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Domestic Dynamics and Foreign Policy Projections
Rekindling the Strong State in Russia and China offers a thorough analysis of the profound regeneration of the State and its intense interaction with the external projections of Russia and China. In the international political scene, leaderships are under constant negotiation. Financial crisis, social and cultural transformations, values setting and migration flows have a deep impact on global powers, leading to the appearance of new actors. At present, the assumed rise of a new axis between two emerging powers, such as Russia and China, effaces their different backgrounds, leading to misinterpretations of their positioning in the geopolitical arena.
This book is an essential and multifaceted guide aimed at understanding the deep changes that affect these two countries and their global aspirations.

Contributors are: Marco Puleri; Andrea Passeri; Marco Balboni; Carmelo Danisi; Mingjiang Li; Mahalakshmi Ganapathy; Rosa Mulè; Olga Dubrovina; Evgeny Mironov; Yongshun Cai; Vasil Sakaev; Eugenia Baroncelli; Sonia Lucarelli; Nicolò Fasola; Stefano Bianchini; Stanislav Tkachenko; Vitaly Kozyrev; Marco Borraccetti; Francesco Privitera; Antonio Fiori, Massimiliano Trentin; Arrigo Pallotti; Giuliana Laschi; Michael Leigh.

My article begins with a brief history of the Organs Watch project, its anthropological, ethnographic, and public engagements as an example of what Pierre Bourdieu called “scholarship with commitment.” I explain the heterodox methods required including undercover research and criminological studies into the grey zones of organized organ transplant trafficking. How do our normative obligations to our research informants differ when our informants happen to be criminals? When crimes are being committed, to whom does one owe their divided loyalties? Finally, I address the role of medical anthropologists and other committed social scientists in making public a hitherto invisible issue.

In: Public Anthropologist

This paper contributes to debates on growing inequalities in the maritime domain by using the concept of precarity to interrogate the market in Māori fisheries. To understand the particularities of this ocean precarity, I draw attention to the interrelated dynamics of dispossession, as it occurred historically in Māori fisheries through various economic orders, and indigeneity, as it articulates with both alienation and the reclamation of fishing rights. I argue that the incorporation of Māori fisheries into an Individual Transferable Quota system has generated a “political ecology of the precarious,” positioning socio-natures as working against ecological demise at the same time as contributing to it. This transforms the ancestral guardianship relationship between people and their sea, exacerbates colonially-created dispossessions and hardens divisions between economic and cultural spheres, or commercial and customary fisheries. However, precarious conditions may also be conceived of as mobilising phenomena, giving rise to attempts to breach these divides.

In: Public Anthropologist

Anthropologists researching children’s lives have incredible stories to tell. How might we best tell them in readable ways that will appeal to “ordinary readers” beyond our colleagues and students? In this article, I explore the possibilities of “alternative” ways to write ethnography in general, and the ethnography of children in particular. Given children’s nature, I argue that creative approaches to writing children’s lives are especially appropriate and powerful. In the first section, I consider a variety of adventurous ethnographic writing on assorted topics; in the second section, I discuss some creative approaches to ethnographic writing focused, specifically, on children.

In: Public Anthropologist


This paper investigates the most-viewed posts in Persian Telegram channels during the period surrounding Iran’s 2017 presidential election. Telegram has become the most popular social medium in Iran, and its channels have played a significant role in recent social and political events. Based on the produsage theory and user-generated content concept, this research identifies the popular content and produsagers on Persian Telegram channels. Moreover, this paper evaluates the potential of these most-viewed posts to support or challenge the dominant discourses in Iran. Using a combination of content and discourse analyses, results show that user-generated content on Telegram supports and reinforces dominant discourses relatively strongly, rather than challenging them. They also show that politics and entertainment were the most popular content on Telegram and confirm that Telegram is usually considered a good tool for receiving information and news.

In: Asiascape: Digital Asia
In World History as the History of Foundations, 3000 BCE to 1500 CE, Michael Borgolte investigates the origins and development of foundations from Antiquity to the end of the Middle Ages. In his survey foundations emerge not as mere legal institutions, but rather as “total social phenomena” which touch upon manifold aspects, including politics, the economy, art and religion of the cultures in which they emerged. Cross-cultural in its approach and the result of decades of research, this work represents by far the most comprehensive account of the history of foundations that has hitherto been published.
In The Political Economy of the Spectacle and Postmodern Caste, John Asimakopoulos analyzes the political economy of the society of the spectacle, a philosophical concept developed by Guy Debord and Jean Baudrillard. Using the analytical tools of social science, while historicizing, Asimakopoulos reveals that all societies in every epoch have been and continue to be caste systems legitimized by various ideologies. He concludes there is no such thing as capitalism (or socialism)—only a caste system hidden behind capitalist ideology. Key features of the book include its broad interdisciplinary-nonsectarian approach with quantitative and qualitative data. The Political Economy of the Spectacle and Postmodern Caste is well written and clear, making it accessible to the general public.