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Cognitive failure and the fear of losing control over one’s life has occupied mankind for centuries. In our chapter we describe the conceptual history of dementia starting with the first written traces from the twenty-fourth century BCE, relating the story of an Egyptian officer who not only developed the inability to remember yesterday but also became more and more childish. Subsequently, we summarize medical discoveries that have allowed cognitive, psychological and behavioral symptoms of dementia to be viewed as a result of brain disease rather than, for instance, witchcraft or ill will. In the context of growing awareness of neuro-pathophysiological mechanisms underlying dementia, associated with postmortem brain research in the late ninettenth century, Alzheimer’s disease became the ‘face’ of dementia for some time. We discuss further developments in the discovery and in the treatment of different types of dementia, also focusing on psychosocial aspects of the disease. These became an important topic of research as pharmacological treatments aimed at curing the neurodegenerative causes of dementia as yet do not exist. AWe compare how different cultures and societies deal with dementia. Finally, the political and societal attempts to promote social inclusion and empowerment of individuals with dementia are summarized.
Anthropology is defined as “the study of humans”, while psychiatric anthropology is a subfield of cultural anthropology which uses qualitative methodologies to explore the experience of mental illness. In a field that is often dominated by quantitative research, an anthropological approach allows us to understand experiences surrounding illness and the cultural context of mental illness. The articles presented in this issue of the Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine explore individual and group perspectives within a variety of cultural and historical contexts. This compilation of articles unearths fascinating insights into the lived experiences of distinct and vulnerable groups, including young people, migrants and members of the travelling community. Harnessing these insights can help us to tailor our services to the needs of societal populations, as well as improving therapeutic relationships with the ultimate goal of better treatment outcomes.
What counts as too close for comfort? How can an entire room suddenly feel restless at the imminence of a yet unknown occurrence? And who decides whether or not we are already in an age of unliveable extremes? The anthropology of intensity studies how humans encounter and communicate the continuous and gradable features of social and environmental phenomena in everyday interactions. Focusing on the last twenty years of life in a Mayan village in the cloud forests of Guatemala, this book provides a natural history of intensity in exceedingly tense times, through a careful analysis of ethnographic and linguistic evidence. It uses intensity as a way to reframe Anthropology in the age of the Anthropocene, and rethinks classic work in the formal linguistic tradition from a culture-specific and context-sensitive stance. It is essential reading not only for anthropologists and linguists, but also for ecologically oriented readers, critical theorists, and environmental scientists.
Modern law seems to be designed to keep emotions at bay. The Sentimental Court argues the exact opposite: that the law is not designed to cast out affective dynamics, but to create them. Drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork - both during the trial of former Lord's Resistance Army commander Dominic Ongwen at the International Criminal Court's headquarters in The Netherlands and in rural northern Uganda at the scenes of violence - this book is an in-depth investigation of the affective life of legalized transitional justice interventions in Africa. Jonas Bens argues that the law purposefully creates, mobilizes, shapes, and transforms atmospheres and sentiments, and further discusses how we should think about the future of law and justice in our colonial present by focusing on the politics of atmosphere and sentiment in which they are entangled.
Religion is relevant to all of us, whether we are believers or not. This book concerns two interrelated topics. First, how probable is God's existence? Should we not conclude that all divinities are human inventions? Second, what are the mental and social functions of endorsing religious beliefs? The answers to these questions are interdependent. If a religious belief were true, the fact that humans hold it might be explained by describing how its truth was discovered. If all religious beliefs are false, a different explanation is required. In this provocative book Herman Philipse combines philosophical investigations concerning the truth of religious convictions with empirical research on the origins and functions of religious beliefs. Numerous topics are discussed, such as the historical genesis of monotheisms out of polytheisms, how to explain Saul's conversion to Jesus, and whether any apologetic strategy of Christian philosophers is convincing. Universal atheism is the final conclusion.
This chapter explores whether it is possible to talk meaningfully of an African brand of crime fiction. It seeks broad trends in localized examples but, in so doing, it privileges those texts that have resonated beyond national and indeed continental borders. Following a survey of the role played by the Parisian publishing industry in the global dissemination of African crime fiction, the focus turns inwards, examining how authors including Benin’s Florent Couao-Zotti and South Africa’s Margie Orford and Deon Meyer stage the continent’s social realities, typically in the wake of independence. Crucial here is the appropriation of the city. On the other hand, authors including Mali’s Aïda Mady Diallo and Moussa Konaté and Ghana’s Kwei Quartey and Nii Ayikwei Parkes use their work to subvert the literary myths of rural Africa. The chapter argues that Sub-Saharan African crime fiction has an important anthropological function, adapting the genre’s urban DNA in order to map the tensions between the traditions of rural Africa and life in its modern cities.
This article tracks how a trope of middle-class household thrift, grounded on the autarchic Aristotelian oikos, has long fueled derogatory discourses in Britain aimed at low-income urban residents who practice quite different forms of thrift. Since the 1970s this trope has migrated across scales, proving a potent metaphor for national economic policy and planetary care alike, and morally and economically justifying both neoliberal welfare retraction compounded by austerity policies and national responses to excessive resource extraction and waste production. Both austerity and formal recycling schemes shift responsibility onto consumer citizens, regardless of capacity. Further, this model of thrift eclipses the thriftiness of low-income urban households, which emerges at the nexus of kin and waged labor, sharing, welfare, debt, conserving material resources through remaking and repair and, crucially, the fundamental need for decency expressed through kin care. Through a historicized ethnography of a London social housing estate and its residents, this paper excavates what happens as these different forms and scales of household thrift coexist, change over time, and clash. Ultimately, neoliberal policy centered on an inimical idiom of thrift delegitimizes and disentitles low-income urban households and undermines their ability to enact livelihood practices of sustainability and projects of dignity across generations.
Shahab Ahmed’s What Is Islam? The Importance of Being Islamic (2016) challenges Islamic Studies scholars, (art) historians, and anthropologists to reconsider theoretical frameworks underpinning historical and ethnographic research. This article addresses Ahmed’s concerns that studies of Islam often conceptually privilege orthodoxy, by including drinking and intoxication as worthy of close attention in examining the history and the anthropology of Islam. The case of Wine Shop the Philosopher, run by a former Afghan refugee in The Hague and Amsterdam, is presented after establishing the comparative and interdisciplinary relevance of alcohol consumption in studies of Islam and Muslims. Ahmed’s conceptual framework is used and assessed in comparison with the wine shops’ contemporary pluralist reality by exploring the idealized boundaries of Persianate culture and Islam in dialogues between Persian-speaking interlocutors. It is argued that alcoholic drinks lend themselves to competing gastro-nationalisms and prompt ethnolinguistic tensions between and within groups with Turkish, Moroccan, Iranian, and Afghan backgrounds in the Netherlands. The focus on diverse, coexisting and clashing drink regimes, in conclusion, allows us to deconstruct dichotomies between sober Muslims and European drinkers, African and Asian believers and European unbelievers, and refugees and citizens.
Archaeology, Nation, and Race is a must-read book for students of archaeology and adjacent fields. It demonstrates how archaeology and concepts of antiquity have shaped, and have been shaped by colonialism, race, and nationalism. Structured as a lucid and lively dialogue between two leading scholars, the volume compares modern Greece and modern Israel – two prototypical and influential cases – where archaeology sits at the very heart of the modern national imagination. Exchanging views on the foundational myths, moral economies, and racial prejudices in the field of archaeology and beyond, Hamilakis and Greenberg explore topics such as the colonial origins of national archaeologies, the crypto-colonization of the countries and their archaeologies, the role of archaeology as a process of purification, and the racialization and 'whitening' of Greece and Israel and their archaeological and material heritage. They conclude with a call for decolonization and the need to forge alliances with subjugated communities and new political movements.
How are children raised in different cultures? What is the role of children in society? How are families and communities structured around them? Now in its third edition, this deeply engaging book delves into these questions by reviewing and cataloging the findings of over 100 years of anthropological scholarship dealing with childhood and adolescence. It is organized developmentally, moving from infancy through to adolescence and early adulthood, and enriched with anecdotes from ethnography and the daily media, to paint a nuanced and credible picture of childhood in different cultures, past and present. This new edition has been expanded and updated with over 350 new sources, and introduces a number of new topics, including how children learn from the environment, middle childhood, and how culture is 'transmitted' between generations. It remains the essential book to read to understand what it means to be a child in our complex, ever-changing world.
Chapter 1 deals with Kierkegaard’s influential account of selfhood and anthropology. This account is decisive for understanding his importance for theories of personal identity, human nature, and action theory. In addition, it provides the necessary conceptual and historical background for understanding his contribution to ethics and religion on the one hand and existentialism and continental philosophy on the other. Chapter 1 particularly relates Kierkegaard’s views on selfhood and anthropology to Kantian and post-Kantian philosophical anthropology. It focuses on Kierkegaard’s contribution to anthropology and discusses the relation between philosophical and theological anthropology. The chapter gives a synopsis of these issues by focusing on The Sickness unto Death, which approaches selfhood and anthropology negatively by focusing on despair, a double-minded or incoherent form of selfhood.
The four main Indian religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism – have several shared concepts about self and suffering, which are salient to the world-view of the followers of these faiths. Understanding the concepts of mind, self and suffering in these faiths can help clinicians build better rapport and gain deeper understanding of the inner world of patients of these faiths. This article highlights the broad cultural and religious beliefs of these groups, with the hope that increased knowledge among clinicians might lead to better therapeutic engagement.
Despite the strong interest of Eastern Orthodox theologians in the area of anthropology, their reflection has almost never included intellectual disability. The article aims to take the discussion further by providing the contours of an inclusive anthropological ethics. In this sense, it will develop constructively the three main principles of Dumitru Stăniloae's dialogical anthropology: (1) that each human being is a person because she is called to dialogue with God from the womb of her mother; (2) that this dialogue with God is mediated by one's neighbour; (3) that the materiality of creation is meant to be transformed into a gift of communion with other humans and God.
In this article I argue that Kant’s understanding of the universality of radical evil is best understood in the context of human sociality. Because we are inherently social beings, the nature of the human community we find ourselves in has a determinative influence on the sorts of persons we are, and the kinds of choices we can make. We always begin in evil. This does not vitiate responsibility, since through reflection we can become aware of our situation and envision ourselves as members of a different community, one with different expectations, making genuine virtue possible. This understanding of radical evil helps to make sense of Kant’s high regard for the church in Religion.
This chapter starts by asking ‘What is in a Thing?’ It discusses the material presence of the past and its rediscovery, for example, in the history of commodities. Material culture history, it argues, has been critical of the linguistic turn but is still building on insights from it. It proposes that objects provide an ‘order of things’ (Michel Foucault), which is in need of examination and contextualisation. At the same time material culture history has also been in the vanguard of decentring human agency and problematising the ‘Anthropocene’. Using non-representational theory, it has been arguing in favour of recognising the agency of things and decentring human agency in history. Material culture history has also been pointing to the longevity of material objects, providing them with often malleable and multiple meanings. It is striking how prominent everyday objects are in material culture histories. Through them individual identities are often related to larger collective identities. Historians of material culture have contributed to raising our awareness of the link between objects and collective identity formation. Examples from national history, environmental history, first nations hsitory, the history of ethnic minorities, colonial history, cultural history, design history, architectural history, regional history, class history, gender history and religious history are all discussed in oder to underline the potential of material culture history to lead to greater self-reflexivity among historians about their role in constructing forms of collective identity and to deconstruct these identities.
Tooth enamel and dentin are the most studied hard tissues used to explore hominin evolution, life history, diet, health, and culture. Surprisingly, cementum (the interface between the alveolar bone and the root dentin) remains the least studied dental tissue even though its unique growth, which is continuous throughout life, has been acknowledged since the 1950s. This interdisciplinary volume presents state-of-the-art studies in cementum analysis and its broad interpretative potential in anthropology. The first section focuses on cementum biology; the second section presents optimized multi-species and standardized protocols to estimate age and season at death precisely. The final section highlights innovative applications in zooarchaeology, paleodemography, bioarchaeology, paleoanthropology, and forensic anthropology, demonstrating how cementochronology can profoundly affect anthropological theories. With a wealth of illustrations of cementum histology and accompanying online resources, this book provides the perfect toolkit for scholars interested in studying past and current human and animal populations.
This chapter starts off by discussing the roots of historical anthropology in ‘people’s history’ before the linguistic turn. It then traces the journey from the history workshop movements of the 1960s and 1970s to historical anthropology, focusing on European and Indian groups (the Subaltern Studies Group). It highlights the work of Ann Laura Stoler as an example of how historical anthropology led to new and exciting perspectives in historical writing with deep implications for the deconstruction of historical identities. Historical anthropologists brought with them a concern for the everyday, diversity, performance and resistance and they raised an awareness of the undeterminedness of the past. They also emphasised how collective identities were rooted in constructions of culture. Relating cultural values to practices, diverse theories of the everday examined different structures of power and the agency of ordinary people in resisting and re-appropriating these structures of power. Treating culture as fluid, plural and changing, it also contributed to the de-essentialisation of human identities. Emphasising mimetic processes and the interrelationship of diverse mimetically produced images, historical anthropology also contributed to the decentring of Western perspectives.
Two influential Anglican scholars, N.T. Wright and M.B. Thompson, have concurrently sought to challenge the Church and the Academy to reconsider their long-held belief in the immaterial soul, and to encourage them to think more biblically about their theological anthropology. Identifying the reasons for, and recognizing the implications of, the challenge, this article responds by addressing the contentions of both scholars and the alternative anthropology they propose, and advances in rejoinder a healthier, dualistic, anthropology. Specifically, the article presents a richer view of the soul, one that is conceptually stronger, and more biblically rooted, than the views Wright and Thompson espouse (as indeed also the views they renounce).
Professional religious specialists centralised religious authority in early human societies and represented some of the earliest instances of formalised social leadership. These individuals played a central role in the emergence of organised religion and transitions to more stratified human societies. Evolutionary theories highlight a range of environmental, economic and social factors that are potentially causally related to the emergence of professional religious specialists in human history. There remains little consensus over the relative importance of these factors and whether professional religious specialists were the outcome or driver of increased socio-cultural complexity. We built a global dataset of hunter–gatherer societies and developed a novel method of exploratory phylogenetic path analysis. This enabled us to systematically identify the factors associated with the emergence of professional religious specialists and infer the directionality of causal dependencies. We find that environmental predictability, environmental richness, pathogen load, social leadership and food storage systems are all correlated with professional religious specialists. However, only food storage is directly related to the emergence of professional religious specialists. Our findings are most consistent with the claim that the early stages of organised religion were the outcome rather than driver of increased socio-economic complexity.
The Ospedale Maggiore, known as Ca’ Granda, was founded in 1456 by will of Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan, and was considered for almost five centuries a model for Milanese, Italian and even European healthcare. Attracting patients from all over Europe, the Ca’ Granda distinguished itself for the introduction of new treatments and innovative health reforms. In the burial ground of the hospital still lie the bodies of the deceased patients, who came from the poorest strata of the population. The study of their remains aims to give back a general identity and a story to each of these persons as well as reconstruct a fraction of the sixteenth century population of Milano as concerns lifestyle and disease and examine practises and therapy of this exceptional hospital. It is estimated that about two million commingled bones and articulated skeletons rest in the crypt, together with other types of findings (e.g., ceramic, coins, clothing). These remains are the object of a large project involving various disciplines ranging from humanities to hard sciences. The aim of this paper is to bring this historical gem to the attention of scholars and provide a glimpse of what its contents have already revealed.