By Simon Harrison
Many anthropological debts of war in indigenous societies have defined the taking of heads or different physique components as trophies. yet nearly not anything is understood of the superiority of trophy-taking of this kind within the military of up to date geographical regions. This booklet is a heritage of this sort of misconduct between army team of workers during the last centuries, exploring its shut connections with colonialism, medical accumulating and ideas of race, and the way it's a version for violent energy relationships among teams
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Additional info for Dark trophies : hunting and the enemy body in modern war
It is certain, however, that behaviour of this sort has occurred among a small minority of soldiers over the past century or two in European and North American armed forces, just as have other violations of wartime norms, despite the regulations forbidding them and the condemnation of the majority of service personnel (Bourke 1999; Bryant 1979: 298-303). I focus in this way on trophy-taking partly because this enables me to supplement soldiers’ accounts of such behaviour with other kinds of supporting evidence.
These co-racial enemies may certainly be fought and killed in battle, but after death it seems their bodies become inviolable. Expeditionary Trophy-taking and the Metaphor of the Hunt In this respect, military trophy-taking has a number of striking similarities with a pattern of trophy-taking described by anthropologists in some indigenous Amazonian, Southeast Asian and Melanesian societies. This pattern, which I will call expeditionary trophy-taking, has as its key feature a sharply defined distinction between close and distant enemies, in which people regard only their close enemies as fully human or akin in nature to themselves.
As we will see, it has significant commonalities in particular with what has come to be known as ‘dark tourism’ or thanatourism, involving journeys to sites of death (Lennon and Foley 2004; Sharpley and Stone 2009). As a personal mission to bring relics home to family and kin as symbols of achievement and success, a trophy-taking expedition often has the character of a rite of passage into manhood (see McKinley 1976). Raiding of this sort is also often equated with the hunting of animals, though metaphors of fishing or harvesting are sometimes employed as well, perhaps together with tropes of hunting (Davison and Sutlive 1991; Harner 1972: 186, 189; Hoskins 1996b: 23).