Maia Green took over as one of the co-editors of Society and Space earlier this year. The interview below, conducted by continuing co-editor Natalie Oswin, is the second of a planned three interviews with the new co-editors. Deborah Cowen previously interviewed Jane M. Jacobs (find it here), and Stuart Elden will interview Peter Gratton in the next few weeks [update: find it here].
Natalie Oswin: Thank you for talking with me. Can you talk a bit about your general research interests and some of your previous work?
Maia Green: My research interests are in the area of social transformation, originally in Africa but more generally also – I am interested in the ways in which people imagine, enact and respond to change, and how imaginaries of transformation are established, circulated and contested. My original work examined the impact of Christian mission in Southern Tanzania and the ways in which this effected a dialogue about change and what could be valorised as unchanging, as ‘traditional’ practice. This took me into the study of what is categorized as ‘traditional’ healing in Africa, as well as the study of another area which was set in terms of a conflict between the traditional and the emergent – practices for the suppression of witchcraft. These have been studied by many anthropologists in terms of anti-witchcraft movements which supposedly appear as a popular response to conflicts associated with modernization. I looked at the apparent emergence of one such movement in Tanzania in relation to the state interventions which regulated popular participation in anti witchcraft practices in such a way as to create the effect of a ‘movement’.
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