Lee, Seung-Cheol, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Financialized Ethics: Governing Individual Bankruptcy in South Korea,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth Povinelli
Preliminary abstract: In the wake of the 1997 financial crisis, South Korea quickly moved from being a nation of notoriously high savers to a country with one of the highest ratios of household debt to disposable income. By illuminating this process in the context of financial neoliberalization and the fall of the developmental state, my project will explore South Korea's governance of personal bankruptcy in order to understand the profound transformations in social, subjective, and ethical life that have attended and underwritten this transition. By excavating multi-layered and even contradictory features of neoliberalization, my research will examine the emergence of new forms of governing power that now surround bankrupt individuals, which can be called 'financialized ethics' or 'moral neoliberalism' based on the grafting of ethics onto economy. First, my research will trace how individual bankruptcy is problematized as a 'moral/ethical' issue and thus how the bankrupt are constructed as an object of 'moral' government. Second, I will investigate how the bankrupt are trained and disciplined to embody the ideal of 'ethical entrepreneurship' during the rehabilitation process. Third, this project examines how present-day governing practices produce depoliticized effects by mobilizing morality as the antidote to a crisis that requires political/economic solutions. As it achieves these goals, my research will challenge the conventional understanding of neoliberalism that equates it with the domination of market and calculative rationality and instead illuminate how new forms of ethicality and sociality are intrinsically linked to the intensification of financial neoliberalism.
Hamada, Shingo, Indiana U., Bloomington, IN - To aid research on 'Network, Biotechnology, and Cultural Consensus in Conservation Projects in Coastal Fishing Communities in Northern Japan,' supervised by Dr. Richard R. Wilk
SHINGO HAMADA, then a student at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, received a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Network, Biotechnology, and Cultural Consensus in Conservation Projects in Coastal Fishing Communities in Northern Japan,' supervised by Dr. Richard R. Wilk. Examining herring restoration efforts in northern Japan as a case study, this research focuses on consensus and variation in the perceptions and practices concerning conservation. Sea ranching projects, fisheries scientific researches, and community-based reforestation efforts for ecosystem recovery have developed in coastal fishing communities in the last two decades, despite the economic and ecological uncertainty of harvests from restoration projects. This ethnographic research describes under what conditions humans engage in conservationist behaviors after experiencing a crisis in coastal common pool resources. This research applied Actor-Network Theory to navigate in and not through a priori defined 'fishing communities,' and it examines how inshore fishers, fisheries managers, fisheries scientists, and seafood buyers interpret local resource issues and restoration and values of conservation. The researcher used qualitative text analysis and questionnaires to understand how fishery techno-sciences influence actors' decision-making processes concerning fisheries management. Ultimately, this research explores how the acts of cultivating seascape through transplanting fish species blurs the boundary between the natural and cultural while becoming an anti-politics machine that blurs locations of environmental stewardships among different social groups.
Chang, Abdul Haque, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on ''Voices of Fishermen of the Indus Delta in National Water Governance and Environmental Narratives',' supervised by Dr. Kamran Asdar Ali
Preliminary abstract: This study will focus on how since Pakistan's independence in 194, irrigation systems, dam building, and water management in the Upper Punjab area have affected the lives of the Indus Delta's fishing community. Through an ethnographic study of three sites--Doulat Dablo, Keti Bandar, and Rehri Goth in the southern province of Sindh--I seek to document how the Delta population and the landscape has changed due to the implementation of the existing water management practices. Hence, this research will closely examine how state-sponsored projects initiated for 'the greater good' have ended up in sidelining the Delta fisher-folk community who have historically depended on the Indus water for their sustenance and livelihoods.
Zharkevich, Ina, U. of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Generation, Gender and Change in the Maoist Base Areas of Nepal during the Conflict and its Aftermath,' supervised by Dr. David Gellner
INA ZHARKEVICH, then a student at University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Generation, Gender and Change in the Maoist Base Areas of Nepal during the Conflict and its Aftermath,' supervised by Dr. David Gellner. The fieldwork was carried out in the village of Thabang, hailed as the capital of the Maoist base areas during the war. The findings of the fieldwork suggest that the 'people's war' has reconfigured key hierarchies along which Nepali society was organized - that of caste, gender and generation. However, the old hierarchies were subverted not only due to the spread of Maoist ideology, but also due to the processes engendered by the situation of war -- the exodus of able-bodied men who either joined the Maoists or migrated abroad, the concurrent feminization of villages, and inevitable change in the gender and generational structure of society. While the 'people's war' had a clear generational dimension, these were predominantly unmarried youth who joined the rebels -- pointing towards the importance of the moral economy of marriage and kinship for understanding the Maoist mobilization campaign and broader social processes during the war. The fact that such practices as beef-eating and inter-caste commensality, considered as a serious transgression in the once Hindu Kingdom of Nepal, endure in post-conflict environment testifies that the 'people's war' undermined Hindu ideology as the basis of the moral order in Nepal and introduced new ideas about morality grounded in the Maoist discourse of equality and progress.
Shneiderman, Dr. Sara Beth, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Restructuring Life: Citizenship, Territory and Religiosity in Nepal's State of Transition'
Preliminary abstract: How do we imagine the ideal state that we aspire to live in? I address this question in anthropological terms through a multi-sited ethnography of state restructuring in Nepal since 2006. In the wake of a decade-long civil conflict between Maoist and state forces in this erstwhile unitary Himalayan kingdom turned secular democratic federal republic of nearly 30 million, I transpose Victor Turner's long-standing 'invitation to investigators of ritual to focus their attention on the phenomena and processes of mid-transition' (1967: 110) to the political realm. Despite a 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and 2008 Constituent Assembly elections, a new constitution has yet to be promulgated, making 2014 the eighth year of Nepal's 'mid-transition'. I ask: In this temporally protracted liminal state, how do discourses and practices of restructuring articulated at the national and global level work to produce affective experiences of transformation for ordinary citizens in a range of locales outside the political center of Kathmandu? How do these experiences of transformation shape the political consciousness and aspirations of individuals and collectivities? How are such aspirations expressed in discursive and material terms, and what do they tell us about the structural and functional dimensions of the imagined state of the future? Finally, how do such localized imaginaries of ideal state structure intersect with national and transnational visions of order as articulated by both Nepali and international institutional actors? I address these questions through a focus on the domains of citizenship, territory and religiosity as spaces within which imaginaries of the state's functions and structures in transition are revealed in both material and discursive terms.
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.
Hsieh, Jennifer Chia-Lynn, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Sound and Noise in the City: Public Sensibilities and Technocratic Translation in Taipei's Aural Cityscape,' supervised by Dr. Miyako Inoue
Preliminary abstract: For the last 30 years, the Taiwan Environmental Protection Agency has implemented noise control standards in efforts to reduce the noise level on the island. While their efforts have succeeded in lowering the decibel levels around the island, citizens perceive Taiwan as noisier than ever. This paradox illustrates that sound in the form of noise is a contentious topic and reflects political claims about one's self-identification as a modern, Taiwanese subject. I focus on the problem of noise in Taipei as a uniquely urban discourse. Through city efforts toward urban re-development and the influx of new migrants from rural Taiwan and Southeast Asia, Taipei is fast becoming an even more densely-populated, diverse space for a number of urban subjects. I argue that the governance of noise creates a new paradigm in the delineation of urban space that restructures the urban experience through ways of hearing. By situating an ethnographic project within both government agencies and individual communities in Taipei, I draw attention to the imbricate nature between the technocratic system that produces a set of noise control standards and the everyday practices of individuals who either react, circumvent, perpetuate, or manipulate such standards toward their own diverse set of interests.
Cieslak, Jacqueline Elizabeth, U.of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA - To aid research on 'Rites of Sanitation: Caste, Cleanliness, and Development in Delhi,' supervised by Dr. Ravindra Khare
Preliminary abstract: Drawing on 14 months of ethnographic research with two prominent NGOs in India's capital city, Delhi, my research explores the relationship between cultural ideas about cleanliness, the social relations that produce it, and sanitation development work in India. With increasingly rapid urbanization and limited sanitation infrastructure, Delhi, a sprawling metropolis of some 22 million residents, has a crucial need for improved mechanisms for handling human waste. In development discourse this improvement is conceived as a linear trajectory from a caste-based manual scavenging model -- in which cleanliness is understood in terms of purity and produced in the relationships between hierarchically-arranged communities and persons -- to a mechanized waste management model -- in which cleanliness is configured in terms of hygiene and practiced by disciplined, autonomous individuals as a civic responsibility. Despite the clarity of this trajectory in popular discourse, my preliminary research has found that organizations in Delhi orient themselves in radically different ways relative to the interrelated issues of social organization and cleanliness in these two models. By exploring how two NGOs draw on models of purity and/or hygiene to generate both their internal organizations and development programs, this comparative project will contribute an understanding of: a) how caste is made and unmade in relation to waste in urban India, and b) how orientations toward cleanliness and social relations constitute different ethical universes that create the conditions under which development programs either reproduce or break established social forms.
Swart, Patricia L., New School U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Film Practices, Globalization, and the Public Sphere in Kerala, India,' supervised by Dr. Rayna Rapp
PATRICIA L. SWART, while a student at New School University in New York, New York, was granted an award in December 2002 to aid research on film practices, globalization, and the public sphere in the state of Kerala, India, under the supervision of Dr. Rayna Rapp. Swart examined the ways in which globalization processes had transformed the portrayal of women in popular and art films and women's spectatorship of films in Kerala. Changes in film texts and spectatorship were found to be linked to shifts in gender identity, concepts of citizenship, and the shaping of the public sphere-all unique reactions to globalization in Kerala. Although the state had a long history of global trade and cultural assimilation, the newest wave of globalization had inspired violent protests and demonstrations. The Malayalam-language cinema of Kerala responded to global changes by making films that reverted from formerly more liberal and enlightened portrayals of women to a kind of traditionalism that glorified patriarchal behaviors and attitudes. Swart conducted fieldwork in several primary areas: spectatorship practices, film institutions, and film texts. Interviews, participant observation, and a study of archival sources indicated that despite Kerala's reputation as a model of development, women in the state were subjected to increasing restrictions on their mobility and participation in public events and to increasing violence and sexual harassment. Research on film and gender showed the links between globalization, inequality, and repression by revealing some of the tensions extant in Kerala, including high unemployment, increasing consumerism, and a high rate of suicide among women.
Murphy, Daniel Joseph, U. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY - To aid research on 'Communal Resource Management and Rural Inequality in Post-Socialist Mongolia,' supervised by Dr. Peter Deal Little
DANIEL J. MURPHY, then a student at University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Communal Resource Management and Rural Inequality in Post-Socialist Mongolia,' supervised by Dr. Peter Deal Little. This project investigated the ways in which increasing rural inequality in post-socialist Mongolia has altered common-property resource management institutions, access to pastoral resources, and resources use patterns. The researcher carried out this project in the third bag (Uguumur district) of Bayankhutag soum (county), Khentii aimag (province) in eastern Mongolia and employed a range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies (including participant observation, surveying, semi-structured and unstructured interviewing, and case-study analysis) to investigate the research questions. The project found that general socio-economic inequality and commercialization in pastoral society, rather than solely absentee herd-ownership as hypothesized, has fostered divergent herd management practices and resource use strategies. Moreover, the research has found that these changes, in combination with neo-liberal governance reforms such as decentralization, have altered community dynamics and the effectiveness of community level institutions to regulate resource use. This research will contribute to: 1) new understandings of common property systems and theories of 'community;' 2) expansion of anthropological investigations of property relations under post-socialism to common-property systems; and 3) anthropological studies of pastoral inequality.