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Book Reviews

CT Suite: The Work of Diagnosis in the Age of Noninvasive

Cutting. Barry F. Saunders. Durham, NC: Duke University
Press, 2008. ix +398 pp.
University of Missouri-Columbia
Lurking deep within the brain, a tumor glares red in
a computer-generated picture of a man collapsed at a
Las Vegas gambling table. This three-dimensional view
looking through the forehead, shows the skulls surface
as white andthe brains surface as yellow, basedondata
collected by a computed tomography [CT] scanner.
National Geographic, 1987
That the computer-assisted medical imaging technologies
such as computed tomography (CT) have ushered a new
era of visuality is rarely disputed. In 1987, when National
Geographic used the above quote as the opening sentences
of its special feature titled Medicines New Vision, it was
in fact echoing a much broader belief about the power of
this emergent biomedical visuality and the role of CT in it.
In the years and decades that have followed, a diverse and
rich body of studies from a variety of disciplines has crit-
ically analyzed different facets of this new biomedical vi-
sion. Yet as soon as one starts reading Barry Saunderss im-
portant book, CT Suite: The Work of Diagnosis in the Age of
Noninvasive Cutting, one can realize that he is taking us on
a new journey. Saunders does not simply provide an anal-
ysis of the visualization produced by CT. Rather, similar in
vein and analytical focus to Walter Benjamins magisterial
work on Charles Baudelaire (Benjamin 1983), he walks
through the CT suite to make the reader experience the
medical gaze through his insightful exposition. The above
quote, which National Geographic had used to highlight the
transparency of the lesion within the new gaze, becomes
the site of intrigue in Saunders study. (Saunders is doubly
imbricated within the medical gazeas a medical special-
ist and as a social analyst, which, at one level, he wants to
keep separate. He writes, It was crucial that I was, am, not
a radiologist [but a physician]. This has helped me cultivate
what Simmel called the objectivity of the stranger. . . . And
to avoid charges of impiety [p. 8]. I think the strength of
the book lies in Saunders being located not as much as a
stranger [in Simmelian sense] but as a CT dweller [blurring
the boundary between a person in citys crowd, a aneur,
and an analyst], who witnesses, chronicles, and critically
engages with CT scapes).
Saunderss references to Benjamins analyses have to
be taken seriously to understand the import of his study.
The spectacle of the CT, as Saunders points out, follow-
ing Edgar Allan Poe (and Benjamins interpretation of Poe),
is propelled by intrigue that is characteristic of detective
stories. Even though Saunders states at the outset that by
intrigue he means primarily conditions of puzzlement or
curiosityin relation to the form of the diagnostic case
(p. 10), the implication of intrigue in his analysis, as is evi-
dent throughout the book, is far wider. As Benjamin put it in
the context of the city: It is the obliteration of the individ-
uals traces in the big-city crowd, the original social con-
tent of the detective story, whichinstills intrigue (Benjamin
1983:43). The intrigue of the CT scanning process is cen-
tered on the culprit situation of the lesion, which, how-
ever, devolves not merely fromrefusal to be read but from
refusal to be alone (p. 305). In the context of the city, Ben-
jamin (quoting Poe) highlights the resulting intrigue: This
old man . . . is the type and the genius of deep crime. He re-
fuses to be alone. He is the man of the crowd (Benjamin
1983:48). The visual gaze, as CT Suite vividly and critically
shows, is like the city (with its crowds) in which the lesion
remains hidden (and, hence, the site of intrigue) because of
its refusal to be alone.
For Saunders, the key to making sense of the medical
gaze produced by CT is to focus on the CT scapemore
specically, the CT suiteas it comes into being through
the sociotechnical engagements embodied in it. The CT
suite, analogically like the arcades in a city (and, more gen-
erally, the city), is the physical space with its architectural
forms, which, nevertheless, is inseparable from eponymic
practices and social roles that make up an economy of di-
agnostic attentions (p. 2).
The six chapters of the book unravel the intrigue of
diagnostic work by critically expositing its various cocon-
stitutive facets. First chapter, Reading and Writing, takes
us into the CT Reading Room. Reading, as Saunders illus-
trates, is sacredconstituted through conventions but em-
bodied in the CT suite (e.g., the DNB button) and in the
AMERICAN ETHNOLOGIST, Vol. 38, No. 4, p. 816850, ISSN 0094-0496, online ISSN 1548-1425. C
2011 by the American Anthropological Association.
All rights reserved. DOI: 10.1111/j.1548-1425.2011.01339.x
Book Reviews

American Ethnologist
gestures and practices of those engaged in reading. It is
not strictly an image-centered activityit involves cor-
relating lm and text (p. 81), which occurs by interweav-
ing of seeing and doingvisual/visible is intertwined with
the speakable/audible and the tactile/touchable (p. 18).
Even though marked by interruption, seeing in the reading
room is disciplined because the normal becomes a struc-
ture of the expectant sensorium (p. 33). Seeing also bears
the weight of history; for example, the history of sectional
viewing of anatomic representations, which parallels a sim-
ilar move in geology at the turn of the 20th century.
CTimages are producedthroughcutting, whichis the
focus of the second chapter. CT does not literally cut the
body (as in opening up of corpses), even though the cutting
of bodily space continues to be haunted (and impacted) by
it. CT has a ring, which consists of an X-ray emitter and
detector that is used to produce images of different slices
of the body. Saunders highlights the longer history of to-
mographic sectional imaging. Yet, as he shows, cutting up
with CT had to wait until the 1970s, when Hounseld pro-
posed a prototype, which eventually saw the light of the
day not the least because of its marketing possibilities in
the United States. The chapter titled Diagnosing takes us
inside the theater of diagnostic intrigue that as Saunders
shows through meticulous ethnographic detail involves re-
connaissances of images, followed by reconnaissances of
diagnostic prospects. Each nal conjectural effort aspires to
a best t withreceived classicatory criteria (p. 142). Curat-
ing, as Saunders shows in the next chapter, occurs through
and within intensely archival domainsconcerned with
storage, organization, and display of images and docu-
ments (p. 160). The custodial authority of this archive (and
the practice of curating) results from exchange and over-
lap of archival objectsbodies, images, and textswithin
and beyond the CT suite (they move inside and outside the
CT suite as they become a part of published cases, clinical
trials, review articles: the literature [p. 194]).
The clinical gaze, as Michel Foucault (1994) points out,
is articulated as a transparent view (i.e., not guided by the-
ory) but is a result of extensive and exclusive training. Saun-
ders investigates the pedagogical and testimonial practices
of viewing in chapter 5. He, however, does not take us in-
side the medical college. Instead, he shows how testify-
ing and teaching are twined practices, in conferences and
the reading room viewbox (p. 271) through which the res-
ident is socialized to become an expert. Conferences and
the reading room are not only sites to learn how to see,
but also settings for performance of roles; conferences have
ritualized performances that highlight structuring of roles,
while the performance in the reading room is marked by
interruption. The last chapter investigates the exposition
of radiographic projects (which includes CT) as they are
set out comprehensively, for broader polities (p. 275) at
two venuesArmed Forces Institute of Pathology (a train-
ing venue) and the Annual Meeting of Radiological Soci-
ety of North America (by far the biggest site of radiological
It is difcult to do justice to the extraordinary anal-
ysis of the CT suite that Saunders provides through his
lucid narrative style, enchanting ethnographic detail, and
thought-provoking analytical engagement. Nevertheless, I
hope my review is helpful in making many other readers
embark onto undertaking the journey inside the CT Suite.
References cited
Benjamin, Walter
1983 Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capital-
ism. New York: Verso.
Foucault, Michel
1994 The Birth of the Clinic: An Archaeology of Medical Percep-
tion. New York: Vintage.
Clandestine Crossings: Migrants and Coyotes on the
Texas-Mexico Border. David Spener. Ithaca, NY: Cornell
University Press, 2010. 298 pp.

Department of History, UCLA
Media reports and government ofcials tend to tell the
same story about coyotaje, human smuggling, at the U.S.
Mexico border. The smugglers, coyotes, are criminals be-
cause they violate U.S. and Mexican law by facilitating
unsanctionedmigrationandbecause they oftenprey onmi-
grants by abandoning, raping, and, sometimes, killing their
cargo. Coyotes, therefore, are most often characterized as
callous business operatives or predators at the border. The
function of this narrative is to dene how migrant suffer-
ing is shaped at the border. Migrants die in the deserts, the
mountains, the canals, and the river. When they cross suc-
cessfully through the backlands, they often emerge bruised
and battered. According to the prevailing narrative coyotaje
at the U.S.Mexico border, the source of this suffering is
unscrupulous coyotes who take advantage of migrants in
In Clandestine Crossings: Migrants and Coyotes on the
Texas-Mexico Border, David Spener challenges the notion
that coyotes are responsible for migrant suffering. Based
on 156 open-ended interviews with migrants and coyotes,
eld observations in the South Texas region, and numer-
ous interviews with additional stakeholders in the unfold-
ing of U.S. immigration control, such as representatives of
the U.S. Border Patrol, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency,
the FBI, and immigrant rights activists, Spener provides one
of the rst in-depth glimpses into the world of unsanc-
tioned border crossing since sociology graduate student
American Ethnologist

Volume 38 Number 4 2011
Jorge Bustamante accompanied a group of unauthorized
Mexican border crossers in the early 1970s. It is a richly de-
tailed study that scholars will rely on for years to come as
we struggle to document the lives and experiences of the
undocumented in the United States.
The original body of evidence that Spener musters is
clustered in chapters 2 to 5. Chapter 2, Clandestine Cross-
ing at the Beginning of the Twenty-rst Century: The Long
March through Brush Country, is particularly useful as a
teaching tool that takes students into the gritty and mun-
dane process of coyotes shepherding and spiriting migrants
across the border. Drawn from his interviews with migrants
and coyotes, Spener details what routes are possible to
take into the United States, how choices are made regard-
ing the distinct disadvantages of each route, how migrants
sustain themselves on the journey north by catching food,
nding water, and making hard choices at critical junc-
tures. Chapters 3, 4, and 5 focus on exploring coyotaje as a
socially embedded practice. The thrust of these chapters
is that the business of coyotaje requires trust andmutualism
among multiple partners. Migrants must trust that coyotes
will safely deliver them to their destination. Coyotes must
trust that migrants can pay for the trip, often waiting sev-
eral months to be fully paid. Andcoyotes oftenwork inloose
confederations and must trust one another to forward pay-
ments and competently complete their portion of the work.
Together, these chapters provide a complex picture of coy-
otaje as a business and strategy in which migrants and coy-
otes depend on one another to overcome U.S. immigration
control and border enforcement efforts.
Yet Clandestine Crossings offers more than intimate
details into the world of coyotaje. Rather, Spener situates
coyotaje within an analysis of immigration control as a
matter of global apartheid. Emerging from world-systems
theory, global apartheid imagines the accumulation of cap-
ital, health, and safety on a world scale and, according to
Spener, restricting the movement of people is a form of
structural violence that systemically deprives a substantial
portion of the world population of things vital to their
health and development (p. 13). Coyotaje, thereby, is a re-
sistance strategy that forges opportunities for the poor to
gain access to critical resources, that is, vital things, for sur-
vival. Spener uses the term hormiga resistancia to describe
the constant and small-scale challenges to the authority of
U.S. immigration control, that is, global apartheid, that coy-
otaje represents. Far froma coherent political uprising, coy-
otaje is a weapon of the weak that exploits, for targeted
benets, breaks, and soft spots in the regime of U.S. im-
migration control. This interpretive approach to coyotaje
is rmly grounded in Speners research with migrants, coy-
otes, and immigration control ofcials.
Clandestine Crossings is an immensely valuable book
that challenges a key narrative in the logic of contemporary
immigrationlawenforcement and border control. The book
is well written and could be assigned to both undergraduate
and graduate students.
Indian Films in Soviet Cinemas: The Culture of Movie-
Going after Stalin. Sudha Rajagopalan. Bloomington: Indi-
ana University Press, 2008. 241 pp.
University of California, Santa Barbara
Between 1954 and 1989, each of 50 Indian lms drewin over
20 million viewers in the USSR. Four of theseAwara in
1954, Bobby in 1975, Barood in 1978, and Disco Dancer in
1984crossed the 60 million mark, surpassing audiences
for all other releases in those years. In terms of its hold
on Soviet audiences, Indian cinema edged out all foreign
competition, including its U.S., French, and Italian coun-
terparts. All this was well documented in the Soviet states
records. Yet the deep and sustained Soviet enthusiasm for
Indian popular lms remained overlooked in Anglophone
accounts of global cinema: overlooked, that is, until the re-
cent publication of Sudha Rajagopalans fascinating mono-
graph. Presenting a rich account of Soviet-era cine culture
in light of the local circulation of Indian lms, Rajagopalan
has challenged the putative global hegemony of U.S. com-
mercial and European art cinemas.
Methodologically, Rajagopalan combines analysis of
ofcial documents and trade and popular magazines with
ethnographic research. The latter comprises initial survey
via written questionnaires (partly modeled on well known
reception studies by Janice Radway and Jackie Stacey) re-
turned by 33 respondents, followed by more extensive in-
terviews of what she calls interpretive communities
moviegoers, policy makers, and cultural arbiters such as
critics and sociologists. At times, this reviewer found the au-
thor a bit too circumscribed by her evidence and wished
for more critical and broadly suggestive readings of the tes-
timonies and documents. For instance, she reports on the
viewers perception that Indian lms were apolitical and
nonideological without parsing it further: what might such
a view suggest about popular Soviet interpretive practices,
what implications might it have for transnational theories
of Indiancinema? Nevertheless, the archive Rajagopalanas-
sembles is intriguing, will prove invaluable to other scholars
of Soviet culture in the Cold War era, and is bound to in-
spire similar cross-cultural research. Andthe books insights
about the interactions of lm import and distribution poli-
cies, apparatchik concerns, and fan culture, presented in a
lucid, accessible style, are always engaging.
Chapters 1 and 4 present viewers voices: while the
former draws on interviews in which fans reect back on
their consumption of Indian lms and place it within a
sociocultural context, the latter analyzes their letters to
Book Reviews

American Ethnologist
ofcial agencies and to the press. Compared to the relent-
less edication of public life and the overtly pedagogical
tone of Soviet cinema, viewers found the socially conscious
but light touch, fantasy-oriented Indian lms to speak
more directly to their quotidian anxieties and aspira-
tions. In discussing what drew them to these lms, they
repeatedly mentioned melodrama with its predictable
storylines and utopian resolutions, exaggerated good
evil characterizations, empathetic heroes, and a deep
compassion for suffering. We learn of the infatuated
fans enthusiasmcollecting memorabilia, mobbing
stars on their visits, wearing Indian costumes to lm
screeningsand of more striking instances of cross-
cultural inspirationone viewer became an Indologist, two
others experts in Indian dance.
What emerges is an intriguing, textured understand-
ing of the place of Indian lms in the popular imagination.
These cultural imports provided a welcome diversion from
the regular domestic fare focusing on factory workers and
war heroes, presenting lifeworlds at once exotic and famil-
iar. On the one hand, these lms were like exuberant and
colorful documentaries of Indian life, proffering a win-
dow on the world; on the other hand, compared to West-
ern standards, the moral and ethical codes espoused by
these lms seemedless alien, their stress oncommunity life,
modest living, and rectitude resonating with local frames of
reference deemed part and parcel of an Eastern dusha, or
soul. Meticulously documenting the play of sameness and
difference, Rajagopalan lays bare the cultural transactions
and affective afnities that are at work in the production of
heterotopic globalities.
Chapters 2 and 3, which scrutinize ofcial views on the
social role of cinema, policies of lm import and distribu-
tion, and institutional opinions (including writings in cine
journals and sociological studies), complicate received no-
tions of an iron grip of the state machinery on the cultural
eld. While Rajagopalan notes an overarching tendency to-
ward uniformityher evocative if somewhat essentializing
phrase is Soviet monochromeshe also delineates the
ways in which a more heterodox cultural space material-
ized around Indian cinema. Indian lms, which already had
the benet of ofcial patronage because of Indias status as
strategic ally, also enjoyed robust box ofce appeal. Iron-
ically, the more overtly political lms of the Indian New
Wave, while lauded in ofcial circles, never garnered the
broad attention that commercial lms enjoyed: even state
agencies such as Goskino and Soveksportlm were in on
these inconsistencies. Screenings of popular Indian lms
became festive events, drawing in entire families and young
lovers alike, with many in the audience dressing up and
giving in to a carnivalesque spirit. Distributors and theater
owners generally preferred these imports to local products,
scheduling extra screenings and spending more on public-
ity for the former that helped themmeet annual revenue re-
quirements; they even went against ofcial directives, fudg-
ing records to meet stipulations of screen time devoted to
Soviet lms. Such play of competing goals and sovereign-
ties was given a further twist by the incommensurate opin-
ions of ideologues, cultural policy wonks, and sociologists
studying the social role of media: the hardliners disquiet
about the quasi-feudal and bourgeois nature of most In-
dian lms often came up against media analysts attempts
to learn from their popularity to devise effective pedagogi-
cal interventions.
Rajagopalans research has had to negotiate various re-
strictions imposed by ofcial archives: future scholars will
learn from her deft supplementing, augmenting, and cir-
cumventing of research roadblocks such as classied doc-
uments. Some quibbles remain about the authors use of a
simplistic melodramarealism polarity (the Soviet war and
factory worker lms were unabashedly melodramatic
and what about the realism of early Raj Kapoor melo-
dramas?), her narrowly liberalbourgeois understanding of
utopianism (surely the Soviet lms were utopian in a dif-
ferent vein?), and her reductive characterization of Indian
popular cinema in the introduction (including the reitera-
tion of the cinema of interruptions model, which rests on
the presumption of a normative paradigm). All the same,
Rajagopalans book is an illuminating and welcome con-
tribution to multiple eldsSoviet cultural studies, South
Asian lm studies, transnational media studiesproviding
concrete and deeply contextual elaborations of frequently
all-too-general claims about global cultural exchanges and
AIDS, Sex, and Culture: Global Politics and Survival in
Southern Africa. Ida Susser. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell,
2009. xxiv +277 pp.
Florida State University
If you ever doubted anthropologys potential to improve
the world, Sussers book will make you a believer again.
It recounts over a decade of her own research on and en-
gagement with HIV/AIDS in Africa from the late 1990s to
2008, demonstrating that action research is academic re-
search in action. As a result, the book deserves wide at-
tention and use in courses on Africa, anthropology, gender,
HIV/AIDS, globalization, research methods, public health,
science studies, and sociology. It stands as a model for how
to do ethnography of any kind in an age of growing global
disparities in power and opportunity between rich and
Susser argues that understanding HIV/AIDS in Africa
requires listening to those who experience, suffer, and ght
its heaviest consequences rsthand: African women. All
American Ethnologist

Volume 38 Number 4 2011
other knowledge of and responses to the pandemic are ac-
countable to these womens realities. Susser explains why
througha series of case studies that reveal clear links among
global health measures, neoliberal national policies, and lo-
cal situations. The introduction offers a brief if magiste-
rial overview of the use of ethnographic methods in the
study of HIV/AIDS. Sussers work champions and exempli-
es the kind of theoretically sophisticated global ethnog-
raphy that can illuminate through processual event anal-
yses and on-the-ground participant observation, the con-
nections between local experience and global decisions
(p. 8).
In chapter 1, Susser decries the low priority given by
most HIV/AIDS experts to studies of the sociopolitical di-
mensions of HIV/AIDS. Those who plan interventions typi-
cally ignore womens collective action as a resource, over-
look womens greater vulnerability to infection and the
specicity of their symptoms, and underestimate the ob-
stacles that women and their children face in accessing
HIV/AIDS-related services. Susser traces these problems to
the initial, male-focused response to HIV/AIDS in the pan-
demics early days. She critiques the concept of hetero-
sexual transmission, for example, for obscuring womens
particular vulnerabilities to HIV transmission by grouping
them with those relevant to men.
President Bushs Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEP-
FAR) typied this neglect of women, as chapter 2 explains.
PEPFARs funding of abstinence, be faithful, and use con-
doms programs devalued the kinds of sex education, dis-
cussion of sexual orientation, contraceptives, and family
planning (p. 47) that women most wanted and needed.
There were swift consequences. In2004, after President Mu-
seveni of Uganda began receiving PEPFAR funding, he re-
versed Ugandas progressive condom policies, which had
included the use of female condoms.
But the dynamics of national politics in Africa have also
complicated womens lives. In chapters 34, Susser shows
how South African apartheid led to post-apartheid suspi-
cions that the promotion of condoms against HIV/AIDS
was a Western plot to limit population (p. 80). Subse-
quently, the post-apartheid state edged aside . . . the pro-
gressive groups that had brought the ANC to power (p.
88). The women who had pioneered frank, open discus-
sions of gender and sexuality lost ground. Distributionof fe-
male condoms languished. President Mandela rarely men-
tioned AIDS. And President Mbeki and Health Minister
Tshabala-Msimang discouragedWesternbiomedicine infa-
vor of garlic, beetroot, and African potatoes (p. 101)
partly in response to colonial concepts of African mas-
culinity (pp. 206207). Although South Africa won its case
against restricting the emergency use of HIV/AIDS drugs
(contrary to the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Prop-
erty Rights or TRIPS agreements), South Africas health
minister blocked distribution of free medications like nevi-
rapine. Domestic as well as global politics gendered the
Sibongile Mkhize is a case in point. In chapter 5,
she narrates her experience of comforting over ten of her
relatives as they died of AIDS while caring for their or-
phaned children. Mkhizes ordeal underscores the erosion
of womens autonomy inSouth Africa since colonialismand
the increasing burden of care imposed on them by the
state for sick family members (p. 136).
In chapters 67, Susser compares two groups of South
African women who were also supporting family members
living with HIV/AIDS: the Bead Workers, comprised ru-
ral women with little scientic understanding of HIV/AIDS
who travelled hours to Durban to work to pay for the costs
of HIV/AIDS care, and the urban based Hope Workers,
whose greater scientic understanding spurred them to
seek recruitment into a medical research project with ac-
cess to HIV-related testing. The comparison demonstrates
the extent to which local womens lives reected the na-
tional and global dimensions of HIV/AIDS policies, which
particularly disadvantaged rural women. Even then, both
groups prevented infection as best they could.
Chapters 810 spotlight Namibia, where Susser found
that Ovambo women shared their South African sisters
practical sense about condoms and AIDS (p. 155). Al-
though knowledgeable about the pandemic, they suffered
fromthe same disjuncture Susser observedinSouthAfrica
between the strategies for which women were asking,
such as the female condom, and the resources provided
(p. 156). When female condoms nally arrived in Namibia
after 2001, 18 thousand of them were sold in the rst
three months. But uneven distribution and agging sup-
plies from the state made them all but unavailable by 2003.
Meanwhile, Ju/hoansi women were displaying greater en-
titlement . . . toward sexual decisions (p. 171), reective
of the more egalitarian quality of San life. The result was
an increased condence in sexual negotiation with men
(pp. 174175). Francina Simon used this condence to en-
force a law banning the sale of kashipembe, a new form
of illicit distilled liquor (p. 185) at shebeens (unlicensed
drinking establishments). State construction projects were
attracting more male workers to the area, and the privatiza-
tion of water was making life expensive, leading men to es-
cape to shebeens after work where they subjugated and ex-
ploited women (p. 195), increasing womens risk of HIV in-
fection. But after Francina Simons ve-year campaign, the
Namibian deputy prime minister shut down the shebeens
herself. And in 2008, when Susser returned to the Tsumkwe
area, she found both male and female condoms available
(p. 198). Thanks to womens activism, the situation had
Susser concludes in chapters 1112 that organic intel-
lectuals like Francina Simon play key roles in reversing the
impacts of gender discrimination, structural adjustment,
Book Reviews

American Ethnologist
neoliberalism, and ethnocentrismon HIV/AIDS prevention
and treatment. Their work brings to light the particulari-
ties of each womans struggle with HIV/AIDS, beyond her
anonymous status as a member of a vulnerable group.
Even with the increasing availability of highly active an-
tiretroviral therapy (HAART), the dynamics of social injus-
tices will still shape the fortunes of those most suscepti-
ble to infection because of their gender, reproductive sta-
tus as mothers, and social obligations as caregivers. For sus-
taining attention to these problems and for its intellectual
rigor, methodological inventiveness, and passionate com-
mitment, Sussers book is a tour de force.
War and Memory in Lebanon. Sune Haugbolle. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2010. xii +260 pp.
Centre for Lebanese Studies, St. Antonys College, Oxford
War and Memory in Lebanon is a timely and much-needed
intervention into debates around memory of the Lebanese
Civil War (197590). It is required reading for anyone wish-
ing to get a glimpse of the varying contests in Lebanon re-
volving around remembering the war and establishing a
collective memory of it.
Haugbolle traces debates around cultural production
of the wars memory that took place in the years between
1990 and 2005, relying primarily on analysis of cultural texts
such as lms, books, newspaper reports, art, and war rep-
resentations in public spaces. The text provides a valuable
rst critique of a prevailing notion that there existed a state-
sponsored amnesia after the war. In chapter 1, Haugbolle
acknowledges this discourse but specically says that it is
wrong to associate such metaphors of amnesia and trauma
that relate to the individual to describe social processes at
the state level. He revisits this in chapter 4, where we are
told that amnesia became somewhat of a social fact and
that collective amnesia almost became a clich e of public
debate (p. 102).
The author eloquently captures memory work of the
period as being a contest between various political groups
and what he calls memory makers. He denes the latter
as being people of the creative class who became occupied
with questions of how to memorialise the war through so-
cial and artistic activities, and produced books, testimonies,
lms, articles, grafti and architecture through which the
war was remembered (p. 8). Political groups, however, pro-
duced memory that was intent on legitimizing their po-
litical identity and power. Haugbolle claims that memory
makers acted against a state-sponsored amnesia that was
manifested through an amnesty law, and that they were re-
sponding to the lack of state attempts to establishwhat hap-
pened during the war years. As an alternative to the am-
nesia thesis, Haugbolle concludes that it was the messi-
ness of understanding the war that posed the greatest dif-
culty for people in society trying to make sense of their
lives in the so-called postwar era (p. 78). He says that de-
bates around memory and amnesia were in fact used as
fodder in the political struggle over continuity or change in
postwar Lebanon (p. 84).
The construction over downtown Beirut became an-
other site for where amnesia debates playedout, withHaug-
bolle saying that downtown Beirut rendered the war invisi-
ble (p. 88). On this point, he joins other critical works on the
reconstruction of downtown Beirut, but could not this re-
construction and the debates around it be seen as another
way of keeping a narrative of the war in the limelight? On
seeing downtown, in the 1990s and today, one is reminded
of the war and what it destroyed as one looks on the empty
city and the Disneyland-style buildings. Haugbolle notes
that cities can subvert their planners, and one wonders if
the city and its people did not do so in relation to mem-
ory. For instance, one could hardly speak of the new city-
in-construction without referencing the war it was trying to
render invisible.
The book offers insights in many areas that open up
questions for researchers in memory studies. For exam-
ple, Haugbolle questions the idea of national narratives and
their necessity. His view is that Lebanons internal fractures
are a way to think about what he calls memory culture
rather than collective memory, which better allows for the
study of overlapping agendas and issues and in which we
may be able to capture the multiple and often-complex
meanings of memory as individual and collective meaning
making as well as idiom for political action (p. 9). In this
light, he articulates a critique of grand nationalist narratives
by claiming that they override the complex multivocality
that resides within the individual and within society by giv-
ing a single authoritative expression to complex collective
experiences (p. 13). He is thus calling into question local
debates on the need for a collective memory and its signi-
cance, a question seriously worth considering.
Another powerful observation is the authors claimthat
time never caught up with the memory of the war, for it
was constantly reafrmed and reinscribed in public space
(p. 180). How was the war reafrmed and reinscribed? In
what ways does it continue to do so and what strategies
do people employ in their everyday lives to deal with this?
Haugbolle tells us that if we pay attention to the way peo-
ple speak, to their behaviors, to what is written and dissem-
inated, to art, to literature, and to the media, we start to see
archive work as a daily reminder that the past is still lived in
the present.
The author provides insights on several other levels.
In chapter 3, he advances the crux of the debates around
memory in the 1990s, and provides a critique of Hariri and
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Volume 38 Number 4 2011
the downtown Beirut reconstruction efforts. In chapter 5,
he gives a concise summary of the types of interactions be-
tween formerly armed militiamen and civil society that is
useful for those wishing to understand the role of formerly
armed militiamen in the postwar discourse on memory. In
chapter 6, he analyzes the forms of memory advanced and
perpetuated by different political parties, and ones that re-
sult in what he calls sectarian memory cultures.
War and Memory in Lebanon provides the most com-
prehensive summationof memory work inLebanontodate.
However, the work wouldhave benettedfurther hadHaug-
bolle complemented this with a clearer theoretical position
of his own to push the debate. For instance, he would have
done well to delineate the local meanings of memory and
history, for it is certain conceptualizations of these terms,
closely related to Pierre Noras understanding of them,
that are implicitly employed by many of Haugbolles mem-
ory makers. Still, this book is a necessary read for schol-
ars working on memory in Lebanon as well as other war
The Adventure of the Real: Jean Rouch and the Craft of
Ethnographic Cinema. Paul Henley. Chicago. University of
Chicago Press, 2010. 536 pp.
New York University
A tension has surrounded the lmmaking style of cinema
verit e since it emerged in the 1950s. On the one hand,
there is the inuence of Dziga Vertovs amboyant mon-
tage of kino-pravda (cinema truth), which explored the
kinds of viewing made possible through the cameras cine-
eye while completely disregarding the concept of realism.
On the other hand, there is the inuence of scientists who
viewed documentary lmmaking as a way of recording, pre-
serving, and delivering data about the reality of the world.
Engineer-turned-ethnologist Jean Rouch, arguably the in-
ventor of cinema verit e, combined aspects of both of these
philosophies in his treatment of the camera as a tool with
which to examine a reality that emerged in the process of
lmmaking, as opposed to an absolute ontological reality.
This vision of cinema and truthand the ambiguities and
contradictions of this visionare central to the anecdotes
and analyses offered in Adventure of the Real.
Those looking for political critique of Rouchs docu-
mentary projects or an ethnographically informed overview
of the regions and rituals presented by his lms will not nd
much of this here (although see ch. 7). Henley focuses in-
stead on the aesthetic, ethical, and epistemological posi-
tions composing Rouchs lmmaking praxis (p. xviii), as
it emerged during his doctoral work in West Africa, and de-
veloped during subsequent projects in Niger, France, and
Mali. Just as Rouchgenerally refrainedfromexplicit engage-
ment with politics in his studies of migration, spirit posses-
sion, or self-presentation, so does Henley generally avoid
the political implications of Rouchs intrepidexplorationof
the exterior world in Africa, focusing instead on the ways
in which Rouchs techniques engaged the recesses of the
imaginary, andevokedthe surreal as made manifest inthe
real (p. xiv).
Mirroring Rouchs general adherence to the narrative
structure of beginning, middle, and end (p. 258), the text
is divided into three sections. The rst introduces us to
the character of Rouch, who in 1946 made a ea-market
purchase of a spring-wound Bell and Howell Filmo 70
which he would use to make many of his most famous
lms. Deeply affected by a surrealist faith in chance and
risk, from the beginning Rouchs work incorporated impro-
visation, spontaneity, and sensuality. Films such as Jaguar,
Moi un Noir, and La Pyramide Humaine focused extensively
on dreams and fantasies, which Henley suggests had the
effect of dissolving boundaries between subjective expe-
rience and objective reality, colonizer and colonized, and
fact and ction (p. xvii). At the same time, Rouch remained
strongly inuenced by the Maussian ethnographic tradi-
tion of his training, viewing the camera as a pencil (p. 45)
for collection and recording, making meticulous prepara-
tions before lming, and worrying that extensive postpro-
duction editing was a betrayal of the reality of the world
(p. 293). As a result, although the real remained a concern
of Rouchs throughout his career, he found that the ction
of these lms offered deeper insight into the experience of
Gold Coast migration than the facts of his earlier statisti-
cal monographs. As he explains this, we had entered into
a domain that was not reality, but rather the provocation of
reality, one that revealed that reality (p. 81).
The second section explores Rouchs documentary
praxis through lms made between 1960 and 1975. It was
during this period that Rouch most clearly began to treat
the camera as a catalyst that could be used to study
performanceon both sides of the lens. Unlike both Ver-
tov and Margaret Mead, who sought to lm the world un-
awares, Rouch followed the lead of Robert Flaherty in us-
ing the camera to facilitate participation. Henley describes
Rouchs lmmaking as a process of experimentation that
employed a reexive mode of inquiry and sought to in-
duce revelatory, conscious performances as a means of
studying howthe cinematographic process transformed the
world. At a time in which most documentary lmmak-
ers were interested in reducing the amount of mediation
involved in lming, Rouch sought mediation itself. Given
that audience feedback was an integral method of Rouchs
lmmaking praxis, Henley suggests that he pioneered a
collaborative, dialogic, and shared approach to eldwork
decades before this approachbecame commonplace within
Book Reviews

American Ethnologist
The books nal section explicitly examines Rouchs
lmmaking techniques, analyzing his philosophies on:
lighting, tripods, straight cuts, lenses, interviews, visual and
sound effects, and his often-conicted processes of editing.
Although many of the themes addressed in previous chap-
ters are repeated here, Henleys strengths as a lmmaker
and anthropologist are highlighted in this section, which I
found to be the most engaging of the book. This section
alsoprovides necessary informationabout the relationships
Rouch had with key gures in his lms: Damour e Zika, Illo
Gaoudel, IbrahimDia (Lam), andTallouMouzourane. Over-
all, however, given the emphasis that Rouch himself placed
on contact and participation, I thought these relationships
and their afterlives warranted more thorough and sustained
examination. To Henleys credit, this section does thought-
fully engage with the reception of Rouch by African scholars
and delicately considers Rouchs sometimes-contradictory
views on hierarchy and authorship.
Henley diligently untangles Rouchs work from the
cloud of legend that so often obscures it (p. xxi) and is of-
ten politely critical of Rouchs positions. For example, Hen-
ley suggests that Rouchs lms suffered because of his lin-
guistic shortcomings, that his reasons for rejecting subtitles
in favor of voiceover poetic narration did not stand up to
close scrutiny (p. 308), and that his interest in the public
cultural rhetoric of ceremonial performances ignored the
important domestic spheres of womens everyday routines.
Yet despite these gentle critiques, the text is lled with theo-
retically insightful (and laboriously footnoted) stories about
Rouchs charm and charisma, and I found it successfully
bolstered Henleys attempt to reclaim Rouch and his work
for anthropology (p. xix).
Given Henleys extensive archival documentation of
Rouchs career and the detailed summary of many lms
outside the small selection translated to English, this book
is essential reading to anyone interested in the life and
work of Jean Rouch. At New York University, where Faye
Ginsburgs introductory course on culture and media de-
votes considerable attention to the methods and legacy of
Jean Rouch, this text will usefully complement Rouchs own
classic essay, The Camera and Man (2003), as well as es-
says by Ginsburg (1996) and Steven Feld (1989). Henleys
careful consideration of the ethical and aesthetic concerns
that accompanied technical developments in lmmaking
(from16mmto 35mmto video, fromsilent lms to synchro-
nized sound, from tripods to hand-held cameras, etc.) will
make the book invaluable to those interested in the history
of ethnographic lm. Filmmakers are likely to be inspired
by Rouchs provocative notion of cine-trance (see, esp.,
pp. 274277) as well as his emphasis on risk, uncertainty,
andfaithinrawcreativity (p. 276). Finally, Adventure of the
Real will be useful for all anthropologists grappling with the
still-relevant methodological tensions between image and
imagination, the reel and the real.
References cited
Feld, Steven
1989 Theme in the Cinema of Jean Rouch. Visual Anthropology
Ginsburg, Faye
1996 Review: Two Kinds of Truth. American Anthropologist
Rouch, Jean
2003 The Camera and Man. In Cin e-Ethnography. J. Rouch and
S. Feld, eds. Pp. 2947. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota
Gardening the World: Agency, Identity, andthe Ownership
of Water. Veronica Strang. New York: Berghahn, 2009. 292
pp., references and notes.
Harvard University
Veronica Strang is one of the most important anthropolo-
gists writing today on the subject of water, and this book
amply demonstrates why. Incorporating her long-standing
interests in the symbolism, valuation, and sensuous expe-
rience of water in local contexts (primarily in Australia), it
tackles the fraught and very timely issue of water sustain-
ability down under and does so brilliantly.
Reports of a water crisis in this most arid continent
in the world have been legion and alarming. As is appar-
ent in other regions facing similar critical water situations,
there is rarely a single solution or magic bullet to resolve
scarcity and degradation (e.g., treating water as a commod-
ity and letting the market solve the problem); instead, any
solutions require holistic or integrative approaches that cut
across societal domains, each with their own specic de-
mands and challenges, and are multimodal combining eco-
nomics, social organization theory, politics, ecology, and
not least of allanthropology. Further, problems of water
sustainability, although familiar in their broad outlines all
over the world, are perhaps more deeply enmeshed in the
particularities of local contexts than is the case for other ex-
tractive substances like coal, oil, or gas. Because it has al-
ways been holistic in its analysis and deeply ethnographic
in the way it delves into particular cases, anthropology may
well be the best-equipped discipline to contribute to the so-
lutions of the worlds water problems.
Chapter 1 presents a rich analytical framework that
guides the analysis in the rest of the book, conceptualizing
humanenvironment interactions in a dynamic way. The
concepts of agency, identity, and ownership are developed,
and a particularly informative section on the treatment of
water as a commodity and the consequences attendant on
it follow. Chapter 2 has to do with the political management
of water in Australia, from the highest state-centralized au-
thorities to regional management groups, the criticisms
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Volume 38 Number 4 2011
of environmental groups toward this management scheme
and efforts to reform it, and various kinds of water sharing
agreements that have emerged in the face of a water crisis.
One of the persistent concerns of the book has to do with
the unequal access to potable water that such governance
schemes create in Australia and how to redress them. Par-
ticularly worrisome are two trends: an increasing transna-
tional investment in Australias water resources and the in-
creasing ownership of such resources in an elite few. This
privatization has created water poor groups (Strang sin-
gles out small-scale farmers as well as new immigrants, the
unemployed, single mothers, and the elderly). Chapter 3 ex-
amines the way water has been cosmologized and used by
Australias indigenous peoples. In one sense a romantic de-
piction is presented of a holistic subsistence water use, but
Strang makes it clear that this picture of self-sufciency is
also exploited by aboriginal groups to gain control over the
management of their water resources against the incursions
of more dominant institutions. Chapter 4 is a particularly
nuanced examination of the demand for water by farmers
and their management of it. Chapters 5 and 6 look at the
use of water in the industrial and entertainment sectors of
society. And the nal chapter before the conclusion looks
at efforts, particularly in the world of scientic experts, to
try to ameliorate the water crisis, where, not surprisingly an
overly rationalistictechnocratic (and economic) approach
predominates and where also there is little patience for the
holistic and in-depth eldwork-based practices of anthro-
Which is why, perhaps, Strangs book is such a valu-
able contribution to that expert discourse. She looks at Aus-
tralias water crises not only frommultiple stakeholder posi-
tions but also fromthe vantage point of different disciplines
(anthropology, economics, politics, history, and ecology or
environmental science), a jack of all trades approach that
the subject of water inevitably requires because of what she
calls its connectivity to other domains of social life. She
brings to this holistic approach an astonishingly wide and
deep knowledge of relevant sources, as one must if one is to
understand the scale or dimensions of the problemof water
sustainability and its complexity. And she adroitly uses the
image of the garden (as in the title of the book) to bring to-
gether this informationinto a coherent and compelling nar-
rative. It works well with her dual interests inwater as both a
symbol and a material object, for the garden is replete with
cultural meanings but must replenish itself with water.
The outlook for Australia, as Strang presents it, is bleak,
although it is not entirely hopeless. The governments ne-
oliberal approach that treats water as a market commod-
ity has resulted in wide-scale privatization, the upshot of
which has not led to more efcient use (let alone equitable
access) as the economic model predicts. In fact, it seems
that when people pay for their own water, they are as likely
to use as much of it as they want or can afford (as opposed
to what they need) because they have paid for it. Efforts of
local water-basinuser groups or associations to take control
of their own resources and use them more wisely have had
mixed results because of the politics on the ground. Never-
theless, as public awareness grows and becomes better ed-
ucated about the problems, and as a responsible environ-
mentalism spreads throughout the society, it may not be
too late for Australians to redress what has become a dire
situation. One thing is for sure, as the rest of world holds its
breath wondering what will happen to its water resources, it
will be watching the Australian case closely, and Strang will
be one of their principal guides.
Drug War Zone: Frontline Dispatches from the Streets of
El Paso and Ju arez. Howard Campbell. Austin: University of
Texas at Austin, 2009. 310 pp.
This book could not be more timely. Most readers are by
now familiar with daily news reports of the bloody violence
on the U.S.Mexican border, where the cities of El Paso and
Ju arez are a particularly vicious nexus. Thousands die each
year, and most are Mexican. Campbell, a professor of soci-
ology and anthropology at the University of Texas-El Paso,
draws on years of living in the zone of these drug wars.
He offers a compelling and engaging series of portraits of
individuals involved in the narcoeconomy. He includes
people living on both sides of the border and varying sides
of the different battles being waged over drugs: between
cartels, between layers of both U.S. and Mexican bureau-
cracies hierarchies, and, of course, between the narcos
(those who smuggle, deliver, sell, and often use the drugs)
and the narcs who seek to suppress this activity.
Campbell begins with a theoretical and historical intro-
duction to drug trafcking, explicating his concept of the
drug war zone. His concept is consistent with much of
the literature in border studies that presents the region as
one where identities are uid and both gurative and lit-
eral code-switching is a way of life. What he adds to the
literature is the understanding of how drug trafcking has
become embedded in the border zone. And he ends with
a summative conclusion; however, the bulk of the book is
in two parts. Each part is a series of oral histories, in the
style of Studs Terkel. In Part One: Smuggling in the Drug
War Zone, ten individuals tell their stories, each one pre-
ceded by Campbells framing of their story. They vary from
a heroin queen in Ju arez to a Blaxican (a person with
both Mexican and African American heritage) who grew up
on the Gulf Coast, to a storeowner who unwittingly sup-
plies scuba equipment to smugglers diving through water-
engorged tunnels spanning the border. Part Two: Law
Book Reviews

American Ethnologist
Enforcement in the Drug War Zone, presents narratives
from seven individuals involved in U.S. efforts to stem the
ow of drugs coming north. The last one presents the per-
spective of a former border patrol and customs agent who
is now convinced that ending the prohibition on drugs
would ultimately reduce the violence and suffering drugs
This approach has clear advantages. Like a set of case
studies, those whose lives are represented come from di-
verse types of engagement in drug trafcking. The reader
feels condent that a rich portrait of the drug world (in
what one comes to realize is its many facets) has been por-
trayed. The stories are fascinating, convincing, and docu-
ment the countless forms of corruption, strategies, and tac-
tics. All actors are implicated, and some people spend some
of their lives in one role, and then shift alliances. The genre
of oral history is also a very accessible one and makes the
book suitable for both college and graduate-level courses.
Given this emphasis on the words of the speakers, more
situating of the stories would have been helpful. At the
most fundamental, it would be good to know if the words
are the speakers original or a translation, particularly in a
region where code-switching bears semantic import. One
might also expect more analysis of their discourse itself.
The stories are presented journalistically, for the informa-
tion they provide. Finally, it is not always clear who the in-
terviewer was, nor how the interview was arranged. Camp-
bell does not attempt to explain how the relationship be-
tween interviewer and interviewee might have affected the
speakers choices about what stories to tell and how to tell
Granted, given the nature of this topic, Campbell is lit-
erally risking his life by writing this book. Some glossing
over details canbe forgiven. No matter the reasons, these re-
main limitations within the genre. Oral histories themselves
typically present one persons point of view. Any triangula-
tion this method allows relies on piecing together details
across the narratives. The stories themselves one is left to
accept at face value because a second observers perspec-
tive on particular incidents is not available.
Campbells goal, however, is not a facile attempt at ob-
jectivity by telling both sides of the story. Rather, the sto-
ries lead one to conclude that the war, as engaged in by the
U.S. government and Mexican allies, is futile. The book sug-
gests that more honest appraisals of what is happening on
the border, such as this one, might help to fuel support for a
rethinking of current U.S. drug policies. The idea suggested
is that just as alcohol no longer funds organized crime, as it
did during the Prohibition, then so might ending the prohi-
bitiononat least some currently illegal drugs cut off funding
for the cartels leaders. Campbells ethnographic approach
successfully shows more than tells, so this point is not ham-
mered home in didactic ways. Rather, he offers food for fur-
ther discussion and action.
The Old Faith and the Russian Land: A Historical Ethnog-
raphy of Ethics in the Urals. Douglas Rogers. Ithaca, NY:
Cornell University Press, 2009. 338 pp.
Stanford University
Anthropologists continue to tangle with the question,
how should ethnography encounter history, particularly in
places most haunted by it? In studies of postsocialism, this
question has been particularly difcult to address because
of the politicized nature of Cold Warera historiography,
limited access to archives, as well as a broader conceptual
challenge of determining how exactly late- and postsocial-
ism have intersected in any given practice. Is it a matter of
subsumption or articulation? Can particular subjectivities
or practices be so easily attributed to historical epochs? It is
directly into these tricky waters that Douglas Rogerss recent
book wades. Offering an historical ethnography of ethics
that spans not just the Soviet period but also the 17th and
18th century, Rogers has pushed ethnographic writing on
Russia well beyond its former historical horizon.
Old Faith is a book of massive scale, encompassing
roughly four hundred years. It includes discussions of Rus-
sian Orthodoxy and Old Belief, socialist moralizing dis-
course, 1990s nancial markets, as well as anthropologi-
cal commonplaces such as exchange, labor, agriculture, and
land reform. Rogerss strategy is to establish an account of
the past suitable for parsing the complexity of the present
as it is encountered through ethnography. Or, in his terms,
he seeks to show how peoples ethical repertoire has been
shaped by overlapping, historically constituted moralizing
discourses, as well as a practical concern with the good.
Rogers gives focus to these topics by basing his study in a
village in the Perm region, called Sepych.
Rather than starting with the present and working
backward as needed, Rogers organizes his book in a con-
ventional historiographical waythat is to say chronolog-
ically. The book is divided into three parts. The rst lays
the crucial groundwork, discussing the 17th- and the 18th-
century spread of Old Belief (a break-off variety of main-
stream Russian Orthodoxy) in the Sepych region, and its
role in shaping the ethical regime. Here Rogers attends
to howemergent patterns of religious authority (decentered
priestlessness), and the appropriate place for worldly affairs
in religious practice indelibly shaped biological and social
reproductionfor generations to come. Rogers also describes
how these patterns evolved not in a vacuum, but in rela-
tion to 18th- and 19th-century marketization and imperial
Patient readings of part 1 are repaid in part 2, in which
Rogers sets his model of the ethical eld of Sepych in mo-
tion in the Soviet period, in the throes of collectivization
American Ethnologist

Volume 38 Number 4 2011
and efforts to build New Soviet Men. Rogers shows how, in
the daily efforts to navigate the Soviet economy of favors,
and alternative moralizing discourses of the Soviet state,
Sepychs residents reshaped the ethical repertoire to pro-
duce the outlines of new moral communities, new subjec-
tivities, and, crucially, newforms of inequality. The changes
notwithstanding, one of Rogerss most interesting insights
is that Soviet atheismwas less harmful to the coherence Old
Belief than one might think. Because Old Belief was already
priestless and decentralized (and, thus, difcult to surveil),
and reproduced primarily through elderly asceticism (and,
thus, unconnected to youth and the Soviet everyday), it sur-
vived the Soviet period relatively intact, blending into Soviet
ethics in myriad ways.
Part 3 covers the post-Soviet period in Sepych, where
the Soviet collapse impacted the local economy and the
state-run farm. Rogers traces the impact on ethical prac-
tices in two areas to document those impacts: the rise of
moonshine as an alternate currency to money, and the re-
conguration of the notion of khoziain, or patron. At is-
sue in each case is how the ethics of mutual aid, shaped by
both a sense of moral community as well as the socialist
survival strategy of amassing wealth in people, were re-
ordered in the face of the money economy, the vicissitudes
of global capitalism, andthe newforms of audit that were is-
suing from the reforming central administration. The view
Rogers offers of postsocialism differs from other studies
that have tended to focus on 1991 as a rupture of social
order. Through his careful unraveling of overlapping ethi-
cal regimes, Rogers shows how the ethical life in Russia is
one that has been subject to centuries of collapse, reform,
and reconstitution. While the arrival of the market and the
end of state socialism have indeed reshaped ethical prac-
tice, and, by extension, subjectivity, debates about worldi-
ness and otherworldliness, the good life, mutual aid, and
the creationof moral communities initiated inthe 17th cen-
tury remain remarkably present.
The book is in dialogue with recent work in the an-
thropology of ethics that has generally followed, via Michel
Foucaults later writings, an interest in Aristotelian practi-
cal ethics. Readers will nd a useful summary of this lit-
erature, as well as an effort to coin a more analytically ex-
plicit framework on that basis. Frameworks aside, however,
Rogerss main theoretical contribution lies in his commit-
ment to historical study, and he is indeed able to illumi-
nate a thick array of historically shaped threads at play in
peoples ethical repertoires. The book also offers something
to the anthropology of postsocialism: Methodologically, it
exemplies how one might go about linking contemporary
practices and the past through archival work, participant-
observation, and interview. These contributions do not
come without their compromises. The books chronological
organization, essential to capturing the gradual sedimen-
tation of that ethical repertoire, also contributes to an, at
times, disembodied account of ethical dilemmas, decision
making, and subjectivity. Nonetheless, in response to the
question, what to do with history? Rogers has offered a
compelling answer by way of example. There is much to be
savored in this book, and it will certainly inuence future
work on post-Soviet states, Christianity, and ethics, as well
as historical anthropology.
Strange Enemies: Indigenous Agency and Scenes of En-
counter in Amazonia. Aparecida Vilaca. David Rodgers,
trans. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010. xv +
370 pp.
University of Chicago
Until the mid-1950s, the Wari people of Amazonia didnt
just resist all attempts by white people to contact them.
They also actively stalked any white people they did en-
counter, ambushing and killing them by shooting them full
of arrows. Then they dismembered their bodies, roasted
their limbs and heads, and ate them in happy feasts that
involved whole villages. An ethnic group of currently just
2,800 people, the Wari themselves suffered appalling vio-
lence at the hands of rubber barons, settlers, and self-styled
Indian killers. But for a very long time, they gave as good
as they got, andthey didso witha twinkling enthusiasmthat
is jolting. Wari delighted in killing; they have always been
thirsty for enemies (p. 228). They were keen to war with
whites, at least until settlers in the 1940s and 1950s started
massacring whole villages in their sleep. One of the many
examples of the gusto withwhich the Wari killed white peo-
ple involves a case in the 1930s, in which white men cap-
tured a Wari woman, who, a few days later, unexpectedly
returned to her group. The author of this crisply written and
fascinating book tells us that, on her arrival, the woman
said that when she wanted to return, the whites let her
leave and gave her presents, saying Heres a machete
and an axe for your husband to use. Arriving home,
she said, I returned from where the whites were. They
liked me. The Wari were elated with the presents and
exclaimed, Lets kill the whites! [p. 123]
There is a lot of killing in Strange Enemies. It is a topic
detailed in many of the narratives presented throughout the
book, and it is a theme discussed in all the chapters. Why
whites killed Wari men, women, and children is depress-
ingly familiar: greed, malice, and genocidal ambitions. Why
Wari killed and ate white people is more surprising and
much more complicated.
This is a book about rst contacts. These are described
mostly from the point of view of Wari people who either
Book Reviews

American Ethnologist
experienced the contacts themselves or who are only one
generation removed from them and can vividly remember
the stories told by their parents and kin. Wari narratives are
also correlated with interviews with missionaries who were
present at some of the rst encounters, with ofcial reports
of contact expeditions, and with journalistic accounts of the
murders of white people (that whole populations of Wari
were mowed down by machine guns and decimated by dis-
eases introduced by whites was not generally something
that journalists seemed to nd newsworthy). The juxtapo-
sition of insider and outsider perspectives allows the author
to neatly demonstrate how it wasnt only the Wari who re-
sponded to whites with preconceived ideas about what they
might be. White people had plenty of myths of their own
about infantilized, animalized savages in need of Jesus, for
examplethat guided how they imagined and approached
(and killed) the Wari.
After many decades of resistance, the Wari acquiesced
to pacication. Why? The author discusses the material
conditions that led to surrenderfactors such as the de-
sire for steel tools and the extermination of much of the
Wari population. But the books main argument is a cul-
turalist one: that Wari actions both prior to and since paci-
cation should be understood primarily with reference to
their cosmology, their practices of engaging with the world,
and their social processes of group formation and differ-
entiation. In developing this argument, Marshall Sahlinss
concept of structure of the conjuncture is important, and
the continuing power of Claude L evi-Strausss analysis of
Amerindian myths is beautifully elaborated.
The quintessential Amazonian way of thinking about
the world known as perspectivism also plays a key role
in the book. Perspectivism is the name that anthropologists
who work in Amazonia have given to the idea that animals
and people share the same world and act in it in identi-
cal ways. But because animals and people have different
kinds of bodies, the same actions look different from dif-
ferent perspectives. Jaguars, for example, see themselves as
drinking maize beer, just as people do. But jaguar beer, from
the perspective of humans, is blood. Jaguars see themselves
as shooting prey with arrows; people see these same actions
as a large predator killing with its claws and teeth. Perspec-
tivism is not just anthropomorphization, because people
recognize that from the perspective of a jaguar, people are
not people; they are peccaries liable to be shot as prey and
eaten. Only shamans can access the perspectives of both
people and animals, and they use their double seeing to
perform a variety of actions, some of them benefactive and
some malefactive.
Perspectivism is invoked here to explain how Wari can
stand what has happened to them since pacication: dis-
location from their territory, dependence on white peoples
foods and medicines, and cohabitation with white people
and strangers from other indigenous groups. Vilacas argu-
ment is that Wari, in effect, have all come to adopt the dou-
ble perspective that used to be the exclusive provenance
of shamans. Not only do Wari now live with the white en-
emy, they have, incrucial aspects, become the enemy them-
selves. They have two bodies simultaneously, which often
become merged, she writes. They are Wari and whites,
sometimes both at the same time, like shamans when in
trance (p. 320).
A claim like that is innovative and provocative. Its at-
tention to transubstantiation and metamorphosis has far-
reaching implications for how we might think about issues
like integration, acculturation, identity, and change. This
broad scope makes Strange Enemies a book that should be
read evenby anthropologists who have little familiarity with
Amazonia. It is a compelling example of the vital work that
has been emerging fromAmazonian anthropologists for the
past decade. Like the best of that work, it offers us glimpses
into worldviews and practices that are nothing if not mes-
merizingly far out. And it uses those worldviews and prac-
tices to develop insights and conclusions that are unex-
pected and exhilarating.
How Enemies Are Made: Towards a Theory of Ethnic and
Religious Conicts. G unter Schlee. New York: Berghahn,
2008. 204 pp., gures, notes, index.
Western Michigan University
By the late 20th century, the genocide in Rwanda and the
aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union had thrust the pre-
sumed volatile dimensions of ethnicity into international
media and the public imagination in such proportions
that they gured into everyday conversations in schools,
churches, airports, and bus stops. Certainly, while the 21st
centurys permanent war has shifted primary attention
to Iraq and Afghanistan, the concepts of religious and eth-
nic conict gure there as well, at the same time that the
phenomenon of small ethnic wars globally have become
a news staple. Anthropologists have been eloquent in the-
orizing ethnicity for decades, sometimes to practical effect
in transforming public opinion if increased nuance in some
media reports is an indication. Nevertheless, the assump-
tion that ethnicity causes ethnic conict has not been sub-
jected to sustained public scrutiny.
G unter Schlee has offered a systematic and compre-
hensive work to address this important issue. In How En-
emies Are Made, Schlee sets out to create a new theory
of conict. He stages his framework by rst discrediting
what he identies as the six inaccurate and problematic
points supporting the assumption that ethnic and religious
differences cause conicts. The rst and primary of these
is the explicit claim itself that cultural differences, i.e.,
American Ethnologist

Volume 38 Number 4 2011
ethnicities, are the cause of ethnic conicts (p. 4), and
Schlee maintains that the other ve, such as that ethnicity
is universal or that ethnic groups are territorial add addi-
tional support to the primary claim. In Schlees rebuttal to
these points he argues that ethnicity (or other differences)
emerges in the course of conict, or acquires new shape
and functions in the course of such events (p. 9).
Having refuted the premise that ethnicity causes con-
ict, Schlee asserts that he will begin elsewhere, design-
ing his argument so that ethnic and religious differences
emerge from rather than drive a discussion based in his
newconict theory. He builds his theory on two basic ques-
tions, Who opposes whom in a conict situation? and
According to which criteria is this determined? (p. 12).
These questions comprise the books organizational frame-
work, and the case examples are primarily drawn from
Schlees previous work in Islamic and non-Islamic con-
texts in northeastern Africa, including Sudan, Somalia, and
northern Kenya.
The book is organized intro three unequal parts. The
three chapters and 22 pages of part 1 (Introduction) re-
fute ethnic and religious differences as causing conict, lay
out the two questions framing his theory, and summarize
the chapters. The eight chapters (78 pages) of part 2 (The-
oretical Frame) represent the books heart and substance,
although this depends on ones disciplinary orientation be-
cause the three chapters (62 pages) of part 3 (Practical
Frame) offer a valuable step-by-step handbook of how to
engage in conict analysis on the ground for anyone en-
gaged in a peace process. Thus, part 2 is explanatory while
part 3 is practical intervention.
Schlees stated aim is to create a new theory of con-
ict, although the book might be better described as a co-
gent synthesis of an existing rich body of theoretical work
that directs the reader to a systematic process for analyz-
ing conict. Schlee might agree with this assessment given
his own assertion that There is no single, unied conict
theory (p. 21). Nonetheless, as a reader I would have pre-
ferred more summary statements to sharpen the relation-
ship between examples and the theory. Instead, I attempted
to make connections myself. Thus, I found chapters 5, 6,
and 10, The Necessity for Strategies of Inclusion and Exclu-
sion, The Conceptual Instruments of Exclusionand Inclu-
sion: Social Categories and Their Overlapping Relations,
and Purity and Power in Islamic and Non-Islamic Societies
and the Spectre of Fundamentalism to be most key to his
theory even though he does not present them as such. In-
deed, the logic of part 2s organization is uneven.
In chapters 5 and 6 Schlee examines the criteria for
identity, inclusion, and discrimination from a systems per-
spective wherein what the neighbors do bears on what is
done at home and pursuit of advantages, such as over par-
ticular kinds of resources, shape or at least set limits on de-
grees of exclusivity. This is a structural approach that lends
itself well to symbolic complexities and it is the center of
Schlees theoretical project based on his framing questions
of who against whom and by what criteria. In plainer terms
this means that the cultural, religious, and symbolic ele-
ments of identity and difference that Schlee discusses in
other chapters become malleable vehicles of inclusion and
exclusion at moments of instability and conict. Thus, for
example, shared language (ch. 11) may be salient in one
conict and meaningless in another depending on the ne-
cessity and criteria of exclusion and inclusion for the aims
at stake. This is precisely why ideology and conict are mu-
tually shaping and reinforcing through the push and pull
between ideology manifested in the form of criteria of in-
clusion and exclusion and ideology in the form of specic
elements and signals of identity such as clan, language, eco-
nomic livelihood, and so on.
Chapter 10 is also centrally signicant because here he
offers helpful contextual parameters (pp. 8081) for why
the pursuit of advantages motivating particular criteria of
exclusion and inclusion might create enough instability to
generate violent conict. This is particularly important be-
cause in chapter 8 Schlee suggests the direction for a nec-
essary decision-making model surrounding conict, while
leaving its renement to future work. Yet that renement
might already be possible if Schlee articulated the connec-
tions between his criteria and necessity for inclusion and
exclusion, his contextual parameters for instability, and his
operational denition of power as means for asserting en-
titlement to a resource (p. 83). This articulation could gen-
erate a model for decision making exible enough to in-
clude the paradoxical pull of rationality and irrationality,
and emotion within strategic thinking, as his discussions
suggest as necessary. Those quibbles aside, this is a smart,
persuasive book with intriguing examples. The latter are
many but I will name three highlights: self-attribution of
biological differences between northern Kenyan Rendille
clans (ch. 9), Muslimwomens decisionmaking over specic
practices and signals of piety (pp. 9293 in ch. 10), and his
reection on his experiences in the Somali peace process
(ch. 14). The book will be accessible to most undergraduate
audiences, personnel involved in peace processes, as well
as offering a valuable resource to advanced scholars.
Seeing Culture Everywhere: From Genocide to Consumer
Habits. Joana Breidenbach and P al Nyri. Seattle: University
of Washington Press, 2009. 416 pp., notes, references, index.
University of Paris OuestNanterreLa D efense, France
The book is built on the statement that cultural differ-
ence is now held to be the main explanation for the com-
plexity of todays world. This cultural turn partly results
Book Reviews

American Ethnologist
from the collapse of the rationalist ideologies promoted
during the Cold War and from the celebration of cultural
distinctiveness by the civil rights movement of the 1980s
and 1990s. Among the other factors the authors put forward
are mass migration, worldwide embrace of the free market,
globalization of media, and a current trend to the desecu-
larization of the world.
Joana Breidenbach and P al Nyri showhere remarkable
insight into the problems raised by the culturalist paradigm.
Their skillful analysis covers a wide range of realms where
the culture fever shapes perceptions and ways of action:
from world affairs to marketing strategies and consumer
habits. They examine the use of culture at state-to-state
level with international security at stake and show the lim-
its of the new participatory approach promoted by interna-
tional agencies in their management of development aid.
They also deal with the danger of culturalizing violence on
the ground of articial ethnic divisions inherited from col-
onization. The challenge of multiculturalism is another im-
portant issue they consider through an overview of urban
planning and policies regulating immigration. They also
tackle the problem of the commodication of traditional
cultures in relation with minority rights, conicts about in-
tellectual property, and policies of preemptive protection.
Last but not least, they debunk the intercultural commu-
nication industry that has developed since the late 1980s.
From a methodological point of view, the dilemma the
authors raise is, in their very words, to retain sensitivity to
the cultural impacts on and of policies and corporate deci-
sions without falling into the trapof determinism, essential-
ization, and misrepresentation. To surmount this dilemma
they suggest that it is more important to understand the
motives of processes in which cultural claims arise than to
study the supposed essence of a nite number of cultures
(p. 29). Given this orientation, Joana Breidenbach and P al
Nyri are logically critical toward Samuel Huntington and
his clash-of-civilizations theory. They notably blame Hunt-
ington for having been the seminal promoter of a simplistic
conceptual framework that replaces the ideological blocs of
the Cold War by civilizational monoliths, intellectually built
on the ground of arbitrary groupings and whose internal di-
versity is largely overshadowed by a fossilized and distorted
image of cultures. Migrations and transcultural mixing up
being stigmatized as a recipe for trouble in such a view, the
sake of the international order would depend on a newkind
of balkanization along civilizational fault lines. The authors
argue that blinded by these awed conceptions, Hunting-
tonandother radical culturalists fail toacknowledge the im-
portance of social and political factors in the production of
non-Western sorts of modernity and in the grassroots ap-
propriation of globalized ideas, practices, and goods.
For their part, BreidenbachandNyri yearnfor renewed
area studies and ethnographical works that could empha-
size the contextual aspects of cultural claims while bringing
out the dynamics of social processes. As suggested by Arjun
Appadurai (2001), it is more relevant to adjust dialectically
the spatial categories of area studies with observed social
processes and external inuences, than to treat these areas
as self-contained entities. Taking into account this remark
and the mistakes resulting from abstract notions of group
culture, the authors argue in favor of updated area stud-
ies likely to provide a comprehensive view of regional fea-
tures and dynamics, and to complement the current focus
onglobal interconnectedness. Concurring withUlf Hannerz
(2004) and his idea that culture is more a shifting and some-
times distracted debate thana long durable consensus, they
recommend a more acute assessment of local aspirations
and concerns through a return to well-grounded ethno-
graphic studies. Although depreciated by postmodernists,
eldwork remains in their view an irreplaceable means to
understand how globally circulating ideas may combine
with local ways of meaning making.
The recent shift of the World Bank and other major de-
velopment agencies from top-down large-scale projects to
small-scale ones is undoubtedly a progress toward a grow-
ing attention to local voices and expectations. According to
Breidenbach and Nyri, important problems subsist how-
ever. A rst set of difculties lies in conceptualizing the
development, its relation to culture, and the relation be-
tween culture and individual choice. Western representa-
tions tend to reduce development to technological and ma-
terial progress and wrongly equate the respect of traditions
with conservatism and backwardness. By the same logic,
ethnic culture is viewed as a collective attribute that deter-
mines individual behavior and destiny. Against these mis-
conceptions, the authors argue that cultures are dynamic
and that, depending on circumstances, people follow var-
ious sets of norms and scripts originating from the village,
the ethnic group, the state or the media. They therefore sug-
gest that human development be considered as the ex-
pression of the kind of life the people want for themselves.
Yet they admit that bringing people back in is some-
times cumbersome to be carried out, especially in tradi-
tional communities where poor people are often unable to
imagine different versions of their own future, and where
notables maintain social inequalities by capturing both the
authoritative discourse and the prots of the participation
to development projects.
If awareness of cultural difference is an unquestionable
necessity, what is wrong and dangerous, for the authors, is
the routine reduction of political or societal problems to
ethnic or religious afliation, and the exclusive focus on a
single unit of analysis. Equally dangerous is the trait list ap-
proach of culture that pervades the realm of intercultural
communication and its profusion of cross-cultural manu-
als and training programs. In both cases, culture is used as
a catch-all argument, a kind of magic box from which could
be drawn prime causes, denite truths, and access keys to
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Volume 38 Number 4 2011
otherness. The price to pay for this simplistic way of think-
ing is very high. Joana Breidenbach and P al Nyri write in
their conclusion that it
is more than just wasted money. In the cases of con-
icts that are judged to be culturally coded and there-
fore politically irresoluble, it is human lives. In the case
of authoritarian regimes that enjoy Western support in
the name of cultural integrity, it is the demise of hu-
man rights as a factor in foreign policy. In the case of
some development projects, it is the loss of chances for
those who do not benet from current power arrange-
ments on the ground. In the case of heritage-format
multiculturalism, it is the abandonment of struggling
or dissenting members of a group because it is their
culture. [p. 324]
This book, richly documented, perfectly reects the
eclectic competences of its authors. Joana Breidenbach is
an anthropologist, a journalist, and a social entrepreneur;
P al Nyri teaches history from an anthropological perspec-
tive. Both are specialists of contemporary China. Rather
than to enter into the endless and wasteful debate about
a proper denition of culture, they judiciously prefer to
address the ways this so controversial notion is used in
a wide range of elds. Their comprehensive criticism of
the misconceptions that this use conveys and the overview
they offer of the difculties, either scientic or human,
that the postmodern cultural turn triggers are particularly
relevant. Equally convincing is their argument in favor of
a context-sensitive approach that would question the as-
sumptions behind cultural claims. Finally, Seeing Culture
Everywhere is a precious handbook for all of those who take
an interest in cultural studies.
References cited
Appadurai, Arjun
2001 Grassroots Globalization and the Research Imagination. In
Globalization. Arjun Appadurai, ed. Pp. 121. Durham, NC:
Duke University Press.
Hannerz, Ulf
2004 Foreign News: Exploring the World of Foreign Correspon-
dents. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Peripheral Visions: Publics, Power, and Performance in
Yemen. Lisa Wedeen. Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
2008. 300 pp.
Trent University
It may be counterintuitive to start a review by judging a
book by its cover, but this cover so evokes the urban land-
scape in Yemen, peppered with portraits of Ali Abdullah
Salih. It is a wonderful way to begin Lisa Wedeens dis-
cussion of what would be described by many as a pro-
foundly undemocratic state, witness the presidents reign
of nearly thirty years. The cover is described as a por-
trait of Ali Abudullah Salih from the elections in Yemen
in 1999. It portrays the president in army gear on a rear-
ing stallion, wrapped in a Yemeni ag, right index nger
pointedupward, his face looking considerably younger than
it must be in actuality. Yet despite the presidents often
quasi-autocratic behavior, like paying $13,000 for the above
poster while the per capita income at the time was around
$300, the Yemeni state is quite fragile. Wedeens book is
thought provoking on a number of issues, including the one
that has perplexed many, which is how Yemen continues to
function as a state with its obvious lack of statelike proper-
ties, including lack of control over its territory; well-armed
citizens; and its fragile institutions of education, health,
and welfare. Wedeen is not an anthropologist but, rather,
a political scientist who is deeply familiar with anthropol-
ogy and committed to ethnographic methods, employing
both participant-observation and extended interviews with
politicians and ordinary citizens over the period of 1998
2004. The book is exceptionally well written and Wedeens
work shows that the Yemeni people themselves have con-
tinued to critique their government, although mostly in
front of audiences they can trust. During my eldwork in
Yemen in 198990 and again, briey, in 1999, people con-
stantly complained that Yemen was tired (taban). Yet it
does continue to function, despite external and internal cri-
tiques. Wedeens willingness to allow for everyday practices
as key moments in political life signies a welcome depar-
ture from a focus on formal institutions of political and bu-
reaucratic life, which would exclude a consideration of how
a sense of nation is created through what she calls alterna-
tive democracies.
Although Wedeen engages with political theory shared
by both anthropology and political science and was chair
of the Department of Political Science at the University of
Chicago at the time of the books publication, her work def-
initely departs from the moribund political science of the
Middle East, in which the premise from which the anal-
ysis departs is American foreign policy interests. Like the
work of Timothy Mitchell, Wedeen gives us a book that
makes us hope for a more productive engagement between
anthropologists and political scientists. Wedeen critiques
Habermass supposition that bourgeois individualism gen-
erated by a nuclear family is a precondition for modern,
public-oriented subjectivities, arguing that in Yemen, large
extended families continue to structure subjectivities and
identities. And, yet, minipublics do exist, as Wedeen re-
counts in her book (p. 117).
While many Western news reports of late represent
Yemen as a lawless state characterized by chaotic violence,
Wedeen looks to the kind of informal political institutions
Book Reviews

American Ethnologist
that anthropologists would look to, like the functioning of
the qat chew as an informal institution, perhaps the most
prominent institution, for political debate and machina-
tions. Qat, a leaf that contains a mild amphetamine, is
chewed daily by most Yemeni men, and, in certain cities,
like Zabid, where I worked, by women, in sociable gath-
erings that are public despite being held, mainly, in in-
dividuals houses. As anyone who has tried to get busi-
ness done in Yemeni state ofces knows, qat chews are
where the real decisions are made. Further, Wedeen dis-
cusses qat chews as sites where debates are held not only
about Yemeni politics but global politics as well. Her atten-
tion to the democratic potential of mosque sermons, often
circulatedoncassette tapes, notes that here, too, neoliberal-
ism, although not an experience near term, plays into dis-
cussions about poverty and corruption. Like Hirschkinds
work onthe power of cassette tapes inEgypt (2006), Wedeen
points to the informal means in which democratic discus-
sions can take place. Her attention to the distinctive place
poetry plays in Yemeni politics, also largely distributed on
cassette tapes, echoes the work of Caton (1993) and Miller
(2007), who note the salience of this verbal form to Yemeni
politics and the imagination of a national sphere. She ar-
gues that each of these spheres allow democratic participa-
tion outside of electoral politics.
Wedeen describes the struggles that remain between
the former south Yemen, and the now dominant North
Yemen, despite the unication of the two in 1990. She notes
the place of the various religious madhabs (schools) in
Yemen, from the inheritance of 1,000 years of Zaydi theoc-
racy, which was overturned with the Republican revolu-
tion in 1962, to the inuence of the Shais in the coastal
Tihamah region and the South, as well as the sala move-
ment, which is a reformist movement in Islamnot exclusive
to Yemen, but when enacted, takes a very Yemeni tint, as
piety is a salient part of politics in Yemen. Her discussion of
the Al-Huthi movement, designed to invigorate Zaydism, to
confront the inuence of the salas, is timely as it has been
at times violently repressed by the government, without it
going away. Wedeens deepfamiliarity withissues of religion
and politics is obvious, and she discusses themwith sympa-
thy and insight. I particularly like her attention to how em-
bodied techniques, like how one holds ones hands when
praying, are never politically neutral (p. 169). Her atten-
tion to the poetic and performative dimensions of politics
is most welcome, as is her attention to the political power of
language, drawing on Althusser, Austin, and Butler. At the
heart of Wedeens book is how, under the fragile conditions
of Yemeni statehood, a sense of citizenship is created. The
book is yet more relevant now as antigovernment protests
have sprung up all over Yemen in the wake of the Tunisian
and Egyptian revolutions, causing yet another challenge to
Ali Abdullah Salihs regime.
References cited
Caton, Steven
1993 Peaks of Yemen I Summon: Poetry as Cultural Practice in
a North Yemeni Tribe. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Hirschkind, Charles
2006 The Ethical Soundscape: Cassette Sermons and Islamic
Counterpublics. New York: Columbia University Press.
Miller, Flagg
2007 The Moral Resonance of Arab Media: Audiocassette Po-
etry andCulture inYemen. Cambridge, MA: HarvardUniversity
Offending Women: Power, Punishment, and the Regula-
tion of Desire. Lynne A. Haney. Berkeley: University of Cali-
fornia Press, 2010. 287 pp.
Independent Scholar
The statistics are becoming familiar: approximately 1 in 100
U.S. adults is incarcerated, and almost 1 in 30 are under
some aspect of criminal justice supervision. Over the past
three decades the United States has become an outlier in
our rate of incarceration compared to the rest of the in-
dustrialized world. The rate of incarceration of women has
increased rapidly, rising by 650 percent between 1980 and
2006. Because two-thirds of these women were responsible
for children prior to imprisonment, the necessity to provide
for these children complicates the task of incarceration,
making it difcult to lock the offender away, out of sight
and mind, for the duration of the sentence. On the cover
of Offending Women, a perplexed toddler, under a spiral of
razor wire, visually bracketed between the woman holding
her and the corrections ofcer walking toward them, faces
the reader. The childs presence puts unique demands on a
system not built to deal with her.
Haneys ethnography is based on participant-
observation in two programs established to allowconvicted
California women to serve their sentences in community-
based Alternatives to Incarceration programs that allowed
their children to remain with them. Her study can be read
as the unintended consequences of good intentions, as her
observations reveal that programs intended to overcome
womens victimization ultimately disempowered them.
Both study sites were founded to protect the parental rela-
tionship of incarcerated mothers, but their rehabilitation
programs resulted in an added layer of control, this time of
womens attitudes and psyches, while ultimately failing to
provide practical skills and services that the women needed
for future success.
Governance is a key concept in Haneys work, connot-
ing patterns of power and regulation that shape, guide,
and manage social conduct (p. 7). She theorizes the
American Ethnologist

Volume 38 Number 4 2011
changing role of state power, and the hybrid institutions
that emerge as state functions are outsourced to non-
governmental organizations (NGOs) that perform state
functions while often obscuring their governmental iden-
tity, rejecting the commonly held idea that this outsourcing
represents withdrawal of state involvement. Her consider-
ation of power relations addresses relations between orga-
nizations as well as institutional power over incarcerated
women. Her analysis highlights the institutional instability
and internal tension produced by multiple sources of fund-
ing and evaluation that turn NGO staff attention to organi-
zational survival and away from the needs of the recipients
of their services.
The impact of this manage[ment] of social conduct
on the lives of real women is apparent in the ethnography.
At Alliance, in 1992, limited government was the mantra.
This program emphasized personal organization and work
habitsalthough not offering GED classes or vocational
training that might result in work where those habits could
be used. By 2002, exemplied by Visions, Alternatives to
Incarceration had taken a therapeutic turn, using an ad-
dictions treatment model to target unhealthy desires as
the central problem. Both facilities emphasized their differ-
ences from prison, but practices of control were apparent
at an intimate level, including food choices, child care be-
havior, and most pervasively in what looked like attempts
to impose middle-class attitudes and habits on women
who lacked basic economic security, and whose street
smartsincluding hiding ones vulnerabilitieshad real
survival value. Ultimately, the women remained incarcer-
ated, with the threat of consequences that attends incar-
ceration. Staff, in spite of their genuine wish to help, lost
their social imagination; the social marginalization and
structural aspects of inmates lives were ignored. What the
women experienced as social vulnerability was reframed as
unhealthy dependence on state assistance or as personal
pathology. Problems of poverty and social class were disre-
garded; in one vignette, when Luna Bars were asserted to
be nutritionally superior to Top Ramen, preference for Top
Ramen became yet another illicit desire, disregarding issues
of cost and of limited nutritional choices in poor neighbor-
Haney astutely describes differences in the resistance
evoked by the two programs. By rejecting the need for pub-
lic assistance, the discourse of need implied the right to
alternatives; the young women read that subtext and (un-
successfully) demanded better education. The staffs at-
tempts to persuade its charges that they didnt need state
assistance was also undermined when the young women
took the initiative to rely on bureaucratic protections that
were attached to that same assistance, mobilizing the city
welfare administration to protest the use of their AFDC
funds, which Alliance relied on as a necessary source of in-
come. The therapeutic model was harder to resist, with the
individualization of social problems that this approach im-
posed on its participants. Haney saw women protect per-
sonal privacy by withdrawing; the imperative to get in
touch with ones feelings created an impulse to go numb;
and the mandate to expose oneself transformed into an
urge to withdraw (p. 202). Conditions necessary for ther-
apeutic worksafety from punishment for ones feelings,
continuity of relationshipswere not present. (I would add
to Haneys observations the lack of a living situation that
allows someone to experiment with taking charge of ones
life.) A number of inmates contacted Haney through emails
and phone messages after their release; a common attitude
she heard was disdain for therapy of any sort . . . [which
they viewed] as punitive, intrusive, and controlling. This
may be one of Visionss biggest disservices to its charges . . .
[making] a mockery of important, otherwise commendable
goals (p. 205).
Working in a prison setting I found this study a com-
pelling read. One underanalyzed area is the relationship be-
tween Department of Corrections and holistically trained
mental health counselors, whose goalscontrol versus
self-actualizationare contradictory. I am skeptical that
much authority was actually delegated to the partnering
NGOs, in spite of the stated emphasis that the programs
arent like prison.
I would expand Haneys insistence on the necessity of
social analysis with the added need for rehabilitation pro-
grams to consider the immediate context, and to formulate
programs that do no harm under conditions of correctional
supervision. I recommend this book to anyone working in
such programs.
Media and Middle Class Moms: Images and Realities of
Work and Family. Lara Descartes and Conrad P. Kottak. New
York: Routledge, 2009. 194 pp.
The College of Wooster
This book offers an ethnographic exploration of the me-
dias impact on the career and childcare choices of largely
white, middle-class parents. Pointing to the shifts in expec-
tations of what denes a middle-class lifestyle in the United
States, Descartes and Kottak provide rich direct quotes from
interviews and focus groups, and six more extensive case
studies, to present a range of middle-class perspectives on
work and parenting. The authors caution against demoniz-
ing or blaming the media for all contemporary family and
social ills but, instead, describe media, and the representa-
tions within it, as one of the key cultural scripts by which
we understand, evaluate, and make decisions about our
Book Reviews

American Ethnologist
The ethnographic researchthey present was conducted
primarily by Descartes in Dexter, Michigan, which the au-
thors describe as a small, middle-class community. Because
assessing socioeconomic class has been a perennial chal-
lenge for social scientists, it is pertinent to note that the au-
thors identify the middle-class broadly as families in which
one or bothof the parents . . . hada college degree, a profes-
sional job, and usually that the family owned or was buying
their own home (p. 4). They employed a multiple meth-
ods approach of individual interviews (with 28 mothers
and 8 fathers); focus groups (with an additional 14 fathers
and 32 mothers); ethnographic observation with 12 moth-
ers who had previously participated in either interviews or
focus groups; and content analysis of TV shows, local news-
papers, andpopular magazines spanning between1999 and
The book describes a broad variety of media inu-
ences on parents. For instance, the authors cite the contin-
ued salience of 1950s media images in contemporary fam-
ily structures (and, more importantly, family ideals). They
discuss the ways that celebrity mothers are frequently vali-
dated for forsaking work for family, but that real life work-
ing mothers often felt undermined by media representa-
tions of supermoms (whether they work or stay at home
themselves). The book also grapples with the paradox that
most participants blamed the media for its effects on oth-
ers (concerns about their own childrens exposure, and in
their evaluation of other local families, particularly those
with different workfamily congurations than their own)
but denied any media inuence on their own work and par-
enting decisions. This book is also distinctive in its substan-
tial discussion of conservative medias inuence (such as
Dr. Laura Schlessingers radio broadcasts) onwhite, middle-
class parents choices about issues such as childcare, di-
vision of household labor, and their careers. The authors
demonstrate compellingly that the meaning that one par-
ent derives from a given text, ER or Dr. Laura, for instance,
can be very different fromwhat other community members
imagine (p. 126).
One of the books strengths is its explicit focus on
a narrow prole of white, middle-class parents experi-
ences. As the authors note, their research population dif-
fers from many ethnographic studies in which there is a
large privilege gap between researcher and researched.
They demonstrate persuasively that there are a range of
ways in which different life histories and personalities in-
uence media choices and effects (p. 129). However, the
limited demographics of their participants also restrict the
broader potential impact of the book to examine the di-
versity of experiences among white, middle-class parents.
The authors explain that those they interviewed lived in a
fairly homogeneous local community within a complex so-
cioeconomic world (p. 17), and the experiences of parents
that did not t the dominant demographics the authors cite
(white, middle-class, Christian, married, heterosexual par-
ents) were not included. Some of these choices were likely
made by the participants who volunteered for the study and
those whodidnot. Yet locating andincluding a more diverse
cast of informants within this community, such as single
parents (only two single mothers were included), stay-at-
home fathers (only one was included), and perhaps lesbian
and gay parents (none were identied)who frequently in-
habit, albeit sometimes more tenuously, seemingly homo-
geneous communitieswould allow a more complex look
at the fractures and ssures in white, middle-class expe-
rience that would bring considerably more depth to the
study. Despite extensive discussion by the authors about di-
verse family structures in contemporary television portray-
als (pp. 4257), and their call for similar studies to be con-
ducted in different and more diverse communities in con-
clusion (p. 157), the voices of these parents remain largely
silent in this text.
However, even more problematicfrom the perspec-
tive of a scholar who also conducts research on predomi-
nantly white, middle-class mothersis that the book fails
to discuss the important work by other social scientists that
has addressed mothers experiences with media messages
outside of this specic subset of women (such as Patri-
cia Hill Collinss writing on controlling images of black
mothers in the media, or Ellen Lewins ethnographic work
on lesbian mothers responses to mainstream media rep-
resentation of their families). This is a major drawback to
the present study because comparative analysis would al-
low for a more critical frame within which to analyze white,
middle-class, heterosexual womens experiences. If the au-
thors hope is to provide a study that expands the current
anthropological literature on work, family, and media by
highlighting white, middle-class parents voices, critical en-
gagement with what is already published on family and
marginalization, particularly of mothers, in the media is
With that caveat (and, perhaps, some supplementary
readings), the book would work well for teaching in courses
addressing family and media. On the whole, it appears
perhaps not surprisingly, because one author (Kottak) is
well known for his writing on teaching in the postmodern
classroomthat this book was written as a teaching text.
It is presented in an accessible format with short chapters
and orienting questions (p. 19), which the authors return
to throughout the text. The authors offer an extensive and
reective discussion of their multiple methods approach,
which could be useful in methods courses. All in all, the
authors do a convincing job of demonstrating that media
inuences the choices that all of us make, something their
informantsas well as many of our studentsare often too
quick to dismiss.
American Ethnologist

Volume 38 Number 4 2011
Womens Social Activism in the New Ukraine: Develop-
ment and the Politics of Differentiation. Sarah D. Phillips.
Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008. 232 pp.
Bowdoin College
Womens Social Activism in the New Ukraine: Development
and the Politics of Differentiation is an insightful and ethno-
graphically rich book that offers a much-needed and orig-
inal contribution to larger debates within the literature on
gender and civil society in Eastern Europe. By tracing the
work of womens NGOs advocating for the rights and en-
titlements of disadvantaged populations, Sarah Phillips ex-
plores the underlying neoliberal logics of civil society efforts
in Eastern Europe and their implicit legitimization of the
states withdrawal from social service provision. Following
the work of scholars like Michele Rivkin-FishandJulie Hem-
ment in Russia, Phillips demonstrates how NGO activism
personalizes, privatizes, individualizes, and, ultimately, de-
politicizes demands for social entitlements by undermin-
ing possibilities for collective mobilization. Responsibility
for change devolves down to the individual who has to
learn how to get by in an increasingly competitive soci-
ety in which economic inequalities create vast chasms be-
tween rich and poor. This turn to what is called social en-
trepreneurship requires that men and women accept the
idea that citizen initiatives should now organize and pro-
vide services once provided by the state, an idea that often
ies in the face of what many postsocialist citizens want, es-
pecially women.
Sarah Phillips initially went to Kyiv in the late 1990s to
study the effects of the Chernobyl nuclear accident on the
lives of ordinary Ukrainians. While she was there she found
herself increasingly moved by the economic displacement
and social chaos that people were facing after the demise of
the Soviet Union and the transformation to democracy and
capitalism. Early in her eldwork, Phillips befriended some
social activists trying to defend the once generous state en-
titlements promised to vulnerable populations, particularly
those with large families, the elderly, and the physically dis-
abled. Following the efforts of 11 women activists over the
course of her research, Phillips paints an intimate portrait
of womens organizing from the inside. She does not con-
sider Ukrainian women as failures because they do not live
up to Western feminist expectations but, rather, provides
analysis of their successes and failures on their own terms,
giving a valuable window into the culture of Ukrainian
womens organizations in the best of ethnographic tradi-
tions. Phillips argues that womens participationinNGOs as
problem solvers builds some political capacity in them as
civil society actors, but that this is not enough unless these
women become involved where the real power is, in poli-
tics: Civil society feminism cannot succeed without a con-
comitant empowerment of women in the political sphere
(p. 164).
Phillips also demonstrates the challenges and com-
plexities faced by Western feminists trying to organize
women within a traditional culture that reies themin their
role as mothers and nurturers. She writes: international
NGOs have found it exceedingly difcult to work within
local frames of gender. The maternalist character of many
Ukrainianwomens NGOs, and local visions of womens and
mens respective qualities, roles, and potential contribu-
tions to society and the family, are unsettling to many West-
ern feminist-oriented NGOs (p. 163). Rather than assum-
ing that normative Westernfeminist agendas should be uni-
versalizedtoEasternEurope, however, Phillips carefully lays
out what is at stake in womens organizing from the point
of view of Ukrainian women themselves within the tumul-
tuous context of economic and political transition. Perhaps
the most provocative claim she makes is that Ukrainian
women might be better organized as mothers, strategically
essentializing their biological and social roles to more ef-
fectively lobby the state. In her chapter, All Aboard the
Titanic Ukraina, Phillips does an excellent job exploring
the national mythology of Ukrainian motherhood and its
potential political power, withparticular attentionto the ca-
reer of Orange revolution veteran and former Prime Minis-
ter, Yuliia Tymoshenko.
The many critical insights of the book are embed-
ded within and emerge from elegant ethnographic obser-
vations. Phillips expertly weaves the details of womens lives
and life histories into her text; the reader benets not only
from her critical analysis but also from an intimate portrait
of daily life in Ukraine in the postsocialist period. Many
of the books passages are beautifully written and evoca-
tive in their detail and compassion for the women stud-
ied. Phillips is a feminist ethnographer and writes in a self-
reective style that is prized by scholars in gender and
womens studies. Her use of the rst person clearly posi-
tions her as a researcher in the text and gives the reader
a sense of the power relations inherent in her interactions
with her informants. The amount of disciplinary jargon is
limited, and difcult concepts are clearly spelled out for
those outside of the specic debates addressed by the book.
The book is therefore highly readable, making it suitable
for advanced undergraduates and graduate students in an-
thropology, sociology, political science, gender studies, and
East European studies. Furthermore, because the book in-
cludes edited eld notes and discusses the trials and chal-
lenges of doing eldwork, this is a great book for classes on
qualitative or ethnographic methodology. Overall, Womens
Social Activism in the New Ukraine: Development and the
Politics of Differentiation is a compelling, accessible book
that should be read by scholars, activists, and policy makers
Book Reviews

American Ethnologist
Cuba in the Shadow of Change: Daily Life in the Twilight
of the Revolution. Amelia Rosenberg Weinreb. Gainesville:
University Press of Florida, 2009. 254 pp.
University of Virginia
Ethnography on Cuba has experienced something of a re-
naissance in the past 15 years, as more and more young
anthropologists have turned their attention to that curi-
ous island where communism has survived long beyond its
forecast collapse. And, yet, for historical as much as prac-
tical reasonsgetting a visa for eld research is not easy
much of the recent ethnography is rooted in traditional
or expressive cultural practices, such as Santeria, popular
theater, and Afro-Cuban music. This body of work has en-
riched our understanding of contemporary Cuban society
and helped rekindle interest in a place that anthropology
had largely given over to journalists, economists, and polit-
ical scientists to muddle over. Few of these projects, how-
ever, have sought explicitly to confront the particulars of
something like ordinary life in post-Soviet Cuba. If only
for that fact, Amelia Rosenberg Weinrebhas offereda much-
needed contribution to this growing eld of study. Cuba in
the Shadow of Change is unquestionably the most impor-
tant full-length monograph to come out of the island in re-
cent memory.
The end of subsidies from the Soviet Union in the early
1990s brought on a time of relative deprivation that Fidel
Castro has famously dubbed the Special Period. It ushered
in ideologically ambiguous economic remedies: the legal-
ization of the U.S. dollar, vast foreign investment in the
tourist sector, and various forms of small business, to name
of few. Ordinary urban life under the Cuban revolution dur-
ing this time has presented an intractable problem for its
subjects: They live immersed in socialist discourse criti-
cal of the capitalist world system, while increasingly they
participate in globally mediated consumption. Rather than
sidestepping this problem by focusing on some microcosm
of cultural life, or relegating it to the status of background
noise, Weinreb takes it as her central theme. Immersing her-
self with her husband and two young children in the every-
day life of a middle-class neighborhood in Havana, she cap-
tures grippingly the predicament of Cubans living through
economic hardship, often in ways that renegotiate the exer-
cise of state power.
Well put the toilet right here, where the closet is,
one of her informants, the proprietor of a private inn, an-
nounces indignantly. He has just gotten word of another
bureaucratic restriction imposed on his businessthis one
requiring two functioning bathrooms. I have friends who
are plumbers, he says. I can have it done by next week, or
three days (p. 78).
This sort of invento (invention, inventiveness), so
characteristic of daily life in Havana, is distinct from those
practices that are overtly political, whether in support of the
socialist state or opposed to it, but also distinct from those
parallel spheres of life that strive toremainexplicitly apolit-
ical. In honing in on these practices and providing a native
taxonomy for understanding them, Weinreb opens the door
to tough questions that are likely to inect future research
in Cuba for years to come. Implicitly, she asks, what are we
to make of late socialist subjects who reject the paternalism
of state institutions while also serving their interests, who
fetishize Johnsons baby shampoo, who rely on connections
withforeignfriends to gainaccess to e-mail, or who seek out
international love affairs tohelpsupport their impoverished
family, the elders of whomremain faithful to the revolution?
The author, in addressing these contradictions, openly
challenges certain theoretical fashions that have tried to
complicate sharp distinctions of public and private, ofcial
and unofcial, freedom and control. Weinreb asserts that
she will not intellectualize or relativize the notion of citizen
liberty, or downplay the importance her informants give to
private experience and private thought outside the reach of
the state apparatus. Their Cubaand the one I describe
in this bookhighlights the importance of purposeful ob-
scurity, rather than activism, as a coping mechanismduring
the liminal years of a prolonged Special Period (p. 17). Of
course, taking these distinctions at face value, and the limi-
nality of late socialism as a given, necessarily shapes Wein-
rebs understanding of the facts in question.
The social actors in her account are mainly well ed-
ucated, moderately ambitious people who want more in
their lives. More career options, more freedom of move-
ment, more stuff. She identies them variously as unsatis-
ed citizen-consumers and members of a shadowpublic
who have gone largely ignored in the prevailing scholarship.
Her work represents the members of this public as a kind of
byproduct of a Soviet-style total social system. The system,
closed as it is to contrary discourses, cannot give its sub-
jects an adequate, coherent account of the neoliberal world
they nd at once at their ngertips and ever passing them
by. As more images, people, and money move across na-
tional borders, ordinary Cubans become more aware of the
huge variety of commodities andopportunities that capital-
ist consumption has to offer, but are consistently thwarted
in their desire to attain much of it. They experience such
luxuries if not with help from family afuera (outside [of
Cuba]) then at least mediated in the panoply of Ameri-
can movies and television programs pirated from satellite
transmissions and aired, with barely a hint of irony, on state
Indeed, the same regime that daily provides a pre-
dictable parade of ofcial discourse and anti-American
rhetoric in the sanctioned news media has enabled and
intensied such paradoxes. Cubans look on as their
American Ethnologist

Volume 38 Number 4 2011
leaders struggle to keep aoat the command economy,
spending millions to remodel beach resorts, open air-
conditioned shopping centers, and revitalize Havanas colo-
nial quarter. Typical citizens themselves have limited access
to many such attractions, which are rmly tied to the dollar-
based economy. Sometimes this is a matter of policyuntil
recently Cubans were expressly forbidden fromfrequenting
their own tourist hotels, except as employees. But theyve
always known quite well what goes in those spheres. That
sort of widespreadknowledge no doubt deepens the already
profound, if muted, dissatisfaction to which Weinreb wants
to turn our attention.
So much for consumers. As citizens, the author sug-
gests, her shadow public hardly tows the line. They avoid
government rallies, preferring instead to host small family
gatherings on such holidays as May 1. They use Granma,
the Communist Party daily, for toilet paper, turn off Fidels
marathon speeches, and favor private employment where
possible over state jobs. But they remain mostly hushed in
their distaste for el sistema, voicing frustrations in the com-
pany of trusted friends and relatives, often couching their
complaints in a consumerist register. Moreover, Weinreb in-
sists, the frustration they reveal in guarded circles is cou-
pled with an almost unconscious anxiety about converting
dissatisfaction into political mobilization. They are not dis-
sidents and dont want to be. When the frustration reaches
a breaking pointand in Weinrebs portrayal it often does
they begin carefully hatching plans for emigration.
Although not universal, the desire to leave Cuba
(abandonher, as the party says) tends to produce a special
phenomenon, one that for Weinreb warrants its own cate-
gory of analysis: un-migration. By this she refers to a sort
of inward exile, one that complements the real and ever-
growing actual diaspora. For so many Cubans, the hope
of emigration also carries with it a kind of despair. If real-
ized, the departure requires leaving behind a known world
of social connections built, and, yes, even cherished, in the
shadowof socialism. And when, as is so often the case, their
plans dont go anywhere, would-be emigrants live in the
pipe dream of an imagined other life.
Weinreb has performed a worthy service for scholars
of Cuba and socialist regimes more generally, in outlining
a native exegesis of frustration, anxiety, and uncertain hope
evident in the people whose lives crossed hers in the eld.
Readers should wonder whether, in doing so, she has essen-
tialized the plight of the shadow public, taking their covert
revelations as literal expressions, and their consumer desire
as a natural drive. The term shadow public, while insight-
ful, is more than vaguely reminiscent of the suspect claim
made among certain partisans in American politics when
they speak of a silent majority whose views they purport
to represent. While clearly this is not the reference Wein-
reb intended, the two terms share in the assumption that
they somehow point to a real thingthe real America, the
real Cubabeing masked from view. Weinreb might, in this
sense, have pushed her material further, asking in what way
the signs and practices of her informants are in conversa-
tion, perhaps even collusion, with the sources of the very
frustration they perform. In any case, it seems clear that this
lucid work should set the bar, and the tone, for future con-
versations on late socialist Cuba, scholarly and otherwise.
Foods of Association: Biocultural Perspectives on Foods
and Beverages that Mediate Sociability. Nina L. Etkin. Tuc-
son: University of Arizona Press, 2009. 264 pp., 10 color pho-
tos, 8 tables.
University of California, Santa Cruz
Published shortly after Nina Etkins death, Foods of Associ-
ation: Biocultural Perspectives on Foods and Beverages that
Mediate Sociability is a fascinating and timely addition to
studies of food and diet in anthropology and the larger eld
of food studies. Taking a more holistic approach to food
anddiet thanis typically pursuedinscholarly foodresearch,
Etkin examines both the cultural and biological dimensions
of foods and beverages and their relationship to human
health. She starts with the premise that eating and drinking
are inherently social activities, and her analysis considers
howthe biology of particular foods and beverages mediates
social relationships and contributes to the physiologies of
both individuals and communities.
Etkin organizes her discussion around food and bever-
age occasions to emphasize the social dimensions of food.
Topics range from simple acts of food sharing, food trans-
fer, and social foraging among humans and other mam-
mals to more socially complex and institutionalized food
activities such as agriculture, feasting, commercial food in-
dustries, dieting, and social movements. Although most of
the book focuses on more contemporary human societies,
Etkin incorporates historical dimensions in the chapters,
such as with a discussion of the imperial roots of European
foodways, not just in Europe but also in Africa, Asia, and
the Americas. Etkin places special attention on Nigeria and
Hawaii, her areas of specialty, but the book nicely moves
beyond just these two case studies to include a broad cross-
cultural comparison, making it a useful volume for refer-
ence and teaching.
Chapter 1 presents a broad historical and cultural
overview of the biocultural aspects of foodways, with at-
tention to the theoretical orientations and methods used in
Etkins analysis, descriptions of food sharing both among
humans and other animal groups, the origins of agricul-
ture, and historical shifts from treating food and beverages
as subsistence items to treating them as symbolically laden
commodities. Chapter 2 traces the origins and dispersal of
Book Reviews

American Ethnologist
European foodways through imperial exploration and colo-
nial activities. Of particular interest is Etkins detailed ac-
count of howmultiple ows of economic, religious, and po-
litical expansion throughout the world fostered the global
circulation of spices, sugarcanes, chiles, coffee, cacao, and
tea and their impact on global health trends. This chapter is
so richly detailed that it could be an excellent stand-alone
piece on the history of global commerce.
The last three chapters focus more directly on aspects
of the social dynamics of eating and drinking and their im-
plications for individual and community health. Chapter
3 examines street foods and street beverages, what Etkin
calls public foods. This chapter covers such fascinating
foods as plate lunch and musubi (a lled rice ball of
Japanese origin) in Hawaii; Asian steamed buns and noo-
dle dishes; and meat dishes, balls made from cowpea our
paste, nuts, roots, fruits, and other wild foods in Nigeria.
From these examples, Etkin carefully describes the nutri-
tional and pharmacological potential of individual ingredi-
ents and combinations of those ingredients. What is espe-
cially important about this discussionis Etkins intervention
in theories about the negative nutritional value of the foods
that poor and rural people eat throughout the world, espe-
cially inrural Africancommunities. She argues convincingly
that street foods and beverages, which are overwhelmingly
excluded from studies of diet and nutrition while simulta-
neously vilied by health studies focusing on food safety
and risk assessment, should be reconsidered as having sig-
nicant health-related and social value.
Chapter 4 segues from this discussion of the biosocial
dimension of public foods to examine the role of foods and
beverages insocial events. Throughdiscussions of social oc-
casions ranging from religious observances and calendrical
or seasonal festivities to marriage ceremonies and funerary
rites, among others, Etkin describes the cultural and bio-
logical values of such diverse foods as eggs, spices, lentils,
tortillas, tamales, codsh, meats, alcoholic beverages, aro-
matics, honey, and even dirt (as with geophagia). In chap-
ter 5, Etkin turns to a more contemporary beverage with
tremendous biocultural signicance: bottled water. Con-
necting the contemporary popularity of bottled waters with
their historical precedents in mineral waters and spas, in-
digenous water-encouraging customs, and cultural tra-
ditions linking water to creation and destruction, Etkin
presents a fascinating account of the ideological concerns
that have informed water fads over the past several cen-
turies. Finally, the last chapter neatly sums up the books
main contributions and offers possible directions for future
researchers to take up.
This is a highly readable book that will appeal not just
to social, cultural, medical, and biological anthropologists
but also to food studies scholars from across the disci-
plinary spectrum, especially those working in chemistry,
nutrition, medicine, and public health. It is one of the few
books on food that effectively bridges the divide between
the biological and the cultural by carefully documenting
and persuasively linking the two realms. Anthropologists
of food know that eating and drinking are always simulta-
neously biological and cultural, and evidence such as con-
tained in this volume will be greatly appreciated. Although
some readers might have wanted Etkin to develop some
topics more fully, this does not detract fromthe books over-
all signicance and impact. Overall, this is a richly informa-
tive and enjoyable book.
Iraq at a Distance: What Anthropologists Can Teach Us
about the War. Antonius C. G. M. Robben, ed. Philadelphia:
University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010. 186 pp.

Uppsala University
Antonius Robben and his contributors, all leading ethno-
graphers of mass political violence, take us on a twofold
journey: throughcontemporary anthropological knowledge
about warfare and through the war in Iraq at a distance.
The book was inspired by the conict between anthro-
pologists opposition to their governments involvement in
the war as well as their use of anthropology for military pur-
poses, on the one hand, and on the other hand the impos-
sibility of conducting traditional anthropological eldwork
that would contribute to better understanding of the sit-
uation in Iraq and, hopefully, change public opinion and
policy. Robbens introduction situates this ambition within
what he calls the compassionate turn in anthropology,
which not only draws on long-accepted elements of the an-
thropological method, such as empathy, but also involves
compassion and witnessing in morally, ethically, and po-
litically precarious elds. Instead of helplessly watching
violent events unfold, the authors in this volume chose to
reect on the history of anthropological methods and em-
ploy the ethnographic imagination. As Robben explains,
the ethnographic imagination enables us to connect similar
phenomena in different sociocultural, political, and histor-
ical contexts. The authors in-depth knowledge of mass po-
litical violence in other global arenas is offered with the in-
tention of enabling readers to imagine how this war might
be experienced by Iraqi people without the ethnographers
actually being there.
Nadje Al-Ali offers very important insights gathered
from Iraqi women NGO activists whom the author met
in neighboring countries while they were visiting for a
workshop or simply for a respite from the war. Through
vivid ethnography, the United States promises to promote
womens rights through the War on Terrorism are shown
to be empty; indeed, life conditions for women have grown
worse. The author need not have apologized for her lack
American Ethnologist

Volume 38 Number 4 2011
of ethnography from within Iraq; this is the only chapter
that provides us with glimpses into the lived reality of ev-
eryday life in Iraq since 2003, albeit limited to the views
of middle-class women from Baghdad. As Robben persua-
sively argues, all ethnographic work uses imaginationto un-
derstand people in the eld, and the book itself is a proof
that material about similar phenomena in different places
is highly relevant; still, I nd the stories of those who lived
in the particular circumstances we seek to understand most
relevant and compelling.
Alexander Hinton discusses the good versus evil
rhetoric that characterizes both the misuse of political and
military power and the legitimation of violence against cer-
tain populations. He points to discomting similarities be-
tween the rhetoric used in Cambodia under the Khmer
Rouge and that invoked by both Bush administrations, as
well as by Osama bin Laden. The chapter includes a telling
description of September 11th as the author himself experi-
enced it in Queens, New York, which made me think that
this book could have been entitled also Anthropology of
the War on Terror.
The grotesque violationof basic humanrights that hap-
pens when subtle and uctuating dynamics of ethnore-
ligious identications and intergroup relations are frozen
into territorial divisions, cemented by walls, barbed wire,
and humiliating procedures at checkpoints, all to secure
control and power over resources for one group and to ex-
clude the others comes to life in Julie Peteets chapter on
Illuminating chapters by Jeffrey Sluka and Antonius
Robben describe a series of tactical mistakes made dur-
ing the war. Sluka analyzes how the support of the popu-
lace was lost both in Iraq and on the home front, repeat-
ing many of the mistakes made by the British military in
Northern Ireland between 1969 and 1994. Robben points
out that military tactics gradually became more and more
brutal, increasing civilian insecurity, disappearances, and
deaths and complicating the precarious political situation,
nding ghastly similarities between the dirty war in Ar-
gentina and military tactics in Iraq.
The book is masterfully edited. Although each chapter
takes up a different instance of mass political violence, the
themes ow logically and build a rich and coherent whole.
While I would have preferred an anthropological analysis
of Iraq based on on-the-spot ethnography without the dis-
tance, I understand the impossibility of being there and
admire the authors for not giving up their professional en-
gagement with the issues. Addressing the wartime experi-
ences of Iraqis is important, as is reecting on the war on
Although I miss ethnographic material from Iraq, I
have come to recognize the similarities between analyses
based on direct participant-observation and those based
on rigorous comparisons. I reected on two situations in
which I was interviewed by Swedish media. In the rst,
which focused on my work in Sarajevo, the journalist was
a Kurdish woman. After the interview she told me that she
especially liked what I said about importance of humor dur-
ing the war because she recognized this from her own ex-
periences. In the second, I was asked about how the civil-
ian population experienced the bombing of Baghdad. I told
the journalists that I did not knowanything about Baghdad,
but they wanted me to talk about how it was in Sarajevo
during the bombings. In retrospect, I think that I agreed to
speak mostly because of a televised image I sawof a middle-
aged woman in Baghdad who, standing amidst the ruins of
the bombed city, accused the world of bombing civilians
in clear Oxford-accented English. She was recognizable to
me, for she resembled the middle-aged intellectuals whom
I got to know during the siege of Sarajevo who were rst in-
credulous and then outraged that Europe could allow such
barbaric warfare to continue. Recognizing the similarities
betweenthis conict at a distance andmy owndirect ethno-
graphic experiences gave me the impetus to use my an-
thropological knowledge of everyday life in circumstances
of mass political violence to interpret the current conict
as Robben would put it, to imagine it.
As a whole, the book lives up to its promises: it is a
comprehensive and up-to-date collection of anthropologi-
cal perspectives onwar andit successfully portrays the ways
in which the war might be lived by Iraqis.
City of God: Christian Citizenship in Postwar Guatemala.
Kevin Lewis ONeill. Berkeley: University of California Press,
2010. 312 pp.
Scripps College
In an extraordinarily violent city, in a country that has
suffered a deeply painful, decades-long civil war, whose
democracy is faltering at best, what can Christians do to
save it? City of God is a book that sets out to address this
question through an ethnographic study of El Shaddai, a
neo-Pentecostal megachurch in Guatemala City.
City of God is a well-written, theoretically sophisti-
cated, and richly ethnographic work that illustrates how
neo-Pentecostalist Christians (mainly Ladino, not Maya) in
Guatemala City are working, and working hard, to trans-
form their country into a democratic, safe, and godly place.
They do this not by vying for political ofce or campaigning
on behalf of political candidates nor by voting or protest-
ing but, rather, by praying, fasting, exorcising demons,
and keeping their thoughts in check. These practices,
which aim at changing Guatemala and making it a better
country, ONeill calls Christian citizenship, and Christian
citizenship, he tells us, is an ethnographic fact (p. xiv).
Corrupt politicians, drug trafcking, and violence can all
Book Reviews

American Ethnologist
be eradicated, ONeills interlocutors proclaim, if they work
hard enough as Christian citizens of Guatemala. Christian
citizenship, then, entails a morally weighty set of prac-
tices, that not only shape the individual practitioners of
neo-Pentecostalist Christianity in Guatemala City but that
also have real effects on the Guatemalan nation. The logic
is, in the nal analysis, simple: by changing oneself and
cultivating oneself as morally right, Guatemala is remade
for the better. A bad attitude, writes ONeill, is bad for
Guatemala (p. 51). If this disappoints a liberal democratic
notion of political action for the sake of political change, it
is only because those who espouse liberal democratic ide-
als of citizenship and neo-Pentecostalists in Guatemala City
have different answers to the question: What should the
good citizen do? (p. 14).
Importantly, ONeill highlights that an emphasis on
the individual in postcivil war politics in Guatemala is
not unique to El Shaddai or neo-Pentecostalists in gen-
eral. He looks at three civil society campaignsthat of El
Shaddai, a secular organization called GuateAmala, and a
municipal government campaignall of which place the
weight of making a better Guatemala on the shoulders of
individual citizens. In ONeills framework they operate as
Althusserian hailing ideologies (Hey, you there! You are
Guatemala!). Changing Guatemala is never framed as a
collective (we, us) project but as a lone, individual one.
While the municipal government campaign appears to stop
at the hailing, both GuateAmala and El Shaddai emphasize
the need for individual citizens to master such interior re-
alities as habits, attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors (p. 46).
GuateAmala, however, does not seem to offer any substan-
tial ways for addressing that interiority, except by supply-
ing individuals with rubber bands that their wearers are en-
couraged to snap whenever they are feeling down about the
state of their country. The twinge is meant to awaken ones
capacity to improve [ones] attitude (p. 49). In ONeills
comparison, El Shaddai is the most successful of these cam-
paigns because it offers its members a means for assess-
ing their inner selves and policing their co-coreligionists.
Manuals ask El Shaddai members to evaluate, for exam-
ple, their level of honesty on a scale of one to ten. By do-
ing so, these Pentecostalists give virtue a quantiable qual-
ity, allowing them to assess where work on the self needs
to be done and to police one another on the level of culti-
vating virtue. Christian citizenship means not only seeing
your self in society but also understanding that your bro-
kenness, your less-than-perfect level of honesty, is one im-
portant source of societys failures (p. 83). In this regard
Foucaults notion of governmentality aptly frames City of
God, especially with regard to the role neo-Pentecostalists
insist fathers must play in raising their children right
(ch. 4).
ONeill offers moving and splendidly detailed portraits
of the intensity of bearing moral responsibility for family
like that of fathers raising their children or older brothers
(acting as fathers) raising their younger siblingsand the
failures that frequently arise as a result. Failed fatherhood,
which contributes to the brokenness of the Guatemalan na-
tion, is part-and-parcel (or so it seems) of the paradox of the
task of raising children properly for the sake of Guatemala,
particularly because, as ONeill puts it: fatherhood [is]
both the problem and the answer; both a weight and an
honor; both an avenue and a dead-end (p. 141). Several
of ONeills interlocutors expressed deep disappointment in
themselves when they sensed that they had been failed by
their fathers and likewise failed as fathers, but they do not
appear to give up on the model of fatherhood as central
to making Guatemala right. It is difcult as a reader, how-
ever, not to wonder when it is that this weight snaps the
backs of those who carry it. In other words, when do some
neo-Pentecostalists just give up? ONeill tells us that Chris-
tian citizens bear the burden of Guatemalas ills because
the moral weight makes their lives signicant (p. 213). But
surely there are those who start off on this track then bend
underneath the weight to such a degree that they begin to
wonder if perhaps they should not have taken on the load
to begin with. Indeed, accounts of those who have rejected
or feel ambivalent towardChristiancitizenship, periodically
tire of all the weight, or simply think that the churchs pol-
itics are wrong, would have rounded out what is otherwise
a vivid ethnographic account of a mode of citizenship that
rubs liberal democratic sensibilities the wrong way. Some
readers might also wish there was a deeper discussionof the
conditions specic to recent Guatemalan history that have
created the sense of moral weight that neo-Pentecostalists
ostensibly go through life bearing. This is especially nec-
essary given the fact that neo-Pentecostalists are not alone
in believing that changes in Guatemala are contingent on
changes in individual selves.
Anyone interested in the anthropology of Christianity,
citizenship, Pentecostalism, Latin America, or governmen-
tality will nd City of God to be an important contribution
that is provocative, engaging, and challenging all at once.
Living Terraces of Ethiopia: Konso Landscape, Culture
and Development. Elizabeth E. Watson. Woodbridge, UK:
James Currey, 2009. 242 pp.
Dickinson College
In this ethnography of southern Ethiopia, geographer
Elizabeth Watson brings a dynamic new perspective
to Konso and to social landscapes and power among
agriculturalists and addresses concerns in development
with intensive agriculture, local partners, and indigenous
knowledge. Building on Watsons doctoral dissertationan
important and widely cited source in its own rightthis
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Volume 38 Number 4 2011
work is based on intensive ethnographic eldwork in the
1990s and return eldwork in 2002, 2005, and 2008. Watson
sees her work as more practical than earlier ethnographic
work on Konso, attentive to environmental conservation
and poverty, seeking to understand the importance of
indigenous knowledge to development and emphasizing
culture, power, and change (p. 5). In seven chapters plus
an introduction and conclusion Watson examines Konsos
stone terracing and associated features and practicesfor
which Konso has long been knownas cultural or sociohis-
torical processes of production and reproduction.
Living Terraces initially seems to followa familiar script:
early chapters examine production, society, religion, and
politics, which then meet changes through moderniza-
tion, Protestant Christianity in the 1950s, the 1974 socialist
revolution, and, most recently and profoundly, liberaliza-
tion. Together, Protestants and socialists created a bifurca-
tion in Konso society between customary (Bourdieus or-
thodoxy) and modern (heterodoxy) beliefs and practices,
which then existed in parallel, with the former demonstrat-
ing an enormous level of resilience and autonomy in the
face of changes brought by the state and globalized reli-
gion (p. 17). Changes since Ethiopias 1990s political and
economic liberalizationandethnic federalism, Watsoncon-
tends, render things much more complicated. An old for-
mula in African ethnography depicts increasing entangle-
ments of local culture with broader forces culminating with
the most recent (contemporary with an authors eldwork)
being the most complex and disruptive. But Watsons anal-
ysis is far more textured than such a formula, and what
initially appear as periods emerge in her ethnography as
complexly interconnected cultural, sociopolitical, and his-
torical processes that often defy periodization.
A central focus is the position of the poqalla, descent
group heads with ritual and organizational responsibilities,
mediators with spiritual and natural forces and builders of
landesque capital (p. 41). Watson shows that earlier refer-
ences to poqallas as priests neglect their roles in every-
day and naturalized practices of hierarchy. Poqallas have
been central to organizing labor that maintained terrac-
ing, thus binding religion and practical economic life and
contributing to successful agriculture in an environment
characterized by limited and variable rainfall. Konsos land-
scapes involve social relationships of age, gender, descent,
and neighborhoods that shape access to land and through
which labor is organized in part with various kinds of work
groups. Supporting work groups can require food, local
beer, money, and credit. Poqallas have more and often bet-
ter land, and they have higher labor demands than oth-
ers, which Watson demonstrates with an astute and cre-
ative method for gauging eld size based on the carrying
bags people use (p. 73). Historically, non-poqallas used la-
bor at peak demand times for sowing and weeding; poqallas
used labor for investment in things like terracing. Poqallas
would lend land to people in need, often members of their
wider kin groups, in exchange for piyolada labor three times
a year, thereby gaining greater harvests andrecreating clien-
tage and structural inequalities.
In some founding traditions regional poqallas are rst
arrivals who cleared land. Other poqallas have status as rst
arrivals to villages, rst sons of rst wives leading large lin-
eages, or rst sons of second wives heading newer lineages.
The idiomof rst merges with other idioms: people of sta-
tus and wealth tend to be rsts, parents, eldest siblings, and
male; juniors are children, later-born, and female. These id-
ioms extend to numerous other divisions, creating hierar-
chies within hierarchies: regional to local poqallas; maxi-
mal to minimal lineages; elder brother to younger; and men
to women. Watson shows that poqallas are thus central to
community health and well-being, agricultural productiv-
ity, and also pervasive social inequality.
Icelandic Protestant missionaries introduced broad
networks and new ideas about modernity and spiritual-
ity to people weary of taxation and tribute to govern-
ment ofcials and poqallas, who had been incorporated
into imperial administration. Converts also rejected things
cultural, including poqallas, as associated with the devil.
Socialists, Watson argues, brought a convergence with
Protestant modernity througha sharedoppositionto tra-
dition. Socialists attacked poqallas as landlords, intro-
duced Peasant Associations for local administration, and
banned piyolada labor poqallas received in exchange for
land useundermining poqallas ritual and economic abil-
ities. But Watson shows that poqallas ongoing claims to
land reemerged in the 1980s, when debtors worked for po-
qallas through fadeta (mutual help) work parties in ex-
change for local beer.
Watsonnds local understanding of poqallas described
in a female metaphor, breastfeeding (p. 104), which is fas-
cinating and contrasts with earlier scholarship, like Christo-
pher Hallpikes view of exaggerated masculinity in The
Konso of Ethiopia (2008:229). This idiom, she argues, fuses
male and female as in reproduction; it is dangerous but
also results in generative power (p. 105). Given the con-
trast with other authors, I wished for more elaboration of
the implications of this idiom. Similarly, the discussion of
Protestantsocialist co-modernity leaves a sense that Wat-
son has more to say than she offers. She notes, for instance,
socialist persecution of Protestants (p. 204), which I feel of-
fers additional opportunities to complicate the modernity
After liberalization and an inux of NGOs, Watson ar-
gues, Protestant inuence ebbed with new divisions in the
church and with the new governments emphasis on tra-
dition and culture. Relations between farmers and arti-
sans changed alongside growth in the Orthodox Church re-
lated to expanding trade possibilities. A recent revival of
poqallas is complicated by their weakness in older ritual
Book Reviews

American Ethnologist
and economic roles, and by some poqallas seeking govern-
ment and committee positionswhich reminds some peo-
ple of imperial times. Other people still associate poqallas
with the devil. Watson sees these changes as overwhelming
anorthodoxyheterodoxy model and challenging a unifying
narrative or belief in certainty (pp. 194195). She makes this
case with more information than I can convey here, and,
yet, I wonder whether such a unied view existed in 1975,
for example, or 1960, or if this interpretation reects our
position in current contexts. This point is related to a ten-
sion in the book between indigenous practices that have
proved resilient and adaptive, and have endured (p. 190)
or have been reinstated in a changed form (p. 191). But
to be clear, these tensions emerge from Konso and reect
complexities raised by people occupying different positions
and who confront disparate challenges there.
Watsons lessons for development organizations con-
cern subtle and long-term power relations with poqallas,
who such organizations might naively consider indige-
nous institutions (pp. 7, 111). Watsons most specic sug-
gestions come in the closing pages after emphasis through-
out the book that peoples beliefs are critical to land use,
economic practices, and environmental management. Peo-
ple maintain terraces much as in the past, yet erosion pro-
tections like ood control walls seem weakened along with
poqallas. Watson is optimistic that if organizations could
work with Konso people and mobilize them for collective
action, such practices could be improved (p. 223). But ide-
alizing poqallas, she writes, is not the answer, in part be-
cause of their involvement in multiple structures of in-
equality (p. 223). Whether development organizations will
learn from Watson or whether the complexities she so thor-
oughly explains are too dynamic to warrant such optimism
remains to be seen. Living Terraces is an excellent ethnogra-
phy whose accessibility andethnographic detail will make it
valuable for teaching and undoubtedly important to those
studying southern Ethiopia or interested in complex so-
ciopolitical relationships involved in terracing and agricul-
Reference cited
Hallpike, Christopher
2008 The Konso of Ethiopia. n.c: AuthorHouse.
The Perils of Belonging: Autochthony, Citizenship, and
Exclusion in Africa and Europe. Peter Geschiere. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 2009. 304 pp.
University of Zurich
At the heart of this book is the concept of autochthony
in its political and emotional dimensions. While the
book draws on earlier publications of Peter Geschiere
on autochthony in Cameroon, it further expands and
renes his arguments. It introduces new ethnographic
data and provides comparative perspectives by integrating
material from Cameroon, C ote dIvoire, Congo-Kinshasa,
South Africa, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France,
and even classical Greece. While much of the scholar-
ship can be attributed to the author himself, he gen-
erously acknowledges the valuable input of fellow an-
thropologists and African colleagues. The book comprises
seven chapters, three of which engage with separate fea-
tures of autochthony discourse in Cameroon, one draw-
ing comparisons with other parts of Africa, and one fo-
cusing on similar movements in the Netherlands and
For Geschiere, autochthony (to be born fromthe soil)
exemplies the contemporary preoccupation with belong-
ing in a globalizing world. While its attraction lies in its
seeming self-evidence, the concept entails inherent am-
biguities that set in motion ever new processes of fusion
and ssion. Its emergence across the globe suggests com-
monalities that are linked to specic local factors. Compar-
ing current autochthony movements in Africa and Europe,
Geschiere places them in different contexts. In Africa de-
mocratization and decentralization has promoted a grow-
ing concern with belonging as a way of controlling ac-
cess to natural and state resources. Conversely, in Europe
autochthony movements have emerged in the context of
ongoing discussions about national identity and the cul-
tural integration of second-generation immigrants. Fur-
thermore, autochthony discourse engages with the nation-
state and changing notions of citizenship. When in the
1990s a liberal understanding was questioned in favor
of group-differentiated forms of citizenship, new trends
emerged. While in many parts of Africa national citizen-
ship has increasingly been broken down to ethnic and re-
gional units, citizenship in Europe has largely been dened
by cultural integration. As Geschiere argues, autochthony
does not offer an alternative to the nation-state but presup-
poses national citizenship. A further, central feature of au-
tochthony discourse is its uneasy relationship with history
and mobility. Drawing on contemporary and historical in-
cidents, such as classical Athens and colonial French West
Africa, Geschiere illustrates howautochthony claims rest on
the assumption of stasis, in contradiction to the history of
mobility and humanity itself.
To understand both the political and emotional quality
of autochthony discourse, Geschiere employs two analyt-
ical approaches. In a critical tone he suggests to return it
to history in all the different settings where this discourse
emerges powerfully: this might be an obvious way to try
to denaturalize it (p. 28). Historicization, however, can-
not fully explain the mobilizing capacity of autochthony
claims. Drawing on the notions of subjectivization,
American Ethnologist

Volume 38 Number 4 2011
aesthetics, and style, concepts applied by Jean-Francois
Bayart and Birgit Meyer with regard to global governance
and religious experience, Geschiere turns to an analysis of
the ritual embodiments of autochthony, such as funerals
and national celebrations in Cameroon.
The book addresses a wide audience, including so-
cial scientists and political practitioners concerned with
matters of identity, ethnicity, nationalism, migration, in-
tegration, political discourse, and techniques of the self.
Geschiere is a prolic writer and thinker on the subject of
autochthony. Here, he provides new insights on Cameroon
with a comparison of the Ahidjo and Biya regimes regard-
ing the validity of autochthony claims. He also considers
the situation of the Baka (Pygmies) whose assumed indi-
geneity nonetheless carries negative connotations of back-
wardness and, in turn, an absence of guarantee of rights or
citizenship. There is also an illuminating comparison be-
tween Cameroon and C ote dIvoire, where the Op eration
National dIdentication of Laurent Gbagbo was aimed
at the purication of the nation and nally triggered the
countrys division. As Geschiere points out, in Cameroon,
autochthony means distinguishing between citizens who
belong and others who belong less. In Ivory Coast it rather
implies a shrinking of the nation, and an effort to exclude
not only foreigners but also former nationals from citizen-
ship as such (p. 100). Most thought-provoking, however,
is the juxtaposition of African and European examples. In
chapter 5 Geschiere provides a rich analysis of the recent
emergence of autochthony discourse in the Netherlands
and Flanders. His description focuses on the Dutch transi-
tion from multiculturalism to cultural integration, starting
with a portrait of the populist politician Pim Fortuyn killed
in 2002, to Paul Scheffers writings against multiculturalism,
to the introduction of the term allochtonen into Dutch po-
litical vocabulary as a seemingly neutral term for foreign-
ers of a different cultural and religious background, and to
Dutch reconstructions of a homogeneous past and national
identity. Geschiere concludes the chapter on Dutch poli-
tics contesting whether the conations of culture, integra-
tion, and autochthony are either theoretically plausible or
socially feasible.
The nal two chapters engage with the emotional qual-
ity of autochthony discourse in Cameroon and beyond. For
Geschiere the funeral, besides soccer games, is the ultimate
example of the ritual embodiment of autochthony. By com-
parison with rituals of nation-building of the Ahidjo regime,
he argues that the postcolonial emphasis on social engi-
neering lent the national celebration an articial prole,
leading to its eventual disappearance. Conversely, funerals
allow for the creative involvement of all participants, and
entail an aesthetic concentration that engenders a shared
Explaining the emotional force of autochthony dis-
course remains a challenge. The Perils of Belonging is a mo-
mentous contribution to this debate, and may well stimu-
late more discussion and critical thinking among scholars
and practitioners.
Dangerous Citizens, the Greek Left and the Terror of the
State. Neni Panourgi a. NewYork: FordhamUniversity Press,
2009. xxx +302 pp.
Florida International University
Reading Dangerous Citizens transported me to the mid-
1980s when I conducted folklore research in northwest-
ern Greece. Through the grapevine I learned that several of
the older men in the community had served in the under-
ground during World War II. Because they chose to become
involved on the left, they were marked men during the con-
tinuing conicts that followed the defeats of the Axis pow-
ers. In vain, I asked themto recount to me their experiences
during and after the war. No, each one of them told me
to the man. There were les with their names in them, and
they could be persecuted again for actions nearly 40 years
earlier. They also afrmed that, yes, under Prime Minister
Andreas Papandreou the old les had been purged. But they
rmly believed that those same les could be resurrected
with a change in leadership. Thus, I gathered few accounts
of activities during the time perioddiscussedinthis volume.
In eight tightly written chapters Panourgi a conveys the
story of the mid-20th-century political conicts suffered by
the Greeks from their inception to the continuing affect on
Greeks today. Historical sources provide the facts; intensely
personal individual reections esh them out and person-
alize the cold data. Texts drawn from interviews, or discus-
sions, some from family members and close friends, inter-
spersed throughout the volume introduce or support the
narrative. Together, it is a dense history.
Panourgi a sets the stage of this challenging analysis of a
difcult historical period in chapter 1. Here, the author lays
the ground work by discussing the three-year period of her
eld work and research. She introduces pieces of her family
history and the residuals of the Greek civil war to which she
was exposed as a young girl through interactions with fam-
ily, friends, and neighborhood peddlers. The history of this
period including the internment islands where leftists were
imprisoned was a part of her youth in the 1950s and 1960s
through family discussions and interactions with people
in the community. Throughout the entire volume, the au-
thor draws much of her comments from reections on her
family history, making this a very personal book.
Chapter 2 takes the reader to Greece and discusses
the effects of the occupation during World War II by the
Axis powersItaly, Bulgaria, and Germany. It is here that
Panourgi a asserts that her text deals with the story of mod-
ern Greece (p. 64) for her text leads to present-day Greece
Book Reviews

American Ethnologist
and the effect of this past on it. The growing number of legal
restrictions under which the Greek people lived is enumer-
ated here. The emergence of the many-armed underground
movement is chronicled.
In chapters 3 through 5, the reader is led through a
labyrinth of events emblematic of any civil or uncivil war.
The Greek Civil War followed a particularly brutal occupa-
tion in which previous involvement in the resistance played
a crucial role. The extreme differences attributed to cate-
gories of us and them in the period discussed is im-
parted to the reader. Presented is the story of human suffer-
ing that concluded with no winners and all the players lost
some, if not all, of their humanity. The practice of intern-
ing opponents, to which my informants referred, is docu-
mented in great detail.
Through chapters 6 to 8, the author brings the impli-
cations of this time period to the present day (19502007).
A period of renegotiating political hierarchies immediately
followed the horrors of the World War II and the offenses of
the civil war. Memories of wrongdoing in the preceding pe-
riods weighed heavily on the political consciousness of the
Greek leadership and the Greek people. Out of this emerged
the seven years of dictatorship when all sense of civil liber-
ties suffered.
The author makes use of the literary device parerga,
or extended reections, to augment the already thick text.
Panourgi a calls this device a shadow text (p. xxiii); it sub-
stantially and critically extends the books content. In fact,
the parerga and documents make up 61 pages of the 302-
page volume. Footnotes, or shorter parerga, although often
quite lengthy are inserted alongside the text rather than ap-
pearing at the bottom of the page.
The book is enriched with appendixes that include a
chronology noting signicant dates within Greece as well as
elsewhere in Europe. They set the scene by starting in 1871
with laws regarding brigands, the infamous 19th-century
highwaymen who preyed on travelers, often merchants,
holding them for exorbitant ransom amounts. Panourgi a
cites the date when Thessaly in the northeast became part
of Greece (1881). She does not, however, reference the
Balkan Wars, after which northwestern Epirus joined the
modern state (191213).
Perhaps Panourgi as text can be characterized as a pre-
sentation of historical facts as a jumping-off point for a
discourse around difcult concepts about human actions
and relationships interwoven in or emerging from the facts
which continue to shape present-day Greek psychology. In
fact, in a relatively short yet dense text she provides food for
thought about anthropological knowledge. To supplement
Dangerous Citizens and to sustain the discussion a website
( has been estab-
lished as an adaptation of the printed volume. The website
also provides access to multimedia resources not available
in the print version.
The Subject of Anthropology: Gender, Symbolism, and
Psychoanalysis. Henrietta Moore. Cambridge: Polity, 2007.
288 pp.
Stanford University
The great thing about this book is that it asserts clearly and
determinedly two basic points: rst, that nothing in human
social life or psyche is wholly determinedby power and, sec-
ond, that the human imagination is as important to under-
stand as the role of symbols in human life. In short, Henri-
etta Moore wants her readers to understand human beings
as not only constrained within a social and cultural order
but also as actively recreating, reworking, and remaking the
social and cultural order into which they have been born.
She presents this constrained creativity as subjectivity, and
argues that it is the true subject of anthropology.
Such a vision is deeply appealing in the current an-
thropological climate. It has long taproots in psychoanal-
ysis. Moore is a sophisticated reader of psychoanalytic texts
and some of the best chapters in the bookfor example,
Objects and Relations with (M)othersprovide a kind of
map of the complex theoretical orientations of different an-
alytic thinkers: Winnicott, Fairbarin, Klein, Benjamin, Kris-
teva, Cixious, Irigaray. This theoretical map making is one
of the strengths of the book.
Her gaze is also focusedongender, a topic onwhichshe
has written extensively and whose theoretical language she
commands. (Moore is the author of Feminism and Anthro-
pology.) She takes gender as her focus here because it al-
lows her to emphasize the embodiment of the symbolic and
the freedom humans exercise over their embodied selves:
To be a gendered person is to be marked by the effects of
power, but not to be wholly determined by them (p. 19).
That embodiment also returns her to psychoanalysis: The
materiality of subjectivity, the fact that we are embodied
selves and that we only come to have a sense of self through
engagement with the world, where objects are both people
and things, is of focal concern to psychoanalysis (p. 34).
She reframes is the Oedipus complex universal? as how
do we become sexual beings?
In fact the book is full of these deep and provocative
questions: how much does culture matter? and what
does the penis signify? Throughout she reminds us that a
simple-minded understanding of psychoanalysis is wrong.
Cultural products are not simply the products of infan-
tile fantasy, nor are they the return of the repressed. Cul-
ture takes the products of the psyche and transforms them.
In Moores reading, psychoanalysis does not reduce: it ex-
pands the material of human experience. She shows us the
subject of psychoanalytic observation changing, shifting,
creating, and, above all, playing.
American Ethnologist

Volume 38 Number 4 2011
It must be said that this is a very abstract book. Moore
works out some of her ideas with Melanesian and African
material, but these empirical moments are relatively brief.
One of the longest is a reworking of Don Tuzins poignant
account of the loss of the Tambaran cult among the Ilahita
Arapesh. Tuzin was acutely aware of the specic sense of
loss; Moore sees it as an example of social transformation
in which new content reenacts fundamental myths. In fact,
she sees the fundamental story as the illusion of complete-
ness that men reach for in different ways. She approaches
these empirical examples in an interesting way. She insists
that psychoanalysis is simply one way of expressing en-
during human concerns about self and other, interior and
exterior, and male and female. She places psychoanalysis
side by side with these other cultural representations as at-
tempts to work out the existential challenges of human life.
But fundamentally, these empirical examples are illustra-
tions of where theory can take usnot its concrete elabo-
Thats ne. Moores fundamental point is that anthro-
pology has lost sight of the most fundamental question
about humanexperience, whichis the relationshipbetween
body, mind, and world. She does so by presenting human
subjectivity as essentially imaginative. It is a way of imagin-
ing the human subject that our eld sorely needs.
Reference cited
Moore, H. L.
1989 Feminism and Anthropology. Minneapolis: University of
Minnesota Press.
The Nation and Its Ruins: Antiquity, Archaeology, and Na-
tional Imagination in Greece. Yannis Hamilakis. Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 2009. 360 pp.
Haverford College
The opening ceremonies of the New Acropolis Museum in
Athens in 2009 involved a somewhat tense juxtaposition of
celebration and mourning. Antonis Samaras, then Minister
of Culture, regrettedinhis opening speechthat the museum
could not really do its jobwhich he described as showcas-
ing fth-century BCE Athensbecause almost half of the
sculptures from the Parthenon were taken from here 207
years ago to reside in enforced exile 4,000 kilometers away
(Filler 2009:1). The incomplete frieze, he said, is like a fam-
ily portrait with loved ones missing (2009:1). Greek presi-
dent Karolos Papoulias spoke even more graphically about
Lord Elgins removal of the frieze as a formof collective bod-
ily injury. Its time to heal the wounds of the monument
with the return of the marbles which belong to it (Kimmel-
man 2009:1). If these invocations of exile, family sentiment,
and wounded esh seem hyperbolic (and were routinely
parodied in the British and U.S. press), Yannis Hamilakiss
The Nation and Its Ruins: Antiquity, Archaeology, and Na-
tional Imagination in Greece (written well before the com-
pletion of the new museum) gives us the historical context
and grounded analysis that critically restores not just their
political but also their cultural and emotional sense.
Hamilakiss book takes its place alongside such im-
pressive volumes on Greek culture, ideology, and national-
ism as Herzfeld, Lambropoulos, Leontis, Gourgouris, and
Calotychos. As a ne comparative study of material cul-
ture and political and cultural ideology, it deserves, how-
ever, to be read more broadly than by Hellenists alone. It
provides a sobering reminder of the far-reaching but under-
estimated effects of crypto-colonialism (Herzfeld) in the
Balkans/Mediterranean, as well as a rare glimpse into the
bureaucratic practice, material culture, and professional or-
ganization of archaeology.
The book is organized as a series of case studies on
the refraction of archaeology in Greek political and so-
cial life. Collectively they show how archaeology provides
the critical facts on the ground to sustain the national
truths fundamental to Greek collective identity (p. 293).
The strength of the book is that Hamilakis goes beyond
the historicalideological level (and the familiar story about
how national ideologues distort and abuse the archaeolog-
ical record) to situate the naturalization of national his-
tory in the production of a taken-for-granted landscape
of everyday material and social experience embraced at a
personal level. The case studies he presents convey the
powerful emotional, bodily, psychic, and even poetic effects
of ruins as they occupy the hearts and minds of diverse na-
tional subjects.
Greece is distinguished by a particularly pliable,
rich, and multivalent repertoire of alternative material
ideological pasts. Classical, Byzantine, and, indeed, Ot-
toman ruins have been critical to the legitimation of Greek
political ideologies from the founding of the state to the
present. Greeces claim to classical antiquity was the chief
argument inGreeces important bid for exceptionalismwith
reference to other emerging southern Balkan states in the
early 19th century. Nevertheless, Hamilakis shows that it
was the resurrectionof ChristianByzantiumas a critical fea-
ture of indigenous Hellenism by the Bavarian King Otto
in the 1830s that was crucial: Otto knew that Byzantium
made a better model for his own system of government
than the Athenian polis and made sure to integrate its ab-
solutism into the Greek synthesis. This early political de-
ployment of Byzantium presages the emergence of Greece
as a Helleno-Christian civilization (carried to its rhetori-
cal extreme in the pre- and postWorld War II political dic-
tatorships). Hamilakis shows how the trope of the Hel-
lenic spirit (he correctly emphasizes the omnivorous and
nonracialized quality of this conception, notwithstanding
its often racialized deployment) generated proto-Christians
Book Reviews

American Ethnologist
from gods and heroes, and sacralized pagan monuments as
Hamilakiss version of national archaeology empha-
sizes the sensory and imaginary dimensions that connect
material remains to social experience. He reminds us, for
example, that the fragments of antiquity scattered across
and unearthed from the Greek landscape and looted by for-
eigners had long been treated with some awe and reverence
by local peasants: the subject of popular tales and legends,
such gures were reverently regarded as potent. Antiquity
was neither remote nor abstract. More pragmatically, those
who lived (and live) in the vicinity of ruins not unreason-
ably also expected to prot from them through religious or
material effects. Drawing on the insights of Charles Stew-
art on dreams as subconscious historicization, Hamilakis
emphasizes how religious experience and the experience
of ancient Greek past fuse in the Greek imaginary: a sol-
dier in Asia Minor in 1922 dreams of the Virgin Mary sur-
rounded by ancient Greek warriors directing himto unearth
buried (antique) treasure. These claims on the truth by
ordinary people, these instances of the revelatory poten-
tial of dreams, convey a powerful drive to possess, to in-
habit, to capitalize on, and to experience the history that,
if it has been stuffed down Greeces throat by colonial occi-
dentalism, remains vividly personalized.
Drawing on such examples from the 19th as well
as late 20th centuries and current ethnography, Hami-
lakis explores the embodied and intimate nature of the
Greek experience of the past. In chapter 4, The Archae-
ologist as Shaman: The Sensory National Archaeology of
Manolis Andronikos, he folds a portrait of the archae-
ologist Andronikosdiscoverer of the Macedonian royal
tombs at Vergina and champion of the Hellenicity of
Macedoniaas shaman-hero into a broader exploration of
Greek emotionalsomatic attachment to the remains of an-
tiquity. Andronikoss revelatory dreams, his travels below
ground, his sacralization, and personalization of the physi-
cal remains in the tombs, draw on a broader vocabulary of
Greek culture and religion (naming practices, burial prac-
tices including secondary burial, etc.). Hamilakis sees this
as proof of archaeologys rootedness in both premodern
sensibilities and projects of modern nationalism. From an-
other point of view, one could argue that visionary mod-
ernism is also rooted in the shaman-Faust persona (Le
Corbusier, e.g., as mystic hero).
Hamilakis also observes that most ordinary archaeol-
ogists in Greecepublic servant employees of the state ar-
chaeological serviceare caught in an unsatisfying double
role. In the areas subject to their surveillance, state archae-
ologists are seen as worse than tax collectors (p. 37) as
they police the land-use and construction practices of local
residents. At the same time they are the guardians in charge
of the sacred material relics that most Greeks believe to be
critical to the territorial defense of the nation. Foreign ar-
chaeological schools in Greece have also enduredproted
from an ambivalent role in the peculiar international divi-
sion of labor in archaeology as accusations of neoimperi-
alism run alongside pragmatic accommodation of the re-
sources of international funding and scholarship.
Three chapters on modern politicson the Metaxas
dictatorships evocation of Sparta; on the concentration
camp at Makronisos as the other Parthenon; and on
the dispute with Britain over the disposition of the Elgin
marblesare also notable for their attention both to hege-
monic paradigms of particular historical moments and to
dissenting and suppressed views and voices. Hamilakiss
study of the production of classical replicas and minia-
tures at the Makronisos government reeducation camp for
communists and fellow travelers is especially moving for
its account of the way in which antiquity, invoked by the
regime as a pillar of right-wing ideology, was ambivalently
embraced by prisoners who also had stakes in and attach-
ments to its resources and values. Hamilakiss analysis of
the Elgin marbles controversyexploring the widespread
and repeated Greek experience of political and social ex-
ile, the popularly and poetically celebrated power of nos-
tos, or yearning for home, and the personal and national
obsession with reunication of a dismembered cultural
demographic bodyintelligently and evenly addresses the
question of how and why the issue resonates so forcefully
in the popular Greek imagination. Hamilakis also includes
some of his own participatory eld notes from the front
lines of political action and debate, and although the genre
of writing in those passages is unresolved, they contribute
to the books sense of immediacy.
Roland Barthes tells us that Guy de Maupassant of-
ten lunched at the Eiffel Tower simply because, as Maupas-
sant famously said, it was the only place in Paris he could
avoid seeing it (Barthes 1979:3). I suspect the New Acrop-
olis Museum, with its 43 fat (Filler 2009:2) internal con-
crete columns, rouses a related sentiment in the hearts of
some critics. From the glass-enclosed expanse of the fourth
level, where plaster casts of the missing Elgin marbles ring
the interior walls, a spectacular view out toward the hill of
the Acropolis paradoxically lifts the weight of the buildings
pedagogical mission (the return of the Parthenon frieze)
off its back, and returns the visitor to a kind of intimate
subjection to the mesmerizing acropolis poised above a
living, fragile city. As Nikos Dimou observed, If a small,
poor nation has such a burden put on its shoulders, it will
never recover (Kimmelman 2009:2). Arguably, Greece with
its claims on Europes fantasy of itself, has a privileged posi-
tion among the colonized and cryptocolonized, and might
win its campaign; other states stand even less chance of re-
capturing imperial booty.
Hamilakis asks whether or not under the impact of
the globalization of capital, the privatization of archaeol-
ogy, and the commodication of heritage, we will care so
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Volume 38 Number 4 2011
deeply, in the future, about our identications with the na-
tion and Its ruins. His answer is yes: disaporas turn out to
be as driven as grounded patriots to sustain the fact of the
nation; and archaeology is there, on all sides of the political
spectrum, to produce the facts, in all of their magical, and
mesmerizing, territoriality.
References cited
Filler, Martin
2009 Grading the New Acropolis. New York Review of Books,
September 24.
2009/sep/24/grading-the-new-acropolis/, accessed April 10,
Kimmelman, Michael
2009 Elgin Marble Argument in a New Light. New
York Times, June 23.
06/24/arts/design/24abroad.html, accessed April 10, 2011.
Spiritual Economies: Islam, Globalization and the After-
life of Development. Daromir Rudnyckyj. Ithaca, NY: Cor-
nell University Press, 2010. xii +289 pp.
University of Colorado, Boulder
Although a major strain of late-20th-century cultural an-
thropology took its inspiration from Max Weber, much of
the recent scholarship on globalization has not fully ad-
dressed the intersection of faith and work. A new book by
Daromir Rudnyckyj aims to ll this gap, arguing that new
forms of capitalist discipline that emphasize personal re-
sponsibility, transparency, and professionalismdrawonno-
tions of virtue that are as much religious as they are neolib-
eral. Based on research in the state-owned Krakatau Steel
CorporationinIndonesia, and its use of a corporate morale-
boosting system that promises to increase worker produc-
tivity through the selective inculcation of Islamic doctrine,
Rudnyckyj argues that labor discipline and religious devo-
tion are fundamentally linked. Attending to what he de-
scribes as two related forms of faith, in development and
as a belief that can be developed, Rudnyckyj asserts that re-
ligious practice is neither resistant to nor a refuge fromcap-
italism, but is its very making. In the process, he also coun-
ters pernicious but still prevalent Orientalist arguments that
hold that Islam is antithetical to capitalism.
In a large, air-conditioned Jakarta ballroom appointed
with multiple large screens and a sophisticated sound sys-
tem, steel workers were exhorted to imagine themselves at
the moment of death, interrogated by the two angels of
deathabout their lives. Coming near the end of three days of
training in 2004 by the Indonesian self-help entrepreneur
Ary Ginanjar, this enactment was the climax of hours of
education sold to companies and individuals in Indone-
sia and increasingly around the world under the banner
of Emotional Spiritual Quotient, or ESQ. Training sessions
described how capitalist and scientic knowledge about
the world conrm what had been revealed to the Prophet
Muhammad in the 7th century, especially the importance
of transparency, rationality, and efciency. Reminding par-
ticipants that we all work for Allah (p. 89), trainers wove
in text from the Quran and hadith into references of Steven
Coveys Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (2000) and
pop psychology about intellectual, emotional, and spiri-
tual intelligences. Ginanjar, and the trainers he has culti-
vated, are not the product of traditional religious school-
ing, and their use of holy texts was less theological than
motivational, but Rudnyckyj contends that that distinction
is less important than the way in which those two aspects
were in conversation with each other. He argues that calling
this phenomenon a spiritual economy captures how eco-
nomic transformation can come to be conceived as a mat-
ter of religious piety and, thus, how work can be a form of
Rudnyckyj describes the rise of ESQ in Indonesia as
linked to both global and national processes. President
Suharto, who ruled from 196598, structured state philoso-
phy around pursuing modern development. Development
was conceived as muscular and technological, making state
companies like Krakatau Steel especially emblematic of
progress and lending the luster of metal to faith in devel-
opments ability to lift up the nation (p. 70). Krakatau Steel
received national protectionfromimports and exclusive ac-
cess to state contracts. The Asian economic crisis cracked
this faith, however, setting in motion events that forced
Suharto frompower, threatenedthe assumptions of a fragile
middle class, and ushered in nancial policies that dictated
diminished state support for social services and state com-
panies. While these ruptures brought a new period of de-
mocratization, they also exposed the economy to transna-
tional demands. Rudnyckyj describes this period as the af-
terlife of development, a double entendre on the evoca-
tions of an afterlife in heaven or hell frequently invoked in
ESQ training sessions. The moral undertone of this concept
connects a prior faith in development to a new form, the
objectication of faith as a site for intervention, a thing that
could itself be developed.
A reason that religion became a key site for rethink-
ing Indonesian ideas of development was that Islam, and
religious identity more broadly, had been repressed in the
developmentalist project that emphasized pluralism as a
mode for collective progress. This allowed many Indone-
sians to consider the economic crisis as retribution for a
much deeper moral crisis, evidence that Indonesians had
lost their way and that embracing Islamic identity and prac-
tice could nally make the country strong. Ginanjar built
on this by framing economic inefciency and corruption
as a cultural pathology that could be corrected by religious
Book Reviews

American Ethnologist
Rudnyckyj traces how Krakatau Steel managers and
employees interpreted this framing, many of them openly
agreeing that corruption was a moral problem and that a
once secular workspace marked by the hot steam of rolling
heavy steel should become more visibly Islamic. This focus
on Islamic discipline also emphasized calculation and ra-
tionality, training employees to see themselves as surveilled
(by Allah, others, and themselves) and as endlessly improv-
ing themselves and the company. Instilling economic rea-
son was not counterposed to affect but, rather, recruited it.
Training sessions were highly emotional experiences, focus-
ing on managing the heart and acquiring built-in control
through the requirement to proclaim ones identity and
religious afliation. Intense emotional expression, Rudny-
ckyj describes, was unusual for most of the trainees, whose
Javanese and middle-class norms of respectability valued
self-control. Instead, the exceptional expression of shame,
joy, tears, and hugs in these sessions was to produce as-
cetic values about the afterlife that would reduce employee
temptations for material goods in the terrestrial life, min-
imizing corruption. Corruption was construed not only as
requesting or accepting bribes for contracts or stolen goods
but also as temporal, suchas being lazy onthe job or leaving
work early. Managers were reminded that the best human
resources advice they needed could be found in the Quran
and hadith.
Rudnyckyjs ethnography is multisited, set in the fac-
tory itself, the surrounding town in which it is based
(Cilegon), and the ESQ company. This complexity offers an
important component to the book, the perspective of em-
ployees who did not conform to ESQs or Krakatau Steel
managements visions of why Islamic doctrine was the best
way to face a global steel industry. Rudnyckyj provides sev-
eral cases to enrich this part of the argument, of Chinese
and Christian employees who found the pressure to pro-
fess an Islamic identity especially emotionally affecting, of
lower-level employees who were less receptive to ESQ, and
midlevel employees who applied ESQideas about the virtue
of proactiveness topursue changes that management might
not have desired or anticipated.
This book will be of great interest to scholars of Is-
lam and Southeast Asia, but will be especially useful for
scholars of globalization and neoliberal discipline. Rudny-
ckyjs work provides a critical addition to recent work on
the relationshipbetweenreligionandcapitalism. Unlike the
spirit of capitalism, which Weber described as the uninten-
tional outcome of Calvinist anxieties about salvation, Rud-
nyckyjs informants were consciously applying a particular
interpretation of holy texts to their lives in pursuit of per-
sonal and national prosperity. Nor was their religious culti-
vation a mystication of opaque capitalist dislocations or a
resort to occult techniques to make sense of illicit wealth.
Rather, this welcome and sophisticated book closely ana-
lyzes how subjects intentionally pursue religious expertise
to craft newtechniques of living in the worlds in which they
are enmeshed.
Reference cited
Covey, Steven
2000 Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Philadelphia: Run-
ning Press.
Unveiling the Whale: Discourses on Whales and Whaling.
Arne Kalland. Studies in Environmental Anthropology and
Ethnobiology, vol. 12. New York: Berghahn, 2009. 253 pp.
Universitetet i Troms
This volume is a welcome addition to a growing literature
on the ethnography of environmentalism. Arne Kalland is a
seasoned researcher of whaling and whaling communities
both in Japan and in Norway. In this volume he weaves to-
gether several of his earlier published articles on the sym-
bolic representation of whaling in environmentalist dis-
course into a well-organized and passionately argued vol-
ume. Within this genre this work distinguishes itself for its
radical concern with representations of whaling in the me-
dia and most importantly in the tangle of reports and res-
olutions that govern the International Whaling Commis-
sion (IWC). The book is structured around the paradox
that while the IWC regulates whaling purportedly to help
whalers catch more whales, it has gradually been taken over
by preservationist interests that have successfully both
limited harvesting of whales and also displaced the tradi-
tional markets for whaling products. Kalland uses a struc-
turalist argument to explain this paradox by noting that
whales t awkwardly into our systems of classications and,
therefore, have become a natural symbol for both nature
and for human society. Based on a rich store of reports and
historical documents, and an encyclopedic overview of the
secondary literature, the book is both an excellent source
and guide on the history of the IWC and a controversial text
that will engage students in debates on animal rights.
Although Kalland has conducted studies of whaling
communities in both Japan and Norway, this book is clearly
focussed on the urban activists and organizations that have
inuenced the resolutions of the IWC. Kallands past re-
search comes out as ironic asides in the text where he
compares, for example, exceptions granted for Aboriginal
Subsistence Whaling (ASW) to Alaskan Inupiat or Russian
Yupiks to the denial of such privileges to small-scale tradi-
tional whaling communities in Japan. This ironic rhetoric
strategy gives the text much of its edge and polemic. In one
of the most powerful chapters (ch. 1), Kalland demonstrates
with reference to scientic studies that the whale being
American Ethnologist

Volume 38 Number 4 2011
preserved on international agendas is a superwhale that
does not exist in any ocean. He convincingly illustrates how
the population dynamics of separate species are lumped
together, or scientic studies are selectively employed,
to build an image of a humanlike intelligent mammal
on the edge of extinction. This is followed by his ethno-
graphic argument about protectionist organizations, de-
veloped in chapter 2, which places the accent on their
missionary zeal to not only change consumption behav-
ior at home but also in every society across the world.
The unreasonableness of many protectionist organizations
and leaders as portrayed in the book is another extremely
strong and somewhat disturbing characteristic of the book.
Kalland links the proscriptive quality of these move-
ments to a long cultural tradition of Western imperialism
backed up by extremely protable niche markets for whale
While the arguments presented are well documented,
at times they do take on the stylistic qualities of investiga-
tive journalism. Manipulated by the invisible structuralist
strings that lter perception, the activists are also por-
trayed as collective actors without life histories or ambigu-
ities. The skill of these superactivists in seizing interna-
tional agendas feels both sinister and somewhat unstop-
pable, especially when compared to the powerlessness of
traditional communities. Having had some experience of
international environmental activism, I nd Kallands ac-
count credible, but as an ethnographer I would neverthe-
less be interested in knowing more about the motivations
of this new generation of missionaries. I imagine that the
tone of the book might actually alienate some students who,
structuralism notwithstanding, nevertheless hold a nave
wonder of these large sea mammals and could be given
more information about how the consumption of whales
can also be respectful. Within the literature on human
animal relations this work is somewhat conservative on al-
ternate cosmologies. The last two chapters examine both
small-scale whaling communities and logical ethical argu-
ments in support of whaling. The emphasis in both is on the
way that the sharing and distribution of meat helps to sup-
port coastal communities as well as deepcultural traditions.
The tone of the argument here is also somewhat preser-
vationist, with the twist that Kalland makes a strong argu-
ment that Japanese and Norwegian communities deserve
equal ASW quotas to Inuit. The list of ethical arguments
in chapter 6 focuses on scientic studies of population bi-
ology that demonstrate that the hunting of some species
is both sustainable and desirable for the maintenance of
numbers and that contemporary techniques are relatively
humane. Kalland also presents powerful arguments about
the representativeness of international law wherein groups
of nations (some of which are landlocked) are able to cast
votes that have such a strong effect on local coastal com-
munities. He argues, again convincingly, for regulatory in-
stitutions that are not so anonymously representative but,
instead, linked to those communities who depend on the
resource. The focus that Kalland places on population biol-
ogy to my mind reinforces arguments that venerate animal-
individuals as if they were complete persons. The philo-
sophical argument is one of how different species can be
seen to support each other, and how the death and con-
sumption of one animal-individual can lead to the regen-
eration of other communities. This cyclical approach to life
and the utility of death is often argued by many of the in-
digenous communities who are thinly represented in the
Capitalizing on Catastrophe: Neoliberal Strategies in
Disaster Reconstruction. Nandini Gunewardena and
Mark Schuller, eds. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press, 2008.
273 pp.
Institute for Womens Policy Research
The unifying theme of Capitalizing onCatastrophe is Naomi
Kleins concept of disaster capitalism. In Kleins model,
any type of trauma can encourage greedy responses from
those who take advantage of the situation. Capitalizing
contends that postdisaster practices target expedience and
protability before equity, sustainability, security, or hu-
Capitalizing shows postdisaster reconstruction as an
expanding sector with increasingly professionalized ser-
vices. Gaps widen between emergency and aid specialists
and catastrophe survivors over access to goods, informa-
tion, and decision-making power. The authors argue such
gaps can cause more damage, by impeding victims from
what they consider constitutes a recovery.
The rst section gives an overview of disaster capi-
talism. Antonio Donini asserts that disaster capitalism,
as humanitarian aid, sustains the global economic system
and disparities among peoples and regions. Volume edi-
tors Nandini Gunewardena andMark Schuller intheir intro-
ductory chapter describe disaster capitalism as connected
to spheres of privatized social services and economic
development; they contemplate the example of cultural
The next section expands on tourism, as a purportedly
low-cost but highly protable aid and development activity.
Susan Stonich ponders whether growing tourism and rising
disparities in Honduras following Hurricane Mitch in 1998
are aspects of disaster capitalism or, rather, of more gen-
eral global economic processes. Gunewardena builds from
Amartya Sens theories of development to suggest that dis-
aster indeed might call for a strong state response, yet, be-
cause of the interference of disaster capitalism, Sri Lankan
Book Reviews

American Ethnologist
state protection has not gone to the communities in need
of rebuilding after the 2004 tsunami but, instead, to com-
mercial tourism. Sara E. Alexander uses similarly extensive
research to examine development tourism in Guatemala
post-Hurricane Isis in 2001 and to consider how responses
by locals contend not only with a crisis but also with outside
planners evaluations and interventions.
The second section of Capitalizing is dedicated to con-
ditions in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, particularly
in New Orleans. Wahneema Lubiano describes race, class,
and reactions to Katrina to illustrate her contention that
an act gets dened as criminal according to perceptions of
the actor, so that those making prots from rebuilding are
not labeled as looters like those who waded through New
Orleanss oodwaters. Gregory Button and Anthony Oliver-
Smith discuss the New Orleans diaspora: the authors posit
a need for employment and related supports such as hous-
ing for those forced from their homes but nd reconstruc-
tion to have enhanced inequalities and impeded a subset of
those displaced from returning. Adolph Reed Jr. examines
how discussions of Katrina consider race as if apart from
class and New Orleanss transformation as the outcome of
a hurricane rather than a ood; a ood, Reed notes, which
resulted from the weakened governmental and engineering
protections forming part of a global economic system that
worsens rather than mitigates circumstances.
Capitalizing contends that traumatic events are sel-
dom if ever caused by natural circumstances unmitigated
by human activity. Most of the chapters in Capitalizing deal
with cases affected at least in part by wind and water, called
natural events. The books nal sections, however, deal
with disasters perpetrated through intent, neglect, or mil-
itary action.
This section deals with injustices as they relate to race
or ethnic group as well as through political and socio-
economic divisions. Bettina Daimiani reveals layers of cap-
ital circulating throughout the reconstruction efforts fol-
lowing the destruction of the World Trade Center in New
York in 2001. Elizabeth Guillettes original research on the
privileging of prot over security before, during, and long
after the poisoning of the population of Bhopal in 1984
reinforces the idea shared by other authors that current dis-
aster responses may have newer aspects but build on long-
established practices. Schullers descriptive narrative of the
multiple for-prot and NGO activities in Haiti in the after-
math of President Aristides forced departure in 2004 shows
aid as an intrusion that adds to ongoing violence. Anna
Belinda Sandoval Gir on addresses efforts by locally based
groups in Guatemala to deal with violence there, from both
gangs and the impositions of U.S.-based agencies that be-
gan in the postdisaster, postcivil war 1990s. The books
conclusion then makes a hopeful turn, calling for all of us to
counter disaster capitalism, with recommendations that
Gunewardena and Schuller provide.
A subtheme in Capitalizing concerns classications in
disaster capitalism. For example, Stonich explicitly states
that disaster planning, response, and recovery should link
with economic planning more generally without section-
ing off or separating disaster as something that only hap-
pens periodically. The book makes clear that such divisions
in policy and implementation undermine reconstruction
Other classications questioned include development
versus non-development, looters versus strategists, West-
ern versus non-Western, public versus private, govern-
mental versus nongovernmental, for-prot versus not-for-
prot, community versus corporate, we versus them, and
right versus wrong. According to the authors, the divided
yet shared crisis response system keeps everyone vulnera-
ble to harm, some more so than others, and unable to form
cooperative, long-term, and international securityof any
classication or type.
Throughout Capitalizing, classications of identity
also appear, specically those of race, class, nationality,
and age. The books authors do not discuss gender or its
intersectionality with other identity categories; the excep-
tion is Alexander de Waals erroneous assertion in the fore-
word that most of the Titanics survivors were male, rst-
class passengers. His intended pointthat socioeconomic
norms lead to unequal outcomesis nevertheless clear and
makes both a good basis for the book. In addition, it serves
to launch future examinations of gender and postdisaster
Capitalizing addresses disaster capitalism through
material from aid, development, and disaster literature;
ethnographic and media observations; and the authors
professional and personal experiences. The volume is im-
portant for considering (1) how we as members of societies
and nations dene disaster; (2) howwe respond; (3) howwe
collect or, rather, do not collect information about those af-
fected; (4) how nevertheless we make choices for respond-
ing; (5) how our choices might worsen situations and bring
new disasters into being; and (6) how we might improve.
Indeed, according to the editors the book is intended to
provoke debate and action, and it lays the groundwork for
Love in Africa. Jennifer Cole and Lynn M. Thomas, eds.
Chicago: University of Chicago, 2009. 265 pp.
Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin
Love is a surprisingly new topic in anthropology, the more
so the further away from Europe and Northern America
one goes. As the editors of this volume point out, his-
torians and anthropologists have largely ignored love in
American Ethnologist

Volume 38 Number 4 2011
Africa (p. 2). This is the more striking because the re-
lated themes of kinship, courtship, marriage, and sexual-
ity have considerable tradition among Africanists. There
is a lot of love, passion, and romance around, but it has
taken a while for anthropologists to nd it worthy of study.
This invisibility of love has been partly because of research
paradigms that focussed on social structure, power, or sym-
bols. Partly it has been inuenced by indigenous discourses
that acknowledge love but consider it a poor foundation
for marriage. But to a signicant degree it is grounded in
a Eurocentrist prejudice that love is a modern, Western
This volume convincingly shows that while love and
modernity have a lot to do with each other, love is neither
inherently modern nor foreign to Africa. Claiming roman-
tic love became an important way to claim being modern
in the 20th centuryso much that even after the failure
of developmentalist projects of modernization, romantic
love has maintained its key role as a constituent of modern
subjectivitybut love, passion, and romance have a much
longer history in Africa, however in a shape different from
the modernist ideal of monogamous love marriage. This in-
sight gives the book its particular thrust, looking at love not
as a universal category but, rather, as an analytical problem,
anemotional experience embedded inhistorically situated
worlds, cultural practices, andmaterial conditions that con-
stitute certain kinds of subjects and enable particular kinds
of relationships (p. 3).
Well-edited, concise, and compelling, this volume
stands out as a very important contribution to the emerg-
ing eld of anthropology of love. Exceptionally consistent
for an edited volume, it not only offers a useful overview of
the transformations of love in Africa but also develops im-
portant themes of wider importance. In eight chapters, the
book develops four key themes: (1) debating generational
and cultural difference and making political claims through
the idiom of love; (2) the importance of media as sites of
debate, engagement, and work of imagination about differ-
ent congurations of gender, sexual, and affective relations;
(3) the promises of love marriage and its at-times trouble-
some outcomes under conditions of gender inequality; and
(4) the intertwiningrather than oppositionof intimacy
and exchange.
The rst three chapters Love, Sex, and the Modern
Girl in 1930s Southern Africa by Lynn M. Thomas, Making
Love in the Indian Ocean by Laura Fair, and Dear Dollys
Advise by Kenda Mutongi show how the spread of print
media and cinema became crucial sites where models of
and for romance were distributed and discussed between
the 1930s and 1960s, a period when the ideal of monog-
amous marriage based on love developed into a cultural
ideal, and young people with modernist aspirations were
busy learning the language and habitus of modernromance
from illustrated magazines and Hindi lms. The following
chapters Love, Money and Economies of Intimacy by Jen-
nifer Cole and Providing Love by Mark Hunter turn to
the relationship of intimacy and money, showing that these
are by no means mutually exclusive. Emotional and mate-
rial caring have often been closely interlinked, but this link
has come under major strain through money, unemploy-
ment, and the increased pressure of consumption. Paradox-
ically, the idea of pure love thus appears an outcome of
the monetarization of social relationships that troubles tra-
ditional forms of reciprocity. The chapters Managing Men,
Marriage, and Modern Love by Daniel Jordan Smith and
Media and the Therapeutic Ethos of Romantic Love by
Rachel Spronk turn to the complex outcomes of romance.
While Smith argues that, for Igbo women, love marriage is
actually less than liberating (p. 179) under conditions of
gender inequality, Spronk argues that for young urban pro-
fessionals in Nairobi, the therapeutical ethos of contempo-
rary relationship advice offers a productive site to rethink
gender relations. The nal chapter, Lessons from Rub by
Adeline Masquelier, takes up a Mexican telenovela that en-
joyed great popularity in Niger to look at the relationship
of poverty, love, and fantasy. While the lessons of romance
learned from the telenovela can be difcult to realize,
they provide a crucial site of hope and thinking about a
better future. Masquelier concludes in an optimistic note
that this work of fantasy involved in romance is not only
about dreams; it might also constitute the stuff of life
(p. 227).