The subject of forensic specialist‘s work with human remains in the aftermath of conflict
has remained largely unexplored within the existing literature. Drawing upon
anthropological fieldwork conducted from 2009–10 in three mortuary facilities overseen by
the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH),
this article analyses observations of and interviews with ICMP forensic specialists as a
means of gaining insight into their experiences with the remains of people who went
missing during the 1992–95 war in BiH. The article specifically focuses on how forensic
specialists construct and maintain their professional identities within an emotionally
charged situation. Through analysing forensic specialists encounters with human remains,
it is argued that maintaining a professional identity requires ICMP forensic specialists
to navigate between emotional attachment and engagement according to each situation.
Struggles with personhood, nationhood and professional virtue
Identity: struggles with personhood,
nationhood and professional virtue
The multi-study research project of which this ethnographic study is a part was
originally conceived in the context of then recent devolution in Scotland and constitutional change in the UK more generally. We were trying to get a finer-grained
understanding of how national identity works on a banal, everyday basis (Billig
1995) and how it connects to personhood and individual identity (Cohen 1996).
Thus we chose to explore Scottish national identity within the mundane frame of
which Djaïdani responded: ‘Ecrivains de banlieue, okay, mais
est-ce qu’on leur dit “écrivains bourgeois” ou “littérature de bourgeois” ou
“littérature de fils de”?’ (Mboungou, 2007) (Banlieue writers, okay, but do
people say ‘bourgeois writers’ or ‘bourgeois literature’ or ‘literature of the
sons of’?). Djaïdani constantly questions classifications. His works specifically represent the suffocation resulting from categorization, in other words
the dictatorship of identity, whether social, ethnic, cultural, or professional.
For Djaïdani, identity is always in flux, and
brokers between the
Irish and the host society in ways that have been documented by O’Leary
in Wales and Belchem in Liverpool?3 In Stafford the religious difference
placed inherent limitations on this role but did not necessarily negate it.
Shared national origins and identity might still be significant. These families aspired, nevertheless, to be part of the English ruling class, and the
ways in which they acted out their class role were likely to be the major
determinant of their local significance.
Stafford’s professional and entrepreneurial Irish families may all
The emergence of footballing cultures
By 1919 Manchester was regarded as a footballing city with two prominent,
popular and successful Football League clubs bearing its name and other
professional teams established within its conurbation. It had its own football
association and a multitude of leagues and competitions at every level. Major
finals, international and representative games had been held there and football
was in evidence, being an important component of the region’s identity and
culture. The sport had crossed class divides
much as anything else, and do not shed any empirical
light on the overseas doctors allegedly burdening home healthcare with their
‘botched’ surgeries and dubious procedures (Gimlin 2014). Beyond this, there
is a small body of important work on how medical professionals have had to
adapt their professionalidentities as they have sought to internationalise their
patient base, for example about how small-scale private practice doctors in
Greece are attempting to enter the IMT marketplace (Skountridaki 2015). This
has necessitated working alongside new professionals in
and professional-political are blurred in ways which are difficult for
newcomers to detect. Who one is in local political terms translates into
demonstrable understanding of the culture of a particular place, including its history and identity, its social fabric and its modes of relating (i.e.
the stuff of habitus). In short, local candidates must demonstrate nativeness; a condition diametrically opposed to that of newcomers.
These difficulties aside, it is important to note that African political
candidates in the study by Fanning et al. (2009) also expressed
Comparison: doing ethnography
and thinking comparatively
The concept of comparison that shapes this chapter functions somewhat differently from the concepts organising the previous three chapters (culture, change
and identity). Those served as analytic lenses to bring out particular dimensions
of the data. Comparison here is primarily a matter of relating the ethnographic
data to other experiences which lie beyond that research. I am using comparison
to draw out further themes from the data, and to revisit some we have already
explored, but also to pull back
This book takes a body of ethnographic data collected in 2001-2, during a year's fieldwork at the Bank of Scotland (BoS) and HBOS, and revisits it from the perspective of the 2014-16 period. It explores the tension between the 'ethnographic present' of the author's original research and the unavoidable alteration of perspective on that data that the economic crisis has created. The original research had been planned to take place in the BoS but in 2001, before the research began, BoS had merged with the Halifax to form HBOS. The book provides a long-term historical perspective on BoS/HBOS, from inception to the 2008 financial crisis, and then a consideration of the nature of historical explanation, under the rubric of 'theory'. The main attempts to explain the proximate causes of the 2008 crisis, as well as more encompassing political economic arguments about the trajectory and dynamics of capitalism are examined. The concept of 'culture' as applied to both national groups, Scots and English, and organizations, BoS and Halifax, are also dealt with. The book examines other governing concepts such as organisational change in the business world and social change, identity and the way Scottish and English experience their own personhood, and comparative nature of ethnographic research. The conclusion reviews and draws together the themes of the book, returning to the overarching question of historical perspective and explanation.
Newspapers, magazines and pamphlets have always been central, almost sacred, forms of communication within Irish republican political culture. While social media is becoming the primary ideological battleground in many democracies, Irish republicanism steadfastly expresses itself in the traditional forms of activist journalism. Shinners, Dissos and Dissenters is a long-term analysis of the development of Irish republican activist media since 1998 and the tumultuous years following the end of the Troubles. It is the first in-depth analysis of the newspapers, magazines and online spaces in which the differing strands of Irish republicanism developed and were articulated during a period where schism and dissent defined a return to violence. Based on an analysis of Irish republican media outlets as well as interviews with the key activists that produced them, this book provides a compelling long-term snapshot of a political ideology in transition. It reveals how Irish Republicanism was moulded by the twin forces of the Northern Ireland Peace Process and the violent internal ideological schism that threatened a return to the ‘bad old days’ of the Troubles. This book is vital for those studying Irish politics and those interestedin activism as it provides new insights into the role that modern activist media forms have played in the ideological development of a 200-year-old political tradition.