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Known Unknowns

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.

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Benjamin O.L. Bowles and Federica Guglielmo

This special issue of Anthropology in Action collects essays arising from the 4th Post-graduate Conference of the Royal Anthropological Institute, held at Brunel University (London) on 3–4 September 2014. The event aimed to explore a variety of perspectives concerning the production and the ownership of anthropological knowledge, including issues of authority and ethical responsibility. We also welcomed reflections on the opening of new interstitial fieldsites in between the structured components of anthropological research. Our interest focused on the dilemmas arising from the definition of the field itself, in the guise of the epistemological delimitation of its boundaries and how these affect the relational world within it. We focused on the co-dependence between these factors and on the influence of increasing interconnectedness through advanced and progressively widespread communication technologies (cf. Kelty 2009).