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Martina Mercinelli and Martin J. Smith

The construction of an underground car park beneath the main square of Turin, Italy in 2004 led to the unearthing of the skeletonised remains of twenty-two individuals attributable to the early eighteenth century. At this time the city was besieged during the War of the Spanish Succession in a hard-fought battle that resulted in unexpected triumph for the Piedmontese, a victory that marked a fundamental turning point in Italian history. The current study assesses the strength of evidence linking the excavated individuals to the siege and assesses their possible role in the battle through consideration of their biological profiles, patterns of pathology and the presence of traumatic injuries. This article presents the first analysis of evidence for the siege of Turin from an anthropological point of view, providing new and unbiased information from the most direct source of evidence available: the remains of those who actually took part.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Benoît Pouget

Based on a study of intersecting French archives (those of the Val de Grâce Hospital, the Service Historique de la Défense and the Archives Diplomatiques), and with the support of numerous printed sources, this article focuses on the handling of the bodies of French soldiers who died of cholera during the Crimean War (1854–56). As a continuation of studies done by historians Luc Capdevila and Danièle Voldman, the aim here is to consider how the diseased corpses of these soldiers reveal both the causes and circumstances of their deaths. Beyond the epidemiological context, these dead bodies shed light on the sanitary conditions and suffering resulting from years of military campaigns. To conclude, the article analyses the material traces left by these dead and the way that the Second Empire used them politically, giving the remains of leaders who died on the front lines of the cholera epidemic a triumphant return to the country and a state funeral.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Walter Bruyère-Ostells

Mercenaries are fighters who operate under special conditions. Their presence, as shadow combatants, often tends to exacerbate the violence of their enemies. That’s why the analysis focuses on the singularity of the relationship to death and ‘procedures’ concerning the corpses of their fallen comrades. As a fighter identified and engaged in landlocked areas, the mercenary’s corpse is treated according to material constraints pertaining in the 1960s. After violence on their body, and evolution towards the secret war, mercenaries favour the repatriation of the body or its disappearance. These new, painful conditions for comrades and families give birth to a collective memory fostered by commemorations.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Suhad Daher-Nashif

This article aims to shed light on the post-mortem practices for Palestinian dead bodies when there is suspicion of human rights violations by Israeli military forces. By focusing on the case of Omran Abu Hamdieh from Al-Khalil (Hebron), the article explores the interactions between Palestinian social-institutional agents, Israeli military forces and international medico-legal agents. Drawing on ethnographic and archival data, the article explores how the intersectionality between the various controlling powers is inscribed over the Palestinian dead bodies and structures their death rites. The article claims that inviting foreign medico-legal experts in the Palestinian context could reveal the true death story and the human rights violations, but also reaffirms the sovereignty of the Israeli military forces over the Palestinian dead and lived bodies.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Open Access (free)
A surplus of ideas
Richard Wilk

When is the border between enough and too much crossed? When does a comfortable abundance become an oppressive surfeit? When does choice move from being a privilege to a burden? This book ends a series of three by the same editors which address these questions, exploring many aspects of overflow. These extremes might be the best way to characterize our world, populated by 8 billion people, hundreds of millions migrating and seeking refuge, where the obese outnumber the undernourished and middle-class homes are filled to bursting with goods and possessions. The consumer marketplace is driven into perpetual motion, as today’s valuables turn into tomorrow’s trash. Overflow, or perhaps surfeit, is also the best way to describe the wealth of new ideas circulating in these essays.

in Overwhelmed by overflows?
Demand-side abundance and its discontents in Hungary during the long 1960s
György Péteri

It was shortages, not excess consumption, that was a prime subject for Eastern Europe’s social scientists of the Cold War era. Yet a move toward market socialism, the re-emergence of the emancipated consumer, and a sustained supply-side abundance remained at the core of the reformist Communist economy, all the way to the demise of the state-socialist project. The changes during the 1960s included the birth of the consumer citizen and some half-hearted steps toward an economic domain in which planning and market would be integrated. The long decade following 1956 in Hungary brought with it consumerism, defined as values and desires, and patterns of behavior focused on satisfying an acquisitive desire. Such consumerism did not require the abundance of goods, typical for the contemporary Western affluent societies.

in Overwhelmed by overflows?
Lars Norén and Agneta Ranerup

From the late 1990s onwards, most politicians decided that one way of dealing with that critique was to launch web-based guides designed to support citizens by providing information before they had to make a choice. Private actors also saw business opportunities and started private web-based guides.

Guides covering key public services are a relatively new phenomenon; they differ from those in the private sector, however, because they regulate the relationship between the state and the citizen. In the study reported here, focus is on guides to public services, and how they are supposed to help people to deal with the overflow of choice opportunities.

in Overwhelmed by overflows?
Open Access (free)
Orvar Löfgren and Barbara Czarniawska

This volume summarizes seven years of research, drawing and adding to the insights presented in the two earlier books from the project. The first volume, Managing overflow in affluent societies (2012) began by exploring earlier research in the field and then developed a conceptual framework that was put to work in a number of case studies. The second volume, Coping with excess: How organizations, communities and individuals manage overflows (2013), brought another theme to the foreground: the social and moral dimensions of evaluating overflow in terms of positive or negative, as a problem or as a potentiality. We return to the findings of these earlier publications as we reflect upon the cumulative work over the years.

in Overwhelmed by overflows?
Framing excess in a Swedish newspaper group
Elena Raviola

Structural changes, digitalization, declining advertising revenues, declining circulation of paid-for newspapers, and an increasing online culture have been filling the pages of newspapers, magazines, and scientific journals in an attempt to explain the newspaper crisis. This chapter tells the story of Stampen Media Group, a family-owned Swedish newspaper organization. Its journey of survival over a decade took it from a position of success – the most successfully expanded local media group in the country – to a position of near-bankruptcy. It is a story of hope turned to despair, the story of a media organization presented as exemplary in international industry conferences to a story of destructive overflow. A historical analysis suggested three types of excesses: too many acquisitions, too high salaries and bonuses for top management, and too high operating costs; all the possible reasons of the current problem of scarcity of financial resources. But who decides what is too high or too costly?

in Overwhelmed by overflows?
Helene Brembeck

Too much stuff at home has been a moral center of debate since at least the late 1950s and early 1960s. Planning has become essential, and techniques for handling the growing influx of things developed both as a result of adjustments to everyday practices and professional help and guidelines, and an increasing assortment of furniture and accessories intended for storing things at home. Thus self-storage, which began to appear in the mid-1990s, and is now spreading all over the Western world. This phenomenon is usually interpreted as an example of overconsumption. In this chapter, however, self-storage is seen as providing the means of organizing space and controlling clutter, thus creating proper flows through homes and lives.

in Overwhelmed by overflows?