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Rhythms of Global Urbanisation

Exploring Cosmopolitan Competences

Emil Abossolo Mbo and Cassis Kilian

Since global interdependencies are a feature of urbanisation, Kwame Anthony Appiah's pleading for an education in 'cosmopolitan citizenship' is forward-looking. Given increasing mobility, handling different urban rhythms is as important as dealing with different languages. Actors explore how airports, supermarkets and cemeteries react to gait, respiration and heartbeat and how people adopt or impose rhythms. Such investigations might appear superficial from an academic perspective, but they bear resemblance to ethnographic fieldwork.

We (an actor and an anthropologist) refer to the shift from participant observation to collaboration proposed by George Marcus, and conjointly explore rhythmic aspects of urbanisation, which are difficult for scholars to grasp. Our aim is to expand anthropological concepts, methods and forms of representation. In reference to Paul Stoller, we consider acting methods a 'sensuous scholarship' and argue that rhythm allows us to explore preverbal aspects of feelings of belonging or alienation in the urban space.

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Boredom, Rhythm, and the Temporality of Ritual

Recurring Fieldwork in the Brazilian Candomblé

Inger Sjørslev

Setting out from fieldwork experiences in the ritual of the Brazilian Candomblé, this article aims to understand temporality in different ways. The significance of 'unfocused presence' in the field is discussed by way of the concept of 'deep hanging out'. The boredom experienced by the fieldworker is analyzed in relation to sentiments expressed by the people involved in ritual and the fieldworker's changing emotions over time, as previous experiences influence how time spent waiting is perceived. In ritual as well as in the interaction between fieldworker and the people in the field, temporality is deeply related to sociality and the aesthetics of social rhythm. It is concluded that the fieldworker is drawn into the time-geography of the field in a joint chore ography of social interaction.

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Shaping Edits, Creating Fractals

A Cinematic Case Study

James E. Cutting and Karen Pearlman

We investigated physical changes over three versions in the production of the short historical drama, Woman with an Editing Bench (2016, The Physical TV Company). Pearlman, the film’s director and editor, had also written about the work that editors do to create rhythms in film (Pearlman 2016), and, through the use of computational techniques employed previously (Cutting et al. 2018), we found that those descriptions of the editing process had parallels in the physical changes of the film as it progressed from its first assembled form, through a fine cut, to the released film. Basically, the rhythms of the released film are not unlike the rhythms of heartbeats, breathing, and footfalls—they share the property of “fractality.” That is, as Pearlman shaped a story and its emotional dynamics over successive revisions, she also (without consciously intending to do so) fashioned several dimensions of the film— shot duration, motion, luminance, chroma, and clutter—so as to make them more fractal.

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Elisabeth Hsu

What, if not Durkheim’s ‘collective representations’ acquired during exalted states of effervescence, gives rise to society, culture and science? Marcel Mauss provides another answer by pointing to the different rhythms of social relationships and the human effort to synchronise them. The seasonal cycle of the Eskimo [Inuit], Mauss argues, is in accord with their game; hence people disperse in summer to pursue economic activities in small bands, while they congregate in dense house-complexes in winter and engage in ritual. It would appear that Mauss draws heavily on Boas’s contrast between the Kwakiutl winter celebrations and their ‘uninitiated’ livelihood in summer. These insights have traction for medical anthropologists who are interested in finding an anthropological explanation for the efficaciousness of ‘traditional’ medicines or ‘indigenous’ healing techniques.

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Amiel Bize

Social scientists working in Africa have begun to take an interest in roads and road building. This interest seems to stem from both theoretical and real-world developments: on the one hand, the “material turn” and the recent explosion of interest in infrastructure are drawing scholars’ attention to the “material substrate” that underlies social life; on the other, roads-focused development funding, low-cost Western credit, and the growing role of Chinese investment on the continent have resulted in a proliferation of road-building projects ranging from small rural feeder roads to large megaprojects. This is a moment of rapid change, and focusing on the concrete manifestations of that change offers scholars a rich focal point for understanding the more diffuse effects of a continental trend to make infrastructure the basis of development.

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‘Time Is Like a Soup’

Boat Time and the Temporal Experience of London’s Liveaboard Boaters

Ben Bowles

Itinerant boat-dwellers (‘boaters’) on the waterways of London speak about their lives as occurring in a time zone that is separate from the sedentary world around them. ‘Boat time’, as boaters call it, is simultaneously slow and unpredictable. The slow aspect of boat time is said to provide a much-needed contrast to the fast and highly choreographed movements of the city surrounding the towpaths. It becomes part of the boaters’ rhetoric of difference from, and resistance to, the state and other sedentary elements surrounding them. This article suggests that temporal experiences are a constitutive part of identity, a strategic component of resistance to the sedentary order, and a thread that links the disparate aspects of boaters’ own lives aboard.

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Karen Pearlman

This article proposes that inquiry into the cognitive complexity of film editing processes could provide insight into how edits affect audiences beyond convincing them of temporal and spatial continuity. Application of two influential theories in cognitive studies of the moving image to this inquiry suggests that editors make some decisions to maximize the smooth transference of their own attention and some in response to their own embodied simulation. However, edited sequences that do not conform precisely to the principles of maximum attentional efficiency or that significantly reshape the cinematographer’s “kinematics” (Gallese and Guerra 2012) reveal other cognitive expertise at work. Sequences generated by editors’ feeling for rhythmic phrases of movement, tension, and release create unique expressive forms in film. They require artistry of a higher order, rather than following the relatively straightforward rules of continuity cutting, and may have distinctive affective or cognitive impact on audiences.

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In Appreciation of Metrical Abnormality

Headless Lines and Initial Inversion in Chaucer

Ad Putter

This article examines Chaucer’s use of headless lines and initial inversion in both his short-line verse and his long-line verse, and compares Chaucer’s use of these metrical licences with that of earlier and later English poets. It shows that in Chaucer’s short-line verse headless lines are much more common than is initial inversion, while the exact opposite is true for Chaucer’s iambic pentameter. Analysing the contexts in which these metrical licences occur, I argue that Chaucer (and his predecessors) used them very deliberately, not only for emphasis and rhetorical effect but also to clarify narrative and syntactical organization. Of particular interest is the use of these devices in the context of non-indicative moods, lists and catalogues, direct speeches and changes of addressee, transitions between narrative sections, and enjambement.

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The Moral Imagination

The Art and Soul of Building Peace Association of Conflict Resolution (Sacramento, September 30, 2004)

John Paul Lederach

I am not sure who proposed the phrase 'expanding the art and practice' but it lends itself to what has been preoccupying my professional journey for some years now. I wish to speak about this phrase, about the essence, the 'heart's core', the rhythms and pulse of what is required to build genuine constructive change, what it takes to heal deep divisions, what is vital and necessary to value peace in a polarized world.

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Walking Back to Happiness?

Modern Pilgrimage and the Expression of Suffering on Spain's Camino de Santiago

Keith Egan

This article examines the experiences of walkers along the Spanish Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. It explores their journeys as exercises in narrative adjustment, social practices, and somatic experiences of a crippling loss of control over the course of their lives. Using a phenomenological method of descriptions, the article argues that mobility is a trope that expresses existential issues in a bodily idiom. It draws attention to the value of inter-subjective experience as a potential source of existential mobility, one that finds metaphorical expression in the slow daily rhythms structuring pilgrims' journeys and that impacts on the researcher as much as the pilgrims.