This article tries to locate the missing something that enables radical social projects to persevere, in this case, the social project of animal activism in India. The author argues that we will find the missing something buried in and by the tyranny of consistency (or contradiction thinking), which demands that any ethics in an oppositional or oblique relationship to the way things are account for its apparent inconsistencies or contradictions. The tyranny of consistency steals the something actors need by collapsing something with everything, so that what we are left with (because everything is impossible) is nothing, which is both impossible and extinguishing. The author argues through her ethnography that the creative lived response to the tyranny of consistency is immanent ethics, an ethics that is committedly, if inconsistently, inconsistent.
Something, Everything, Nothing; Or, Cows, Dogs, and Maggots
Naisargi N. Dave is associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. She is the author of Queer Activism in India: A Story in the Anthropology of Ethics (2012). Her second book is tentatively titled The Social Skin: Humans and Animals in India.