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Trading Futures

Sadaqah, social enterprise, and the polytemporalities of development gifts

Tom Widger and Filippo Osella

In this article, we explore what happens when idea(l)s of Islamic charity (sadaqah) and social enterprise converge within a low-cost public health clinic in Colombo, Sri Lanka. For both the clinic’s wealthy sponsors and the urban poor who use it, interpreting the intervention as a pious expression of care toward the poor or as a for-profit humanitarian venture meant extending different futures to the poor. The ambiguous temporalities of gifts and commodities anticipated by benefactors and beneficiaries involved in this challenges anthropological assumptions concerning the marketizing effects of neoliberal development interventions. Our ethnography revealed a hesitancy among the clinic’s sponsors, managers, and users to endow the intervention with a final interpretation, undermining its stated goal of promoting health care privatization and “responsibilization” of the poor.

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Places of Otherness

Comparing Eastleigh, Nairobi, and Xiaobei, Guangzhou, as Sites of South-South Migration

Neil Carrier and Gordon Mathews

is perceived and treated by host countries. As trade hubs they also reveal how much mobility of people within the Global South depends on the flow of trade goods, principally those of what has been termed “low-end globalisation” ( Mathews 2018

Open access

Natural Resources and their Units

Necessary Measures of Resourcefulness in a Norwegian Fruit Landscape

Frida Hastrup

-scale fruit trade survive in a landscape that may not immediately come to mind as having huge horticultural potential. What I want to show is that the ‘necessary measures’ for making fruit cultivation in the area thrive depend on the shifting units through

Open access

Life in the ant trails

Cocaine and caustic circuits in Bissau

Henrik Vigh

This article looks ethnographically at the cocaine trade in and through Bissau, Guinea-Bissau. It clarifies some of the less obvious aspects of illegal cross-border trade and ties the minor flow of drugs, often trafficked by the desperate and disenfranchised, to larger global dynamics. While international media and commentators alike frequently depict transnational organized crime as a pathogen attacking the healthy global order, a closer look at the Bissau cocaine trade clarifies that the trade is neither external nor parasitical but integral to it. The trade’s grasp of Bissau is anchored in enduring critical circumstance, stretching from the social to the political, and displays several ironic feedback loops and interdependencies linking misfortune in time and space. The article thus shows how negative conditions may travel and circulate in a manner that ramifies vulnerability across economic and political borders.

Open access

Eugene N. Anderson, Jodie Asselin, Jessica diCarlo, Ritwick Ghosh, Michelle Hak Hepburn, Allison Koch, and Lindsay Vogt

: Struggles Over Farming in an Age of Free Trade . Seattle: University of Washington Press. 272 pp. ISBN 978-0-295-74311-0. Guntra Aistara's Organic Sovereignties: Struggles Over Farming in an Age of Free Trade is a comparative study of organic agriculture

Open access

Manly Merchants

Commerce, Mobility and Masculinity among Afghan Traders in Eurasia

Magnus Marsden

This article explores intersections between masculinity, mobility, generation and commerce through the everyday lives of Afghan men who make up trading networks that are active across Eurasia. It is based on ethnographic fieldwork among Afghan traders in Ukraine’s port city of Odessa and in the international trading city of Yiwu in China. Building on recent work in anthropology concerning the ‘emergent’ nature of Middle Eastern masculinities, the article brings attention to the flexible and adaptable nature of the notions of masculinity held and performed by mobile Afghan traders. It emphasises the need for such conceptions of masculinity to be treated historically and draws attention to the forms of caregiving that are especially important to the traders’ intimate lives and self-understandings. The article also highlights the significance of complex notions of trust both to the traders’ articulation of conceptions of manliness and to their everyday modes of securing a livelihood.

Open access

Social Movements and Social Policies

Political Challenges under Austerity in the UK

Gregory White

The economic crisis of 2007/2008 presented a challenge to the welfare state in the UK, and, more widely, across Europe. It also presented a challenge to many citizens, who were on the receiving end of the austerity agenda, and subsequent tightening of welfare spending. If nothing else, the financial crisis demonstrated the hegemony of economic theories prominent in neoliberal capitalism. As many academics and commentators have identified, however, the current period of instability is indicative of a systemic crisis. In addition to this analysis, the crisis also exposed the intricate and opaque links between western governments and the financial sector. During and after the crisis an eruption of activity in civil society galvanized many that had been directly affected by either the crisis itself—through loss of employment—or by the subsequent austerity measures imposed. This article aims to examine the current crisis affecting the welfare state in the UK, and social policy more broadly, and, begins to suggest how social movements are seeking to challenge the dominant discourses surrounding austerity politics. The article suggests some reasons as to why traditional forms of resistance and organization—such as the mobilizations of the trade union movement—have largely been unsuccessful in challenging such narratives. The article concludes by considering the shift from trade unionism in the UK to post-crisis social movements, and where an anti-austerity movement more broadly might develop further in pursuit of defending the principles of social welfare, and, ultimately, the welfare state.

Open access

Doing global investments the Nordic way

The “business case” for Equinor's support to union work among its employees in Tanzania

Siri Lange

where the majority of the employees are organized, Industri Energi, is very close, and the Union branch at Equinor Norway has a more influential role than what is commonly found in MNCs. In contrast to most other countries, trade unions in Norway have

Open access

The Worth of the ‘While’

Time and Taxes in a Finnish Timebank

Matti Eräsaari

Helsinki Timebank, the mutual exchange network discussed in this article. The Timebank is an unregistered network of citizens who trade services and assistance with each other using their own currency, the ‘while’. This arrangement encourages Helsinki

Open access

The Territorialization of Vietnam's Northern Upland Frontier

Migrant Motivations and Misgivings from World War II until Today

Sarah Turner, Thi-Thanh-Hien Pham, and Ngô Thúy Hạnh

). Within the Southeast Asian Massif, frontier regions incorporating southeast China, northern Burma, Laos, northern Thailand, and central and northern Vietnam have been active trade sites for centuries ( Michaud 2016 ; Sturgeon 2007 ), while recent cash