Where is the local? Partial biologies, ethnographic sitings

Emily Yates-Doerr


Where is the local for the ethnographer? A challenge facing anthropological interest in “local biologies” is that both biology and locality are put into practice in different ways. I draw on research with scientists, policy makers, and activists who are all grappling with the influence of nutrition on biological development to illustrate that while biologies may transform from locality to locality, locality also changes form. I juxtapose local biologies of exposure, geopolitics, and global networks to suggest that a strength of ethnography lies in situating materials through practices of translation, attending to the ontological partiality of our objects of concern. Framing “the anthropological perspective” as a care-filled, authored practice of siting  and not as a view on the world has implications for how nature is conceived and what the aims of ethnography are taken to be.


Local biologies, anthropology of science, nutrition, exposure, territory, governance, perspective, ethnography

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14318/hau7.2.032