End of the Affair


A strange journey brought me to the end of this book. I remain unsure of what anthropology is, and what specific role it plays in the knowledge landscape. I am not sure I am an anthropologist although I have trained in it for several years. I am not sure that I have done and written here is anthropology. I move between several disciplines, yes -  but that’s not my point here. My friend P said while I toiled at this manuscript – a dissertation requires the time one needs to complete a thought. I completed a thought past decade or so in this manuscript. The thought was what is capital without strategic control over land, territory, nature – an unoriginal thought. I traced this forest creating afresh a path through a thicket that had been traced. Capital embraces physical territory, fires it up with new energies and horizons of expectation, and cyclically wrenches its forces out of it. What happens in the afterlife of the clocking of this cycle? To the landscape, to people who have watched this cycle of events, to buildings and machines and trucks and carts. It is the temporal density of spatial spread laid out by industrial capital and scattered by ejection from its route that form the crux of the ethnographic narrative of this book. But the book narrates something else, that I wrenched ethnographic toolkits to be able to tell. It is the story of imaginative lives of people – who live in several worlds simultaneously. Several distant worlds (physical and temporal) come to live in them coterminously.

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