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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

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 describes the brutalisation of the bodies of Tutsi and Jewish victims in 1994 and during the Second World War, respectively, and contrasts the procedures adopted by killers to understand what these deadly practices say about the imaginaries at work in Rwanda and Poland. Dealing with the infernalisation of the body, which eventually becomes a form of physical control, this comparative work examines the development of groups and communities of killers in their particular social and historical context. Different sources are used, such as academic works, reports from victims organisations and non-governmental organisations, books, testimonies and film documentaries.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

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.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

This article presents an account of the involvement of forensic anthropology in the investigation of human rights abuses in the modern era, and the difficulties it faces with respect to lack of adequate funding, volatile settings, the presence of unexploded ordnance, corruption in governmental agencies and a lack of good will, absence of support for NGOs and the curtailment of formal judicial proceedings to effect transitional justice. Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Spain, Mexico and the Northern Triangle are provided as regional examples of the problems encountered when attempting to conduct forensic anthropological investigations to locate mass graves, retrieve victims and obtain proper identifications. Interventions by various organisations are highlighted to illustrate their assistance to forensic and non-forensic individuals through technical support, training and mentoring in the areas of crime-scene management and identification techniques. Interventions in mass-grave processing when state agencies have failed, the importance of DNA banks and information from family members and witnesses are also presented.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

This article considers the contexts and processes of forensic identification in 2004 post-tsunami Thailand as examples of identity politics. The presence of international forensic teams as carriers of diverse technical expertise overlapped with bureaucratic procedures put in place by the Thai government. The negotiation of unified forensic protocols and the production of estimates of identified nationals straddle biopolitics and thanatocracy. The immense identification task testified on the one hand to an effort to bring individual bodies back to mourning families and national soils, and on the other hand to determining collective ethnic and national bodies, making sense out of an inexorable and disordered dissolution of corporeal as well as political boundaries. Individual and national identities were the subject of competing efforts to bring order to,the chaos, reaffirming the cogency of the body politic by mapping national boundaries abroad. The overwhelming forensic effort required by the exceptional circumstances also brought forward the socio-economic and ethnic disparities of the victims, whose post-mortem treatment and identification traced an indelible divide between us and them.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

This volume discusses the history, culture and social conditions of one of the less well-known periods of ancient Egypt, the Saite or 26th Dynasty (664–525 BC). In the 660s BC Egypt was a politically fragmented and occupied country. This is an account of how Psamtek I, a local ruler from Sais in northern Egypt, declared independence from its overlord, the Assyrian Empire, and within ten years brought about the reunification of the country after almost four hundred years of disunity and periods of foreign domination. Over the next century and a half, the Saite rulers were able to achieve stability and preserve Egypt’s independence as a sovereign state against powerful foreign adversaries. Central government was established, a complex financial administration was developed and Egypt’s military forces were reorganised. The Saites successfully promoted foreign trade, peoples from different countries settled in Egypt and Egypt recovered a prominent role in the Mediterranean world. There were innovations in culture, religion and technology, and Egypt became prosperous. This era was a high-achieving one and is often neglected in the literature devoted to ancient Egypt. Egypt of the Saite Pharaohs, 664–525 BC reveals the dynamic nature of the period, the astuteness of the Saite rulers and their considerable achievements in the political, economic, administrative and cultural spheres.

Pluralism and the politics of change in Canada’s national museums

-century Liberal governments as was the mid-nineteenth-century decision to situate Canada’s capital on the border between Ontario and Quebec. Although the Anglo-French tensions that dominated Canada’s first century of confederation have not disappeared, the latter half of the twentieth century was marked by the challenge to enlarge a bicultural French/English construct of Canadian identity to accommodate powerful movements of Indigenous decolonisation and global immigration. Even as the new buildings were rising from the ground, the curatorial processes that determine the

in Curatopia
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bureaucracy. The administration of asylums was codified and centralised under the 1845 Lunacy Acts, but these took some time to come into effect. This chapter will look at the operational systems of management and classification in the lunatic asylum among staff and patients at ground level and examine the material culture of bureaucratic process and the input of the civic government on asylum construction and running. Where the last chapter looked at how innovative management and designs implemented in the wake of government-level reform in the way madness was managed

in An archaeology of lunacy
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Collecting networks and the museum

was no accident that the late nineteenth-century imperial extension was matched by a massive expansion in metropolitan and provincial museums in Britain. The foundation stones of the Manchester Museum were laid as Gladstone’s government hurled the nation into the ‘scramble for Africa’. Many historical studies accordingly focus on this early colonial activity, and much of the literature is concerned with the nineteenth century. And yet the geographical and administrative peak of the British Empire was in the early twentieth century, which was reflected in the

in Nature and culture