ASA2016: Footprints and futures: the time of anthropology

"The enemy within": states of exception and ethnographies of exclusion in contemporary Europe
Location Science Site/Chemistry CG218
Date and Start Time 06 July, 2016 at 09:00
Sessions 2


  • Katerina Stefatos (Lehman College (CUNY)) email
  • Elena Mamoulaki (Durham University) email

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Short Abstract

From post-socialist regimes to neoliberal 'austerity' governments, this panel takes an anthropological look at the ways in which different social groups are excluded as 'threatening' but also at how these groups cope or resist against such an exclusion in the context of states of exception.

Long Abstract

In post-Cold War Europe, political, economic and media power has often projected internal threats against democracy to reaffirm its legitimacy or to impose exceptional measures mostly targeting vulnerable parts of the population. Invoking Agamben's "States of Exception" and Panourgia's concept of "Dangerous Citizens" in this panel we seek to explore some of the ways in which different groups of people have experienced the process of the construction of internal enemies performed by different regimes and forms of power in order to reclaim their sovereignty especially in times of crisis or "states of emergency" in post-war Europe onwards.

Projects of inventing and constructing an "enemy within" have employed multiple taxonomic, segregating and discriminatory strategies and technologies based on different identity markers: class, race, religion, gender, and sexuality. We invite contributions that examine such strategies of "internal enemy" construction as well as ethnographic explorations of the lived experiences of the people within past or current political contexts. What are the specificities of constructing enemy identities and enabling mechanisms of belonging and/or exclusion? How are such mechanisms felt through lived experience of the excluded subjects? How do certain groups conform or resist to such strategies? From post-socialist regimes to neoliberal "austerity" governments, this panel takes an anthropological look at the ways in which different social groups are labeled and excluded as "threatening" but also at how these groups cope or fight back against such an exclusion projected as essential in the context of states of exception or emergency.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.


Still the enemy within?

Author: David Sables (Archaeology)  email

Short Abstract

The Miner’s strike of 1984-85 is a pivotal point in British history. It was a dispute that divided Britain, smashed mining communities, broke families and symbolises the defeat of the labour movement and has consequences that still reverberate across British society today.

Long Abstract

The 31st anniversary of the 1984-85 miners' strike is marked by calls in parliament for an official enquiry into the policing of the strike and the end of deep mining in Britain with the clearing of the remains of Kellingley Colliery. This paper will examine some of the issues surrounding the portrayal of the striking miners, who were in 1984, vilified in the media as the "Enemy Within". It will discuss how the "Enemy within" have now been rehabilitated to such a state that they appear in TV Advertising as an icons of a moment in time. Today striking miners rather than being seen as harbingers of revolution, are now portrayed as the dying echoes of Britain's "Victorian Dirty Industries". The paper will go on to examine how heritage presentations are being used to reinforce this reworking of history, and discuss how writers have overemphasised aspects of the strike focusing and sections of the coal industry's history while ignoring important information released recently in government papers. The paper will end with a discussion on how this revaluation is seen by some former striking miners and people who live in a former mining community.

Black Sails to Black Flags: constructing, criminalising and embracing 'anarquistas' as a liminal ideological category

Author: Susanna Baker (Durham University)  email

Short Abstract

This paper explores narratives of exclusion and criminalisation of left-wing ideologies, as they are articulated against, and appropriated by, radical political groups in Spain.

Long Abstract

Since the national awakening of political activism in 2012, radical resistant groups have become ubiquitous in urban spaces and discourses in Madrid. Whilst they remain highly visible in the urban landscape, radical activists occupy a liminal space, constructed as marginal and even criminal by local authorities and discourses. As such, actors must continuously renegotiate the threatening 'criminal' status in which they are seen to operate.

This study draws upon analyses of protest, urban space and online publications to further our understanding of how this group is constructed as threatening to centralised definitions of order. In parallel, victims of this 'ideological criminalisation' articulate their own status of exclusion, creating lasting resistant identities.

Drawing upon ongoing ethnographic research amongst new and established activist circles in the city of Madrid, this study examines how local discourses amalgamate and criminalise the politics of the radical left. Firstly, it presents a rhetorical and aesthetic analysis of how 'anarchists' as a group are portrayed as a liminal and threatening category, in opposition to order and governance. Ethnography conducted within the groups themselves, however, shows how this process of exclusion from 'legitimate' political circles is appropriated by actors and activists.

How actors appropriate their own exclusion as a political tool, creating recognisable and lasting resistant identities, is key to understanding the impact of political protest beyond electoral politics. This is of particular importance in a field which is being drastically transformed by the fluidity of image sharing, as aesthetic and identity often outweighs ideological content.

Culture in arms: discussing perceptions of history and archaeology during mandatory military service in Greece

Author: Stelios Lekakis (McCord Centre - Newcastle University)  email

Short Abstract

This paper discusses an ethnographic project on the concepts of history and archaeology that an ordinary conscript soldier is exposed to, during his service in Greece.

Long Abstract

Mandatory military service is contemporary reality in many countries, especially in these in a precarious state of foreign affairs with neighbour states. In Greece mandatory conscription dates back to the beginnings of the modern state forming an almost diachronic, cultural backdrop amongst the male members of the Greek society.

Nowadays, voices against this outdated practice often surface the public media in various forms of art or open letters of protest. These criticise the irrational conditions during the service and construct a subversive image of the "proud and dutiful soldier", already existent in the public sphere but commonly disregarded, especially in the contemporary nationalist rhetorics, thriving in our times of economic depression.

This paper, discussing an -almost involuntary- ethnographic project undertaken by the author in 2013 during his mandatory military service, relates to the above construction, pinpointing concepts of history and archaeology that an ordinary conscript soldier is exposed to during his time in the army. The author using his training as an archaeologist recorded -through interviews and sketches- a number of relevant official and unofficial perceptions of cultural aspects encountered in daily army camp life. These were later cross-examined with a significant number of structured questionnaires, attempting to map out times and places of history and archaeology discussed and/or offered during the mandatory military service in

'Enemies within', as projections of racist or sexist systems, have included ethnic minorities, such as Gypsies, Travellers and Roma, but also females in academia

Author: Judith Okely (Oxford University/University of Hull)  email

Short Abstract

Gypsies, Travellers or Roma and even UK female academics have experienced exclusions as ‘enemies within’, despite significant contributions to dominant systems. Prevention of racism and sexism depends on more than reactive legislation, but inner commitment and varied strategies by the stigmatised.

Long Abstract

Gypsies, Travellers or Roma are portrayed as the 'enemy within', unless exotic phantoms far away. Simultaneously, they have been economically indispensible. For decades, Gypsies and Scottish Travellers were primarily responsible for seasonal agricultural work. Their mobility and portable accommodation were crucial. Since compulsory sedentarisation, this is deleted from history, even by economist 'experts'.

Elsewhere under communism, Gypsies traded 'forbidden' consumer goods. After the communist collapse, entrepreneurship became acceptable- the Roma niche appropriated. When factories closed, Roma were the first made redundant. Roma purchased and recycled the derelict machinery. Others were abandoned in poverty. After EU expansion, Roma migrated, becoming 'foreign' enemies within. Although EU inclusion demanded improved Roma integration, this was side stepped. Roma migration included gifted scholars and professionals, rendered invisible.

Tabloids soon revived alien myths that Gypsies steal children. Hence the stolen 'Blonde Maria' in Greece, choosing 'racial' profiling over investigation exposing albinism. Myths travelled to Dublin, instigating ruthless police seizure of 'stolen' Roma children. Even Oxford professionals internalize the enemy myths of Gypsy theft, whether my Bank Manager or GP.

Vital comparisons with experiences as 'enemy within' are found also in auto/ethnography at a northern UK university. Footsteps retrace institutionalised sexism as well as racism. From 1976, this anthropology lecturer became 'female enemy within academia', so initially excluded from staff library access, university accommodation, college dining and staff club. Female academics were forbidden to lecture about 'women', denied marriage, parenthood and cohabitation. Male academics, the 'natural' insiders, took for granted everything once forbidden to the female 'other'.

Ethnic hierarchy, graduated citizenship and neoliberalism as exception: politics of inclusion and exclusion, representations of belonging and non-belonging

Author: Andreas Notaras (Panteion University)  email

Short Abstract

The paper discusses the mechanisms of differential inclusion and exclusion and the changing representations of citizenship, nationhood and belonging triggered by the Greek crisis and the neoliberal state of exception, taking as examples the Soviet Greek "returnees" and the Muslim Minority of Thrace.

Long Abstract

Nation is commonly represented as a deep horizontal comradeship and citizenship is normatively understood as a status of equal membership. And yet, we are fully aware of blunt or sharp ethnic hierarchies within the same nations and we have come to realize that citizenship proves to be graduated in quite many ways.

The Muslim Minority of Western Thrace and Soviet Greeks were formerly classified as second class citizens and enemies within in their respective countries of origin. Today they find themselves coping with distinctive forms of institutional or social discrimination and prejudice. Greek co-ethnics "returnees" from the Soviet Union, arriving and settling in Greece after 1990, enjoy full citizenship rights based on the jus sanguinis principle and the ethnic conception of nationhood but their greekness is called into question from large sections of the local population. As for the members of the Muslim minority of Thrace - ethnic Turks in their large part - these derive their citizenship from the jus soli principle and in application of the 1923 Lausanne treaty. Nevertheless, they have endured, especially till 1990, pronounced segregation and serious infringement of their civil and political rights.

The Greek debt crisis of 2010 and the subsequent neoliberal austerity measures, along with the proliferation of Golden Down's fascist agenda have triggered new mechanisms of differential inclusion and exclusion and changing representations of membership, belonging and identification. What happens - in a state of exception - with those politically and discursively (dis)placed outside the core nation?

Cafés and enclaves: space, rhetoric and exclusion in Kosovo

Author: Christopher Diming (Durham )  email

Short Abstract

This paper compares narratives of exclusion of Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs in order to explore the intersections of rhetoric, space, identity, exclusion and state practices. It argues that doing so is necessary as part of the effort to understand 'states of exception' in contemporary Europe.

Long Abstract

I argue that narratives of exclusion from Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs, while differing in time and place, are similar in that they have been profoundly influenced by state practices, rhetoric, spatialisation and dislocation. In response to their exclusion, Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs have adapted and resisted in various means such as establishing new spaces for political organising, protesting and displaying nationalist imagery.

In Kosovo from 1990 to the beginning of the war in 1998, the Kosovo Albanian population experienced exclusion through its expulsion from public institutions, removal from public spaces such as universities, and branding as the 'enemy within' through arguments portraying it as threatening to the Kosovo Serb population. In response, Kosovo Albanians organised resistance from cafes and domestic spaces. After the war's end in 1999, Kosovo Serbs were forced into enclaves such as Kosovska Mitrovica (Mitrovica North), beginning a process of exclusion which continued through rhetoric painting the enclaves as dangerous and lawless. Utilising case studies from fieldwork undertaken in Kosovo from June 2014 to July 2015, this paper explores processes of, and responses to, exclusion and 'states of exception'. Interviews gathered from the majority-Kosovo Albanian capital city, Pristina, and Kosovska Mitrovica will be analysed and compared in order to depict the experiences of those who have experienced exclusion and to illustrate responses and adaptations.

The paper demonstrates the necessity of addressing the intersections of rhetoric, space, exclusion, identity and state practices as part of the effort to understand 'states of exception' in contemporary Europe.

Fortress Europe and the technologies of exclusion, seclusion and stigmatization

Author: Dimitris Kousouris (University of Vienna )  email

Short Abstract

The technologies of "protection of the external borders of the EU" implemented by Frontex are based on racist ideological principles and bypass democratic control. This paper examines the major institutional component of contemporary European states of exception: the politics of Europe Fortress.

Long Abstract

The so-called "refugee crisis" brings to light the lethal capacity of the Frontex agency which, since its creation in the mid-2000s, can be held responsible for the death of more than 30.000 refugees and immigrants along the Mediterranean borderline going from Ceuta and Melilla on the West, through Lampedusa to Farmakonissi and Lesvos on the East. This high death-toll is part and result of an ever-growing and complex apparatus of ad hoc institutions, such as detention centers, authorities of registering, filtering and repatriating non-EU citizens, sea and land patrols etc.

In this paper, I will first attempt to draw a map of this archipelago of modern forms of exclusion, reclusion and stigmatization. The implementation of those policies often bypassed the established processes of democratic ratification in the national level. The techniques of stigmatization of the incoming migrants (e.g. the Cologne New-Year incidents) and the involvement of the local populations in practices of segregation, seclusion and human trafficking reveal a high-level of tolerance and support to unconcealed racism. This process should be considered as interdependent rather than as parallel to the rise of far- and extreme right parties across the continent. In guise of conclusion, I will attempt to assess how contemporary islamophobia, xenophobia and cultural racism draw their roots from long-standing reactionary, counterrevolutionary and anti-Enlightenment ideological currents.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.