Jornada Internacional “Antropología y nacionalismo”

Dimecres 15 d’abril té lloc la Jornada Internacional “Antropología y Nacionalismo. Aproximaciones a los fenómenos nacionales hoy“, a la Sala d’Actes de la Facultat de Filosofia i Lletres UAB, organitzada pel grup de recerca AHCISP.

El objetivo de la Jornada Internacional es contribuir, a través de las propuestas realizadas desde la antropología, la historia y las ciencias sociales en general, al debate sobre un tema clave en la sociedad contemporánea, y más aún en nuestro territorio hoy: los nacionalismos y su interpretación. Se pretende proporcionar un acercamiento al fenómeno nacional desde la perspectiva teórica y etnográfica, ofreciendo propuestas explicativas y ejemplos concretos que permitan una mejor comprensión del hecho nacional y su expresión en forma de demandas nacionalistas en diferentes áreas geográficas.

Trobareu el programa complet aquí

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Special Issue: Dichotomous Identities? Indigenous and Non-Indigenous People and the Intercultural in Australia



Writing Culture and the Life of Anthropology


Using the influential and field-changing Writing Culture as a point of departure, the thirteen essays in Writing Culture and the Life of Anthropology address anthropology’s past, present, and future.  The contributors, all leading figures in anthropology today, reflect back on the “writing culture” movement of the 1980s, consider its influences on ethnographic research and writing, and debate what counts as ethnography in a post-Writing Culture era. They address questions of ethnographic method, new forms the presentation of research might take, and the anthropologist’s role. Exploring themes such as late industrialism, precarity, violence, science and technology, globalization, and the non-human world, this book is essential reading for those looking to understand the current state of anthropology and its possibilities going forward.

Contributors. Anne Allison, James Clifford, Michael M.J. Fischer, Kim Fortun, Richard Handler, John L. Jackson, Jr., George E. Marcus, Charles Piot, Hugh Raffles, Danilyn Rutherford, Orin Starn, Kathleen Stewart, Michael Taussig, Kamala Visweswaran

About The Author(s)

Orin Starn is Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. He is the author of The Passion of Tiger Woods: An Anthropologist Reports on Golf, Race, and Celebrity Scandal and Nightwatch: The Politics of Protest in the Andes, and the coeditor of The Peru Reader, all also published by Duke University Press.

Kristin Peterson’s Speculative Markets: Drug Circuits and Derivative Life in Nigeria

speculative markets

by Kristin Peterson

Duke University Press, 2014, 256 pages.

Chemical Arbitrage

We tend to think of pharmaceuticals as chemical matter caught up in complicated legal and economic relationships, but it is probably more useful to think of them as legal artifacts oriented towards a potential (but by no means guaranteed) biochemical fulfillment. Up until they enter our bodies, when they are being discovered and developed, patented, registered, packaged, sold and bought, pharmaceuticals trade in promises of therapeutic and financial value that are sustained, first and foremost, by legal means. “Legal” doesn’t mean here clearly and conclusively defined, but rather the opposite: a form of ambiguity that sustains a practice of continuous speculation. While they circulate in networks of exchange, pharmaceuticals are best understood as legal fictions. As Lon Fuller put it: lies that are not meant to deceive (Fuller 1930).

In her book Speculative Markets (previously reviewed by Emilie Cloatre), an ethnographic investigation of pharmaceutical trading in Nigeria, Kristin Peterson introduces us into a world where lies proliferate but deception seems to be in short supply. This is a world where vast quantities of drugs of dubious provenance and questionable efficacy change hands in places that are ostensibly not markets, at prices that shift quickly and wildly and for no obvious reason. Yet this is also a world where everybody seems alert to the mismatch between appearance and reality, and stands ready to capitalize on this discrepancy to eke out a meager living. Everybody, that is, except the final user of the drug, the patient in need of medical treatment who, arriving at the end of a long chain of transactions, must consume a product that is for all intents and purposes indecipherable and likely to be inefficacious at best.

The most obvious lie featured in Peterson’s story is that of the counterfeit, the fake drug disguising its true identity and claiming to be something that it is not. In Peterson’s account, however, “fake” is a suitably elastic concept. Next to the product intentionally advertising a false corporate identity (an improperly branded drug), one encounters deliberately or accidentally adulterated generics, truthfully branded products manufactured under substandard conditions (or marketed for the wrong indication), and multiple combinations of all of the above.

It is easy to get lost and give up any hope of certainty in this world of pharmaceutical make-believe – elsewhere Peterson has described the unknowability that besets both the participant and the observer of these shadowy market exchanges as a “phantom epistemology” (Peterson 2009) – but Speculative Markets usefully shifts our attention from the elusive identity of products to a more relevant set of questions: what are the mechanisms that sustain this seemingly uncontainable process of speculation on the quality of pharmaceuticals, who benefits from it, and how does it impact those in need of medical care? For the ultimate legal fiction at stake here is not the fraudulent commodity, deceitful as it might be, but the medium through which that commodity circulates: the idea of the market as an abstract space of exchange where supply and demand meet through the mechanism of price to produce public welfare.


Emakumea eta lana, Euskal Museoan


XX. mende hasierako argazkiak dira, emakumeak baserri eta itsas portuetako beharretik lan merkatura eginiko jauziaren lekukoak. Bilboko Euskal Museoan, ekainaren 25a arte.


Gerard Horta i Daniel Malet

Hiace es un modelo de furgoneta para el transporte colectivo interurbano muy extendido por el África continental e insular. Por ello, dos antropólogos irrumpen durante tres otoños en Santiago a fin de desarrollar el trabajo de campo de una investigación que refleja los vínculos entre el proceso de motorización africano y la historia general y las experiencias colectivas del transporte rodado en Cabo Verde. Así, se analizan las transformaciones urbanas, las relaciones de poder, las carreteras santiaguenses como fenómeno social, la siniestralidad viaria, las dimensiones económicas, laborales, simbólicas e instrumentales de esos vehículos, la cotidianidad de sus conductores y pasajeros, la polifacética perpetuación colonial, la regularización de “lo informal”, etc.

Lo que resulta es una etnografía tan fascinante como sorprendente, en ocasiones hilarante y en ocasiones desgarradora, basada en centenares de viajes en hiace y que avanza junto al compartir diario de las vidas de la gente.


How the next stage of the Internet’s evolution will connect humans and machines

Soon, 10 years from now, while looking for a new restaurant, you’ll search Google and find a nearby prospect. You’ll peruse the menu and, once intrigued, you’ll pick a dish, say “Smell,” and a special device will emit the odor of that dish.

Then, via another device, you’ll taste a sample. Satisfied, you’ll say, “Reservation for two, tonight, 7:30.”

Congratulations, you just made a dinner reservation in 2025.

Modal Trigger“The Internet of Things” refers to the next stage of the Internet’s evolution. While social media and mass data collection have connected us all in ways most could never have imagined, technology’s next phase will bring an even greater level of connectedness — especially between humans and machines.

According to author Samuel Greengard, “ ‘The Internet of Things’ represents a more evolved and advanced state where physical and digital worlds are blended into a single space.”

We will soon exist, he says, in a single, technologically connected ecosystem with all the physical items in our lives, from refrigerators and microwave ovens to our cars, wired into each other.

He quotes networking firm Cisco Systems as stating that “more than 1.5 trillion ‘things’ exist in the physical world, and 99 percent of physical objects will eventually become part of a network.”

The Internet of Things is enabled by several factors, including the rise of cloud computing, which makes for easy transfer of digital information, and radio frequency identification — or RFID — which uses microchips to read information from sensors and monitor product use and condition.


Noam Chomsky: El objetivo de la educación: La deseducación


Water, Technology, and Western Hubris

The incredible infrastructure we’ve put in place to move resources from one place to another is just that: incredible. And that’s why we rarely think about it, and why we’ve been taking water for granted for too long.


Owens River. (Photo: Mav/Wikimedia Commons)
Owens River. (Photo: Mav/Wikimedia Commons)

In The Sun Also Rises, one of Ernest Hemingway’s dissolute characters was asked how he went bankrupt. “Two ways,” he answered. “Gradually, then suddenly.”

California’s day of reckoning has come in a similar way. Heavy agricultural use of water has gone on for decades, even as the annual snowfall in the Sierra Nevada Mountains has slowly deteriorated, accelerating during the drought of the past four years. Then on March 12, Jay Famiglietti, a senior water scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a professor at the University of California-Irvine, announced in a controversial Los Angeles Times op-ed that California had only one year of water stored in its reservoirs.

If we use enough water, we can even make deserts bloom, suburbia shocking shades of green, and golf courses lush refuges—all the bizarre modern oases that define Southern California.