Anna Tsing, professor of anthropology, has received the 2005 Senior Book Prize from the American Ethnological Association (AEA) for her book, Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection (Princeton University Press, 2004). Tsing shares the prize with Michael Fischer, professor of anthropology and science and technology studies at MIT, who was honored for his book Emergent Forms of Life and the Anthropological Voice, University of Santa Cruz reports:
In Friction, Tsing challenges the widespread view that globalization invariably signifies a "clash" of cultures, and she develops the concept of friction in its place as a metaphor for the diverse and conflicting social interactions that make up our contemporary world. She focuses on the Indonesian rainforest, where local and national environmentalists, international science, North American investors, advocates for Brazilian rubber tappers, UN funding agencies, mountaineers, village elders, and urban students, among others, all combine in unpredictable, messy misunderstandings, but misunderstandings that sometimes work out.
Amazon writes on Fischers book:
A vigorous advocate of the anthropological voice and method, Fischer emphasizes the ethical dimension of cultural anthropology. Ethnography, he suggests, is uniquely situated to gather and convey observations fundamental to the creation of new social institutions for an evolving civil society. In Emergent Forms of Life and the Anthropological Voice Fischer considers a dazzling array of subjects—among them Iranian and Polish cinema, cyberspace, autobiographical and fictional narrative, and genomic biotechnologies—and, in the process, demonstrates a cultural anthropology for a highly networked world.
Anthropology, Fischer explains, now operates in a series of third spaces well beyond the nineteenth- and twentieth-century dualisms of us/them, primitive/civilized, East/West, or North/South. He contends that more useful paradigms—such as informatics, multidimensional scaling, autoimmunity, and visual literacy beyond the frame—derive from the contemporary sciences and media technologies.