American Ethnologist

Cover image for Vol. 40 Issue 3

August 2013

Volume 40, Issue 3

Pages 419–603

  1. Research Articles

    1. Top of page
    2. Research Articles
    3. Book Reviews
    1. The judicialization of biopolitics: Claiming the right to pharmaceuticals in Brazilian courts (pages 419–436)


      Version of Record online: 9 AUG 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/amet.12030

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      In Brazil, low- and middle-income patients are not waiting for new medical technologies to trickle down. They are using free legal assistance and a responsive judiciary to access health care, now understood as access to pharmaceuticals. The pharmaceuticalization and judicialization of health reveal an experiential-political-economic field beyond the biopolitics of populations. At stake in this field are the ways in which government (qua drug regulator, purchaser, and distributor) facilitates a more direct relationship, in the form of technology access, between atomized and ambiguous political subjects of rights and the biomedical market. Not fully governed by either state or market, these subjects negotiate the constraints and possibilities of a technological society using jurisprudence. They work through available legal mechanisms and instantiate new social fields to engage and adjudicate their demands, concretizing abstract human rights.

    2. Accounting for silence: Inheritance, debt, and the moral economy of legal redress in China and Japan (pages 494–507)


      Version of Record online: 9 AUG 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/amet.12035

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      Legal efforts seeking official apology and compensation for Japanese colonial violence have, since the 1990s, become a prime site of Chinese and Japanese attempts to come to terms with the past. This ethnography explores what it means to legally account for Japanese imperialism decades after the original violence ended with Japan's defeat in World War II. Examination of recent compensation lawsuits filed by Chinese war victims against the Japanese government and corporations shows how legal interventions publicly reveal artificially separated, yet deeply intertwined moral and monetary economies that present postwar compensation as a question of the generational transfer of unaccounted-for pasts and accompanying debts.

    3. Clean fake: Authenticating documents and persons in migrant Moscow (pages 508–524)


      Version of Record online: 9 AUG 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/amet.12036

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      What does it means for Kyrgyzstani migrant workers in contemporary Russia to be legally legible to the state when informal agencies market fictive residency documents and “clean fake” work permits? Examining the uncertainty around being “authentically” documented provides insight into a mode of governance in urban Russia that thrives less on rendering subjects legible than on working the space of ambiguity between life and law. This dynamic has significant social consequences for the way certain bodies come to be scrutinized as particularly untrustworthy, particularly liable to fakery, and, thus, particularly legitimate targets for document checks, fines, and threats of deportation.

    4. The poetics of village space when villages are new: Settlement form as history making in Papua, Indonesia (pages 555–570)


      Version of Record online: 9 AUG 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/amet.12039

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      Resettlement of dispersed populations into centralized villages has been a watershed cultural change across many world regions, often occurring under pressure from states, world religions, and markets. Recent village formation processes among Korowai of Papua, Indonesia, have been caused by such pressures but have also been heavily structured by Korowai understandings of geography. This article takes Korowai villages as a case study in the semiotics of space. The power of villages to be the pivot of historical transformation flows from this spatial form's “poetic density,” meaning its ladenness with a multiplicity of social principles, structures of feeling, and models of extralocal geopolitical articulation. Additionally, Korowai strongly orient to space as a field of heterogeneity.

  2. Book Reviews

    1. Top of page
    2. Research Articles
    3. Book Reviews