Suomen Antropologi Volume 36, 1/2011
Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society Volume 36(1) 2011: 3-4.
This first issue for 2011 covers a great deal of the globe in its scope, with a strong emphasis on fluidity of movement: the Caribbean, Italy, Cathay, South Africa, Istanbul and the Crow nation, finishing with a Forum that looks at gambling and gambling research in Finland. The first article, Caribbean Insular Mobilities by Carlo A. Cubero (University of Tallinn) examines the paradoxical interplay of concepts of insularity and mobility in the constitution of Caribbean island identities. Cubero concludes by suggesting that ‘neologisms such as “glocal” or notions of hybridity have the curious consequence of attempting to resolve a contradiction’ that would be more productive of understanding if left open. This is followed by Italian Literary Representations of China: Narrating Cultural Identities by Iside Carbone (Royal Anthropological Institute, Centre for Anthropology at the British Museum), another article which examines movement, in this case medieval Italian contact with China as recorded in three prominent texts by early travellers: Historia Mongalorum by Giovanni dal Pian del Carpine (1182–1252), Il Milione by Marco Polo (1254–1324) and Relatio by Odorico da Pordenone (1265–1331). These texts are analysed and compared with modern literary materials to illustrate the constructive role of narrative in the experience of encounters between different cultures. Carbone also points out that, while guiding and inspiring early Italian imagery of Chinese territories, inhabitants and culture, the texts also reflect and define Italian cultural traits. Not surprisingly, her perceptions resonate with my own findings on the role played by the first reports of the Muscovite empire by English merchants in 1554, which went on to shape English perceptions of, and relations with, Russia for centuries.
Three research reports follow, beginning with a discussion of spatiality in Istanbul by Pekka Tuominen (University of Helsinki), titled Fragments of Lost Origins: Authenticity, Belonging and Contesting Histories in Contemporary Istanbul. Tuominen demonstrates how everyday movement between traditional and modern spaces in Istanbul—demarcated by both city planning and local practice—has become integral to the notion of an authentic, reflexive self which defines Turkish modernity. Katja Uusihakala (University of Helsinki) continues the theme of mobility with her essay on Reminiscence Tours and Pilgrimage Sites: Commemorative Journeys in Ex-Rhodesian Diaspora. Using as a lens the concept of ‘pilgrimage’, Uusihakala examines how members of the ex-Rhodesian diaspora community in South Africa ‘travel back’ to the past through regular heritage journeys to Zimbabwe and by constructing memory sites and commemorative venues outside of Zimbabwe where the journeys take the form of imaginative travel. Finally Marjo Väyrynen (University of Helsinki) in her report ‘You’re considered a warrior then’: Respect and Individualism in Crow Military Service, discusses how the Crow, like many other indigenous people, are struggling to construct their lives on their own terms by giving distinctive cultural meaning to majority institutions and transforming them with the application of their own cultural traditions—in this case US military service.
The Forum in this issue is titled The Value of Gambling and its Research and is largely the product of a session at the Finnish Anthropology Conference 2010 on this theme. Compiled, guest-edited and introduced by Pauliina Raento (Finnish Foundation for Gaming Research, University of Helsinki) its contributors are Jukka Jouhki (University of Jyväskylä), Perpetual Crentsil (University of Helsinki), Jani Kinnunen (University of Tampere), Riitta Matilainen (University of Helsinki).
The Finnish Anthropological Society is currently planning the fourth international Finnish Anthropological Conference, to take place on 5th–7th October this year. It begins with a day of ethnographic film culminating in the Westermarck Lecture in the evening, and we are honoured that this year Joel Robbins (University of California, San Diego) has agreed to speak at this anthropological milestone. This will be followed by two days of workshops under the rubric of Dynamic Anthropology: Tensions between theory and practice. The call for workshop proposals is currently on the Society’s web page and everyone is very welcome to participate and attend an event that offers the opportunity of anthropological discussion and sociality on a broad scale.
Finally, as this is my last issue as Editor-in-Chief of Suomen Antropologi, I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to making the past five years of journal publication as productive as they have been: authors, reviewers, active members of the editorial board, active members of the Finnish Anthropological Society and its president, and the incredibly hard-working editorial team. Timo Kallinen (University of Helsinki) is taking up the reins and I wish him as much satisfaction as I have received from maintaining a publication venue in Finland that acts as an interface between anthropology at home and anthropology abroad.
Caribbean Insular Mobilities
Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society Volume 36(1) 2011: 5-25.
The article examines the role that processes suggestive of ‘mobility’ and ‘insularity’ have played in research that has concerned itself with the constitution of Caribbean island identities. Historically, the relationship between these two concepts has suggested a contradiction or a paradox to unravel. Here, the author reviews core concepts in Caribbeanist research and places ‘mobility’ and ‘insularity’ in conversation with each other, arguing that, rather than posing a puzzle to unravel, they operate simultaneously in the process of constituting Caribbean island social identities. Engaging with the simultaneity of stasis and movement can be a powerful tool for researchers seeking to understand the complexities of Caribbean social life.
Italian Literary Representations of China Narrating Cultural Identities
Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society Volume 36(1) 2011: 26-44.
Focusing on the case of Italian literary representations of China, this article explores the mechanisms at work in the process of getting to know and describing a cultural Other. Literary materials from medieval and modern times are analysed and compared with an emphasis on the constructive role of narrative in the synaesthetic experience of realities around us. The texts presented reveal an interplay between cultural identities: while guiding and inspiring people’s imagery of Chinese territories, inhabitants and culture, they reflect and define Italian cultural traits.
Fragments of Lost Origins: Authenticity, belonging and contesting histories in contemporary Istanbul
Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society Volume 36(1) 2011: 45-56.
The cityscape of contemporary Istanbul consists of intricate boundaries that play a significant role in the everyday lives of its inhabitants. This research report explores how various historical narratives of Turkishness are related to spatial divisions of the city and different frameworks of belonging and argues that a notion of an authentic self has become crucial in defining urbanity in Istanbul. In contesting historical understandings, the ancestral Central Asian Turkic civilizations, the imperial history of the Ottoman Sultans, and the birth of the Turkish Republic are seen as a series of ruptures with complex definitions of authenticity and foreignness, especially in relation to religion and ethnicity. The aim of the study is to show how different historically constructed frameworks of appropriate practices and norms are associated with urban egalitarian spaces and traditional neighbourhoods and how Istanbulites cross boundaries between them.
Reminiscence Tours and Pilgrimage Sites: Commemorative journeys in ex-Rhodesian Diaspora
Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society Volume 36(1) 2011: 57-64.
The concept of pilgrimage has recently received fresh attention in the social sciences. One reason for this stems from the fact that migrations, diasporas and similar movements are considered constitutive to the conceptualization and understanding of various contemporary social and cultural processes. The notion of pilgrimage seems to capture both the physical as well as the emotional aspects that such movements contain. This essay examines how members of the ex-Rhodesian diaspora community in South Africa ‘travel back’ to the past in the present in two ways: firstly by concrete heritage journeys to Zimbabwe on reminiscence tours and secondly by constructing memory sites and commemorative venues, where the journeys back to the ‘homeland’ take the form of imaginative travel. It considers how, and if, such constructions and movements related to commemorative practices may be thought of as pilgrimage given that the people themselves perceive, describe and frame such journeys in these terms.
‘You’re considered a warrior then’: Respect and individualism in Crow military service
Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society Volume 36(1) 2011: 65-75.
For many Crows, respect and the related value of individualism are central elements in their culture and social relations. They are commonly used to comprehend and conceptualize Crow military service as an institution, giving it distinctive cultural meaning and transforming it into a part of their own tradition. The notions of respect and individualism are also reflected in the admiration of tribal veterans that has priority over any elusive political concern with the veterans’ personal achievements and their role as embodiments of tribal values. In addition, they are repeatedly employed by the Crow in discussions of military service to construct their understanding of themselves as a respectful people, as opposed to Anglo-American society. Like many other indigenous peoples, the Crow today struggle to construct their lives on their own terms, and they do this by applying their traditional values, such as respect and individualism, to interpret reality and their own identity, hence perpetuating the essence of their distinctive way of life.
FORUM: The Value of Gambling And Its Research
Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society Volume 36(1) 2011: 76-91.
Pauliina Raento: The Value of Gambling and its Research: An introduction (76)
Jukka Jouhki: Writing Against Culture with Online Poker (79)
Perpetual Crentsil: Immigrant Gambling in Finland (82)
Jani Kinnunen: The Social Rewards of Online Gambling (85)
Riitta Matilainen: Gambling and Consumption: The hidden value of historical perspectives (89)
Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society Volume 36(1) 2011: 92-99.
Edward Dutton: David W. Westbrook. Navigators of the Contemporary: Why Ethnography Matters (92)
Toomas Gross: Chris Coulter. Bush Wives and Girl Soldiers: Womens Lives through War and Peace in Sierra Leone (93)
Laura Lyytikäinen: Jessica K. Taft. Rebel Girls: Youth Activism and Social Change across the Americas (95)
Ryan Schram: Maya Mayblin. Gender, Catholicism, and Morality in Brazil: Virtuous Husbands, Powerful Wives (97)
Interesting New Publications
Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society Volume 36(1) 2011: 100.
Cefaï, Daniel 2010. L’engagement ethnographique. Éditions de l’École des hautes études en sciences sociales.
Cuadriello, Jaime (trans. Christopher J. Follett) 2011. The Glories of the Republic of Tlaxcala: Art and Life in Viceregal Mexico. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Bahramitash, Roksana and Hadi Salehi Esfahani (eds) 2011. Veiled Employment: Islamism and the Political Economy of Women’s Employment in Iran. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press
Dahlgren, Susanne 2010. Contesting Realities: The Public Sphere and Morality in Southern Yemen. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.
Djait, Hichem (trans. Janet Fouli) 2010. Islamic Culture in Crisis: A Reflection on Civilizations in History. Piscataway: Transaction Publishers.
Halme-Tuomisaari, Miia 2010. Human Rights in Action: Learning Expert Knowledge. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers.
Hatavara, Mari, Markku Lehtimäki and Pekka Tammi (ed.) 2010. Luonnolliset ja luonnottomat kertomukset: Jälkiklassisen narratologian suuntia. Helsinki: Gaudeamus.
Kaartinen, Timo 2010. Songs of Travel, Stories of Place: Poetics of Absence in an Eastern Indonesian Society. Academia Scientiarum Fennica. Helsinki.
Kouadio, Kobenan N’guettia Martin 2011. Poétique de l’imaginaire et construction du sens: Schèmes, images, syntaxes et signifiance. Chambéry: Éditions de l’université de Savoie.
Pardo, Italo and Giuliana B. Prato (eds) 2010. Citizenship and the Legitimacy of Governance: Anthropology in the Mediterranean Region. Aldershot: Ashgate.
Scheffer, Thomas and Jörg Niewöhner (eds) 2010. Thick Comparison: Reviving the Ethnographic Aspiration. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers.
Stavans, Ilan and Iván Jaksić 2011. What is la hispanidad? A Conversation. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Terrier, Jean (forthcoming in 2011). Visions of the Social: Society as a Political Project in France, 1750–1950. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers.
Wegner, Eva 2011. Islamist Opposition in Authoritarian Regimes: The Party of Justice and Development in Morocco. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.