Based on my own experiences of committed anthropological fieldwork among the Ayta of western Luzon and the Ifugao of northern Luzon, both in the Philippines, I propose the idea of an “anthropology of response-ability.” After the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo - the biggest eruption in the 20th century -- in western Luzon in 1991, I engaged in rehabilitation works and projects through a small Japanese NGO (Asia Volunteer Network) that was working for Ayta eruption victims. The Ayta are Asian-type Negritos living in and around the Mt. Pinatubo area with whom I lived for twenty months in the late 1970s for my Ph.D. research. During ten years of committed engagement through NGOs and aid agencies since the eruption, I came to recognize that anthropology and anthropologists could and should contribute much more to urgent issues and problems for mitigation and alleviation. An “anthropology of response-ability” is a type of public anthropology, but the focus of concern is much more on field-site issues tackled through collaboration with local people beyond national borders rather than on issues and problems in our home countries.
Although much attention has been paid recently to “native” anthropology and ethnology in Japan, relatively little has been given to “native” ethnographic photography. In addition, the contributions of “native” lay researchers in the historical ethnology of Japan have not been discussed much in English. Partly to counter these imbalances, this essay explores the ethnographic photography of Akita farmer Yoshida Saburō, an adjunct member of Shibusawa Keizō’s Attic Museum research society. Through a comparison with similar work by a “native” North American protégé of Franz Boas, the authority-granting power and guiding influence of the patron in such cases is clarified. Furthermore, implications for ethnographic representation in such situations of researcher liminality, and the roles that photography played in Yoshida’s “native” ethnography, are elucidated. The essay concludes with a discussion of the nature and value of Yoshida's ethnographic photography, and a consideration of the theoretical implications of its interpretation and usage today, as well as a thought on one special possibility for photography in ethnographic research.
Studies on the tea ceremony have tried to answer the question, “What is tea?” for decades from historical and philosophical points of view. This paper deliberately converts the viewpoint from such an essential one to a processual one, in order to elucidate the generative moments in the enactment of the tea ceremony. Employing a perspective on the anthropology of art put forth by Alfred Gell, this paper analyzes a tea connoisseur’s enactment of the tea ceremony. Contrary to the former anthropological, symbolic analyses of the tea ceremony, an enactment of a tea ceremony is not perfectly prescribed, but temporarily engendered by communication between host and guests through conversation via things (i.e., utensils) as a medium of their agency. Yet, because every single tea ceremony is nonrecurring temporary event, these utensils—indexes in the enactment of a tea ceremony—do not exist forever. Instead, the repetition of the generative moment weaves out the social, relational world of tea.
This article begins by introducing Paro, a robot designed for (substitute) pet-therapy in retirement homes and hospitals. Paro’s success as a social robot illustrates the fact that, in an interaction, “social agents” give precedence to their relation to other agents over the relations to objects. However, Paro’s artificial empathy is characterized by its failure to engage with the world and provides an example of what may be called “pure sociality”. Among humans, examples of relations of pure sociality are rare. Most social relations rests on an object or pretext that allows them to arise. Violence and passionate love are among the few examples of relations of pure sociality suggesting that such relations which involve strong emotions can also be self- defeating. How can this be squared with Paro’s apparent success?
This study utilizes the case of rifles used by soldiers to examine the links between (lethal) material things, embodied actions and emotions and the social processes within which they are embedded. I argue that weapons (things) do not exist “out there” apart from society but that their “thingness” is created through use— weapons are transformed by being integrated into soldier-weapon-drill complexes involving corporeal processes: they become more than mere objects by being linked to individuals and practices. Three clusters of issues are dealt with. First, the relation between lethal things and body practices, that is, the ways in which violent objects are incorporated into soldiers’ body practices; second, the integration between lethal objects and emotions focusing on the way weapons mediate between internal emotional states and threatening environments; and third, control of bodies and emotions centered on weapons as lethal things, namely how organizational discipline masters the lethal potential of rifles.
Food is at the heart of sociality. It is imbued with emotion, feeling and affect. However, for people with food allergies, food and social situations are negotiated in complex ways. Ingesting a food allergen can lead to anaphylaxis: a rapid immunological response that can result in death. Eating out with food allergies consequently entails both risk perception and management. I argue that risk perception in the context of food allergies is not just about the embodied feelings and reasoning of the person ‘assessing’ the risk. It emerges in spaces between bodies as well as within bodies. Responses to eating out, to food allergies, to risk, emerge out of a ‘meshwork’ of particular ‘domains of entanglement’ (Ingold 2011) and through somatic modes of attention (Csordas 1993) that happen through a process of affective practice and co-ordination (Dumouchel 2008) between embodied (and inter-embodied) subjects, involving emotions, senses, memory, affect, materiality, and environment.
Spirit possession has witnessed a renewed scholarly interest, driven by new approaches. Research in cognitive science focused on the cross-cultural features of these phenomena, while anthropological studies provided accounts of experiences with spirits as emerging through interactions between the lived body moving in the world and the environment. Yet, a focus on how spirits gradually emerge through bodily perceptions, affects and interactions, is missing. In this article I focus on experiences during a Roman Catholic exorcism in contemporary Italy. I argue that: 1) Possession is not a self-standing phenomenon, but a “meshwork”(Ingold 2011) of lines of movements and attunements of humans and non-humans, which include specific affects, emerging through practice. 2) Spirits—in this case the devil—and their reality emerge “in-between,” among actors, as captures of a complex series of correspondences. 3) In this process, “somatic modes of attention” (Csordas 1993), bodily perceptions and “affective correspondences,” play a major role.
This paper is about a group of elderly male Japanese retirement migrants and their affective experience in Malaysia. When I asked Japanese male retirees about their experience of ageing in Malaysia, they often emphasised that they felt rejuvented (wakagaeru) in Malaysia. They then redirected the conversation to praise Malaysia for its vibrant (genki ga aru) economy. The conversation often then turned to criticisms of the changes they saw in Japan. Many of them lamented Japan’s stagnant economy. I treat their affective experiences of the Malaysian environment as diagnostics of particular sociocultural histories – both of an individual retiree as well as that of the capitalist Japanese state to which the former no longer belonged as productive wage labour. I argue that by moving to Malaysia, the male former salarymen resisted becoming a surplus in the aftermath of productive life in Japan Inc. However, in transforming themselves into “upper-class seniors with a bad boy charm” in Malaysia, they are subjected to the new neoliberal discourse of the ageing society.
The impact of the dead on the living is considered from an evolutionary comparative perspective. After a brief review of young children’s developing understanding of the concept of death, the interest of looking at how other species respond to dying and dead individuals is introduced. Solutions to managing dead individuals in social insect communities are described, highlighting evolutionarily ancient, effective behavioral mechanisms that most likely function with no emotional component. I then review examples of responses to dying and dead individuals in nonhuman primates, with particular reference to continued transport and caretaking of dead infants, responses to traumatic deaths in wild populations of monkeys and apes, and a detailed case report of the peaceful death of an old female chimpanzee surrounded by members of her group. The emotional correlates of primates’ reactions to bereavement are discussed, and some suggested evolutionarily shared responses to the dead are proposed.