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Ritual performance and belonging in everyday life

Iraqi women in Denmark is an ethnographic study of ritual performance and place-making among Shi‘a Muslim Iraqi women in Copenhagen. The book explores how Iraqi women construct a sense of belonging to Danish society through ritual performances, and it investigates how this process is interrelated with their experiences of inclusion and exclusion in Denmark. The findings of the book refute the all too simplistic assumptions of general debates on Islam and immigration in Europe that tend to frame religious practice as an obstacle to integration in the host society. In sharp contrast to the fact that Iraqi women’s religious activities in many ways contribute to categorizing them as outsiders to Danish society, their participation in religious events also localizes them in Copenhagen. Drawing on anthropological theories of ritual, relatedness and place-making, the analysis underscores the necessity of investigating migrants’ notions of belonging not just as a phenomenon of identity, but also with regard to the social relations and practices through which belonging is constructed and negotiated in everyday life.The Iraqi women’s religious engagement is related to their social positions in Danish society, and the study particularly highlights how social class relations intersect with issues of gender and ethnicity in the Danish welfare state, linking women’s religious practices to questions of social mobility. The book contextualizes this analysis by describing women’s previous lives in Iraq and their current experiences with return visits to a post-war society.

Paul Merchant

Pablo Corro‘s 2014 book Retóricas del cine chileno (Rhetorics of Chilean Cinema) is a wide-ranging examination of the style and concerns that have come to characterise Chilean film-making from the 1950s to the present day. Corro demonstrates how ideas of national cinema are always to some extent dependent on transnational currents of cinematic ideas and techniques, as well as on local political contexts. The chapter presented here, Weak Poetics, adapts Gianni Vattimo‘s notion of weak thought to discuss the growing attention paid by Chilean films to the mundane, the everyday and the intimate. Corro‘s dense, allusive writing skilfully mirrors the films he describes, in which meaning is fragmented and dispersed into glimpsed appearances and acousmatic sounds. Corros historicisation of this fracturing of meaning allows the cinema of the everyday to be understood not as a retreat from politics, but as a recasting of the grounds on which it might occur.

Film Studies
Open Access (free)
An international political economy of work
Author: Louise Amoore

Bringing fresh insights to the contemporary globalization debate, this text reveals the social and political contests that give ‘global’ its meaning, by examining the contested nature of globalization as it is expressed in the restructuring of work. The book rejects conventional explanations of globalization as a process that automatically leads to transformations in working lives, or as a project that is strategically designed to bring about lean and flexible forms of production, and advances an understanding of the social practices that constitute global change. Through case studies that span from the labour flexibility debates in Britain and Germany to the strategies and tactics of corporations and workers, it examines how globalization is interpreted and experienced in everyday life and argues that contestation has become a central feature of the practices that enable or confound global restructuring.

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‘of cult-like and occult undertaking’
John Whatley

This Introduction by John Whatley to ‘Gothic Cults and Gothic Cultures 2: Historical Gothic’, his second issue as guest editor of Gothic Studies, begins with a brief summary of some of the conclusions found in Gothic Studies 4/2, and goes on to explain how the seven new articles in 5/1 explore the relations between Gothic cults and cultures in their historical dimensions. The articles illustrate how threats posed by conspiratorial groups of the Gothic past were responsible for the infiltration of the spectral and uncanny into everyday life, so the fear of dangerous ideas and conspiracies figures in the apparitions and phantoms of Gothic culture. To help contextualise the articles, this Introduction outlines the shapes and origins of cults in the Gothic texts of the past, for example in religious sects and robber bands. A summary of each article then follows.

Gothic Studies
Abstract only
Surfaces and Subtexts in the Popular Modernism of Agatha Christie‘s Hercule Poirot Series
Taryn Norman

In Detective Writers in England, Christie claims a detective story is an escape from the realism of everyday life; however, her Poirot series represents anxieties about the conditions of modernity through the conventions, images, and tones of the classic Gothic, a genre well established as providing a balance between escapism and historical commentary (xiii). While the earlier Poirot texts juxtapose the trappings of the Gothic– séances, curses, ghosts– against a rational modern world and produce a comical effect when these conventions are revealed as staged, as the conditions of modernity weigh upon Christie, particularly during World War II, her Poirot texts take on an increasingly sinister quality in which history itself is coded in Gothic terms.

Gothic Studies
An Analytic of the Uncanny
Kathy Justice Gentile

In a footnote to his 1919 essay, ‘The Uncanny’ (‘Das Unheimliche’), Freud perfunctorily reports a strange encounter with himself. While he was traveling by train, a mirrored door in his compartment swung open, whereupon Freud was confronted with a distasteful-looking stranger intruding into his private space, a stranger whom he momentarily recognized as a reflection of himself.2 If we use Freud‘s own analysis in ‘The Uncanny’, derived from Otto Rank‘s work on the double, the power of this disconcerting episode could be attributed to the adult fear of the double, transmogrified from the animistic or childhood projection of a friendly double, another self who served as a protection against danger or death, into a fearful emblem of ones own mortality in the more repressed adult mind.3 That is, in our early state of primary narcissism we familiarize the strange world around us by projecting outward versions of ourselves; however, as adults who have discovered that we are not the source of all being, the unexpected appearance of an alternate self is initially frightening and unrecognizable. Freuds initial impression of himself as an alien intruder is uncanny because the scene is suffused with a supernatural aura and recalls him to a primary narcissistic fear. A double is a distorted version of a being already in existence, thus engendering the fear that the double is the real, original self who has come to take our place. Or, as Françoise Meltzer has noted, ‘the double entails the seeing of self as other, and thus forces the admission of mortality’ (229). Unexpected sightings of doubles in adulthood also confirm the validity of the sensation evoked by the super-ego which oversees and watches the self as it engages in worldly transactions. Seeing double may support the paranoid suspicion that an individual is actually two people, one divided against the other. As Rank demonstrates in his study, the double, as an emblem,of the soul, carries both a positive and negative valence. On the one hand our existence is confirmed by seeking reflections, versions of ourselves in mirrors, photographs, offspring, etc., yet if we are taken unawares by a double, we quail from it as a supernatural visitant. Thus the unsolicited sighting of a double, an embodiment of unsurmounted supernaturalism, marks the eruption of the uncanny into everyday life.

Gothic Studies
Editor’s Introduction
Michaël Neuman, Fernando Espada, and Róisín Read

Fortified Aid Compound: Everyday Life in Post-Interventionary Society ’, Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding , 4 : 4 , 453 – 74 . Fast , L. ( 2014 ), Aid in Danger: The Perils and Promise of Humanitarianism ( Philadelphia, PA : University of Pennsylvania Press ). Jackson

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Rethinking Digital Divides by Linda Leung
Antonio Díaz Andrade

-technology use. In chapter 7, Leung presents the second analytical lens: actor–network theory. She opens the chapter describing Australia as a country in which the use of digital technology is part of everyday life for most people. This situation can be construed as a scenario in which both human and non-human actors establish a network, characterised by symmetry between the social and the technical ( Latour, 1999 , 2005 ). Leung relies on actor–network theory to reject the binary conceptualisation of

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
The Politics of ‘Proximity’ and Performing Humanitarianism in Eastern DRC
Myfanwy James

political histories, situation, and networks that are central to their security practices. Humanitarianism is built on the idea of universal humanity, overlooking the fact that not everyone can perform neutrality with the same ease – to armed actors, or to their own humanitarian colleagues. Not everyone can ‘sing the song’. Ultimately, Congolese staff embody the contradictions of MSF’s approach in DRC: a simultaneous need for operational ‘proximity’, as well as performative distance from the politics of everyday life. MSF’s approach combines a simultaneous ‘engagement

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Architecture, Building and Humanitarian Innovation
Tom Scott-Smith

Biennale because they were so practical and focused on everyday life, with thoughtful and humanistic ambitions. The projects were based on a simple idea: not to construct new shelters but to improve the empty office buildings that lay empty across Vienna after the financial crash. The walls of the bright white pavilion were illustrated with simple photographs, quotations and publications describing the approach, transforming dull grey offices into liveable accommodation by

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs