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Open access

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.

Open access

“Deception begins with trade . . .”

Vladimir Arsen’ev’s Economic Expertise and Challenges of Rationalizing Imperial Diversity in the Taiga

Aleksandr Turbin

The article explores Vladimir Arsen’ev’s rationalization of the economic activities that he observed during expeditions in the Russian Far East, predominantly in the Ussuri region. It analyzes his categorization of the local population, which was derived from nonmatching taxonomies and included concepts such as nationality, religion, race, and subjecthood. Disentangling this categorization helps to outline the main contexts that influenced Arsen’ev, such as postwar political and military concerns, challenges of settler colonialism, and nationalizing empire. The article shows how Arsen’ev’s intertwined life experiences as a military officer and geographer, colonization official, ethnographer, and resource-conscious naturalist outlined the limits of his imagination and provided the ground for his intellectual innovations.

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

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

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

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

Work after precarity

Anthropologies of labor and wageless life

Rebecca Prentice

outside of workplaces. Campbell draws on the autonomous Marxist or “workerist” tradition to analyze the transformative effects of workers’ collective struggles. In the absence of trade unions, workers in Mae Sot's garment factories engaged in wildcat

Open access

Ståle Knudsen, Ingrid Birce Müftüoğlu, and Isabelle Hugøy

(Laos). Its owner, the Norwegian state, provided only indirect guidance. Governments in Norway have been very concerned that the state manages its ownership “professionally.” Therefore, the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Fisheries, which “owns” the