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On Conflict, Social Invisibility, and Negative Potentiality

Henrik Vigh

This article analyzes the relationship between conflict, social invisibility, and negative potentiality. Taking its empirical point of departure in fieldwork conducted in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, it illuminates the manner in which people orient themselves toward precarious prospects and potentialities. Little attention has been paid to the orientational effects generated by long-term conflict—that is, the way that violence, as an underlying possibility, an imagined oncoming event, influences social life. Moving from the empirical to the theoretical, and from the specific to the general, the article compares two areas of conflict and orientation toward negative potentiality before moving on to a more general discussion of invisibility and potentiality in social life and theory.

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Out of Conclusion

On Recurrence and Open-Endedness in Life and Analysis

Anne Line Dalsgaard and Martin Demant Frederiksen

Based on long-term fieldwork in Northeast Brazil and the Republic of Georgia, this article explores how open-endedness can be incorporated into ethnographic analysis and writing, not as the empirical object, but as a basic condition for knowledge production. In the empirical contexts that we describe, daily life is marked by poor prospects and the absence of possibility, especially for young people. Rather than letting this guide our analyses, this article argues for the necessity of paying attention to the openness and potential of experienced moments of change. We propose that even relapses into former habits and predicaments present the potential for change on a subjective level. In the process of putting informants' stories into words and analysis, we revisit both field and text, constituting a hopeful practice similar to that of our informants.

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Sicilian Futures in the Making

Living Species and the Latency of Biological and Environmental Threats

Mara Benadusi

Discourses and practices of anticipation occupy a hypertrophic space in contexts where uncontrolled industrial growth has inflicted grave damage on peoples and territories, even triggering environmental disasters. This article explores the use of nonhuman species as anticipatory devices in a petrochemical terminal in Sicily, focusing on public representations of three species: scavenger bacteria that play a cleansing role and underline citizens’ moral responsibility to secure their best possible futures through bioscience; migrating flamingos that breed under the petrochemical chimneys, raising the possibility of hopefulness by highlighting ecosystem resilience; and fish affected by spina bifida, which reveal human health status in advance, communicating the need to live in preparation for potential diseases. The analysis reveals the highly contentious character of these anticipatory devices and the contested ideas about possible futures they imply, thus shedding light on the ecological frictions that have repercussions locally and globally, in discourse and social practice.

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Howard Cooper

There are many approaches to reading the Hebrew Bible, from the pietistic in both Jewish and Christian traditions to the scholarly. Gabriel Josipovici’s approach is not about seeking the reductive ‘meaning’ of a text, but encouraging readers into an open relationship with the text in order to preserve the ambiguities and mysteries that adhere to such texts. Joseph’s encounter with an unnamed stranger in Genesis 37 is used as an illustration of this approach. Standing ‘face to face’ with the text requires humility, and trust in the storyteller.

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The Brothel Phone Number

Infrastructures of Transnational Pimping in Eastern Romania

Trine Mygind Korsby

embodied certitude about how to move oneself successfully in this landscape by maximizing uncertainty in others ( Korsby 2015: 41–75 ). Pimping is a business, then, that requires a wide range of interpersonal skills, both when it comes to gauging the

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Impatient Accumulation, Immediate Consumption

Problems with Money and Hope in Central Kenya

Peter Lockwood

have something of a theoretical monopoly on similar contexts of economic uncertainty and precarity—what Nauja Kleist and Stef Jansen (2016) call the ‘hope boom’ in anthropology. While such literature has made important strides toward conceptualizing

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Erland Mårald and Erik Westholm

Institute was set up in 1902 to conduct practical long-term field trials, and research areas were later established across the country ( Bendz 2011 ). The lack of statistics was still a problem, as was uncertainty concerning forest volumes and the balance

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Migration, residential investment, and the experience of “transition”

Tracing transnational practices of Albanian migrants in Athens

Gerda Dalipaj

strategies result from an interplay of micro, meso, and macro factors on both sides of national borders. As the life histories of Albanian migrants in Athens show, these strategies develop under conditions of uncertainty and as a response to them, both at

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The Vanishing Power Plant

Infrastructure and Ignorance in Peri-urban Ulaanbaatar

Morten Axel Pedersen

-urban Ulaanbaatar, in the sense that it constitutes a ‘ground’ from which certainty as well as uncertainty come into being, along the lines discussed in the editorial introduction to this collection. Paraphrasing Larkin (2013: 329) , we may ask what is the

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Rolf Dieter Hepp

have lost their potential legitimacy, resulting in new patterns of social uncertainty and precarious living conditions that are becoming a social reality across Europe. This change is challenging established norms, traditional ways, secured existence