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It takes two to tango

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This post draws on findings from a phone-based qualitative interview project in the Netherlands. During April 2020, we interviewed 59 seniors about their experiences during the COVID-19 crisis and their views on the portrayal of senior adults in the national media. The participants were between the age of 54 and 95 (M=75), living throughout the Netherlands, both independently and in …

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Features

COVID-19 Pandemic Preparedness and Response in West Africa: An Anthropological Lens

The almost devouring union of a catastrophic world where an exceptional consensus has been reached on the fear that now devours us is the rhythm of daily life. Didn’t the American novelist Kurt Vonnegut say that in the world in which we live “paranoia is an act of faith” (Exley 2020)? And what if governing by affect was his perfect …

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Features

Soft Power: The Over-Determined Politicization of Vulnerable in the #CDC7words

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At first blush, the inclusion of the word vulnerable alongside words like fetus, evidence-based, and diversity in the list of 7 words discouraged for use in budget documents from the Centers for Disease Control (i.e., the #CDC7words) evokes a feeling that ‘one of these things is not like the other.’ Considering the other six words, a critical mind …

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Books Features

Book Forum — Richard Keller’s Fatal Isolation

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Richard Keller’s Fatal Isolation: The Devastating Paris Heat Wave of 2003 is a careful accounting of the toll the heat wave took on those most vulnerable in the neighborhoods surrounding Paris.  The book is about the shape of vulnerability and its amplification over time — in fact, Fatal Isolation requires us to pause on the ideas of risk, vulnerability, …

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Books Features

Modernity as a Fragile Milieu

For some time I have wondered over the current force of the term “precarious” — less its heightened political resonance before an eroding welfare state than the sense of generational loss and betrayal that seems to swirl beneath it. I am pretty sure this latter sentiment would baffle ancestors from a long list of disparate traditions, all those concerned with …

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Books Features

Bodies of/and Knowledge

On a recent trip to Paris, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the roof tops, always searching for the smallest windows near the top of the buildings, openings into the rooms and worlds of people who died during the 2003 European heat wave.   By the numbers, 200 Parisians are expected to die at home in a given August; 900 Parisians …

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