This article maps key epistemological and ontological terrains associated with biotechnology. Beginning with the epistemological, a comparison is made between the scientific representations of today, particularly as found in the genomic sciences, and the scientific representations of the past. In doing this, we find these representations have changed over the centuries, which has been of significant consequence in terms of giving shape to today's global political economy. In the following section, the sociopolitical effects of biotechnology are discussed, particularly in terms of how the aforementioned representations give shape to global path dependencies. By examining the epistemological and ontological assumptions that give shape to the global distribution of informational and biological resources, this article seeks to add to our understanding of today's bioeconomy and the geographies of control it helps to create.
Michael S. Carolan
Beyond Morality in the Anthropology of Africa?
The suggestion that the anthropological study of morality is theoretically undeveloped carries with it the risk of caricaturing ideas of moral obligation in mid-twentieth-century social anthropology. The need for recovering aspects of these ideas is demonstrated by the tendency of moral philosophers to reduce the issue of world poverty to a question of ethical choices and dilemmas. Examining the diplomatic tie that had existed for almost 42 years between Malawi and Taiwan and an ill-fated project of Taiwanese aid in rural Malawi, this article maintains that honoring obligations indicates neither a communitarian ethos nor rule-bound behavior. As the mid-twentieth-century anthropology of Africa theorized ethnographically, the moral and existential import of obligation lies in its contingent materiality rather than in social control. Such insights, the article concludes, can enrich debates on world poverty with alternative intellectual resources.
Racialized Girlhood, Behavioral Diagnosis, and California's Foster Care System
Isabella C. Restrepo
Scholars of the welfare system have explored the racialized criminalization of mothers of color who are punished by the foster care system, through control of their children, when they are unable to meet the ideals of middle-class motherhood but have yet to fully articulate a language to understand the ways in which this criminalization and punishment extends to youth once they are placed in the foster care system. Using ethnographic interviews with agents of the care system, I explore the ways in which the system pathologizes Latinas’ quotidian acts of resistance and survival like their use of silences through the behavioral diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). I argue that California’s foster care system is an arm of the transcarceral continuum, marking girls of color and their strategies of resistance as pathological, thereby criminalizing them through the diagnosis of behavioral disorders.
Patented seeds at dispute in Canada's courts
Patents on objects that have agency such as seeds pose new challenges for governance, raising fundamental questions of control and responsibility. In May 2004 the Supreme Court of Canada found the farmer Percy Schmeiser guilty of infringing the Monsanto patent on genetically modified canola, because he reseeded part of his canola harvest although he knew or ought to have known that it contained seeds of GM canola plants that had blown into his field. In May 2005, a group of organic farmers tried a legal procedure to get certification as a class against two biotechnology corporations Bayer CropScience and Monsanto for polluting their fields with GM canola. At stake are questions on the type of ownership that can be claimed over plants—and whether ownership can be claimed over a plant at the same time that liability for its reproduction is denied. The two court cases I discuss allow us to more closely see how genetically modified canola plants have become objects of contention among Western Canadian farmers, how they transformed the farmers’ daily work and relations between neighbors, and how they increased farmers’ dependency on agro-biotech corporations.
The Control and Confinement of Boys of Color through School Discipline
This article explores how a single-sex school for boys of color intentionally and unintentionally (re)defines masculinity through rules and rituals. The school’s mission posits that boys become men through developing three skills: selfregulation, self-awareness, and self-reflection. Drawing from qualitative research data, I examine how disciplinary practices prioritize boys’ ability to control their bodies and image, or “self-regulate.” When boys fail to self-regulate, they enter the punitive system. School staff describe self-regulation as integral to out-of-school success, but these practices may inadvertently reproduce negative labeling and control of black bodies. This article argues for school cultural practices that affirm, rather than deny, the benefits of boyhood.
LA Gang Tours and the White Control of Mobility
Sarah Sharma and Armonds R. Towns
LA Gang Tours went on its inaugural ride through Los Angeles in 2010. Black and Latino former gang members from South Los Angeles lead the bus tours, sharing personal stories of gang life with mostly white tourists. A popular critique of the tour is that it facilitates a tourist gaze. However, we argue that to focus on the tourist gaze misses a more pressing opportunity to examine the production of whiteness. We shift the focus to consider the bus’s movement and the power it exerts in transforming the spatial and temporal dynamics of South Los Angeles. Based on participant observation, ethnographic interviews, and discourse analysis of materials surrounding the tours, we found that the tour lays the figurative foundations for gentrifi cation and reconfi rms a white control of mobility in the neighborhood. Th is white control of mobility extends beyond Los Angeles to impact the lives of people of color throughout the United States.
Renaat Demoen’s Au pays de la grande angoisse (1950–1951)
It is well known that from 1920 to 1950, Belgian comics, embedded in a Catholic milieu, sometimes promoted anti-Communism. Au pays de la grande angoisse, drawn by Renaat Demoen and published from 1950 to 1951 in Zonneland and Petits Belges, fits into this category. Nonetheless, its ideological stance can be differentiated from that of series appearing in major Franco-Belgian magazines. Au pays de la grande angoisse is Flemish, intended only for the Belgian market, and therefore not subject to the control of the French Control Commission set up by the July 1949 law. Its critique of Eastern bloc countries is more explicit and more violent. Moreover, the story appeared in comics with a religious affiliation. It sets out to denounce the atheism of the Communists and to glorify the resistance of the believers. Ultimately, Au pays de la grande angoisse is as much a Christian comic as an adventure comic.
The importance of passenger transport companies to facilitating mass migration have generally been acknowledged. Their paradoxal role as obstructers of the same, being an integral part of our modern day border enforcement system, has received much less attention. This article analyses the use of transport companies by states to monitor and restrict migration. It focuses on the recent historiography of the role of shipping companies in regulating migratory movements during the long nineteenth century. It stresses the importance of acknowledging the influence that transport companies had on the enactment, enforcement, and evasion of human mobility controls in future research.
Controlling Colonial Migrants in Interwar France and Senegal
Johann Le Guelte
This article examines the politics of interwar colonial identification practices put into place by the French colonial state in order to curtail the mobility of colonial (im)migrants. I argue that photography was used as a tool of imperial control in both French West Africa (AOF) and metropolitan France, since colonial men’s inability to provide the required photographic portraits often prevented them from moving around the empire. In response, colonial subjects appropriated photography in alternative ways to subvert these administrative restrictions. Moreover, they took advantage of metropolitan racial stereotypes to contest Western identification practices.
Research on Israeli nuclear weapons policy is seen as the classic case of conflict between security constraints and the academic ethos of openness. However, the 'ambiguity' of Israel's declared policy has eroded considerably over time, first to 'opacity' and now to simple non-acknowledgement. Furthermore, there have been vast changes in strategic circumstances: the initial rationale as a nuclear deterrent to conventional attack has been eclipsed by deterrence of other weapons of mass destruction. This is potentially a more promising platform for arms control agreements. The changes also call into question the need for the continued extension of censorship into academic research on the topic.