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Intimate Uncertainties

Ethnographic Explorations of Moral Economies across Europe

Sabine Strasser and Luisa Piart

For this special issue we are bringing together six ethnographic cases of intimate uncertainties that are situated within different regimes of reproduction, healthcare and borders in and beyond Europe. These ethnographic inquiries exemplify unprecedented settings of moral ir/responsibility shaping the intimate on different scales and in various sites of power (agencies, clinics, borderlands). These uncertainties in times of major transitions from old to new moral orders, from industrial to postindustrial, from welfare to austerity spark off a renewed debate on moral economy. The authors of these contributions all focus the theoretical lens of moral economy squarely onto the intimate.

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The Intimate Uncertainties of Kidney Care

Moral Economy and Treatment Regimes in Comparative Perspective

Ciara Kierans

Today the social and material situations of sick bodies are increasingly and intimately bound up with the variable moral economies of national healthcare systems in uncertain and contrastive ways. I approach these ‘intimate uncertainties’ comparatively and methodologically by drawing on ethnographic fieldwork on transplant medicine in Mexico in order to interrogate European healthcare, specifically the UK. The UK National Health Service is an exemplary site of moral economy, one that the Mexican case appears to stand in stark contrast to. However, as I show, the uncertainties we see at work in Mexico enable us to seek them out in the UK too, particularly those generated at the nexus of the state, failing organs and new strategies for healthcare rationing. The article traces the gendered and socioeconomic inequalities, which follow from these shifts, while offering a critique of analyses that take the European and North American experience as methodologically foundational.

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Tschüss, Perfidious Albion

German Reactions to Brexit

Eric Langenbacher

, little progress was evident on any set of issues. German Reactions It has been challenging for the Germans (or anyone for that matter) to formulate concrete reactions and policy responses because of the uncertainty over what exactly the British government

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Gauguin and Van Gogh Meet the Ninth Art

Postmodernism and Myths about Great Artists

Matthew Screech

introduction, the chronological error in Concarneau, Gauguin's conflicting attitudes towards Tahitians, and the circular plot, all provoke uncertainty about what Gauguin did. In the absence of hard data, Gauguin: Deux voyages à Tahiti perpetuates what Thomson

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Flemish Comics versus Communist Atheism

Renaat Demoen’s Au pays de la grande angoisse (1950–1951)

Philippe Delisle

have grasped the allusion to Communism. Indeed, to allay any possible uncertainty, the soldiers in the Land of Great Fear all wear a small star on their green caps. 33 As the story goes on, there is some quite detailed criticism. In the Valhardi sequel

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Dan Smith

and uncertainty. The interest in Spiritualism resonates with her exploration of the Kibbo Kift movement. Both are approached as formations of belief and social values that, at the time, were presented as alternatives to their respective ideological

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The Crown and the Crowd

Sublimations of Monarchy in Georgian Satirical Prints

David Morgan

, 45 there has undoubtedly been a tendency within the literature surrounding the study of the Georgian satirical print to gloss over the full complexity and uncertainty that exists with respect to this issue. 46 As Nicholson observes: Ever since

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Fresh off the Boat and Off to the Presses

The Origins of Argentine Comics between the United States and Europe (1907–1945)

Amadeo Gandolfo and Pablo Turnes

founded by Natalio Botana in 1913. Its first years were marked by uncertainty, but by 1922, it was a massive success thanks to its sensationalist, populist emotional tone, its avant-garde graphics, its sections dedicated to sports and crime and its profuse

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Troublesome Temporalities

Europe between Nostalgia and Promise

Cris Shore

The three articles published in this Forum section were all finalists for the Graduate Student Prize of the Society for the Anthropology of Europe (SAE), which met at the American Anthropological Association’s 2013 meeting in Chicago. While they deal with different parts of Europe (Bulgaria and Romania and Spain, respectively), what unites them is a shared interest in issues of loss, social memory, identity, agency and death, and, in particular, the way people experience temporality and change (see Connerton 1989; Forty and Küchler 1991). The authors brilliantly capture the mood of uncertainty and anxiety facing Europeans in a period of unprecedented uncertainty, insecurity and austerity. What they also show is how Europe’s poor and marginalised are both shaped by and, in turn, try to shape or subvert the national and European policy regimes to which they are subjected.

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The Ultimate Argument

Evoking the Affective Powers of ‘Happiness’ in Commercial Surrogacy

Veronika Siegl

This article explores how the notion of happiness is employed in order to obscure the moral ambiguity and intimate uncertainties of commercial surrogacy. My ethnographic data elucidate the ways in which surrogacy agents and other intermediaries operating in Russia and Ukraine evoke happiness. I discuss three forms of their affective labour: a discourse of fear and hope, the attempt to make surrogacy a joyous and happy process and the claim that there is a right to happiness. I contend that ‘happiness’ serves as the ultimate argument, an argument that has the affective power to override moral concerns and delegitimise critique.