Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Society for Cultural Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students
Primary Theme: Materiality
Secondary Theme: Labor
Through complex systems of logistics that support the global economy, commodities are moved overseas following a “just-in-time” logic. Taking place at critical intersections between sea and land, the power over actual logistical operations is negotiated at different levels between a range of actors; from powerful multinational shipping companies and local authorities, to the workers at sea and in ports who move the goods on a daily basis. Cargo circulation is furthermore dependent upon complex, and often unstable, maritime infrastructures and brokerage systems.
This panel asks how a focus on maritime logistics, infrastructures and labour can contribute to our current understandings of the global economy and its social challenges. While geographers have worked on these issues for decades, we aim to show how an anthropological take on maritime mobility offers unique insights into the sociocultural contexts that simultaneously affect and are affected by the circulation of commodities.
With a comparative stance, this panel brings together ethnographic contributions from a range of geographical settings that approach maritime merchandise and the sociocultural dimensions and implications of global logistics. These include the building and maintenance of port infrastructures, new technology and automatization, shipping finance and brokerage, as well as the often precarious logistics labour of seafarers, dock- and transport workers.