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Claudia Merli and Trudi Buck

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
Open Access (free)
Humanitarianism in a Post-Liberal World Order
Stephen Hopgood

a majority of humanitarian practitioners, we can define it as a commitment to three things: the equal moral worth of all human lives (i.e. non-discrimination on principle), the moral priority of the claims of individuals over the authority claims of any collective entity – from nations to churches to classes to families – and a belief that as a moral commitment (one that transcends any sociological or political boundary) there is a just and legitimate reason to intervene in any and all circumstances where human beings suffer (even if

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
The Radcliffe boundary commission and the partition of Punjab
Author: Lucy P. Chester

This book is the first full-length study of the 1947 drawing of the Indo-Pakistani boundary in Punjab. It uses the Radcliffe commission, headed by Sir Cyril Radcliffe , as a window onto the decolonisation and independence of India and Pakistan. Examining the competing interests that influenced the actions of the various major players, the book highlights British efforts to maintain a grip on India even as the decolonisation process spun out of control. It examines the nature of power relationships within the colonial state, with a focus on the often-veiled exertion of British colonial power. With conflict between Hindus , Muslims and Sikhs reaching unprecedented levels in the mid-1940s , British leaders felt compelled to move towards decolonization. The partition was to be perceived as a South Asian undertaking, with British officials acting only as steady and impartial guides. Radcliffe's use of administrative boundaries reinforced the impact of imperial rule. The boundaries that Radcliffe defined turned out to be restless divisions, and in both the 1965 and 1971 wars India and Pakistan battled over their Punjabi border. After the final boundary, known as the 'Radcliffe award', was announced, all sides complained that Radcliffe had not taken the right 'other factors' into account. Radcliffe's loyalty to British interests is key to understanding his work in 1947. Drawing on extensive archival research in India, Pakistan and Britain, combined with innovative use of cartographic sources, the book paints a vivid picture of both the partition process and the Radcliffe line's impact on Punjab.

Open Access (free)
Corpse-work in the prehistory of political boundaries
Richard Kernaghan

10 Time as weather: corpse-work in the prehistory of political boundaries Richard Kernaghan Insurgent law, an afterlife ‘These things are the mirror’, said the Shining Path leader, who in Wilson’s accounts always stayed unnamed. ‘They are the mirror so the people and masses will know not to commit such errors.’ That, Wilson told me, was the answer one guerrillero gave to his question of why the Party left dead bodies in public places to rot … always with a sign tossed nearby announcing the crime of which the victim had in life been accused. The mistakes the

in Governing the dead
Open Access (free)
Rainer Bauböck

? In sections 1 and 2 of chapter 1 I argue that this question can only be meaningfully asked in a bounded polity and that philosophical approaches that try to conjure away political boundaries or aim at delegitimizing them from a critical or ideal theory perspective are misguided. This is not mainly a conceptual point and I acknowledge Carens's critique that I have been less than clear about this. Not too much follows from saying that

in Democratic inclusion
Radcliffe’s private deliberations
Lucy P. Chester

postcolonial states of India and Pakistan (whether they wanted it or not) a central element of the legacy of imperial rule; the raj’s political boundaries marked the (ostensible) stability of its rule. When appraising their imperial legacy, British officials emphasized their impact on everyday life and the improvements they had made in the average peasant’s lot. One staunchly imperialist former Indian Army

in Borders and conflict in South Asia
Open Access (free)
Sovereignty and the politics of dead bodies
Editor: Finn Stepputat

This book looks at sovereignty as a particular form of power and politics. It shows that the fate of bodies in the transition from life to death can provide a key to understanding fundamental ways in which sovereignty is claimed and performed. The contributions analyse (post-)conflict as well as non-conflict contexts, which too often are studied in isolation from one another. Focusing on contemporary issues rather than the equally important historical dimensions, they all grapple with the questions of who governs the dead bodies, how, why and with what effects. The book analyses how dead bodies are placed and dealt with in spaces between competing, overlapping and nested sovereign orders, under normal as well as exceptional conditions. It looks at contributions that draw on psychoanalysis, critical theory, the structuralist-functionalist anthropology of burial rituals and recent ideas of agency and materiality. The book first explains the efforts of states to contain and separate out dead bodies in particular sites. It explores the ways in which such efforts of containment are negotiated and contested in struggles between different entities that claim the dead bodies. The book then shows how entities that claim sovereignty produce effects of sovereignty by challenging and transgressing the laws regarding the legitimate use of violence and how dead bodies should be treated with dignity.

Monastic exemption in France, c. 590– c. 1100

This book examines the history of monastic exemption in France. It maps an institutional story of monastic freedom and protection, which is deeply rooted in the religious, political, social, and legal culture of the early Middle Ages. Traversing many geo-political boundaries and fields of historical specialisation, this book evaluates the nature and extent of papal involvement in French monasteries between the sixth and eleventh centuries. Defining the meaning and value of exemption to medieval contemporaries during this era, it demonstrates how the papacy’s commitment, cooperation, and intervention transformed existing ecclesiastical and political structures. Charting the elaboration of monastic exemption privileges from a marginalised to centralised practice, this book asks why so many French monasteries were seeking exemption privileges directly from Rome; what significance they held for monks, bishops, secular rulers, and popes; how and why this practice developed throughout the early Middle Ages; and, ultimately, what impact monastic exemption had on the emerging identity of papal authority, the growth of early monasticism, Frankish politics and governance, church reform, and canon law.

Abstract only
Alison Phipps

This chapter introduces a key site at which mainstream feminist activism tends to take place: the ‘outrage economy’ of the media and social media. This outrage economy is the result of changing media markets, which have produced a number of trends: sensationalism, hyperbole and vilification of opponents. While ‘outrage media’ has traditionally been identified on the right, it is now crossing political boundaries. Privileged white feminists, who have ready access to media platforms, have ‘invested’ their sexual violence stories in the outrage economy to generate political support. Media outrage in the form of ‘naming and shaming’ often leads to ‘bad men’ being airbrushed out of institutions without any change to structures and power relations. Politics that manipulates outrage can also lead to privileged feminists ‘pricing’ more marginalised women out of the outrage economy, especially when it comes to sex work and transgender equality.

in Me, not you
Abstract only
Editor: Gregory Vargo

The first collection of its kind, Chartist Drama makes available four plays written or performed by members of the Chartist movement of the 1840s. Emerging from the lively counter-culture of this protest campaign for democratic rights, these plays challenged cultural as well as political hierarchies by adapting such recognisable genres as melodrama, history plays, and tragedy for performance in radically new settings. A communal, public, and embodied art form, drama was linked for the Chartists with other kinds of political performance: the oratory of the mass platform, festival-like outdoor meetings, and the elaborate street theatre of protest marches. Plays that Chartists wrote or staged advanced new interpretations of British history and criticised aspects of the contemporary world. And Chartist drama intervened in fierce strategic arguments within the movement. Most notably, poet-activist John Watkins’s John Frost, which dramatises the gripping events of the Newport rising of 1839, in which twenty-two Chartists lost their lives, defends the rebellion and the Chartist recourse to violence as a means for the movement to achieve its aims. The volume’s appendices document over one hundred Chartist dramatic performances, staged by activists in local Chartist associations or at professional benefits at some of London’s largest working-class theatres. Gregory Vargo’s introduction and notes elucidate the previously unexplored world of Chartist dramatic culture, a context that promises to reshape what we know about early Victorian popular politics and theatre.