Browsing by Subject "ANTHROPOLOGY"

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  • Teppo, Annika (2013)
  • Siragusa, Laura; Zhukova, Ol'ga Yu (2021)
    This article undermines the actuality of a strict boundary between language and materiality by presenting verbal charms (puheged, vajhed/pakitas in Vepsian) among Veps, an Indigenous minority group of Northwest Russia. Vepsian verbal charms are ritualizedways of speaking that are customarily used to prompt a change in both human beings and environments in very tangibleways. When observing how they are conceived, distributed, and performed among Veps, the rigid separation between "material" and "immaterial" realms begins to be felt as an artificial construction, since Veps understand that in the act of "blowing" air accompanied by the recitation of "specificwords," human and often non-human agencies join forces to promote changes in people and the environment. This paper engages not onlywith the academic interest in the material intersections between language and the world (see, Cavanaugh and Shankar 2017; Keane 2008a; Wiener 2013, to name a few), but also aims to reframe the notion of "event" as a transformative and suspended encounter between human and often non-human agencies (Kapferer 2015) and thus deepen our understanding of what living relationally might entail.
  • Siragusa, Laura; Westman, Clinton; Moritz, Sarah (2020)
    We introduce and elaborate on the notion of "shared breath" as a way of understanding human and nonhuman copresence and offer descriptions and narratives about three Indigenous groups in Russia and Canada, namely, Veps, Western Woods Cree, and Interior Salish St'at'imc. These data illustrate vividly how the underused metaphor of shared breath sheds light on active participation in life by and respectful relations with nonhuman beings, thus surpassing other overly used spatial, physical, and spiritual metaphors. We move beyond the physical aspects of discrete spaces and materials in extending consideration to pertinent metaphorical and tangible aspects of the verbal, sonorous, and ritual performances undertaken by humans in order to negotiate and reinforce relations with other beings. Relationality is continuously accommodated and regenerated by human and nonhuman agencies through ritual acts that include blowing, chants, breathing, drumming, visualizing, and smoking. The shared breath through which these encounters take place emblematizes turning moments, when new directions may be taken and long-term relations of respect may be established, validated, and reinforced. Shared breath is both a medium and a modality of shamanic and animist relationality, offering a new way of looking at human-nonhuman contact and exchange in animist ritual contexts and beyond.
  • Welsh, John W (2021)
    This historical materialist analysis places rankings into the imperatives both to govern and to accumulate, and positions academic ranking in particular as the telos of a more general audit culture. By identifying how rankings effect not merely a quantification of qualities, but a numeration of quantities, we can expose how state governments, managerial strata and political elites achieve socially stratifying political objectives that actually frustrate the kind of market-rule for which rankings have been hitherto legitimised among the public. The insight here is that rankings make of audit techniques neither simply a market proxy, nor merely the basis for bureaucratic managerialism, but a social technology or 'apparatus' (dispositif) that simultaneously substitutes and frustrates market operations in favour of a more acutely stratified social order. This quality to the operation of rankings can then be connected to the chronic accumulation crisis that is the neoliberal regime of political economy, and to the growing political appetite therein for power-knowledge techniques propitious for oligarchy formation and accumulation-by-dispossession in the kind of low-growth and zero-sum environment typical in real terms to societies dominated by financialisation. A dialectical approach to rankings is suggested, so that a more effective engagement with their internal and practical contradictions can be realised in a way that belies the market-myths of neoliberal theory.
  • Graan, Andrew (2022)
    The project form—the very model of ‘a project’ as a type of purposive and transformative action—animates social environments the world over. As a social form, projects constitute a versatile, organizational structure predicated on the management of time, tasks, and resources toward some pre-determined, non-routine goal. Projects combine logistical practical reasoning with visionary aspirational ends. They readily appear across fields of science, education, business, government, and the arts. This essay inquires into the conditions and consequences of the project form, asking: how have norms and practices of project making shaped historical formations, social environments, and our understanding of them? In answering this question, the essay contextualizes the project form within a history of the modern world system. It then develops a theory of the project form, illustrating how the logistical and visionary aspects of projects emerge as effects of genre-mediated processes of project making. Finally, the essay considers how social theories that are blind to the project form risk naturalizing its logics. Through these steps, the essay reflects on the limits and limitations of the project form. This essay is part of the special issue, ’Genre Work in the New Economy,’ edited by Ilana Gershon and Michael Prentice.