This introductory chapter explores how the invisible has been dealt with in
the social sciences, in Islamic theology, and in public debates in Western
media on the question of whether Islam is in fact the underlying invisible
cause of ‘integration problems’. The exploration of the invisibility and
hypervisibility of Muslims in the West leads to a discussion of invisibility
in relation to theories about human perceptual agency. While a number of
influential studies in anthropology and psychiatry have been concerned with
how best to account for human agency, it is proposed that both the
psychiatric and Islamic treatments that are the focus of the book point
primarily to the idea of human agency as an obstacle that needs to be
overcome in order to access either the invisible healing of God, or that of
psychotropic medicine. Finally the author discusses his approach to
ethnographic film and how he has applied the cinematic gaze as a
methodological and analytical tool for displacing his own perception when
studying the invisible among Danish Muslims.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book shows the undeniable contribution and the limits of the biopower theory in the understanding of dead bodies en masse. It talks about the fact that criminology has for so long ignored mass crime, even though the link between the corpse and the criminal is one of the fundamentals of the discipline. The book addresses the issue of the practical and symbolic treatment of corpses by societies affected by mass violence. It shows how working ideologies along with historical legacy and geographical landscapes determined the disposal of the bodies. The book examines the simultaneously diplomatic and medicolegal nature of the activities of the French Search Commission for Corpses of Deportees in Germany. It also draws on German archives to describe the various modalities of treatment of corpses in Croatia.