Elizabeth has an agency all of her own, albeit one that we might not be familiar with, and so to reduce her experience only to the ties of sociality that bind her to others, is I think, to miss a significant portion of the story.
I was determined to make sure that I was never bored during my fieldwork. Vibrant informants and constant social interaction were to be the key to my successful defeat of apathy. And yet, when it came to the crunch, I frequently found myself bored.
“Any concept -- capitalism, neoliberalism, etc. -- leaves an excess that it is the aim of anthropology to unearth. These are spaces that are not dominated by whatever’s dominating at a specific time. So there are existing alternatives, there are not just imaginary alternatives.... Anthropology in this sense does provide the possibility of thinking of … Continue reading Ep. #11 Alternative worlds: Ghassan Hage talks multiculturalism, teaching the enemy, & thinking in public
I still remember vividly the words of an informant who, when asking him about his vision of a freer Iran, responded adamantly, “we don’t need more freedom, what we need is less corruption”. While such a view is not obviously universally transposable, I think it taps into a certain social current.
As the dust settles on Iran’s recent bout of protests, the surge of commentary, punditry, and analysis is likely to continue, no longer working to explain these apparently ‘spontaneous’ protests, so much as to understand why they have petered out. Much of the commentary on what has been labelled the ‘greatest challenge to the Islamic … Continue reading The Price of Eggs: Iran beyond liberalism and capitalism
For those of us who have grown up in the ‘West’, we tend to think of religion as a customizable category. Some of us are born into a particular sect, others with no particular orientation, and as we travel through life, we’re presented with a panoply of options from which to choose. Many of us … Continue reading Like a Skin
On the 7th of September 2017, Syrian national Mouaz Al-Nass, a singer and drummer, recorded and then uploaded a video of himself reciting the adhan, the Islamic call to prayer, in the Alhambra palace in Grenada, Spain. In the video, Al-Nass concludes his declaration by saying that he believed the walls had missed the call … Continue reading The Restitution of the Dead
Anthropologists love to compare themselves to tourists. Nothing more confirms the merit of anthropology and its commitment to ‘in-depth’ fieldwork than the cultural missteps of globetrotters – especially wealthy Western ones – as they bumble through quagmires of etiquette and faux pas in the act of rubbing up against foreign cultures across the world. Anthropologists … Continue reading Ethnographers vs ‘Tourists’
Most of us will have seen over the past few days images of refugees, green card holders, and travellers, arriving in US airports only to be told that they have been denied entry on the basis of President Trump’s executive order banning entry to citizens of Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Iran. The … Continue reading Trump Misunderstands Iran
Growing up in middle class Australia, concepts of tolerance, respect, and the abstract celebration of diversity were part and parcel of my family’s commitment to multiculturalism as a social principle. People were different – and that was A Good Thing. After all, if we were all the same it would be well, pretty boring. In … Continue reading Experiencing Multiculturalism: When is Diversity, Diverse?