Cultural Anthropology publishes ethnographic writing informed by a wide array of theoretical perspectives, innovative in form and content, and focused on both traditional and emerging topics. It also welcomes essays concerned with ethnographic methods and research design in historical perspective, and with ways cultural analysis can address broader public audiences and interests.
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Vol. 38 No. 2 (2023)
Five original research articles are presented in this issue.
Tsipy Ivry, Maki Ogawa, and Jun Murotsuki unpack the moral economy of decision-making by chronicling how the application of non-invasive prenatal tests is discussed among pregnant women and medical staff in a regional hospital in northern Japan. Through the analytics of “structural ambivalence,” their ethnography renders visible the ways reproduction technologies are punctured by ethicalization processes and saturated with value—the value of autonomy, deliberation, and self—at various scales.
Ashwak Sam Hauter’s essay focuses on patients’ demand for ‘afiya (psychic, physical, and spiritual well-being) in a hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in order to analyze the psycho-spiritual intersection of geopolitics and medicine at the margins of war.
In his paper on remedial infrastructures for water provision in Lima, Perú, Chakad Ojani presents us with an eloquent ethnography of the ambiguous politics of failure in development projects. By showing how the residents of Lima’s slum neighborhoods creatively redeployed the failed technologies of fog-capture to their own advantage, Ojani puts forward a dexterous vision of failure as both a technique of anticipation and a heuristic of comparison.
Casper Bruun Jensen demonstrates how “circularity” (in circular economies) operates and unfolds across multiple scales of justification and worth, sometimes aligning, sometimes cleaving, senses and expectations of commonality. In positing the notion of “shifted worths,” he asks us to reconsider the practical significance and conceptual importance of green “worths” that emerge from uncommon and many worlds of worths, making “green (or not) in practices.”
Futurity and anticipation reappear under a different guise in Caroline Melly’s account of how executives at Senegal’s investment promotion agency use PowerPoint as a technology of neoliberal governance to reshape the entrepreneurial spirit of the state. Blending ethnographic attentiveness and an STS gaze, Melly describes how the materiality of PowerPoint helped densify and coagulate the circulation of cosmopolitan economies of expertise in the making of African (Senegalese) futures.
Cover image by Chakad Ojani.
After the words “America” and “United States,” President Donald Trump mentioned sovereignty more than any other topic in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly... More
Has hope become a word that betrays you? In an escalating “war on words” (van Eekelen et al. 2004, 1), has hope bulldozed over our dreams? During the 2008 U.S.... More
This collection gathers five articles previously published in Cultural Anthropology, by Hayder Al-Mohammad, Kenneth George, Naveeda Khan, Arzoo Osanloo, and... More
Recent trends in social theory have placed great importance on affect for both analytic and political reasons, but the term is somewhat vague and ambiguous.... More