Intimacies and Sexualities in Out-of-the-Way Places

Rapid economic, political, social, and technological changes have left many people in the world feeling anxious and longing for the know, the predictable, and the safe.  At the same time, globalisation has opened up a realm of alternative subjectivities for many in the global South: other imagined presents and futures (Appadurai 1990, 1996; Trouillot 2001; Liechty 2002; Besnier 2011).  This process of imagining other life possibilities begets new desires, both bodily and material.  In this novel world of alternatives to life-as-it-is-lived-here, Tsing’s (1993) concept of ‘out-of-the-way’ takes on a new, relative quality.  It disrupts previous fixed core/periphery models of globalisation, in which flows radiate from urban centres to remote peripheries, by changing the perspective to that of individuals.  Individual definitions of out-of-the-way shift, as people originate in various locations and move around in search of the possible.  This flexibility — the transcending of place and a fixed perspective — is the concept’s theoretical potential, and the reason why the contributors to this special issue expand Tsing’s original definition and apply it to understanding the production and management of intimacy, the body, and sexual relations.”

Ethnos Issue 79, Volume 5 (2014)