Once conceptualized as self-evident connections between discrete social units systematized through ethnographic fieldwork, relations are being increasingly treated as instantiations of local ontological theories. The ethnography of indigenous South America has provided a source of inspiration for this analytical shift. As manifested in the contributions to this special issue, at the core of indigenous practices and discourses on relations lies a tension between ‘dependence on otherness’ and an ‘ethics of autonomy’. In this introduction, we revisit this tension by focusing on the ‘taming of relations’, a process through which subjects attempt to maintain the autonomy of each being vis-à-vis their relational constitution dependent on others. We argue that rather than being a necessary condition, autonomy is always a partial outcome of relations linking human and non-human others.
Marcelo González Gálvez, Piergiorgio Di Giminiani, and Giovanna Bacchiddu
Research Ethics in the Context of Resettlement in South America
Marcia Vera Espinoza
, and refugees from two distinct communities, in order to explore how refugees coming from inside and outside the region experienced resettlement and how the program of resettlement has been implemented in South America (showing the strengths and
British Women Travel Writers and Sports
Precious McKenzie Stearns
The big game hunt contributed to the morale of the British Empire, as this sport was seen as the battle between men and nature. If Englishmen (and women) could triumph over animals, this demonstrated English superiority over inferior creatures. Florence Dixie and Isabel Savory proved that the overseas Empire allowed women to have greater access to hunting - and to grander displays of hunting prowess - than was allowed in England. Savory and Dixie, women who proved competent in the hunt, encouraged Victorian society to reevaluate their assumptions of womanhood. Their travel writing provided evidence to the Victorian reading public that women could effectively participate in the hunt, without sacrificing their femininity and denigrating the sport.
Autonomy or bureaucratization?
Eliana Elisabeth Diehl and Esther Jean Langdon
In 1990, the Brazilian Unified Health System institutionalized new relationships between the government and society. In recognition of the inequalities and inequities inflicted upon Indigenous Peoples, the Indigenous Health Subsystem was established in 1999. Roles were created for the democratic exercise of Indigenous participation and prominence in three border spaces: Indigenous health agents as members of health teams; Indigenous representatives on health councils; and Indigenous organizations as primary care providers. This article explores these spaces based on ethnographic research from southern Brazil. It concludes that the roles created for Indigenous participation and governance are ambiguous and contradictory. When participating in new opportunities created by the government, Indigenous actors are subjected to a centralized and bureaucratized system that offers little possibility of autonomous decision-making or action.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Jennifer Lucko and Alicia Re Cruz
This issue provides striking examples of how current educational policies and practices play a fundamental role in processes that constitute immigrant and ethnic minority children as ‘others’. This collective compendium not only interweaves theory and practice but also initiates a trans-Atlantic conversation about intercultural education embracing ethnographic cases from North America (Texas), South America (Bolivia) and Europe (Spain). These conversations lead towards an interesting exercise of similarities and differences in how interculturality is used and understood in the classroom, based on the local fluid composition of ideological, ethnic, political and economic factors.
Universities and the Politics of Accountability
Don Brenneis, Cris Shore, and Susan Wright
Audit culture and the politics of accountability are transforming not just universities and their role in society, but the very notions of society, academics and students. The modern 'university of excellence' applies a totalising and coercive commensurability to virtually every aspect of university life, from research output and teaching quality to parking space. But more than this, the politics of accountability enmesh universities in conflicts over neoliberal transformations which are taking a wide variety of forms in different parts of Europe, North and South America, and Australasia.
Recent Studies of Amazonian Ontologies
Luiz Costa and Carlos Fausto
The ethnography of lowland South American societies has occupied a central place in recent debates concerning what has been called the 'ontological turn' in anthropology. The concepts of 'animism' and 'perspectivism', which have been revigorated through studies of Amerindian ontologies, figure increasingly in the ethnographies of non-Amerindian peoples and in anthropological theory more generally. This article traces the theoretical and empirical background of these concepts, beginning with the influence of Lévi-Strauss's work on the anthropology of Philippe Descola and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, and proceeding with their impact on Amazonian ethnography. It then investigates the problems that two alternative traditions—one combining a cognitivist with a pragmaticist approach, the other a phenomenological one—pose to recent studies of Amazonian ontologies that rely on the concepts of animism and perspectivism. The article concludes by considering how animism and perspectivism affect our descriptions of Amerindian society and politics, highlighting the new challenges that studies of Amerindian ontologies have begun to address.
Religions, Morality, and Culture
Page Dougherty Delano
This article is a study of the complex social environment within the Vittel internment camp in eastern France during World War II. The Germans arrested some two thousand British women and then nearly three hundred American women of different class backgrounds, religions, political beliefs, and national affiliations, who were placed in the hotels of this spa town. The Vittel internment camp also became the temporary home of around three hundred Jews from the Warsaw ghetto, who claimed to possess American and South American citizenship. Most of these Jews were sent to their deaths at Auschwitz. Drawing on memoirs, letters, Red Cross reports, and scattered histories, this article explores the interactions, resistance, and prejudices of camp inhabitants. It argues that American women’s behavior was guided less by religious beliefs than one might expect in the context of the 1940s.
The theme of this article is the threat—and the opportunities—posed to progressive aspirations by the phenomenon that has come to be known as globalization. A decade ago the term globalization was a novelty both in academic circles and in the popular press. Now, no discussion of economics or political debate seems complete without reference to it. And the recent attacks of Al Qaeda and the invasion of Iraq push the problems of an international legal order and the potential universality of the rights of man to the top of the agenda. Yet in its essence globalization is not a recent—or even a 20th century—phenomenon. The view that globalization is no new phenomenon has some substance. Many commentators have pointed to the level of international trade in the decades before World War.1 And some have thought of ancient Greco-Roman civilization as an instance of globalization— was it not appealed to by St Augustine in his opinion that ‘secrus judicat orbis terrarium’? This is true in the sense that the Roman Empire provided political and legal systems in which diverse nations and cultures could be to an impressive extent integrated. But it was not global: consider the contemporary but separate empires in China, India and possibly South America. Globalization in the literal sense of the word has to do with the rise of capitalism.
This article contextualizes the recent debates about German and European anti-Americanism by highlighting the paradoxical nature of such sentiments. Using examples from the Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany, and the postwar period, this article shows that anti-Americanism arose less from divergent cultural trends and perceived "value gaps," as many recent authors have argued. Rather, anti-Americanism should be seen as a measure of America's continued influence and success. After all, anti-Americanism more often than not went hand in glove with "Americanization." Frequently, anti-Americans, namely those who are voicing anti-Americanism, were products of cultural transfer-processes emanating in the U.S. They also saw themselves allied with American anti-establishment forces. Thus, to a degree, anti-Americanism can be seen as by-product of westernization. Although the focus of this article is on Germany, the argument about the complex web of repudiation and embrace can be observed in other European (or even African, Arab, Asian, or South American) contexts as well.