After reviewing the strengths and limitations of Transnational Studies, including its methodological nationalism, this article calls for the field to develop a theory of power. A transnational theory of power allows us to set aside binaries such as internal/external, global/local, or structure/agency, when analyzing historical and contemporary social processes and conflicts. Previous and current scholarship on imperialism can contribute to this project by facilitating the examination of the role of finance capitalists and of states of unequal financial and military power. However, Transnational Studies also must assess the contestatory possibilities of transnational social movements. The articles in this special section contribute to the development of Transnational Studies by examining past and present transnational constructions of locality, identity, authenticity, and voice, within social fields of uneven power. The articles also illuminate the types of transnational practices, conflict, and struggle that emerge. v
What can Transnational Studies offer the analysis of localized conflict and protest?
Nina Glick Schiller
Limits and Options for Epistemological Orientations
This article identifies what Sir Edmund Leach once called 'amongitis' as one of socio-cultural anthropology's major problems that make interdisciplinary dialogues on evidence-based epistemological topics difficult. Topics of wider and larger scale, however, can and should be addressed if anthropology brings out more fully its implicit epistemological strength of a dialogical relationship between objectivism and subjectivism. The current conditions of a globalizing world actually transform this possibility into a necessity. In order to face this need, a new realism is proposed that is capable of dealing with the conditions and challenges of a second modernity. Two ranges of epistemological sources are suggested that may inform such a new realism. One range is based in the traditions of Western philosophy, while the other is rooted outside the secularized or theological legacies of monotheism.
The Sibirica Editorial Team
This second issue of volume 7 marks the completion of three volumes of Sibirica under the current editorship and with our publisher, Berghahn Books. We have been working to improve the content and delivery of the journal, organizing several issues around special themes, often as the result of interdisciplinary conferences related to the region. Our partnership with Berghahn has been great from the start and is only gaining strength. They have been expanding the electronic infrastructure for web access to subscribers, and Sibirica is accessible through Ingenta via links on Berghahn’s own website. We are in the process of digitizing all the back issues of Sibirica, all the way to its first incarnation as photocopied typescripts in the 1980s. This will give subscribers and others easy access to important scholarly material on Siberian studies.
Convergent or divergent approaches and understandings of poverty? An introduction
John R. Campbell and Jeremy Holland
Is it possible or indeed desirable to combine qualitative, participatory and quantitative research methods and approaches to better understand poverty? This special section of Focaal seeks to explore a number of contentious, inter-related issues that arise from multimethod research that is driven by growing international policy concerns to reduce global poverty. We seek to initiate an interdisciplinary dialog about the limits of methodological integration by examining existing research practice to better understand the strengths and limitations of combining methods which derive from different epistemological premises. We ask how methods might be combined to better address issues of causality, and whether the concept of triangulation offers a possible way forward. In examining existing research we find little in the way of shared understanding about poverty and, due to the dominance of econometrics and its insistence on using household surveys, very little middle ground where other disciplines might collaborate to rethink key conceptual and methodological issues.
Stories as Spirit Traces among the Khmu of Northern Laos
A general conundrum for the Khmu of northern Laos is the persistent unknowability of spirits. The locals gauge the potency of spirits by keeping track of spirit stories. Spirit narratives can be conceived of as transient traces of intangible spirit phenomena, as will be exemplified by the story of a young man’s spirit affliction. Sharing and silencing spirit stories are a means of determining the strength of spirits, as well as an efficacious way to evoke them. Using works that embark from the fragmentary and experiential character of animist cosmologies, it will be shown that approaching spirit stories as traces of spirits will be a suitable way to address the perspectives of those who navigate a world that is not inhabited by humans alone.
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.
On the Usefulness of Boundary Re-work
executive committee (see D. O. Martínez 2016 ) rather mirrors their strength in the last decades, inspiring other schools instead of suppressing them. Still, the negotiation of disciplinary designations and histories is open and the exercise of creating
American Archaeological Misbehaviour in Late Ottoman Iraq (1899–1905)
via the actions of the vali or of Osman Hamdi Bey and Haider Bey? That they could intervene demonstrates the relative strength of the Ottoman state, particularly as it could project power into its periphery and against Americans. Additionally, as I
Critical Reflections on Daniel M. Goldstein’s Outlawed
Benjamin O. L. Bowles
Goldstein, D. M. (2012), Outlawed: Between Security and Rights in a Bolivian City (Durham: Duke University Press), 344 pp., 9 photographs, 1 map, ISBN: 978-0-8223-5311-9 (paperback).
Daniel M. Goldstein’s Outlawed: Between Security and Rights in a Bolivian City (2012) is a thickly described and richly detailed ethnography of uncertainty in the barrios of Cochabamba, Bolivia. It holds important insights for legal anthropology, particularly where the sub-discipline intersects with the anthropology of the state and the anthropology of human rights. The ethnographic detail is exemplary, with the work here having serious implications for anthropological theory and opening up several avenues for further investigation. That it opens new debates more than it offers cohesive answers – as is, admittedly, possibly fitting for the ‘uncertain anthropology’ that Goldstein advocates – both is the prime strength of the work and can be offered as a gentle critique. I consider this to be because of the ambitious breadth of the work to the extent that directions that were implied were ultimately left somewhat unexplored. This review article is an attempt to consider the prime contributions of Outlawed and to tentatively map some of these implied connections.
The New Zealand Firefighters' Struggle against Restructuring, Downsizing, and Privatizing
Loader concludes his analysis of the trend in Britain and elsewhere toward private security systems by suggesting that “the value of other more deliberative ways of addressing the crime question and structuring the relationship between the police and the ‘publics’ they serve; ways that seek to subject ‘consumer’ demands for particular kinds of policing and security to the test of public discourse oriented to the common good, and so temper with democratic reason the passions that consumer culture threatens to unleash” (1999: 389). The privatization of public services and the undermining of professionalism have taken hold in many countries on the advice of international monetary agencies. In New Zealand, a provincial reading of new right philosophy within the close-knit circle of the New Zealand Business Roundtable generated a power lobby group that served as a conduit for free market libertarian ideas. This article traces the response to these trends as a measure of the strength of civil society and public life in Auckland City, with a specific focus on the resistance by the New Zealand firefighters to restructuring and downsizing the fire service.