Whenever there is armed conflict, sexual violence and rape, often against women and girls, soon emerge as central concerns in the global public. This is an important topic, as rape is often used as “a weapon of war.” It is a dangerous concern, nevertheless. Opposing war parties commonly develop public relations strategies aimed at exploiting the global concern over sexual violence. Further, “rape as a weapon of war” may be a false assumption, for it may overshadow other atrocities inherent in nearly all armed conflicts and the focus may be on rape as a selective phenomenon separated from the political and economic context.
This post is also part of a series on migration and the refugee crisis moderated and edited by Prem Kumar Rajaram (Central European University).
I visited Lampedusa from 24 September to 5 October 2015 to commence fieldwork research for my new project, Human Dignity and Biophysical Violence: Migrant Deaths across the Mediterranean Sea. This photo essay documents some of the key encounters that I experienced during my visit.
I want to stress here that I originally had no intention of collecting images for a photo essay as part of this trip. I spontaneously took the photos on my mobile phone, and there is much room for improvement in terms of technical and compositional quality. Moreover, my compilation of these images into an essay is far from how I might have chosen if I had planned to produce a photo essay from the start. Despite its various limitations, I nevertheless hope that the essay is of value.
This post is part of the Modes of Production feature moderated and edited by Patrick Neveling and Joe Trapido.
From the sixteenth century onward, European trading networks grew ever more extensive. In some places, they displaced or directly subjugated the indigenous population early on. In others, merchants entered trading relationships with locals. In some parts of Asia, these traders interacted with forms of social organization that had affinities with Europe—dense populations with large merchant classes, and states that extracted tribute over large areas (Wolf 1997: 73–101). In other places, power and resources were distributed according to very different rules: in particular, wealth was more directly related to the person. This is not to say that these places lacked markets or currency; they often held large markets and had an amazing diversity of objects for mediating transactions, but these objects are better seen as an element of, or adjunct to, the value of the person. I am calling such societies human modes of production.1