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Vital Energy

The Current of Relations

Stephen Gudeman

'Vital energy' is a central idea in the economies of Panama and Colombia. Known as 'strength' or 'force', and assembled from the environment, this current connects all activities in the local economies and establishes relationships, from kin to strangers. Humans compose vital energy, but its sources are limited, and it is expended in use. Its availability is a gift from God and part of the unpredictable fortune that faces everyone. This economy exhibits a contrast between a social current and a market currency. It offers a materialist perspective, provides a critique of standard economics, suggests that sharing rather than reciprocity or rational choice is the 'fundamental' economic practice, and shows how an economy may be a kind of ritual legitimated by a belief in divine power that is displayed through personal fortune.

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No One Can Hold It Back

The Theopolitics of Water and Life in Chilean Patagonia without Dams

Carlota McAllister

the analytics that Povinelli's indigenous interlocutors have developed for engaging things like rocks, fogs, or watery formations as either inspirational animism or primitive totemism. Since vitalism participates in this rendering, Povinelli urges us

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Jeffrey D. Burson

This article explores the relationship of religion, universal histories of philosophy, and eighteenth-century French vitalism in the work of Abbé Claude Yvon. Yvon, while in exile in the Netherlands, was a high-ranking associate of the Masonic societies of The Hague and close to radical publishers. He was also heralded as a materialist and radical Enlightenment partisan. Upon his return to France in 1762, his significant role in the Prades Affair (1752) led to mistrust and scorn on the part of the French clerical establishment, but he also spent the bulk of his later years writing anti-philosophe apologetics for the Catholic Church. This unlikely collision of seemingly inimical career trajectories makes Yvon a figure that transcends common understandings of Catholic Enlightenment, as well as recent scholarly taxonomies of “radical” and “moderate” Enlightenment introduced by Jonathan Israel's controversial synthesis of the age. Yvon's awkward adherence to a kind of “vitalistic materialism” is but one such aspect of his ambivalent position on the peripheries of radical and Catholic Enlightenment currents.

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Dark Night of the Early Modern Soul

Humanists, Clashing Cartesians, Jesuits, and the New Physiology

Jeffrey D. Burson

During the sixteenth century, Jesuit renovations of medieval Aristotelian conceptions of the soul afforded an important discursive field for René Descartes to craft a notion of the soul as a substance distinct from the body and defined by thought. Cartesianism, however, augmented rather than diminished the skeptical crisis over the soul and the mind–body union. This article explores the work of a Jesuit intellectual, René-Joseph Tournemine, whose attempt to navigate between Malebranche’s Cartesianism and the metaphysics of Leibniz proved influential during the eighteenth century in ways that intersect with the development of Enlightenment biological science. Tournemine’s theologically motivated conjectures about the nature of the mind–body union reinforced an important shift away from considering the soul as a metaphysical substance in favor of seeing it as a pervasive motive force or vital principle animating the human organism.

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COVID-19 and Uncertain Intimacy

State–Society Relations in Urban China and Beyond

Jialing Luo

state's effective, but controversial, governance of society. At the grassroots level of Chinese cities, shequ (‘communities’ centred on the Residents’ Committees) have become part of the frontline in the ‘war’ and played a vital role in the containment

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Embodied Vibrations

Disastrous Mobilities in Relocation from the Christchurch Earthquakes, Aotearoa New Zealand

Gail Adams-Hutcheson

that are mobile. Quite simply, life is considered more than a vital energy that must distinguish itself from materiality. Humans and nonhumans (things) can be transformed and set on divergent trajectories by variously temporized forces such as

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How to Survive the Postfeminist Impasse

Grace Helbig’s Affective Aesthetics

Catherine McDermott

(2016) , I would argue that while focusing on emergent feminist political activism is a vital line of investigation, the existence of feminism has never precluded the circulation of anti- or postfeminist ideas and modes of cultural production. However

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Tadashi Hirai

Participation is vital in societal development. It gives people a sense of ownership in their lives. It also renders development projects and practices both effective and accountable. To the extent that it has such significance, it is subject not

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Liana Chua and Omri Grinberg

-Moreira, Hänsch, this issue). At a time when ‘real’ and ‘fake’ are increasingly blurred, and anthropologists’ research subjects and other agents are producing their own testimonies and representations, it is vital to rethink what it means for anthropologists to

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Experiencing Anticipation. Anthropological Perspectives

Christopher Stephan and Devin Flaherty

anthropological attempts to theorize social processes, the temporality of anticipatory experience indicates a vital domain for ethnographic and theoretical intervention. Anticipation takes place within lived duration, which raises the empirical question of how