This collection of papers intends to address the questions: What can ethnographies of “nature” be like today? What forms should they take? After questioning the nature/culture binary in modern Western thought in general and in the twentieth-century anthropology in particular, anthropology today is characterized by wide-ranging interest in what has been conceptualized as “nature” until today. This collection aims to relate this re-thematization of “nature” to a methodological question in anthropology, that is, how to write an ethnography, thereby exploring the possibilities of ethnographic writing in today’s anthropology.
This paper focuses on the advancement of commercial logging projects in the West Fataleka region of northern Malaita Island, Solomon Islands, and the new relationship between local people and the power of land. The key concept is the creation of "gap" in both nature and society. This enables us to make an ethnographic description of nature-human relations in contemporary Melanesia. Furthermore, we reflect on ourselves facing the new nature; humanized earth.
The conclusion of this paper is as follows. The people of Melanesia, confronted with a new and unpredictable nature, are our contemporaries who share the prospect of an unsettled future. Ethnographic accounts of the experiences of these people will pave the way for a Melanesian response to the Anthropocene.
In recent years, the assumption of nature as a realm detached from human activities has been collapsed, and the simple view of the world as nature/culture comes under question. This paper aims to examine how we should rethink about "nature", against the background of the "great nature" of the Himalayas. In this paper, I will scrutinize Tim Ingold's arguments on nature and the environment, and establish the position from which we can differently describe something that would be conventionally regarded as natural. I will take the viewpoint within the environment, existing before the singular nature and multiple cultures are imagined. Using a Sherpa climbing school as a case study, I will examine the ways in which multiple natures come into being and contact with each other, and discuss that how people live multiple natures by taking other’s perspectives.
Inspired by the attitude of “taking seriously” in the so-called ontological turn in anthropology, this paper discusses the question of “writing (against) nature” with an indigenous way of writing nature among the Embera people in Panama. When accidentally drowning in rivers, they explain that the invisible demonic spirit named Antomya eats the victims. Antomya, known as a highly transformative spirit, takes the form of a sloth when they kill humans in rivers. This explanation uses the name of sloth to explain the cause of drowning, or to describe nature. Taking such explanation as a result of an abduction, a creative process of reasoning involving imagination, this paper tries to disentangle the “enchainment of images”［Fausto 2020］involved in such explanation unexpected events. This procedure makes an unnatural process of the nature among the Embera people, which could be described as coping bodies.
This paper probes the invisibility of a landfill in Indonesia, which is taken for granted by locals, even though experts point out its potential problems, such as water pollution and murky privatization. We may call the nature of this landfill “dark infrastructure,” following recent anthropological works on technological infrastructure and dark anthropology. The concept illuminates the way infrastructures retain their taken-for-grantedness, an aspect which has not been explored to a great extent in previous studies. This study conducted an ethnographic survey of the landfill, which showed that the de-problematization derives from the mobilization of heterogeneous elements such as the physical form of the landfill, contract documents, compromises between villagers and the city government, and especially the dual uncertainty of the gasification in progress and the conception of “korupsi (corruption)” that enacts the temporality of the future. In conclusion, this temporality is analyzed as the politics of “indecision”.
The purpose of this paper is to discuss the dignity that Mr. B, who was once “Nushi” of a pachinko parlor (head of a store), emphasized, with reference to Max Weber's theory of charisma. From Mr. B's story, it can be said that he was in a considerably advantageous situation to get money, such as having the privilege to enter the store first. However, on the other hand, he didn't dare to get the money rationally which he emphasized was due to dignity. What is important to learn from Mr. B's practice is based on consideration for the store and general customers. In other words, the key of his practice was to express the attitude of valuing the relationship with the store and customers. This, in turn, kept him as a dignified person and also helped him to maintain the position of “Nushi” of the store.