marco tempest

… get to the poetry faster  This is way overdue. It must have been in the late 1980s or early ’90s that for the first time I saw ↑Marco Tempest perform live. It was at one of those bigger magicians’ conventions in Germany where you can see and meet—if you’re a bit lucky—real top acts. Marco Tempest’s act was top, plus it was completely not off the peg. Brilliant stage magic lacking every standard element. Centerstage there was a big television set, Mr Tempest acted left, right, and behind that set and made flashy colored rubber balls move and jump … Continue reading

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occupation—transformation

During the upcoming winter term it is me who has to deliver the ‘Introduction to social and cultural anthropology’ lecture (anthro 101) at ↑my institute—I guess as a starter for the session on ↑economic anthropology I will use the 12 September entry ↑Why? posted at ↑OccupyWallStreet: Contemporary society is commodified society, where the economic transaction has become the dominant way of relating to the culture and artifacts of human civilization, over and above all other means of understanding, with any exceptions being considered merely a temporary holdout as the market swiftly works on ways to monetize those few things which … Continue reading

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talking cyberanthropology

Several weeks before this year’s conference of the German Anthropological Association (GAA/DGV) took place (14-17 September in Vienna, Austria), Thomas Lohninger contacted me via e-mail. He is the founder of, and force behind ↑Talking Anthropology which went live in July 2009. Since then he has produced and brought online 39 podcasts, 16 of them in English. The idea of Talking Anthropology is to bring topics, notions, and ideas from social and cultural anthropology to a broader public. The podcast seems to be a fitting format for that endeavour. The download numbers, for some of his productions in the thousands, confirm … Continue reading

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delineation

Some weeks ago I once again had a conversation on the distinctions between social/cultural anthropology and neighbouring or kin disciplines. On the very same day a bookseller sent me an e-mail advertising the (quite costly) “Encyclopaedia of Social Anthropology” by Indian sociologist Henna Tabassum (2011). The book’s ↑product overview gives a quite comprehensive description, which very much is in synch with my convictions: Social anthropology is distinguished from subjects such as economics or political science by its holistic range and the attention it gives to the diversity of culture and society across the world and the capacity this gives the … Continue reading

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final problem

‘Of late I have been tempted to look into the problems furnished by Nature rather than those more superficial ones for which our artificial state of society is responsible.’ (Doyle 1893) DOYLE, Sir ARTHUR IGNATIUS CONAN. 1893. The adventure of the final problem. The Strand Magazine 6(36) [December 1893]. … Continue reading

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alienist

manuscript-day 208 of 100  ‘Prior to the twentieth century, persons suffering from mental illness were thought to be “alienated,” not only from the rest of society but from their own true natures. Those experts who studied mental pathologies were therefore known as alienists,’ historian and writer Caleb Carr clarifies in a preliminary note to his 1994 thriller novel. In ‘The Alienist’ Laszlo Kreizler, psychiatrist, hunts down a serial killer—the story taking place in a hardly gaslit New York City of the year 1896. Not only Theodore Roosevelt makes a cameo appearance, but also Franz Boas, American anthropology’s founding father of … Continue reading

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warped visions

manuscript-day three of 100 Imagine an unspecified European traveller voyaging into an equally unspecified remote area, there coming into contact with the even more unspecified indigenous population. The society he visits lacks scripture, but pictorial representation is abound. With an instant camera the traveller takes pictures of the landscape, the village, and of his hosts.     On presentation of the pictures the locals give to understand that they do not recognize anything. The visitor is flabbergasted, but after some explaining from his side, the villagers manage to recognize the to them familiar sceneries as represented. Time passes, the people … Continue reading

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wag the dog

In a 1994 television interview with ↑Alexander Kluge, ↑Niklas Luhmann warned: “Vorsicht vor zu raschem Verstehen!” [Attention if something is understood too quickly.] 70 years earlier, Hercule Poirot said: “If a thing is clear as daylight—eh bien, mistrust it! Someone has made it so.”—from Agatha Christie’s “The Disappearance of Mr Davenheim” (1924). … Continue reading

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stability online

  The final draft of my paper ↑The stability of cyberspace [.pdf | 32KB], which will be published—this month, they say—in the Proceedings of the ↑Cyberspace 2005 Conference, is now online. If you’re interested, help yourself and consider the thing to be CC-licenced—same licence as this blog has. Here’s the paper’s somewhat self-aggrandizing and preposterous—blame my youthful levity—abstract:  The lack of a suitable understanding of reality experienced by human beings hampers the discourse on social and cultural phenoma triggered by information and communication technologies (ICTs). This lack generates misunderstandings which accumulate in the notion of ICT-induced realms as a Gegenwelt, … Continue reading

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Favorite anthropology’s shades

Among the qualities which the issues anthropologists take up and belabour have, there is one which stings and delivers a lot of pain, again and again, during the whole process from shaping your project and defining the particular subject to writing the final text: No matter what topic you struggle with, sooner or later it appears to be integrally connected with a shipload of other issues and aspects. There is always the itch to scratch beneath the surfaces of this other aspects, to widely read around, to learn more new things. If you completely give way to this impulse you … Continue reading

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