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This chapter considers how Mass-Observation’s project of an “anthropology at home” was implicated in the political technologies of liberal government through the emergence of distinctive transactional realities ordering British wartime populations. Central to these transactional realities were the linked concepts of “mass” and “morale.” The chapter begins with a detailed examination of Mass-Observation’s “anthropology of ourselves,” describing its distinguishing fieldwork agencements in the ways it brought together ethnographic methods of collecting and assembling (largely, but not exclusively, drawn from colonial anthropological contexts) with new mechanisms of collective self-watching. In connecting oligoptic visual economies to liberal technologies of government, this chapter suggests that Mass-Observation’s fieldwork agencements operated oligoptically in the relations of government they produced. It also shows how the concept of civilian morale acted through the work of Mass-Observation as an example of the practical application of an “anthropology of ourselves” that aimed to manage the conduct of the population.

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