Biehl and Locke
The Anthropology of Becoming 319
ethnographic ethics and gives us a sense of becoming thatdominant health models would render impossible.We also draw from Locke’s recent ﬁeldwork in postwarSarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina (hereafter, following the stan-dard local abbreviation, BiH), to highlight the utility of De-leuze’s suggestion that one should write for the beneﬁt of a“missing people” (Deleuze 1997:4). Sarajevo is a city over-ﬂowing with “symptoms.” Years of trauma-oriented psycho-social projects have made psychiatric diagnostics—collectivedepression and post-traumatic stress—integral to commonsense in BiH. Such clinical-sounding assessments have theeffect of emphasizing damage over possibility, determinationover ﬂight, painting the city primarily in terms of its wounds(which are indeed deep and bleed still) while disregarding thehopes and desires—and resistances to neoliberal economicforms—that pain also communicates.Just as psychiatry silences Catarina’s struggle to understandand reclaim her experience, in BiH the
psychologization of war’s aftermath
“vitiate[s] the moral and political meaning of subjective complaints and protests” (Biehl, Good, and Klein-man 2007:3). In this way each of our cases takes up a struggle(individual and collective, respectively) to navigate public andprivate imperatives remade by intersecting scientiﬁc and eco-nomic rationalities. In each case a void is engineered in theplace of older modes of self-assessment—which neverthelessand by swerving paths continue to thrive.The strict application of a Foucauldian theoretical sensi-bility—seeking out, for example, the ways hysterical, fear-mongering nationalist politics, neoliberal market reforms andconcomitant corruption, and years of humanitarian servicesand international supervision have newly “normalized” sub- jectivity and social relations—would miss the anxious uncer-tainty and open-endedness that inﬂects life in Sarajevo. Bothanguish and vitality simmer beneath the city’s shell-scarred—but slowly brightening, rejuvenating—surfaces, and Deleuzeis helpful in ﬁnding an analytics that can illuminate the in-terdependence of these twin intensities: the ways symptomsmay index not only darknesses and dominations past andpresent but also the minor voices of a “missing people” thatspeak within alternate “universes of reference,” capable, per-haps, of one day propelling more positive social transfor-mations in BiH (Deleuze 1997:64).Sarajevo’s “missing people” is composed of layers, eachwith its own force of intertwined grief and aspiration. Herethe wartime dead (thousands of whom remain literally miss-ing) continue to inhabit political claims and tightlyheldgriev-ances (Wagner 2008). Here, who one was before thewar(whatone believed and whom one loved) no longer has value amidnew economies and forms of governance—but persists, allthe same, in hopes and frustrations. And here, lived experi-ence continually escapes the social categories—competingethnic and/or victim identities—that dominate the publicsphere (Bougarel, Helms, and Duijzings 2007). In such a con-text—and many others—of routinized urgency and crisis, thehuman sciences are challenged to respect and incorporate,without reduction, the angst, uncertainty, and the passion forthe possible that life holds through and beyond technicalassessments. Perhaps this task is what ethnography does best.
Moving in the Direction of theIncomplete
We read Deleuze together with our ethnographic cases inorder to reassert the symbiotic relationship between closeem-pirical engagement with people (through ﬁeldwork) and the-oretical innovation in anthropology. We are not advocatinganother philosophical scheme to be conﬁrmed by the ﬁgureswe bring out of the ﬁeld. As John Borneman and AbdellahHammoudi remind us, the “tendency for anthropologists todeploy their work only as illustrative cases for philosophicaltrends or concepts threatens to make anthropology into asterile intellectual exercise” (Borneman and Hammoudi 2009:17). The point is well taken. In their relentless drive to the-orize, anthropologists run the danger of caricaturing complexrealities, neglecting key realms of experience, and missinglived ironies and singularities that might complicate and en-rich analytics. People are missing, in multiple senses; Deleuze,we want to suggest, opens up paths to allowing them theirdue value and force within the core of anthropological work.Long-term engagement with people is a vital antidote towhat Hirschman identiﬁes as “compulsive and mindless the-orizing.” The quick theoretical ﬁx has taken its place in ourculture alongside the quick technical ﬁx. For Hirschman, asfor us, people come ﬁrst. This respectforpeople,thisattentionto how political discourses are manufactured and to the sheermateriality of life’s necessities, makes a great deal of differencein the kind of knowledge we produce. Throughoutthisarticle,we are concerned with the conceptual fecundity of people’spractical knowledge. All too readily disqualiﬁedbybothschol-ars and policy makers, this knowledge may well yield new orcounter theories of human agency, for example, as well asnew approaches to politics andmoreeffectivepolicysolutions.As Hirschman writes, “In all these matters I would suggest alittle more reverence for life, a little less straitjacketing of thefuture, a little more allowance for the unexpected—andalittleless wishful thinking” (Hirschman 1971:338).In a recent interview assessing anthropology’s intellectualhealth, George Marcus worries that since
(Clifford and Marcus 1986), his path-breaking theoretical in-tervention with James Clifford and others, the discipline hasbeen “suspended”: “There are no new ideas and none on thehorizon” (Marcus 2008:3). Marcus looks to the anthropology of science and to science studies, which have indeed beeninnovative, as possible inspirations; this ﬁeld, however, oftengives a privileged place to the ofﬁcial makers of expertise,technology, and policy. Marcus acknowledges that since the1980s, anthropologists have played a useful role in studyingemerging global political economies, but he does not thinkthat this has been enough for “anthropologists to stimulatethemselves intellectually” (Marcus 2008:2–3). Investment in