by Subject: Development Studies
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Adventures in Aidland
The Anthropology of Professionals in International Development
Mosse, D. (ed)
Anthropological interest in new subjects of research and contemporary knowledge practices has turned ethnographic attention to a wide ranging variety of professional fields. Among these the encounter with international development has perhaps been longer and more intimate than any of the others. Anthropologists have drawn critical attention to the interfaces and social effects of development’s discursive regimes but, oddly enough, have paid scant attention to knowledge producers themselves, despite anthropologists being among them. This is the focus of this volume. It concerns the construction and transmission of knowledge about global poverty and its reduction but is equally interested in the social life of development professionals, in the capacity of ideas to mediate relationships, in networks of experts and communities of aid workers, and in the dilemmas of maintaining professional identities. Going well beyond obsolete debates about ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, the book examines the transformations that occur as social scientific concepts and practices cross and re-cross the boundary between anthropological and policy making knowledge.
Subjects: Applied Anthropology Development Studies
Biopolitics, Militarism, and Development
Eritrea in the Twenty-First Century
O'Kane, D. & Hepner, T. R. (eds)
Bringing together original, contemporary ethnographic research on the Northeast African state of Eritrea, this book shows how biopolitics - the state-led deployment of disciplinary technologies on individuals and population groups - is assuming particular forms in the twenty-first century. Once hailed as the “African country that works,” Eritrea’s apparently successful post-independence development has since lapsed into economic crisis and severe human rights violations. This is due not only to the border war with Ethiopia that began in 1998, but is also the result of discernible tendencies in the “high modernist” style of social mobilization for development first adopted by the Eritrean government during the liberation struggle (1961–1991) and later carried into the post-independence era. The contributions to this volume reveal and interpret the links between development and developmentalist ideologies, intensifying militarism, and the controlling and disciplining of human lives and bodies by state institutions, policies, and discourses. Also assessed are the multiple consequences of these policies for the Eritrean people and the ways in which such policies are resisted or subverted. This insightful, comparative volume places the Eritrean case in a broader global and transnational context.
Cash Transfers in Context
An Anthropological Perspective
Olivier de Sardan, J.-P. & Piccoli, E. (eds)
Marginal in status a decade ago, cash transfer programs have become the preferred channel for delivering emergency aid or tackling poverty in low- and middle-income countries. While these programs have had positive effects, they are typical of top-down development interventions in that they impose on local contexts standardized norms and procedures regarding conditionality, targeting, and delivery. This book sheds light on the crucial importance of these contexts and the many unpredicted consequences of cash transfer programs worldwide - detailing how the latter are used by actors to pursue their own strategies, and how external norms are reinterpreted, circumvented, and contested by local populations.
Changing Properties of Property
Benda-Beckmann, K. von, Benda-Beckmann, F. von & Wiber, M. (eds)
As an important contribution to debates on property theory and the role of law in creating, disputing, defining and refining property rights, this volume provides new theoretical material on property systems, as well as new empirically grounded case studies of the dynamics of property transformations. The property claimants discussed in these papers represent a diverse range of actors, including post-socialist states and their citizens, those receiving restitution for past property losses in Africa, Southeast Asia and in eastern Europe, collectives, corporate and individual actors. The volume thus provides a comprehensive anthropological analysis not only of property structures and ideologies, but also of property (and its politics) in action.
Subjects: Development Studies General Anthropology
The Death of the Big Men and the Rise of the Big Shots
Custom and Conflict in East New Britain
In 1994, the Pacific island village of Matupit was partially destroyed by a volcanic eruption. This study focuses on the subsequent reconstruction and contests over the morality of exchanges that are generative of new forms of social stratification. Such new dynamics of stratification are central to contemporary processes of globalization in the Pacific, and more widely. Through detailed ethnography of the transactions that a displaced people entered into in seeking to rebuild their lives, this book analyses how people re-make sociality in an era of post-colonial neoliberalism without taking either the transformative power of globalization or the resilience of indigenous culture as its starting point. It also contributes to the understanding of the problems of post-disaster reconstruction and development projects.
Subjects: General Anthropology Development Studies
Beyond an Anthropology of Critique
Venkatesan, S. & Yarrow, T. (eds)
Over the last two decades, anthropological studies have highlighted the problems of ‘development’ as a discursive regime, arguing that such initiatives are paradoxically used to consolidate inequality and perpetuate poverty. This volume constitutes a timely intervention in anthropological debates about development, moving beyond the critical stance to focus on development as a mode of engagement that, like anthropology, attempts to understand, represent and work within a complex world. By setting out to elucidate both the similarities and differences between these epistemological endeavors, the book demonstrates how the ethnographic study of development challenges anthropology to rethink its own assumptions and methods. In particular, contributors focus on the important but often overlooked relationship between acting and understanding, in ways that speak to debates about the role of anthropologists and academics in the wider world. The case studies presented are from a diverse range of geographical and ethnographic contexts, from Melanesia to Africa and Latin America, and ethnographic research is combined with commentary and reflection from the foremost scholars in the field.
Subjects: Development Studies General Anthropology
Ethnobotany in the New Europe
People, Health and Wild Plant Resources
Pardo-de-Santayana, M., Pieroni, A. & Puri, R. (eds)
The study of European wild food plants and herbal medicines is an old discipline that has been invigorated by a new generation of researchers pursuing ethnobotanical studies in fresh contexts. Modern botanical and medical science itself was built on studies of Medieval Europeans’ use of food plants and medicinal herbs. In spite of monumental changes introduced in the Age of Discovery and Mercantile Capitalism, some communities, often of immigrants in foreign lands, continue to hold on to old recipes and traditions, while others have adopted and enculturated exotic plants and remedies into their diets and pharmacopoeia in new and creative ways. Now in the 21st century, in the age of the European Union and Globalization, European folk botany is once again dynamically responding to changing cultural, economic, and political contexts. The authors and studies presented in this book reflect work being conducted across Europe’s many regions. They tell the story of the on-going evolution of human-plant relations in one of the most bioculturally dynamic places on the planet, and explore new approaches that link the re-evaluation of plant-based cultural heritage with the conservation and use of biocultural diversity.
From Eastern Bloc to European Union
Comparative Processes of Transformation since 1990
Heydemann, G. & Vodička, K. (eds)
More than 25 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, European integration remains a work in progress, especially in those Eastern European nations most dramatically reshaped by democratization and economic liberalization. This volume assembles detailed, empirically grounded studies of eleven states—Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, and the former East Germany—that went on to join the European Union. Each chapter analyzes the political, economic, and social transformations that have taken place in these nations, using a comparative approach to identify structural similarities and assess outcomes relative to one another as well as the rest of the EU.
Gardening the World
Agency, Identity and the Ownership of Water
Around the world, intensifying development and human demands for fresh water are placing unsustainable pressures on finite resources. Countries are waging war over transboundary rivers, and rural and urban communities are increasingly divided as irrigation demands compete with domestic desires. Marginal groups are losing access to water as powerful elites protect their own interests, and entire ecosystems are being severely degraded. These problems are particularly evident in Australia, with its industrialised economy and arid climate. Yet there have been relatively few attempts to examine the social and cultural complexities that underlie people's engagements with water. Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in two major Australian river catchments (the Mitchell River in Cape York, and the Brisbane River in southeast Queensland), this book examines their major water using and managing groups: indigenous communities, farmers, industries, recreational and domestic water users, and environmental organisations. It explores the issues that shape their different beliefs, values and practices in relation to water, and considers the specifically cultural or sub-cultural meanings that they encode in their material surroundings. Through an analysis of each group's diverse efforts to 'garden the world', it provides insights into the complexities of human-environmental relationships.
Subjects: Environmental Studies Development Studies
Globalization in Southeast Asia
Local, National, and Transnational Perspectives
Yamashita, S. & Eades, J.S. (eds)
The rapid postwar economic growth in the Southeast Asia region has led to a transformation of many of the societies there, together with the development of new types of anthropological research in the region. Local societies with originally quite different cultures have been incorporated into multi-ethnic states with their own projects of nation-building based on the creation of "national cultures" using these indigenous elements. At the same time, the expansion of international capitalism has led to increasing flows of money, people, languages and cultures across national boundaries, resulting in new hybrid social structures and cultural forms.
This book examines the nature of these processes in contemporary Southeast Asia with detailed case studies drawn from countries across the region, including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. At the macro-level these include studies of nation-building and the incorporation of minorities. At the micro-level they range from studies of popular cultural forms, such as music and textiles to the impact of new sects and the world religions on local religious practice. Moving between the global and the local are the various streams of migrants within the region, including labor migrants responding to the changing distribution of economic opportunities and ethnic minorities moving in response to natural disaster.
Subjects: General Anthropology Development Studies
The Good Holiday
Development, Tourism and the Politics of Benevolence in Mozambique
Baptista, J. A.
Drawing on ethnographic research in the village of Canhane, which is host to the first community tourism project in Mozambique, The Good Holiday explores the confluence of two powerful industries: tourism and development, and explains when, how and why tourism becomes development and development, tourism. The volume further explores the social and material consequences of this merging, presenting the confluence of tourism and development as a major vehicle for the exercise of ethics, and non-state governance in contemporary life.
The Impact of Electricity
Development, Desires and Dilemmas
How does everyday life change when electricity becomes available to a group of people for the first time? Why do some groups tend to embrace this icon of development while other groups actively fight against it? This book examines the effects of electricity’s arrival in an African, rural community. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Zanzibar at different points in time, the author provides a compelling account of the social implications in question. The rhythm of life changes and life is speeding up. Sexuality and marriage patterns are affected. And a range of social relations, e.g. between generations and genders, as well as relations between human beings and spirits, become modified. Despite men and women’s general appreciation of the new services electricity provides, new dilemmas emerge. By using electricity as a guide through the social landscape, the particularities of social and cultural life in this region emerge. Simultaneously, the book invites readers to understand the ways that electricity affects and becomes implicated in our everyday life.
Subjects: Development Studies General Anthropology
Indigeneity and the Sacred
Indigenous Revival and the Conservation of Sacred Natural Sites in the Americas
Sarmiento, F. & Hitchner, S. (eds)
This book presents current research in the political ecology of indigenous revival and its role in nature conservation in critical areas in the Americas. An important contribution to evolving studies on conservation of sacred natural sites (SNS), the book elucidates the complexity of development scenarios within cultural landscapes related to the appropriation of religion, environmental change in indigenous territories, and new conservation management approaches. Indigeneity and the Sacred explores how these struggles for land, rights, and political power are embedded within physical landscapes, and how indigenous identity is reconstituted as globalizing forces simultaneously threaten and promote the notion of indigeneity.
Concepts of Biotic and Physical Space
Johnson, L. M. & Hunn, E. S. (eds)
Although anthropologists and cultural geographers have explored “place” in various senses, little cross-cultural examination of “kinds of place,” or ecotopes, has been presented from an ethno-ecological perspective. In this volume, indigenous and local understandings of landscape are investigated in order to better understand how human communities relate to their terrestrial and aquatic resources. The contributors go beyond the traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) literature and offer valuable insights on ecology and on land and resources management, emphasizing the perception of landscape above the level of species and their folk classification. Focusing on the ways traditional people perceive and manage land and biotic resources within diverse regional and cultural settings, the contributors address theoretical issues and present case studies from North America, Mexico, Amazonia, tropical Asia, Africa and Europe.
Landscape, Process and Power
Re-evaluating Traditional Environmental Knowledge
Heckler, S. (ed)
In recent years, the field of study variously called local, indigenous or traditional environmental knowledge (TEK) has experienced a crisis brought about by the questioning of some of its basic assumptions. This has included reassessing notions that scientific methods can accurately elicit and describe TEK or that incorporating it into development projects will improve the physical, social or economic well-being of marginalized peoples. The contributors to this volume argue that to accurately and appropriately describe TEK, the historical and political forces that have shaped it, as well as people’s day-to-day engagement with the landscape around them must be taken into account. TEK thus emerges, not as an easily translatable tool for development experts, but as a rich and complex element of contemporary lives that should be defined and managed by indigenous and local peoples themselves.
Living on Thin Ice
The Gwich'in Natives of Alaska
Dinero, S. C.
The Gwich’in Natives of Arctic Village, Alaska, have experienced intense social and economic changes for more than a century. In the late 20th century, new transportation and communication technologies introduced radically new value systems; while some of these changes may be seen as socially beneficial, others suggest a weakening of what was once a strong and vibrant Native community. Using quantitative and qualitative data gathered since the turn of the millennium, this volume offers an interdisciplinary evaluation of the developments that have occurred in the community over the past several decades.
Power, State and Camps in Rwanda's Unity-Building Project
Since the end of the Rwandan genocide, the new political elite has been challenged with building a unified nation. Reaching beyond the better-studied topics of post-conflict justice and memory, the book investigates the project of civic education, the upsurge of state-led neo-traditional institutions and activities, and the use of camps and retreats shape the “ideal” Rwandan citizen. Rwanda’s ingando camps offer unique insights into the uses of dislocation and liminality in an attempt to anchor identities and desired political roles, to practically orient and symbolically place individuals in the new Rwandan order, and, ultimately, to create additional platforms for the reproduction of political power itself.
Modern Crises and Traditional Strategies
Local Ecological Knowledge in Island Southeast Asia
Ellen, R. (ed)
The 1990s have seen a growing interest in the role of local ecological knowledge in the context of sustainable development, and particularly in providing a set of responses to which populations may resort in times of political, economic and environmental instability. The period 1996-2003 in island southeast Asia represents a critical test case for understanding how this might work. The key issues explored in this book are the creation, erosion and transmission of ecological knowledge, and hybridization between traditional and scientifically-based knowledge, amongst populations facing environmental stress (e.g. 1997 El Niño), political conflict and economic hazards. The book will also evaluate positive examples of how traditional knowledge has enabled local populations to cope with these kinds of insecurity.
Nordic Paths to Modernity
Árnason, J. P. & Wittrock, B. (eds)
Within the growing attention to the diverse forms and trajectories of modern societies, the Nordic countries are now widely seen as a distinctive and instructive case. While discussions have centred on the ‘Nordic model’ of the welfare state and its record of adaptation to the changing global environment of the late twentieth century, this volume’s focus goes beyond these themes. The guiding principle here is that a long-term historical-sociological perspective is needed to make sense of the Nordic paths to modernity; of their significant but not complete convergence in patterns, which for some time were perceived as aspects of a model to be emulated in other settings; and of the specific features that still set the five countries in question (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland) apart from one another. The contributors explore transformative processes, above all the change from an absolutistmilitary state to a democratic one with its welfarist phase, as well as the crucial experiences that will have significant implications on future developments.
Subjects: Development Studies General History Sociology
Changing Perspectives on Resilience and Resistance
Dousset, L. & Nayral, M. (eds)
Throughout the Pacific region, people are faced with dramatic changes, often described as processes of “glocalization”; individuals and groups espouse multilayered forms of identity, in which global modes of thinking and doing are embedded in renewed perceptions of local or regional specificities. Consequently, new forms of resistance and resilience – the processes by which communities attempt to regain their original social, political, and economic status and structure after disruption or displacement – emerge. Through case studies from across the Pacific which transcend the conventional “local-global” dichotomy, this volume aims to explore these complex and interwoven phenomena from a new perspective.
The Partial Revolution
Labour, Social Movements and the Invisible Hand of Mao in Western Nepal
Located in the far-western Tarai region of Nepal, Kailali has been the site of dynamic social and political change in recent history. The Partial Revolution examines Kailali in the aftermath of Nepal’s Maoist insurgency, critically examining the ways in which revolutionary political mobilization changes social relations—often unexpectedly clashing with the movement’s ideological goals. Focusing primarily on the end of Kailali’s feudal system of bonded labor, Hoffmann explores the connection between politics, labor, and Mao’s legacy, documenting the impact of changing political contexts on labor relations among former debt-bonded laborers.
People, Money and Power in the Economic Crisis
Perspectives from the Global South
Hart, K. & Sharp, J. (eds)
The Cold War was fought between “state socialism” and “the free market.” That fluctuating relationship between public power and private money continues today, unfolding in new and unforeseen ways during the economic crisis. Nine case studies -- from Southern Africa, South Asia, Brazil, and Atlantic Africa – examine economic life from the perspective of ordinary people in places that are normally marginal to global discourse, covering a range of class positions from the bottom to the top of society. The authors of these case studies examine people’s concrete economic activities and aspirations. By looking at how people insert themselves into the actual, unequal economy, they seek to reflect human unity and diversity more fully than the narrow vision of conventional economics.
Playing the Marginality Game
Identity Politics in West Africa
In Guinea, situated in the background of central government struggles, rural elites use identity politics, through history and contemporary political reforms to maintain their privileges and perpetuate a generation-old local social contract that bridges ethnic and religious divides. Simultaneously, administrative reform and national unrest lead to the creative re-combination of sources of authority and practices of legitimate rule. Past periods of decolonization, socialism and authoritarian regime are reflected in contemporary struggles to make sense of participatory democracy and the future of the embattled Guinean national state.
Subjects: General Anthropology Sociology Development Studies
Politics of Innocence
Hutu Identity, Conflict and Camp Life
Based on thorough ethnographic fieldwork in a refugee camp in Tanzania this book provides a rich account of the benevolent “disciplining mechanisms” of humanitarian agencies, led by the UNHCR, and of the situated, dynamic, indeterminate, and fluid nature of identity (re)construction in the camp. While the refugees are expected to behave as innocent, helpless victims, the question of victimhood among Burundian Hutu is increasingly challenged, following the 1993 massacres in Burundi and the Rwandan genocide. The book explores how different groups within the camp apply different strategies to cope with these issues and how the question of innocence and victimhood is itself imbued with ambiguity, as young men struggle to recuperate their masculinity and their political subjectivity.
The Power of Law in a Transnational World
Benda-Beckmann, F. von, Benda-Beckmann, K. von & Griffiths, A. (eds)
How is law mobilized and who has the power and authority to construct its meaning? This important volume examines this question as well as how law is constituted and reconfigured through social processes that frame both its continuity and transformation over time. The volume highlights how power is deployed under conditions of legal pluralism, exploring its effects on livelihoods and on social institutions, including the state. Such an approach not only demonstrates how the state, through its various development programs and organizational structures, attempts to control territory and people, but also relates the mechanisms of state control to other legal modes of control and regulation at both local and supranational levels.
Subjects: Development Studies General Anthropology
Refugees and the Transformation of Societies
Agency, Policies, Ethics and Politics
Essed, P., Frerks, G. & Schrijvers, J. (eds)
The refusal or reception of refugees has had serious implications for the social policies and social realities of numerous countries in east and west. Exploring experiences, interpretations and practices of 'refugees,' 'the internally displaced' and 'returnees' in or emerging from societies in violent conflict, this volume challenges prevailing orthodoxies and encourages new developments in refugee studies. It also addresses the ethics and politics of interventions by professionals and policy makers, using case studies of refugees from or in South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and the Americas. These illustrate the dynamic nature of situations where refugees, policy- makers and practitioners interact in trying to construct new livelihoods in transforming societies.
Without a proper understanding of this dynamic nature, so the volume argues overall, it is not possible to develop successful strategies for the accommodation and integration of refugees.
Rethinking and Unthinking Development
Perspectives on Inequality and Poverty in South Africa and Zimbabwe
Mpofu, B. & Ndlovu-Gatsheni, S. J. (eds)
Development has remained elusive in Africa. Through theoretical contributions and case studies focusing on Southern Africa’s former white settler states, South Africa and Zimbabwe, this volume responds to the current need to rethink (and unthink) development in the region. The authors explore how Africa can adapt Western development models suited to its political, economic, social and cultural circumstances, while rejecting development practices and discourses based on exploitative capitalist and colonial tendencies. Beyond the legacies of colonialism, the volume also explores other factors impacting development, including regional politics, corruption, poor policies on empowerment and indigenization, and socio-economic and cultural barriers.
Searching for a Better Life
Growing Up in the Slums of Bangkok
Life in Bangkok for young people is marked by profound, interlocking changes and transitions. This book offers an ethnographic account of growing up in the city’s slums, struggling to get by in a rapidly developing and globalizing economy and trying to fulfil one’s dreams. At the same time, it reflects on the issue of agency, exploring its negative potential when exercised by young people living under severe structural constraint. It offers an antidote to neoliberal ideas around personal responsibility, and the assumed potential for individuals to break through structures of constraint in any sustained way.
Banana Politics and Fair Trade in the Eastern Caribbean
During the 1990s, the Eastern Caribbean was caught in a bitter trade dispute between the US and EU over the European banana market. When the World Trade Organization rejected preferential access for Caribbean growers in 1998 the effect on the region’s rural communities was devastating. This volume examines the “banana wars” from the vantage point of St. Lucia’s Mabouya Valley, whose recent, turbulent history reveals the impact of global forces. The author investigates how the contemporary structure of the island’s banana industry originated in colonial policies to create a politically “stable” peasantry, followed by politicians’ efforts to mobilize rural voters. These political strategies left farmers dependent on institutional and market protection, leaving them vulnerable to any alteration in trade policy. This history gave way to a new harsh reality, in which neoliberal policies privilege price and quantity over human rights and the environment. However, against these challenges, the author shows how the rural poor have responded in creative ways, including new social movements and Fair Trade farming, in order to negotiate a stronger position for themselves in the in a shifting global economy.
Social Quality Theory
A New Perspective on Social Development
Herrmann, P. & Lin, K. (eds)
Social quality thinking emerged from a critique of one-sided policies by breaking through the limitations previously set by purely economistic paradigms. By tracing its expansion and presenting different aspects of social quality theory, this volume provides an overview of a more nuanced approach, which assesses societal progress and introduces proposals that are relevant for policy making. Crucially, important components emerge with research by scholars from Asia, particularly China, eastern Europe, and other regions beyond western Europe, the theory’s place of origin. As this volume shows, this rich diversity of approaches and their cross-national comparisons reveal the increasingly important role of social quality theory for informing political debates on development and sustainability.
Subjects: Sociology Development Studies
The State and the Grassroots
Immigrant Transnational Organizations in Four Continents
Portes, A. & Fernández-Kelly, P. (eds)
Whereas most of the literature on migration focuses on individuals and their families, this book studies the organizations created by immigrants to protect themselves in their receiving states. Comparing eighteen of these grassroots organizations formed across the world, from India to Colombia to Vietnam to the Congo, researchers from the United States, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and Spain focus their studies on the internal structure and activities of these organizations as they relate to developmental initiatives. The book outlines the principal positions in the migration and development debate and discusses the concept of transnationalism as a means of resolving these controversies.
Trapped in the Gap
Doing Good in Indigenous Australia
In Australia, a ‘tribe’ of white, middle-class, progressive professionals is actively working to improve the lives of Indigenous people. This book explores what happens when well-meaning people, supported by the state, attempt to help without harming. ‘White anti-racists’ find themselves trapped by endless ambiguities, contradictions, and double binds — a microcosm of the broader dilemmas of postcolonial societies. These dilemmas are fueled by tension between the twin desires of equality and difference: to make Indigenous people statistically the same as non-Indigenous people (to 'close the gap') while simultaneously maintaining their ‘cultural’ distinctiveness. This tension lies at the heart of failed development efforts in Indigenous communities, ethnic minority populations and the global South. This book explains why doing good is so hard, and how it could be done differently.
Subjects: General Anthropology Development Studies
Traveling Cultures and Plants
The Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacy of Human Migrations
Pieroni, A. & Vandebroek, I. (eds)
The tremendous increase in migrations and diasporas of human groups in the last decades are not only bringing along challenging issues for society, especially related to the economic and political management of multiculturalism and culturally effective health care, but they are also creating dramatic changes in traditional knowledge, believes and practices (KBP) related to (medicinal) plant use. The contributors to this volume – all internationally recognized scholars in the field of ethnobiology, transcultural pharmacy, and medical anthropology – analyze these dynamics of traditional knowledge in especially 12 selected case studies.
Ina Vandebroek, features in Nova's "Secret Life of Scientists", answering the question: just what is ethnobotany?
United in Discontent
Local Responses to Cosmopolitanism and Globalization
Theodossopoulos, D. & Kirtsoglou, E. (eds)
Cosmopolitanism is often discussed in a critical and disapproving manner: as a concept complicit with the interests of the powerful, or as a notion related to Western political supremacy, the ills of globalization, inequality, and capitalist economic penetration. Seen as the moral justification for embracing or tolerating cultural difference, ethnically and socially diverse communities unenthusiastic with change, develop an acknowledgement of their common position vis-à-vis a western, “universal” political point of view. By means of exploring the idiosyncratic form of political intimacy generated by anti-cosmopolitanism, and assuming an analytical and critical stance towards the concepts of parochialism and localism, this volume examines the political consciousness of such negatively predisposed actors, and it attempts to explain their reservation towards the sincerity of international politics, their reliance on conspiracy theories or nationalist narratives, their introversion.
Subjects: Development Studies General Anthropology
Unveiling the Whale
Discourses on Whales and Whaling
Whaling has become one of the most controversial environmental issues. It is not that all whale species are at the brink of extinction, but that whales have become important symbols to both pro- and anti-whaling factions and can easily be appropriated as the common heritage of humankind. This book, the first of its kind, is therefore not about whales and whaling per se but about how people communicate about whales and whaling. It contributes to a better understanding and discussion of controversial environmental issues: Why and how are issues selected? How is knowledge on these issues produced and distributed by organizations and activists? And why do affluent countries like Japan and Norway still support whaling, which is of insignificant economic importance? Basing his analysis on fieldwork in Japan and Norway and at the International Whaling Commission, the author argues how an image of a “superwhale” has been constructed and how this image has replaced meat and oil as the important whale commodity. He concludes that the whaling issue provides an arena where NGOs and authorities on each side can unite, swapping political legitimacy and building personal relations that can be useful on issues where relations are less harmonious.
Cultural Meanings, Social Practices
Dürr, E. & Jaffe, R. (eds)
Re-examining Mary Douglas’ work on pollution and concepts of purity, this volume explores modern expressions of these themes in urban areas, examining the intersections of material and cultural pollution. It presents ethnographic case studies from a range of cities affected by globalization processes such as neoliberal urban policies, privatization of urban space, continued migration and spatialized ethnic tension. What has changed since the appearance of Purity and Danger? How have anthropological views on pollution changed accordingly? This volume focuses on cultural meanings and values that are attached to conceptions of ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’, purity and impurity, healthy and unhealthy environments, and addresses the implications of pollution with regard to discrimination, class, urban poverty, social hierarchies and ethnic segregation in cities.
Virtualism, Governance and Practice
Vision and Execution in Environmental Conservation
Carrier, J. C. & West, P. (eds)
Many people investigating the operation of large-scale environmentalist organizations see signs of power, knowledge and governance in their policies and projects. This collection indicates that such an analysis appears to be justified from one perspective, but not from another. The chapters in this collection show that the critics, concerned with the power of these organizations to impose their policies in different parts of the world, appear justified when we look at environmentalist visions and at organizational policies and programs. However, they are much less justified when we look at the practical operation of such organizations and their ability to generate and carry out projects intended to reshape the world.
Who Knows Tomorrow?
Uncertainty in North-Eastern Sudan
Although uncertainty is intertwined with all human activity, plans, and aspirations, it is experienced differently: at times it is obsessed over and at times it is ignored. This ethnography shows how Rashaida in north-eastern Sudan deal with unknowns from day-to-day unpredictability to life-threatening dangers. It argues that the amplification of uncertainty in some cases and its extenuation in others can be better understood by focusing on forms that can either hold the world together or invite doubt. Uncertainty, then, need not be seen solely as a debilitating problem, but also as an opportunity to create other futures.
Subjects: General Anthropology Development Studies