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An Anthropology of Disappearance: Politics, Intimacies and Alternative Ways of Knowing

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Volume 46

EASA Series

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An Anthropology of Disappearance

Politics, Intimacies and Alternative Ways of Knowing

Edited by Laura Huttunen and Gerhild Perl

Afterword by Antonius C. G. M. Robben

298 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-80539-072-5 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (September 2023)

eISBN 978-1-80539-364-1 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“This volume is of an excellent standard. The range of case studies chosen highlight the many forms that disappearances can take, and how the particular circumstances of the missing impact on those left behind …Ethnographic content and participant/informant interviews are used very effectively and sensitively.” • Layla Renshaw, Kingston University.

“The book can be taken as a compendium of political, moral, emotional, legal and other classifications of disappearances and of the rationalizations under which searches for the disappeared take place …The collection presents various important, discomforting, alternative political discourses and practices of knowledge.” • Maja Petrović-Šteger, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts


All over the world, people disappear from their families, communities and the state’s bureaucratic gaze, as victims of oppressive regimes or while migrating along clandestine routes. This volume brings together scholars who engage ethnographically with such disappearances in various cultural, social and political contexts. It takes an anthropological perspective on questions about human life and death, absence and presence, rituals and mourning, liminality and structures, citizenship and personhood as well as agency and power. The chapters explore the political dimension of disappearances and address methodological, epistemological and ethical challenges of researching disappearances and the disappeared. The combination of disappearance through political violence, crime, voluntary disappearance and migration make this book a unique combination.

Laura Huttunen is Professor of Social Anthropology at the Tampere University, Finland. In 2013-14 she ran a project that focused on the question of missing and disappeared persons in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In 2018-2022 she led a research project with a focus on disappearances in migratory contexts.

Gerhild Perl is Assistant Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Trier, Germany. Her work has been published in journals such as the Journal of Social and Cultural Anthropology and the Journal of Intercultural Studies. Her doctoral dissertation on death during migration across the Spanish-Moroccan Sea was awarded the Maria Ioannis Baganha Award and the Dissertation Prize of the German Anthropological Association.

Subject: Political and Economic AnthropologyRefugee and Migration StudiesMemory Studies


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