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Open access

Always Something Missing

Giving without Intention among Sino-Taiwanese Protestants and Others

Gareth Breen


What does it take to experience grace? I argue that for followers of the Chinese Christian reformers Watchman Nee and Witness Lee, in China, Taiwan, and the United States, grace is experienced as an intended gift with a missing motivating intention. For a group in which God's intentions are rigorously mapped out, experiencing God's grace is thus no simple feat. In particular, I show how the experience of grace occurs in moments of apparent wrongdoing when reward is least comprehensible. As this wrongdoing becomes institutionalised as an ideal mode of grace, however, it paradoxically becomes less grace-ful in practice. Therefore, grace here is an inherently transgressive, destabilising, contradictory phenomenon. Extrapolating beyond Nee and Lee's followers, I suggest that at a time of gratitudinous secularism, of givenness without a Giver, blessedness without a Blesser, grace is more abundant than ever. But that with this grace comes gratitude, an emotion often resistant to social change.

Open access

The anthropology of infrastructure

The boom and the bubble?

Natalia Buier

This article engages with the constitution of the anthropology of infrastructure as an autonomous subdiscipline. Rather than laboring in the service of demarcating a new field of study, anthropologists, I argue, should strive for a critical deconstruction of the contemporary infrastructural moment. In the first part of the article, I engage with the arguments in favor of infrastructure as an analytical lens by focusing on their treatment of relationality and materiality. I pinpoint the limitations of these approaches and argue that their epistemological and theoretical assumptions blunt the critical potential of anthropological studies of infrastructure. The second part of the article looks at theoretical alliances that favor connecting the anthropological study of infrastructure with a critical analysis of the production of nature and the built environment.

Open access

Away from Demonstrations

South African Poor People's Movements and the ‘Regime of the Near’

Jérôme Tournadre


Drawing on fieldwork carried out among different South African poor people's movements, this article explores what is played out on the fringes of this type of mobilization. Away from the noise of demonstrations, we can observe the particularities of a commitment that links together the cause being defended, the immediate socio-spatial environment of the activists, and their everyday worlds—a commitment that is rooted in the ‘regime of the near’. The space of activism thus coincides with the spaces in which the daily lives of these women and men unfold. I argue that this approach helps us better understand how mobilization spreads and how it can be sustained. It also makes it possible to measure more precisely that on which the legitimacy claimed by the movement and its visibility are based, as well as the persistence of commitment.

Open access

Mary Hums

Nicole Brown (2021) Lived Experiences of Ableism in Academia: Strategies for Inclusion in Higher Education Bristol: Policy Press, 352 pp., ISBN: 978-1447354116

Open access

The Charism of the Christian Left

Dissidence as Habit in a Time of Bi-polar Theopolitics

Neena Mahadev


Through ethnography of recent peaceful dissent by Catholic and Protestant activists, life histories, and a reading of a postcolonial archive of contextually grounded liberation theology, I explore the theopolitics of grace that fuels the habits and habitus of Sri Lanka's ecumenical left. Pluralistic and indigenised forms of Christianity emerged in the era of decolonisation and nationalisation and were emboldened by Vatican II. Distinguishing ecumenical Christian pluralism from evangelical Christian expansion in the region, this article historicises Cold War religiosity, drawing out ‘bi-polar’ contrasts of politically left and right forms of Christian grace. In doing so, I situate religious pluralism within the convulsive era of class and ethnic-based insurrections in Sri Lanka. Analysing the ‘catholicity’, civic nationalism, and post-nationalist self-conceptions held by Sri Lanka's Christian left, I argue that the ‘something extra’ of grace can be fruitfully understood as the cultural accretions and theo-political formations that accrue through localised emplacements of global Christianity.

Open access

Dissenting poses

Marginal youth, viral aesthetics, and affective politics in neoliberal Morocco

Cristiana Strava


In the spring of 2014, an unprecedented wave of police raids swept over every lower-class (sha‘abi) neighborhood across Morocco. Dubbed “Operation Tcharmil,” the raids targeted young, lower-class men that matched viral online images in which track-suit-wearing teens boastfully displayed status objects and white weapons. Drawing on the theoretical apparatus of the “affective turn,” in this article I unpack the structural and historical factors that shaped both popular reactions and policing actions toward the sudden, online visibility of a politically and economically disenfranchised group. I situate this episode within current debates about the entanglement of neoliberal disciplinary regimes and the reproduction of particular social orders, and argue that attention to such outbursts can help us revitalize and rethink existing notions of class.

Open access

Chris Hann

More than 50 years after the writing of the papers assembled as Stone Age Economics, the author's voice has been silenced. That immense contribution has been the subject of numerous reassessments. The volume contains all his important work in economic anthropology. Each chapter is teeming with ideas, and even seasoned teachers in this field will usually discover something new each time they revisit it. Looking at it again this year, I was astonished to realize that I used to use this book for teaching first-year undergraduates. Even for the brightest young sparks in Cambridge, to require the completion within a week of an essay evaluating Marcel Mauss's The Gift (Mauss 2015 [1925]) in the light of the fourth chapter of Stone Age Economics (Sahlins 2004 [1972]) was asking rather a lot.

Open access

Andrew Sanchez

This special issue of the Cambridge Journal of Anthropology entitled ‘Always Something Extra’: Ethnographies of Grace is guest edited by Michael Edwards and Méadhbh McIvor.

Open access

Penny Welch and Susan Wright

This issue of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences includes work by authors from Austria, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Brazil and Sweden. The five articles cover a diverse range of topics: the third mission of universities, doctoral supervision, internationalisation of higher education, neoliberal think tanks in higher education, and an innovation in the teaching of political thought.

Open access

Katie Higgins and Sarah Kunz

Rosita Armytage. 2020. Big capital in an unequal world: The micropolitics of wealth in Pakistan. London: Berghahn Books.

Ashley Mears. 2020. Very important people: Status and beauty in the global party circuit. New York: Princeton University Press.