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Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC Irvine

Open Access Policy Deposits

This series is automatically populated with publications deposited by UC Irvine Department of Anthropology researchers in accordance with the University of California’s open access policies. For more information see Open Access Policy Deposits and the UC Publication Management System.

Fake News and the Web of Plausibility


This article explores the presentation of fake news, the most salient kind of disinformation, focusing neither on its text-based content nor its image-based form, but instead on its overall aesthetic composition—and how and why that composition contributes to the proliferation of disinformation. It begins with an analysis of “real news”—the genre that fake news attempts to copy—and its reliance on what Gaye Tuchman calls the “web of facticity” to communicate “good” information. It then turns to examine how fake news uses the logic of graphic design to exploit features of the web of facticity to create a “web of plausibility”—the web of facticity’s evil twin—to generate momentum for circulation through the analysis of several specific aesthetic features of the news genre. The conclusion offers some possible ways that this sort of perspective can better equip us to help stop the spread of disinformation.

Cover page of Entangled Futures: Big Oil, Political Will, and the Global Environmental Movement

Entangled Futures: Big Oil, Political Will, and the Global Environmental Movement


Abstract: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) identified a lack of “political will” by national leaders as the main obstacle to mitigating the climate emergency in its 2022 report. However, the report makes no mention that contributing to this political deficiency has been rising antidemocracy over the past two decades, furthered by the support of the powerful fossil fuel industry. This article explores the synergy between antidemocratic leaders embracing anti-climate agendas that prioritize oil and gas companies over the rights of their citizens. I conclude by reflecting on possible responses to this bleak reality from members of the global environmental movement. This involves acknowledging the deep complicity of liberal democratic states in extractive capitalism, while also rethinking democratic principles of social equality and political inclusion to ensure that historically underrepresented communities can engage in emancipatory pro-climate political mobilization.

Cover page of Anthropology with Business: Plural Programs and Future Financial Worlds

Anthropology with Business: Plural Programs and Future Financial Worlds


How can we imagine and perform an anthropological practice with business, that is, not from a distanced perspective but through a mutual infolding and engagement? How might such an arrangement then be exemplary for novel economic experiments of the kind anthropologists often describe? Reflecting on several years' of collaborations with each other, the authors recount their relationship as an experiment in novel engagements with economic things (money, corporations, universities, accounting principles, computers, etc.) in an industrial and university site. The paper puts forward a theoretical argument about exaptive and nonadaptive plurality that opens new pathways for alternative and sometimes quite conventional values. The context is a specific set of projects around money and payment. The intellectual background is the anthropology of finance and alternative economies.

Cover page of Regulation as Retrospective Ethnography

Regulation as Retrospective Ethnography


Often, we ask: how can regulation mitigate risk? What might happen if instead we ask: what does regulation tell us about socially situated action? This article poses a thought experiment along these lines. The emerging conversation about regulation and the risks of mobile financial services has been relatively silent on a ubiquitous set of things people do with cash and coin not limited to the strictly economic functions of these media. Adding mobile into the mix of people's existing; highly complex monetary practices has the potential to create new risks -- but also new opportunities for product design and smarter regulation. This paper describes the social uses of mobile phones and cash from different cultural contexts, including proscriptions regarding the disclosure of certain transactions, and multi-person sharing of money and mobiles. It then reflects on how we might understand regulation as an account of people's practices and experiences, an account we might set alongside other forms of data on use cases for mobile and money. It argues that the risks identified by the regulators, rather than hindering innovation or frightening off developers, might instead inspire user-oriented solutions for mobile money, and for mobile money as part of, not a replacement for, the user's world of diverse social currencies.

Cover page of Religion, Migration, and State Policies: South Asian Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus in the United States

Religion, Migration, and State Policies: South Asian Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus in the United States


South Asian Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus in the US confront co-religionists in a new national religious landscape. They bring different national histories with them, coming predominantly from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, where state policies toward religions varied at the establishment of the states (India and Pakistan in 1947, Bangladesh in 1971) and have changed over time.

Cover page of review



Reviews the book ‘A Muted Fury: Populists, Progressives, and Labor Unions Confront the Courts, 1890-1937, William G. Ross.