Luehrmann, Sonja, U.of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Secular Transformations and Interreligious Relations in Postsoviet Marli El, Russian Federation,' supervised by Dr. Alaina Lemon
SONJA LUEHRMANN, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, was awarded a grant in June 2005 to aid research on 'Secular Transformations and Interreligious Relations in Postsoviet Marli El, Russian Federation,' supervised by Dr. Alaina Lemon. Through ethnographic fieldwork in religious organizations in the Republic of Marii EI (an autonomous republic in the Volga region) and archival research with the records of Soviet organizations involved in atheist propaganda from the 1950s to the 1970s, this research aimed at answering the questions: What material and human resources from Soviet secular culture do postsoviet religious activists draw on, how do they transform these resources for religious purposes, and what impact does this have on public life in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious region? Findings showed that part of the Soviet legacy is a large part of the population trained in doing ideological work aiming at making people engage with doctrinal principles through pedagogical forms which are still in use in the service of religious organizations today. Soviet efforts to create a mosaic of secular ethnic cultures also contributed to the currently widespread idea that there should be a match between ethnic and religious affiliation, which is used as an organizing and legitimizing principle by different religious organizations and government institutions. Similarities between Soviet-era communist and post-Soviet religious propaganda are in part due to biographical and institutional continuities, in part to common responses to the problem of making doctrine a part of people's lives.
Casas-Cortes, Maria Isabel, U. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC - To aid research on 'Expertise from Below: The Cultural Politics of Knowledge, Globalization and the Activist Research Movement in Spain, supervised by Dr. Arturo Escobar
MARIA ISABEL CASAS-CORTES, then a student at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, received funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Expertise from Below: The Cultural Politics of Knowledge, Globalization and the Activist Research Movement in Spain,' supervised by Dr. Arturo Escobar. This dissertation deals with the production of systematic knowledge and expertise from below, by exploring the growing phenomenon of 'activist research,' a form of 'in-house' investigation conducted by social movements as a venue for political activism. As fieldwork has indicated, activist research is usually conducted by non-accredited experts, and aims to produce a kind of knowledge that is both rigorous and oriented towards social justice. The focus is on a prolific 'activist research' community based in Madrid, Spain. The group, Precarias a la Deriva, was identified as a promising dissertation topic due to their innovative work and broader influence. This women's collective is conducting an extensive research project on global processes of economic flexibilization, and their effects on women's everyday lives. Through feminist research expeditions in the metropolis of Madrid, this women's activist research community attempts to develop innovative political actions appropriate to current transformations. Through the exploration of such 'dissenting expertise', this ethnographic study brings different scholarly literatures together, such as the growing field of Anthropology of Social Movements, Anthropology of Knowledge, Globalization Studies as well as the long standing tradition of Action Research.
Nakhshina, Maria, Aberdeen U., Aberdeen, UK - To aid research on 'Making Sense of Home: Movement and Metaphor among Villagers and Townspeople in the Kola Peninsula,' supervised by Dr. Tim Ingold
MARIA NAKHSHINA, then a student at Aberdeen University, Aberdeen, Scotland, was awarded a grant in April 2006 to aid research on 'Making Sense of Home: Movement and Metaphor among Villagers and Townspeople in the Kola Peninsula,' supervised by Dr. Tim Ingold. In the year 2006-2007 fieldwork was carried out in the Kola Peninsula in northwestern Russia. Half the year was spent in the village of Kuzomen and half in three urban locations: Kandalaksha, Murmansk, and Umba. The idea was to observe people in both rural and urban environments, including permanent residents of the village, those who moved to the town and those who came to the village only in summer, and to trace how their perception of 'home' varied across different contexts. In order to understand the role of the senses and emotions in home attachment, attention was focused on metaphor, metonymy, and automatic movements. The research has shown that metaphor and metonymy both epitomize and elaborate on people's emotional and sensory experience of a home place. Applied in different contexts, the same trope connects people on a meta-level of emotions and sensations. It appears that automatic movements are the most direct register of a person's emotions, since the latter regulate the selection of actual movements. Routine sensual experiences generate correspondingly automatic responses. Sensory experiences accompany quotidian emotions and both play a prominent role in a person's identification with a home place.
Erickson, Dr. Bradley Robert, Independent Scholar, Oakland, CA - To aid research on 'Convivència and Local Citizenship: A New Path for Islam in Europe?'
Preliminary Abstract: The project explores how Muslim communities grapple with isolation as they experiment with European plural modernity and novel forms of citizenship. This research centers on the region of Catalonia, Spain, where half of Spain's Muslims reside, and specifically, on the city of Vilanova i la Geltrú. The people of Vilanova--both hosts and immigrants--deploy the term convivència (engaged coexistence), as a discourse orienting ideals and practices of virtuous community life. Convivència constitutes a space of tension and negotiation that serves as a secular model for managing difference which has been embraced by the city's Muslim community. Convivència forms a new front of popular autonomy that is unmistakably both modern and sectarian, thereby assimilating religion and civil society. The key question is: how does convivència--a discourse with autochthonous Iberian roots and internationalist Islamic supports--conform to or challenge conventional understandings of citizenship and liberal pluralism? At a time of escalating tensions about Islam in Europe, this research contributes to our understanding of new possibilities of plural coexistence at the crossroads of ethics and politics.
Prato, Dr. Giuliana Beatrice, U. of Kent, Canterbury, United Kingdom - To aid IUAES inter-congress on 'Urban Identity, Power, and Space: The Case of the Trans-European Corridors,' 2007, Tirana, Albania, in collaboration with Dr. Italo Pardo
'Urban Identity, Power, and Space; The Case of Trans-European Corridors'
August 21-27, 2007, University Our Lady of Good Counsel, Tirana, Albania
Organizers: Dr. Giuliana Beatrice Prato and Dr. Italo Pardo (University of Kent)
The IUAES Commission on Urban Anthropology's Silver Jubilee conference stimulated well-integrated analyses of key issues in contemporary Europe. It brought together high quality, ethnographically varied papers offered by a strong field of international specialists from anthropology and other disciplines, including sociology, geography, and political science. Junior scholars were actively encouraged to present their work and participate in the discussions. Conference participants discussed the processes that are occurring throughout Europe in relation to the construction of the Trans-European Corridors and their impact at local, national, and international levels. Contributions addressed such issues as urban change and expansion, internal migration, integration and citizens' rights, and the methodological challenges raised by carrying out research in this new geo-political situation. The conference was structured around three major sessions: 'Corridors of Power;' 'Anthropology, Research and Local Spaces;' and 'History and Memories,' as well as a session of poster presentations. The meeting as a whole was an expression of the contribution offered by interdisciplinary debate to a renewed theoretical and methodological approach. It highlighted the value of an in-depth anthropological understanding of the political systems, and culture, of the societies that we study.
Guell, Cornelia, U. of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Chronic Illness at the Margins: Turkish Immigrant Experiences of Type 2 Diabetes in Berlin,' supervised by Dr. Stefan Mathias Ecks
CORNELIA GUELL, then a student at the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, was awarded a grant in May 2007, to aid research on 'Chronic Illness at the Margins: Turkish Immigrant Experiences of Type 2 Diabetes in Berlin,' supervised by Dr. Stefan M. Ecks. This research explored Turkish migrants? experience with diabetes in Germany. Health statistics frequently identify minority groups as vulnerable to chronic illness, and ethnographic studies, accordingly, explore conflictual lay beliefs and medical encounters, and experiences of suffering and inequality. Interviews with healthcare professionals alluded to a Turkish migrant patient group disadvantaged and immobilized by high illiteracy rates, lacking language and health knowledge. Further ethnographic exploration, however, revealed an active engagement with diabetes within the Turkish migrant population of Berlin. Informal diabetes care, for example a Turkish-language self-help group, was individually and communally negotiated where formal care was inadequate. 'Diabetes among Turkish-origin Berliners' can therefore be understood as a form of political activism and economic enterprise that involves a whole community, not only patients and their healthcare professionals, in order to fill a provision gap. On an individual level, migrant diabetes patients who have access to such care support manage their self-care actively, for example negotiating between clinical German dietary recommendations and their Turkish home cooking. Rather than representing the common image of the inert, disadvantaged migrant patient, these Turkish migrants engage in deliberate 'tactics of diabetes control' in order to make their chronic illness experience habitable.
Guell, Cornelia. 2011. Candie(e)d Actions: Biosocialities of Turkish Berliners Living with Diabetes. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 25(3):377-394.
Guell, Cornelia. 2012. Self-Care at the Margins: Meals and Meters in Migrants' Diabetes Tactics. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 26(4):518-533.
Sabate, Dr. Irene, U. of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain - To aid research on 'The Spanish Home Repossessions Crisis as a Case for the Study of Debt and Credit'
Preliminary abstract: The object of this research proposal is the (over-)indebtedness of households derived from mortgage borrowing in Spain, focusing on the strategies used by households and ordinary people in order to cope with their difficulties to repay, and the relationship between the perception of their condition as debtors and their life projects. Credit and debt relations are examined in this context, paying special attention to the articulation of moral economies with hegemonic understandings of financial market dynamics. The current wave of repossessions is interpreted here as a breach of the obligation to repay on a societal scale, which provides it with the potential to contest the usual dynamics of debt and credit relations under 'conventional' capitalist circumstances. A vigourous, grassroots social movement, the Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH), that has emerged in the aim of representing debtor's interests, is playing a crucial role in trying to reverse commonly accepted moral judgements about lenders and borrowers, and about the practice of lending and borrowing, while contesting the penetration of household economies by finance capital.
Isenhour, Cynthia K. U., of Kentucky, Lexington, KY - To aid reseach on 'Exploring Sustainable Consumerism as a Response to Perceived Environmental Risk,' supervised by Dr. Lisa Cliggett
CYNTHIA K. ISENHOUR, then a student at University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Exploring Sustainable Consumerism as a Response to Perceived Environmental Risk,' supervised by Dr. Lisa Cliggett. While perceptions of ecological degradation have inspired a wide range of responses from citizens and states alike, this research focuses on individual attempts to reduce ecological risk via consumption practice. Over the past 30 years we've seen the proliferation of recycled, eco-labeled and organic goods in the market and a significant rise in voluntary simplicity groups, compacters, boycotts and buycotts. However, very little is known about 'sustainable consumers.' Drawing on in-depth ethnographic research with 72 individuals and 28 interviews with governmental, academic, and NGOs in Sweden, this paper focuses on the environmental philosophies, views of nature, and perceptions of risk that underlie alternative consumption discourse and behavior. The data reveal significant diversity. Environmental philosophies range from radical eco-socialism to ecological modernization while perceptions of risk range from feelings of acute and immediate personal risk to vague perceptions of future risk to others. There is also great variability in sustainable consumption behavior. While some buy eco-labeled products as often as possible, others are selling their cars, growing their own food and buying clothes second-hand. Despite this considerable diversity, however, the data suggest several interesting relationships between perception and sustainable consumer motivation and action in the Swedish context.
Isenhour, Cindy. 2010. Building Sustainable Societies: A Swedish Case Study on the Limits of Reflexive Modernization. American Ethnologist 37(3):511-525.
Sweetapple, Christopher Michael, U. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA - To aid research on 'Convergence and Cleavae: Queer Muslims at the Instersectin of Exclusion and Inclusion in Contemporary Europe,' supervised by Dr. Jacqueline Urla
Preliminary abstract: In Germany, as elsewhere in contemporary Europe, sexual politics and the politics of immigration have converged around the figure of the Muslim. Homophobia has been actively constructed as inherent to Islam and thus Muslims, and in the process homosexual citizens and Muslim immigrants have come to be understood as mutually oppositional categories of identity. My research troubles the discursive habit of segregating queer from Muslim through an investigation of subjects who dwell at the intersection of rising Islamophobic exclusion and queer recognition. I propose to conduct in-depth, multi-sited ethnographic research among queer Muslims in Berlin, Germany. Ethnographic immersion and data collection at a suite of sites, including an NGO, a prayer group, among cultural producers like writers and DJs, and in the material and online spaces where queer Muslims gather will allow me to witness how people at the fault lines of sociopolitical exclusion and inclusion negotiate, suffer, and respond to their predicament. My research questions are: 1) With what cultural and semiotic resources do queer Muslims produce and maintain identifications that are habitually deemed irreconcilable in public discourse? 2) To what degree and effect do their political interventions, everyday practices and discursive enunications borrow from, combine, and resignify idioms of racial, cultural and religious difference? 3) How does their identity-work, which spans multiple sites including political organizing, cultural production and/or informal sociality, disrupt, transform or reproduce the regnant cultural logic pitting queer citizen against Muslim-identified migrant?
Kim, Dong Ju, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on ''True Modern Scientific Agriculture': Interactive Knowledge of Soil Nutrients among Farmers and Scientists in Post-Socialist Poland,' supervised by Dr. Gillian Feeley-Harnik
DONG JU KIM, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, was awarded a grant in April 2008, to aid research on ''True Modern Scientific Agriculture:' Interactive Knowledge of Soil Nutrients among Farmers and Scientists in Post-Socialist Poland,' supervised by Dr. Gillian Feeley-Harnik. This project examined the impact of EU agricultural policy in Poland and its implications for ecologically sustainable management of state-owned and private farmlands. The grantee expected that the new policy and environmental standards, although designed to sustain small farmers and the environment, would be better observed and more effective in former state farms with state-owned lands. It was discovered that corporate farm managers often criticized the European Union because they believed direct subsidies enabled small farmers to survive, thus keeping Polish agriculture from developing towards modern European standards. Private farmers, on the other hand, contended that taking good care of the soil and practicing environmentally responsible agriculture could only happen with thorough care and knowledge of owned land. The barriers corporate farms faced in practicing sustainability were declining profitability and the fact that employees did not care as much about the soil and environmental consequences. In contrast, small farmers did care for the soil but learned changes slowly, and had to deal with lower profits and more uncertainty with limited crops. However, small farmers and corporate farm managers agreed that continued distribution of information about proper dosages of chemical fertilizer and herbicide is essential for profitable and sustainable cultivation.