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Energy and its management through policy touches on some core anthropological topics such as power, value and identity. Innovative anthropological approaches are being used to reveal the interplay between energy and societies. These include ethnographies of communities and their relationship to energy resources, analysis of the material culture of homes, as well as new areas of research into digital systems. This chapter outlines the questions that energy policy raises for anthropologists as well as current approaches being used to investigate them.
Political science does not offer a distinct subdiscipline to address the subject of energy. Insofar as political science has addressed energy, it has focused on issues often neglected by other disciplines, notably the role of geopolitics and international relations, and the domestic politics of resource-rich states. Apart from the different subfields, we examine different approaches including realism, constructivism, liberalism and Marxism. The rise and fall and rise again of academic articles on energy in leading political science journals is reviewed and linked to exogenous forces such as the price of oil. Two distinct energy topics which have received attention are nuclear power and the oil crises of 1973–79 because of their wider geopolitical ramifications. Perhaps the most prominent or consistent thread through studies of the politics of energy is the question of energy security or energy independence. Finally, in recent years, energy has increasingly emerged as a focus for study in environmental politics and climate change politics in particular.
The evidence of the character and purpose of settlements previously described as defended ‘small towns’ is reviewed in the light of knowledge accrued since the implementation of Planning Policy Guidance 16 in 1990, the same year as the publication of Burnham and Wacher's survey, The ‘Small Towns’ of Roman Britain. This review focuses on four of the more extensively excavated settlements: Alcester, Cambridge, Godmanchester and Worcester. In the absence of convincing urban attributes, it is suggested that this category of settlement should more appropriately be regarded as defended villages (vici). These cluster in and around the West Anglian plain and on Ermine Street, suggesting a strategic function to protect grain and other food supplies and their movement, potentially either to the northern frontier or south to London and, perhaps, export to the Continent.
Inspired by the life and work of the late anthropologist Nancy Abelmann (1959–2016), this essay reflects upon public evocations of human vulnerability as central to understanding recent cultural phenomena and political transformations leading up to and during the Candlelight Revolution in South Korea. In this regard, how did the color vivid yellow come to define both spaces of protest and markers of dissident identity? Considering the prevalence of yellow ribbons, yellow balloons, yellow butterflies, and yellow paper lifeboats, what does it mean for such objects to have been circulated and recirculated in layered metaphorical assemblages that constituted new forms of public memory and new practices of political mobilization? This article addresses both the massive, peaceful Candlelight protests of 2016–17 that took place in downtown Seoul and the decade-long peace movement centered on Jeju Island's Gangjeong Village in order to theorize a vital politics of fragility that has imbued influential narratives, activist coalitions, and the material culture of protest in South Korea.
This article revisits a locus classicus of British Catholic History, the interpretation of the coin-hoard found in 1611 by the Lancashire squire William Blundell of Little Crosby.1 This article offers new information, approaching the Harkirk silver from several perspectives: Mark Blundell offers a memoir of his ancestor William Blundell, as well as lending his voice to the account of the subsequent fate of the Harkirk silver; Professor Jane Stevenson and Professor Peter Davidson reconsider the sources for William Blundell’s historiography as well as considering wider questions of memory and the recusant community; Dr Dora Thornton analyses the silver pyx made from the Harkirk coins in detail, and surveys analogous silverwork in depth.
After 1571 Catholic sacred objects were outlawed in England, and the possession of such objects could be prosecuted under the statute of praemunire. Despite this prohibition sacred objects including rosaries, blessed beads, and the agnus dei (wax pendants blessed by the pope) remained a critical part of Catholic devotion. This article examines the role of the agnus dei in English Catholic communities and the unique political connotations it acquired during the reign of Elizabeth I. It assesses the uses of these sacramentals in Catholic missions to England, their reception amongst Catholics, and the political significance of the agnus dei in light of the papal excommunication of Elizabeth I in 1570.
John Locke's comparison of the mind to a blank piece of paper, the tabula rasa, was one of the most recognizable metaphors of the British Enlightenment. Though scholars embrace its impact on the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences, they seldom consider why the metaphor was so successful. Concentrating on the notebooks made and used by the schoolchildren of Enlightenment Scotland, this essay contends that the answer lies in the material and visual conditions that gave rise to the metaphor's usage. By the time students had finished school, they had learned to conceptualize the pages, the script, and the figures of their notebooks as indispensable learning tools that could be manipulated by scores of adaptable folding, writing, and drawing techniques. In this article, I reveal that historicizing the epistemology and manipulability of student manuscript culture makes it possible to see that the success of Locke's metaphor was founded on its appeal to everyday note-keeping activities performed by British schoolchildren.
Since its publication in 1954 Star Carr has held an iconic status in British Mesolithic archaeology. The original excavations at the site recorded a large assemblage of bone and antler tools from a sequence of peat deposits at the edge of the Lake Flixton. Over 60 years later this remains the largest assemblage of bone and antler artefacts of its date in Britain and has been an invaluable source of information for life in the early Mesolithic. However, the interpretation of this material has been the subject of intense debate, and the assemblage has been variously described as the remains of an in situ settlement, a refuse dump, and the result of culturally prescribed acts of deposition. Fundamentally, these very different ideas of the nature of the site depend on differing interpretations of the environmental context into which the majority of the organic artefacts were deposited. This paper presents the results of recent work at Star Carr that helps to resolve the debate surrounding both the context of the assemblage and the motivations that lay behind its deposition.
This article argues that medieval Arabic texts that were published in colonial northern Africa constitute as much a part of the history of colonialism and its legacy as that of the medieval centuries in which they were written. Using the publication history of a medieval Ibadi text and its French translations, I demonstrate how texts like it were edited, translated, and published not only for academic purposes, but also as contributions to the production of ‘useful’ colonial knowledge in Algeria. I begin with the first translation, published in 1878 alongside other ethnographic and historical studies funded by the colonial state. I then turn to the second translation, serially published between 1960–2 as its editors abandoned the country at the violent end of the colonial period. Finally, I address the Arabic editions published after independence, which recast it within a nationalist framework. Overall, I argue for the importance of addressing the colonial pasts of medieval texts in northern Africa.
This essay partakes in the dialogue between history, anthropology, and social theory on the topic of debt as a social relation. Drawing on sources from nineteenth-century Switzerland, it examines everyday routines of debt collection in liberalism by taking the seized collateral object to the center of historical analysis. It is shown how the attached goods in a debtor's household became an object of knowledge for nineteenth-century framers of law as well as for ordinary debtors. I make use of anthropological theory in order to describe the legal techniques of delineating and extracting collateral, and show how these legal techniques implied specific knowledge practices. I then look at two borderline cases of collateralization: the pawning of mobile goods and the imprisonment of insolvent debtors. Further, I discuss how, by the 1880s, the limits of debt collection were debated, when certain goods were exempt for seizure in a projected federal law. Overall, on an epistemological level, debt collection appears as a double movement: it provided basic tools to untangle property relationships, yet all the while it created new, unpredictable complications. Thus debt collection was a distinctive arena in which the uneasy conceptual relationship between people and things in nineteenth-century liberalism unfolded. From this conceptual node I propose a historical epistemology of the collateral object.
From the late nineteenth century through the interwar period, the production and consumption of German things played critical roles in delineating and connecting a wide variety of German places in Latin America. Such places became ubiquitous in Chile and Argentina. They flourished because there was ample room in the German imagination for the multiplicity of German places and the cultural hybridity that accompanied them to extend beyond Imperial Germany's national boundaries and colonial possessions. They also flourished because host societies found virtue in having those German places in their states. This essay uses German schools in Argentina and Chile as a window into the emergence of such German places and the soft power that accompanied them. Scholars often overlook that power when they focus on colonial questions or formal and informal imperialism in Latin America. More than any other institution, German schools became sites where the production and consumption of German things were concentrated and multilayered, and where the consistencies and great varieties of Germanness that arrived and evolved in Latin America gained their clearest articulation. Because those schools were both centers of communities and nodes in a global pedagogical network that thrived during the interwar period, they provide us with great insight into a nexus of motivations that created German places in Latin America. Life around these schools also underscores the importance of studying immigrants and their things together.
Whereas German-speaking archaeology (GSA) has long been understood as generally uninterested in theoretical debates, the situation has taken a most interesting development since the year 2000. Archaeologists tried to escape the general decline of the small university disciplines by getting more and more involved in the overarching research questions of cultural studies and in large-scale collaborative projects. The necessity of integrating a clear theoretical and methodological approach for a successful proposal and the subsequent research changed the significance of theoretical discussions. As a consequence, theme-oriented research has developed which aims at addressing overarching themes in the cultural and social sciences. We have chosen five of the most prominent themes in German-speaking archaeology – self-reflexivity, identities, space, cultural encounter and knowledge transfer – as well as material culture, and shed light on their theoretical conceptualization and methodological implementation in recent publications. Despite the lack of dominant schools of thinking, its strong rootedness in the evaluation of empirical sources, and its close link to the discipline of history, current GSA can contribute to the overall theoretical discourse of the discipline.
Using the example of pottery imported into the Channel ports of southern England, an approach to examining the role of pottery in the emergence and mediation of coastal communities is proposed here. Building on recent scholarship, it is argued that it is no longer tenable to see pottery as a carrier of identity, or as part of a ‘cultural package’, with meaning emerging with identity as people interact with pottery within and without port environments. The study proposes that imported pottery found meaning in different ways, depending on the context of acquisition and use. Hence it mediated different forms of community and identity. The article ends with a consideration of the wider implications of this approach for ongoing studies of material culture, trade, and urban identities in medieval Europe.
In the context of northern Europe, copper use started early in eastern Fennoscandia (Finland and the Republic of Karelia, Russia), sometime after 4000 BC. This article explores this Stone Age copper use in eastern Fennoscandia in relation to broader cultural developments in the region between the adoption of pottery (c. 5500 BC) and the end of the Stone Age (c. 1800 BC). Stone Age copper use in north-eastern Europe has conventionally been understood in terms of technology or exchange, whereas this article suggests that the beginning of copper use was linked to more fundamental changes in the perception of, and engagement with, the material world. These changes were associated with the Neolithization of eastern Fennoscandia, which started earlier than has traditionally been thought. It is also argued that the adoption, use, and manipulation of new materials played an active role in the emergence of the Neolithic world in north-eastern Europe and beyond. Also, issues related to the Finno–Russian border dividing up eastern Fennoscandia and its effects on the study of early metal use and other prehistoric cultural processes are discussed.