Introduction

Minor Traditions, Shizen Equivocations, and Sophisticated Conjunctions

in Social Analysis
View More View Less
  • 1 University of Copenhagen cbruunjensen@gmail.com
  • 2 Osaka University morita@hus.osaka-u.ac.jp
Restricted access

Abstract

This introduction examines the interrelations between the possible existence of multiple nature-cultures and the indisputable existence of distinct anthropological traditions. After offering some preliminary remarks on the problems with nature-culture, the article offers as an example the complex translations required for the Western idea of nature to gain foothold in Japanese anthropology. Patched together from Western and Chinese notions, Japanese ‘nature’ remains equivocal to this day. This equivocation, however, has also been generative of minor anthropological traditions. As this suggests, the advance of different concepts into new territories holds the potential for shaping ‘sophisticated conjunctions’ in which traditions are mutually modified, allowing new forms of nature and culture emerge.

Contributor Notes

Casper Bruun Jensen is Project Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, Osaka University. He is the author of Ontologies for Developing Things: Making Health Care Futures Through Technology (2010) and Monitoring Movements in Development Aid: Recursive Partnerships and Infrastructures (2013, with Brit Ross Winthereik). He is also the editor of Deleuzian Intersections: Science, Technology, Anthropology (2009, with Kjetil Rödje) and Infrastructures and Social Complexity: A Companion (2016, with Penny Harvey and Atsuro Morita).

Atsuro Morita is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Osaka University. He has done ethnographic research on technology development in Thailand, focusing on how ideas, artifacts, and people travel in and out of Thailand. Together with Casper Bruun Jensen, he currently convenes the Japanese team of the Delta’s Dealing with Uncertainty project. He is the author of Engineering in the Wild (Sekaishiso-sha, in Japanese) and editor of Infrastructures and Social Complexity: A Companion (2016, with Penny Harvey and Casper Bruun Jensen).

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology

  • Amino, Yoshihiko. 2012. Rethinking Japanese History. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

  • Aruga Kizaemon. 1939. Daikazoku Seido to Nago Seido: Nambu Ninohe-gun Ishigamimura ni okeru [The institutions of large household and ‘Nago’ in Ishigami Village in Nambu Ninohe District]. Tokyo: Attic Museum.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Aruga Kizaemon. 2000. “Aruga Kizaemon Saigo no Kowa” [The last lecture by Aruga Kizaemon]. In Aruga Kizaemon Kenkyu [Aruga Kizaemon studies], ed. Ryukichi Kitagawa, 384. Tokyo: Toshindo.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Barth, Fredrik, Andre Gingrich, Robert Parkin, and Sydel Silverman. 2005. One Discipline, Four Ways: British, German, French, and American Anthropology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bateson, Gregory. 1972. Steps to an Ecology of Mind. New York: Ballentine Books.

  • Bird-David, Nurit. 1999. “‘Animism’ Revisited: Personhood, Environment, and Relational Epistemology.” Current Anthropology 40 (S1): S67S91.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Clammer, John. 2001. Japan and Its Others: Globalization, Difference and the Critique of Modernity. Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press.

  • Clifford, James. 1992. “Traveling Cultures.” In Cultural Studies, ed. Lawrence Gross-berg, Cary Nelson, and Paula Treichler, 96117. New York: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. 1986. Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature. Trans. Dana Polan. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ferguson, James. 1997. “Anthropology and Its Evil Twin: ‘Development’ in the Constitution of a Discipline.” In International Development and the Social Sciences: Essays on the History and Politics of Knowledge, ed. Frederick Cooper and Randall M. Packard, 150175. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hamashita, Takeshi. 2008. China, East Asia and the Global Economy: Regional and Historical Perspectives. Ed. Linda Grove and Mark Selden. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Haraway, Donna. 2006. “Encounters with Companion Species: Entangling Dogs, Baboons, Philosophers, and Biologists.” Configurations 14 (1–2): 97114.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Holbraad, Martin, Morten Axel Pedersen, and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro. 2014. “The Politics of Ontology: Anthropological Positions.” Cultural Anthropology, 13 January. https://culanth.org/fieldsights/462-the-politics-of-ontology-anthropological-positions (accessed 6 March 2017).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ivy, Marilyn. 1995. Discourses of the Vanishing: Modernity, Phantasm, Japan. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • Jensen, Casper Bruun. 2012. “Anthropology as a Following Science: Humanity and Sociality in Continuous Variation.” NatureCulture 1 (1): 124.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jensen, Casper Bruun, and Anders Blok. 2013. “Techno-animism in Japan: Shinto Cosmograms, Actor-Network Theory, and the Enabling Powers of Non-human Agencies.” Theory, Culture & Society 30 (2): 84115.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jensen, Casper Bruun, and Atsuro Morita. 2012. “Anthropology as Critique of Reality: A Japanese Turn.” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 2 (2): 358370.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jensen, Casper Bruun, and Brit Ross Winthereik. 2013. Monitoring Movements in Development Aid: Recursive Partnerships and Infrastructures. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jullien, François. 1995. The Propensity of Things: Toward a History of Efficacy in China. Trans. Janet Lloyd. New York: Zone Books.

  • Kasuga, Naoki, and Casper Bruun Jensen. 2012. “An Interview with Naoki Kasuga.” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 2 (2): 389397.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Knorr Cetina, Karin. 1999. Epistemic Cultures: How the Sciences Make Knowledge. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  • Kuper, Adam. 1996. Anthropology and Anthropologists: The Modern British School. 3rd ed. London: Routledge.

  • Latour, Bruno. 1993. We Have Never Been Modern. Trans. Catherine Porter. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  • Latour, Bruno. 2004. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy. Trans. Catherine Porter. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Maruyama Masao. 1974. Studies in the Intellectual History of Tokugawa Japan. Trans. Mikiso Hane. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Maurer, Bill. 2005. Mutual Life, Limited: Islamic Banking, Alternative Currencies, Lateral Reason. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Merchant, Carolyn. 1983. The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco.

  • Mohácsi, Gergely, and Atsuro Morita. 2013. “Traveling Comparisons: Ethnographic Reflections on Science and Technology.” East Asian Science, Technology and Society 7 (2): 175183.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mol, Annemarie. 2002. The Body Multiple: Ontology in Medical Practice. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • Morita, Atsuro. 2013. “Traveling Engineers, Machines, and Comparisons: Intersecting Imaginations and Journeys in the Thai Local Engineering Industry.” East Asian Science, Technology and Society 7 (2): 221241.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nowotny, Helga, Peter Scott, and Michael Gibbons. 2001. Re-Thinking Science: Knowledge and the Public in an Age of Uncertainty. Cambridge: Polity Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ortner, Sherry B. 1972. “Is Female to Male as Nature Is to Culture?Feminist Studies 1 (2): 531.

  • Pickering, Andrew. 1995. The Mangle of Practice: Time, Agency, and Science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • Pickering, Andrew, and Keith Guzik, eds. 2008. The Mangle in Practice: Science, Society and Becoming. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ribeiro, Gustavo Lins, and Arturo Escobar, eds. 2006. World Anthropologies: Disciplinary Transformations within Systems of Power. New York: Berg.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Saegusa Hiroto. 1968. “Shizen.” In Sekai Dai Hyakkajiten [Great encyclopedia], vol. 10, ed. Tatsuo Hayashi, 229231. Tokyo: Heibonsha.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sakai, Naoki. 1997. Translation and Subjectivity: On “Japan” and Cultural Nationalism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

  • Satsuka, Shiho. 2015. Nature in Translation: Japanese Tourism Encounters the Canadian Rockies. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • Serres, Michel, with Bruno Latour. 1995. Conversations on Science, Culture, and Time. Trans. Roxanne Lapidus. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Smith, Barbara H. 2012. “Terms of Engagement: The Humanities vis-à-vis the Sciences.” Keynote talk for the conference “Science and Method in the Humanities,” Rutgers University, 2 March.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Snow, C. P. 1959. The Two Cultures. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Strathern, Marilyn. 1980. “No Nature, No Culture: The Hagen Case.” In Nature, Culture and Gender, Ed. Carol P. MacCormack and Marilyn Strathern, 174222. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Strathern, Marilyn. 1992. After Nature: English Kinship in the Late Twentieth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Strathern, Marilyn. 2004. “Laudable Aims and Problematic Consequences, or: The ‘Flow’ of Knowledge Is Not Neutral.” Economy and Society 33 (4): 550561.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Thomas, Julia A. 2001. Reconfiguring Modernity: Concepts of Nature in Japanese Political Ideology. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tsing, Anna L. 2005. Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  • Umesao Tadao. (1957) 2003. An Ecological View of History: Japanese Civilization in the World Context. Trans. Beth Cary. Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo. 1998. “Cosmological Deixis and Amerindian Perspectivism.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 4 (3): 469488.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo. 2004. “Perspectival Anthropology and the Method of Controlled Equivocation.” Tipití 2 (1): 322.

  • Wagner, Roy. 1981. The Invention of Culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • Yanabu Akira. 1977. Hon-yaku no Shiso [Thought of translation]. Tokyo: Heibonsha.

  • Yanagita Kunio. (1930) 1993. Meiji Taisho-shi: Seso-hen [The social history of the Meiji and Taisho era]. Tokyo: Kodansha.

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 48 48 11
Full Text Views 35 35 2
PDF Downloads 12 12 0