I am grateful (once more) for the attention Don Gardner has paid to my work, in particular to arguments pertaining to individuality and its relation to the aspirations of the social sciences. Let me begin with overlaps he sees between us: (a) prevailing images of what anthropology needed to be, historically (in order to be an adequate science) have led to too great an emphasis on developing taxonomies of cultural variation, along with the generalising and essentialising descriptions this entailed; (b) some of social science’s taken-for-granted vocabulary (such as ‘role’ or ‘status’) hampers our understanding of the nature of human agents and the springs of that agency; (c) questions of will and freedom, choice and moral responsibility are subtle and important; engaging with these is a necessary step for strengthening the social sciences, which cannot escape their philosophical roots. Notwithstanding, Gardner would take me to task for my understanding of causation, for not adopting a reasonable view on the hoary issue of ‘free will’ and for not taking account of post-genecentric accounts of human-evolutionary process.
A response to Don Gardner
Living Species and the Latency of Biological and Environmental Threats
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.
A Phenomenological Account of Mind
Julia Cassaniti and Tanya Marie Luhrmann
In this article we compare the encounter with the supernatural—experiences in which a person senses the immaterial—in Thailand and in the United States. These experiences appear to be shaped by different conceptions of the mind. In the US, there is a sharp, natural division between one's mind and the world; in Thailand, individuals have the moral responsibility to control their minds. These differences appear to explain how people identify and sense the supernatural. In the US, it is an external, responsive agent; in Thailand, it is an energy that escapes from an uncontrolled mind. Here we approach phenomenology—the experience of experience—comparatively, identifying patterns in social expectations that affect the ways in which humans think, feel, and sense. We take an experiential category of life that we know to be universal and use it to analyze cultural concepts that influence the enactment and interpretation of feeling and sensing.
Theorizing dispossession and mirroring conspiracy in the Republic of Georgia
Katrine Bendtsen Gotfredsen
political decisions on economic gains and alliances rather than moral responsibilities and common goods. Hence, while the authorities of post-Rose Revolution Georgia were officially committed to transparency and the elimination of corruption, they were
Memory, Temporality, and the Production of Sainthood in Lesbos
dead: “‘The sorrow of my deceased father oppressed us’, confided Vasiliki. ‘We did not bury him as befits a Christian, since he disappeared in Turkish captivity. So we thought we should fulfill our moral responsibilities regarding this unknown deceased
Tower block failure discourse and economies of risk management in London's Olympic Park
” between government and citizens based on an ethic of mutual responsibility. Drawing heavily on a branch of Communitarian philosophy ( Prideaux 2002 ), New Labour policies were infused with ideas about the significance of civic values, moral responsibility
Romanian Migrants’ Leveraging of British Self-Employment
intersected with a language of moral responsibility. They were not micro-businesses, Andrea explained, but “people who depended on her.” She, in turn, was someone who imparted advice over the telephone and often around her clients’ dining tables—drawing on a
Humanizing Relations in an Australian NGO Campaign for People Seeking Asylum
moral responsibility. As a conversation participant put it, “We need to give our politicians permission to do the right thing.” This prefigured a bottom-up view of power relations, enabling supporters to believe that they could change political
Fuelling Capture: Africa's Energy Frontiers
Michael Degani, Brenda Chalfin, and Jamie Cross
resources, the complexities of political and regulatory environments, and the emergence of new forms of expertise and moral responsibility. These outcomes themselves are always generative: crystallizing new circuits, coalitions and constraints. Regional
Solar Power and Humanitarian Energy Markets in Africa
, the expansion of market discipline in Europe between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries brought shifts in ‘conventions of moral responsibility’ – a ‘new constellation of attitudes and activities’ – that underpin what is called humanitarianism