Symbolic Types: A Ritual of Impurity

Mina Meir-Dviri
Symbolic Types: A Ritual of Impurity
Abstract

The semi-commune “Little Home” is a cultural enclave whose beliefs and idiosyncratic, seemingly chaotic interactions are based on gender relations translated into the terms of the purity and impurity of the female body. This framework is the scene of fictional and real kinship relations that play distinct roles within this mini-society and are dominated by symbolic types, which determine their social context. This article examines a ritual of purification performed by the Father/leader of the semi-commune. In this ritual, the Father enters into a symbolic type that is impure to restore male-perceived order and dominance. This is in response to the disordering capacity of a phenomenon I call a “wave,” which is perceived as the potential of the female.

© American Anthropological Association

Drugged Subjectivity, Intoxicating Alterity

Drugged Subjectivity, Intoxicating Alterity 
Donald Pollock

Abstract

This article explores the use of intoxicants by a community of Kulina Indians in western Brazil. I suggest that Kulina intoxication through alcohol, tobacco, and ayahuasca is best understood as a form of semiotic appropriation of the identity of cosmological “others,” including animal spirits, creator beings, other Indian groups, and Brazilians. I consider how embodying practices, such as song and physical movement, enhance the experience of being an “alter,” facilitated by the alterations in consciousness produced by intoxicants.

Greetings from the Editors of the AoC

New AoC Editors: Nicole Torres and Gary Moore

We are honored to accept the role of co-editors of the Anthropology of Consciousness. As the new editors of the journal, our main objectives will be to continue the tradition of the previous editors and to expand its relevance and influence within anthropology and in other areas of complementary transdisciplinary research and interests. We appreciate that the journal has a wide-ranging audience that is interested in its traditional areas of research, such as shamanism, psychoactive substances, and indigenous traditions, as well as more recent areas of interest that include neuroscience, therapeutic interventions, and the phenomenology of sleep disorder. At the same time, there are areas of research that we believe are deeply relevant to consciousness studies, and we would like to broaden the scope of the journal to include these areas of anthropological inquiry.

Our aim is to continue to select articles that are empirically rich and appeal to a transdisciplinary audience. We especially welcome manuscripts that address such issues as shamanism, entheogenic substances, religious and spiritual traditions, indigenous ways of knowing, and issues pertaining to health and healing (including Western mental health practices). We wish, during our tenure as editors, to continue the journal’s tradition of excellence in the field of consciousness studies through anthropological understanding and ethnography, especially from a multiplicity of perspectives, both inside and outside of the academy.

Check out the full letter at Wiley-Blackwell.

The Affective Scope

The Affective Scope: Entering China’s Urban Moral and Economic World Through Its Emotional Disturbances
Jean-Baptiste Pettier

Abstract

From an outsider’s perspective, today’s Popular China might appear as a self-confident and triumphant country. However, a large-scale examination of the country’s recent moral controversies reveals a very different picture, one that has much to do with the widespread local public perception of an ongoing “moral crisis” (Kleinman et al., 2011), whose examination requires careful attention placed on the ethical and affective aspects of the everyday lives of today’s Chinese people. In this article, I propose to examine the anguish that Chinese bachelor youths and their concerned parents undergo and express, as they are confronted with the difficult process of finding a suitable mate for marriage. I examine the fears their celibacy generates, the mutual distrust that participants taking part in bachelors’ parents gatherings demonstrate, and the disputes these encounters engage. I analyze the moral world of today’s urban China from the perspective of the very feelings and affects that pervade it. Highlighting the ways in which my interlocutors shared their emotions with me along the course of my fieldwork, carried out in the cities of Beijing and Chengdu, I will insist on the importance of these affects within an anthropological approach. The moral sensitivities contained in the maintenance of the economic and social situations of one’s family reveal themselves as an exceptional resource for knowledge. By examining the political economy of sentiments within which parents and their children find themselves entrapped, I argue that we can gain a deeper understanding of the concrete consequences of today’s societal transformations.

Recovery Poets, Recovery Workers

Recovery Poets, Recovery Workers: Labor and Place in the Dialogical Way-Finding of Homeless Addicts in Therapy
Jennifer S. Bowles

Abstract

In recent years, anthropologists have built a rich body of ethnography on the experience of addiction, including important cultural critiques of treatment systems. Yet little has been written from the perspective of those who work in the everyday to help others recover from substance abuse. In this article, I reflect on my labor as a clinical social worker providing therapy for homeless women and men who struggle with addiction. Building on the eloquence of those who seek to recover, recovery poets, I demonstrate how the work of a team of frontline workers operates in a particular intersubjective realm that creates different conditions for understanding addiction and recovery than does anthropological fieldwork. By detailing the labor of recovery as I performed it using different evidence-based therapies to permit the emergence of a new consciousness, I aim to bring to center stage the complex labor of frontline workers so that their working conditions will be taken into account more often in anthropological work on addiction and treatment.

Anthropology of Consciousness Journal-Issue Spring 2016

Anthropology of Consciousness

© American Anthropological Association

Volume 27, Issue 1 Pages 1 – 107, Spring 2016
The latest issue of Anthropology of Consciousness is available on Wiley Online Library

Issue Information
Issue Information – TOC (page 1) and Copyright (pages 2–3)

EDITORIAL
Greetings from the New Editors (pages 5–6)
Nicole Torres and Gary Moore
Article first published online: 2 MAR 2016

ARTICLES
Symbolic Types: A Ritual of Impurity (pages 7–27)
Mina Meir-Dviri
Article first published online: 2 MAR 2016

Drugged Subjectivity, Intoxicating Alterity (pages 28–50)
Donald Pollock
Article first published online: 2 MAR 2016

Recovery Poets, Recovery Workers: Labor and Place in the Dialogical Way-Finding of Homeless Addicts in Therapy (pages 51–74)
Jennifer S. Bowles
Article first published online: 2 MAR 2016 

The Affective Scope: Entering China’s Urban Moral and Economic World Through Its Emotional Disturbances (pages 75–96)
Jean-Baptiste Pettier
Article first published online: 2 MAR 2016 

BOOK REVIEWS
The Shamanic Odyssey: Homer, Tolkien, and the Visionary Experience. Robert Tindall and Bustos Susana. Park Street/Inner Traditions, 2012. 212 pp. ISBN 978-1594773969, $13.38. (pages 97–101)
Carl A. P. Ruck

Subversive Spiritualities: How Rituals Enact the World. Apffel-Marglin Frédérique. Oxford University Press, 2012. 264 pp. ISBN 978-0199793860, $38.95. (pages 102–104)
Robert Tindall

Beyond Post-Traumatic Stress: Homefront Struggles with the Wars on Terror. Sarah Hautzinger, and Jean Scandlyn. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press, 2014. 318 pp. ISBN-978-1-61132-366-5, $36.95 (paperback). (pages 105–107)
Heather Roy

© American Anthropological Association

New Co-Editors for the Journal of the Anthropology of Consciousness

As originally announced in news letter from SAC President Diane Hardgrave: 

We are pleased to introduce Nicole Torres and Gary Moore as the new Co-Editors for Anthropology of Consciousness (AoC). Torres and Moore have a shared vision of what are likely ways to expand the impact and relevance, of AoC while ensuring fiscal health and sustainability.

Nicole Torres, a longtime supporter of SAC current Board Member, is a medical and psychological anthropologist. Courses taught by her include The Social Life of Psychiatry, Expressive Culture and Creativity, Myth, Magic, and Meaning, and Medical Anthropology—many of the required readings for these courses are drawn from readings in the Journal. Her most recent publication, Walls of Indifference: Immigration and the Militarization of the US-Mexico Border addresses consciousness in cultural and institutional settings, with specific concern for the militarization of consciousness in everyday life. Her unique blend of interests as a medical and psychological anthropologist who is also trained in clinical social work will prove to be an asset to scholarly engagement and stewardship of the Journal.

Gary Moore has extensive experience with editing and preparing documents for publication in electronic formats. In 1994, he joined the staff of Linux Journal as Copy Editor, preparing articles by authors of all skill levels for publication. After being recruited as Editor, he built relationships with potential authors and helped contributing authors to craft articles that fit the editorial focus of each monthly issue. In 1997, he started work at Microsoft, where he edited complex, chapter-sized content for publication to paper. Over the subsequent years, he made the transition from paper to electronic formats as industry moved away from designing and publishing paper documentation. As a writer and editor, he has prepared and published content in multiple formats for delivery to the WWW as web pages and downloadable files. He is also a senior member of the Society for Technical Communication and in training as a web developer.

Join us in welcoming Nicole Torres and Gary Moore as our new editors!

We take this opportunity to once again convey our sincere thanks to outgoing co-editors Peter Benson and Rebecca Lester for their excellent work. And finally, SAC gratefully acknowledges the longstanding contribution of Assistant Editor Tanya Collings whose dedication and attention to detail has been exemplary.   We extend our best wishes to Peter, Rebecca and Tanya in their future endeavors.

Sincerely,
M. Diane Hardgrave
SAC President