-Genocide Debates in Rwanda (Pluto Press, 2004).
The 1994 Rwandan genocide was a monumental atrocity in which at least 500,000 Tutsi and tens of thousands of Hutu were murdered in less than four months. Since 1994, members of the Rwandan political class who recognise those events as genocide have struggled to account for it and bring coherence to what is often perceived as irrational, primordial savagery. Most people agree on the factors that contributed to the genocide -- colonialism, ethnicity, the struggle to control the state. However, many still disagree over the way these factors evolved, and the relationship between them. This continuing disagreement raises questions about how we come to understand historical events -- understandings that underpin the possibility of sustainable peace. Drawing on extensive research among Rwandese in Rwanda and Europe, and on his work with a conflict resolution NGO in post-genocide Rwanda, Nigel Eltringham argues that conventional modes of historical representation are inadequate in a case like Rwanda. Single, absolutist narratives and representations of genocide actually reinforce the modes of thinking that fuelled the genocide in the first place. Eltringham maintains that if we are to understand the genocide, we must explore the relationship between multiple explanations of what happened and interrogate how - and why - different groups within Rwandan society talk about the genocide in different ways.