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Files Circulation and the Forms of Legal Experts

Agency and Personhood in the Argentine Supreme Court

Leticia Barrera

A common assumption in Western legal cultures is that judicial law-making is materialised in practices that resemble the operation of a professional bureaucracy, practices that are also central to the construction of knowledge in other systems, such as accounting, audit, science, and even ethnography (Dauber 1995; Strathern 2000; Riles 2000, 2004, 2006; Maurer 2002; Yngvesson and Coutin 2006). This argument situates the judiciary as a formalistic organization that builds its ambition of universality on the procurement and dissemination of knowledge on a rational basis. Drawing on ethnographic research in the Argentine Supreme Court, this paper seeks to unpack this assumption through a detailed look at how the figures of legal bureaucrats, in particular law clerks, become visible through the documentary practices they perform within the judicial apparatus. As these practices unfold, they render visible these subjects in different forms, though not always accessible to outsiders. Persons are displayed through a bureaucratic circuit of files that simultaneously furthers and denies human agency while reinforcing the division of labour within the institution. This dynamic, I argue, can be understood in light of Marilyn Strathern’s (1988) insights about the forms of objectification and personification that operate in two “ethnographically conceived” social domains (Pottage 2001:113): a Euro-American commodity-driven economy, and Melanesia’s economy based on gift-exchange.

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Judith Bovensiepen

fascination with the diverse range of phenomena (mainly in Melanesia) labeled falsely or not as “cargo cults” had already peaked and waned. After an initial proliferation of writing on the subject in the 1950s and 1960s (and resurgences in the 1970s and 1980s

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The Worth of the ‘While’

Time and Taxes in a Finnish Timebank

Matti Eräsaari

–42) has argued that in Melanesia hierarchy can be realized in terms of the dominant value of equality: a ‘big-man’ status is achieved by having more equal-exchange partners than others, by being quantitatively more equal than others. Similarly, Helsinki

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Rane Willerslev

‘ethnographic orthodoxy’ through its concern for uncovering the radical alterity of others ( Willerslev 2013c: 42 ). This radical alterity is supposed to be found primarily in small-scale communities in Amazonia ( Viveiros de Castro 1992 ), Melanesia ( Scott

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Introduction

Toward a Comparative Anthropology of Muslim and Christian Lived Religion

Daan Beekers

. Schieffelin , and Aparecida Vilaça . 2014 . “ Evangelical Conversion and the Transformation of the Self in Amazonia and Melanesia: Christianity and the Revival of Anthropological Comparison .” Comparative Studies in Society and History 56 ( 3 ): 559

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Introduction

Marxian anthropology resurgent

Patrick Neveling and Luisa Steur

and failures of 1917, with Mauss’s privileged upbringing under the wings of his anti-revolutionary, republican uncle Émile Durkheim and his Eurocentric armchair anthropology comparison of Roman and Sanskrit law with contemporary societies in Melanesia

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Introduction

Hierarchy, Value, and the Value of Hierarchy

Naomi Haynes and Jason Hickel

Smedal 2009a . Robbins , Joel . 1994 . “ Equality as a Value: Ideology in Dumont, Melanesia, and the West .” Social Analysis 36 : 21 – 70 . Robbins , Joel . 2004 . Becoming Sinners: Christianity and Moral Torment in a Papua New Guinea Society

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Introduction

Capacity Building in Ethnographic Comparison

Rachel Douglas-Jones and Justin Shaffner

in RAMSI-Era Solomon Islands’. SSGM Discussion Paper 2013/3. Canberra, ACT : ANU Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program . Mentore , L. n.d. ‘Capacity Building Workshops in Indigenous

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What Is Analysis?

Between Theory, Ethnography, and Method

Martin Holbraad, Sarah Green, Alberto Corsín Jiménez, Veena Das, Nurit Bird-David, Eduardo Kohn, Ghassan Hage, Laura Bear, Hannah Knox, and Bruce Kapferer

and Problems with Society in Melanesia . Berkeley : University of California Press . Viveiros de Castro , Eduardo . 1998 . “ Cosmological Deixis and Amerindian Perspectivism .” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 4 ( 3 ): 469 – 488

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Introduction

Overcoming the Quantity-Quality Divide in Economic Anthropology

Sandy Ross, Mario Schmidt, and Ville Koskinen

application of hysteresis. References Akin , David , and Joel Robbins , eds. 1999 . Money and Modernity: State and Local Currencies in Melanesia . Pittsburgh, PA : University of Pittsburgh Press . Almeida , Mauro . 1990 . “ Symmetry and Entropy