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Rethinking Anthropological Models of Spirit Possession and Theravada Buddhism

Erick White

culture, practice theory, and the historical turn have, with increasing force since the 1980s, fundamentally reshaped general anthropological analysis. Yet these three intellectual turns have led to only occasional and disparate efforts by anthropologists

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Plastic Packaging, Food Supply, and Everyday Life

Adopting a Social Practice Perspective in Social-Ecological Research

Lukas Sattlegger, Immanuel Stieß, Luca Raschewski, and Katharina Reindl

concrete practices remains scarce. In this article, we will use the case of plastic packaging in food supply practices to show how practice theory can help to better understand everyday dimensions in the regulation of SRN. 1 Importantly, we do not seek to

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Family Dynamics and Social Practice Theories: An Investigation of Daily Practices Related to Food, Mobility, Energy Consumption, and Tourism

Françoise Bartiaux and Luis Reátegui Salmón

Based on empirical data on “green” practices according to household size, this article questions the role, if any, given to close personal relationships by social practice theories in sustaining or not daily life practices. Data are mainly drawn from an Internet survey conducted in Belgium in 2006 by WWF-Belgium on daily practices, related to food, energy consumption, mobility, and tourism. Results show that smaller households carry out more numerous “green” practices than larger ones. The concluding discussion underlines the relevance of including social interactions—namely within the household—into the conceptual framework derived from the social theories of practices, to take into account the rearticulating role of social interactions and domestic power claims when carrying out a practice or a set of practices, and when changing it.

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Apprenticeship and Global Institutions

Learning Japanese Psychiatry

Joshua Breslau

How is the knowledge embedded in a global institution such as psychiatry integrated into taken-for-granted understandings and everyday medical practice in a non-Western setting such as Japan? How can ethnographic research address this question without simplifying institutional complexity and cross-cultural variations? This paper argues that the ethnography of apprenticeship can resolve these tensions between global and local sources of cultural knowledge. Recent work in cognitive anthropology and practice theory has demonstrated the value of examining apprenticeship as a window onto dynamics of institutional production and reproduction. As an ethnographic strategy, the study of apprenticeship makes the processes through which knowledge crosses cultural boundaries accessible to research. Drawing on two years of ethnographic research on the training of Japanese psychiatrists, I describe the institutional structure in which psychiatric knowledge becomes embedded in newly trained psychiatrists. This system, known as the ikyoku system, reproduces many characteristics of Japanese organizational patterns. Examining the details of this system offers additional insight into the particular way in which psychiatric knowledge becomes situated in contemporary Japanese society. The theory of apprenticeship, however, has a much broader potential for informing ethnographic research strategies for studying contemporary global institutions.

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The university and the common

Rearticulating the third mission from the bottom up

Hans Schildermans


Policy discourses about the third mission of universities in the knowledge economy have placed the question regarding the relation between university and society again high on the agenda. The aim of this article is to reconsider the university's third mission, in the widest sense of its relations with society, and to do so through the lens of the common. The starting point of this reconsideration is the story of the Palestinian experimental university Campus in Camps and their practices of studying the camp, giving way to a series of social and spatial transformations within the camp and its neighbouring area. The relation between university and society comes forward not as given or institutionally settled but as enacted within practices, more particularly within practices of study.

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“For Girls to Feel Safe”

Community Engineering for Sexual Assault Prevention

Day Greenberg and Angela Calabrese Barton

social practice theory ( Holland et al. 2001 ) and feminist writings on intersectionality (Crenshaw 1989). Combining these perspectives illuminates intersectionality across scales of activity. We explore how the girls’ positionings as raced, classed, and

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Indigenous paradiplomacy and the Orokawe hydroelectric dam on the Kunene River

Richard Meissner and Jeroen Warner

the various meanings of diplomacy to position the article among existing scholarship and discuss the concepts of ideational power and practice theory. We then outline our methodology before investigating and analyzing indigenous paradiplomacy and

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Examining the Dynamics of Energy Demand through a Biographical Lens

Catherine Butler, Karen Anne Parkhill, Fiona Shirani, Karen Henwood, and Nick Pidgeon

It is widely recognized that a major challenge in low carbon transitioning is the reduction of energy consumption. This implies a significant level of transformation in our ways of living, meaning the challenge is one that runs deep into the fabric of our personal lives. In this article we combine biographical research approaches with concepts from Bourdieu's practice theory to develop understanding of processes of change that embed particular patterns of energy consumption. Through an analysis of “case biographies” we show the value of biographical methods for understanding the dynamics of energy demand.

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A Transformative Practice? Meaning, Competence, and Material Aspects of Driving Electric Cars in Norway

Marianne Ryghaug and Marit Toftaker

This article focuses on the introduction of electric vehicles in Norway and how electrical cars are understood culturally in relation to conventional car use. Theoretically, elements of social practice theory and the analysis of processes of domestication are combined to frame practical, cognitive, and symbolic dimensions of electric car use. The empirical data consists of individual and focus group interviews with electric car users. The analysis unpacks the implications of user-designated meaning in driving practices, competencies considered necessary when driving electric cars, and the material aspects regarded as critical features of electric car driving. Preliminary findings suggest that the practice of electric car driving alters user habits by making transportation needs more salient and raises both the technological and energy consumption awareness of users.

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"The Invention of Culture," Magalim, and the Holy Spirit

Dan Jorgensen

One of Roy Wagner’s consistent positions is that meaning (or culture) does not simply exist as something out there in the world, but that it is elicited and created, something that people do and make. Anthropologists create culture as a more or less plausible account of what we think people are up to, and one of Wagner’s complaints is that the anthropologist’s success in this task often comes at the expense of recognizing the creativity of those we study. In our notions of culture-as-system we invent “rules” (conventions) and models of seamless wholes that leave precious little for people to do apart from being rule-abiding or occasionally deviant, when in fact they are improvising their way through life, making it up as they go along. Although this might sound a bit like Bourdieu’s practice theory, Wagner sees something else at work, a flow of innovation that leverages meaning out of the dialectic between the realm of the innate and the realm of human responsibility and action. Discontinuous but constantly impinging on one another, these realms provide the dynamic that moves culture along.