Volume 90, #1 • Winter 2017

 

SOCIAL THOUGHT & COMMENTARY:

 

Operationalizing New Biopolitical Theory for Anthropological Inquiry

M. Ariel Cascio, Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal & McGill University

ABSTRACT—In the nearly 20 years since Rabinow’s 1996 “Artificiality and Enlightenment: From Sociobiology to Biosociality,” scholarly attention to biosociality and related concepts such as biological citizenship have expanded Foucault’s theories of biopolitics, updating them—as it were—for the 21st century. In this commentary, I explicate these “new biopolitical theories” and propose a schema for operationalizing them for deductive analyses in ethnographic research. I illustrate the way this schema may be applied with examples from an ethnographic study on autism in Italy. In doing so, I provide a model of new biopolitical theory that can be used in future projects in a variety of research settings and put scholarship on biosocialities and biological citizenships in more explicit conversation with each other. Such robust conversation will further scholarly understanding of biopolitics in general and of the local particularity of biologies, biomedicines, and politics that affect them. [Keywords: Biosociality, biological citizenship, biopolitics, data analysis, ethnography, autism]

 

Project Fukushima! Performativity and the Politics of Festival in Post-3.11 Japan

David Novak, University of California, Santa Barbara

ABSTRACT—This article describes the political performances of the annual Project Fukushima! festival that—only a few months after the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster on 3/11/11, and each summer since—has brought thousands to sing, dance and make music in Fukushima City. Why celebrate Fukushima in the midst of a meltdown? I argue that performance has taken on a vital critical dimension in the ambivalent pluralism that drives contemporary public protest movements. Music and dance, particularly in the festivals that have become deeply integrated into social activism in post-3/11 Japan, have become particularly expedient ways to enable broad critiques of technocultural capitalism and its silencing of marginal populations. The performativity of festival connotes byt does not necessarily constitute public dialogue. Rather, it makes audible the dissonance of diverse political assemblies, who respond with ambivalence to demands to speak with a singular voice. I examine the ways in which the anthropology of social movements can attend to new performative assemblies that reframe narratives of disaster and displacement to describe  emergent scenes of embodied interdependence in a global politics of survival. By blurring the lines between social expression and the disruptive noise of collective spectacle, Project Fukushima! builds the ambivalence of regional culture into a platform for amplifying the noise of political community in the disaster zone. [Keywords: Japan, Fukushima, politics of survival, antinuclear protest, music, performance]

 

Volume 90, #1

Winter 2017

Inhabiting the Margins: Middle Eastern Minorities Revisited

Introduced and Edited by Güldem Baykal Büyüksaraç & Jonathan Glasser