I found it helpful when Eriksen drew the line in the sand about the fundamental questions that anthropology concerns itself with. Here's his Big Three: 1) What is that makes people do whatever they do? 2) How are societies or cultures integrated? 3)To what extent does thought vary from society to society, and how much is similar across cultures?
Are we seeing a shift away from explicitly imagining alternatives to the status quo? Are we even still capable, as a society, of envisaging these alternative imaginaries? There is a ‘discursive regime’ - ie. a way of speaking and discussing ideas that is so pervasive as to become inescapable - at play in discussions of universities (and indeed, the world at large) that precludes the consideration of alternatives to neoliberalisation, marketisation and capitalism more broadly. But systematic application of the imagination can create ideas, and “ideas can change reality, for ideas can turn into reasons for action, which in turn can become causes of change.” (Barnett, 2013, p. 7).
As Helene Mialet’s ethnography examines the role of his assistants, his students, and the media in the social construction of ‘Stephen Hawking: the great genius’, she also shows the subtle ways that some part of Hawking the man remains present, imposes himself on each interaction within his extended network.
Author: Nishadh Rego, a transnational youth, migrant, and new citizen of Australia. He is currently Policy and Advocacy Coordinator at the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Australia. Check out some of his writing here, and follow him on Twitter @ntrego88 It has been both challenging and gratifying to read and comment on Dana Tanu’s innovative and stimulating work … Continue reading Transnational Youth, Culture, and Politics in International Schools