Bookshelf

The section «book reviews» attempts to bring recently published scientific books to light, which – according to their authors – constitute methodological, epistemological or theoretical contributions to anthropology. Publications of any authors and editors whatsoever are welcome. Nevertheless, Tsantsa specifically seeks to promote publications edited in Switzerland or originating from the Swiss academic field.


For the next issue of Tsantsa (2018), following books are available for a review:

«Bodies of Truth offers an intimate account of how apartheid victims deal with the long-term effects of violence, focusing on the intertwined themes of embodiment, injury, victimhood, and memory. In 2002, victims of apartheid-era violence filed suit against multinational corporations, accusing them of aiding and abetting the security forces of the apartheid regime. While the litigation made its way through the U.S. courts, thousands of victims of gross human rights violations have had to cope with painful memories of violence. They have also confronted an official discourse claiming that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of the 1990s sufficiently addressed past injuries. This book shows victims' attempts to emancipate from their experiences by participating in legal actions, but also by creating new forms of sociality among themselves and in relation to broader South African society.
Rita Kesselring's ethnography draws on long-term research with members of the victim support group Khulumani and critical analysis of legal proceedings related to apartheid-era injury. Using juridical intervention as an entry point into the question of subjectivity, Kesselring asks how victimhood is experienced in the everyday for the women and men living on the periphery of Cape Town and in other parts of the country. She argues that the everyday practices of the survivors must be taken up by the state and broader society to allow for inclusive social change in a post-conflict setting.»

«Mobility is a keyword of late modernity that suggests an increasingly unrestrained and interconnected world of individual opportunities. However, as privileges enable some to live in a seemingly borderless world, others remain excluded and marginalized. Boundaries are created, modified and consolidated, particularly in times of hypermobility. Evidently, mobility is closely tied to immobility.
This volume features ethnographic research that challenges the concept of mobility with regard to social inequalities and global hierarchies.»

«This region - which marks the meeting of China and post-Soviet Central Asia - is increasingly important militarily, economically and geographically. Yet we know little of the people that live there, beyond a romanticised 'Silk Road' sense of fraternity. In fact, relations between the people of this region are tense, and border violence is escalating - even as the identity and nationality of the people on the ground shifts to meet their new geopolitical realities. As Steven Parham shows, many of the world's Soviet borders have proved to be deeply unstable and, in the end, impermanent. Meanwhile, the looming presence of Modern China and Russia, who are funneling money and military resources into the region - partly to fight what they see as a growing Islamic activism - are adding fuel to the fire. This lyrical, intelligent book functions as part travelogue, part sociological exploration, and is based on a unique body of research - five months trekking through the checkpoints of the border regions.
As China continues to grow and become more assertive, as it has been recently in Africa and in the South China Seas - as well as in Xinjiang - China's borderlands have become a battleground between the Soviet past and the Chinese future.»

«Madlen Kobi analyzes the architectural and socio-political transformation of public places and spaces in rapidly urbanizing southern Xinjiang, P.R. China, and in doing so pays particular attention to the cities of Aksu and Kaxgar. As the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region lies in between China and Central Asia, it is especially characterized by differing political, cultural, and religious influences, and, furthermore, due to its being a multiethnic region, by multiple identities. One might expect cultural and social identities in this area to be negotiated by referring to history, religion, or food. However, they also become visible by the construction and reconstruction, if not demolition, of public places, architectural landmarks, and private residences. 
Based on ethnographic fieldwork performed in 2011 and 2012, the study explores everyday life in a continuously transforming urban environment shaped by the interaction of the interests of government institutions, investment companies, the middle class, and migrant workers, among many other actors. Here, urban planning, modernization, and renewal form a highly sensitive lens through which the author inspects the tense dynamics of ethnic, religious, and class-based affiliations. She respects varieties and complexities while thoroughly grounding unfolding transformation processes in everyday lived experiences. The study provides vivid insights into how urban places and spaces in this western border region of China are constructed, created, and eventually contested.»

„Was verbirgt sich hinter dem Begriff »Gerechtigkeitsgefühle«? Inwieweit spielt die gefühlte Legitimität von Recht eine Rolle? Um diesen Fragen auf die Spur zu kommen, mobilisiert der Band rechtsanthropologische, rechtssoziologische und kulturpsychologische Ansätze. In ethnographischen Fallstudien zu Madagaskar, zum Südsudan, zu Indonesien, Israel/Palästina, Peru, Uganda und Südafrika werden Gerichtssäle, Grenzübergänge, Besprechungsräume, Büros und offizielle Dokumente ebenso analysiert wie Alltagspraktiken, Mediendiskurse, Demonstrationen und Debatten in den Social Media.“

"Travail, famille, patrimoine : ce triptyque souligne l’idéologie qui prévaut dans les très petites entreprises familiales. Chacun(e) participe par son travail et selon ses possibilités au développement d’un patrimoine commun, sans toujours bénéficier d’un statut ou d’une protection sociale. Mais quand la famille est ébranlée par une rupture de trajectoire (divorce, accident, décès), les personnes se trouvent exposées à des risques qui ont rarement été anticipés. Basé sur une enquête menée auprès des entrepreneurs de l’Arc jurassien, cet ouvrage lève le voile sur un monde où l’équilibre entre les impératifs du travail et ceux de la vie de famille est constamment mis à l’épreuve."

"Cet ouvrage retrace un modèle de patrimonialisation de la mémoire de l’esclavage. Il retrace l’histoire de la montagne du Morne Brabant connue pour avoir servi de refuge aux esclaves marrons durant l’histoire coloniale mauricienne et montre avec précision comment ce rocher immense surplombant l’océan Indien, a été inscrit au Patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO en juillet 2008. En une décennie, il s’est imposé comme un lieu culturel et politique incontournable, passant de l’anonymat à une reconnaissance internationale.
Cet ouvrage pose des questions qui traversent toutes les sociétés confrontées à la mémoire de l’esclavage. A travers une enquête précise et détaillée, l’auteure analyse comment des lieux peuvent devenir des « ressources » identitaires? Quelle est la place réelle de la mémoire de l’esclavage dans ce processus? Comment la patrimonialisation de cette mémoire a pu s’imposer dans la société mauricienne, segmentée selon les origines culturelles? Quels sont les limites et les problèmes engendrés par l’attribution du label de Patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO à ce « lieu de mémoire »?
Le destin du Morne souligne toute la complexité, pour les Créoles mauriciens, d’avoir « l’esclavage en héritage ». Il révèle les résistances et les tabous vis-à-vis de cette histoire et montre les mécanismes qui produisent, parfois, une écriture mythifiée des origines.
Autant de questions qui s’adressent à l’ensemble des sociétés qui sont confrontées à leur mémoire et pour lesquelles le cas de l’Ile Maurice est un exemple emblématique."

«Quelles sont les conditions de possibilité de l’agir politique et d’une démocratie radicale? Proposant une lecture empirique et théorique de l’oeuvre de Judith Butler, ce livre discute l’actualité – parfois brûlante – des politiques de coalition dans différents contextes culturels. Bilingue, et rédigé par des auteures issues des quatre coins de l’Europe, il s’adresse à un large public intéressé par la pensée critique et les récents développements dans les études féministes, queer, postcoloniales et transnationales. Avec un inédit de Judith Butler.
 


What are the conditions of possibility for political agency and a radical democracy? This book offers empirical and theoretical contributions engaging with Judith Butler’s work and addressing the urgency of coalition politics in different cultural contexts. Written by researchers from all over Europe, the texts are available in French and English. The book is designed for a wide audience interested in critical thinking and the recent developments in feminist, queer, postcolonial and transnational studies. Including an unpublished text by Judith Butler.»

Other books proposed by publishers could be reviewed and if you want to write a review please find the list here.

If you want to write a review or to propose a book to review, contact the following person:

Laura Affolter : laura.affolter@anthro.unibe.ch