The Rat Paths of New York

Most New York animals stay close to home. Yes, itinerant coyotes will traverse the parks by night, and raccoons might travel half a mile in search of better trash, skunks a little less. But feral cats won’t stray three blocks beyond where they were born, and few mice will venture more than a hundred feet from their burrows in a lifetime. Rats seldom stray far from home, either. But they get where they’re going more easily than other New York animals, because they are more like us. The city suits them.

“With rats, the map is almost three-dimensional: the surface, the buildings, everything underneath,” Jason Munshi-South told me. We were rat-spotting in Lower Manhattan, and Munshi-South, an urban ecologist who is an associate professor at Fordham, was explaining what he’d discovered after studying New York rats, also known as Norway rats or brown rats, for three years. They cannot, as legend has it, collapse their skeletons to fit through cracks, nor are they especially bold; indeed, they’re “neophobic,” which means they won’t touch a new object, even unfamiliar food, for at least two days and sometimes as long as a week. They nearly always follow the same routes to their food sources. They sleep, on and off, for about 10 hours a day, and the rest of the time they travel in tight, well-worn paths. Munshi-South’s back-of-the-envelope estimate is that they take at least 2,800 steps a day, compared with the average American human’s 5,000 or so.


Perspectives in Anthropology-May 2015

Perspectives in Anthropology – Newsletter – May 2015
View this email in your browser


This Month’s Cover Story:The Universality of Truth

What about the concept of truth – and is it a universal or just a construct? Does it cross cultural, linguistic, social, and scientific boundaries in an attempt to define and validate our understanding, practices and systems of knowledge? This month we attempt to explain what is underneath a concept so complex.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Beginning in May 2015 – Perspectives will feature Classifieds – Jobs in Anthropology. Many of the available positions are for researchers, instructors, technicians as well as scientists and offers a wide range of areas. Also, we will feature a new Book Catalog.

Lecture Series
This month’s keynote lecturer: Marily Strathernlecturing on “Being one, being multiple: a future for anthropological relations.”

Documentary Series
A very revealing documentary on Feminism and Feminist Anthropology with interviews from a wide variety of women anthropologist and activists.
If you like our content, please do not forget to SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube Channel. Thank you.
Copyright © 2015, Perspectives in Anthropology IBM, All rights reserved.Our mailing address is:
CD Supremo Av Santos Dumont 1893
BL-03, Apt 603, Estrada do Coco
Lauro de Freitas, BA 42700
Brazilunsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences

The Hidden Past of Claude Lévi-Strauss

The anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss died six years ago, leaving behind a treasure trove of correspondence and unpublished writings. We can now trace where his ideas came from and how they evolved.

I admired Lévi-Strauss during my time as an anthropology student because he asked questions that Marxist anthropologists would never ask. That’s why I preferred to call myself a Marxisant, and not a full-blown Marxist. I especially admired him for addressing the issue of nature versus nurture, which had once been a leading issue in anthropology but was now studiously ignored. Only he, it seemed, could defy this omertà and not suffer any ill effects, perhaps because of his age and status.

In his best known tome, The Elementary Structures of Kinship, this issue dominated the first chapter:

Man is both a biological being and a social individual. Among his responses to external or internal stimuli, some are wholly dependent upon his nature, others upon his social environment.

Lévi-Strauss admitted that the two were not always easy to separate:

Culture is not merely juxtaposed to [biological] life nor superimposed upon it, but in one way serves as a substitute for life, and in the other, uses and transforms it, to bring about the synthesis of a new order.


The anthropology of deep history†

  1. Clive Gamble*

Article first published online: 13 NOV 2014

DOI: 10.1111/1467-9655.12140

Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Volume 21Issue 1pages 147–164March 2015

‘The problem of delimitation’: parataxis, bureaucracy, and Ecuador’s popular and solidarity economy

Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Volume 21Issue 1pages 106–126March 2015


The values of ‘anarchy’: moral autonomy among Tubu-speakers in northern Chad

  1. Judith Scheele*

Article first published online: 13 NOV 2014

DOI: 10.1111/1467-9655.12141

Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Volume 21, Issue 1, pages 32–48, March 2015


AIBR, Revista de Antropología Iberoamericana

Volumen 9, Número 2
Mayo – Agosto, 2014

Periodicidad cuatrimestral
Indexada en ISI Web of Knowledge (SSCI)
ISSN: 1695-9752. EISSN: 1578-9705
Articles in English
Catálogo de libros, novedades (pdf)

| Texto completo PDF

Iconografías emergentes y muertes patrimonializadas en América Latina: Santa Muerte, muertos milagrosos y muertos adoptados
Juan Antonio Flores Martos
DOI: 10.11156/aibr.090202
Resumen | PDF Español | Citar | Exportar cita | Estadísticas

Construir un barrio organizado: políticas habitacionales y categorías socioespaciales en una villa de Buenos Aires
María Cecilia Ferraudi Curto
DOI: 10.11156/aibr.090203
Resumen | PDF Español | Citar | Exportar cita | Estadísticas

Pobreza y exclusión social en Madrid: viejos temas y nuevas propuestas
Pilar Monreal Requena
DOI: 10.11156/aibr.090204
Resumen | PDF Español | Citar | Exportar cita | Estadísticas

En torno al parentesco transnacional: contextualización y consideraciones teórico-metodológicas
Dan Rodríguez García
DOI: 10.11156/aibr.090205
Resumen | PDF Español | Citar | Exportar cita | Estadísticas


Brujas, magos e incrédulos en la España del Siglo de Oro: Microhistoria cultural de ciudades encantadas (María Lara Martínez)
Francisco Javier Espinosa
DOI: 10.11156/aibr.0902lib
Resumen | Texto completo PDF | Estadísticas

The tourist gaze 3.0 (John Urry y Jonas Larsen)
Daniel Carmona Zubiri
DOI: 10.11156/aibr.0902lib
Resumen | Texto completo PDF | Estadísticas


Transacting ontologies

Kockelman’s sieves and a Bayesian anthropology

Bill MAURER, University of California—Irvine

Meditation on KOCKELMAN, Paul. 2013. “The anthropology of an equation: Sieves, spam filters, agentive algorithms, and ontologies of transformation.” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 3 (3): 33–61.

To understand Paul Kockelman’s article, “The anthropology of an equation,” it is more important to grasp its form, the set of relations built into it, than it is to learn his specific vocabulary. As he says here and elsewhere in his writings, if you don’t like the words he’s using—because they seem overly analytical, too Peircean, “not ethnographic”—then use your own, or use those of someone else, “your people’s” even. I will adopt some of Kockelman’s terms from “The anthropology of an equation” and other of his essays (especially Kockelman 2010), but will also employ my own from time to time. This is in the interest of clarifying not muddling—or, rather, of getting somewhere rather than standing still. For one of the criticisms I’ve heard of Kockelman’s form is that it is rigidly locked into place, a beautiful but fragile crystalline structure that shatters in its encounter with the world or its insertion into other language games. This misses the point entirely. His form is nothing if not motile, muscular not in some macho, grand theory sense but in the proprioceptive sense. This is theory that moves, and that wants us to move with it, so that we can move in and with the moving world. My response takes for granted that readers have already gone through “The anthropology of an equation” at least once.

Kockelman writes about sieves, and his article itself takes the form of a sieve. It is, as he writes, “an instantiation of what it instigates, a display of what it describes” (2013: 35). This is a Strathernian device: in her writing, Marilyn Strathern often sets for herself a series of writing constraints that mirror the relations she is trying to elucidate. The result is more like poetry than prose (see Reed 2004: 19 on this point). This is also in the mode of Wittgenstein, “showing” rather than “saying”— “what does not get expressed in the sign is shown by its application. What the signs conceal, their application declares” (Wittgenstein 1922: 3.262)—which suggests not only a form for writing, or a philosophical conundrum on the difference between propositions and elucidations (see McGinn 2001) but a materialist semiotics. Things, after all, do indeed show; they don’t, strictly speaking, say (Keane 2003). They exert force or agency in and through their material. Sieves sort by letting some things through and holding other things back. They thereby demonstrate, as they induce, a kind of order into the world after their own kind.


Zygmunt Bauman: ​Para que serve a sociologia?

Zygmunt Bauman

Zygmunt Bauman

O que é sociologia? Por que fazer sociologia? Como fazer? Qual o seu alcance? Essas quatro perguntas são respondidas por Zygmunt Bauman, em sua mais recente obra lançada no Brasil, Para que serve a sociologia?. Nesta série de conversas com Michael Hviid Jacobsen e Keith Tester, Bauman esclarece os princípios que regem seu próprio trabalho, sua vida e sua carreira. O sociólogo polonês reconhece as ideias que o influenciaram e explica como construiu um conjunto de conceitos para interpretar o mundo contemporâneo – como a ideia central de “liquidez” -, explicando o porquê de se afastar da corrente geral da sociologia, que caracteriza nossa época como “pós-moderna”. Leia abaixo o trecho inicial do livro Para que serve a sociologia?, lançado pela Editora Zahar:

Michael Hviid Jacobsen e Keith Tester: Olhando em retrospecto sua trajetória sociológica, vê-se que seu trabalho foi inspirado inicialmente pela sociologia polonesa das décadas de 1950 e 1960, após o que seu ambiente sociológico próximo tem sido a sociologia britânica. Como você diria – em retrospecto – que essas diferentes fontes de inspiração – a sociologia polonesa e a britânica – influenciaram e moldaram seu pensamento?
Zygmunt Bauman: “Olhando em retrospecto”, como vocês me pediram, dificilmente poderia identificar um divisor de águas ou um violento choque entre “fontes de inspiração”. Ao decolar da Polônia, eu já havia iniciado minhas viagens sociológicas, e pousar na Grã-Bretanha não provocou nenhuma mudança importante em meu itinerário. Separada por uma barreira linguística, a “sociologia polonesa” parecia um universo diferente, mas, por favor, tenham em mente que essa barreira era unilateral: o inglês era então a língua “oficial” no reino da sociologia, e os sociólogos poloneses liam os mesmos livros e seguiam os mesmos caprichos da moda e meandros de interesses que seus colegas do outro lado da Cortina de Ferro. Além disso, a sociologia britânica do início da década de 1970 não estava exatamente na linha de frente das tendências mundiais, e, para um recém-chegado da Universidade de Varsóvia, não havia muito com que se familiarizar; na verdade, as descobertas realizadas naquela época nas Ilhas Britânicas, em quase todos os aspectos, eram velhas e por vezes até antiquadas na área do Vístula. (gehiago…)

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