In this special section, we conceptualise ‘Skilled mediations’ to examine the following questions from several ethnographic perspectives: How do skills and media interact, enable and limit our engagement in our material and social environments? How can this be studied ethnographically? We take our previous works on ‘skilled visions’ and ‘enskilment’ as starting points to define skilled mediation as a mode of engagement with the senses, practice, skill and media.
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Cristina Grasseni and Thorsten Gieser
Committee as Witness
Ethics Review as a Technology of Collective Attestation
distant, professionalized viewer, one for whom an idea of objectivity hovers. However, as I go on to show, there are important and interesting departures. My argument proceeds in four parts. I am interested first in how the collective vision of the
the status quo, thus advancing “a vision of a new society and a new life” (Duarte 1987–1988: 51). The priest was not the only one who speculated about the existence of “cargo cults” in East Timor. When in 2011 the East Timorese government (by then
Egyptian Antiquities and Contested Histories in the Cairo Museum
During the Egyptian revolution in January 2011, the antiquities museum in Tahrir Square became the focus of press attention amid claims of looting and theft, leading Western organizations and media outlets to call for the protection of Egypt’s ‘global cultural heritage’. What passed without remark, however, was the colonial history of the Cairo museum and its collections, which has shaped their postcolonial trajectory. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Cairo museum was a pivotal site for demonstrating control of Egypt on the world stage through its antiquities. More than a century later, these colonial visions of ancient Egypt, and its place in museums, continue to exert their legacy, not only in the challenges faced by the Egyptian Antiquities Museum at a crucial stage of redevelopment, but also in terms of museological practice in the West.
The production of models, narratives or ‘visions’ of the 1930s, as with any other periodising, involves processes of selection and rejection, inclusion and exclusion. It is a matter of no small interest that one of the most significant areas of exclusion from such paradigms has been the Empire. This article points to, but hardly constitutes a rectification of, that situation. Rather than any attempt at ‘the big picture’, in its allotted space it offers more in the way of a thumbnail sketch, but one which aims at something like a symptomatic relevance in its juxtaposition of two areas of textual production to give a sense of the ideological and political struggles taking place via the various envisionings and revisionings of imperialism in this period.
The Visual Culture of the Congo Free State and Fin de Siècle Europe
Matthew G. Stanard
” was epitomized in images that placed the explorer himself in a heroic, apical role, surveying the land and encountering, perhaps leading, anonymous groups of Africans. 13 This was also a gendered vision: the continent south of the Sahara became an
This article explores the representation of sexuality and vision in Elfriede Jelinek's Die Klavierspielerin [The Piano Teacher] (1983) and Michael Haneke's La Pianiste (2001). In its focus on the relation between Mother and Erika, Die Klavierspielerin brings right to the fore the grounding of both sexuality and visuality in the ongoing ties between mother and child. Displacing that novel onto the screen, Haneke redoubles its focus on vision. It is in the convergence between the two that we can begin to explore what may be described as the maternal dimension of the various technologies of vision that have come to pervade the everyday experience of looking—their effect on our ways of understanding the relations between visuality and selfhood, visuality and mind.
In this article, skilled vision is presented as a capacity acquired in a community of practice that enables specific ways of knowing and acting in the world. The analysis of skilled vision is obtained through the ethnographic study of the artefacts and the routines that structure certain ecologies of practice. The example chosen is that of the skilled gaze of animal breeders, in particular of the children of dairy cow breeders who, by playing with relevant toys and emulating the adult world of cattle fairs and exhibitions, learn how to value certain criteria of animal beauty and to "discipline" their vision accordingly.
Kevin W. Sweeney
Book Review of Malcolm Turvey, Doubting Vision: Film and the Revelationist Tradition
Peripheral vision as anthropological critique
How perspectives from the margins can illuminate the exploits of twenty-first-century global capitalism
Cris Shore and Susanna Trnka
In the context of rapid neoliberal reform, both anthropology as a discipline and the social and cultural phenomena it studies are undergoing profound changes. In this article we develop June Nash's concept of “peripheral vision” to show how peripheries, and the politics of “peripheralization”, can illuminate processes of neoliberalization and the implications that this has for anthropological knowledge production. We argue that anthropology is uniquely situated to examine the conceptual blind spots produced by capitalism. By recasting “peripheral vision” as an analytic concept and methodological tool, we show how cultivating our ethnographic sensibilities to identify and hone in on events and processes that lie beyond our immediate field of vision can provide a useful antidote to the seductive fantasies of contemporary capitalism. In doing so, we also suggest how this approach can help counter some of the increasing strictures on knowledge production and narrowing of the research imagination that neoliberal reforms impose.