In the Journals

In the Journals – May 2015


Welcome back to In the Journals, a monthly review of journal publications on security, crime, law enforcement and the state. As many are skirting dangerously close to the summer break, we hope you have some spare time to check out some of these recent publications hand-picked by anthropoliteia for our dear readers.

Public Culture‘s May issue contains an article by Sareeta Amrute, ‘Moving Rape: Trafficking in the Violence of Postliberalization’. This article discusses violence against women in cars in India, including the recent high-profile Delhi rape case, arguing that these cases should be set in the context of economic liberalization. The dynamic between women and their drivers should be understood as a labor relationship within a mode of consumer citizenship that revalorizes Indian middle classes. The author argues that the men who drive are members of a lower class with an ambivalent position in liberalized Indian economies, simultaneously excluded from protections of government and relied on to do the dangerous job of navigating roads at speed. Amrute uses the cases of call center violence to illuminate the relationship between economic privatization and privacy in India today.

The latest issue of PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropological Review includes an article by Larry Nesper entitled ‘Ordering Legal Plurality: Allocating Jurisdiction in State and Tribal Courts in Wisconsin’. The article examines how a Wisconsin statute passed in 2009 that authorized state court judges to transfer cases to American Indian tribal courts unfolded as a political and legal process that was both informed by and produced by fundamental conceptions of cultural difference. It calls specific attention to jurisprudential differences in the form of jury trials and peacemaking in figuring the differences between conceptions of tribal membership and state citizenship.

The June issue of Social Text, already available online, includes Armando García’s article ‘The Illegalities of Brownness’. In light of the current immigration debate, and in particular the state-sponsored carceral arguments most recently sparked by the arrival of Central American refugee children on the US-Mexico border, this article takes cues from the late José Esteban Muñoz’s call to sense the feelings of brown subjects. The article focuses on the cultural politics of digital art, music, and social media that theorize belonging and citizenship outside of the state and its terrorizing governance. The author argues that the brown feelings of migrant persons do not just refute the claims of democracy; the affective labor of their “illegal” cultural forms has the potential to radically alter sociality amid an anti-Brown world by endowing migrants and other deportable subjects with ontological leverage as a practice of everyday life under terror.

The recently published June issue of Antipode includes an article by Merav Amir and Hagar Kotef entitled ‘Limits of Dissent, Perils of Activism: Spaces of Resistance and the New Security Logic’. This paper considers the events of 26 December 2003 when an Israeli activist was shot by the Israeli Army while he was participating in a demonstration organized by Anarchists Against the Wall (AAtW) in the West Bank. Here the authors attempt to understand the set of conditions, the enveloping frameworks, and the new discourses that have made this event, and similar shootings that soon followed, possible. Situating the actions of AAtW within a much wider context of securitization—of identities, movements, and bodies—the authors examine strategies of resistance which are deployed in highly securitized public spaces. They claim that an unexpected matrix of identity in which abnormality is configured as security threat render the bodies of activists especially precarious.

The most recent Theoretical Criminology publication is a special issue on ‘Crime and Criminal Justice in the Post-Soviet Region’. These articles all grapple with the unique questions that studying in a post-Soviet context offers for the discipline of criminology in general. Of particular note is Laura Piacentini and Gavin Slade’s ‘Architecture and Attachment: Carceral Collectivism and the Problem of Prison Reform in Russia and Georgia’. This article attempts to understand recent developments in Russia and Georgia through an analysis of the resilient legacies of the culture of punishment born out of the Soviet period. To do this, the article fleshes out the concept of carceral collectivism, which refers to the practices and beliefs that made up prison life in Soviet and now post-Soviet countries. The authors show how the social and physical structuring of collectivism and penal self-governance have remained resilient in the post-Soviet period despite diverging attempts at reform in Russia and Georgia. Finally, the article asks how studies of collectivist punishment in the post-Soviet region might inform emerging debates about the reform and restructuring of individualizing, cell-based prisons in western jurisdictions.

The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute‘s May issue contains an article on ‘The Burden of Being Exemplary: National Sentiments, Awkward Witnessing, and Womanhood in Occupied Palestine’ by Lotte Buch Segal. The paper offers an analysis of how Palestinian wives of detainees are made into examples, both by themselves and by the people they are intimate with, whilst considering also the context of these women’s awkward place in Palestinian narratives of national becoming. Particular modalities of being an example are expected from Palestinian wives of detainees in order to sustain a shared version of the ordinary under military occupation. Not surprisingly, the emotional labour it takes to appear exemplary is necessarily eliminated from public as well as intimate registers of speech in order to keep up the collective aspiration to maintain a so-called ‘ordinary life’ during ongoing conflict.

And finally, a smattering of book reviews for your perusal. The latest American Ethnologist includes a review of Paul Amar’s ‘The Security Archipelago: Human-Security States, Sexuality Politics, and the End of Neoliberalism’ by Avram Bornstein. Law & Security Review has a number of reviews of recent books, including Jonathan Klaaren’s look at Gail Super’s ‘Governing through Crime in South Africa: The Politics of Race and Class in Neoliberalizing Regimes’. PoLAR also includes a review of Gilberto Rosas’s ‘Barrio Libre: Criminalizing States and Delinquent Refusals’ by Connie McGuire.

As always, we welcome your feedback. If you have any suggestions for journals we should be keeping tabs on for this feature, or if you want to call our attention to a specific issue or article, send an email to with the words “In the Journals” in the subject header.

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