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Sarah Pink and John Postill

When people move country, they experience new social, infrastructural, and ambient contingencies, which enables them to imagine otherwise unknowable possible futures ‘at home’. In this article, we mobilise a design anthropological approach to show how collaboration with temporary migrants can generate understandings that generate insights regarding future sustainable products in emerging economies. We draw on research with temporary Indonesian student migrants in Australia, which explored how they envisioned their possible domestic futures through their changing laundry practices.

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Emptiness and its futures

Staying and leaving as tactics of life in Latvia

Dace Dzenovska

the emptying countryside. 3 During this period of postcrisis austerity, talk of emptiness and its futures dominated many conversations and took on special urgency, even a tone of despair. People across Latvia’s cities, towns, and villages reported

Open access

Trading Futures

Sadaqah, social enterprise, and the polytemporalities of development gifts

Tom Widger and Filippo Osella

In this article, we explore what happens when idea(l)s of Islamic charity (sadaqah) and social enterprise converge within a low-cost public health clinic in Colombo, Sri Lanka. For both the clinic’s wealthy sponsors and the urban poor who use it, interpreting the intervention as a pious expression of care toward the poor or as a for-profit humanitarian venture meant extending different futures to the poor. The ambiguous temporalities of gifts and commodities anticipated by benefactors and beneficiaries involved in this challenges anthropological assumptions concerning the marketizing effects of neoliberal development interventions. Our ethnography revealed a hesitancy among the clinic’s sponsors, managers, and users to endow the intervention with a final interpretation, undermining its stated goal of promoting health care privatization and “responsibilization” of the poor.

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Introduction

Experiencing Anticipation. Anthropological Perspectives

Christopher Stephan and Devin Flaherty

Despite contemporary anthropology’s growing interest in ‘futures’, there has been an absence of sustained dialogue concerning the vital role of anticipation in everyday life. Seeking to bring much needed attention to the first-person perspective on futurity, in this introduction to the special issue we situate anticipation within the temporality of lived experience. Drawing on premises from anthropological studies of experience (particularly phenomenological approaches), we frame the experiential approach to anticipation by highlighting the parameters of its cross-cultural and intercontextual variability. We argue that anticipatory experience provides a crucial locus for ethnographic inquiry into the disparate and polysemous manifestations of futures in everyday life. We then seek to demonstrate how anticipation thus conceived may be productively integrated with numerous ongoing themes within contemporary anthropological scholarship. Finally, we introduce the individual contributions to the issue.

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Fossilized Futures

Topologies and Topographies of Crisis Experience in Central Greece

Daniel M. Knight

, intergenerational, and nationalized histories in order to render present conditions bearable or overcomable and to construct possible futures in the midst of chronic turmoil ( Knight 2012a: 357 ; 2015a ). Taking inspiration from Michel Serres’s (1995a) work on

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Memory, imagination, and belonging across generations

Perspectives from postsocialist Europe and beyond

Haldis Haukanes and Susanna Trnka

The last two decades have witnessed a phenomenal expansion of scholarly work on collective memory. Simultaneously, increasing anthropological attention is being paid to collective visions of the future, albeit through a range of disparate literatures on topics including development, modernity and risk, the imagination, and, perhaps ironically, nostalgia. In this introduction to this special section, we bring together analyses of postsocialist visions of pasts and futures to shed light upon the cultural scripts and social processes through which different temporal visions are ascribed collective meaning, employed in the creation of shared and personal identities, and used to galvanize social and political action.

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Home and Away

The Politics of Life after Earth

Micha Rahder

This article examines the reinvigoration of outer space imaginaries in the era of global environmental change, and the impacts of these imaginaries on Earth. Privatized space research mobilizes fears of ecological, political, or economic catastrophe to garner support for new utopian futures, or the search for Earth 2.0. These imaginaries reflect dominant global discourses about environmental and social issues, and enable the flow of earthly resources toward an extraterrestrial frontier. In contrast, eco-centric visions emerging from Gaia theory or feminist science fiction project post-earthly life in terms that are ecological, engaged in multispecies relations and ethics, and anticapitalist. In these imaginaries, rather than centering humans as would-be destroyers or saviors of Earth, our species becomes merely instrumental in launching life—a multispecies process—off the planet, a new development in deep evolutionary time. This article traces these two imaginaries and how they are reshaping material and political earthly life.

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Sicilian Futures in the Making

Living Species and the Latency of Biological and Environmental Threats

Mara Benadusi

Discourses and practices of anticipation occupy a hypertrophic space in contexts where uncontrolled industrial growth has inflicted grave damage on peoples and territories, even triggering environmental disasters. This article explores the use of nonhuman species as anticipatory devices in a petrochemical terminal in Sicily, focusing on public representations of three species: scavenger bacteria that play a cleansing role and underline citizens’ moral responsibility to secure their best possible futures through bioscience; migrating flamingos that breed under the petrochemical chimneys, raising the possibility of hopefulness by highlighting ecosystem resilience; and fish affected by spina bifida, which reveal human health status in advance, communicating the need to live in preparation for potential diseases. The analysis reveals the highly contentious character of these anticipatory devices and the contested ideas about possible futures they imply, thus shedding light on the ecological frictions that have repercussions locally and globally, in discourse and social practice.

Open access

Teppo Eskelinen

GiusePPe CAruso (2012) CosMoPolitAn futures. GloBAl ACtivisM for A just WorlD. HelsinKi: into PuBlisHinG. free e-BooK. PP.228, isBn 978-952-264-216-5

The World Social Forum (WSF) - the gathering of global justice activists, an inspiration for innumerable people worldwide, even hailed as “the world parliament in exile” in its early days - is in its second decade of existence. 14 years after its initial launch in Porto Alegre, Brazil, the Forum has materialized in numerous locations worldwide, getting ever closer to its global ideal. On the other hand, some surely wished to see it become a vehicle for institutional change by its teenage, a scenario which has not unfolded.

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Professionalizing Persons and Foretelling Futures

Capacity Building in Post-Earthquake Haiti

Kristin LaHatte

Futures of Aidland. London : Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc , 169 – 191 . James , E. 2010 . Democratic Insecurities: Violence, Trauma, and Intervention in Haiti . Oakland, CA : University of California Press. 10.1525/9780520947917 Katz , J. M