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During the Second World War and its aftermath, the legend was spread that the Germans turned the bodies of Holocaust victims into soap stamped with the initials RIF, falsely interpreted as made from pure Jewish fat. In the years following liberation, RIF soap was solemnly buried in cemeteries all over the world and came to symbolise the six million killed in the Shoah, publicly showing the determination of Jewry to never forget the victims. This article will examine the funerals that started in Bulgaria and then attracted several thousand mourners in Brazil and Romania, attended by prominent public personalities and receiving widespread media coverage at home and abroad. In 1990 Yad Vashem laid the Jewish soap legend to rest, and today tombstones over soap graves are falling into decay with new ones avoiding the word soap. RIF soap, however, is alive in the virtual world of the Internet and remains fiercely disputed between believers and deniers.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Open Access (free)
Mass vaccination and the public since the Second World War

Vaccinating Britain investigates the relationship between the British public and vaccination policy since 1945. It is the first book to examine British vaccination policy across the post-war period and covers a range of vaccines, providing valuable context and insight for those interested in historical or present-day public health policy debates. Drawing on government documents, newspapers, internet archives and medical texts it shows how the modern vaccination system became established and how the public played a key role in its formation. British parents came to accept vaccination as a safe, effective and cost-efficient preventative measure. But occasional crises showed that faith in the system was tied to contemporary concerns about the medical profession, the power of the state and attitudes to individual vaccines. Thus, at times the British public demanded more comprehensive vaccination coverage from the welfare state; at others they eschewed specific vaccines that they thought were dangerous or unnecessary. Moreover, they did not always act uniformly, with “the public” capable of expressing contradictory demands that were often at odds with official policy. This case study of Britain’s vaccination system provides insight into the relationship between the British public and the welfare state, as well as contributing to the historiography of public health and medicine.

Open Access (free)

. MMR led to a reappraisal of public health researchers’ and practitioners’ approaches to parents who refused vaccination for their children. It had been traditional to reassert the facts, relying on scientific authority and health statistics to prove the worth of vaccination and the errors of its opponents. This approach did not die in the early years of the twenty-first century, but there was a more concerted effort to borrow from the research of those engaging with sociological conceptions of risk and health. Just as new technologies, such as the internet and

in Vaccinating Britain
Open Access (free)

crisis was rooted in post-war anxieties about Britain's place in the world and the unfulfilled promises of technological progress. The 1970s pertussis crisis emerged alongside deep concerns about the role and function of the British welfare state. The 2000s MMR crisis flourished in an age of mass media, the internet and mistrust of political and medical authority following a host of scandals. So what of today's crises? They are portrayed as a result of a declining faith in science, the rampant individualism of certain types of parents and a sense that we have

in Vaccinating Britain
Open Access (free)

against measles, with some even resorting to compulsion. 2 Both in academic and popular media, anti-vaccinationism has been blamed for these trends. In the global North, communities of activists, buoyed by the internet and social media, have caused headaches even in long-established public health systems. 3 Attacks on health workers in the twenty-first-century Global Polio Eradication Initiative showed that resistance to vaccines was still very much a live issue in low-income countries, too. 4 Even where the scientific case has been successfully made that vaccines

in Vaccinating Britain
Open Access (free)
Security/ Mobility and politics of movement

networked global terrorism, from emergency management in the onslaught of tsunamis and hurricanes to oil wars in the Middle East’ (Hannam et al. 2006 : 1), a diverse range of concrete and abstract things have become highly global and mobile. While such movement is often considered part and parcel of modernity, it also brings about increased complexity that becomes enmeshed with conceptualisations of threat – ‘it is discourses

in Security/ Mobility

actor-network of doping with a view to determining the power relations that occur within this very contentious area. The history of doping and the creation of doping policy For as long as sport has existed, athletes have used a variety of stimulants with the goal of improving performance (Beamish and Ritchie, 2006 ; Hoberman, 2009 Houlihan, 1999 ). Until World War Two, drug use was very crude and generally ignored by sports authorities. However, during the war, pharmaceutical experimentation

in Sport and technology
Open Access (free)
The oddity of democracy

obliged to go to the theatre, or a browser in a bookshop obliged to buy. The populations of mobilised autocracies may be required to attend parades, but the populations of democracies may do as they wish, when they wish, how they wish. Writing shortly after the end of the Second World War, Quintin Hogg delivered what seemed a witty put-down to active democrats when he wrote that conservatives ‘do not believe that political struggle is the most important thing in life. In this they differ from Communists, Socialists, Nazis, Fascists, Social Creditors and most members of

in Cultivating political and public identity

enforce gestures of normality upon those the wealthier can no longer recognise as normal, i.e. as resembling themselves. The security state therefore presides over a patchwork of preregulatory spaces that are polarised socially and symbolically between a series of alternating peripheries. Struggling to meet the basic needs of social security, it can reconfigure those needs as basic fears by operating as the simultaneous origin and resolution of global security risks. Once the gatekeeper who tried to protect against post-war turbulence; now the state invites the global

in After the new social democracy
Jürgen Habermas and the European left

of the Cold War. In 1960–1961 consciousness of the destruction of the Jews took an arguably more national form in the trial of Adolf Eichmann and then with the re-conceptualisation of the ‘final solution to the Jewish question’ (the Nazi formulation) as the ‘Holocaust’ (a Greek word for a burnt sacrificial offering) or ‘Shoah’ (a Hebrew word for destruction or catastrophe). In the 1980s, consciousness of the enormity of the event itself

in Antisemitism and the left