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Aane Wala Hai

Waiting for the Arrival of the State

Syantani Chatterjee


The Bharatiya Janata Party won the 2014 parliamentary elections in India, popularising the slogan ‘Achhe din aane wale hai’ (‘Good days are coming’). Even as the good days remained elusive, in 2019, the party won the popular vote again, with an additional promise of culling out putative ‘infiltrators’ from India by announcing ‘NRC aane wala hai’ (‘NRC is coming’). Drawing on ethnographic research carried out between 2016 and 2019 in a largely Muslim working-class neighbourhood next to one of Asia's largest garbage dumps in Mumbai, this article attempts to grasp the force of the state through its affective deferral by examining this aane wala hai form of governance – the forever-deferred, the always-arriving, the ready-to-strike – that is predicated upon weaponising deferral into a tactic of governance.

Open access

Accountabilities in the NHS

Coercion, Finance and Responsibility

Piyush Pushkar


This article is based on ethnographic fieldwork carried out with managers, politicians and political activists in the English public healthcare system. Rather than a dominance of financial accountability, I found a mish-mash of accountabilities, in which the duty to ‘balance the books’ was a key driver but one that relied on other forms of coercion. Campaigners mobilised the concept of political accountability against cuts and privatisation. While bureaucrats were often sympathetic to activists’ point of view, they felt constrained by ‘the reality’ of limited funds. Their conceptualisations of what was possible were enclosed. Debate regarding those limits was foreclosed. I sketch these limits on bureaucrats’ ethical imagination, theorising them as ideological closure. But at times, managers did imagine alternative possibilities. Mostly, they kept quiet regarding alternatives due to a fear of losing their jobs. Thus, corporate accountability – to one's employer – enforced service retrenchment in the name of financial accountability.

Open access

Nikita Simpson

Michiel Baas. Muscular India: Masculinity, mobility & the new middle class. New Delhi: Context, 2020.

Alice Tilche. Adivasi art and activism: Curation in a nationalist age. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2022.

Sanderien Verstappen. New lives in Anand: Building a Muslim hub in Western India. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2022.

Open access


Thoughts on Governance, Punctuation and Authoritarian Populism

Maria José de Abreu


Inspired by key concerns of this collective project, this afterword article highlights two main aspects in the discussion of governance through suspension. The first aspect is how geographically widespread the rhetoric of ‘indeterminacy’ (as the fuel of the temporal medium of suspension) has become, soliciting analyses of differentiation across cultures and time. The second aspect relates to the politics of punctuated time in light of changes happening in our current culture of temporality. These two aspects integrate my interest in rethinking the classic concept of the (sovereign) decision conceived as separation from towards that of incision as cut through, particularly in light of rising expressions of authoritarian populism, globally, across regimes.

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.

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As Knowers and Narrators

A Case Study of African Girlhood

Sharon Adetutu Omotoso and Ejemen Ogbebor


Expanded feminist narratives on the girl child have paid little attention to how young girls have become agents of their own change and sharers of their own knowledge. In this study, we spotlight girls’ agency reinforced by institutions that transform them from recipient to agents of change and resilience. In this qualitative study, we deploy critical analysis and reflective argumentation to underscore how Women's Research and Documentation Center (WORDOC) of the Institute of African Studies University of Ibadan provided Do-It-Yourself (DIY) tactics to girls aged 10 to 18 between 2018 and 2019 at its annual WORDOC Girls’ Summit. We explore a version of African girlhood aimed at presenting institutional impacts that offer platforms for girls’ self-empowerment and girl-agency in Nigeria.

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Daniel Nethery and Elisabeth C. Macknight

Megan Brown, The Seventh Member State: Algeria, France, and the European Community. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2022. Bibliography and index. 369 pp. $39.95 (hb) ISBN 978067425114.

Peter Mulholland, Love's Betrayal: The Decline of Catholicism and Rise of New Religions in Ireland. Oxford and Bern: Peter Lang, 2019. Bibliography and index. 362 pp. $90.95 (hb) ISBN 9781787071278.

Open access

Rebecca Carlson and Erol Saglam

Adriana Petryna, Horizon Work: At the Edges of Knowledge in an Age of Runaway Climate Change, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, pp. 224, 2022

Sertaç Sehlikoglu, Working Out Desire: Women, Sport, and Self-Making in Istanbul, Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, pp. 339, 2021

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Cameroon's Schools

Sites of Sexual, Physical, and Psychological Violence Against Girls

Linda Silim Moundene


In this article, the data for which I acquired through a systematic review of articles published over three years, focusing on analyzing the evolution of the situation over these past years, I discuss school-based gender violence in Cameroon. Considering the complexity of Cameroonian society and its responses to violence against girls and women, we need to establish that violence can be addressed, and we have to suggest how this can be done. From one region to another, a girl being denied access to education, being trafficked, or being forced into early marriage constitutes an experience of violence. Even though the government has been fighting these ills for the past twenty years the results show that girls are still highly vulnerable in the education system.

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Chasing Shadows

The Uses of Photography in the Work of Second-Generation Visual Artists in the UK

Monica Bohm-Duchen


Drawing on the influential concept of postmemory first mooted by Marianne Hirsch, and on the links between photography and mortality first explored by Susan Sontag and Roland Barthes, this article analyses the work of ten largely UK-based visual artists who, as members of the so-called second generation (namely, the descendants of Holocaust survivors and refugees), make use of the photographic medium to engage creatively and conceptually – and often in a conspicuously gendered way – with the legacy of their families’ traumatic histories. Some of the artists (Halter, Tucker) base their handcrafted imagery directly on pre-war family photographs; others (Winckler, Brunstein, Petzal, Gorney, Kerr, Davidmann) incorporate actual photographs, past and present, into mixed media artworks, frequently manipulating and even doing violence to them. Others again (Garbasz) use photographs taken in the present to reach out to an inaccessible past, while yet others (Markiewicz) employ a more abstract and allusive approach to the medium.