Speculative relations in Lima: Encounters with the limits of fog capture and ethnography

Chakad Ojani


This article draws on two examples of encounters with the limits of fog capture in Lima to frame limitations as creative resources for ethnographic inquiry. In both examples, fog capture rendered speculatively conceivable previously backgrounded urban and ecological (dis)connections to residents on the city’s periphery, including the possibility to envisage certain relational reconfigurations. By analogously framing these experimental effects as one potential outcome of ethnographic practice, the article locates the kernel of such outcomes in the inescapability of limitations. This not only acknowledges the many obstructions and exclusions inherent to anthropological research, but taps into them as that which might allow for fieldwork encounters to properly bear on theory and analysis. Rather than things to avoid or overcome, I argue that limits by and of themselves have the capacity to suspend and modify abstractions and the course of events.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/720367