Writing Culture and the Life of Anthropology
Orin Starn is Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. He is the author of The Passion of Tiger Woods: An Anthropologist Reports on Golf, Race, and Celebrity Scandal and Nightwatch: The Politics of Protest in the Andes, and the coeditor of The Peru Reader, all also published by Duke University Press.
Writing matters if objects of analysis are to be understood as emergent forms with qualities, intensities, and trajectories that can be described or evoked. Writing is not epiphenomenal to thought but its medium. As it sidles up to worlds, disparate and incommensurate things throw themselves together. As it attunes, spatial and temporal dimensions come into play; writing skids over surfaces, pauses on a detail, grows capacious or pinched. This chapter offers four very different scenes of precarity as a form that accretes, accrues, and wears out and one that takes place through attachments, tempos, materialities, and states of being. Such objects of analysis register the tactility and significance of something coming into form through an assemblage of affects, routes, conditions, sensibilities, and habits.