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ethnography

The reorganization of the bureaucratic encounter in a digitized public administration

Whether because of the structure of the apparatus or because of the structure of memory, it is certain that the noises of the first telephone conversations echo differently in my ear from those of today. They were nocturnal noises. No muse announces them. The night from which they came was the one that precedes every true birth. […] Not many of those who use the apparatus know what devastation it once wreaked in family circles.

Grooving matter(s): ‘Taking measure’ through touch

Introduction

This paper takes a ‘leap of imagination’ (Whitehead, 1978: 4; following Stengers, 2011: 22) in an experiment with science, matter, and measurement. It thinks measurement in terms of scientists’, and in particular archaeologists’, sense of touch. Proposing that human touch is most interesting to practices of measurement for its ability to perceive indigenously, that is, ‘from the midst of things’ (Howes, 2005: 6; Myers and Dumit, 2011), thinking with touch redefines what it means to take measure.

'The Ghosts Insurance': Participatory research in haunted schools by the Theatre of Research

Introduction

One. When I visited Mexico a few years ago I heard the story of the ‘virgen del metro’. This is how it goes: In Mexico City thousands of people live in the streets. One day one of them saw a piece of mould in the floor of the metro station of Hidalgo and watched it for a while. Suddenly, in the midst of the mould, the face of Mother Mary appeared to him. The mould itself turned into her face. Others saw her, too, and they instantly agreed on a reading.

The dark riders of the internet?

This is by far not the first review of Gabriella Coleman’s book to begin with. But it is one that is written in the context of a concentrated effort to explore the various dimensions of anonymity within anthropology and further afield. Although Coleman’s book is not exactly about anonymity as a concept, it is a worthwhile addition to the overall discussion in its very own way.

Transilient relations: Exploring the social in anonymity

In her intriguing study of anonymous ova donors and their recipients in England, anthropologist Monica Konrad examines how it is possible that new social relations emerge from such donations although those involved in egg donation practices have no possibility of getting to know each other. Nameless relations (Konrad, 2005) is a detailed ethnographic analysis of a situation marked by non-knowledge, and of the relations that those involved in it form under the conditions of anonymity and non-reciprocity.

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