#47 Meaningful Declutter, Local Activism, Managing Fire & Writing Up This Month On TFS

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Firstly, we’d like to introduce you all to Alex D’Aloia, who is managing our Facebook group TFS Chats – you might remember the blog post that he wrote for us at the start of this year: "Anthropologists and Dragons". Make sure to check out the chat group after listening to this episode and let us know what questions you have and what you found most interesting. Julia [1:19] starts off our conversation this month by turning our attention to things – specifically, things that we have an emotional attachment to that are in our home environment. From an anthropological perspective, we could turn to Daniel Miller, who writes about material culture and attachment; but there’s also a rise in minimalistic households formed around Marie Kondo’s example of, essentially, if it doesn’t spark joy, then you don’t need it, which creates a new understanding of what the material household environment should be. How do we deal with stuff and the emotion of stuff in the home environment? Kylie [6:54] then moves our conversation towards activism, asking us: what is it that insights social action, especially when the social action is for things bigger than us? For instance, in Australia we have seen social support of this kind recently regarding the introduction of the extradition bill in Hong Kong as well as the case against the deportation of the Tamil family. Alex thinks of Benedict Anderson’s imagined communities and navigating our sense of belonging while Jodie questions how much is social action about the organisation of communities and how much is it about the way that social action builds momentum? Next Jodie [11:42] talks about another topic very close to home for those of us from Australia – bushfire season, which has started much earlier this year than it usually does. We have to think carefully about what a bushfire means in order to manage it, and Jodie tells us that to different people, fire means different things – to a firefighter it means one thing, to an anthropologist it means another, particularly in Indigenous contexts. Touching on Tim Neale’s paper, about the increased inclusion of Indigenous people in fire management discussions (not only in Australia), Jodie asks us about the meaning of fire and how we know when it’s dangerous. Alex [15:58] wraps up our conversation with some questions about anthropological methods - specifically during the early writing up stage. “Where I’ve been having difficulties is … trying to connect this to theory … my reluctance of imposing my own thoughts and models on my data and my informants”. Julia offers an alternative viewpoint, suggesting that you could approach the task from the opposite end – start with the theory and then find examples where the things your participants have said helps to back up the theory. Jodie encourages researchers to ask themselves “what is it that makes me think this is what I am observing?” and to be transparent about how your thinking developed. LINKS AND CITATIONS can be found on our website thefamiliarstrange.com If you'd like to support TFS, head over to our Patreon page This anthropology podcast is supported by the Australian Anthropological Society, the ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific and College of Arts and Social Sciences, and the Australian Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, and is produced in collaboration with the American Anthropological Association. Music by Pete Dabro: dabro1.bandcamp.com Shownotes by Deanna Catto, with assistance from our intern Sheawin Leong. Podcast edited by Matthew Phung and Kylie Wong Dolan

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