With its infamously packed cars and disciplined commuters, Tokyo’s commuter train network is one of the most complex technical infrastructures on Earth. In An Anthropology of the Machine, Michael Fisch provides a nuanced perspective on how Tokyo’s commuter train network embodies the lived realities of technology in our modern world. Drawing on his fine-grained knowledge of transportation, work, and everyday life in Tokyo, Fisch shows how fitting into a system that operates on the extreme edge of sustainability can take a physical and emotional toll on a community while also creating a collective way of life—one with unique limitations and possibilities. An Anthropology of the Machine is a creative ethnographic study of the culture, history, and experience of commuting in Tokyo. At the same time, it is a theoretically ambitious attempt to think through our very relationship with technology and our possible ecological futures. Fisch provides an unblinking glimpse into what it might be like to inhabit a future in which more and more of our infrastructure—and the planet itself—will have to operate beyond capacity to accommodate our ever-growing population.
In this compact volume two of anthropology’s most influential theorists, Paul Rabinow and George E. Marcus, engage in a series of conversations about the past, present, and future of anthropological knowledge, pedagogy, and practice. James D. Faubion joins in several exchanges to facilitate and elaborate the dialogue, and Tobias Rees moderates the discussions and contributes an introduction and an afterword to the volume. Most of the conversations are focused on contemporary challenges to how anthropology understands its subject and how ethnographic research projects are designed and carried out. Rabinow and Marcus reflect on what remains distinctly anthropological about the study of contemporary events and processes, and they contemplate productive new directions for the field. The two converge in Marcus’s emphasis on the need to redesign pedagogical practices for training anthropological researchers and in Rabinow’s proposal of collaborative initiatives in which ethnographic research designs could be analyzed, experimented with, and transformed. Both Rabinow and Marcus participated in the milestone collection Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography. Published in 1986, Writing Culture catalyzed a reassessment of how ethnographers encountered, studied, and wrote about their subjects. In the opening conversations of Designs for an Anthropology of the Contemporary, Rabinow and Marcus take stock of anthropology’s recent past by discussing the intellectual scene in which Writing Culture intervened, the book’s contributions, and its conceptual limitations. Considering how the field has developed since the publication of that volume, they address topics including ethnography’s self-reflexive turn, scholars’ increased focus on questions of identity, the Public Culture project, science and technology studies, and the changing interests and goals of students. Designs for an Anthropology of the Contemporary allows readers to eavesdrop on lively conversations between anthropologists who have helped to shape their field’s recent past and are deeply invested in its future.
This book explores the making of robots in labs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It examines the cultural ideas that go into the making of robots, and the role of fiction in co-constructing the technological practices of the robotic scientists. The book engages with debates in anthropological theorizing regarding the way that robots are reimagined as intelligent, autonomous and social and weaved into lived social realities. Richardson charts the move away from the “worker” robot of the 1920s to the “social” one of the 2000s, as robots are reimagined as companions, friends and therapeutic agents.
Holographic Worldview in New Guinea and Its Meaning and Significance for the World of Anthropology
Author: Roy Wagner
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Category: Social Science
"Roy Wagner is a one-of-a-kind anthropologist whose books provide intense intellectual stimulation. His way of connecting the world of New Guinea to the world of anthropology is unique and, well, mind-blowing. . . . He writes books that you actually want to and will read more than once."--Steven Feld, author of Sound and Sentiment "Wagner asks, daringly, what it would be like to imagine one of the most significant of human activities, the activity of description or representation, as a self-scaling phenomenon. . . . One begins to glimpse a genuine 'alternative anthropology.'"--Marilyn Strathern, author of The Gender of the Gift
An Anthropology of Biomedicine is an exciting new introduction to biomedicine and its global implications. Focusing on the ways in which the application of biomedical technologies bring about radical changes to societies at large, cultural anthropologist Margaret Lock and her co-author physician and medical anthropologist Vinh-Kim Nguyen develop and integrate the thesis that the human body in health and illness is the elusive product of nature and culture that refuses to be pinned down. Introduces biomedicine from an anthropological perspective, exploring the entanglement of material bodies with history, environment, culture, and politics Develops and integrates an original theory: that the human body in health and illness is not an ontological given but a moveable, malleable entity Makes extensive use of historical and contemporary ethnographic materials around the globe to illustrate the importance of this methodological approach Integrates key new research data with more classical material, covering the management of epidemics, famines, fertility and birth, by military doctors from colonial times on Uses numerous case studies to illustrate concepts such as the global commodification of human bodies and body parts, modern forms of population, and the extension of biomedical technologies into domestic and intimate domains Winner of the 2010 Prose Award for Archaeology and Anthropology
Design is a key site of cultural production and change in contemporary society. Anthropologists have been involved in design projects for several decades but only recently a new field of inquiry has emerged which aims to integrate the strengths of design thinking and anthropological research. This book is written by anthropologists who actively participate in the development of design anthropology. Comprising both cutting-edge explorations and theoretical reflections, it provides a much-needed introduction to the concepts, methods, practices and challenges of the new field. Design Anthropology moves from observation and interpretation to collaboration, intervention and co-creation. Its practitioners participate in multidisciplinary design teams working towards concrete solutions for problems that are sometimes ill-defined. The authors address the critical potential of design anthropology in a wide range of design activities across the globe and query the impact of design on the discipline of anthropology. This volume will appeal to new and experienced practitioners in the field as well as to students of anthropology, innovation, science and technology studies, and a wide range of design studies focusing on user participation, innovation, and collaborative research.
The extraordinary life of the internationally renowned anthropologist whose groundbreaking studies have enabled hundreds of thousands of people around the world to better understand cultural differences and achieve greater harmony.