"Rather than always studying poor, peripheral peasants, pastoralists, and fishermen, let’s turn the critical gaze of our discipline, which we do so well, let’s pivot it round like a telescope lens and focus upwards at, [Laura Nader] coined the phrase, ‘the hidden hierarchies of power.’" Cris Shore, professor of social anthropology at the University of … Continue reading Ep. #16 The costs of efficiency: Cris Shore talks neoliberalism in the public sector
Outside the academy, I’m sure the perception remains that academics sit in leather armchairs, gazing out the gilded windows of our ivory towers, thinking all day. That has not been my experience, nor that of anyone I know. My colleagues and peers have, however, experienced levels of anxiety and depression that are six times higher than experienced in the general population. They report higher levels of workaholism, the kind that has a negative and unwanted effect on relationships with loved ones. The picture is often even bleaker for women, people of colour, and other non-White, non-middle-class, non-males. So whether you think academics are ‘delicate woeful souls’ or not, it’s difficult to deny that there is a real problem to be tackled here.
“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
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
Questions about Exploitation and Invisible Work in Academia It is an open "secret" amongst academics that universities exploit the labour of their academic staff, and more importantly, that they exploit the unpaid labour of their academic staff. There are arguments for and against this – doesn’t every vocation evoke unpaid labour? Hasn’t academia always been … Continue reading In Academia, All You Need is Love