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Affective relatedness, temporalities, and the politics of care in a medical South-South partnership

The Cuban mission in Brazil

Maria Lidola


For more than 50 years, Cuba has been one of the most important players in the field of international medical care in the Global South. Between 2013 and 2018, Cuba sent nearly 18,000 Cuban health professionals to Brazil within the framework of the More Doctors Program to assist during the Brazilian public health care system's state of emergency. This article focuses on local encounters and emergent socialities between Cuban physicians and Brazilian patients and medical staff. Their sensitive moments of interaction—with their embodied, emplaced, and political dimensions of past and present—hold the possibility of a fragile intersubjectivity that creates its own temporal and affective dynamics, undermining, for a moment, the prevalent care regimes.

Open access

After the boom

Petro-politics and the fate of revolution in Venezuela

Aaron Kappeler

Matthew Wilde, A blessing and a curse: Oil, politics, and morality in Venezuela. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2023.

Mariya Ivancheva, The alternative university: Lessons from Bolivarian Venezuela. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2023.

Open access

Along the twilights of care

Continuities of technomoral politics in São Paulo's pro-migrant activism

Heike Drotbohm


This article explores central dimensions of different forms of asymmetric care that fall between the competences of overlapping civil society organizations. Based on anthropological fieldwork conducted in São Paulo, Brazil, the article follows migrants arriving and integrating across different nodes of reception, including church-based NGOs, humanitarian organizations, and activist housing projects. Overlaps between these different forms of reception, care, and control do not arise only when migrants refer to different organizational structures. Instead, numerous formal and organizational similarities complicate a clear separation of these domains of asymmetric care. By concentrating on incidents when the encounters between migrant activists and Brazilian activists are disturbed, this article traces the mutual irritation of differently positioned actors, who calibrate their moral claims and produce new understandings of “worthiness.”

Open access

The “awkwardnesses” of aid and exchange

Food cooperative practices in austerity Britain

Celia Plender


Self-help and mutual aid have been at the heart of the consumer cooperative movement and its response to food insecurity since its inception. Yet how these terms are conceptualized and practiced in contemporary food co-ops often has more to do with their individual histories, ideologies, and the values of those involved than it does the history of the cooperative movement. Drawing on ethnographic examples from two London-based food co-ops with different backgrounds, this article explores how each enacts ideals of aid and exchange. It argues that the context of austerity creates “awkwardnesses” between and within personal values and organizational structures in the face of inequality, leading to blurred boundaries between different models of aid and exchange and the forms of moral accounting that these entail.

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Belonging in the “Big Picture”

(In)authentic Recognition of Wounded Veterans in Denmark

Eva G. Krause, Jan Christensen, and Mette N. Svendsen

What makes recognition of veterans “authentic,” and how does authentic recognition shape and establish “war veteranship” among wounded veterans? Through ethnographic fieldwork and interviews, this article explores how Danish wounded veterans experience and evaluate official recognition ceremonies. We demonstrate that recognition ceremonies alone do not establish effective recognition. Rather, for recognition to be perceived as authentic, it must be mutual, grounded in the moral originality of the recognizers, and manifested in words as well as actions. Authentic recognition, we argue, establishes a reciprocal relationship between wounded veterans and the state, which positions veterans as valuable contributors to society. Conversely, the absence of authentic recognition generates experiences of misrecognition and invisibility, leading in some cases to wounded veterans feeling “like immigrants” in their own country.

Open access

Book Reviews

Jan De Wolf, Guillermo Salas Carreño, Thibault De Meyer, Kirsten Bell, Giulia De Togni, Étienne Bourel, Annemiek Prins, Davina Kaur Patel, and Nandagopal R. Menon

Goldman, Mara J. 2020. Narrating Nature. Wildlife Conservation and Maasai Ways of Knowing. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press. 304 pp. Ebook: US$60.00. ISBN-13: 978-0-8165-4194-2.

Winchell, Mareike. 2022. After Servitude: Elusive Property and the Ethics of Kinship in Bolivia. Oakland, CA: University of California Press. 352 pp. Pb.: US$29.95. ISBN: 9780520386440.

Barua, Maan. 2023. Lively Cities. Reconfiguring Urban Ecology. Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota University Press. 382 pp. Pb.: US$30.00. ISBN: 978-1-5179-1256-7.

Stafford, Charles. 2020. Economic Life in the Real World: Logic, Emotion and Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 196 pp. Pb. £22.99. ISBN: 978-1-108-71655-0.

Świtek, Beata. 2021. Reluctant Intimacies: Japanese Eldercare in Indonesian Hands. New York: Berghahn. 242 pp. Pb.: US$34.95. ISBN: 978-1-80073-016-8.

Bubandt, Nils, Astrid Oberborbeck Andersen and Rachel Cypher (eds.). 2022. Rubber Boots Methods for the Anthropocene. Doing Fieldwork in Multispecies Worlds. 432 pp. Pb.: US$34.95. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN: 978-1-5179-1165-2.

Dewan, Camelia. 2021. Misreading the Bengal Delta: Climate Change, Development, and Livelihoods in Coastal Bangladesh. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 224 pp. Pb.: US$32.00. ISBN: 978-0-295-74961-7.

Adams, Vincanne. 2023. Glyphosate & the Swirl: An Agroindustrial Chemical on the Move. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 184 pp. Pb.: US$24.95. ISBN: 978-1-4780-1675-5.

Kravel-Tovi, Michal. 2017. When the State Winks: The Performance of Jewish Conversion in Israel. New York: Columbia University Press. 320 pp. Hb.: US$75.00. ISBN: 9780231183246.

Open access

Care as political revolution?

Miriam Ticktin


This afterword discusses the three articles in the theme section “Affective regimes of care beyond humanitarian crisis,” suggesting that they offer us important ethnographies that each pry open and reevaluate the nature of care, including its political potential. Building on how these alternative forms shift the meaning and practice of care, but focusing on the one structuring hierarchy of humanitarianism left intact—racism—I end by briefly discussing the more radical politics of care being articulated by The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) to show how politics and care are being combined to create revolutionary political platforms.

Open access

Chasing Rotten Ice

A Vitalist Ethos in Scientific Encounters with Sea Ice ‘Itself’

Julianne Yip


Changing sea ice due to anthropogenic climate change demands scientists to revisit their taken-for-granted concepts of sea ice. The ‘rotten ice project’ was one such effort by scientists at the University of Washington's Polar Science Center, which sought to develop novel methods to characterise sea ice as a physical-biological-chemical unit. Rotten ice, however, evaded scientists’ efforts to capture it. Using these ‘escapes’ from scientists’ preconceptions during my fieldwork with the team from 2014 to 2016, I draw on interpretations of Georges Canguilhem's understanding of the relationship between life and knowledge to make sense of what rotten ice demanded. Following Canguilhem's suggestions, I argue that vitalism as an ethos treats concepts as tools for scientists to relate to their environment, challenging them to to remain receptive to the difference that error, experimentation and encounters made to their concepts—and thereby stay open to more-than-human worlds like those found in sea ice.


Les modifications que la glace de mer connaît sous l'influence du changement climatique ont incité les scientifiques à revisiter leurs conceptions acquises sur cette glace de mer. Le « projet pourrissement » est l'un de ces efforts mis en œuvre par les scientifiques du Center de Science Polaire de Washington University. Il cherche à développer de nouvelles méthodes pour caractériser la glace de mer comme unité physique-biologique. La glace pourrissante, néanmoins, est jusqu’à présent parvenue à résister et à échapper aux efforts des scientifiques pour la capturer. En utilisant ces « échappées » des préconceptions des scientifiques durant mon terrain avec l’équipe entre 2014 et 2016, j'ai élaboré mon argument à partir d'une interprétation de la compréhension que Georges Canguilhem a esquissée des relations entre la vie et le savoir ; ceci afin de faire sens de ce que cette glace pourrissante demandait. Comme suggéré par Canguilhem, le vitalisme comme ethos plutôt que comme métaphysique de la matière traite les concepts comme un outil à l'aide duquel les humains peuvent se relier à leurs environnements. Un ethos vitaliste défie les scientifiques de développer des sensibilités aux contingences du savoir scientifique et de rester réceptifs et ouverts aux différences que l'erreur, l'expérimentation et les rencontres font à leurs concepts. Un ethos vitaliste suggère en effet une approche plus intéressée à ceux des concepts qui ne sont pas réduits par les sachants humains ou leurs idéalismes et demeurent ouverte à la découverte des mondes au-delà de l'humain.

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Class, values, and revolutions in the Russia-Ukraine war

A response to Chris Hann

Volodymyr Ishchenko

Chris Hann's essay serves as a valuable intervention against the tendency to normalize primordial ethnonationalism following the full-scale Russian invasion. It is not immune to the common pitfalls and omissions in the writings of many authors whose point of criticism is aimed primarily at the role of Western elites in the conflict within and around Ukraine. But surely, Hann's core argument contains essential truths. Many social scientists have contributed to the construction of a theoretically shallow, methodologically nationalist, and culturally essentializing narrative. It is a telling fact that someone engaging the discussion has to begin with some basic facts of Ukrainian national identity formation, such as its diversity, or has to remind that the interests of the Western ruling classes in the war do not necessarily coincide with the interests of the Ukrainian subaltern classes, or that those are also likely to diverge from the interests and ideologies of their own comprador middle classes calling themselves “civil society.”

Open access

Disappointment and awkwardness as ugly feelings

Humanitarian affect in a “Global East”

Čarna Brković


 What does transnational humanitarianism look like when considered from the perspective of a “Global East”? Ethnographically studying the disappointment and awkwardness generated by two transnational humanitarian projects illuminates a sense of suspended agency among Montenegrin citizens that was developed after the end of the Cold War. Montenegrins are often simultaneously included in the racialized and class-based humanitarian discourses of the Global North and excluded from actual participation in transnational humanitarian projects due to structural constraints. The article suggests that suspended agency emerges when there is both a sense of belonging to a certain humanitarian endeavor that should enable particular kinds of action (e.g., transnational humanitarianism) and a lack of infrastructure capable of sustaining such a sense.