Ep. #3 The flies that bind: Assa Doron talks mobile phones, policy impact, and waste in India

iTunes Button (via NiftyButtons.com)“The flies that go from feces into the water, into the food, don’t look at your bank account…” When a problem cuts across social divisions, “we call this the ‘binding crisis.’  What are the ‘binding crises’ that would generate enough political will and drive amongst a population that’s polarized around caste, class, gender?”Subscribe on Android

Dr. Assa Doron, Associate Professor of anthropology at ANU (https://researchers.anu.edu.au/researchers/doron-a), spoke to our own Ian Pollock about India’s waste, both liquid and solid, and the physical and institutional infrastructures that handle it — or fail to. This wide-ranging conversation also touches on the transformative effects of cheap mobile phones on India’s poor, how trash turns back into treasure, how to write anthropology that’s both “appealing and authoritative,” and where to find schnitzel on the Subcontinent. To keep up with Assi’s research, follow him on Twitter @AssaDoron, and like the ANU South Asia Research Institute on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SARIatANU/.

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Carlebach, E. הודו: יומן דרכים (Hodo: Yoman Drakhim; 1st ed. הוצאת עיינות, Tel Aviv 1956), ספרית מעריב. Tel Aviv-Yafo 1986. (For some reason I couldn’t find an English citation, but the English title is “India: Account of a Voyage.”)

Books of Assi’s mentioned in the show:

Doron, A. (2008) Caste, Occupation and Politics on the Ganges: Passages of resistance, Ashgate Publishing Ltd.

Doron, A. & Jeffrey, R. (2013) The great Indian phone book: how the cheap cell phone changes business, politics, and daily life, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.

Doron, A. & Jeffrey R. (in press, 2018) Waste of a Nation: garbage and growth in India, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.

For his other work, check out his page at Academia.edu: http://anu-au.academia.edu/AssaDoron

This anthropology podcast is supported by the Australian Anthropological Society, the schools of Culture, History, and Language and Archaeology and Anthropology at Australian National University, and the Australian Centre for the Public Awareness of Science. Music by Pete Dabro: https://dabro1.bandcamp.com/releases

Feature image by Miran Rijavec shared under CC license on Flickr.

Show notes by Ian Pollock


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