Anthropology, Activism, and the Problem of Countering Violent Extremism in Africa

Abstract: Anthropology has an ambivalent history of being involved in social justice activism, and much anthropological work circulates around issues of conflict resolution in cultures throughout the world. After unethically supporting the colonial mandate, in more recent years anthropologists involved themselves in the Civil Rights movement, Native American social justice issues, and most recently social …

No one wants to be the “Global North”? On being a researcher across the North and South

In this blog post I would like to share my personal experiences of carrying out qualitative research in what contemporary scholars call the “Global South” (Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt) and the “Global North” (Australia and the United Kingdom). To convey my message clearly, I adopt the classical political geography of “South” and “North” with …

Recentering the side-lines. On the politics of “standing by”

Manifestation 1 I had not planned to encounter three different types of crowds on Saturday 16th March 2019. Ascending from the metro station Château-Rouge in the 18th arrondissement in Paris, I found myself surrounded by people apparently eagerly waiting for something to happen or someone to appear. There was music playing from a truck to …

Suggested Reading: “Mobile Secrets: Youth, Intimacy and the Politics of Pretense in Mozambique”

In Mobile Secrets Julie Soleil Archambault offers an engaging and original study of how cell phone technology is being used in Mozambique. Through a rich ethnography, Archambault reveals how this technology allows youth to juggle the politics of display and disguise in a new digital space. Archambault allows the mobile phone to take centre stage in …

Intermediaries in humanitarian action: a questionable shortcut to the effective localisation of aid?

Over the last decade, international humanitarian agencies have endeavoured to develop effective ways to localise their practices of intervention in areas receiving forced migrants or stricken by conflict or disasters. ‘Localisation’ is an umbrella term referring to all approaches to working with local actors, and includes ‘locally-led’ projects which refers specifically to “work that originates …

The political potential of responsibility in domestic humanitarianism

This post is part of a series linked to the workshop “Assessing the Anthropology of Humanitarianism: Ethnography, Impact, Critique”. ———————————————– Operation Sovereign Borders Even on a frozen winter’s night, the queue snaked around the corner. Taking seats in the Melbourne warehouse for the prospective volunteer information evening, the chatter died down as the charismatic CEO …

Anthropology of humanitarianism: between new vocabulary and critique

This post is part of a series linked to the workshop “Assessing the Anthropology of Humanitarianism: Ethnography, Impact, Critique”. ———————————————– Emergent humanitarian forms of life Sixteen-year old Marija was a money-keeper during one humanitarian action organized in her high school in a small town in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In many former Yugoslav countries, the words …