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War remains and the politics of commemoration in the wake of the Asia-Pacific War
Beatrice Trefalt

In January 1955, an official mission departed Japan for New Guinea to collect remains of the war dead and to erect commemorative monuments to fallen soldiers. Just before its departure, a diplomatic contretemps arose about the English wording on the Japanese stones: the Japanese government considered them memorials to the dead, whereas the Australian government insisted that they be mere geographical markers noting the search for remains. This article examines how the divergent politics of commemoration in Japan and Australia created this dispute, demonstrating how the remains of soldiers functioned as important signifiers well beyond their material existence. In Japan, the search for remains spoke to the nature of national duty, the acknowledgement of mourning and the possibilities for atonement. In Australia, however, they stimulated visceral resentment, because the soldiers’ remains symbolised Japanese aggression and war crimes.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
In search of the Republic of Vietnam war dead
Alex-Thái Dinh Võ

Finding, identifying and interring the war dead are ethically and ceremonially crucial tasks for healing, repairing and legitimising. Before the end of the Vietnam War, the United States had begun to look for missing Americans in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. In the wake of its victory and takeover of South Vietnam, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam went to great lengths to identify and immortalise its fallen soldiers. The same cannot be said for the war dead of the Republic of Vietnam, whose fall on 30 April 1975 made the war dead stateless; consequently they have never been legitimately acknowledged by the current Vietnamese government or their former ally, the United States. This article explores the accounting efforts by Nguyen Dạc Thành and the Vietnamese American Foundation to reveal the financial, logistical, technical and political opportunities and challenges in accounting for war dead associated with a state that no longer exists.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s policies for repatriating soldiers’ remains and accounting for the missing after the Chinese Civil War and the Korean War
Liu Zhaokun

After the Chinese Civil War (1946–49), hundreds of thousands of graves of the People’s Liberation Army soldiers dotted the country’s landscape; the ensuing Korean War caused more casualties. Honouring this immense sacrifice and mobilising the survivors for its reconstruction were indispensable for the nascent People’s Republic of China. This research probes China’s policies to repatriate soldiers’ remains and account for those missing after these wars. The dilapidating status of soldiers’ graves threatened the morale of soldiers’ families, the backbone of the country’s socialist revolution. The state acknowledged families’ wishes to retrieve soldiers’ remains and nationalised their repatriation to salvage popular support. However, the deceased were not to drain the labour and resources reserved for the revolution. This principle had effectively prevented most families from retrieving remains. Accounting for missing soldiers was to ensure that only the revolutionary martyrs’ families could receive due honour and privilege.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Open Access (free)
Fate, fortune and families of fallen soldiers in nationalist China
Linh D. Vũ

Although local authorities, communities and charities played a major role in dealing with conflict fatalities, the Republican era (1911–49) saw new government initiatives to attend to the afterlives of common soldiers. Leaders of the Nationalist Party (Guomindang) exemplified ambitions to govern the dead by implementing a policy of collecting and burying fallen soldiers. As the first public military cemetery, constructed in Nanjing in 1935, could not accommodate the millions of war dead in the decade of war that followed, the Nationalist state promulgated regulations to help bereaved families transport remains back to their home towns for burial. The Nationalist government began to plan more national military cemeteries after World War II, yet most commemorative projects in mainland China were interrupted by the Chinese Civil War. By constructing martyrs’ shrines and national cemeteries in Taiwan, the Nationalists are continuing their efforts to look after the military dead.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Actions for the missing: scientific and vernacular forms of war dead accounting
Tâm T. T. Ngô
and
Sarah Wagner

This special issue examines Asian experiences of war and mass death in the previous century, with case studies from China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam (North and South, among its diaspora and across multiple generations). In this introduction we highlight several of the wider analytical interventions offered by the articles: (1) the spatiopolitical dynamics of war dead accounting in which forms of vernacular forensic expertise interact with and inform internationally honed, empirically grounded practices of exhumation and identification; (2) the complex hierarchy of authority over remains that structures programmes of war dead accounting; (3) the variegated (as opposed to monolithic) nature of war dead themselves; and (4) the material ecosystems of remains, graves, cemeteries and the non-human forces of decay acting upon them. Finally, the introduction highlights the issue’s comparative potential: that is, what these different cultural, religious and ideological modes of meaning-making reveal about why and how human remains matter in the aftermath of war – and not just according to Western notions of national memory politics in which the soldier stands in for the state and collective mourning animates the national imaginary.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
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On crisis and the making of golden passports
Theodoros Rakopoulos

This chapter adds more fodder to presenting and problematising the specific sociocultural context in which a citizenship by investment (CΒΙ, or CIP) programme develops. Reviewing the economics (offshoring and crisis) and politics (moral discourses and choices on crisis) that boosted the CBI, I here offer a rare insight into how these programmes come about. Existing studies discuss CBIs but, because they are not ethnographic, ignore the social life of the economic citizenship policies creation and application. To fill this important gap by focusing on one case – the formation and development of the Cypriot CBI as a sociohistorical product – I here offer insights drawing from the moral relativity and historical awareness of Cypriots faced with a major crisis. I argue that the moral conceptualisation of the 2013 banking crisis promoted the solidification of the CBI in Cyprus, the policy being the outcome of an offshoring history, a crisis backdrop and a moral panic promoted by liberal elites. Generally, I suggest that investment citizenship schemes are the outcome of world processes of international stratification, but also the products of specific, and normative (readings of) histories of local life. Cypriot informants believe that the CBI policy was the “oxygen” that the country needed in a time of “suffocation” – a time when Cyprus experienced the outcome of a global crunch and was of “junk status”. That peopled local history in countries that introduce CBIs is in many ways global itself: after all, the 2013 banking crisis in Cyprus was by definition an international event.

in Passport island
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Propertied citizenship
Theodoros Rakopoulos

This short chapter delivers the book’s main thrust, already developed in the previous chapter: global citizens exist because of two types of macro-sociological inequities that inform and animate the whole industry. The book’s main contribution is an ethnographic exploration of the dialectics between two types of inequality. Firstly, an established inequity exists among passports in the world. The valuating private institutions like Henley measure a passport’s worth in relation to each other. We thus have the global birthright lottery: citizenship is inherently unequal, as it situates a person in an intentionally stratified environment, where being Austrian is “worth” more than being Ghanaian. Secondly, an established inequity exists among citizens of any nation-state. In some cases this can mean that the internal apartheid welfare-related regime, attached as it is to the rights-bearing institution of citizenship. In most cases this simply means that the elites can partake in the global sharing of the pie using some of their fortune to overcome the asset they lag behind from their co-elite partners elsewhere – a “good” citizenship. Finally, the chapter and the book also contribute the idea that to further understand citizenship we need to have a deeper ethnographic account of property. Citizenship is historically an institution for the propertied lot, and the citizenship by investment industry renders this local fact a global reality. Investigating the relations between property and statehood in the ethnographic pragmatics of a post-colonial state, in this book and elsewhere, has been my main contribution.

in Passport island
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The world according to jus pecuniae
Theodoros Rakopoulos

The introduction discusses empirical and conceptual issues, showcasing the book’s main contributions. On the empirical front, the intro explains what a golden passport means, how jus pecuniae (the right of money) creates a citizenship that lies beyond ancestry and territory, and how golden passports rely on global inequality and elite mobility. Regarding the conceptual domain, the chapter provides an anthropology of passports as artefacts of power, as well as a problematisation of how these documents correspond to nationhood, mobility and citizenship, as well as the nuances among these themes. Further, the chapter discusses the foundational notion of political community and how passports articulate with it – as well as examines how Karl Polanyi’s vision on the expansion of the market into the social realm finds in golden passports a creeping example. The chapter proposes that in order to advance the anthropology of the state we need a serious rendering of the sociohistorical makings of property rights and politics in the societies we study. It concludes that while scholars have noted that citizenship is not an equaliser but a culprit of economic and political inequality, they have only focused on citizenship inequality, when class and other forms of social inequality should also be part of the conversation. What is more, as we lack ethnographies that develop this conceptual fact, this book’s analysis of national passport’s commodification contributes a unique insight into understanding global processes of inequity.

in Passport island
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On research where a Republic is (re)made
Theodoros Rakopoulos

As selling passports is an exceptional occurrence that bridges state and market, and as the Republic of Cyprus is an exceptional polity with post-conflict and post-colonial scars, it is not obvious what it means to do fieldwork on the golden passports phenomenon and in Cyprus. This chapter explores location work: what it means to research these social sites, i.e. the passport industry and the Republic issuing the passports-for-sale. I show how an anthropology of policy is located at the fissures of state and civil society, at the entry points to statehood that citizenship by investment experts facilitate, arguing how an ethnography analysing a transformative policy should reflect on the status of statehood and should make of the state its locus of analysis. I also unpack the sociocultural richness pertaining to the country and the domain of practice and belief that feeds in the formation of the CIP policy in dynamic ways. I thus present the cultural and economic history of statehood in Cyprus, discussing at length its bicommunal nature, its contested boundaries and the monopoly of the state by Greek Cypriots. I particularly focus on the offshore history of market and state in post-division Cyprus, providing the first anthropological account of this sociohistorical condition to date. In conclusion, I argue that the offshore world developed in Cyprus for decades has encouraged a “global vernacular” among locals – a worldly lexicon that articulates this post-colonial small country to global flows and processes.

in Passport island
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On the art of selling a passport
Theodoros Rakopoulos

This chapter focuses on one side of the golden passport transaction: the selling part. Specifically, it offers an ethnographic insight into the key people of the passport industry: the brokers, or facilitators, who pave the way for the production of golden passports. Exploring the thought and practice of these traders, the chapter examines their specific work and life choices. Aiming to illuminate the inner life of CBIs, I am positioning my interlocutors’ CIP practice diffused in the larger area of their life experience, and thus am also paying attention to the longer biographies in their trade, as well as personal biographies. Brokers belong to three prosperous fields (lawyers, auditors and real estate developers), although there is stratification in each profession – “big and small fish” exist in the market pool. The ethnography focuses precisely on big and less-than-big lawyers, real estate sellers and owners, and auditors, examining their thoughts, beliefs and lifeworlds. It argues that these “makers” of CBIs, the people that staff the process for naturalisations, perform more than economic brokerage in the formation of economic citizenship, as they introduce clients to a new cosmos (that of a Mediterranean island), and are often endowed with skills and preferences from their clients’ cosmos, too (Russia or China). As the passport encapsulates cultural processes, its brokers’ main skill is to mobilise “cultural ambassador” qualities to serve their clients. Brokers ironically coming from left-wing backgrounds mobilise experiences in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia, where many have strong links, to serve Russian elites today.

in Passport island