rss_2.0Borderlands Journal FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Borderlands Journal Journal Feed Methodologies<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In certain cultural contexts, many minority groups have historically found a space for resistant survival against the acculturation pressure from mainstream societies in the ossification and reaffirmation of gender roles and compulsory heterosexuality. In this context, out-of-the-norm masculinities can be complex and a source of suffering. The ‘emotional discomfort’ accompanies many researchers throughout their fieldwork. This work aims to set a dialogue between my ethnographic experience and the different approaches to the role of emotions from anthropology and situated feminist knowledges. In this article I take my emotional discomfort as a non-heterosexual ethnographer, experienced in fieldwork with Spanish Gypsy men where ‘authentic’ ethnic and gender identities were inextricably linked, as a space for analysis. This position of relative subalternity may be experienced as an impediment or incorporated as a privileged space of research. Here I defend that the discomfort can be incorporated at the ethnographic level, both in terms of content and methodology. Therefore my proposal involves a systematic analysis of how this experience is produced in the different stages of the field work and can be methodologically incorporated in a fruitful way.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue in Discomfort<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Discomfort can make one doubt one’s taken-for-grant accounts of reality. Thus, for settler colonial scholars—such as myself—undertaking collaborative research projects with First Nations communities, discomfort is a necessary companion. In this article, I tune into my own discomfort to explore its generative potential to disrupt my knowledge practices. To do so, I improvise with Lisa Stevenson’s ‘fieldwork in uncertainty’ (2014). Fieldwork in discomfort is paying attention to when my ‘facts’ falter and I butt up against my epistemological limits. I reflect upon moments of discomfort during a collaborative project with the Wolgalu and Wiradjuri First Nations community in Brungle-Tumut (New South Wales, Australia). The project aims to revitalise the community’s connection to a species of ecological importance: the corroboree frog—a critically endangered and culturally important species, whom the Wolgalu nation call Gyack (<xref ref-type="bibr" rid="j_borderlands-2022-017_ref_037">Williams, 2019</xref>). A collaborative project involving people from different epistemic traditions demands of participants an attentiveness to what is not shared. Afterall, to take care of Gyack requires taking care of, and with, divergent knowledge practices. Discomfort is a method of coming to know what I cannot know.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue agencies of discomfort<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>How we might cultivate ethical and emancipatory modes of existence in hard places, places dominated by unequal and uneven social relations and far from any pristine environments to (re)connect with? This paper shows how learning with urban commoning projects in Paris and London has led to developing a more-than-human theorisation of discomfort. Although feelings of discomfort or unease are often acknowledged as central to collective projects, or in relation to the existential troubles of climate change, such perspectives are seldom examined together. Learning with commoning projects and bringing my ethnographic experiences in conversation with work on queer discomfort, critical social justice pedagogies and more-than-human geographies offers ways of thinking and doing with discomfort as collective practices. I suggest that (some) practices that welcome a careful attention to discomfort can cultivate relational worlds in the cracks of concrete environments. These are collective affective practices that involve ‘staying with discomfort’, a postponing of the tendency to swiftly reach towards a hopeful future in order to recover human and ecological ethical relations that have been obscured, dismissed or ridiculed, or indeed may not be possible.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue ethnographic knowledges<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This special issue aims to deepen emerging theoretical engagements with discomfort, in relation to recent debates on affect and emotion, and grounded in ethnographic research. It is based on a joint project of bringing together scholars from different backgrounds to examine the methodological and conceptual affordances of discomfort. This project started in the 2019 AIBR (Iberoamerican Anthropology Association) annual conference, where the editors of this special issue made a call for contributions that examined discomfort from original and committed approaches. The quality and the breadth of perspectives moved the editors to collaborate on this publication proposal. The focus on discomfort is a way for the authors of the special issue to bring together approaches from across disciplines, to challenge fixed frames, and inhabit disciplinary borderlands. This common thread also allows the authors to bring together research from contexts and disciplines that might not otherwise be brought into conversation.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Discomfort and Negotiating Vulnerability as a Feminist Activist Researcher<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In this paper I look at activist affects, discomforts, and complaints through the prism of engaged collaborative ethnography and autoethnography as a feminist scholar activist and disabled rape survivor. Drawing upon experiences of feminist solidarity and resistance in the ethnographic field in the UK, Spain, the Basque Country, Greece, Latin American diasporic communities, and transnational activist clusters, I follow affective articulations of activist complaints against intersecting violences, vulnerabilities, and their institutional denial. Attuning to lived experiences of multiple marginalisations in volatile contexts, personal and collective testimonies expose the ways in which such complaints are undermined; from court rooms and doctors’ surgeries to physical and digital spaces, structural violence and its ideological amplification of existing harmful discourses operate against them. These activist affects are articulated in contexts of disbelief, challenged for their validity and devalued in importance. Further complicated by hostile environments and attacks on so-called ‘gender ideology’ by both extreme-right and ‘progressive’ intellectual circles, the expression of marginalised lived experiences of discomfort, anger, pain, disappointment, and mistrust are depoliticised and discredited in their urgent quest for accountability. This paper calls for meaningful listenings and engagement with these unsettling affects as valid embodied knowledge of the operation of violences rendering lives unliveable.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue‘I feel I cannot write anymore’<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Learning to explore the embodied affect of discomfort allows us to identify the violence that is usually concealed in structures of power, and to identify our complicity and responsibility in sustaining that violence. From the starting point of my refusal to stay with discomfort in the process of writing an academic article, I put into question how easily we can drag ourselves into the same power structures that we criticise. Exploring my own discomfort leads me to delve into the violence of dichotomies that permeate my research context, the Basque Country, and myself as a researcher. The experiences of those who lived through the Basque armed conflict illuminate the possibilities of the disruption of binaries that embracing the vulnerability inherent to discomfort can entail. The teetering movement of tambaleo emerges, adding a new dimension to the interpretation of discomfort. Tambaleo represents the internal move of the body shaken by discomfort. Tambaleo is a proposal for knowledge generation in academic settings and in periods of crisis such as post-ceasefire processes, where certainties get blurred, and the unstable ground of shattered identities makes of wobbling steps potential spins for social transformation.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue (Re)Locations<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In this article, I will discuss the relationships between discomfort, biography, emotions, location, and relocation in ethnographic research—specifically in military research in Colombia. In this article I argue that there is an intertwining between biography, discomfort, emotions, construction of research questions, and writing.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Discomfort in the Cracked Art World<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article explores discomfort as it relates to art. It proceeds from the author’s own framework of the ‘cracked art world’, bringing that model into conversation with the anthropology of affect. It identifies and explores three different ways in which affects of discomfort arise in art world encounters: discomfort from art, discomfort about art, and discomfort with (other) people. In exploring discomfort with (other) people, it focuses in particular on intercultural arts events, suggesting that these spaces produce affective ambivalence.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue An Itinerary<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The footprint is one of the fundamental artifacts of walking. As both metaphor and material imprint, it signifies mobility and occupation, inquiry and imperialism, absence and presence, trace, and impact. Written as a series of narrative itineraries, the essay explores the contradictory forensics of the footprint. It examines a set of cultural and material histories through the Apollo 11 spacewalk, early hominin tracks at Laetoli, Hindu and Hopi conceptions as well as monument politics in the United States. The migration of the footprint well in front of the sign of the walker into a primary metaphor for our times raises questions about the ways in which histories are used to guide our steps into the future. As it marches forward, the footprint seems to get less capacious and more consumptive. Even as we find the image of footprints on a stretch of sand tranquil and dreamy, we worry about our carbon footprint and its implication for the future of the planet. The essay asks what the implications are of making the human foot bear responsibility for the planet.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue‘Wild and Free’ in Climate-Challenged Landscapes: Negotiating the Mobilities of Free-Roaming Horses in the American West<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The wild horse herds that inhabit the rangelands of the western United States are variously celebrated and reviled within the competing affective regimes that regulate their mobilities. We ask how these mobility regimes intersect with climate change in the governance of ‘pervasively captive’ free-roaming horses. Federal policy’s restrictive-utilitarian regime operates with a political conception of ‘detainable life’ that enables periodic roundups and removals of ‘excess’ horses from the range; detainability, in turn, is enabled by claims that horses are not native to North America. An alternative permissive-convivial approach favored by wild horse advocates defends a vision of free-roaming horses that, in practical terms, rejects considerations of ‘nativeness’ while incorporating forms of management that seek to support their autonomy on the range. Neither regime, however, has adequately considered the survival implications of accelerating climate change in the region. To reflect on the political struggle about the future of free-roaming horses under conditions of pervasive captivity and climate change, we shine a light of multispecies climate justice on herd management practices in Colorado’s Sand Wash Basin and Arizona’s Tonto National Forest.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Afropolitan Mobilities<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Migration professionals characterized the 2008 exodus of Zimbabweans into South Africa as a ‘massive refugee situation’ (MRS). In response, and at the request of senior cabinet officials in the central government, South African state architects developed plans for a ‘model’ camp along the Mozambique-South Africa border in the event of another MRS. We use the article to understand implications of the ‘model’ on the proposed site. This requires playing with notions of the border. Play, here, occurs in a context where Mozambique is parsed from South Africa and where much of the South African side encompasses Kruger National Park. Using transdisciplinary speculative design, the article’s proposed intervention is a design intervention. Specifically, without naïvete, we gesture towards a return to a decolonized site more proximate to a spacetime without mobile matter monitored with devices, before electrified fences shocked the mobile into an organic order, and when matter across difference could go undetected because it was too wicked, too microscopic, or too subaltern while airborne, surface, subterranean, or interstitial.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue of Place in the American West<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This essay explores a personal reckoning with impending ecological crisis brought on by global warming. It places my sense of being out of place in my home environment in the context of larger cultural dynamics by unpacking the inherent mobility embedded in the national psyche of an immigrant nation such as the United States of America with a specific focus on the tendency of abstract mental constructs formed in one place, through one set of experiences, to predetermine the lived experience of people transitioning to a new, unknown place. It takes as its focus the expansion of US nation state from its original foothold along the eastern seaboard into the arid territories of the west and examines the embedded cultural attitudes that came to define the immigrant experience. To ground the article in personal experience, the discussion is placed within the context of a performative art practice involving two series of walks. The first, entitled <italic>For John Wesley Powell: Attempts to Walk the Grid</italic>, explores the cartographic grid as the device used for developing the West through walks conducted in various eco-niches in the western environment. The second series, entitled <italic>Celestial/Terrestrial Navigations</italic>, is based in walking constellations from the night sky onto the land in the West in the effort to mend the current divide in urban culture between earth and sky. Taken together they articulate a personal effort to build connections to the environment of the American West.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Economies/Capitalist Imaginaries: Dispelling Capitalism’s System Effects<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>How do the contradictory demands of sovereignty and globalization, border walls and supply chains, co-exist? Drawing on research along the U.S.-Mexico border, I trace global production networks in the Rio Grande Valley. Things are not made in one country and sold in another; they are produced across, or on top of, the border. Crossing borders is what makes globalization global. Moving bits and pieces across territorial lines not only allows companies to arbitrage national inequalities for profit; it also presents an analytic opportunity to view capitalism itself from a different angle. Extensive infrastructures are needed to allow global production networks to cross, but not breach, the territorial claims of sovereignty. I refer to the cross-border infrastructures as the sluice gates of globalization. Rather than seeing capitalist logics as the problem and anti-capitalism the cornerstone of a critical counter-politics, I draw on Wittgenstein’s duck-rabbit discussion to consider sluice gates as evidence of <italic>both</italic> capitalism’s rapacious reach <italic>and</italic> its internal heterogeneity and limits. From this perspective, sluice gates allow us to see capitalism as an assemblage rather than a system: fantasies of coherence recede. Following Timothy Mitchell, I suggest that once capital’s system effects have been dislodged, new economic imaginaries appear.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Denied: Temporal Mobility Regimes in Hebron<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The contested city of Hebron, or Al Khalil, in the Palestinian West Bank is well known for the spatial disintegration it has endured under the Israeli Occupation. The division of the city into Palestinian and Israeli zones, and the accompanying Israeli military force that oversees and upholds this territorial arrangement, renders Hebron a critical field site for the study of mobility and spatial politics, even as it generates extreme life challenges for its residents. Yet space and mobility in the Old City are likewise managed via temporal regimes, perhaps less familiar, but no less impactful. These regimes govern and structure mobility in accordance with epochal, seasonal, and diurnal rhythms as well as temporal dynamics such as periodicity, rhythm, sequence, interruption, and duration. In this formulation, time itself, alongside more visible and tangible artifacts, becomes a force that underlies mobility and generates particular political orders. Hebron is reconfigured as a space bounded not purely by physical materialities, but by relations that include temporal divisions, use-patterns, and alternating sovereignties. This article is based on fieldwork and interviews conducted in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2021.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Moving Walkway is Ending: A Speculative Essay on Climate-Driven Species Mobility and Planetary Politics<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Climate change is driving species to move. Alongside climate-driven human migrations and mobility, nonhuman species are changing where they live, in response to anthropogenic destruction of the climate and the biosphere. The article examines this less considered element of the current and future mobile planet, in search of framings that can better help us grapple with the transformations underway. It first presents some general global projections of species mobilities and presents some of the key issues raised around intersection of human and nonhuman mobility. It then turns to two elemental forces—fire and ice—whose power is increasingly visible in contemporary planetary politics. Both elements call for a consideration of deeper time horizons, alongside the immediate emergencies that these forces also bring about. The final section turns to think about the ethics, time scales, and differential politics of a fully mobile planet—one that is mobile from geological forces to earthly elements, from nonhuman species to human lives and cultures, drawing on recent work on earth mobility and speculative kinetic ethics.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue A Story of Political Imagination<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article traces three different political imaginaries about borders, suggesting that the dominant imaginary—the one of border walls, driven by a fear of invasion—is only one way to live in the world. The goal is to make space in our political imaginations to rethink how we live together, including thinking beyond nation-states as containers that keep people in or out. By first showing how the vision of invasion is built and maintained with intersecting transnational technologies and ideologies, I open the way to thinking otherwise. Second, I trace the counterpolitics of borders developed by artists and activists, resisting borders and walls, as they work towards the end goal of freedom of movement. Finally, I turn to more speculative visions; I argue that we need to create room for alter-visions or alterpolitics—parallel alternatives to the current political order, which differ from oppositional politics. To this end, I read across the fields of immunology and anthropology in order to open an alter-political imaginary based on xenophilia, rather than xenophobia.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Mobilities: Beyond the Autonomy of Movement and Power of Place<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>It is widely understood that we live in a world where people, goods, species, and things of all sorts are on the move, and that the politics around mobility and its regulation and meaning are critical to contemporary political and social life. Human migration has been globally intensive for well over a century; industrial economic production, consumption, and trade move goods around the world; transportation infrastructure moves all sorts of cargo around, human and nonhuman; regular and irregular ecological processes and changes are creating new patterns of nonhuman movement; variants of viruses race around the world; even geological elements are far from static. This special issue tackles the challenge of thinking about mobility, not only in its individual instances where it is treated in self-enclosed containers, and not only in its usual contrast to place, ground, sedentarism, and static forms of being; but rather, in the terms of the generative forces created when multiple mobilities come together and cross paths, for better and for ill—in short, intersecting mobilities.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Dangerous Text: Francis Fukuyama’s Mischaracterisation of Identity, Recognition and Right-Wing Nationalism<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Francis Fukuyama’s work on contemporary problems of identity and recognition portrays liberalism as under threat from the global rise of a reactionary and exclusionary identity politics. For Fukuyama contemporary identity politics, taking place as struggles for recognition and manifestations of resentment, are dangerous, illiberal forms of right-wing populist nationalism. I demonstrate how he appropriates the concepts of ‘identity’ and ‘recognition’ and puts these to use to sustain a version of neoliberal rationality and neoliberal politics. Such an appropriation denies the transformative and radical potential of intersubjective recognition and depoliticises and delegitimises any non-liberal claims and struggles of identity politics that might threaten to disrupt neoliberal political order, security and capitalist accumulation. Fukuyama’s account of identity is dangerous in the way that it legitimises a right-wing nationalist discourse of blame targeted at the mischaracterisation of minority and left-wing ‘identity’ politics, and in the way he detaches a contemporary extremist and right-wing nationalist discourse from the history of a less extreme, but similar, neoliberal nationalist discourse which, since the 1980s, has mobilised the language of identity politics as a political strategy and weapon against progressive political movements and against the welfare state.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Bodies: Scientific racism and the taxonomy of extraterrestrial life<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In recent years postcolonialism has shifted from exploring the occidental construction of the orient to exploring the role of the occident’s colonial other, the orient, in these constructions through the act of hybridity; that is, the influence that real colonial others have on Orientalizing discourse. But what if the literal existence of the other being analyzed cannot be substantiated. Through an analysis of various scientific constructions of extraterrestrials, such as the inhabitants of the moon described by Johannes Kepler or the description of faraway alien races by Ronald Bracewell, this essay examines how the methods of otherizing practiced on creatural populations whose existence is believed but unsubstantiated, others for whom hybridity is impossible, are then applied to real colonial subjects. Mirroring the role of the medieval Plinian races of India and Africa in providing a mythical structure for the construction of race during early capitalist expansion in South America, modern extraterrestrials have provided a mythical structure for the construction and maintenance of racialized others.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue White Possessive: Identity matters in becoming Native, Black and Aboriginal<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Professor David Theo Goldberg reminds us to comprehend race as the paradox of modernity whereby prolific racial identities come into existence through exclusions that engender, justify, operationalise and encourage them. In the past two decades we have witnessed the emergence of new racial identities whereby white people are self-identifying as non-white. This article argues that Goldberg’s work on ‘conceptual primitives’ within racialized and gendered discourse provides an important way to understand how these epistemic drivers enable the appropriation of Indigenous and Black identities. One of the conceptual primitives – ‘identity’ – manifests in the exercise of white race privilege, entitlement and possessiveness with discursive regularity as will be demonstrated through examining three cases of identity appropriation: Joseph Boyden in Canada, Rachel Dolezal in the USA, and Elizabeth Durack in Australia.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue