Call for papers

CFP [AAA 2018], Secura: Security as the Absence (and Presence) of Care

Please kindly consider the following panel proposal for the 2018 Annual Meeting for the American Anthropological Association (November 14-18, 2018 in San Jose, California). 

Panel Title: Secura: Security as the Absence (and Presence) of Care

Panel Organizer: Alex Jong-Seok Lee (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Panel Discussant: Jeffrey T. Martin (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Security is ubiquitous. Didier Fassin describes it as “a keyword and a leitmotiv of national and international policies in many domains” (Security: A Conversation with the Authors 2008). Although traditionally within the purview of International Studies, security has emerged as a popular subject of anthropological study. Specifically, anthropology has enhanced our understanding of security’s relationship with topics like urban policing (Fassin 2013), migration and human rights (Burrell 2010), the National Security State (Price 1998), and biological weapons (i.e., “biosecurity”) (Collier, Lakoff, and Rabinow 2004)—among many others. Yet, security’s meaning(s) often remain(s) ill-defined. Likewise, most studies of security (though valuable) tend to focus on core concepts like the state, violence, war, and peace while the idea of security itself can produce a “masculine bias” (Sjoberg 2009). Hence, as an idea and ideal, security continually must be unpacked and situated within specific historical, political, and social contexts (Stewart and Choi 2012).

Etymologically, security denotes the removal (se) of “concern” or “care” (cura) and, therefore, implies a condition that is either carefree or careless (Hamilton 2013). That is, the condition of feeling secure necessitates the work of others in producing care. Recent anthropologies of care (Raijman and Schammah-Gesser 2003; Buch 2013; Baldassar and Merla 2013), chiefly those highlighting gendered migrant care labor, have grown. But few have foregrounded the complementary relationship between ostensibly distinct practices of care and security. How might viewing care—both in its presence and absence—and (in)security as mutually constitutive unveil the (invisible) feminized work behind managing individual and collective conflict? Similarly, how might posing security as a masculinized display of (un)caring practices highlight the performative dimensions of the former?

This panel follows interventions by feminist security studies (Ahall 2015), as well as calls for more critical comparative ethnographies of security (Goldstein 2010). It seeks papers that advance more inclusive understandings of security that highlight the centrality of gender and the everyday situatedness of securitizing acts. We ask: within which diverse local work contexts might an “ethics of care” (Gilligan 1982)—the theory that care’s core elements of sustaining human relationships and dependencies should achieve moral significance–manifest as a viable alternative to a rationalized perspective of “indifference” (Herzfeld 1992) and justice undergirding conventional logics of security? What are the conceptual and practical implications of productively disrupting pat distinctions between the labor of care and security? For example, in what ways might care labor also serve to (re)produce modes of social inclusion and exclusion? Likewise, how might viewing security as embodied acts of absent (and present) care shift our knowledge about global regimes of gendered (e.g., care, affective, intimate) labor, precarity, and agency?

If you would like to participate in this panel, please send a 250-word abstract of your paper presentation by Friday, April 9, 2018 to Alex Lee (lee828@illinois.edu). 

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Black Lives Matter Syllabus Project

The Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatter Syllabus, Week 31: Adia Benton on Public Health, Ebola and Black Lives on Both Sides of the Atlantic

The editors of Anthropoliteia are happy to continue an ongoing series The Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatterSyllabus Project, which will mobilize anthropological work as a pedagogical exercise addressing the confluence of race, policing and justice. You can see a growing bibliography of resources via our Mendeley feed.  In this post, Adia Benton discusses public health, Ebola, humanitarian aid, care, militarism, and evaluations of Black Lives on both sides of the Atlantic.

Benton Cartoon 1

I teach courses in African studies and global health that focus on political economy, history and power. No matter the course content, I find that I have to undergo and perform several kinds of (dis)orientations with students: together, we destabilize dominant frames for talking, writing and learning about the African continent (for example, how does ‘race’ matter there); we identify what is “critical” about “critical approaches” to public health and biomedicine; and we interrogate what it means to study and ultimately work in the fields of public health and medicine, as this professional terrain shifts on a tension that pits rhetorics and practices of safety and care against those of security and discipline. Continue reading

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In the Journals

In the Journals – August 2016

Sailors_assigned_to_Maritime_Expeditionary_Security_Squadron

Welcome back to In the Journals, a monthly review of just a fraction of the most recent academic research on security, crime, policing, and the law. We are at Anthropoliteia continue to bring you journal articles and book reviews of interest as the summer winds down and we all get ready for the upcoming semester.

The upcoming September 2016 issue of Public Culture features an article by Anthony W. Fontes titled “Extorted Life: Protection Rackets in Guatemala City”. This essay is an ethnography of extorted life, mapping the expanding geographies of extortion in postwar Guatemala to illuminate how this cold-blooded business organizes life at the most intimate of scales. Extortion is the most common of crimes in Central America today and the most despised. Fontes posits that as a growing criminal phenomenon, it exemplifies trends prevalent across post–Cold War Latin America as well as other parts of the world. In many societies, the “democratic wave” and the triumph of market fundamentalism has been accompanied by deepening uncertainty: the state has become criminal, criminals counterfeit the state. For those caught in the middle, distinguishing between predator and protector is often impossible. In his article, Fontes argues that proliferating protection rackets are both a symptom of and answer to collective anxieties over the terms of everyday survival and the difficulty of determining just who is in charge.

Published online by Antipode, the article “Care-full Justice in the City” by Miriam J. Williams develops the concept of care-full justice, which assists in negotiating the inherent tension between the normative and situated in the search for the ideals, and actually existing expressions, of justice and care in the city. Feminist theorists in geography and beyond have long been calling for an ethic of care to be considered alongside justice as a normative ideal that can assist us in repairing our world. In urban theory this call has largely remained unheard as an ethic of care remains absent from theorisations of what comprises a just city. Williams therefore argues for care to be considered alongside justice as an equally important ethic in our search for justice in the city. The article further demonstrates the generative potential of this concept and argues that it enables us to re-think what cities can be and to reveal times and places where this is the case.

The oral histories of indigenous women migrants from Latin America relate human rights violations at every step: in their homes, where violence and impunity compel them to migrate; as they cross the wide expanse of Mexico, encountering a gamut of dangers and a vast sea of impunity, and once they enter the United States, where as asylum seekers they are incarcerated under laws designed to impeded terrorism, or face new vulnerability to partners or strangers if they are undocumented. Shannon Speed’s article, entitled “States of violence: Indigenous women migrants in the era of neoliberal multicriminalism” from the most recent issue of Critique of Anthropology argues that this is not what was supposed to happen. The multicultural reforms of the 1990s in various Latin American countries that recognized a range of rights for indigenous peoples generated hope and unprecedented social mobilization for indigenous women seeking to fully access their human rights. However since that time, Speed posits that life has gotten more difficult. The promises of neoliberal multiculturalism of the 1990s, however constrained, now seem a distant memory. Theorists have dedicated significant effort to understanding the limitations of neoliberal rights regimes for indigenous peoples, but today, the generalized irrelevance of those regimes suggests that we need to shift our lens. Based on migrant women’s oral histories, Speed explores how indigenous women are being interpellated by states and other social actors in ways that render even their most basic human rights unattainable. Furthermore, she expands on that analysis to consider how state and non-state power is working in the current moment, which she argues is characterized not so much by neoliberal multiculturalism, as by neoliberal multicriminalism in which violent, corrupt, and lawless states are driven by profit motives in massive scale illegal economies that lack any reasonable regulation or protection of basic human rights.

Finally, the most recent issue of Policing features several articles of interest. The first, an article by Sara Stronks entitled “Community Police Officers and Self-Involved Conflict: An Explorative Study on Reconciliation with Citizens” looks at the reflections of community police officers on self-involved interpersonal conflict and reconciliation with citizens are explored through a relational perspective. Stronks posits that besides the social/physical state of the opponents and the context of the conflict, the assessed nature of their relationship — expressed by the value, security, and compatibility of the relationship — appears to influence the interactions that follow a confrontation and the occurrence of reconciliation. The relationship assessment appears to be motivated by socially as well as institutionally embedded considerations. With respect to the pivotal, yet lonely role community police officers assess themselves to have in relationship management, reconciliation is regarded an important means in building, maintaining, and even strengthening relationships with actors that are valuable to successful community policing.

A second article of interest from the same issue, “The Italian Anti-Mafia System between Practice and Symbolism: Evaluating Contemporary Views on the Italian Structure Model against Organized Crime” by Anna Sergi, describes and analyses conceptualizations of mafias and anti-mafia in Italy across institutions in Italy. It first interprets criminal law provisions and the value of legal norms and establishes the links between the social dimension of mafias and the symbolism of certain anti-mafia responses. Secondly, the article seeks to link the law with institutional perceptions of the threat of organized crime through in-depth interviews with experts within the anti-mafia system. Sergi notes that the purpose of this article are to construct and de-construct the Italian conceptualization of organized crime and mafia, to understand how strong is the link between the conceptualization of mafias and the main elements of the anti-mafia policing model (the Structure Model), and to start a discussion on whether, and to what extent, the anti-mafia system can be exported outside Italy to fight organized crime.

Once again, here are a handful of book reviews that have been included in various journals that we feel are of greatest interest to our readers. The September 2016 issue of American Anthropologist features Nafis Aziz Hasan’s review of “The Camera as Witness: A Social History of Mizoram, Northeast India” by Joy L. K. Pachuau and Willem van Schendel. The current issue of the International Criminal Justice Review features Anna Lerner’s review of Graham Denyer Willis’s book “The killing consensus: Police, organized crime, and the regulation of life and death in urban Brazil”. Finally, the latest issue of Critical Sociology features a review by JJ Christofferson of Geoff Harkness’s book “Chicago Hustle and Flow: Gangs, Gangsta Rap, and Social Class”.

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 anthropoliteia@gmail.com with the words “In the Journals” in the subject header.
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