solidarity, and urgent appeal campaigns (e.g., to stop gold mining, denounce paramilitary atrocities, or warn on displacement situations); dissemination of information; and so forth. Face-to-face and electronically, in Colombia, the US, and elsewhere these multiple activities over the more than twelve years since I first went to the Pacific give a particular character to the book, which surely would have been very different –and I am certain poorer scholarly and politically—without this decided activist and policy-oriented dimension. I would like to think that these activities can be properly seen as integral to one’s professional practice, at least within a world anthropologies perspective. This practice resonates with recent notions of “partisan anthropology” (King 2006) and “militant anthropology” (Juris 2004) in US anthropology, and is consonant with the openly political character of many world anthropologies. 17 Chapter 1. Place The rethinking of place in the 1980s can be traced back to the critiques of culture as bounded and discrete. Theorists in anthropology, geography, communications, and cultural studies begun to emphasize the de-territorialization of culture. De-territorialization, diaspora, traveling, border crossing, nomadology, networks and flows, and the like became the metaphors of the day. Geographers busied themselves with the space produced by global political economy, space-time compression, and the relation between capital and space. Anthropologists sought to explain the
production of culture by global forces by highlighting the processing of the global by the local, and by invoking the notion of space to talk about issues of culture and power. Sociologists developed a view of society as structured according to networks and flows. These important innovations moved the production of culture, identity, and economy away from place; they effected an erasure of place (Dirlik 2001). In the last few years, there has been a counter move in geography and anthropology. The production of place in geography has advanced particularly in political economy and feminist perspectives (see Swyndegeow 1997, 1998 and Massey 1994, 1997 for representatives of these perspectives). Very important in this regard has been the rethinking of the “politics of scale” which capital, social movements, and technoscience all practice in contrasting ways (Swyngedeow 1998; Peck 2000; Gibson-Graham 1996; Escobar 2001). In archeology and cultural and ecological anthropology, phenomenological approaches have yielded rich characterizations of place (Bender 1998; Tilley 1994; Ingold 2000a; Jackson, ed. 1996; Feld and Basso, eds. 1996). These approaches call for greater sensitivity in capturing the inter-subjective process of shared experience, the ways in which the world is always in the making, by focusing on the domain of everyday, immediate activity and on the embodied lifeworld of practical and social life. For these anthropologists, “place is an irreducible part of human experience, a person is ‘in place’ as much as she or he is ‘in culture’” (Tilley 1994: 18).
- Fall '13