Anthropologica - Supply Chains and Commodities: Interruptions, Shortages, Crises?
Seedings is Anthropologica’s newest section, dedicated to growing and planting ideas stimulated by recurrent calls for papers launched by our editorial team. To inaugurate our Seedings series, Anthropologica is looking for emerging, spontaneous, creative, multimodal, timely, and ethnographically grounded submissions on the following topic:
Supply Chains and Commodities: Interruptions, Shortages, Crises?
Following our successful call for papers in 2020 on submissions related to the then-new COVID-19 global pandemic, we now call for submissions related to another global issue related to the pandemic – supply chain interruptions and commodity shortages. Daily media in Canada takes stock of the ever-evolving shortages in commodities: from labour to cement to mountain bikes; from batteries to pharmaceuticals to epidural tubes. At the same time, some items that were practically impossible to buy are now surplus, transformed into “aid” and traded in a “gift” economy. These days, Canada moves PPE and vaccines along in humanitarian supply chains to the global south. Citizens, tourists, migrants, proletariat, elites, in other words, people across different segments of societies everywhere, face shortages routinely in mid-2022 related to blockages and “chokepoints” (Carse et al. 2020) in the flow of stuff that marks contemporary life.
While supply chains tend to be studied by economic anthropology, we seek papers from a range of anthropological areas, including medical anthropology, cultural anthropology, visual and multimodal anthropology, for example, and from anthropologists who might not have considered supply chains until now. Perhaps interruptions in the normal flow of supplies are affecting communities that anthropologists work with, prompting a closer look. Perhaps the everyday realities within anthropologists’ own social or professional worlds are disrupted like never before. We seek papers that address the ways in which “supply chain” has become a household word, and how these supply chain issues affect people not only differently but inequitably, as well as economically, intimately, desperately but also comically and self-reflexively. The ethnographic research on which these submissions are based can be provisional, small-scale, and emergent. We think that anthropologists have much to offer by way of analysis, documentation, curation and creative expression of the myriad cases of supply chain interruptions and commodity shortages currently being experienced in these years and following from the COVID-19 pandemic in both expected and unexpected ways.