Where is the local? Partial biologies, ethnographic sitings


Where is the local for the ethnographer? A challenge facing anthropological interest in “local biologies” is that both biology and locality are put into practice in different ways. I draw on research with scientists, policy-makers, and activists who are all grappling with the influence of nutrition on biological development to illustrate that while biologies may transform from locality to locality, locality also changes form. I juxtapose local biologies of exposure, geopolitics, and global networks to suggest that a strength of ethnography lies in situating materials through practices of translation, attending to the ontological partiality of our objects of concern. Framing “the anthropological perspective” as a care-filled, authored practice of siting and not as a view on the world has implications for how nature is conceived and what the aims of ethnography are taken to be.