This afterword offers a commentary on the concept of relations discussed in the introduction and the individual contributions to this special issue by critically reflecting on the key concepts that have emerged in it. It contributes to the discussion with a reflection on the use of the term parente in Amazonia, showing how its exclusive use in inter-ethnic contexts indicates a play of perspective in the way that relations between different groups of people are experienced.
Marcelo González Gálvez, Piergiorgio Di Giminiani and Giovanna Bacchiddu
Once conceptualized as self-evident connections between discrete social units systematized through ethnographic fieldwork, relations are being increasingly treated as instantiations of local ontological theories. The ethnography of indigenous South America has provided a source of inspiration for this analytical shift. As manifested in the contributions to this special issue, at the core of indigenous practices and discourses on relations lies a tension between ‘dependence on otherness’ and an ‘ethics of autonomy’. In this introduction, we revisit this tension by focusing on the ‘taming of relations’, a process through which subjects attempt to maintain the autonomy of each being vis-à-vis their relational constitution dependent on others. We argue that rather than being a necessary condition, autonomy is always a partial outcome of relations linking human and non-human others.
Relating the Past and the Present
This article addresses the relations between archaeology and social anthropology, as exemplified by archaeological research in the Middle East. It is argued that further integration between both disciplines, as well as between archaeological theories, methods and data, is necessary. As an example of such an 'archaeology of relations', an analysis of domestication in the prehistoric Middle East is presented in summary.
Beyond Reciprocity and Obligation in the Ger Districts of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
In the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar, known as ger districts, a growing number of rural-to-urban migrants live without access to formal urban infrastructure or regular incomes. Under these challenging material conditions, personal networks take precedence, providing and regulating access to employment and meat provisioning. Looking beyond discussions of anticipation among migrants focusing on the goals of migration, I interrogate the role of anticipation in the making and maintaining of relational networks. Existing analyses of such networks in Mongolia have generally relied on idioms of reciprocity or obligation. Focusing instead on material transfers and transactions among ger district residents reveals such networks to be more ambiguous and prone to failure than notions of reciprocity or obligation can easily accommodate. This article argues that the productive contradiction within the concept of anticipation – encompassing both expectative waiting and pre-emptive action – can illuminate new aspects of these relations and networks in action.
Making Relations Matter
This article takes scientific ‘raw data’ as its ethnographic object in order to investigate the co-implication of nature and culture in scientific knowledge practices. The article traces out some of the activities that are involved in producing numerical climate data from the Brazilian Amazon. Although science and technology studies (STS) makes a strong case for associating relationality with certainty, the article argues that a particular form of data, ‘raw data’, complicates this association. It further argues that scientific data is not simply composed out of relations, but is a relation itself. The article ends with a brief reflection on the possible repercussions of shifting from thinking of science as producing multiple natures and cultures to thinking of it as producing the potential for relations.
Its author ever hopeful of abandoning nature-culture or nature-society, this brief sketch is an attempt to understand some part of the dyad. It fishes among materials on biological relatedness, ideas about reproduction, and configurations of kinship that might amount to a naturalist cosmology, detectable among other things in the problems it generates. There is nothing new in apprehending how much of society was already ‘in’ the nature that came to be distinguished from it. However, the anthropologist’s net has its own gauge, and thus the argument at once depends on historical niceties and disregards them. What gets caught in the mesh flung over this huge area are certain issues concerning identity and individuality. These demand a closer inquiry into the character of the relations being supposed, the matter with which the article opens.
The Dangerous Imperative of Hospitality in Apiao, Chiloé
Based on an analysis of ethnographic data collected in Apiao, Chiloé, this article offers a view of relations as inescapably fraught connections between different entities. These relations are articulated in highly ritualized hospitality practices involving reciprocal exchange of food and drinks in a domestic space. Cutting across established, contrasting analytical categories, such as consanguines/affines and friends/enemies, hospitality practices reveal the immanence of otherness. Relations can occur only among different/differentiated individuals and are always expressed through an alternation of the contingent positions of host and guest, where one offers and another receives. In hospitality interactions, sameness is denied and transformed into otherness, revealing the importance of asymmetry and disclosing the latent hostility and potential danger implicit in relations. The other is first and foremost a dangerous and unpredictable guest.
The Myth of a Long ‘Special Relationship’
Kilic Bugra Kanat
Turkey’s relationship with Israel has been mixed since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Although Turkey was one of the first Muslim countries to recognize and initiate diplomatic relations with Israel soon after, improving bilateral relations never became a priority. During the Cold War years, the two main determinants of Turkish-Israeli relations were their status as pro-Western countries in the region and the Arab-Israel conflict, which directly and indirectly influenced Turkish foreign policy toward Israel. Efforts to improve relations during the Cold War were constantly interrupted by the Arab-Israel conflict and by Turkish public opinion regarding Israel’s regional policies. Until the restoration of full diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level following the 1992 Madrid Conference, secret diplomacy between the two countries was the norm. Attempts at forming a Turkish-Israeli alignment were short-lived during these years.
A Model Reconsidered
The German model of labor relations is once again attracting significant attention, even if assessments of its health and economic consequences diverge. This review article clarifies debates about German labor relations and illuminates their significance for theorizing the political economy of wealthy democracies. It demonstrates how four different narratives about German practices from the late twentieth century continue to shape contemporary disagreements. While these older interpretations of the German model have been updated, their original assumptions about particular structural effects remain at the heart of current disputes, sometimes hiding as much as they reveal. This article argues that it is time to move beyond inherited abstractions and focus more on the contemporary agency of labor relations actors.
Sderot and Sha’ar Hanegev
Until the 1970s, the few interactions between Sderot and the neighboring kibbutzim in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council revolved around the kibbutzim’s economic and political dominance. As political resistance to this control increased, kibbutz members became worried about the consequences of segregation and economic exploitation and wished to alter these problematic relations. Thus, the Sderot–Sha’ar HaNegev partnership program, which aimed to create a shift in the relational structure, was established. This article analyzes the power dynamics between Sderot residents and the kibbutzim during the program’s operation. The partnership, although expected to reduce segregation and change the power relations between the communities, did not bring about a transformation from paternalism to partnership, but rather evolved from dominance to hegemony. Although the hierarchical relations are still in place, the interaction between spatial, class, and identity elements has created new ways in which the relationship operates up to the present day.