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Temperamental Differences

The Shifting Political Implications of Cousin Marriage in Nineteenth-Century America

Susan McKinnon

Kinship is inherently about configurations of sameness and difference, inclusion and exclusion. Yet theorists have often focused on kinship’s capacity for marking the inclusiveness of group formation, whether this be through shared substances

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An ecology of difference

Equality and conflict in a glocalized world

Arturo Escobar

This paper develops a broad conceptualization of what could be called a political ecology of difference. The paper builds on trends in political ecology, the politics of place, and cultural analyses of modern conceptions of nature, rights, and the individual to outline an integrated framework for thinking about difference from the perspective of economic, ecological, and cultural distribution conflicts. The argument is illustrated with a case study from the Pacific rainforest region of Colombia, particularly the political ecology developed by the region’s social movement of black communities; the paper concludes with implications of the framework for thinking about the cultural politics of dominant institutions and their potential transformation along the lines of a politics of difference.

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Making (a) Difference

Paperwork and the Political Machine

Alexander Thomas T. Smith

Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in Dumfries and Galloway, this article describes how Conservative Party activists put a variety of discursive artefacts to work as they sought to mass produce and distribute leaflets during the 2003 local Government and Scottish Parliament elections. The leaflet, called In Touch, rendered explicit the need to demonstrate that a political candidate and political party are connected (in touch) with a wider community. This leaflet was therefore designed to invoke a set of connections between person (the candidate), place (the Council Ward/community) and political party (the Conservatives) that might register with even the most disinterested elector. At the same time, the production of these leaflets facilitated the generation of an activist network amongst the party's volunteer base, which exhausted itself by the time Polling Day passed. I argue that addressing logistical and organizational questions - that is, activist methodology - in the production of the In Touch leaflet focused the attention of political activists more than the 'issues' on which they intended to campaign, which were 'found' or 'produced' as artefacts or contrivances of activist labour. In addressing such questions, Tory strategists hoped to 'make (a) difference' given that they tended to view previous campaigns to have been executed in an amateur and disorganized fashion. Through the sheer scale of their production and distribution throughout Dumfries and Galloway, it was hoped that the In Touch leaflets would produce social as well as electoral effects.

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Beyond the Glittering Golden Buddha Statues

Difference and Self-transformation through Buddhist Volunteer Tourism in Thailand

Brooke Schedneck

Tourists visit many ancient temples as one of the major tourist activities and sites in the old city of Chiang Mai, Thailand. The first thing they notice is the difference of this religious space compared to more familiar landscapes. The details of

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Cognitive Disability

Towards an Ethics of Possibility

Faye Ginsburg and Rayna Rapp

study of cognitive difference, not always identified as disability, has a prehistory of important if under-recognized research on the cultural impact of ‘thinking differently’ that precedes the current moment, as Zoanni makes clear (this issue) in his

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Introduction

For an Anthropology of Cognitive Disability

Patrick McKearney and Tyler Zoanni

The articles in this issue move to lay the groundwork for an anthropology of cognitive disability. They respond to recent calls to examine disability as an axis of human difference that is as fundamental as anthropology’s usual suspects, such as

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Introduction

(De)materializing Kinship—Holding Together Mutuality and Difference

Kathryn E. Goldfarb and Caroline E. Schuster

material objects. Our question also emerges out of our commitment to understanding the figurations of race, gender, class, and nation that place difference at the heart of relational belonging. Our interest in this matter is both conceptual and political

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Seeing Differences

Travellers to Ottoman Palestine and Accounts of Diversity

Uzi Baram

The divides between Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Arabs, are well known. Scholarly and journalistic accounts of the differences in the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean fill shelves and are too numerous to list. Most implicitly assume an essential divide between the two peoples, exploring the diversity within the groups but not the categories themselves. That primordial position, one that envisions identities as innate and fixed through time, negates the history of personal and group dynamics. This article provides a line of argument against the primordial approach to ethnic identity in the Middle East. Similar to the anthropological quest to demonstrate the historical contingencies of skin colour for hierarchical groupings of peoples (Smedley 1999), the categories for the peoples of the Middle East can be grounded in historical processes to produce a critique of primordialism. Eric Wolf (1982) exposed identities, behaviours and peoplehood as existing in a matrix of global interactions and histories that developed over the last 500 years. Anthropologists have followed that pathway to investigate the history of groups in the Americas, Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, southern Asia and the Pacific region. Yet in a place with an abundance of history – some would say an overabundance of history – the groupings of Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Arabs, are taken as givens. This article seeks to expose the volatile issues of groupings by employing a resource that contributed to the process of racialising differences.

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Romanticizing Difference

Identities in Transformation after World War I

Nadia Malinovich

political and ideological spectrums in the pre–World War II era. In our post-Holocaust and postcolonial world, progressive politics and an understanding of differences between human collectivities rooted in unchangeable biological realities do not marry well

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Introduction

Triumph of culture, troubles of anthropology

Levent Soysal

Culture has always been the defining feature and disciplinary asset of anthropology. Before the reflective conversations of the 1980s, anthropology had owned culture. In the aftermath of the "crisis of anthropology" came the expansion and augmentation of culture to disciplines, domains, and settings beyond anthropology. Culture is now present in every aspect of social life and it is possible to buy, sell, design, invent, market, perform, and circulate culture(s) individually or collectively in (in)tangible forms. With the expansion, "culture talk"—not always in benign variety—has also become the predominant mode of addressing citizenship, security, and even economy, which were conventionally considered to be distinct from culture. This article elucidates this expansive venture of culture from being a disciplinary analytical artifact to an authoritative arbiter of rights, difference, heritage, and style, and suggests "projects of culture" as an analytical tool to enter into the burdensome territory of culture today, without getting trapped in culture talk.