Soldiering under Occupation by Erella Grassiani

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

A new book by Erella Grassiani saw its launch at the Bi-Annual PACSA event in Copenhagen on August 29th 2013.

Often, violent behavior or harassment from a soldier is dismissed by the military as unacceptable acts by individuals termed, “rotten apples.” In this study, the author argues that this dismissal is unsatisfactory and that there is an urgent need to look at the (mis)behavior of soldiers from a structural point of view. When soldiers serve as an occupational force, they find themselves in a particular situation influenced by structural circumstances that heavily influence their behavior and moral decision-making. This study focuses on young Israeli men and their experiences as combat soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), particularly those who served in the “Occupied Palestinian Territories” (OPT) during the “Al Aqsa Intifada,” which broke out in 2000. In describing the soldiers’ circumstances, especially focusing on space, the study shows how processes of numbing on different levels influence the (moral) behavior of these soldiers.

Erella Grassiani is currently Lecturer in the Sociology and Anthropology Department at the University of Amsterdam. Her work focuses on military and security issues in Israel.


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The Cultural Dimension of Peace: Decentralization and Reconciliation in Indonesia, by Birgit Bräuchler

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

The Cultural Dimension of Peace outlines an emerging cultural turn in peace studies. Taking an anthropological view of decentralization and peace processes in Indonesia as its central focus, it provides an informed understanding of the cultural dimension of reconciliation that is essential for the reintegration of societies that have undergone mass violence and long-lasting conflict. Bräuchler’s study warns of one-sided instrumentalization or harmonization theories, and promotes a critical stance towards the use of ‘culture’, ‘tradition’ and ‘the local’ in peacebuilding. Her focus is on intra-state violence between groups defined by ethnicity, religion or other sub-national (or transnational) collective identities. Based on multi-sited and multi-temporal ethnographic fieldwork, this book develops an approach that opens up spaces and sets a new standard for peace and conflict studies and the anthropology of peace.




1. The Emerging Cultural Turn in Peace Research

2. Decentralization, Revitalization and Reconciliation in Indonesia

3. Conflict and Peacebuilding in Maluku

4. Reconciliation and the Revival of Tradition

5. The Reinvention of Traditional Leadership

6. Indigenous People, Migrants and Refugees: A Clash of Individual and Cultural Human Rights

7. Concluding Reflections: Toward a New Anthropology of Peace

Interested? Order the book at Palgrave

About the author

Dr. habil. Birgit Bräuchler is Senior Lecturer of Anthropology at the School of Social Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne. Her research interests lie in peace and conflict studies; media and cyber anthropology; cultural rights; and Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia. She is the author and editor of several books and has published widely in peer-reviewed journals.


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Special issue Etnofoor State/Violence

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

This special issue was edited by Erella Grassiani and Eyal Ben-Ari.

It features papers by Carolien Jacobs and Christy Schuetze, Martijn Dekker, Anna-Karina Hermkens and Jaap Timmer, Gavin Weston and Maria Vivod.

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Violence Expressed: An Anthropological Approach

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

Maria Six-Hohenbalken, Nerina Weiss

Violence Expressed explores the diverse expressions and manifestations through which the meaning of violent experiences and events are (re)produced. As our language is insufficient in describing violence, this book focuses not only on the verbal and discursive expressions of violence, but also on the performative acts, material culture and the spaces that constitute these expressions. Such an approach promises to be a more adequate way of registering and understanding the comprehensive manifestations and long-lasting effects of violence. A focus on expressions of violence is also a way of exploring violence both as an extreme subjective experience, and the ultimate truth, thus overcoming a common epistemological antagonism in researching violence.

Bringing together the latest empirical studies of the expression of violence, this book offers different analytical approaches and methodological perspectives, whilst contributing to the ongoing discussion on anthropological writing. As such, Violence Expressed will be of interest to anthropologists and sociologists working on violence, gender, collective representations and memory.


‘Violence Expressed brings together cutting edge work on violence from an impressive array of anthropologists. This wonderful book builds on existing anthropological literature by offering new methodologies for the study of violence and cutting a path for theoretical approaches that push beyond silence to understanding.’ Victoria Sanford, Lehman College, City University of New York, USA

Brilliant: a truly global tour de force on the complex life of violence – the “wars of the 4th generation” – by the field’s leading anthropologists. Compelling, comprehensive, illuminating. In exploring the deep ways violence is expressed, sensed, and lived, these authors offer the best of contemporary anthropological ethnography and theory.’ Carolyn Nordstrom, University of Berkeley, USA

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