Author Archives: guestanthropologist

“Red-carpet catholicism”: gendering the heavenly body

by Mac Spencer Three decades after the fallout from Like A Prayer, the relationship between pop culture and Catholicism seems on more stable ground if the pinnacle of the fashion calendar is anything to go by. However Monday night’s Met Gala theme, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, has not been without a backlash […]

Closer to Home: Yiwu in the UK

by Magnus Marsden While conducting research for the TRODITIES project in China, Afghanistan, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine I regularly meet traders from Afghanistan who talk about their willingness to do business in the UK. During my last visit to Yiwu (January 2018) there appeared indeed to be a discernible trend among the 100 […]

Not That Innocent: fertility, vengeance and serpentine symbolism within pop music

By Mac Spencer In the summer of last year, globally scrutinised pop star Taylor Swift quietly deleted every piece of content from her online accounts. A brief social media blackout ensued, ultimately broken by a pan-platform teaser video showing an extreme closeup of a snake. Predictably, the video kicked off a cleverly manufactured frenzy amongst […]

From the Field: A drive through north western Afghanistan

by Magnus Marsden I am often asked what it is like to do fieldwork in Afghanistan. To give a sense of doing fieldwork in the country today, I provide an account of a two-day trip in the northwest of the country that I made in October 2017. The road connecting Mazar-e Sharif – northern Afghanistan’s […]

Review: Cultivating Development

by Esther Mulders David Mosse’s groundbreaking book, Cultivating Development: An Ethnography of Aid Policy and Practice (2005, Pluto Press), focuses on the complex link between policy and practice in development work. Starting with the question as to whether development practice is actually driven by policy, Mosse makes the reader rethink the relation between the two. Cultivating […]

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

…May ’68, Nuit Debout and Romanticizing Struggles by Jade Ascencio In 2016, the Nuit Debout movement in Paris installed its headquarters only two stops away from my place. Every night people gathered on the Place de la République, discussing all sorts of issues, making art, with the ultimate aim of launching France’s Sixth Republic. Feminist […]

From the Field: Persian New Year in Yiwu and Iranian Special Tea in Karachi

by Magnus Marsden One of my most memorable evenings while conducting fieldwork in Yiwu, China in 2016 fell on 20th March, the evening of Nowruz, Persian New Year. Having put my three-year-old son to bed and waited for my wife to return from her Chinese language classes it was often a part of my fieldwork […]