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Didier Fassin: Permanent State of Emergency, 3 March 2016

... The state of emergency​ that François Hollande declared on 14 November, the day after 130 people were killed and more than 300 wounded by the attackers in Paris, is still in force. It’s worth noting how exceptional this situation is. Neither José María Aznar after the 2004 Madrid bombings that killed 191 people and injured 1800 nor Tony Blair after the 2005 London bombings in which 52 people were killed and 700 injured invoked any such measures ...

Macron’s War

Didier Fassin, 4 July 2019

... avoid using excessive force against the protesters, to be replaced by Bordeaux’s police chief, Didier Lallement, known for his inflexibility and ruthlessness. Macron’s populist tendencies are not immediately obvious. On the face of it his incessant denunciations of Orbán, Salvini and Le Pen suggest an anti-populist stance – though he has been careful ...

Sure looks a lot like conservatism

Didier Fassin: Macronisme, 5 July 2018

Revolution Française: Emmanuel Macron and the Quest to Reinvent a Nation 
by Sophie Pedder.
Bloomsbury, 297 pp., £25, June 2018, 978 1 4729 4860 1
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... During​ his presidential campaign last year, Emmanuel Macron’s insistence that he was ‘neither left nor right’ was seen as the defining feature of his attempt to transcend old-fashioned politics. Jürgen Habermas declared that Macron ‘has dared to cross a red line untouched since 1789’ and ‘has broken apart the entrenched configuration of the two political camps of right and left ...

Saartjie Baartman’s Ghost

Hilary Mantel: The New Apartheid, 20 September 2007

When Bodies Remember: Experiences and Politics of Aids in South Africa 
by Didier Fassin, translated by Amy Jacobs and Gabrielle Varro.
California, 365 pp., £12.95, April 2007, 978 0 520 25027 7
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The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West and the Fight against Aids 
by Helen Epstein.
Viking, 326 pp., £16.99, July 2007, 978 0 670 91356 5
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... of the virus, contracted from a man who tells lies. And now, the need to plan one’s funeral. Didier Fassin, who recorded Puleng’s words, is a Paris-based sociologist, anthropologist and doctor of medicine, with extensive fieldwork experience in South Africa. Many writers have referred to the ‘mystery’ of Aids in Africa; the chief puzzle is why ...

We Are All Victims Now

Thomas Laqueur: Trauma, 8 July 2010

The Empire of Trauma: An Inquiry into the Condition of Victimhood 
by Didier Fassin and Richard Rechtman, translated by Rachel Gomme.
Princeton, 305 pp., £44.95, July 2009, 978 0 691 13752 0
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... How trauma made its initial move from exteriority to interiority doesn’t much concern Didier Fassin and Richard Rechtman. Their book is an essay on the ‘historical construction and the political uses of trauma’ and a report on anthropological fieldwork aimed at ‘denaturalising’ it and ‘repoliticising victims’. Working in a ...

The Swaddling Thesis

Thomas Meaney: Margaret Mead, 6 March 2014

Return from the Natives: How Margaret Mead Won the Second World War and Lost the Cold War 
by Peter Mandler.
Yale, 366 pp., £30, March 2013, 978 0 300 18785 4
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... James Ferguson on development organisations; Karen Ho on Wall Street investment banks; Didier Fassin on NGOs; Noah Coburn and Anila Daulatzai on the aftermath of humanitarian interventions. The second lesson from Mead is that she was willing to take on the world as it was. She recognised that modernisation was inevitably a global ...

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