presented in Ohnuki-Tierney, ‘Brain
My focus here is on conceptual issues. Let me first briefly
discuss how the new technology represents the concepts of life and
death, the body, personhood, etc., that are deeply embedded in a
dominant Western intellectual tradition, the Enlightenment
The display of human remains is a controversial issue in many contemporary societies, with many museums globally removing them from display. However, their place in genocide memorials is also contested. Objections towards the display of remains are based strongly in the social sciences and humanities, predicated on assumptions made regarding the relationship between respect, identification and personhood. As remains are displayed scientifically and anonymously, it is often argued that the personhood of the remains is denied, thereby rendering the person ‘within’ the remains invisible. In this article I argue that the link between identification and personhood is, in some contexts, tenuous at best. Further, in the context of Cambodia, I suggest that such analyses ignore the ways that local communities and Cambodians choose to interact with human remains in their memorials. In such contexts, the display of the remains is central to restoring their personhood and dignity.
Late eighteenth-century science aimed to render the body transparent; in contrast, gothic novels of the same period often represented the body as an untrustworthy source of information about the self. In these novels, characters may often be reduced to a bodily or facial map, which may give clues as to personal character, motivation and intention. Yet the practice of reading the body – as practiced in sciences such as physiognomy, phrenology or criminology – also comes under intense interrogation. Through disastrous mis-readings, misdiagnoses and misidentifications, gothic novelists demonstrate how conflating body and self is deeply threatening to ideas of ‘unique’ personhood.
In this article we explore the relational materiality of fragments of human
cadavers used to produce DNA profiles of the unidentified dead at a forensic
genetics police laboratory in Rio de Janeiro. Our point of departure is an
apparently simple problem: how to discard already tested materials in order to
open up physical space for incoming tissue samples. However, during our study we
found that transforming human tissues and bone fragments into disposable trash
requires a tremendous institutional investment of energy, involving negotiations
with public health authorities, criminal courts and public burial grounds. The
dilemma confronted by the forensic genetic lab suggests not only how some
fragments are endowed with more personhood than others, but also how the very
distinction between human remains and trash depends on a patchwork of multiple
logics that does not necessarily perform according to well-established or
socio-cultural embeddedness and its restorative and conciliatory potential. 14 The gacaca practice went against the grain of these socio-cultural practices. Other, mainly non-judicial approaches on dealing with the past in Rwanda have demonstrated much more success by imbuing programme activities with the endogenous principles underlying the social construction of personhood in Rwanda, especially in the domains of socio-therapy ( Richters et al. , 2010 ; Richters, Rutayisire and Dekker, 2010 ; Richters, 2010 ) or community-level reconstruction and conflict
Dispelling Misconceptions about Sexual Violence against Men and Boys in
Conflict and Displacement
Heleen Touquet, Sarah Chynoweth, Sarah Martin, Chen Reis, Henri Myrttinen, Philipp Schulz, Lewis Turner, and David Duriesmith
( 2018 ), ‘ Displacement from Gendered
Personhood: Sexual Violence and Masculinities in Northern
Uganda ’, International Affairs ,
2018 , 94 : 5 ,
1101 – 19 .
( 2019 ), ‘ “To Me, Justice Means to
Be in a Group”: Survivors’ Groups as a Pathway to Justice in
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.
important sense, nothing I am about to describe will be entirely new to the reader, for ‘British-Israel Truth’, as it is known by those who follow it, stands as the theological foundation not only of Orange ritual, but also of Orange morality. What comes to be constructed on top of this foundation, I shall go on to argue, is a form of exceptionalism which defines Orange specialness apophatically, producing a version of moral personhood that is said to apply to some, but crucially is also said not to apply to all. I want to begin setting out this argument by returning to
2017; Fargues 2017; Gibney 2017), I argue that de facto deprivation of
rights and personhood was arguably foundational to modern citizenship.
Rather than an aberration of citizenship, the racialised control we see
today is better understood as an intensification of this past function.
This I argue reveals a particular type of imperial family drama which
rages through British citizenship.
I conclude the chapter by considering how contemporary rights and
citizenship are shaped by the historical figurations of the ‘indentured
labourer’ and the
largely composed in an ethnographic present to which we cannot return, and
the present perspective, which of course is itself slipping into the past as I write.
The perspective of the book lies in the tension between then and now, and the
significance of the data changes with our historical perspective. Where originally
I was more concerned with the vagaries of national identity and people’s sense of
personhood under the pressures of corporate merger, I now see a specific acting
out of a larger drama of cultural change in the UK banking sector, connected to