Holzlehner, Tobias S., U. of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK - To aid research on 'Cosmopolitan Xenophobia: Cultural Dynamics of Consumption and Ethnic Interaction in Vladivostok, Russia,' supervised by Dr. Peter P. Schweitzer
TOBIAS HOLZLEHNER, then a student at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, was awarded a grant in December 2003 to aid research on 'Cosmopolitan Xenophobia: Cultural Dynamics of Consumption and Ethnic Interaction in Vladivostok, Russia,' supervised by Dr. Peter P. Schweitzer. Street markets constitute a widely linked and condensed urban space in Vladivostok and are ideal sites to explore the cultural dynamics of ethnic interaction and consumption in a post-Soviet city in the Russian Far East. These markets and the routes to and from them constitute a complex condensed niche economy, where entrepreneurs from China and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus, occupying marked spatial positions, monopolize whole categories of consumer goods, and leave Russian traders on the sidelines. The networks of ethnic entrepreneurs and their condensed appearance in the markets present a surface for projections of xenophobic anxieties. Local discourses about foreign traders suggest the intricate relationships among alien bodies, dangerous substances, and consumption. Yet, the spatial frame of the interethnic encounter, as well as the social and economic symmetry of the relationship, shape its quality. The emergence of cross-border trade and ethnic entrepreneurs after the breakdown of the Soviet Union has given rise to notions of repulsion, but has also created nodes of attraction. New ties and exchange relationships with China, Korea, and Japan have created new economic possibilities. The flow of goods, ideas, and people at this metropolitan periphery of the Russian state has created focal points of interaction. Economic as well as social mobility and the willingness to engage with the other, the central idea underlying the notion of cosmopolitanism, have emerged in Russian Far East discourse as a crucial characteristic for success in coping with the effects of globalization and transnationalism. Economic incentives have emerged as a strong deterrent of xenophobic sentiments.
Coleman, Leo C., Princeton U., Princeton, NJ - To aid research on 'Private Power: The Privatization of Electricity and Citizenship in Delhi, India,' supervised by Dr. Carol J. Greenhouse
LEO CHARLES COLEMAN, then a student at Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, was awarded a grant in April 2005 to aid research on 'Private Power: The Privatization of Electricty and Citizenship in Delhi, India,' supervised by Dr. Carol J. Greenhouse. This project studied urban citizenship and the political and social consequences of privatization in Delhi, India, with an ethnographic focus on consumer and citizen mobilizations in response to the partial privatization of electricity provision in 2002. The research reveals the internal strains and external constraints on the development of a self-described 'middle-class' in Delhi today, and describes the recent emergence in Delhi of class-homogenous territorially- and residentially-based political groups. Alongside national transformations in economic governance, novel practices of citizenship and urban inclusion and exclusion have emerged in Delhi, expressed in mobilizations for better electricity service and fairer rates, and citizen demands for slum clearance, urban renewal, and expansion of urban services. The mobilizations studied agitated for local control of 'public' goods and were informed by an ideology of consumer-citizenship which equates democracy with transparency, and the latter with local territorial sovereignty. These are the unexpected consequences of a privatization process deeply imbued with the neo-liberal orthodoxy of absolute individual autonomy, but which has produced, ironically, new territorial collectivities. Through joint archival and ethnographic research, the project also traces the continued, albeit submerged, relevance for political action of long-standing foci of communal identification and urban division, including citizenship and caste.
Welker, Marina, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Industry as Aid: Mining, Development, and Moral Conflict in Sumbawa, Indonesia,' supervised by Dr. Webb Keane
MARINA WELKER, while a student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding in November 2001 to aid research on mining, development, and moral conflict in Sumbawa, Indonesia, under the supervision of Dr. Webb Keane. Welker considered the incorporation of a new business paradigm, 'corporate social responsibility' (CSR), in the transnational mining industry. During eighteen months of data collection in Indonesia, she combined long-term village research on community development projects carried out by Newmont Nusa Tenggara near the Batu Hijau copper and gold mine in Sumbawa with two months of comparative research in Jakarta and at other mine sites. Primary methods included participant observation, interviews, and archival research (corporate documents and newspapers). Welker focused on transformations in the risk management strategies mining companies applied to groups they recognized as 'stakeholders': farmers, businesspeople, mothers, the state, developmentalist nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and advocacy NGOs. She found that under the CSR paradigm, corporations were attempting to substitute a market rationality construing local communities as autonomous and independent for the gift logic that served as the conventional basis of corporate-community relations. By examining how new flows of material and discourse between companies and stakeholders were constituted and contested, Welker approached CSR as an extension of corporate power and knowledge. She found both stakeholder groups and companies transformed through their participation in negotiations over the proper relationship between mining companies and mine-affected communities.
Welker, Marina. 2014. Enacting the Corporation: An American Mining Firm in Post-Authoritarian Indonesia. University of California Press: Berkeley and Los Angeles.
Welker, Marina. 2012. The Green Revolution's Ghost: Unruly Subjects of Participatory Development in Rural Indonesia. American Ethnologist 39(2):389-406.
Welker, Marina A. 2009. 'Corporate Security Begins in the Community:' Mining, The Corporate Social
Responsibility Industry, and Environmental Advocacy in Indonesia. Cutlural Anthropology 24(1):142-179.
Seale-Feldman, Aidan Sara, U. of California, Los Angleles, CA - To aid research on 'Adolescent 'Mass Hysteria' in Rural Nepal: Subjectivity, Experience, and Social Change,' supervised by Dr. C. Jason Throop
Preliminary abstract: In the wake of economic and political instability, high rates of unemployment and outmigration and the decade-long violence of the 'People's War,' increasing cases of 'mass hysteria,' also known as 'chhopne rog,' among adolescents have been reported in government schools throughout Nepal. Investigating the phenomenon of mass 'chhopne rog,' which affects mainly female adolescents in rural Nepal, this study traces connections between new forces of social change which have taken shape in the post-conflict period, and the psychocultural dimensions of people's lives. Why are adolescent girls disproportionally afflicted by 'chhopne rog' and how might this be connected to relations of power? What is the public discourse on 'mass hysteria' in Nepal, and how do families, healers, and psychiatrists understand, explain, and treat this illness? What is the nature of the experience of 'chhopne rog' for people themselves, and how does it relate to the sociocultural and economic conditions in which they live their lives? Through a phenomenological, person-centered approach to ethnographic research, this study contributes towards understanding the ways in which subjectivity, an individual's intimate, affective, emotional life-- thoughts, desires, hopes, fears or dreams-- takes form in particular historical, political, economic, and sociocultural contexts.
Maunaguru, Sidharthan, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'Brokering Marriage: War, Displacement, and the Production of Futures among Jaffna Tamils,' supervised by Professor Veena Das
SIDHARTHAN MAUNAGURU, then a student at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, received a grant in November 2006 to aid research on 'Brokering Marriage: War, Displacement, and the Production of Futures among Jaffna Tamils,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das. Three decades of prolonged war in Sri Lanka has devastated the social and economic landscape of Sri Lankan communities, making their lives insecure and disrupting their social relations. Under these conditions of enforced dispersion this research is designed to look at ways in which marriage has emerged as one of the most significant ways by which people are not only moved out of places of insecurity, but also by which people are brought together. Specifically, the project focuses on the role of marriage as a way of building alliances between dispersed members of Tamil communities, and the manner in which these communities secure a future from the fragments of their devastated habitus through marriage. The research has concluded that: 1) in this process, the renewed expertise the marriage broker, in consultation with priests, astrologers and official legal instruments, is a primary character in negotiating these fragments, even as states constantly work to block and prevent the movement of newly married couples across border; and 2) in this process of negotiation traditional categories of kin, family, and marriage are transformed and rearticulated to adjust both to the context of an altered landscape and to the demands of hosting states.
Johari, Radhika, York U, Toronto, Canada -To aid research on 'Endangered Forests, Enterprising Women: The Politics of Conservation and Livelihoods Development Programs in Himachal, India,' supervised by Dr. Shubhra Gururani
RADHIKA JOHARI, then a student at York University, Toronto, Canada, was awarded funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Endangered Forests, Enterprising Women: The Politics of Conservation and Livelihoods Development Programs in Himachal, India,' supervised by Dr. Shubhra Gururani. This doctoral research critically examined how environmental perceptions and practices have been shaped at the interface of past and current paradigms of conservation and resource-based livelihoods development within the recently concluded Indo-German Changar Eco-Development Project in Himachal, India. Adopting a multi-sited ethnographic approach, it has contextualized these articulations of environment and enterprise building within a wider framework of historical and current resource rights and property regimes. It has demonstrated how an increasingly influential paradigm of neoliberal market-centered development has structured project interventions, and how in turn these interventions have been refracted by a deeply entrenched and intersecting politics of knowledge, identity and place. The research identified and explored these points of refraction, for example, within project discourses and practices of knowledge production and valuation and in plantation and livelihoods development strategies. In doing so, it revealed how environmental and entrepreneurial knowledges and practices have intersected with existing social, economic, and political relations, as well as property relations, in ways that have significantly shaped perceptions, norms, and practices around environmental resources. In sum, the research provides a grounded critique of prevailing efforts to converge conservation and resource-based livelihoods and the reasons for their disjunctures in practice.
Deomampo, Daisy Faye, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'The New Global 'Division of Labor': Reproductive Tourism in Mumbai, India,' supervised by Dr. Leith Mullings
DAISY FAYE DEOMAMPO, then a student at the City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York, was awarded funding in October 2009, to aid research on 'The New Global 'Division of Labor': Reproductive Tourism in Mumbai, India,' supervised by Dr. Leith Mullings. This research examines the social, cultural, and policy implications of 'reproductive tourism,' briefly defined as the movement of people across national borders for assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs).
Yang, Xiaoliu, Sun Yat-Sen U., Guangzhou, China - To aid research on 'Making Participatory Poverty Reduction Chinese,' supervised by Dr. Daming Zhou
XIALIU YANG, then a student at Sun Yet-sen University, Guangzhou, China, received funding in January 2006 to aid research on 'Making Participatory Development Chinese,' supervised by Prof. Daming Zhou. The fieldwork was conducted in Meigu county, an impoverished, Nuosu ethnic region in Sichuan Province, Southwest China. The grantee did fieldwork from February to December 2006 to study how the Western 'participation' in China's rural poverty reduction is made Chinese. Research focused on three Western projects in a Nuosu village -- from the World Bank, the United Nations Children's Fund, and Germany's Misereor Foundation -- to observe how 'participation' is made Chinese at different stages of the project cycle. Support enabled a multi-level investigation to collect information identifying key stakeholders involved in the delivery of Western participatory aid, including state and local government, international aid organizations, Chinese scholars, and indigenous people.
Achilli, Dr. Luigi, European U. Institute, Florence, Italy - To aid workshop on 'Rethinking Political Agency in the Middle East: Engaging Political Anthropology,' 2016, Florence, in collaboration with Dr. Antonio De Lauri
Preliminary abstract: This workshop intends to bring ethnographic research in the Middle East into conversation with anthropological debate on political agency. In so doing, our first aim is to bring together a group of junior and more established scholars who have been seeking, in diverse ethnographic sites and in hitherto isolated fashion, to bring the theoretical insights of recent anthropological work on political agency to bear on the study of political change in contemporary Middle East. Our second aim in holding this workshop is to bring together scholars whose research in the Middle East has sought to develop alternative ways of thinking about political action and political subjectivity, and whose work has thereby come to envisage forms of agency that cannot be fully explained by traditional analytics such as 'pouvoir-savoir' and sovereignty. We believe the time is ripe to set up an organic and ground based political anthropology of the Middle East so as to test and expand existing accounts of political agency that have sought to go beyond the limitations of the Foucault-Agamben canon.
Shreeniwas, Dr. Sudha, U. of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC - To aid research on 'Traditions in Transformation, New Reproductive Technologies, and Gender Bias'
DR. SUDHA SHREENIWAS, of the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, North Carolina, was awarded a grant in June 2003 to aid research on new reproductive technologies and gender bias among members of two castes in India. Shreeniwas examined two hypotheses: (1) Social changes that enhance the productive roles of men more than those of women, together with the rise of patrilineality and dowry systems among formerly matrilineal-matrilocal communities, will increase families' preference for sons. (2) The motivations and means adopted to achieve newly emergent gender-biased reproductive goals will be similar to those operating in places where such goals have been long-standing. Shreeniwas studied members of the Nair caste or community in Kerala state and compared them with members of the Jat caste or community in peri-urban Delhi. The results supported the first hypothesis and partially supported the second. Patrilineal descent, residence, and inheritance, along with dowry practices, had become widespread in Kerala. These trends appeared to be associated with a verbalized preference for sons, although there was little evidence of prenatal sex selection among Nairs. The Jat community had long been patrilineal, with dowry, seclusion and educational limitations for females, strong son preference, and widespread prenatal sex selection. The main similarities between Nairs' and Jats' reasons for son preference were concerns about dowries and women's upbringing. The main differences were encouragement of education and paid work among Nair women and a 'memory of matriliny' that protected them from the worst forms of gender bias. Thus, despite high contraceptive use and low fertility, use of sex selection technology was almost nonexistent among Nairs.