This month, Julia (1:12) questions Australia's black-and-white moral stance against vaping as a way to help people stop smoking, arguing that Australia's uncompromising stance borders on “the definition of psychotic thinking, where you become fixated on ideas to the point that you’re not open to exploring a middle ground or someone else’s viewpoints. And I would contend that the situation we’ve got in Australia, in regards to harm minimization around smoking, and the reluctance to endorse vaping as a harm minimization tool, starts to border on that psychotic edge.”
Simon (6:09) asks, why don’t ethnographers use their noses as an ethnographic implement, and pay more attention to smell when they’re crafting descriptions of their field sites? “When you talk about the things that you hear, not just the things that you see… those add to the richness of ethnography. And one of those things that I think we can draw our attention to, in terms of making more alive the material that we write, is this idea of smell. What are the smells that we had in the field, and what do they mean, not only for our informants, but also for us?”
Special guest Justine Chambers (12:30) reflects on the film Black Panther, about a nation that was never colonized, and asks: given that she knows so much about colonialism in her field site in Karen State, Myanmar, how does she, and other citizens of settler colonial nations, engage so little with the colonial legacy of Australia, her home society? As Ian asks, "there's the difficult issue of whether justice is about finding room for indigenous people within colonial legal frameworks, like a rights framework, or whether justice would be about withdrawing those institutions altogether."
Justine is a PhD student in anthropology at ANU's school of Culture, History and Language and associate director of the ANU Myanmar Centre.
Finally, Ian (18:44) looks at the gun debate in America, and asks why the two sides are described as “tribes,” a term that anthropology gave up on decades ago? The use of the term, he argues, “seems to suggest that people’s preferences are inbred… It racializes the problem,” as if “everything about a culture has to do with blood.”
Antrosio, Jason “Semi-Automatic Anthropology” on the blog Living Anthropologically: https://www.livinganthropologically.com/semi-automatic-anthropology-complexity/
Black Panther http://marvel.com/blackpanther#/
Brown, Julia E. H. (2018) ‘Doing Things Little by Little’: Smoking and Vaping While Being Pharmaceutically Treated for Schizophrenia, Anthropological Forum, DOI: 10.1080/00664677.2018.1440192
Csordas, Thomas J. (1993) "Somatic Modes of Attention." Cultural Anthropology, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 135-156.
Dennis, S. (2016) 'Smokefree: A Social, Moral and Political Atmosphere. Bloomsbury Press. https://www.bloomsbury.com/au/smokefree-9781472569226/
Douglas, Mary. (1969) Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London.
Hirschkind, Charles. (2006) The Ethical Soundscape: Cassette Sermons and Islamic Counterpublics. Columbia University Press, New York.
Ingold, Tim. (2011) Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill. Routledge, London.
Kipnis, Andrew B. (2011) Governing Educational Desire: Culture, Politics, and Schooling in China. The University of Chicago Press, London;Chicago.
This anthropology podcast is supported by the Australian Anthropological Society, the schools of Culture, History, and Language and Archaeology and Anthropology at Australian National University, and the Australian Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, and is produced in collaboration with the American Anthropological Association.
Music by Pete Dabro: dabro1.bandcamp.com
Show notes by Ian Pollock
KEYWORDS: smoking, vaping, harm minimization, smell, anthropology, ethnography, colonization, Indigenous Australia, Indigenous America, Black Panther, guns, tribalism