Iron in the soul

Peter Loïzos. 2008. Iron in the soul. Displacement, livelihood and health in Cyprus
London and New York: Berghahn Books. (224 pages) ISBN 978-1-84545-484-5

In his vivid, lively account of how Greek Cypriot villagers coped with a thirty-year displacement, Peter Loïzos follows a group of people whom he encountered as prosperous farmers in 1968, yet found as disoriented refugees when revisiting in 1975. By providing a forty year in-depth perspective unusual in the social sciences, this study yields unconventional insights into the deeper meanings of displacement. It focuses on reconstruction of livelihoods, conservation of family, community, social capital, health (both physical and mental), religious and political perceptions. The author argues for a closer collaboration between anthropology and the life sciences, particularly medicine and social epidemiology, but suggests that qualitative life-history data have an important role to play in the understanding of how people cope with collective stress. Peter Loïzos, Professor Emeritus in Anthropology, London School of Economics, was born in London, studied at Cambridge, Harvard and L.S.E., where he taught Social Anthropology for thirty-three years.

Violence and Belonging

Are Knudsen. 2009 Violence and Belonging: Land, love and lethal conflict in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan
Copenhagen: NIAS . Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (Monograph series no. No. 115) 224 p.

This important study by research director Are Knudsen, examines the meanings of lethal conflict in a little studied tribal society in Pakistan’s unruly North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and offers a new perspective on its causes. Based on an in-depth study of local conflicts, the book challenges stereotyped images of a region and people miscast as extremist and militant. Being grounded in local ethnography enables the book to shed light on the complexities of violence, not only at the structural or systemic level, but also as experienced by the men involved in lethal conflict. In this way, the book provides a subjective and experiential approach to violence that is applicable beyond the field locality and relevant for advancing the study of violence in the Middle East and South Asia. The book is the first ethnographic study of this region since renowned anthropologist Fredrik Barth’s pioneering study in 1954.

“We should make the best possible use of this analysis: for its daring perspectives, extreme empirical findings, and wide relevance. It deserves a very careful reading for its contributions to so many aspects of our understanding of honour, politics and human society.”

Fredrik Barth, Professor emeritus, Boston University and University of Oslo

“The material itself is extremely interesting, dealing as it does with an exotic locale, and with an intractable problem of endemic violence. … Dr. Knudsen draws this conflictual situation very well, and adds a great deal to the present-day study of violence, putting what is often seen as primordial in the context of modern conditions.”

Professor Charles Lindholm, Boston University