GISCA No. 21, 2018
"Migration und Identität - Die Rapanui und ihre Migrationserfahrungen"
Migration is a current and important topic worldwide. As well for the Rapanui who live on the edge of the Polynesian triangle in the middle of the Pacific on Rapa Nui, better known as Easter Island. Based on an ethnographic fieldwork on Rapa Nui, this study examines the migration experiences of Rapanui and their impact on their identity. In particular, the focus is lying on migration for education and work purposes as well as the return to the island. Young Rapanui or so-called mestizos (literally translated as person of mixed parentage, mestizos), children with a Rapanui and a parent of another nationality, grow up in the context of political, cultural and social change. The identity of Rapanui moves within these various contexts. Especially the cultural and ethnic identity as well as the language Rapanui play an important role for their identity constructions and sense of belonging. It is argued that demarcation and negotiation processes take place during migration and after returning to the island, and that migration experiences can affect the identity of the Rapanui and can lead to identity shifts or reinforcements whereupon individual and contextual circumstances have to be taken into account.
GISCA No. 20, 2018
"Staging the spirits: lên đồng - cult - culture - spectacle"
Multimedia paper including photos, video and audio
Vietnamese mediumship known as lên đồng, a central ritual practice in the context of the so-called Religion of the Mother Goddesses (Ðạo Mẫu, also referred to as “the way of the four palaces”, Đạo Tứ Phử), can be described as a vital religious practice which has proved its resilience and adaptability throughout its history despite persistent criticism in the name of modernity and progress. In this paper I trace the dynamics of the transformation of this practice from a forbidden possession ritual at the centre of the Four Palace Cult (Đạo Tứ Phử) to its toleration and appreciation as an expression of “authentic” Vietnamese culture and collective national identity. I outline this pathfrom national shame to national fame through different stages and ‘spaces of articulation’, such as folklorization, the experimental art spectacle, and heritagization and theatricalization as propaganda spectacle. The question of whether mediumship is accepted as a religious ritual, or even as a religion at all, is of political significance and relevance in a country like Vietnam, where the state judges the legitimacy of religion.
Anne Marijke Trenczek
"Muslimische Kinderehen in Deutschland: Kulturelle Tradition, islamisches Recht und deutsche Gesetzgebung"
Since the so called "refugee crisis" the number of child marriages has increased in Germany. In July 2016, 1475 child marriages were registered in spite of the fact that in most cases marriage is only legally allowed over the age of 18. However, the number of unreported cases is suggested to be a lot higher. Regardless of the current movement of refugees, child marriages have been taking place in Germany for a long time in different contexts. Among them are Islamic marriages, that often remain hidden from the majority of the German society. The topic of Muslim child marriages in Germany is a complex matter and concerns different fields of study and aspects of daily life. Therefore, this paper examines the subject from a legal as well as anthropological perspective. It analyses on the one hand the question of motivation of the parties involved, and on the other the different ways of dealing with the issue of such marriages in Germany.
GISCA No. 18, 2018
"Social Capital in the Face of Climate Change: Voices of Emotional Belonging from Kiribati"
Faced with globally circulating news of anthropogenic climate change, local responses in the Pacific often include dual articulations: of emotions and of belonging to a specific land and people. In this essay I focus on expressions of emotional belonging that are articulated by citizens of Kiribati, an atoll state in the central Pacific that is considered to be particularly vulnerable to consequences of climate change. In examining the responses of Kiribati’s citizens, I conceptualise emotional belonging to land and people to be a form of social capital. From this perspective, I argue that the social capital that emotional belonging represents is constitutive of people’s will to social resilience vis-à-vis projections of how climate change will likely impact on their home islands. Tracing social resilience from an anthropological perspective, I hope to contribute to a growing body of studies that call for more research into local communities’ potential for adaptation, thus counterbalancing the prevailing emphasis on vulnerability.