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Jonathan A. Allan, Chris Haywood and Frank G. Karioris

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Jonathan A. Allan, Chris Haywood and Frank G. Karioris

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Afterword

Comparison in the Anthropological Study of Plural Religious Environments

Birgit Meyer

Highlighting common threads in the pieces by Beekers, Kasmani and Mattes, and Dilger, this concluding essay reflects on the potential of comparison as conceptual innovation in the anthropological study of religious plurality. Asking how to develop innovative practices of comparison for the sake of grasping the dynamics of plural societies in the light of the articles in this collection, I argue that it is necessary to transcend the bifurcation of the study of religions, which was accentuated with the rise of the anthropologies of Islam and Christianity, in favor of a focus on the secular configuration as a whole, paying attention to power dynamics that assign different spaces for action to different religions (notwithstanding their equality in legal terms). The point of comparison, understood as a critical project geared toward conceptual innovation, is not only to discern so far overlooked, unexpected differences and similarities, but also to understand how these differences and similarities, as well as the possibility to compare as such, are outcomes of long-standing entanglements.

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America's Favorite Doll?

Conflicting Discourses of Commodity Activism

Diana Leon-Boys

Emilie Zaslow. 2017. Playing with America’s Doll: A Cultural Analysis of the American Girl Collection. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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Austrian "Gypsies" in the Italian archives

Historical ethnography on multiple border crossings at the beginning of the twentieth century

Paola Trevisan

The archival documents I work with concern Sinti (“Gypsy”) families belonging to the Austrian Empire, stopped by the Italian authorities between 1908 and 1912. By following Anna Laura Stoler’s proposition, I read the police records through an ethnographic lens, connecting the anti-Gypsy policy of both states with the strategies adopted by the Sinti families to inhabit and/or cross borders. Thus, the border becomes the space where the sovereignty of the state came into play and where the categories of “citizen” and “foreigner” become explicit through the daily controls on those who attempt to cross. Intertwining research in the archives with anthropological literature and fieldwork, this article presents a historical ethnography of those Sinti families who experienced the borders as “Gypsies,” a category that calls for critical analysis because it goes beyond the foreigner/citizen dichotomy.

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"Avoiding the mistakes of the past"

Tower block failure discourse and economies of risk management in London's Olympic Park

Saffron Woodcraft

A powerful dystopian imaginary dominates political and cultural representations of Britain’s postwar tower blocks, which continue to be linked to social dysfunction and alienation despite extensive empirical research that challenges such claims. Th is article asks what contested declarations of failure “do” by examining how “tower block failure” is discursively deployed by placemaking professionals—planners, architects, housing managers, regeneration practitioners—engaged in the construction of a “model” mixed-tenure neighborhood in London’s Olympic Park. Examining how the aesthetic figure of the “failed” high-rise housing estate is configured in relation to the normative models of citizenship and community that infuse social and spatial policy, I argue “failure” is entangled with a speculative, future-oriented economy of risk management, which refracts wider questions about the nonobvious forms that power takes in the neoliberal city.

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Book Reviews

Hegelianisms without Metaphysics?

David James, Bahareh Ebne Alian and Jean Terrier

The Actual and the Rational: Hegel and Objective Spirit, by Jean-François Kervégan. Translated by Daniela Ginsburg and Martin Shuster. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018. xxiii + 384 pp.

Avicenna and the Aristotelian Left, by Ernst Bloch. Translated by Loren Goldman and Peter Thompson. New York: Columbia University Press, 2019. xxvi +109 pp.

Critique of Forms of Life, by Rahel Jaeggi. Translated by Ciaran Cronin. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2018. xx + 395 pp.

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Book Roundtable

Discussion text: Chin, C. 2018. The Practice of Political Theory: Rorty and Continental Thought.

Lasse Thomassen, Joe Hoover, David Owen, Paul Patton and Clayton Chin

Discussion text: Chin, C. 2018. The Practice of Political Theory: Rorty and Continental Thought. New York, Columbia University Press.

Respondents: Lasse Thomassen (Introduction), Joe Hoover (Reconstructing Rorty? Between Irony and Seriousness), David Owen (Practices of Political Theory), Paul Patton (Rorty’s ‘Continental’ Interlocutors), Clayton Chin (Rorty’s Pragmatic Political Theory: On Continental Thought and Ontology)

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Kate Cairns

At the very time that I was reading Jan Newberry and Rachel Rosen’s “Women and Children Together and Apart,” young people around the world were organizing collectively to demand action on climate change. On 15 March 2019, children and youth in more than one hundred countries walked out of school in a coordinated act of defiance. Gathering in parks, public squares, and on the steps of government headquarters, their signs and chants decried the intergenerational violence of planetary destruction, demanding accountability from the world’s most powerful. As these young people make clear, the climate crisis is very much a crisis of social reproduction: the environmental devastation wrought by capitalist accumulation threatens the conditions for making and sustaining life, with particularly devastating consequences for the world’s most marginalized. In their organizing to demand political action to address this crisis, young people have shone a light on the multiple temporalities at stake: by withholding their labor as striking students, they refuse to produce value for a future that is increasingly under threat.

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M. Guadalupe Torres-Jiménez, Rene Murrieta-Galindo, Beatriz Bolívar-Cimé, Astrid Wojtarowski-Leal and M. Angeles Piñar-Álvarez

English abstract: The abuse of inorganic fertilizers in coffee agroecosystems is a worldwide problem. In central Mexico, organic fertilizers are being introduced as an alternative way to restore soil fertility. The aim of this study was to investigate coffee farmers from central Veracruz’s perceptions of bat guano as organic fertilizer. Surveys were conducted with closed and open questions followed by quantitative and qualitative analysis. Eighty-eight percent of the farmers surveyed negatively perceived bat guano. Factors influencing this perception were bats’ physical appearance, their role as disease transmitters, and the difficulties in procuring guano, including the resources needed to extract it, handle it, and transport it safely to their workplaces.

Spanish abstract: El abuso de fertilizantes inorgánicos en los agroecosistemas del café es un problema mundial. En el centro de México se comienzan a emplear fertilizantes orgánicos como alternativa para restaurar los suelos. El objetivo de este estudio fue investigar la percepción de los caficultores sobre el empleo del guano de murciélago como fertilizante. Se realizaron encuestas con preguntas abiertas y cerradas que se analizaron cuantitativa y cualtitativamente. El ochenta y ocho por ciento de los cafeticultores encuestados percibieron negativamente al guano de murciélago. Los factores que influyeron en esta percepción fueron: la apariencia física de los murciélagos, su rol como transmisores de enfermedades y las dificultades para adquirir el guano, incluyendo los recursos necesarios para extraerlo, manipularlo y transportarlo de manera segura a sus fincas cafetaleras.

French abstract: L’abus d’engrais inorganiques dans les agroécosystèmes de café est un problème mondial. Dans le centre du Mexique, les engrais biologiques commencent à être utilisés pour restaurer les sols. Notre recherche se proposait d’étudier la perception de l’utilisation du guano de chauve-souris comme engrais organique par les caféiculteurs. Des enquêtes semi-structurées (comprenant des questions ouvertes et fermées) ont été menées à partir de méthodes quantitatives et qualitatives. Quatrevingt-huit pour cent des agriculteurs interrogés perçoivent ce guano de manière négative. Parmi les facteurs qui influencent cette perception se trouvent l’apparence physique des chauves-souris, la transmission de maladies et les difficultés pour acquérir le guano, y compris les ressources nécessaires pour l’extraire, le manipuler et le transporter en toute sécurité vers leurs exploitations.