Anna Tsing’s Friction is an original, highly readable, and insightful study of out of their “friction/’ to paradoxical “global understandings,” or universalisms. But in. Anna L. Tsing Friction An Ethnography of Global Connection Ch 1: Frontiers of Capitalism Capitalist frontiers create “wilderness” These landscapes already. Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing. · Rating details · ratings · 35 reviews. A wheel turns because of its encounter with the surface of the road; spinning in the air it.

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Tsing recounts a story about a lone-prospector who finds gold where nobody expects it, sparking all kinds of speculative adventure. It reminds me of the last time I was in Taiwan visiting Academia Sinica. In fact, it seems to me, she pushes out of that vacuum—she exposes exactly the complexity that anthropologists and others continue to claim when faced with simplistic notions of the practices of globalization.

At the end of the cold war, many client states of both the Soviet Union and the United States collapsed.

Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection – Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing – Google Books

So for instance we get Tsing writing. The book focuses on the topic of marginality within a state and the context of community within a gendered framework. I was, in a moment of mad inspiration, moved to comment. Their models breed other models which take account for the problems in the previous models.

Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection

I can hang with this mostly since she is talking about what I want to hear: After that maybe we will have to build a new theory, or maybe just tweak the old one…. Things are contextually more particular than signs and potentially more general… Things are thus related to their signs as empirical tokens to cultural types.

The flip side of not being able to go into the field theory-free is not being able to have theories without worldly encounters. So, those of you who know more about Indonesia than I, Is she leaving important ideas out of the picture? I really liked her in these sections. This strikes me as evasive, deflective, and unprepared for how the desperate needs of whiteness will devour her book for its own needs.


Universals are effective within particular historical conjunctures that give them content and force. Incidently, one slightly annoying thing about the exposition in the beginning, is that idea that the things Tsing describes as fiction are in any way surprising—they would seem to be what any at least semi attentive anthropologist would expect.

It is both effective and affective, at least in certain situations. One has to make decisions among which such whole-mimicking fragments can enable practices of collaborative knowing and working. Mushroom at the End of the World Tsing’s ethnographic account of the Matsutake mushroom gives the readers a look into this rare, prized and expensive fungi.

Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection by Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing

It is not a new insight, but it is worth repeating since our tendency is to treat the travel of ideas, ideologies, and universals as frictionless, smooth, un-bumpy, easily transparent in translation think Star Trek’s universal translator. Islam, Marx and Bollywood might all appear via transnational communication vectors as forms of abstract thought and feeling to be adapted for local use.

It is interesting to me that Tsing, who cites other studies of the Amazon does not cite Ajna, who would seem to be a soulmate. For all its strengths, this is one of my critical observations about the work of Jason Moore. In the deregulation zones where government is at the end of its tsinng, capital can operate with the hyper-efficiency of theft.

And along the way, the friction of travel, the friction of encounter with others, the friction of translation of universals by localities, changes those actually lived universals.

Capital, in contrast, thrives where opportunities are just emerging…. Reading on, I find myself jotting down phrases that seem to me to capture something important.

And i was curious to read more and more Likewise, Tsing wants to put together perspectives from conservation biology and political ecology. It lets her off the hook about describing the middle bit: In a perfect world the ysing piece would do both!


Among other things, they practice what used to be called slash-and-burn agriculture. Rather than see climate modeling as uniquely a product of postwar cybernetic technologies of control, it might be more interesting to see both earth system science and anthropology as produced by much the same historical forces.

Rubbing two sticks together produces heat and light; one stick alone is just a stick. Providing a portfolio of methods to study global interconnections, Tsing shows how curious and creative cultural differences are in the grip of worldly encounter, and how much is overlooked in contemporary theories of the global.

Savage Minds

This books took some time getting into, and was a very dense read, but I have found myself reflecting back on it often. The anthropologist of whom Tsing reminds me most just now is Michael Taussig, especially in books like Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man: It’s been an invaluable resource. Globalization cannot be the straightforward force for international standardization as is often supposed because the abstract notions at its heart — freedom, democracy, capitalism — do not seamlessly travel from Washington to the jungles of Indonesia or anywhere else.

Basically Tsing takes a whole boatload of stuff and admirably tries to make sense of it as it is occurring in this one area impacted by timber and mineral extraction. His principal critical—theoretical work is thought to be Method and Theory of Ethnology Open Preview See a Problem? Rex may see echoes of Sahlins. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

The other thing that struck me about the book was how closely — perhaps even scandolously closely? Sep 22, Rebecca rated it really liked it. Sep 26, M rated it it was amazing.