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Volume 33, Number 5, December 1992 1 595 from a politicized population that has been subjected to more than

two decades of state surveillance, coercive interrogations, informers, and media misrepresentation. The oral histories of Formations of Violence account for more than a third of the 319-page text and represent a depth and diversity of local voices that is not found in any other scholarly treatment of the subject. These data could have been obtained in the present political circumstances only through the establishment of trust and confidentiality with informants, which requires time and empathy. Jenkins ignores my discussion of the time spent in the field and the interpersonal dynamics of my fieldwork (pp. 10-13). Between 1974 and 1986, I was resident in Ireland for a total of eight and a half years, during which I conducted fieldwork on Ulster culture that generated two books (including the present one] and a long-playing record of field recordings, wrote cultural criticism for Hibernia Fortnightly Review, and was an active participant in the traditional music scene in Dublin and Belfast. My first book was published in Belfast. My relationship to Ulster culture is an integral part of my intellectual biography. Tenkins claims that the number of mv informants is unclear, whereas I simply distinguish the number of informants whose narratives are presented in the book from the total number of informants I met with (pp. 10-11). He takes me to task for not providing the conversational context ("question, answers, etc." [p. 2351) and implies that I spiked the narratives. "How far do the published narratives depart from what was actually said, and to what extent was the original testimony a product of the research process?" (p. 235) This reveals both methodological and political ignorance and superficial reading of the second half of chapter I . In what ethnographic practice are data from informants not a product of the transactional research process? And does he view political actors in Northern Ireland as puppets easily manipulated by deft questioning? The oral histories in Formations of Violence show the existence of a fertile, autonomous, and politicized urban oral culture that has received little prior documentation in the ethnographic literature. If Jenkins's criteria were valid, the vast majority of Northern Irish studies would be much more editorially suspect than mine, for they rarely present more than the occasional paragraph-length first-person voice of an informant in support of their descriptions and analyses. There is much more room for editorial manipulation in the traditional narrative strategies of the canon than in Formations of Violence. Jenkins never mentions the fact that many of the oral histories are of sufficient length (some going on for pages] and/or narrative completeness to make any that intrusive or manipulative editing quite visible. As he admits, these narratives are expressions of a "storytelling genre" (p. 234) Storytelling in Northern Ireland is a formal performance not produced in "question-answer" format; that the latter does not generate much information from people who are compelled to answer the questions of the state security apparatus on

for the transition to agriculture in Tuscany. CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY 33:328-31. L E W T H W A I T E , J . 1981. Ambiguous first impressions: A survey of recent work on the early Neolithic of the West Mediterranean. Iournal of Mediterranean Archaeology and Anthropology I :292-307. M A L O N E , C. A. T., A N D S. K. F. S T O D D A R T , n.d. Survey and excavation of the Neolithic site of San Marco, Gubbio (Perugia], Umbria, 1985-7. Papers of the British School at Rome. In press.

O n Formations of Violence

National Development and Research Institute, N e w York, N.Y. 11106, U.S.A. 11 v 92 Jenkins's (CA 33:233-35) review of my Formations of Violence (1991) grossly misrepresents the factual basis of the book and impugns my professional conduct and character. Its distortions and bias may be attributable to unstated political views, which are contradicted by the very oral testimony that the book presents. Jenkins begins by declaring that Northern Ireland is an "integral if somewhat insecure part of the United Kingdom" (p. 233, emphasis mine). This, like many other assertions in the review, is an ideological value judgment posing as a statement of fact. It coincides with and implicitly endorses British state policy in Northern Ireland. Northern Irish Loyalist paramilitaries also commit sectarian violence for this principle. Large segments of the Roman Catholic population would view this principle as a denial of their cultural and political identity, and it has had dehumanizing consequences for the majority of working-class Roman Catholics, who have been subjected to state and Loyalist paramilitary terror in its name. Yet Jenkins identifies himself as a humanist and accuses me of dehumanizing the victims of violence in Northern Ireland (p. 235) Formations of Violence presents substantive data on British counterinsurgency practice and community-based resistance to it that seriously challenge the position that Northern Ireland is an integral part of the United Kingdom-unless it can be shown that the suspension of civil liberties, the torture of British citizens, and clandestine state-sponsored assassination of these citizens are common practices in other parts of the United Kingdom. Like many other past pious appeals to humanistic values, Jenkins's morality disguises colonial assumptions. Jenkins insinuates that I conducted "parachute ethnography." This unfounded assertion denigrates my informants. He displays his ignorance of the political conditions of fieldwork in Northern Ireland if he believes that an outsider can simply "parachute" in and easily extract in-depth oral history in quantity and quality



a daily basis. My distaste for replicating state methods of documentation is the reason that, contrary to Jenkins's charges, I do not treat the oral histories as event history (see p. I ) and offer an extended critique of the idea of the unmediated event (pp. I 1-1 6).There are no ideologically neutral descriptions of events in Northern Ireland, as Jenkins's review inadvertently demonstrates. The editing protocols required of me by informants and the political situation are discussed in detail (pp. 11-14)) and they say a good deal about conversational contexts. Jenkins chooses to ignore this section, entitled the "Politics of Narration." The social and historical context for these oral narratives is extensively documented with qualitative and quantitative data from my own research and the research of others throughout the book. What disturbs Jenkins is that my analytical concepts are "confused with the common-sense or lay concepts" of my "research subjects" (p. 235). Yet the two examples he gives pertain not to the mental intentions, or formal ideologies of the political actors referred to (police interrogators and protesting Republican prisoners) but to the autonomous semantic content and effects of their actions; they are taken from long sections of explicit performance analysis. Jenkins fails to mention that Formations of Violence is a study of a performance culture of violence. I propose and demonstrate chasms, contradictions, surplus meanings, and semantic slippage between the official ideologies of political actors (which inflect their commonsense perception) and the tacit ideological forms embedded in their violent praxis. In violent political history, action can be more definitive than official discourse or intent (pp. 1-4). In the social sciences this used to be termed "the contradiction between theory and practice." In Northern Ireland's military culture, "common sense" is a historical, political, and symbolic construct that frequently authorizes violence. When I subject the political culture of violence to a comparative conceptual analysis, Jenkins accuses me, and not the British state or Northern Ireland's paramilitaries, of dehumanizing victims. To describe how the internal logic of violent objectification works, how it congeals into a material culture, and how it fashions political perception is not to endorse it. My use of conceptual tools other than those used by the political culture of Northern Ireland is intended to universalize a conflict frequently dismissed as idiosyncratic, archaic, and irrational, not to display my cultural elitism. Hannah Arendt, Theodor Adorno, and Zygmunt Bauman all felt compelled to devise and deploy philosophically informed analytic language to explore and to critique the "commonsense" vernacular that mobilized and legitimized the Nazi Holocaust. These humanists were left pondering the system of objectification deployed by political terror because the depth experience of victims is ultimately beyond all representation. Contrary to the implications of Jenkins's perspective, humanism does not mean the denial of meaning to violence; nor do his moralistic gestures substitute for analyzing violence, no matter how horrific its consequences.


Department o f Sociology and Anthropology, University College of Swansea, Swansea S A 2 8PP, Wales, U.K. 24 VII 92

I did not expect Feldman to like my review of his Formations o f Violence. However, the ferocity of his response to it seems disproportionate and demands a defence. First, however, I must reiterate the positive things I said about Formations o f Violence in reviewing it: an unusual and welcome contribution to the social anthropology of Northern Ireland inasmuch as it does not shy away from political violence, it says much that is valuable and worthwhile, despite my impatience with the language in which it is written. Anybody who is interested in either Ireland or violence ought to read it. Feldman's objections to my review seem to be fourfold, although it is reassuring to note that he nowhere says that I have misunderstood his theoretical position or the book's arguments. First, he suggests that my description of Northern Ireland as an integral part of the United Kingdom (he is not objecting to my use of the word "insecure") reveals "unstated political views" that colour my judgment with respect to his book. I am accused explicitly of endorsing British state policy in the six counties and denying the "cultural and political identity" of many Northern Irish Catholics and implicitly of supporting loyalist sectarian violence. Now, it is true that my political views about Ireland were unstated in the review. They are not, however, those which Feldman takes them to be. On the one hand, to describe Northern Ireland as an integral part of the United Kingdom reflects ( a )the day-to-day realities of life in Northern Ireland, (b) the territory's constitutional identity within the British state, ( c )the position which is recognised in international law, and (d),given the recently redefined "aspirational" nature of Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ireland, the formal as well as the de facto stance of the present Dublin government. In fact, it is the six counties' membership of the U.K. which provides some of the firmest grounds for rejection of the British government's security policies and criticism of its human and civil rights record. On the other hand, however, to describe the province's membership of the U.K. as insecure seems adequately to communicate the uncertainty and contingent nature of the situation. Feldman's own talk about "British citizens" and "other parts of the United Kingdom" is, by his logic, evidence of his own "colonial assumptions." It is indicative of the weakness of his response to my critique that he should have primary resort to the insubstantial-it is only one word, "integral," which bothers him-and the ad hominem. As further and final evidence, however, that I am not what Feldman takes me to be and, most inconveniently for him, that I did not allow prejudice to colour my view of his

Volume 33, Number 5, December 1992 1 597 work, in the review I talk (p. 235) about his "obvious sympathies." In the context of my original sentence those sympathies are represented as a potential, albeit an unsuccessful, obstacle to the objectification of the human subject for which I criticize him. This is hardly the approach of the unionist/loyalist bigot whose hand he seems to detect in the review. His second objection does at least have the great virtue of being a response to something I actually said. I did say that the data looked and felt like "parachute ethnography." To me, they still do. Feldman's lack of comment upon the two specific examples of errors of fact or interpretation which I gave in support of this judgment (pp. 234-35) does nothing to discourage me in this view. Perhaps eight-and-a-half years was not long enough. As for his third concern, on rereading the relevant passages of the book I consider the problem of the number of interviewees still unresolved, although now my objections are a little different. Why, in particular, were only a quarter of the interviewees selected for appearance in the final product? What is the relationship between the IOO and the z5? It is not clear. This seems to me to be an important issue if we are to know how to evaluate the material as ~resented. As to the presentational criticisms I offered in the review, nothing in Feldman's response goes any distance towards allaying them: in the sanitised form in which it is presented, we cannot know whether what is being said is, for example, an answer to a direct question or to what degree the words on the page depart from the exact words which were uttered. Nor does the length or apparent narrative completeness of the testimonies have any implications for the "visibility" of "intrusive or manipulative editing." Feldman's discussion of his "editing protocols" in the book does not meet my objections. In a study which derives so much of its claim to epistemological authority from the use of oral testimony-in the absence of documentary, statistical, or other ethnographic data-these are not minor objections. Parenthetically, it may make for good rhetoric to assimilate the interviewing approaches of the anthropologist or sociologist to "state methods of documentation," but it doesn't, given the different power relations within which the two interrogatory approaches are situated, make much sense. Finally, Feldman suggests that what disturbs me is the confusion between analytical concepts and commonsense/lay concepts. This is untrue. It is merely one of the things which disturbs me about his work. As to the interpretation of the two examples which I cite in the review, Feldman's insistence that neither pertains to the intentions or ideologies of the actors concerned seems, at best, perverse: in the first we have a "prison collective" which "remains faithful" to an "ideology" (Formations, p. z ~ s )and , in the second the history of the person under interrogation is "defined by the interrogators" (p. 136) in a particular way. In each case one has to abandon any sense of the English language as a repository of shared meaning in order to accept Feldman's interpretation of his own words. This is Humpty Dumpty insisting, "When I use a word it means just what I want it to mean." As to Feldman's claim to have "demonstrated" differences between the "official ideologies of political actors . . . and the tacit ideological forms embedded in their violent praxisu-which I take to be another way of distinguishing what people say from what they do-I have to reiterate that he can do so only by overlooking the content of the words the actors are using. In other words, he appears to know better what they mean than they do. And he may. His argument in this case, however, rests on also knowing what his subjects' "praxis" is. Since the only data he offers are the decontextualised oral testimonies, and since those, by his own admission, are not offered by him as "event histories" (although I would still insist that this is exactly how he uses them), the source(s)of his knowledge remain unclear. Whatever is the case, however, the use of the word "demonstrate" comes disturbingly close to the notion of "proof" and suggests a subterranean and more than residual realist positivism in Feldman's thinking. None of what Feldman has to say in his response has changed my mind about his Formations of Violence. Violence should be analysed and its meaning(s) investigated. Feldman's book, however, objectifies the people about whom it is written to a degree which I still find unpalatable. This is in part because of his theoretical position and in part because of the language in which it is written. As his references to Arendt, Adorno, and Bauman might also suggest, both theoretical perspective and language bespeak an authorial arrogance which is truly breathtaking and does little to enhance the potential of anthropology for enlarging our understanding of conflict or violence.

References Cited
1991. Formations of violence: The narrative of the body and political terror i n Northern Ireland. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. J E N K I N S , R I C H A R D . 1992. Doing violence t o the subject. CURFELDMAN, ALLEN.