The Friday anthropology seminars are finally coming back on September 25th. We are beginning with Loretta Lou’s talk on freeganism and freecycling in Hong Kong (see below). The seminars will be held 4:15 – 5:45 pm on Fridays this semester, because of the time difference for some of our speakers.
Loretta Ieng Tak Lou, University of Macau and LSE will give a paper Freedom as ethical practices: on the possibility of freedom through freeganism and freecycling in Hong Kong on Friday, 25th September, 4:15 pm – 5:45 pm, Zoom
Although the idea of freedom has been well studied as an ideal in political philosophy, relatively little scholarship has focused on the human experience of freedom. Drawing on ethnographic research between 2012 and 2013, I examine how freedom was achieved by people who practice freeganism and freecycling in Hong Kong. I show that the freedom that these people pursue, either individually or collectively, is not a freedom without constraints but a freedom that must be attained through the exercise of deliberation, restraint, and self-discipline. While freegans seek liberation by withdrawing from the world and practicing self-cultivation (chushi asceticism), freecyclers do so by engaging with worldly affairs in order to create social changes (rushi asceticism). In both cases, by reimagining freedom as ethical practices rather than a right that comes naturally with birth, freegans and freecyclers in Hong Kong are able to experience moments of freedom despite inevitable structural constraints.
Dr Loretta Ieng Tak Lou is a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Macau, and currently a Visiting Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE). Contact her: email@example.com
[…] So, where does fake news figure into all of this? I would like to suggest that fake news—both as deliberately false news stories and as a political epithet—constitutes a particular way of participating in a public. Let me explain.
Doctor Andrew Graan was invited to participate in Political and Legal Anthropology Review’s online series ‘Emergent Conversations’ with Meg Stalcup from the University of Ottawa and Adam Hodges from the University of Colorado Boulder. In this conversation, the researchers share their views on fake news, disinformation, and political propaganda. Below you can find a link to the first part of the conversation below.
”Lines, traces, and tidemarks: further reflections on forms of border” in 2018, The political materialities of borders: new theoretical directions. Demetriou, O. & Dimova, R. (eds.). 1 ed. Manchester: University of Manchester, Vol. 2. p. 67-83 17 p. (Rethinking Borders). You can access the paper through the research portal.
Heidi Härkönen, currently working as an Academy of Finland post-doctoral researcher in Gender studies at the University of Helsinki, was awarded funding (163 200 euros) from the Kone Foundation for a four-year research project entitled, “Emerging Digitalisation in Contemporary Cuba: Politics, Values, and Everyday Practices.” The project explores ethnographically the unpredictable political and social consequences of Cuba’s on-going incorporation into the global digital circulations, namely the proliferation of mobile phone technology, wireless internet connectivity, and the use of domestic digital devices. Dr. Härkönen will re-join the Helsinki Anthropology discipline in September 2020 when she will begin work on her new project.
Elina I. Hartikainen. 2019. Candomblé and the Academic’s Tools: Religious Expertise and the Binds of Recognition in Brazil. American Anthropologist. https://doi.org/10.1111/aman.13272
Latin American state efforts to recognize ethnically and racially marked populations have focused on knowledge and expertise. This article argues that this form of state recognition does not only call on subaltern groups to present themselves in a frame of expertise. It also pushes such groups to position themselves and their social and political struggles in a matrix based on expertise and knowledge. In the context of early 2000s Brazil, the drive to recognition led activists from the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomble ́ to reimagine the religion’s practitioners’ long- term engagements with scholars and scholarly depictions of the religion as a form of epistemological exploitation that had resulted in public misrecognition of the true source of knowledge on the religion: Candomble ́ practitioners. To remedy this situation, the activists called on Candomble ́ practitioners to appropriate the “academic’s tools,” the modes of representation by which scholarly expertise and knowledge were performed and recognized by the general public and state officials. This strategy transformed religious structures of expertise and knowledge in ways that established a new, politically efficacious epistemological grounding for Candomble ́ practitioners’ calls for recognition. But it also further marginalized temples with limited connections or access to scholars and higher education. [politics of recognition, politics of expertise, state recognition, Candomble ́ religion, Brazil]
Nico Besnier (University of Amsterdam / Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies) will present the paper “Utopia Modern: Palm Springs in the American Imaginary” in the Anthropology Friday seminar on Friday 11 October, 2-4 pm, (Unioninkatu 35, room 114).
Abstract. How to understand utopia when different groups conceptualize it in different ways? This is the fundamental question of my ongoing fieldwork in the city of Palm Springs in the California desert, originally the land of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indian and was, at the end of the 19th century invaded by white settlers in search of the healing powers of the desert climate. Later it became the playground for Hollywood stars, suddenly affluent post-war middle-classes, gays and lesbians looking for an oasis of tolerance, and the homeless, all driven by utopic quests lined with dystopic realities. At the end of the millennium, it was claimed again by the Indian tribe, who established ultra-capitalist casinos. The heterogeneity of the utopic projects leads us to a rethinking of the meaning of utopia in the 21st century.
The book was edited by Clifford Sather and Timo Kaartinen, and includes essays by several prominent anthropologists writing about cosmologies, or schemes in terms of which people “locate themselves … in constantly changing circumstances of life”. It is dedicated to Jukka Siikala in celebration of his 60th birthday in 2007.
Tenhunen, Sirpa 2018. A Village Goes Mobile: Telephony, Mediation, and Social Change in Rural India. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780190630270.
In A Village Goes Mobile: Telephony, Mediation and Social Change in Rural India, Sirpa Tenhunen examines how the mobile telephone has contributed to social change in rural India. Tenhunen’s long-term ethnographic fieldwork in West Bengal began before the village had a phone system in place and continued through the introduction and proliferation of the smartphone. She here analyzes how mobile telephones emerged as multidimensional objects which, in addition to enabling telephone conversations, facilitated status aspirations, internet access, and entertainment practices. She explores how this multifaceted use of mobile phones has affected agency and power dynamics in economic, political, and social relationships, and how these new social constellations relate to culture and development.
In eight chapters, Tenhunen asks such questions as: Who benefits from mobile telephony and how? Can people use mobile phones to change their lives, or does phone use merely amplify existing social patterns and power relationships? Can mobile telephony induce development? Going beyond the case of West Bengal, Tenhunen develops a framework to understand how new media mediates social processes within interrelated social spheres and local hierarchies by relating, mediasaturated forms of interaction to pre-existing contexts.