Kim, Christine Soo-Young, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Prescience Studies: Economic Forecasting and the Making of a Future in Greece,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth Povinelli
CHRISTINE SOO-YOUNG KIM, then a graduate student at Columbia University, New York, New York, was awarded funding in April 2013 to aid research on 'Prescience Studies: Economic Forecasting and the Making of a Future in Greece,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth Povinelli. This project asks how the future is constituted as an object of knowledge in the present, and it attempts to answer this question by examining one of the primary factors bringing this object into being in Greece today-namely, discourses and practices concerning the economy. The research consists of ethnographic and documentary methods focusing on the production, circulation, and use of economic knowledge as well as the routinization of modes of thought and activity regarding the economy in everyday life. Through a study of economic forecasting, social insurance, and investment practices in particular, the project considers how efforts to act upon the future enable ideas about what the economy is and how it works to take shape and become familiar. The research ultimately seeks to give an account of how discourses and practices concerning the economy gain hold as authoritative modes of thinking about and acting upon the future and, moreover, how the future operates as a crucial site for establishing and contesting claims to knowledge, legitimacy, and belonging in contemporary Greece.
Blim, Dr. Michael L., City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'After Industrial Development: Intergenerational Social Mobility in a Central Italian Town'
DR. MICHAEL L. BLIM, City University of New York, Graduate Center, New York, New York, received an award in July 2003 to aid research on 'After Industrial Development: Intergenerational Social Mobility in a Central Italian Town.' The field-based re-study of economic and social mobility in the Marche region of Italy, Monte San Giusto, completed in August 2003, discovered that the adults of twenty-five shoe entrepreneurial and worker households first interviewed in 1981-1982 (also with a Wenner-Gren grant) have solidified their economic successes and achieved substantial social status mobility. The outcomes for their children, now adults ranging in age from 22 to 40, are more mixed. They have had a great deal of difficulty gaining a foothold in labor markets for professions and service employment, despite significantly better educational preparation than their parents, many of whom had no more than fifth-grade educations. Members of the new generation with minimum educational preparation have trouble finding work in the shoe industry, the 'mono-crop' of the area, and many avoid employment in the industry on the belief that it will not last much longer. Finding blocked opportunities in a shoe industry in semi-permanent economic crisis and in professional and service industries governed by rigid and clientalist employment practices, some of the new generation are taking up small-time entrepreneurship in food, drink, and tourism. Of those taking up manual occupations, skilled tradespeople are doing well, perhaps better than the rest. Instead of serving the shoe industry, machine tool and dye workers and prototype producers are forming small firms seeking business outside the area. The prospects for their 'escape' from the declining shoe industry are as of now uncertain.
Timura, Christopher T., U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Negotiating Expertise: The Globalizing Cultures of British and American Peace Negotiators,' supervised by Dr. Conrad P. Kottak
CHRISTOPHER T. TIMURA, while a student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding to aid research on the globalizing cultures of British and American peace negotiators, under the supervision of Dr. Conrad P. Kottak. Timura conducted eleven months of fieldwork with a representative sample of university and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) involved in the globalizing field of conflict resolution. He obtained more than 140 interviews with students, trainers, and practitioners, collected oral histories from key informants, and acted as a participant observer in seminars and training workshops. In addition, he used information about practitioners' professional networks and their referrals to arrange interviews with key individuals involved in the conflict management activities of the U.S. and British governments. The data showed that conflict management theories could be traced back to a small but diverse group of North American and European founding figures who used their institutional affiliations to promulgate their understanding of how violent conflict could be prevented, managed, and resolved. Despite considerable demographic diversity in the field today, a common set of concepts and value orientations enabled this transnational group to coalesce around a conflict resolution epistemology and practice. Conflict resolution specialists have used their roles in government, NGOs, and academe to advocate for changes in the ways governments manage and resolve violent conflict, while arguing for the existence of their own specific form of expertise. 'Local' cultural, socioeconomic, religious, and political factors have played varying roles in the globalization of this expertise beyond North America and Europe, offering opportunities for considering how anthropology might constructively analyze and otherwise engage with this and similar phenomena having significant effects on international governance.
Lowrie, Ian Patrick Macleod, Rice U., Houston, TX - To aid research on 'Building an Information Economy: Artificial Intelligence as Infrastructure in Russia,' supervised by Dr. Dominic Boyer
IAN P. LOWRIE, then a graduate student at Rice University, Houston, Texas, was awarded funding in April 2014 to aid research on 'Building an Information Economy: Artificial Intelligence as Infrastructure in Russia,' supervised by Dr. Dominic Boyer. This research focuses on the place of the data sciences within the contemporary Russian science system and knowledge economy. Elites are making a number of concrete interventions into the structure content of postsecondary education in the name of the data sciences. They are attempting to turn what they view as the raw potential of an excellent national program in theoretical mathematics, inherited from the Soviet science system, into the human capital necessary to build such a future. This means both shifting the focus from theoretical to applied tasks, and integrating exposure to the scheduling and production regimes typical of industrial computer science into every stage of university pedagogy. At the same time, programmers and applied mathematicians already working in the private sector are being asked to re-brand and re-skill themselves, as data science becomes an increasingly important tool in the arsenal of modern Russian consumer capitalism. By investigating the practical consequences of these restructurings for workers, educators, and students, this project promises a critical and timely look at the ongoing mutations of the global information economy, and of the unique interactions of state, market, and university in the post-Soviet context.
Dalyan, Can, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on ''Anxious About Their Treasures:' Biodiversity, Biopolitics, and the Secret History of Plants in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Hirokazu Miyazaki
CAN DALYAN, then a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, received funding in October 2012 to aid research on ''Anxious About Their Treasures:' Biodiversity, Biopolitics, and the Secret History of Plants in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Hirokazu Miyazaki. Set against the backdrop of Gezi Park Protests and a year of civil unrest, this project analyses the workings of agricultural biodiversity conservation in Turkey. Through an ethnography of the Turkish Seed Gene Bank, the institution in charge of managing and conserving the precious plant genetic material of Turkey, this project explores how decisions about plant life are taken at a time of great concern about national bio-wealth and of global environmental challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss. Doing so, it extends the framework of biopolitics and highlights the ways in which regulation of non-human life is constitutive to the governmentality of the state. The project also brings into view political sensibilities and historical anxieties that unfold in the science and practice of conservation, and traces them in the light of archival research back to distinctive historical periods in the late Ottoman Empire and early Turkish Republic. Spreading out through ethnographic accounts into the largest urban revolt in Turkish history, as well as to seed exchange festivals, hydroelectric power plant construction sites, and agro-communes around the country, the project presents a detailed picture of environmental governance in Turkey and its cultural and political underpinnings.
Yanagisako, Dr. Sylvia Junko, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Made in Translation: Italian Family Firms in China'
DR. SYLVIA YANAGISAKO, Stanford University, Stanford, California, was awarded a grant in April 2006 to aid research on 'Made in Translation: Italian Family Firms in China.' Ethnographic research on Italian family firms pursuing transnational business ventures in textile and clothing production in China shows that their transnational business projects are incited and shaped by kinship sentiments and commitments. Commitments to family firm continuity and intergenerational succession spur projects of transnational investment, expansion, and diversification and shape management strategies. At the same time, family members are reluctant to live in China. Thus, in contrast to the management of the firm in Italy, family members are not engaged in day-to-day decision-making in production and distribution in China. Instead they rely on hired managers who are not family members. This new generation of Italian transnational managers is developing local cultural knowledge that is becoming increasingly important as the portion of the firms' revenues derived from business activities in China and other Asian markets grows. Transnational expansion thus poses some crucial challenges to both the management structure and identity of Italian entrepreneurial families whose sense of distinction has derived from their location in the social landscape of Italy.
Murney, Maureen A., U. of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada - To aid 'Navigating Motherhood and Medicine: A Case Study of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in Ukraine,' supervised by Dr. Michael Lambek
MAUREEN MURNEY, while a student at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, received funding in September 2004 to aid research on the intersection of addiction, stigma, reproduction and healthcare in western Ukraine, while under the supervision of Dr. Michael Lambek. Specifically, Murney's research explores the relationship between discourses of normative behaviour, health-seeking practices within and outside official healthcare institutions, and the daily lived experiences of Ukrainian women who are addicted to alcohol, especially women of reproductive age. The project is based upon twelve months of ethnographic fieldwork in Ukraine with healthcare providers, development staff, social scientists, and women and men who self-identify as alcoholics; fieldwork began just prior to the Orange Revolution in 2004. Most of the research was conducted in large urban settings, though some attention was paid to the particular challenges faced by people living in rural villages. Fieldwork indicates that in western Ukraine, the traditional seat of Ukrainian nationalism and religion, the multiple discourses on values and social change emphasize references to the pagan goddess Berehynia and the Christian Virgin Mary, in order to characterize an explicitly anti-Soviet role for the 'authentic' Ukrainian woman as protector of family and nation. Accordingly, women who become addicted to alcohol are seen to have consciously rejected the essence of Ukrainian womanhood. As such, alcohol dependent women are far more reluctant than men to 'confess' and seek treatment, particularly in official healthcare institutions; alternative healing strategies are often considered to be more effective, modern, democratic, and/or confidential.
Petryna, Dr. Adriana, The New School U., New York, NY - To aid research and writing on 'Pharmaceutical Testing and Evidence Making: An Ethnography of the Globalized Clinical Trial' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship
DR. ADRIANA PETRYNA, The New School University, New York, New York, recieved a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in April 2006 to aid research and writing on 'Pharmaceutical Testing and Evidence Making: An Ethnography of the Globalized Clinical Trial.' Accelerated therapeutic innovation and massive pharmaceutical sales are driving an unprecedented worldwide search for human test subjects. When Experiments Travel:Clinical Trials and the Global Search for Human Subjects (Princeton University Press, in press) takes the reader deep into the clinical research enterprise. It enters the perspectives of multiple actors with divergent standpoints and stakes, illuminating the benefits and risks that accompany global clinical trials. Based on interviews with corporate scientists and executives, the book charts the evolution of the clinical research industry in the United States and probes the regulatory and logistical challenges faced by this outsourced venture. Concerned with scientific integrity and human safety, the book traces the offshoring of clinical trials and their aftermath in middle and low-income countries where it also engages the work of trial coordinators, academic scientists, and regulators. When Experiments Travel shows how private-sector research thrives on public institutions and is integrated as health care for the poor, how ethics is variable, and how the success of trials can be engineered and harms underestimated. As the world becomes a series of interlocking laboratories, data-producing sites, and drug markets, better systems of protection, accountability, and benefit-sharing are in order. The book holds vital lessons for social scientists, citizens, and policy makers concerned with the future of global medicine and the changing infrastructures of our lives.
Halawa, Mateusz Pawel, New School U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Inhabiting Postsocialism: The Rise of Mortgages in Poland,' supervised by Dr. Ann Laura Stoler
MATEUSZ P. HALAWA, then a student at New School University, New York, New York, received a grant in April 2012 to aid research on 'Inhabiting Postsocialism: The Rise of Mortgages in Poland,' supervised by Dr. Ann Stoler. How does the financial infrastructure of capitalism come to shape everyday life by opening possibilities for some and constraining them for others? What are the consequences of the increased reach of markets into family life? This project is an ethnographic study of one of the oldest capitalist instruments, the mortgage credit, as it spreads through post-socialist Poland. The research followed the varied capacities of the mortgage contract in creating new worlds that range from infrastructures of new suburban housing to intimacies of young family households attuned to markets in property and foreign currency; and from emerging individual identities of 'consumers,' 'investors,' or 'homeowners,' to a whole social structure of inequalities mediated by credit scores. Fieldwork was conducted in 2013 in Warsaw and included: interviews with mortgagors, bankers, economists, regulators and financial advisors; an exploration of emerging practices of personal finance and household budgeting; and an analysis of the public discourse around the new 'mortgage generation' and their predicament.