What concepts and/or associated literatures does this artifact bring to mind?


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Amanda N Windle's picture
August 14, 2020

Images can be used as bookcovers if cropped into. The cover by Jackie Orr, the Panic Diaries came to mind.


August 14, 2020

I find it interesting that you say that you have more troubles with articulating your object and that you are more attracted to look after the myriad relations into which it enters. I kind of have the same "problem" and usually have to ponder a lot when making decisions about what to follow in research and writing since physically and intellectually we are limited. As anthropologists, I think that we are badly equipped to recognise that we do make various selections and simplifications of reality given the more dominant research imaginary centred on surprise, openness, and freedom. One article that I find interesting in its critical assessment of how open can one be is Matei Candea's Arbitrary Locations* which discusses how the various decisions that we have to make on doing fieldwork create a bounded space and some of them are more constrained by external circumstances rather than a consequence of "just following the actors". 

And, yes I agree with that using the term "object" might be confusing to use in social sciences given the various debates related to subject-object distinction, that sometimes challenge the Western nature-culture distinction, while in others they take issue with processes of objectivation of human subjects. Indeed, one of its main connotations is that of a material thing in the word, but I think that its usage in sciences refers more to the subject-object relationship, in which an object may be material (e.g. a microscope), ideal (e.g. value), social (e.g. community) and is defined, at least philosophically, by the fact that it is external to a subject, entering an observer - observed type of relationship. 

Arbitrary locations: in defence of the bounded field‐site

Efe Cengiz's picture
August 13, 2020

Hello Nima, thank you very much for sharing this interesting line of thought. I like your critique of the concept of "going beyond". I wanted to not only nod in agreement but also suggest perhaps another way of making sense of "going beyond".
It could be that impossibiltiy of decicing which institutions make academia and which do not. Im not refering to citizen science debates, thought those could also be made here. The prestige of institutions, and the fact that some of them declare science but produce nothing. For example, a 2017 study revealed nearly 1 of each 3 thesis in Turkey is stolen, do we count the institutons that foster these as academia? Or are we already beyond it? If we consider the context, which we should, and if we consider the prosecution academics face for trying to do genuine research or proclaim any political identity, then where exactly does "academia" begin and end anyways? Perhaps your use of the term "historical" would also fit here in this regard?

As for what you wrote on primatology, i wanted to ask whether one could consider any other disciplines in this way? While reading it i thought of paleontology. Might it fit? There are books on "applied paleontology" but i guess then it becomes a question of what applied is. I just thought that your line here : "what primatologists thought they knew about primates led to a reinforcement of masculinist justifications of a hierarchical view of human collectives." could also work for our dino buddies, and even in the construction of social darwinism to a degree, but i may be overshooting. I was curious as to what you might think, sorry for the long question, and thank you for your time.

Nima Madjzubi's picture
August 12, 2020

Second Review for Cheri's Beyond Academia Sketch Annotation (adopting the PECE terminology is getting increasinly weird!)

The main concepts I think of reading the two questions is "cosmopolitics", generally a proposal for a new view of relating science (cosmos) and politics, c.q. power/knowledge, in a way that gives both proper room to operate in contact with the other. See Isabelle Stengers' The Cosmopolitical Proposal, a short afterword to her magnum opus Cosmopolitcs. Possible other entries are Bruno Latour's Whose Cosmos? Which Cosmopolitics? written with Ulrich Beck as interlocutor and with reference to the case of the first encounter of Castillians with Amerindians. Mario Blaser and Marisol de la Cadena have tried to further work out this approach in case of the Indigenous peoples in the America's.Their collaborative A World of Many World is their latest.

Cosmopolitics is not a model to be applied. It may bring up difficult questions rather than directly help map the issues investigated here. Still, I mention these names because "power structure" within Indigenous communities is mentioned in the artifact, which also has its obvious counterparts in Western institutions, and so a connection is evinced and then questioned between politics and knowledge. It might help one to look at power/knowledge on both sides with more symmetry and also to find a way out falling for two extremes of "automatic" respect and quick denunciation depending on signs of politcs in knowledge.

More specifically, I mention cosmopolitics because it could help clarify why "Indigenous knowledge is often characterized as if it is automatically positive." That is, they could be tolerated and respected as belief with sacred character, not to be insulted, but neither to be taken as real "knowledge", a case of politeness that is cosmopolitcally incorrect. It makes in the end for the expert's report to count over and above the knowledge of others and Others.

I also mention cosmopolitics because it has a way of relating to 'ends' mentioned in the second topical question in the artifact. Ends, that is, a cosmos that is always under construction, whose ends mutate as much as the rest. It might problematize taking 'knowledge' as means to ends, which arguably itself is a Western and economic imposition. It could open up the question of how occupants of different cultures ("worlds") take the nature of knowledge to be in the first place, so that it become possible to work out through the most fundamental incompatibilities and foregoing assumptions that most often advantage the Western interlocutors in these relations. I hope all this give sufficient reason for consulting this literature.