Collecting Relationships: the Phenomenon of Ooshies

Anthropologists have long acknowledged that ownership is a far more complex phenomenon than it seems at first. What on the surface appears to be a relationship between you and an object is actually a relationship between you, the object and everyone else. To borrow David Graeber’s example: “when one buys a car one is not really purchasing the right to use it so much as the right to prevent others from using it”.

“It’s a lot of sand”: An anthropological take on Trump’s Syrian withdrawal

That Syria has “a lot of sand” is meant to stand in for its lack of value. As a place that is sandy, it is not worth US lives; good enough for less valued Syrians and Russians but not good enough for Americans ... But it also got me thinking about a more fundamental question. Why is it that we, in the Anglo-American world, devalue ‘sand’?

The arguments against climbing Uluru… and why people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones

Author: Dr. Yasmine Musharbash, senior lecturer in anthropology at the Australian National University. The focus of her ethnographic work has been on Warlpiri people living in Yuendumu, in the Northern Territory, Australia. Her interests include the anthropology of the everyday, human/other-than-human interactions, and the anthropology of emotion. Editorial note: On July 15th 2019, an Australian … Continue reading The arguments against climbing Uluru… and why people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones