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Knowledge, Morality, and Causality in a 'Luckless' Society

The Case of the Chewong in the Malaysian Rain Forest

Signe Howell

In the absence of concepts that correspond to those of chance, luck, or fortune, how do people account for seemingly random desirable or undesirable events that occur? In this article, an examination is made of the Chewong—a hunting, gathering, shifting, and cultivating group of people in the Malaysian rain forest—and their theory of causality. It is argued that cause is a universal category of human understanding, but that an understanding of cause cannot be separated from a wider examination of the ontology and cosmology in each case. Chewong maintain that the occurrence of specific events may be traced to the correct application of relevant knowledge, that is, knowledge predicated upon a mutuality between humans and a variety of nonhuman beings that guides daily interaction between them.

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Taking Responsibility

Ovarian Cancer Patients’ Perspectives on Delayed Healthcare Seeking

Susanne Brandner, Wiebke Stritter, Jacqueline Müller-Nordhorn, Jalid Sehouli, Christina Fotopoulou, and Christine Holmberg

the interviewees’ views on healthcare-seeking and how in the narratives women construct ‘delay’ in seeking medical care. The article contributes to a discussion on rethinking biomedical ideas of causality in a one-dimensional, linear model by focusing

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Jeremy Valentine

This article attempts to show how the conventional opposition between art and culture, on the one hand, and administration and organization, on the other, has been displaced. The main reason given for this phenomenon is the convergence of the collapse of notions of the political and aesthetic causality of art and culture with the destabilizing effects of postmodernism on organizational and administrative stability. After a discussion of the emergence of political regimes of audit within relations between culture and administration, the article locates the causes of the dominance of 'cultural governance' within the dynamics of modernist aesthetic values such as autonomy. The article concludes with a discussion of some optimistic possibilities that may arise from this scenario.

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The Allotted Share

Managing Fortune in Astrological Counseling in Contemporary India

Caterina Guenzi

Anthropological studies on causality in South Asia in the past decades have focused mostly on local idioms of 'mis fortune', with very little attention being paid to ideas of 'fortune' and 'luck'. This article, based on fieldwork carried out among astrologers and their clients in Banaras, shows that astrology provides an ideological framework for the conceptualization and management of fortune in present-day urban India. According to astrologers' analyses of horoscopes, 'destiny' (bhāgya, lit. 'allotted share') is conceived as a form of wealth acquired at birth that can be augmented or diminished as a result of planetary influences and personal choices. The author suggests that, beyond the Sanskrit tradition, the semantics of destiny can be linked to decisionmaking processes and values of achievement that mark the lives of middle- and upper-class families in contemporary India.

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Peter Rudiak-Gould

The Anthropocene can be understood as a crisis of blame: it is not only a geological era but also a political zeitgeist in which the marks of human agency and culpability can be perceived nearly everywhere. Treating global climate change as a metonym for this predicament, I show how life in the Anthropocene reconfigures blame in four ways: it invites ubiquitous blame, ubiquitous blamelessness, selective blame, and partial blame. I review case studies from around the world, investigating which climate change blame narratives actors select, why, and with what consequences. Climate change blame can lead to scapegoating and buck-passing but also to their opposites. Given that the same ethical stance may lead to radically different consequences in different situations, the nobleness or ignobleness of an Anthropocene blame narrative is not a property of the narrative itself, but of the way in which actors deploy it in particular times and places.

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A Vision of the Viewer

Situating Narration in the Fiction Film in the Context of Theories of Narrative Comprehension

Joseph P. Magliano and James A. Clinton

, which are linked via semantic relationships such as time, space, and causality (e.g., Van Dijk and Kintch 1983 ). Part of the fall of schema-dominant theories of comprehension came from the realization that many of these relationships required inference

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Searching for What Is Already Found

Ivan Jablonka and the Life of a Nobody

Melanie Hawthorne

that divides those already committed to the discipline of history; it means answering the challenge to the way we present causality, to narratives that suggest not just “this happened and then that happened,” but stories in which “this happened because

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The Aesthetics of Boredom

Slow Cinema and the Virtues of the Long Take in Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

Emre Çağlayan

design: they retard narrative pace and elide causality. More specifically, the films’ aesthetic features include a mannered use of the long take and a resolute emphasis on dead time: devices that foster a mode of narration that initially appears baffling

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Introduction

The Generative Power of Political Emotions

Mette-Louise Johansen, Therese Sandrup, and Nerina Weiss

1997 , Cohen 2011 ). The articles in this section seek to move beyond the tropes of linear causality between distinct drivers and action, which frames our understanding of political emotions and mobilization, protest, activism, or contestation. In

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Massacres and Their Historians

Recent Histories of State Violence in France and Algeria in the Twentieth Century

Joshua Cole

Historians cannot resist violence.* Not simply because of a voyeuristic interest in the dramatically lethal, but also because many of the most vexing questions about the writing of history converge in the crucible of violent events. Historians are attracted to the subject because they hope that it might tell them something about the fundamental problems in their discipline: questions about causality, agency, narrative, and contingency; about the readability of the past and the conclusions that one can draw about complex social phenomena from fragmentary and often one-sided bits of evidence.