New Book Release
A War on People: The Drug War and the Hermeneutics Politics of Those who Resist it
If we see that our contemporary condition is one of war and widely diffused complexity, how do we understand our most basic ethical motivations? What might be the aims of our political activity? A War on People takes up these questions and offers a glimpse of a possible alternative future in this ethnographically and theoretically rich examination of the activity of some unlikely political actors: users of heroin and crack cocaine, both active and former. The result is a groundbreaking book on how anti–drug war political activity offers transformative processes that are termed worldbuilding and enacts nonnormative, open, and relationally inclusive alternatives to such key concepts as community, freedom, and care.
Disappointment: Towards a Critical Hermeneutics of Worldbuilding
Increasingly, anthropologists, political theorists and philosophers are calling for imaginative and creative analyses and theories that might help us think and bring about an otherwise. Disappointment responds to this call by showing how collaboration between an anthropologist and a political movement of marginalized peoples can disclose new possibilities for being and acting politically. Drawing from nearly a decade of research with the global anti-drug war movement, Jarrett Zigon puts ethnography in dialogue with both political theory and continental philosophy to rethink some of the most fundamental ontological, political and ethical concepts. The result is to show that ontological starting points have real political implications, and thus, how an alternative ontological starting point can lead to new possibilities for building worlds more ethically attuned to their inhabitants.
Podcast: Disappointment: Toward a critical Hermeneutics of Worldbuilding
Jarrett Zigon discusses his book Disappointment: Toward a Critical Hermeneutics of Worldbuilding with Chris Richardson. Zigon is the Porterfield Chair of Bioethics and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Virginia. His interests include the anthropology of moralities and ethics; the intertwining of humans, worlds and situations; political activity and theory; the intersection of anthropology and philosophy; the drug war; artificial intelligence and ethics; and data ethics. These interests are taken up from the perspective of an anthropology strongly influenced by post-Heideggerian continental philosophy and critical theory, the theoretical articulation of which he names critical hermeneutics. His latest book, A War on People: Drug User Politics and a New Ethics of Community (2019), is an ethnographically-informed critical hermeneutic exploration of how the anti-drug war movement is politically building new worlds and creating a new ethics of community through the enactment of freedom as letting-be and attuned care. Disappointment (2018) addresses the ethical, political and ontological grounds of the disappointment many feel today, offering an alternative vision of what a future could be and how to achieve it. He is the author of several other books: Morality: An Anthropological Perspective (2008), Making the New Post-Soviet Person: Narratives of Moral Experience in Contemporary Moscow (2010), and HIV is God’s Blessing: Rehabilitating Morality in Neoliberal Russia (2011), and edited a volume titled, Multiple Moralities and Religion in Contemporary Russia (2011).
Podcast: A War on People: The Drug War and the Hermeneutic Politics of Those who Resist it
This Anthropology Departmental Seminar was given by Jarrett Zigon (University of Amsterdam) on 2 December 2016. Podcasts from the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography. The School is renowned for its contributions to anthropological theory, its commitment to long-term ethnographic fieldwork, and its association with the Pitt Rivers Museum and the anthropology of visual and material culture. Home to over forty academic staff, over a hundred doctoral students, twelve Master’s programmes, and two undergraduate degrees (Human Sciences; Archaeology and Anthropology), Oxford anthropology is one of the world’s largest and most vibrant centres for teaching and research in the discipline. It came top of the Power (research excellence + volume) rankings for anthropology in the UK in RAE 2008.