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Stuart Kirsch

also involves cutting the network. This process is predicated on the identification of singular agents that can be held accountable even in complex contexts involving multiple actors and materialities that have also shaped the outcome (see Deoanacă

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Daniel M. Knight

The Greek economic crisis resonates across Europe as synonymous with corruption, poor government, austerity, financial bailouts, civil unrest, and social turmoil. The search for accountability on the local level is entangled with competing rhetorics of persuasion, fear, and complex historical consciousness. Internationally, the Greek crisis is employed as a trope to call for collective mobilization and political change. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in Trikala, central Greece, this article outlines how accountability for the Greek economic crisis is understood in local and international arenas. Trikala can be considered a microcosm for the study of the pan-European economic turmoil as the “Greek crisis“ is heralded as a warning on national stages throughout the continent.

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Elena Khlinovskaya Rockhill

The six UK Genetics Knowledge Parks (GKPs) were shaped and governed by two frameworks: a 'need' to harness 'new genetics' and the relations of accountability as seen in the context of entrepreneurial government. The remit of the Cambridge GKP (CGKP) was to develop public health genetics by building on the concepts of partnership and interdisciplinarity. In the course of its work, the CGKP emphasized the virtues of 'change management', seen as distinct from, and opposed to, an academic model of knowledge production. However, the model that the CGKP actually created was a research/management hybrid that resisted quality assurance checks developed for each model (research and management), presenting a formidable challenge for the evaluation and assessment of the CGKP's work.

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Prelude

An Accountability, Written in the Year 2108

Carolyn Nordstrom

This 'archaeology of the future' examines how we, as scholars and anthropologists, will be read—and judged—in the time to come. Twenty-second-century theoreticians may well ask (as we today ask of colonial-era scholarship): “Did the scholars in the early twenty-first century see in their analyses new kinds of warfare, unparalleled forms of violence, potentialities yet to be developed?“ Through an analysis of events likely to unfold over the course of the next 100 years (from changing power constellations to anthropology's attempt to commit disciplinary suicide), this article affirms an anthropology that takes ontological reflexivity seriously; that no longer accepts outdated heuristics dividing theory from theoretician from Being (production of the world); and that grounds this approach in an accountability recognizing epistemology as dynamic, honest, and emergent.

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Introduction

On War and Accountability

Alisse Waterston

This article centers on a set of discussions around accountability' as it pertains to war: accounts of war, accounting for war, what war accounts for, and accountability, including anthropological accountability. The essay details stories that ethnographers tell about what they have seen, heard, and done on the front lines. It reviews explanations for the causes, patterns, and practices of war, and for the occurrences of specific wars. The discussion also highlights what war explains, that is, how war creates its own outcomes. It considers who is to be held responsible for all the death and destruction that war inevitably brings and discusses impunity as systemic and strategic. Also considered is the responsibility of anthropology and anthropologists in facing up to the most significant crises of our times.

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Olaf Zenker

This article takes as its starting point a peculiar land claim within the ongoing South African land restitution process – more specifically, the legal and administrative technicalities that allowed for the implosion of the accompanying court case in the Land Claims Court – to open up a space for reflection on the ambiguous nature of state bureaucracies as ambiguity-reducing machines. Tracing the specificities of bureaucratic attempts at foreclosing ambiguities and insufficiencies in state practice, I show how a reorientation towards the new public goods of 'service delivery', 'transparency' and 'accountability' brought about a pronounced regime of performance indicators and de-judicialized bureaucratic flexibility. Demonstrating how these attempts to reduce ambiguities created new zones of ambiguity and unaccountability of their own, I argue for a post-Weberian analysis of the path-dependent realities of 'bureaucratic authority' to help us understand the seemingly arbitrary structural violence that state bureaucracies often enact.

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Bruce Kogut

University of Pennsylvania and École PolytThe book by Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello on the new spirit of capitalism returns to the question that puzzled the social thinkers of an earlier time: How does capitalism manufacture the ideological foundations of social peace, despite its hollow spiritual core and its creation of inequities? Their argument, reminiscent of Gramsci’s, is that capitalism is richly inventive in appropriating cultural systems to justify itself. To address the ills of contemporary society, one must deconstruct the ideologies that make excessive levels of stress, unemployment, and inequality appear unavoidable. Boltanski and Chiapello cite Durkheim’s thesis that capitalism is marred by the insatiable pursuit of self-interest, a view that resonates with the Chinese parable of the mask with no lower jaw.echnique

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Fabiola Lizama-Pérez, María de los Ángeles Piñar-Álvarez, Alejandro Ortega-Argueta, María Azahara Mesa-Jurado, María del Carmen Sandoval-Caraveo, and Ady Patricia Carrera-Hernández

English abstract: This article assesses the implementation and performance of Local Agenda 21 (LA21) in Mexico over a decade (2004–2013). Official records of municipal evaluations from all 31 Mexican states were analyzed, comprising 39 indicators of four dimensions of sustainable development: institutional, economic, social and environmental. A positive evolution of the implementation of LA21 was observed, with the economic and social dimensions presenting the best and worst performances, respectively. In general, the local governments of northern Mexico performed better than their southern counterparts. The voluntary nature of LA21 implementation is highlighted, yet necessitating a strengthening of municipal capacities in long-term planning, inter-administration continuity, efficacy evaluation, and integration of all sectors into a more coherent municipal agenda.

Spanish abstract: Este estudio analiza la implementación y desempeño de la Agenda Local 21 (AL21) en México en un periodo de una década (2004–2013). Se analizaron registros oficiales de evaluaciones municipales de los 31 estados de la república, que comprenden 39 indicadores de cuatro dimensiones del desarrollo sustentable: institucional, económico, social y ambiental. Se observó una evolución positiva en la implementación de la AL21, con las dimensiones económica y social mostrando el mejor y peor desempeños, respectivamente. En general, los gobiernos locales del norte de México tuvieron mejores desempeños que sus contrapartes del sur. Se destaca la naturaleza voluntaria de la implementación de la AL21, que todavía necesita un fortalecimiento de las capacidades municipales en la planificación de largo plazo, en la continuidad inter-administrativa, la evaluación de eficacia y la integración de todos los sectores en una agenda municipal más coherente.

French abstract: Cette étude analyse la mise en oeuvre et les performances de l’Agenda 21 local (AL21) au Mexique sur une période de dix ans (2004-2013). Les archives officielles des évaluations municipales des trente-et-un états de la République ont été analysées. Elles comprennent trente-neuf indicateurs de quatre dimensions du développement durable: institutionnel, économique, social et environnemental. Une évolution positive a été observée dans la mise en oeuvre du LA21, les dimensions économique et sociale affichant respectivement les meilleures et les plus basses performances. En général, les administrations locales du nord du Mexique ont obtenu de meilleurs résultats que leurs homologues du sud. On souligne la nature volontaire de la mise en oeuvre de la LA21, qui nécessite toutefois encore un renforcement des capacités municipales dans la planification à long terme, dans la continuité inter-administrative, l’évaluation de l’efficacité et l’intégration de tous les secteurs dans un agenda municipal plus cohérent.

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Bernard Matolino

Kwame Gyekye seeks to address the complex question of political legitimacy particularly on the African continent. He argues that the justification for political legitimacy need not necessarily depend on the economic performance of any given regime. For him, justification for legitimacy merely lies in whether all correct processes and procedures were properly followed in the assumption of power. He is of the view that military coups should not be tolerated as they lack legitimacy although they might have justification usurping power. He also argues that popular uprisings may have the justification to assume power but should subject themselves to a plebiscite to have legitimacy. In this paper I seek to argue that Gyekye's distinction between legitimacy and justification of exercise of political power is unsustainable. In contrast to Gyekye I seek to argue for a more plausible account of legitimacy that takes the substantive requirement much more seriously. I do this by showing the importance of the function of institutional checks on power in traditional African societies and seek to argue for the urgent need of such institutionalised checks on power in post-colonial Africa.

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Christopher Simpson

The most deceitful aspect of Gerald Feldman’s commentary on my

book is his tacit claim that he is engaged in something other than

character assassination. As in other academic jihads he has pursued in

the past, Feldman’s most effective weapon has been his capacity for

ad hominem attack. Straightforward debate concerning disputed historical

evidence is considerably further down his list.