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Open Access (free)
Caroline Fournet
,
Élisabeth Anstett
, and
Jean-Marc Dreyfus
Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Open Access (free)
Écorchés, moulages and anatomical preparations – the cadaver in the teaching of artistic anatomy at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera
Greta Plaitano

Since the sixteenth century, artistic anatomy – a branch of medical science subordinated to the Fine Arts – has understood itself as a comparative investigation halfway between forensic dissection and the analysis of classical art and live bodies. Its teaching was first instituted in Italy by the 1802 curriculum of the national Fine Arts academies, but underwent a drastic transformation at the turn of the century, as the rise of photography brought about both a new aesthetics of vision and an increase in the precision of iconographic documentation. In this article I will attempt to provide a history of the teaching of this discipline at the close of the nineteenth century within the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan, with a focus on its ties to contemporary French practices. Drawing on archival materials including lesson plans, letters and notes from the classes of the three medical doctors who subsequently held the chair (Gaetano Strambio, Alessandro Lanzillotti-Buonsanti and Carlo Biaggi), I will argue that the deep connections between their teaching of the discipline and their work at the city hospital reveal a hybrid approach, with the modern drive towards live-body study unable to wholly supplant the central role still granted to corpses in the grammar of the visual arts.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Constanze Schattke
,
Fernanda Olivares
,
Hema'ny Molina
,
Lumila Menéndez
, and
Sabine Eggers

Osteological collections are key sources of information in providing crucial insight into the lifestyles of past populations. In this article, we conduct an osteobiographical assessment of the human remains of fourteen Selk'nam individuals, which are now housed in the Department of Anthropology, Natural History Museum Vienna, Austria. The aim is to bring these individuals closer to their communities of origin by using non-invasive methods aimed at rebuilding their biological profiles (i.e., age-at-death, biological sex and health status), adding to these with results from provenance research. This way, the human remains were assigned a new identity closer to their original one, through a process that we call ‘re-individualisation’. This is especially significant since it must be assumed that the individuals were exhumed against their cultural belief system. We conclude that building strong and long-lasting collaborations between Indigenous representatives and biological anthropologists has a pivotal role in research for reappraising Indigenous history.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
From Karokynká/Tierra del Fuego to Austria
Fernanda Olivares
,
Constanze Schattke
,
Hema’ny Molina
,
Margit Berner
, and
Sabine Eggers

Museums are places characterised by collecting objects, displaying them for public education and also subjecting their collections to research. Yet knowledge can not only be created by using the collection for research. The history of a collection can also be reconstructed, albeit mostly in a fragmentary way. This is important when there is evidence that the collection was acquired in a colonial context, when the collection contains human remains and more so if these were taken from Indigenous peoples. Reconstructing the history of a collection can assist source communities in strengthening their identities and help to regain lost knowledge about their ancestors. This study analyses the provenance of fourteen crania and calvaria of the Selk’nam people from Tierra del Fuego, stored at the Department of Anthropology, Natural History Museum Vienna. Additionally, the significance of these results and their meaning for today’s Selk’nam community Covadonga Ona will be contextualised within the framework of colonial history and museum systems.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Challenging culturalist assumptions among investigating UK police
Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers

The UK National Crime Agency and, concomitantly, tabloid and media reports, have long named Albanian migrants from the wider Western Balkan region as a leading ethnic group responsible for serious and organised crime. Most recently, ethnic Albanians have been identified as populating the most violent gangs, controlling the cocaine and human trafficking market and fuelling rising knife crime in the capital. As a social anthropologist specialising in Albanian cultures and societies since the late 1980s and directing an academic consultancy company, Anthropology Applied Ltd from 2003 to 2013, I have often been asked to provide cultural expertise in UK immigration proceedings regarding Albanian crime victims’ return situation. I have also been approached by different police forces in cases involving alleged homicide and violent crimes committed in the UK. The instructions included a request to explain how ‘kanun’ traditions, usually understood as ethnically specific ancient Albanian customary law, informed the deeds in question. This contribution critically interrogates the underpinning assumptions of such requests and explores the scope for providing theoretically and ethnographically informed cultural expertise to the police in such cases. Without denying specific repositories of cultural knowledge and often hidden yet distinct socio-cultural continuities, it emphasises the ways in which shifting geo-political and other factors have shaped offenders’ social obligations, thereby informing their rationale, agency and strategy, identity constructions and defence in discursive recourse to ‘kanun’. It emerges that externally applied, stereotypical labels in terms of kanun culture can become a self-fulfilling prophecy in supporting criminal identities, rather than explaining their root causes.

in Policing race, ethnicity and culture
Experiences from a joint seminar with police trainees and anthropology students
Gisela Pauli Caldas
and
Thomas Widlok

This contribution is based on reflections from a seminar entitled, ‘Approaching foreign milieus’, which was jointly led by the two authors, combining the training of young police officers, and a seminar on ethnographic methods for young BA students in 2019. Translation work featured in a number of ways in this seminar. First, translation between the methods of policework and the ethnographic methods of African Studies/Anthropology formed much of the content throughout the seminar. Second, the main task for seminar participants was to translate their interests in learning about foreign milieus into actual questions that could be asked to interlocutors. Third, translations took place between the ‘working cultures’ of the applied police training setting and the academic university setting. A fourth level of translation is proposed indirectly, which is a more comparative perspective on differing international police practices and strategies. This chapter includes the results of trying out methods in practical exercises, an analysis of interactions between students of different backgrounds, as well as their interactions with one another. While most participants realised that the foreign milieus were much more heterogeneous than they initially anticipated, they also discussed the similarities and differences between ethnographic work and police routines. The chapter thus addresses key issues about the relationship between practice and theory, interviewing and observing, and distance and closeness. The chapter reflects on the multiple roles played by observers, researchers, police, and their diverse interlocutors, and concludes with some ideas about how to improve joint training courses in the future.

in Policing race, ethnicity and culture
David Sausdal

This chapter focuses on the experiences of powerlessness among police detectives in a global world. Specifically, it discusses how Danish detectives often feel that certain foreign national criminals get away with their crimes with impunity – here not necessarily meaning that criminals are not caught and sentenced. Rather, what increasingly frustrates Danish detectives are their experiences of how even convicted foreign national criminals do not seem to think of their conviction as a real form of punishment, as something which is painful or problematic. To the detectives, such unaffectedness troubles not only the intended deterrent aspects of the law and the criminal justice system, it also comes off as a professional provocation – as a sad symbol of how all their work is, in the end, futile. As the chapter goes on to describe, this futility, this police impotence, sometimes becomes a catalyst in the police applying their own sort of ‘street justice’, to make sure that punishment is not only formally handed down but also truly experienced as such by the foreign national criminal. And as the chapter concludingly ponders, such Dirty Harry-style practices may indeed be on the rise in an increasingly globalising world of crime and policing. As not only Danish detectives but police officers worldwide experience that criminals from other places and parts of the world appear unstirred by the threat and force of the criminal justice system, there is a growing risk of the police taking the delivery of punishment into their own hands.

in Policing race, ethnicity and culture
Bureaucratic translations of difference during deportation talks in Switzerland
Lisa Marie Borrelli

The migration and deportation regime is characterised by uneven power relations between state actors and non-citizens – in this context, those with precarious legal status. While both sides possess a certain range of agency, which is constantly challenged and contested, non-citizens with precarious legal status rely not only on information dispersed within various networks, but also on the transmission of information by street-level bureaucrats (SLBs). Based on this information, non-citizens can contest bureaucratic decisions and organise their own actions and reactions. Moments of porous or lacking information that reduce knowledge and action potential thus become crucial, because they inhibit individuals from making ‘informed decisions’. In this contribution, I examine ‘deportation talks’ that happen prior to deportation procedures through the lens of ‘translation’ and critically analyse how deportation orders and dates are communicated by SLBs, how information is shaped by SLBs and how power asymmetries come into being. The chapter develops three modes of translation that could be found in the collected data and argues that these shape everyday migrant–bureaucrat encounters and affect negotiations between officers and migrant individuals concerning their respective deportation. These three modes of translation lead to different stages of non-citizens being ‘lost in translation’ and portray the absurdity and abundance of these deportation meetings, in which more confusion is created than knowledge produced. The presented data derives from participant observation in a Swiss cantonal police unit and two Swiss migration offices, all in charge of planning (and implementing) deportation orders.

in Policing race, ethnicity and culture
Annalena Kolloch
and
Bernd Meyer

European countries are becoming more and more linguistically and ethnically heterogeneous, and language barriers have become part of everyday police work. What happens if police officers notice that their counterparts show limited or no proficiency in the official language? Starting from the concept of ‘inclusive multilingualism’ (Backus et al., 2013) and based on observations of five experimental operational trainings with six teams each at a German police academy, this chapter analyses the different linguistic practices of individual police officers and their counterparts to deal with language barriers, e.g. using different languages, translation aids, non-verbal communication and physical coercion. The setting varies between fictitious deployment, a noise disturbance in refugee accommodation or a student dormitory, and a car stop during a traffic control. The decisive differences in solving the situations lie in the differentiated modes of communication used by the police officers, being inclusive or non-inclusive. Through the use of different modes of communication, police officers in our data bridge communication gaps by practising ‘inclusive multilingualism’. Further, the chapter outlines the importance of overcoming language barriers actively and creatively in everyday interactions between the police and counterparts with whom they don’t share a common language. This seems to be more significant than cultural differentiation for both sides. By putting everyday situations under the analytical microscope, the chapter contributes to current discussions about processes of cultural differentiation in everyday police work.

in Policing race, ethnicity and culture
Everyday interactions between police officers and migrants
Ekaterina Khodzhaeva

The chapter describes the findings of participant observation of the professional lives of two Russian police divisions – patrol service and local police – in Kazan, Tatarstan in 2007. The research explains why police-initiated encounters mainly target phenotypically identified non-Slavic migrants, as well as the ensuing dynamics. Despite a significant presence of foreigners from Ukraine and Moldova among migrant labour in Russia, they are less likely to be stopped by the police than migrant workers from Central Asia and the Caucasus region. While the assessment of police officers’ work in Russia is subjected to quantitative performance indicators, the police officers use an instrumental racism in migration control, providing ethnic profiling mainly on the physical characteristics of people. We call this approach instrumental as its predominant function is to facilitate stop-and-search practices and thereby reach the quantitative indicators. The chapter distinguishes between two opposite strategies in establishing daily interactions between the police and migrants: first, mutually beneficial cooperation, including long-term corruption, and second, punitive and strong control towards ethnic minorities, or sporadic extortion of money under threat. The first strategy is more prevalent in the local police, whereas patrol-guard officers favour the second one. At the same time, an instrumental racism is the main technique for the ethnic profiling of migrants as ‘potential criminals’ in the Russian police and it is applied in both strategies.

in Policing race, ethnicity and culture