Introduction Human reproduction has been discussed by experts and policymakers in Czechoslovakia since its foundation as an independent state in 1918. Despite the continuity of policy and expert discourse (Rákosník and Šustrová 2016 ), the period following 1948, when the Communist Party became the leading party, differed from the previous era. After the Second World War and the expulsion of ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia in 1945 and 1946, Czechoslovakia's total population decreased by more than three million. In this
5 State secrets and concealed bodies: exhumations of Soviet-era victims in contemporary Russia1 Viacheslav Bitiutckii Introduction This chapter discusses the search for, exhumation, and identification of the remains of victims of mass political repression during the Stalinist Great Terror (1937–38) in the USSR. It does not consider those who died in the concentration camps and prisons of the Gulag system, but concentrates rather on those who were subjected to the severest form of repression, that is, those who were shot following sentencing during judicial or
7 State violence and death politics in post-revolutionary Iran 1 Chowra Makaremi 2 From 9 January to 19 July 2012, the Iranian daily Gooya News, one of the Iranian diaspora’s main information sites, published a series of forty-one articles, entitled ‘Interviews with a torture and rape witness’. The tortures and rapes in question were from the period of violent state repression that gripped the Islamic Republic throughout the 1980s. The interviews give voice to the anonymous testimony of an official involved in the penitentiary and judicial sphere of that period
The military coup of March 1976 in Argentina ruptured the prevailing institutional order, with the greater part of its repressive strategy built on clandestine practices and tactics (death, torture and disappearance) that sowed fear across large swathes of Argentine society. Simultaneously, the terrorist state established a parallel, de facto legal order through which it endeavoured to legitimise its actions. Among other social forces, the judicial branch played a pivotal role in this project of legitimisation. While conscious of the fact that many of those inside the justice system were also targets of oppression, I would like to argue that the dictatorship‘s approach was not to establish a new judicial authority but, rather, to build upon the existing institutional structure, remodelling it to suit its own interests and objectives. Based on an analysis of the criminal and administrative proceedings that together were known as the Case of the judicial morgue, this article aims to examine the ways in which the bodies of the detained-disappeared that entered the morgue during the dictatorship were handled, as well as the rationales and practices of the doctors and other employees who played a part in this process. Finally, it aims to reflect upon the traces left by judicial and administrative bureaucratic structures in relation to the crimes committed by the dictatorship, and on the legal strategies adopted by lawyers and the families of the victims.
Established during the Guatemalan Peace Process, the Oslo Accord contemplates the question of compensating the victims of internal armed conflict. Not only was this accord founded on the principles of victims rights, but it also intends to contribute to the democratic reconstruction of Guatemalan society through a process of recognition of victims status and memory – intended to have a reconciling function. The article focuses on the work of two organisations implementing the Oslo Accord and aims to analyse the discourses and practices of the local actors and their perception of the application of victims rights. Civil society actors and members of the National Compensation Programme demonstrate different approaches both in practical work and in representations of what is right. However, revendication of local cultural values is present in all actors discourse, revealing their ambiguous position in regard to state government.
This book is a collection of chapters by anthropologists and other social scientists concerned with gendered labour, care, intimacy, and sexuality, in relation to mobility and the hardening of borders in Europe. After a brief introduction outlining the themes and individual contributions, the book begins with a chapter focusing on the parallels between regulation of geo-political and material borders separating nation states and other areas, and ideological and classificatory boundaries categorising kinds of people and bodies. This framing chapter is followed by three sections. The first comprises ethnographic and phenomenological case studies of gendered migration experience, in the context of intimate relations of care and marriage. The second section continues with an continuous with an ethnographic emphasis, but focuses more on studies of regulation, agency, and activism in contexts of migration, labour, and/or (biological) reproduction and how migrants navigate social services in their destination countries. The final section shifts emphasis more in the direction of conceptual discussion and contains analyses of state and church regulation of bodies, sexualities, reproduction and knowledge practices, and of different regimes of care. Overall, a major aim of the book is to illuminate processes of inclusion and exclusion generated by and around borders and boundaries, and the processes by which they are reproduced and/or contested.
Between 1975 and 1979, thirty-one unidentified bodies bearing marks of torture appeared at various locations along Uruguays coastline. These bodies were material proof of the death flights implemented in neighbouring Argentina after the military coup. In Uruguay, in a general context of political crisis, the appearance of these anonymous cadavers first generated local terror and was then rapidly transformed into a traumatic event at the national level. This article focuses on the various reports established by Uruguayan police and mortuary services. It aims to show how,the administrative and funeral treatments given at that time to the dead bodies, buried anonymously (under the NN label) in local cemeteries, make visible some of the multiple complicities between the Uruguayan and Argentinean dictatorships in the broader framework of the Condor Plan. The repressive strategy implemented in Argentina through torture and forced disappearance was indeed echoed by the bureaucratic repressive strategy implemented in Uruguay through incomplete and false reports, aiming to make the NN disappear once again.
Mass violence is one of the defining phenomena of the twentieth century, which some have even called the 'century of genocides'. The study of how the dead body is treated can lead us to an understanding of the impact of mass violence on contemporary societies. Corpses of mass violence and genocide, especially when viewed from a biopolitical perspective, force one to focus on the structures of the relations between all that participates in the enfolding case study. Argentina is an extraordinary laboratory in the domain of struggle against impunity and of 'restoration of the truth'. It constitutes a useful paradigm in the context of reflection on the corpses of mass violence. Its special character, in the immediate aftermath of the military dictatorship, is to test almost the entirety of juridical mechanisms in the handling of state crimes. The trigger for both the intercommunal violence and the civil war was the mass murders by the Ustaša. This book discusses the massacres carried out by the Ustaša in Croatia during the Second World War. After a brief presentation of the historical background, the massacres carried out by the Ustaša militia and their corpse disposal methods are described. Using Rwanda as a case study, the book proposes an agenda for ethnographic research to explore the relationship between concealment and display in contexts of genocide. This relationship is explored in detail after a discussion of the historical background to the 1994 genocide.
3 The anxious subject Time and selfhood ‘The state simply is not thinking!’, Silva, a 40-year-old unemployed accountant, kept repeating over her second cup of black coffee. I had met Silva in one of the seminars, and we had since been chatting regularly about her experiences at the unemployment office, her attempts to find a job and her life in general. What did Silva mean when she said that the state was not thinking? Her claim came amidst a fast, meandering narrative recounting her personal hardships along with a broader critique of the state of affairs in
This article sets forth a theoretical framework that first argues that necropolitical power and sovereignty should be understood as existing on a spectrum that ultimately produces the phenomenon of surplus death – such as pandemic deaths or those disappeared by the state. We then expound this framework by juxtaposing the necropolitical negligence of the COVID-19 pandemic with the violence of forced disappearances to argue that the surplus dead have the unique capacity to create political change and reckonings, due to their embodied power and agency. Victims of political killings and disappearance may not seem to have much in common with victims of disease, yet focusing on the mistreatment of the dead in both instances reveals uncanny patterns and similarities. We demonstrate that this overlap, which aligns in key ways that are particularly open to use by social actors, provides an entry to comprehend the agency of the dead to incite political reckonings with the violence of state action and inaction.