This article begins by interrogating the problem of the global and the local in anthropology, and asks how their interconnections might be theorized. When anthropologists call for an examination of the global in concrete terms, they often fail to appreciate the place of ‘concept-metaphors’ whose purpose is to maintain ambiguity and a productive tension between universal claims and specific historical contexts. ‘The global’ is just such a concept-metaphor, a space of theoretical abstraction and processes, experiences and connections in the world, important not only to social scientists but now part of most people’s imagined and experienced worlds. In this article, I examine pre-theoretical commitments common in anthropology that emphasize ‘the local’ via participant-observation, which becomes elided with ethnography. I suggest that anthropology begin to ‘methodologize’ the relation between the global and the local by reviewing several approaches to these problems.
The independent review on The Economics of Biodiversity led by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta has now been delivered to the government. The report underlines our failure to grasp that our economies are “embedded within Nature, and not external to it.” We rely on nature to “provide us with food, water and shelter; regulate our climate and disease; maintain nutrient cycles and oxygen production; and provide us with spiritual fulfilment and opportunities for recreation and recuperation which can enhance our health and well-being.”Read More
On 4 August 2020, a massive explosion at Beirut’s port killed at least 200 people and caused up to $15bn in damage to buildings and infrastructure – including the destruction of the public electricity company building. It was the latest blow for a country battling a 30-year energy crisis and facing chronic shortages as a result of an ageing infrastructure based around fossil fuels.Read More
In 1945, the UK’s welfare state was set up to address the want, need and misery caused by unemployment. Seventy-five years later, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, we had almost full employment in the UK – and yet we still have massive levels of poverty and precarity experienced by people in work.Read More