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Fieldwork at sunset

Visual representations of anthropology online

Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins and Hannah Gould

Most institutional anthropology departments have a website, to tout credentials, attract students, and offer information. These websites also take up the visual task of disciplinary representation, but their images have skipped the scrutiny that is necessary and overdue. This article analyzes online images of sociocultural anthropology across one hundred high-ranking universities worldwide. We show how, online, a discipline defined by diversity becomes readily reducible to “exotic” geographies and objectified “others.” While the urban serves as an unattractive foil, frequent images of children recall charity campaigns. Such visual tropes—which comprise a significant, public interface for anthropology—are not just awkwardly dated but also do disservice to ambitions for public anthropology. Change, we suggest, must begin at (the) home(page).

Open access

Financialization from the margins

Notes on the incorporation of Argentina's subproletariat into consumer credit (2009–2015)

Hadrien Saiag

This article investigates how the Argentine subproletariat perceives the recent consumer credit boom, based on several field visits carried out in one of Argentina’s industrial hubs between 2007 and 2016. It analyzes the credit boom in relation to the wider social transformations induced by the leftist Peronist governments during 2003–2015 (especially the incorporation of informal workers into the social protection system). It argues the rise of consumer credit is perceived by those who use it with ambivalence. While it has allowed the subproletariat to access a form of consumption that was previously restricted to upper classes, it also exposes this population to a new form of exploitation based on the discrepancy between the (monthly based) time of finance and the (erratic) time of work.

Open access

Julienne Weegels

Drawing on extensive prisons research and sustained contact with (former) prisoners in Nicaragua, this article explores three former prisoners’ post-release trajectories. In the face of a hybrid state that manifests as both a legal penal state and an extralegal system of powers, colloquially referred to as el Sistema (the System), and to the backdrop of a (d)evolving political context, I argue for an understanding of the ‘tightness’ of post-release life by conceptualizing the Sistema’s transcarceral grip. Former prisoners deal with this grip in different ways, ranging from self-censorship to the taking of ‘delinquent freedoms’. A detailed understanding of this grip can help pinpoint how carceral logics are mobilized outside prison in Nicaragua and how its carceral state expands through not only legal but also extralegal means.

Open access

From behind stall doors

Farming the Eastern German countryside in the animal welfare era

Amy Leigh Field

Animal husbandry, a major part of the contemporary German economy, is the subject of politically and morally charged discourses about the effects of the industry on the nation’s landscape and its role in economic globalization. German politicians and activists oft en discuss industrialized animal husbandry practices as abusive and polluting. This article analyzes how these debates are imbricated in forms of concern about nonhuman animals that tend to be differentiated geographically by urban-rural boundaries. I argue the privileging of animals as moral entities causes interpersonal friction between those who rely on animals for a living and those who do not, and expresses fundamental tensions about the rural landscape as a space of industrialized agricultural production, as opposed to a space dedicated to the conservation of the natural environment.

Free access

Fredy B.L. Tobing and Asra Virgianita

English abstract: This article analyzes the causes of low trade relations between Indonesia and Latin American states, arguing that dynamics of international political economy have opened opportunities to increase trade relations between those countries. Having good diplomatic and political relations with similar emerging economies, like Peru and Chile, should drive closer economic relations among them. A qualitative study was conducted using literature reviews, archival analysis, and in-depth interviews. Political will and lack of knowledge pertaining to the business character of each country hamper external relations. Thus, a functional multi-track diplomacy that incorporates state and non-state actors from various fields is crucial for enhancing economic relations among these countries. Trade relations can be particularly strengthened by maximizing cooperation among actors at various levels.

Spanish abstract: Este artículo analiza las débiles relaciones comerciales entre Indonesia y América Latina, argumentando que la dinámica de la economía política abre oportunidades para mejorar estas relaciones. Las buenas relaciones diplomáticas y políticas entre Perú y Chile, debería estrechar sus relaciones económicas. Pero la escasa voluntad política y falta de conocimiento del carácter empresarial de cada país, obstaculizan sus relaciones externas. La investigación incluyó revisión de literatura, análisis de archivos y entrevistas en profundidad. Los resultados subrayan la necesidad de una diplomacia funcional de múltiples rutas que incorpore instituciones estatales y no estatales de diversos campos para mejorar las relaciones económicas. Las relaciones comerciales particularmente pueden fortalecerse entre países maximizando su recíproca cooperación en cada nivel (diplomacia multinivel).

French abstract: Cet article analyse les causes de la faiblesse des relations commerciales entre l’Indonésie et les pays d’Amérique latine en faisant valoir que la dynamique de l’économie politique internationale a ouvert des opportunités pour stimuler les relations commerciales entre ces pays. Cette étude qualitative a été menée sur la base d’une étude de la littérature existante, d’analyses archivistiques et d’entretiens approfondis. Le manque de volonté politique et surtout de connaissances réciproques des atouts commerciaux de ces pays entravent leurs relations extérieures. Ainsi, une diplomatie fonctionnelle à plusieurs voies qui intègre des diplomaties étatiques et non-étatiques dans divers domaines est-elle cruciale pour améliorer leurs relations économiques. Les relations commerciales peuvent notamment être renforcées en maximisant la coopération entre ces pays à chaque niveau (diplomatie multi-niveaux).

Open access

Getting by or getting ahead

State social spending and financialization in Peru

Susan Vincent

Peru’s economy is booming because of natural resource extraction, without providing formal employment. Instead, increased state revenues fund social spending. This case study shows how cash transfers are integrated into intergenerational reciprocities that are essential to social reproduction in ways that promote financialization: their inadequacy may necessitate loans which the regular disbursements can repay. Recipients hoping to get by tend to have few kin obligations and use state aid to sustain themselves, while those hoping to get ahead use them to leverage investment in productive enterprises for themselves or their families. For people from Allpachico, for whom male migrant work in the regional mining sector was the economic mainstay three decades ago, this constitutes a new relationship to the state, mining, and the economy.

Open access

"Going vertical" in times of insecurity

Constructing proximity and distance through a Kenyan gated high-rise

Zoë Goodman

The global proliferation of elite high-rise apartments is often read as evidence of social failure, of increasing socioeconomic disparity and fragmentation. The Jaffery Complex, a vertiginous gated high-rise being constructed in the Kenyan port of Mombasa, seems to embody Corbusian ideologies of social transformation based on an explicit distancing from the streets below, insulating its incoming residents from the frequently fused threats of terror, poverty, and crime. However, ethnographic attention to the multistory mosque located within the complex challenges readings of elite stacked housing solutions as “vertical cocoons,” and reveals the tension between proximity and distance that this urban redevelopment strives to construct.

Open access

Governing Religious Multiplicity

The Ambivalence of Christian-Muslim Public Presences in Post-colonial Tanzania

Hansjörg Dilger

In post-colonial Tanzania, efforts to govern the relations between Christianity and Islam—the country’s largest religions—have been impacted by the growing potential for conflict between and among diverse strands of the two faiths from the mid-1990s onward. They have also been shaped by the highly unequal relations between various Christian and Muslim actors and the Tanzanian government in the context of globalization. This article describes how the governance of religious multiplicity in Tanzania has affected the domains of transnational development, the registration of new religious bodies, and the regulation of religious instruction in schools. It argues that a comprehensive understanding of ‘lived religion’ needs to focus on the way in which religious multiplicities are molded as socio-cultural realities through a wide range of governing interventions.

Open access

High-rise social failures

Regulating technologies, authority, and aesthetics in the resettlement of Taipei military villages

Elisa Tamburo

This article focuses on the “social failure” of the relocation of the residents from informal historical settlements—military dependents’ villages (juancun)—to high-rise blocks in Taiwan. How does the relocation impact the community and restructure social relationships? I argue social failure is the product of new regulative regimes deriving from the new governance of the high-rise, rather than of the built form of the complexes in itself. New home technologies such as intercoms, elevators, and electronic keys contribute to arguments over safety and convenience, while new regulations, implemented by new forms of authority, including condominium meetings and building administrators, foster the disappearance of household informal economies. Finally, the high-rise dictates new aesthetic norms, which prevent established practices and routines, while promoting what I call aesthetic of assimilation.

Full access

"Hot-for-Teacher"

Statutory Rape or Postfeminism in Pretty Little Liars?

Shara Crookston

In this article I explore the highly problematic but wildly acclaimed romantic relationship between Aria Montgomery, a high school junior, and her English teacher Ezra Fitz in the television series Pretty Little Liars. This partnership normalizes gendered power imbalances often common to heterosexual partnerships, yet fervent fans have supported the duo enthusiastically, dubbing the couple #Ezria in blogs and social media. As we know, much research shows that along with unintended pregnancy, young girls who are victims of child sexual abuse by adult males suffer from depression. These outcomes are not shown in Pretty Little Liars: the series ends with Aria marrying her teacher in an example of a happily-ever- after ending, thereby reinforcing postfeminist ideas that Aria’s self-efficacy has never been compromised. I argue that in the era of #Metoo, the exploration of power in heterosexual romantic relationships on television shows aimed at adolescent girl audiences is a site for critical analysis.