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Doing Personhood in Chinese Culture

The Desiring Individual, Moralist Self and Relational Person

Yunxiang Yan

sizable literature that the debate on the validity of the contrast between the indivisible individual in the West and the relational person in the Rest remains a hot topic ( Morgain and Taylor 2015 ; Mosko 2010 ). While more recent studies have explored

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Olusegun Steven Samuel and Ademola Kazeem Fayemi

This article is a critical inquiry into Thaddeus Metz's African ethical theory of modal relationalism (MR). Central to the theory of MR is the claim that something (X) has moral status by virtue of its capacity for communal relationship, where X

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Gathering Up Mutual Help

Relational Freedoms of Tanzanian Market-Women

Daivi Rodima-Taylor

This article offers a relational perspective on the discussion of obligations and freedoms in Kuria women's voluntary associations in Tanzania and explores the impacts of these activities on sociality and public spaces. The constitution of a successful businesswoman is dependent on her membership in various cooperative groups, and her new rights and freedoms reside in the ambiguity between her sovereignty and group belonging. Historically an important means for self-extension, cooperative work remains pertinent in regulating the impacts of new resources. Diverse mediators and conversions have played a key role in building the Kuria person, making available a range of transformative options and revealing the possibilities for mixed forms. It is suggested that an engagement between Melanesian and African perspectives on personhood can contribute to a dynamic and temporally situated study of a social construction of mutuality.

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Introduction to Stategraphy

Toward a Relational Anthropology of the State

Tatjana Thelen, Larissa Vetters, and Keebet von Benda-Beckmann

In the introduction to this special issue, we discuss recent trends in anthropological research on and in theorizing the state. We show how these have given rise to an analytical gap between state images, on the one hand, and practices, on the other. Based on this analysis, we propose a relational approach that we call 'stategraphy' as a way to tie together state practices and representations. This ethnographically grounded approach focuses on relational modalities, boundary work, and forms of embeddedness of actors as constitutive factors. These avenues of analyses enable a nuanced understanding and comparative investigation of change and continuity as well as of mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion.

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Thinking through Surrogacy Legislation in India

Reflections on Relational Consent and the Rights of Infertile Women

Maya Unnithan

As its main focus the article is concerned with explaining the proposed Indian Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) Bill 2010 (2008), and in particular discusses some of its limitations using a relational conception of consent and autonomy. It is argued that two major limitations arise from, firstly, the way the Bill attempts to introduce ‘universal’ notions of informed consent into a cultural context of socially determined decisionmaking, resulting in the failure to safeguard the welfare of Indian surrogates. A second limitation is that the proposed law entitles only some poor women (surrogates) in India to realise access to quality medical healthcare services compared to others (poor, infertile women). Given the significant class and gender based inequalities which frame reproductive healthcare service delivery in the country, legally guaranteed access to health services for surrogates becomes a privilege where the rights of some individuals and couples to reproduce and exercise procreative agency is valued and not others. The article argues that the Bill must give due consideration to the complex, relational and highly stratified contexts in which women undertake childbearing in India to understand why legally comprehensive consent procedures can co-exist with violations of personhood in practice. Without such consideration the article suggests that injustice toward infertile women can become part of the same legal process wherein overcoming infertility is recognised as a right.

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The Relational Ethics of ‘Never . . . Too Much’

Situating and Scaling Intimate Uncertainties in an Adriatic Harbour

Jelena Tošić

This article explores how a specific pattern of relational ethics – referred to as ‘never . . . too much’ – figures as a way of coping with intimate uncertainties in close relationships. The concept of relational ethics refers to the historically embedded ways in which people live and cultivate ethical values through relations and, as such, also represents an ethnographically grounded conceptual contribution to ongoing anthropological debates on moral economy. My research unfolds ethnographic insights into three variations of the relational ethics of ‘never . . . too much’, three respective sets of social actors and relational scales: ‘never feel too much’/local women and their relationship to their marital partner; ‘never own too much’/local men and their relationship to property; ‘never settle too much’/female migrants from Russia and their relationship to the place of settlement. The article’s analysis is developed against the background of a particular spatial and temporal location – a border minority town with a history of (forced) migration, and is a contemporary focal point of migration, marginalisation by the state and patriarchy.

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Contingent Statehood

Clientelism and Civic Engagement as Relational Modalities in Contemporary Bosnia and Herzegovina

Larissa Vetters

This article analyzes clientelism and civic engagement as two relational modalities adopted by the residents of Mostar to obtain state-funded housing assistance in the face of rapid political transformation, economic insecurity, and post-conflict reconstruction. Couched in historical and contemporary discourses of deservingness and harking back to spatial imaginaries that evolved during the socialist era, both modalities converge in the notion of raseljeni, a post-war administrative category denoting an internally displaced person. Despite their apparent differences, the ultimate goal of both modalities is to establish sustainable channels of communication and productive relations with state authorities. Such relational modalities not only facilitate citizens' access to public resources, but also lend continuity and coherence to a fragmented state apparatus. In the process, they give rise to distinct political subjectivities and notions of political community.

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Sorcery, Revenge, and Anti-Revenge

Relational Excess and Individuation in the Gran Chaco

Florencia Tola

This article focuses on sorcery, revenge, and anti-revenge among the Qom people in Argentina. For them, death is the result of sorcery or a shamanic attack. When a relative dies, the family may decide to avenge him through practices performed on his body. Nonetheless, under specific circumstances relatives decide not to take revenge, performing what I refer to as ‘anti-revenge’. Ethnographic analysis of relations among victims, aggressors, and avengers reveals how alternation between relational excess and fissures makes individuation possible. The processes responsible for the composite character of personhood lead to a relational excess that needs to be restrained. The relation between revenge and anti-revenge is a key aspect of a Qom understanding of personhood, in which individuation needs to be achieved to avoid indifferentiation.

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Joseph Nelson

Michael Reichert and Richard Hawley. 2014. I Can Learn from You: Boys as Relational Learners. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. 216 pp. ISBN: 9781612506647

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Pleasure and Dementia

On Becoming an Appreciating Subject

Annelieke Driessen

these situations suggests that pleasure is a relational achievement, comparable to the organization of passion as put forward by Gomart and Hennion (1999) . I describe how care professionals 2 craft the conditions that subsequently require residents