Order, Fragility, Politics: Cultural Anthropological Considerations
This article deals with the terms order, fragility and politics. From a cultural anthropological perspective, the text conceptualizes these terms as analytically linked visualization instruments. Here, the aim is not to develop a hermetically closed system, but to moot open conceptual tools, which are to be substantiated in case-specific analyses. Initially, the article develops a concept of order which makes it possible to take a closer look at the – unquestionably self-evident – orders of everyday life. In a second step, the question of how the constitutive fragility of these everyday orders can be conceptualized is examined. The third part of the article finally turns to the political dimension of everyday culture: To what extent can everyday actions be interpreted as a contribution to the “art of living together”, and therefore as political practice?
Perspective worldwards: Foreign Cultural Policy and the Paradox of the Post-National
Taking recent debates and the dynamics of re-arranging German Foreign Cultural Policy as an example, this paper analyses the relationship between “policy” and “order”. The first section highlights two analytical avenues into these interrelationships that can be formulated with reference to the conceptual and methodological tools of an “Anthropology of Policy”: the examination of entanglements between epistemological orders and policy on the one hand, and of powerful, but simultaneously contested processes of ordering that take place in the course of realizing a policy on the other hand. Drawing on these perspectives, the second section analyses discursive shifts that were observed within the political narratives to legitimize Foreign Cultural Policy since about the turn of the millennium. The emergence and growing relevance of new objectives such as “conflict prevention” exposes a structuring tension between the enduring position of the “national” as an ordering principle and a growing orientation towards the problems and needs of a world that is simultaneously shared and divided. The third section examines the consequences of this tension for the fields linked translocally, in which this policy is put into practice. Based on ethnographic material from Ramallah, Sarajevo and Slovakia, it becomes apparent that the translation of new policy objectives leads to a pluralisation of working modes and organizational formats. In other words, processes of ordering within this policy do not proceed linearly and directly controlled by a political centre, but rather in ways that are intertwined and polarized in different directions. The final section takes up the suggestion of using an ethnographic analysis of a single policy as an entry point to explore more fundamental transformation processes. With reference to Saskia Sassen, a “paradox of the post-national” is identified, which becomes apparent in the depicted attempts to overcome the “national” as the ordering principle of this policy, its epistemological as well as its infrastructural arrangements.
Disputed Reorganization: Europe’s New Border Regime Five Years Later
Based on several recent research projects, the article examines the changes in the European migration and border politics since the historically drastic events in summer 2015, when hundreds of thousands flight migrants made their way to Northern Europe. The article shows how EU Europe has barricaded itself behind increasingly higher fence constructions of both material and digital nature since then, with different effects to the outside and illiberal practices on the inside. In comparison with the main paradigms of the pre 2015 border regime, it sketches new central tendencies and dynamics demonstrating that the more restrictive border politics also make clear borders of democracy.
Schöningh, Fink and mentis Religious Studies, Theology and Philosophy E-Books Online, Collection 2021 is the electronic version of the book publication program of Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, Wilhelm Fink Verlag and mentis Verlag in the field of Religious Studies, Theology and Philosophy from 2021.
Coverage: Religious Studies, Theology, Philosophy, Christianity, History of Religion, Religion & Society, Missionary Studies
In this paper I trace sanitation, education, and cultural enlightenment practices in early Soviet Tajikistan, and reassess the role of red teahouses in addressing drug use and other health issues in the country. I examine the assertions of Soviet historians and physicians by drawing on extensive archival records from Russia and Tajikistan and local newspapers published in Tajikistan in the 1930s, and in doing so accentuate an alternative account that illustrates the limits of Soviet undertakings and the appalling gaps between the aspirations of Soviet leaders and reality. Red teahouses failed both to focus on health challenges and to tackle the use of narcotic intoxicants in early Soviet Tajikistan. The majority of these new Soviet facilities functioned as commercial socio-gastronomic entities until the late 1930s and beyond, rather than spreading health propaganda and engaging in the cultural construction and enlightenment of the Tajik people.
The armed rebellion of Deputy Defense Minister Abduhalim Nazarzoda in September 2015 was a critical moment in the post-war history of Tajikistan. The rebellion, which the government blamed on the Islamic Renaissance Party, formed the justification for the Supreme Court to classify the party as a terrorist organization and arrest its leadership. While the government framed the events as a coup attempt, supported by the IRPT, the narrative had inconsistencies and Nazarzoda had been loyal to the state since the end of the civil war. Using the ideas of Carl Schmitt, who argued that sovereignty lies in the ability of a strong executive to monopolize decision-making, define when there is an emergency, and how to resolve it. In this case, president Rahmon used the the sense of emergency and threat created by the “coup” attempt to dismantle the IRPT and then have himself legally declared “Leader of the Nation.”
Kyrgyzstan has experienced a rapid and diverse expansion of religious educational offerings in the past two decades and presents a fascinating regional case study of the development of Islamic education. Based on a rich ethnographic study, this article explores recently developed processes by which madrasa-based knowledge is established and transmitted. In revealing these processes, the article draws attention to political struggles for control over the transmission of religious knowledge between state and non-state actors on the one hand, and religious actors on the other. It further delves into the material and spiritual world of madrasas as perceived by students motivated to gain education and their families. In the final section, it uncovers how different madrasas use religious education, under the varied concept of ‘service to community’, to establish and maintain networks of graduates, which are necessary to the further rooting of Islamic fellowships into society, politics and the economy.