James Adams Annotations

What ideas about fakes/scams do you think relate to the AES case?

Saturday, February 25, 2023 - 10:49am

I think that focussing on trust as a sort of "infrastructure" is something interesting for our work that can be derived from this article. The authors point out that frauds/fakes/scams have, at least to some degree, always been a problem, and are therefore not what makes our current "post-truth" era significant. Instead, they argue "it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish between the fraudulent and the trustworthy, between fake and genuine" (426).

On the notion that "trust-practices" are equally, and perhaps even more important than frauds, I am in general agreement. However, I have some minor qualms with the frame that "frauds/fakes/scams" are sort of a constant across space and time. Which, this isn't a generous interpretation of their article; the authors are more nuanced than this. But, in general, their critical lens seems to be towards the idea that "faruds" have been either "more" or "less" present in certain societies or at certain points of history, instead of troubling the category of "fraud" itself as universal or transcendent category of human action. That is, the way in which the article is written (i.e. citing odysseus as "the first of many trickster figures in the Global North," treating these categories as unproblematically transposable across cultures) seems to propose that there is something constant about "frauds/fakes/scams" that transcends the conditions that make these categories meaningful... I think it's more useful to think about how this single category does not stand up to (historical/cross-cultural) scrutiny, how no too instances or strategies of frauds are actually the same, in their motivation, implementation, or (and especially) their consequence.

By that, I mean that it's not only practices of trustworthyness and practices of fraud that are of concern here, but also their development within precise (yet evershifting) relations of power that open up their potential, and in/through which they take their effects. And I think that our current society, the current "diagram" of power relations has opened up an unprecedented amount of interstices for specific kinds of fraudulent/dishonest practices and actors to thrive. There is something unique to our era, where power relations are shifting from productino to anti-production, from control to paralysis, from articulation to disarticulation and dispersion, and this has coincided a certain tactic/strategy of "fraud/dishonesty" that both reflects and reproduces this strategy of power which is particularly "toxic"! And I think that this is kind of lost in the article, but it's so important to our dataset.

See more here: https://www.centerforethnography.org/content/static-toxic-knowledge-poli...

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