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Everyday Occupations
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Everyday Occupations
Experiencing Militarism in South Asia and the Middle East

Edited by Kamala Visweswaran

312 pages | 6 x 9 | 8 illus.
Cloth 2013 | ISBN 9780812244878 | $79.95s | Outside the Americas £64.00
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the series Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights
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"Colonial-style occupations, counter-insurgencies and militarized zones scar the face of much of South Asia and the Middle East. But what specific forms does such everyday violence assume in the postcolonial reality of sovereign nation-states? This indispensable volume offers some brilliant and disturbing answers."—Pankaj Mishra, author of From the Ruins of Empire

"In questioning and subverting conventional definitions and ingrained assumptions about the nature of occupation, this exciting and refreshing collection drives us towards a much richer and fuller understanding. These essays express the highest form of intellectual and political commitment, one that does not hesitate to speak the truth of our moment."—Saree Makdisi, University of California, Los Angeles

"The authors' in-depth local analyses, together with an awareness of cross-regional echoes and resonances of cultures of occupation, are inspiring. The reader is drawn immediately into the reality of a globalizing popular culture of life under occupation."—Alex Pillen, University College, London

In the twenty-first century, political conflict and militarization have come to constitute a global social condition rather than a political exception. Military occupation increasingly informs the politics of both democracies and dictatorships, capitalist and formerly socialist regimes, raising questions about its relationship to sovereignty and the nation-state form. Israel and India are two of the world's most powerful postwar democracies yet have long-standing military occupations. Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Turkey have passed through periods of military dictatorship, but democracy has yielded little for their ethnic minorities who have been incorporated into the electoral process. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh (like India, Pakistan, and Turkey) have felt the imprint of socialism; declarations of peace after long periods of conflict in these countries have not improved the conditions of their minority or indigenous peoples but rather have resulted in "violent peace" and remilitarization. Indeed, the existence of standing troops and ongoing state violence against peoples struggling for self-determination in these regions suggests the expanding and everyday nature of military occupation. Such everydayness raises larger issues about the dominant place of the military in society and the social values surrounding militarism.

Everyday Occupations examines militarization from the standpoints of both occupier and occupied. With attention to gender, poetics, satire, and popular culture, contributors who have lived and worked in occupied areas in the Middle East and South Asia explore what kinds of society are foreclosed or made possible by militarism. The outcome is a powerful contribution to the ethnography of political violence.

Contributors: Nosheen Ali, Kabita Chakma, Richard Falk, Sandya Hewamanne, Mohamad Junaid, Rhoda Kanaaneh, Hisyar Ozsoy, Cheran Rudhramoorthy, Serap Ruken Sengul, Kamala Visweswaran.

Kamala Visweswaran is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas-Austin, and author most recently of Un/common Cultures: Racism and the Rearticulation of Cultural Difference and Perspectives on Modern South Asia.

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