Global connections and the environment, multi-species relations and histories, the relations that make landscapes and persons who and what they are: such interests and their interdisciplinary evocations are prominent in much anthropology now – but especially perhaps in the work of Anna Tsing. Her opening article in this issue presents us with the striking image of Man stalking the Earth. This figure, Tsing stresses, is ‘the one who got us into the mess we call the Anthropocene’. We are confronted here with some deleterious manifestations of post-Enlightenment modernity, but through elements of post-humanism and new materialisms, in a powerful language that takes us on a tour of various ‘machines of replication’ and a patchy Anthropocene composed of ‘assemblages of liveability’. This article is provocative, giving new shape and attention to some difficult problems.

The Special Section that follows focuses on temporal agency and does so in a new way through the idea of ‘time-tricking’. This collection of articles, guest edited by Felix Ringel and Roxanne Moroşanu, draws ethnographic attention to ways in which people attempt to modify, manage, bend, speed up, slow down or otherwise structure or restructure the times they are living in. Examples are taken from the UK, Greece and Yemen. The ‘deadlines’ that journal production imposes readily become part of the ethnography, too. More generally, Laura Bear’s Afterword to this section suggests that a focus on time-tricking can help us to understand the technologies of imagination, the ethics and the inequalities of what is generally seen as secular and ‘capitalist’ modern time.

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