Open Access (free)
Sovereignty and the politics of dead bodies
Editor: Finn Stepputat

This book looks at sovereignty as a particular form of power and politics. It shows that the fate of bodies in the transition from life to death can provide a key to understanding fundamental ways in which sovereignty is claimed and performed. The contributions analyse (post-)conflict as well as non-conflict contexts, which too often are studied in isolation from one another. Focusing on contemporary issues rather than the equally important historical dimensions, they all grapple with the questions of who governs the dead bodies, how, why and with what effects. The book analyses how dead bodies are placed and dealt with in spaces between competing, overlapping and nested sovereign orders, under normal as well as exceptional conditions. It looks at contributions that draw on psychoanalysis, critical theory, the structuralist-functionalist anthropology of burial rituals and recent ideas of agency and materiality. The book first explains the efforts of states to contain and separate out dead bodies in particular sites. It explores the ways in which such efforts of containment are negotiated and contested in struggles between different entities that claim the dead bodies. The book then shows how entities that claim sovereignty produce effects of sovereignty by challenging and transgressing the laws regarding the legitimate use of violence and how dead bodies should be treated with dignity.

Open Access (free)
Identity, heritage and creative research practice in Basilicata, southern Italy

Sonic ethnography explores the role of sound-making and listening practices in the formation of local identities in the southern Italian region of Basilicata. The book uses a combination of text, photography and sound recording to investigate soundful cultural performances such as tree rituals, carnivals, pilgrimages, events promoting cultural heritage and more informal musical performances. Its approach demonstrates how in the acoustic domain tradition is made and disrupted, power struggles take place and acoustic communities are momentarily brought together in shared temporality and space. This book underlines how an attention to sound-making, recording and listening practices can bring innovative contributions to the ethnography of an area that has been studied by Italian and foreign scholars since the 1950s. The approaches of the classic anthropological scholarship on the region have become one of the forces at play in a complex field where discourses on a traditional past, politics of heritage and transnational diasporic communities interact. The book’s argument is carried forward not just by textual means, but also through the inclusion of six ‘sound-chapters’, that is, compositions of sound recordings themed so as to interact with the topic of the corresponding textual chapter, and through a large number of colour photographs. Two methodological chapters, respectively about doing research in sound and on photo-ethnography, explain the authors’ approach to field research and to the making of the book.

Open Access (free)
Theoretical approaches
Finn Stepputat

against the ravages of death and the potential meaninglessness of life. By fulfilling these functions, the practices help forge the authority of the institutions that take responsibility for the transition from life to death. While not explaining how sovereignty comes into the picture, this is, in a very simple form, the point that a range of theories from Hobbes to psychoanalysis make regarding the linkage between power and the fear of death. Hobbes himself makes an explicit connection between sovereignty and the fear of (pain and) death. Noting that human beings are

in Governing the dead
Yehonatan Alsheh

Luhmann’s periodization of the emergence of modern functionally differentiated social systems).9 Rather than trying to discover the biology of politics, or the politics of biology, Foucault argued that one should study the historical development and deployment of multiple strategies and technologies for the political administration of biological life as normalized phenomena. For Foucault, biopolitics came to mean a new form of political power (added to his famous though fuzzy typology of sovereign power, pastoral power and disciplinary power),10 the object of which is

in Human remains and mass violence
Olivier Thomas Kramsch

interest in the ‘geographies of walking’ is further informed by concerns with the politico-aesthetic conditions for negotiating and resisting scopic regimes of modern state power, largely within the urban realm (Crary 1990; Jay 1993; Pinder 2011); as a tactic capable of rendering visible a historical, relational and ‘affective geopolitics’ of state sovereignty (Sidaway 2009), and as a potentially productive pathway for charting the normative valences associated with heightened ‘mobilities’ across the social sciences (Urry 2007; Cresswell and Merriman 2011). This chapter

in Migrating borders and moving times
Open Access (free)
Finn Stepputat

Philippines … this is to mention just some of the images that have circulated in international media in recent years, testifying to the power and spectral qualities of dead bodies. The event of my wife’s death and its aftermath made me realise the force with which the state is articulated at the transition from life to death, a realisation that related to my previous academic engagement with ethnographies of state and sovereignty. States tend to establish a range of laws, institutions and practices to take control of the transition from life to death, including the

in Governing the dead
John Borneman

of the power of corpses and offer an explanation for their widespread movement in postsocialist states. This movement, I will argue, is a manic reaction to the death of political regimes and to the sense of abandonment that accompanies this end. Although people may understand this reaction as asserting sovereignty over the dead, it in fact demonstrates the inverse: that the dead govern the living. How and why is it that humans deny being governed by the dead and instead claim victory over their losses? What is the connection between the experience of regime end and

in Governing the dead
Nataša Gregorič Bon

/pragma) sent from Greece by his migrant wife Frosina,5 embody the different regimes of value (Greek vs. Albanian), as well as the geopolitical power of the location from which they originate. The goods that female migrants send to their husbands who stay behind not only reify the meaning of the Albanian–Greek border but also materialise the presence of absent females who live abroad. The chapter focuses on material flows, which are sporadically sent across the border or given to husbands by female migrants. In contrast to remittances, material flows reflect temporality

in Migrating borders and moving times
Open Access (free)
Crossing borders, changing times
Madeleine Hurd, Hastings Donnan, and Carolin Leutloff-Grandits

shaped, felt, experienced and embodied according to prevailing constellations of power and opportunities for individual agency. Time and b/order While since the early 2000s there has been an enormous proliferation of books about borders, few focus specifically and systematically on the intersections of time and space, although this is a topic of emerging interest (see Andersson 2014a). Space has long dominated the field of border studies, and the ‘spatial turn’ across the social sciences has amplified this focus. Thus the many books on borders emphasise the ‘where’ and

in Migrating borders and moving times
Open Access (free)
Borders, ticking clocks and timelessness among temporary labour migrants in Israel
Robin A. Harper and Hani Zubida

, coming to a new country means discovering time and physical freedom. Although their work and attempts to make money to send home may take up most of their waking time, it appears that they are also freed from certain 116 Migrating borders and moving times kinds of fear and are able to rescue lost time from the clock. The lack of violence on the streets creates a time freedom that in their home country seemed impossible. Moreover, migration can enable female migrants to establish agency and restructure the power relationship in their favour. And, finally, through

in Migrating borders and moving times