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Truth commissions are widely recognised tools used in negotiation following political repression. Their work may be underpinned by formal scientific investigation of human remains. This paper presents an analysis of the role of forensic investigations in the transition to democracy following the Brazilian military governments of 1964–85. It considers practices during the dictatorship and in the period following, making reference to analyses of truth commission work in jurisdictions other than Brazil, including those in which the investigation of clandestine burials has taken place. Attempts to conceal the fate of victims during the dictatorship, and the attempts of democratic governments to investigate them are described. Despite various initiatives since the end of the military government, many victims remain unidentified. In Brazil, as elsewhere, forensic investigations are susceptible to political and social influences, leading to a situation in which relatives struggle to obtain meaningful restitution and have little trust in the transitional justice process.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Overriding politics and injustices

In October 2011, twenty skulls of the Herero and Nama people were repatriated from Germany to Namibia. So far, fifty-five skulls and two human skeletons have been repatriated to Namibia and preparations for the return of more skulls from Germany were at an advanced stage at the time of writing this article. Nonetheless, the skulls and skeletons that were returned from Germany in the past have been disappointingly laden with complexities and politics, to such an extent that they have not yet been handed over to their respective communities for mourning and burials. In this context, this article seeks to investigate the practice of ‘anonymising’ the presence of human remains in society by exploring the art and politics of the Namibian state’s memory production and sanctioning in enforcing restrictions on the affected communities not to perform, as they wish, their cultural and ritual practices for the remains of their ancestors.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

This essay analyses the literature on the foibe to illustrate a political use of human remains. The foibe are the deep karstic pits in Istria and around Trieste where Yugoslavian Communist troops disposed of Italians they executed en masse during World War II. By comparing contemporary literature on the foibe to a selection of archival reports of foibe exhumation processes it will be argued that the foibe literature popular in Italy today serves a political rather than informational purpose. Counterpublic theory will be applied to examine how the recent increase in popular foibe literature brought the identity of the esuli, one of Italy‘s subaltern counterpublics, to the national stage. The paper argues that by employing the narrative structure of the Holocaust, contemporary literature on the foibe attempts to recast Italy as a counterpublic in the wider European public sphere, presenting Italy as an unrecognised victim in World War II.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
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State-supported agency

pursued as an epochal political project over the course of the twentieth century dating back to the 1915 Scandinavian marriage law reforms (Kjeldstad, 2001; Therborn, 2004). The first section of this chapter adopts a historical approach to the Nordic development of parental leave policies, which is traced back to the introduction of parental leave insurance systems in 1974. To illustrate the contemporary Swedish experience, as the paradigmatic case, the chapter draws on research by Bergman and Hobson (2002), Klinth (2008) and Chronholm (2009) on the welfare state

in Between two worlds of father politics
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‘Vulnerable fathers’, invisible fatherhood

5 Ireland: ‘vulnerable fathers’, invisible fatherhood Introduction This chapter investigates the extent of American or Swedish influences on the social politics of fatherhood in the Republic of Ireland. The chapter begins by reviewing the introduction of the Liable Relative Provision (LRP) under Part III of the Social Welfare Act (1989) as a way of recovering ‘some or all of the social welfare issued to the One Parent Family Payment recipient concerned’ (Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs, 2000:106). The chapter locates the Irish variant of the

in Between two worlds of father politics

the social politics of fatherhood in Japan and China in the context of the two regimes of fatherhood model, and identifies a ‘Nordic shift’ in Japan, driven by grassroots, epistemological and government concerns (Lambert, 2007:2), but one that was hampered by Japanese employer intransigence (Seeleib-Kaiser and Toivonen, 2011:351). In the case of China, the chapter suggests that Confucian values no longer apply (Therborn, 2004:94; Xia et al., 2014:258), but instead the privatisation of housing and the practice of families buying houses exclusively for their sons

in Between two worlds of father politics

During the Spanish Civil War, extrajudicial executions and disappearances of political opponents took place and their corpses were buried in unregistered mass graves. The absence of an official policy by successive democratic governments aimed at the investigation of these cases, the identification and exhumation of mass graves, together with legal obstacles, have prevented the victims families from obtaining reparation, locating and recovering the human remains. This paper argues that this state of affairs is incompatible with international human rights law and Spain should actively engage in the search for the whereabouts and identification of the bodies with all the available resources.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

This article considers how the reburial and commemoration of the human remains of the Republican defeated during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) is affected by the social, scientific and political context in which the exhumations occur. Focusing on a particular case in the southwestern region of Extremadura, it considers how civil society groups administer reburial acts when a positive identification through DNA typing cannot be attained. In so doing, the article examines how disparate desires and memories come together in collective reburial of partially individuated human remains.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Abstract only
State-enforced agency

politics epitomised by groups such as the Promise Keepers, and by the formation of umbrella groups such as the National Fatherhood Initiative and the American Fathers Coalition, which made for a paradigmatic case. Finally, a key feature, or rather non-feature, of the American model was the way the USA lagged behind other advanced welfare states in the provision of parental leave for fathers (Ray et al., 2008; National Partnership for Women and Families, 2012b:3). From a comparative perspective it was claimed that parents in the USA were faced with an entrenched case of

in Between two worlds of father politics

I focus on two contemporary art installations in which Teresa Margolles employs water used to wash corpses during autopsies. By running this water through a fog machine or through air conditioners, these works incorporate bodily matter but refuse to depict, identify or locate anybody (or any body) within it. Rather, Margolles creates abstract works in which physical limits – whether of bodies or of art works – dissolve into a state of indeterminacy. With that pervasive distribution of corporeal matter, Margolles charts the dissolution of the social, political and spatial borders that contain death from the public sphere. In discussing these works, I consider Margolles’ practice in relation to the social and aesthetic function of the morgue. Specifically, I consider how Margolles turns the morgue inside out, opening it upon the city in order to explore the inoperative distinctions between spaces of sociality and those of death. In turn, I consider how Margolles places viewers in uneasy proximity to mortality, bodily abjection and violence in order to illustrate the social, political and aesthetic conditions by which bodies become unidentifiable. I ultimately argue that her aesthetic strategies match her ethical aspirations to reconsider relations to death, violence and loss within the social realm.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal