- 文化人類学 (ISSN:13490648)
- vol.77, no.3, pp.456-468, 2013-01-31
Recently, it has become increasingly difficult to employ "culture" as a comprehensive analytical concept in anthropology. Nevertheless, in the practices of people researched by anthropologists, culture has recently taken on increasing importance as a vital tool to categorize human groups and manage their relations, owing to the ongoing process of globalization. Because of that, the Japanese anthropologist Shoichiro Takezawa has insisted that we must maintain the academic concept of "culture." However, the increasing practical importance of culture does not necessarily connote its importance as an analytical concept. Rather, we need to investigate how the concept works in people's practices today, and whether culture as an academic concept works in their analysis. Also, if the concept of "culture" hardly ever works, we must explore a way to demolish it as a concept and reconstruct analytical methodology. In this paper, I investigate the practices of IT workers in Bangalore, South India, in order to examine how culture is practically utilized there, as well as to try to understand why the academic concept of culture does not work well in analyzing their practices. I also examine the kind of framework required to describe them appropriately. In Chapter 2, I point out that in the Indian IT industry, a vital element for economic success has been identified as the understanding and adoption of foreign (mainly Western) cultures in order to communicate more smoothly with foreign clients, co-workers and customers in the global and virtual workplaces that make up informational networks. In Chapter 3, I examine two ways used to explain the practices of Indian IT workers engaged in managing cultural differences: the narratives of "cross-cultural management" and "sanskritization." Then, I show how the practical concept of culture utilized in these narratives has dual qualities ("something to control and invisible" and "something controlled and visualized"), and demonstrate that the analytical concept of culture hardly ever works for analyzing existing situations in which the practical concept of culture is employed, because it also implicitly contains those dual qualities. In Chapter 4, I examine an event encountered during my field research in Bangalore to suggest that the daily practices of IT workers deeply depend on a heterogeneous "actor network" composed of human/ nonhuman entities from different regions, which cannot be sufficiently comprehended by employing the practical/analytical concept of culture. In Chapter 5, I try to configure an analytical framework sufficient to describe their practices appropriately, connecting the relational ontology proposed by the actor-network theory to a vital idea of anthropology, namely, "their perspective." Referring to Donna Haraway and Marilyn Strathern, I insist that the concept of "their perspective" is not an (inter) subjective viewpoint, but the effect of a recursive movement of the actor network to visualize itself. Finally, I suggest that Indian IT workers are penetrated by different ways of organizing and visualizing the actor network, which are equivalent to four spatialities proposed by the discussion of ANT topology, and that their perspective is being generated and transformed through mutual interferences among them.