ECONOMIES OF RECOGNITION

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by Liv Barnett

Academics are often accused of failing to make their research matter to audiences other than themselves. Anthropologists are particularly criticized for writing theories and ethnographies that not only go unread by non-anthropologists, but are also too inaccessible to those they may be writing about. Here I hope to try and explain a central aspect of my PhD research in Papua New Guinea and share some of the ways it has got me thinking about politics and economics in the UK.

The stereotyped anthropologist gets criticized for using the experiences of a usually colonised ‘other’ for their own project of producing knowledge that counters the taken for granted understandings people have of humanity or society in ‘the West’, which are presumed to be universal to human nature. This is a legitimate argument which has to be taken seriously. Therefore, I self-consciously use some of my observations in Papua New Guinea (enabled by the generosity of those who I lived with in PNG) and the ideas of European/western social theorists.

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AT THE END OF THE LONG PAUSE: A MOANA REVIEW

by Paige Selby-Green

Moana is a traditional quest narrative complete with a special object that has to be taken on a journey. It’s a story we’ve all seen before – but we’ve never seen it in this setting, or with a hero quite like this one. Moana is driven, brave, and lacks the improbable Barbie-doll proportions of her predecessors. Though this film is billed as being about her extraordinary journey to return the heart of the goddess Te Fiti, its main focus is actually Moana herself. There is, after all, a reason why the film is named Moana rather than Voyage.Continue Reading

ROBOTS WON’T BUILD OUR FUTURE — WE HAVE TO DO IT OURSELVES

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by Olivia Hanks

The Labour Party’s deputy leader Tom Watson wrote in The Guardian last week about the challenges posed to society by automation. Rapid developments in artificial intelligence over the last few years have brought this issue to prominence once again, and spawned a proliferation of articles saying, effectively, “We know we said this in the 60s, but this time we mean it — robots are going to take over the world!

The fact that fears of mass unemployment caused by machines proved largely unfounded in the 19th century and again 50 years ago doesn’t mean that we should ignore this issue. Far from it — it presents us with an opportunity to rethink our entire approach to work.Continue Reading