'Vital energy' is a central idea in the economies of Panama and Colombia. Known as 'strength' or 'force', and assembled from the environment, this current connects all activities in the local economies and establishes relationships, from kin to strangers. Humans compose vital energy, but its sources are limited, and it is expended in use. Its availability is a gift from God and part of the unpredictable fortune that faces everyone. This economy exhibits a contrast between a social current and a market currency. It offers a materialist perspective, provides a critique of standard economics, suggests that sharing rather than reciprocity or rational choice is the 'fundamental' economic practice, and shows how an economy may be a kind of ritual legitimated by a belief in divine power that is displayed through personal fortune.
The Current of Relations
Metabolism, Design, and the Making of an ‘African’ Aircrete
strength, buoyancy, thermal and acoustic insulation. Perhaps most intriguingly of all, its lack of aggregate makes it lightweight and environmentally friendly to produce and transport compared to concrete. I became interested in aircrete after a chance
Two Vepsian Villages and three Researchers
Laura Siragusa and Madis Arukask
and mutual understanding, rather than making the denial of past practices the strength of the academic world. Conclusion, or Space for Reflection In this article we brought together two villages (Päžar’ and Pondal), three researchers from different
Intimacy through the Ethnographic Lens
The multiplicity of meanings that have been attributed to intimacy are both a weakness and a strength: a weakness because of the indeterminacy with which the category is used; a strength because it allows us to explore the relationship between its various meanings, and through this exploration address theoretically important questions. While it is commonly conflated with sexuality, intimacy concerns a considerably broader range of aspects of human life, which only an ethnographically founded approach can help us understand. Because of its indexical qualities, intimacy cannot be understood devoid of the context that gives it meaning.
Stepan N. Katyginskii and John P. Ziker
Stepan Katyginskii’s manuscript “Dolgan National Games” (Tyalyn Narodnai Onnoolor) is presented here in translation from the Russian. Katyginskii’s material on games is a contribution to knowledge of the traditional means by which organized physical activity occurred in indigenous communities of the Russian Arctic. As an integral part of Dolgan traditional ecological knowledge, Katyginskii’s material includes games that develop skills of aim, endurance, and strength. The article also presents some ethnographic information on the social context of performance of traditional games.
New Knowledge, Methodologies, and Practical Implications—A Panel Commentary
Khalid Koser, Pnina Werbner, and Ien Ang
Khalid Koser: I will focus particularly on the notion of future research directions … from a refugee studies perspective. I think what today’s workshop has confirmed to me, yet again, is the strength of anthropology in this whole area of refugee studies. There is no doubt that anthropology is one of the leading disciplines in the study of refugees … Anthropology and law have got refugee studies wrapped up, while other disciplines have not really made enough of a contribution to this area.
Charismatic kinship and leadership across India and Venezuela
This article uses the analytical tool of divine kinship to explore political charisma across Indian and Venezuelan democratic social revolutions. In both contexts, charismatic elected political leaders build their image of strength and action on a wide repertoire of cultural and religious resources that are legitimated by divine kinship. The juxtaposition of the Indian and Venezuelan political ethnographies shows how charismatic kinship inflects lived understandings of popular sovereignty and opens up spaces for holding personality politics accountable.
“Taking the Waters” in Tunka Valley, Russia
This article examines the sacred mineral springs in Arshan, Buriatiia. These springs have been inscribed as sacred due to their medicinal properties and are marked as sacred through rituals and material offerings. Residents lament the loss of healing, and implicitly sacred, strength of Arshan. The author argues that the sense of loss is due to the medicalization of healing in Tsarist and Soviet times and from the commodification of this type of sacred site through bottling and tourism.
This article discusses indigenous methodology in the context of Tuvan studies. Tuvan studies have a rich history, with significant contributions by local Tuvan researchers as well as Russian and foreign scholars. This article presents an overview of this research before, during, and after the Soviet period. The paper examines possible strengths and weaknesses of both “insider” (indigenous) and “outsider” research, with the consideration that these opposing categories are not so easily delineated. Through case studies describing the work and insights of the renowned Tuvan researcher Valentina Suzukei and the cultural “thesaurus” approach of Lukov and Lukov (2008), the article assesses the potential of indigenous methodology in the field of Tuvan studies.
A Means to Socialize by Acquiring Invulnerability, Authority, and Spiritual Improvement
Jean-Marc de Grave
Kanuragan is a secret ritual initiation tied to local cosmological practices and cults used by the Javanese as a source of self-help on issues related to health, welfare, and protection. At basic levels, the practitioners of kanuragan use special entities called aji to gain strength and invulnerability. At the next level, the teaching of the master involves a specific mystical knowledge tied to the acquisition of spiritual authority. This article describes the process of transmission, the persons involved, and the role that kanuragan plays in Javanese society for security purposes and in warfare. The analysis shows how kanuragan competes with new secular and religious systems of value as well as with sorcery and new embodied practices such as sports competitions, to provide comparative insights on the formation of social categories.