In Timor-Leste, visions of radical societal transformation and future wealth derived from gold and oil are accompanied by concerns that outsiders might be conspiring to rob the country of its riches, as well as conjuring up dystopian scenarios of sinister plots and future mayhem. Examining national narratives and local accounts, this article argues that visions of prosperity and visions of conspiracy are two sides of the same coin; both are embedded in an understanding that power works in invisible ways. In discussing these visions in relation to the literature on “conspiracy theories” and “cargo cults” (terms that have recently been imported to the study of Timor-Leste), it explores the critical potential of these visions. Whereas the labels “conspiracy theory” and “cargo cult” create distinctions between the “rational” perspective of the West and the “irrationality” of non-Western others, as practices these visions end up collapsing such distinctions by appropriating the power of the outside.
Albert H. Friedlander
In the Age of Globalisation, everything is new for us, and everything is old. The religions of the world are once again children who have entered a new world, this time of globalisation. We have eaten the fruit of knowledge and have been expelled from our secure Paradise. Now, we wander about, lonely and afraid in a world we never made. We had little to do with the scientific achievements which fashioned today’s world; indeed, religion often tried to restrain the advance of science. Now, we must learn to live in this brave new world; we must also learn to live with the imperfections of our religions.
Kerouac and the Temporal-Spatial Construction of Street Corner as Place in On the Road
Jack Kerouac's On the Road is both a travel story and a cultural event. Although road narratives have been critically examined from numerous angles, few studies have addressed how time and space are arranged in the written representation of lives encountered on the road. The individuals who populate street corners are an integral part of American culture and can offer a colorful snapshot of local lives to those traveling through. This article discusses examples of street corners in On the Road to question how this “folded” time and space can be used to explain the folding together of lives in the writing of a journey. In so doing the article draws on Bakhtin's theory of the chronotope and Deleuze's description of the fold to help explain Kerouac's arrangements of time and space as the “chronotope of the street corner.”
Auspiciousness as a Practice of Emplacement
The subject of auspiciousness and inauspiciousness in South Asian society has largely been analyzed as a temporal condition in which there is a harmonious or inharmonious conjunction of people and events in time. In this article, the construction of houses by high-caste people living in a hamlet in Nepal is used to argue for a reconceptualization of auspiciousness and inauspiciousness as practices of emplacement in space and time. The analysis demonstrates how the rituals associated with the various stages of construction ensure the new house's compatibility with its spatial milieu—the soil, the site, the cardinal directions, and the reigning deities, as well as the vital force of the earth. Together with the auspicious timing of each stage of construction and its associated ritual with the owner's horoscope, the result of the building process shows auspiciousness to be a harmonious conjunction of person, place, and time.
The Temporalities of Ethnographic Fieldwork
Anthropologists working in a culturally unfamiliar field site carry out an experiment in time by interacting with people who do not share a common cultural past with them. Their real time interaction will therefore engender miscommunications and interpretative breakdowns. The 'invisibility' of temporal patterns results from the tendency of human consciousness to focus on difference and forget repetition. This article argues that the methodological intervention of ethnographic fieldwork is to transform repetition into difference by participating in events over a period of time. Building on the premise that anthropologists and their collaborators often act from different temporal orientations or 'timescapes', the article suggests that similar differences develop within societies between actors in different life situations and representing different cultural interests and traditions. Only through the long-term study of a particular group of people can the complexity and dynamics of different timescapes be discerned.
Spatial-Timings of Senior Home Care
Peter A. Lutz
Like many countries, Sweden faces the challenge of population aging and senior care. Compared with institutionalized health care, senior home care offers a viable option, promising familiar surroundings and lower costs. However, those performing senior home care sometimes resist time-management policies that pressure such care in practice. Some scholars analyze this situation as opposition between 'objective' and 'subjective' time. This article takes a different route. It explores how time surfaces in Swedish senior home care through relational movements of care. These enlist things such as schedules, machines, and aging bodies. To this end, the article also experiments with 'surfacing' as an ethnographic heuristic for figuring these different 'spatial-timings'. The article concludes that surfacing matters not only in senior home care but also in the field-desks of ethnographic analysis.
Political theorists, especially in the subfield of ideology studies, continue to draw insights from Begriffsgeschichte (conceptual history) to help them better analyze the morphology of political concepts over time. However, other aspects of Reinhart Koselleck’s work remain underutilized. This is especially true of the connections between Begriffsgeschichte and his development of a theory of history (Historik), dealing with the broader intersection of language, structure, and the experience of time. This article focuses on just one aspect of this intersection: on the potential relevance of Koselleck’s use of the concept of horizon to theorize a particular “horizonal mode” of the politics of time. After discussing some relevant features of the horizon metaphor, the article moves to reappraise Koselleck’s use of the concept before elaborating and expanding on it to claim that Koselleck helps to showcase the contestation of different temporal horizons as a core feature of political thinking.
Remembering Dr Jackie Kirk
Zainul Sajan Virgi
Although I am the 2009 Jackie Kirk Fellow, it was only through her words and her work that I had the privilege of getting to know Dr Jackie Kirk so I feel a sense of loss in not having had the opportunity to hold dialogues and debate with someone who had accomplished so much good in the world in such a short time. I know I would have learned even more from her in person. In her writing, it is evident that Jackie’s happiness and joy arose from ensuring that all those who were marginalized were not forgotten, and, more importantly, were equipped with the tools to begin the process of accessing a better life. We can only hope to carry on the tremendous work that had already been undertaken by Jackie in order to pay tribute to her life, her spirit and her passion. She will be equally missed by those who were fortunate enough to have worked with her and those who come to know her through her work.
This article discusses the contribution of the chronotope as an analytic category in studies of Christian conversion, applying it to postsocialist religious changes in the Russian Arctic. Looking through basic categories of human experience—space and time—the article focuses on the comparative analysis of the two missionary movements working in northwestern Siberia—neo-Pentecostalism and Baptism. The article examines postsocialist Evangelical missionary movement among the Nenets people who live in the Polar Ural tundra. The Nenets tried out multiple faiths on the emerging religious spectrum, choosing in the end fundamentalist Baptism. The article elaborates on possible conditions that made Christian fundamentalism appealing in this part of the Arctic. I suggest that Nenets historical experience as a colonized periphery of the Russian state, particularly the Soviet experiments with space and time, have bridged Nenets social expectations and a radical form of Evangelical Christianity.
Trauma and Collective Identities among East Timorese Refugees in Australia
Some of the more interesting and useful work on diasporic and transnational identities has emanated from scholars working in cultural studies and contemporary anthropology. However, with a few notable exceptions, little attention has been paid to the specific experiences of refugee diasporas, and in particular, to the role of trauma and embodiment in the creation of these ‘moral communities.’ Based on research with the East Timorese diaspora in Australia, this article looks at the performative dimensions (protests, church rituals, singing, and dancing) of the diaspora’s political campaign for East Timor’s independence. I consider how the bodily dimensions of this protest movement contributed to certain formations of identity, belonging, and exile, within the Timorese community. In particular, I explore how these performative strategies have created a context for ‘retraumatizing’ bodies and memories, channeling them into a political ‘community of suffering,’ in turn contributing to a heightened sense of the morality of an exilic identity among many Timorese.