Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Nils Ole Bubandt

From Head-hunter to Organ-thief: Verisimilitude, Doubt and Plausible Worlds in Indonesia and Beyond

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

Standard

From Head-hunter to Organ-thief: Verisimilitude, Doubt and Plausible Worlds in Indonesia and Beyond. / Bubandt, Nils Ole.

I: Oceania, Bind 87, Nr. 1, 2017, s. 38-57.

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

Harvard

APA

CBE

MLA

Vancouver

Author

Bibtex

@article{b89de770e0dd487083b9d3a5df987812,
title = "From Head-hunter to Organ-thief: Verisimilitude, Doubt and Plausible Worlds in Indonesia and Beyond",
abstract = "In the last couple of years, so people in Indonesia claim, head-hunters – figures of dread and fascination that have haunted societies, politics, and the public imagination in Indonesia at least since colonial times – have begun to adopt a novel and troubling tactic. Instead of decapitating their victims and using the human heads in construction rituals as they used to do, head-hunters are now allegedly harvesting the victims{\textquoteright} organs for sale on the international organ market. Based on a comparison of ethnographic material from North Maluku, a province in the eastern part of Indonesia, and news reports I trace the shift from head-hunting to organ theft and suggest that this plasticity is not merely a symbolic representation of changing political and economic realities. Rather, I argue, the organ-stealing head-hunters are part of a global travelling package that includes and entangles organ trafficking practices, media accounts, political imaginaries, and social anxieties within the same field of reality and possibility, a field of verisimilitude in which fiction and fact, rumour and reality, are fundamentally blurred. The article proposes a {\textquoteleft}more-than-representational{\textquoteright} approach to the organ-stealing head-hunter that sees him not as a representation of politics but as a co-producer of political worlds and scales of anxiety. This approach, I argue, challenges the sharp epistemological distinction between symbolic representation and political reality that informed (but also incommoded) the analyses of head-hunting rumours in the 1980s and 1990s.",
keywords = "Head-hunting, Organ-traffick, Rumour, Political anthropology, Media studies",
author = "Bubandt, {Nils Ole}",
year = "2017",
doi = "10.1002/ocea.5136",
language = "English",
volume = "87",
pages = "38--57",
journal = "Oceania",
issn = "0029-8077",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia",
number = "1",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - From Head-hunter to Organ-thief: Verisimilitude, Doubt and Plausible Worlds in Indonesia and Beyond

AU - Bubandt, Nils Ole

PY - 2017

Y1 - 2017

N2 - In the last couple of years, so people in Indonesia claim, head-hunters – figures of dread and fascination that have haunted societies, politics, and the public imagination in Indonesia at least since colonial times – have begun to adopt a novel and troubling tactic. Instead of decapitating their victims and using the human heads in construction rituals as they used to do, head-hunters are now allegedly harvesting the victims’ organs for sale on the international organ market. Based on a comparison of ethnographic material from North Maluku, a province in the eastern part of Indonesia, and news reports I trace the shift from head-hunting to organ theft and suggest that this plasticity is not merely a symbolic representation of changing political and economic realities. Rather, I argue, the organ-stealing head-hunters are part of a global travelling package that includes and entangles organ trafficking practices, media accounts, political imaginaries, and social anxieties within the same field of reality and possibility, a field of verisimilitude in which fiction and fact, rumour and reality, are fundamentally blurred. The article proposes a ‘more-than-representational’ approach to the organ-stealing head-hunter that sees him not as a representation of politics but as a co-producer of political worlds and scales of anxiety. This approach, I argue, challenges the sharp epistemological distinction between symbolic representation and political reality that informed (but also incommoded) the analyses of head-hunting rumours in the 1980s and 1990s.

AB - In the last couple of years, so people in Indonesia claim, head-hunters – figures of dread and fascination that have haunted societies, politics, and the public imagination in Indonesia at least since colonial times – have begun to adopt a novel and troubling tactic. Instead of decapitating their victims and using the human heads in construction rituals as they used to do, head-hunters are now allegedly harvesting the victims’ organs for sale on the international organ market. Based on a comparison of ethnographic material from North Maluku, a province in the eastern part of Indonesia, and news reports I trace the shift from head-hunting to organ theft and suggest that this plasticity is not merely a symbolic representation of changing political and economic realities. Rather, I argue, the organ-stealing head-hunters are part of a global travelling package that includes and entangles organ trafficking practices, media accounts, political imaginaries, and social anxieties within the same field of reality and possibility, a field of verisimilitude in which fiction and fact, rumour and reality, are fundamentally blurred. The article proposes a ‘more-than-representational’ approach to the organ-stealing head-hunter that sees him not as a representation of politics but as a co-producer of political worlds and scales of anxiety. This approach, I argue, challenges the sharp epistemological distinction between symbolic representation and political reality that informed (but also incommoded) the analyses of head-hunting rumours in the 1980s and 1990s.

KW - Head-hunting

KW - Organ-traffick

KW - Rumour

KW - Political anthropology

KW - Media studies

U2 - 10.1002/ocea.5136

DO - 10.1002/ocea.5136

M3 - Journal article

VL - 87

SP - 38

EP - 57

JO - Oceania

JF - Oceania

SN - 0029-8077

IS - 1

ER -