Ethnographic theory Digest 2019 vol. 4

The NET wishes a happy 2019 to everybody! We need hope and our best imagination in the face of continuous inequality, violence, exclusion… and increasing political irresponsibility.


The sadly late Roy Wagner’s piece about the “self‐transformative and tactical character of the reciprocity of perspectives and its effects on language”.

Participation and the way anthropologist can confront the “challenges presently being posed by embodied cognition” is the subject João de Pina-Cabral recent article.

Bruce Kapferer reflects on how anthropology (as a generator of theory) risks alienation in the face of “the growth of economic pragmatism coupled with the current apotheosis of science and technology”.

The most recent recent issue of ANUAC features a thematic section about “The Malinowskian legacy in ethnography” curated by Elisabeth Tauber and Dorothy Zinn with contributions on continuities and discontinuities of Malinowski’s heritage around questions of race, infrastructure, historical anthropology…

Another return/redux of the culture concept by Martin Palecek


Zarin Ahmad’s Delhi’s Meatscapes theorizing and describing the politicization of meat butchers in Dehli

Daromir Rudnyckyj’s Beyond Debt on Islamic Finance

Four field shout-out, new archaeology book, Foraging in the Past edited by Ashley Lemke

Casey Golomski’s Funeral Culture on living and dying in Swaziland

/Blogs and Public Media

Laura Yakas on her ethnography of timelessness, madness and the workings of what she calls, citing Johanna Hedva (2016) the “current regime of neoliberal, white-supremacist, imperial-capitalist, cis-hetero-patriarchy”

Speculative Anthropologies are fascinating us not least since we published Sabine Mohamed’s reading list. If you want to imagine how to “resist despair and to craft tangible ways of shaping and repairing the worlds we still hope for”, check out this blog collection curated by Ryan Anderson, Emma Louise Backe, Taylor Nelms, Elizabeth Reddy and Jeremy Trombley.

Elizabeth Hanna Rubio and Xitlalli Alvarez Almendariz invite us to reflect on political engagement in ethnographic knowledge production around a question of vocabulary: undocumented or illegalized?

Kristóf Szombati gives insights into the recent protests against the so called “Slave law” in Hungary and how they connect to other contemporary anti-neoliberal movements.

A fascinating digital interactive by Stanford University Press on Filming Revolution by Alisa Lebow

Two popular pieces on rethinking the Frankfurt School at the Boston Review and at Vox

Useful New York Op-ed by Pankaj Mishra, on Brexit, the partitioning of India and Pakistan, and important for thinking not only politics of the moment, but the  bureaucracies

For our French-speakers, here is a Q&A with Philippe Descola on the political, social environmental challenges of our times and his life’s work.

On mental health in academia at Editage

And let us not forget this month’s NET Guest Post by Smita Lahiri on “On Nonrecognition and Feminist Epistemology: Doing Ethnographic Theory with Mary Steedly”