The Eating Bodies team would like to invite you for an ad hoc ‘Japanese Scholars Afternoon’ – which will not be about eating… but about (anti)corruption (in India), tuberculosis (in Ghana) and care in a high tech laboratory (in Japan). The occasion for this gathering is the lucky fact that we have 2 short term guests (Yoko Taguchi and Akinori Hamada) and a longer term guest Wakana Suzuki from Japan.
Time: Monday February 29 from 14.00 to 17:30.
Space: REC B5.12 (Anthropology Department Common Room) University van Amsterdam.
3 working papers will be pre-circulated. In the meeting these papers will not be presented, but discussed. All participants are therefore expected to have read all papers. If you want to join and receive the papers, please contact Rebeca Ibanez Martin before Thursday 18, February: R.IbanezMartin@uva.nl
Yoko Taguchi (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) writes about: Corruption, anti-corruption, and “personal values”: (A)politics of not quite “two selves”. The discussion will be opened by Sanderien Verstappen (UvA)
Akinori Hamada (National Museum of Ethnology, Japan) shares: Restyling the Milieu: On Milieu Making Practices around Tuberculosis Treatment Projects in Southern Ghana. The discussion will be opened by Hanna Henao Vanegas (UvA)
Wakana Suzuki (Kyoto University; guest researcher UvA) has a draft of: Improvisational Choreography of Care: Ethical Frictions in a Laboratory in Japan. And here the discussant is Victor Toom (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main).
Be very welcome, Rebeca Ibanez Martin & Annemarie Mol
Japanese Scholars Afternoon Program
Time: Monday February 29 from 14.00 to 17:30. Followed by informal dinner.
Space: REC B5.12 (Anthropology Department Common Room)
14.00 to 14.15 Introduction.
14.15 – 15.00 Wakana Suzuki (Kyoto University; guest researcher UvA) shares: Improvisational Choreography of Care: Ethical Frictions in a Laboratory in Japan. And here the discussant is Victor Toom(Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main).
15.00 – 15.15 break
15.15 – 16.00 Yoko Taguchi (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) writes about: Corruption, anti-corruption, and “personal values”: (A)politics of not quite “two selves”. The discussion will be opened bySanderien Verstappen (UvA)
16.00 – 16.15 break
16.15 – 17.00 Akinori HAMADA (National Museum of Ethnology, Japan) shares: Restyling the Milieu: On Milieu Making Practices around Tuberculosis Treatment Projects in Southern Ghana. The discussion will be opened by Hanna Henao Vanegas (UvA)
17.00 – 17.15 or if needed 17.30. Wrap up comments and reflections.
Yoko Taguchi (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science)
Title: Corruption, anti-corruption, and “personal values”: (A)politics of not quite “two selves”
Discussant: Sanderien Verstappen (UvA)
This paper looks at India’s anti-corruption movement led by “civil society,” focusing on the controversy around it and its effort to create the new figure of the “citizen.” In 2011, this popular movement promoted its “apolitical” position and the logic of the market to criticize the corruption of politicians and bureaucrats.
This paper first discusses the position of contemporary Indian civil society and the criticism of the anti-corruption movement by Indian leftist intellectuals. The story goes that since economic liberalization in the 1990s, a new consumer middle class has arisen, which has given rise to a civil society movement. Based on a middle-class identity, this new civic movement is selfishly oriented toward the improvement of the lives of its own members, to the exclusion of the subaltern. Contrary to this linear account, I argue that citizen movements are creating new forms of politics by partially incorporating a variety of new and old elements.
To understand citizen movements, we also need to consider how citizens are composites of multiple relations rather than bounded individuals. I continue this inquiry by engaging with the concept of Indian “dividuals” and a recursive movement between “context-sensitive” rules and efforts to become “context-free.” Inspired both by Indian ethnosociology and by Strathernian partial connections, I examine the anti-corruption-related movement and the image of the person created in this movement. This new image enables us to see not only the familiar clear-cut account of “two selves” (modern and traditional, Western and Indian, anti-corruption and corruption, etc.), but also selves that through specific partial connections are more than one but less than two.
In this paper, I describe various partially connected anti-corruption-inspired activities, including Mumbai’s citizen-candidate campaign, the discussion of corruption in a psychometrics course, and the essays and novels of Chetan Bhagat. Through these cases, this paper analyzes the movement as aspiring to the free, an aspiration that relies on a particular combination of the liberal, the promotion of free-market activities among self-responsible individuals, and the context-free, the aspiration to be separated from existing relations. Examining how this movement strove to achieve the free, this paper shows how the movement was subsequently re-articulated, as it made ambiguous connections with corruption and personal attachment. Thus, I show that middle class people are creating new images that connect what is incompatible, corruption and anti-corruption, by mobilizing “personal values.”
(National Museum of Ethnology, Japan)
Restyling the Milieu: On Milieu Making Practices around Tuberculosis Treatment Projects in Southern Ghana
Discussant: Hanna Henao Vanegas (UvA)
This paper explores the dynamic nature of milieu by describing the situation of tuberculosis (TB) in Southern Ghana. Using Foucault’s analytical concepts of the milieu, the dispositive and self-government, it discusses how what anthropologists call ‘context’ is constructed through and restyled by the effects of the milieu making practices of multiple actors.
Regarding tuberculosis in Southern Ghana, the largest milieu making actors are the tuberculosis project supported by international agencies and NGOs, which has built on and rearranged the existing national health infrastructure. This large-scale project aims to govern the actions of tuberculosis and patients by deploying a wide range of things and humans such as pharmaceuticals, patient cards, money, health workers, the patients themselves and their family members. However, actors such as tuberculosis, patients and family members also try to make their lives better and act through different logics from that of the tuberculosis project.
The aim of milieu-making in the fight against TB is ultimately to place TB bacteria in a particular milieu. That is the body which maintaining a fixed circulating concentration of drugs. If during the long period of treatment, however, the circulating concentration of drugs consecutively drops below the required amount, TB bacteria will survive and develop resistance to the drug. Such a change in the subject of the milieu then radically changes the character of the milieu itself. Efforts to keep a steady circulating concentration become meaningless. By adapting, the bacteria escape from the dispositive that was created to control its behavior. It should be emphasized that while this resistant tuberculosis is a product of antibiotics and thus premise and incorporate the existence of tuberculosis treatment project, the characteristics of the TB project also already incorporate various characteristics of the TB bacteria.
To understand the context of tuberculosis patients, we need to know about milieu making of patients and their family too. Through looking closely the case of Ako who is woman in 50’s and her family member, this paper will reveal the dependent nature of milieu making practices and mutual interference of these practices.
This paper shows how context in which biomedicine work continuously restyling through multiple milieu making practices of multiple actors. The milieu which canalizes the actions of different actors is not determinately constructed by a single actor, but constantly rearranged by multiple actors. It is formed in the interference of restyling practices.
Title: Improvisational Choreography of Care: Ethical Frictions in a Laboratory in Japan
Discussant: Victor Toom (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main )
In medical and biology laboratories, scientists and technicians work with, care and sacrifice laboratory animals to make scientific knowledge and create new treatments for humans. In this paper, I describe ethical frictions of animal experiments in contemporary Japan, based on my fieldwork in a stem cell laboratory. STS scholars and anthropologists have explored ethical tensions between caring and killing laboratory animals in laboratories (e.g. Lynch 1988, Svendsen and Koch 2013, Fierse 2014). They argued that the logic underlying animal experiments is absolute division between humanity and animality. “Sacrifice” is pivotal moment that animals (of lesser worth) are potentialized to humans’ health (being of greater worth). Most of those arguments are based on histories and empirical data in Euro-American countries.
In Japan, the history, regulations and institutional setting of animal experiments are different from the Euro-American context. Japan is known for having an annual ceremony or “kuyou” for laboratory animals. Most of universities and pharmaceutical companies have monuments and hold ceremonies. In every autumn, scientists and technicians, students console and thank dead animals and offer bananas and oranges to monuments. However, the styles of kuyou have been changing. In the institute where I conduced fieldwork, scientists exclude Buddhism or Shinto style, because excluding religious aspects seems to be more “scientific” and “global” for them. At the same time, influenced by American Animal Welfare, they introduce the “pain category of the experimental protocol” to calculate animals’ pain.
Inspired by concepts “choreography of care” (Thompson 2005, Law 2010) and “equivocation” (Jensen and Morita 2015), I describe eclectic ethics and care practices in the institute and the laboratory and ask how scientists navigate in-between “Japanese” and “Western” ethical regime.