In this article, skilled vision is presented as a capacity acquired in a community of practice that enables specific ways of knowing and acting in the world. The analysis of skilled vision is obtained through the ethnographic study of the artefacts and the routines that structure certain ecologies of practice. The example chosen is that of the skilled gaze of animal breeders, in particular of the children of dairy cow breeders who, by playing with relevant toys and emulating the adult world of cattle fairs and exhibitions, learn how to value certain criteria of animal beauty and to "discipline" their vision accordingly.
Disciplining Vision in Animal Biotechnology
Food Activism in Italy as an Anthropology of Direct Democracy
This article presents qualitative and quantitative findings on provisioning activism in Italy, focusing on Solidarity Purchase Groups (Gruppi di Acquisto Solidale, GAS). By using quantitative data about GAS growth, numerical consistence and economic impact and through ethnographic insights based on prolonged fieldwork, it identifies the GAS movement as an ecological, economic and political counterculture. I discuss the implications for policy efforts at the regional and state level, highlighting both potentials and shortcomings of promoting GAS as means to sustainable development. In particular, I identify the issues of trust, informality and direct democracy as distinctive of GAS practice. However, this positions solidarity economy vis-à-vis policymaking in a potentially oppositional rather than interlocutory stance.
Skilled vision. An apprenticeship in breeding aesthetics1
Cristina Grasseni and Thorsten Gieser
In this special section, we conceptualise ‘Skilled mediations’ to examine the following questions from several ethnographic perspectives: How do skills and media interact, enable and limit our engagement in our material and social environments? How can this be studied ethnographically? We take our previous works on ‘skilled visions’ and ‘enskilment’ as starting points to define skilled mediation as a mode of engagement with the senses, practice, skill and media.