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.
Robbins, Jessica Choate, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Making and Unnmaking Polish Persons: Aging and Memory in Postsocialist Poland,' supervised by Dr. Gillian Feeley-Harnik
JESSICA C. ROBBINS, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding in October 2007 to aid research on 'Making and Unnmaking Polish Persons: Aging and Memory in Postsocialist Poland,' supervised by Dr. Gillian Feeley-Harnik. This research investigated how experiences and ideals of aging relate to changing formations of nation and state through the study of contemporary practices of memory in Wroc?aw and Pozna?, Poland. This research sought to understand how older persons become transformed through practices of memory in personal, familial, and national contexts (e.g., telling life histories, creating photo albums and other material evidence, or following public debates on pension reform). To understand how current interpretations and ramifications of the last century's large-scale changes matter in the lives of aging Poles, and how the oldest generations matter to the Polish nation and state, this research consisted of an ethnographic study of aging Poles' gendered practices of reminiscence in a variety of social, political, religious, and economic contexts (e.g.,a church-run rehabilitation hospital, a state-run home for the chronically ill, a day care center for people with Alzheimer's disease, and Universities of the Third Age). This research demonstrated that experiences and ideals of aging are deeply gendered, and that older people's practices of memory are intimately bound up with transformations of persons, collective memory, and nationalisms, and tied to national practices of remembering Poland's past and creating the proper future path of state and nation.
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.
Al-Dewachi, Omar, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'The Professionalization of Iraqi Doctors in Britain: Citizenship, Sovereignty, and Empire,' supervised by Dr. Steven C. Caton
OMAR ALDEWACHI, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded funding in June 2005 to aid research on 'The Professionalization of Iraqi Doctors in Britain: Citizenship, Sovereignty, and Empire,' supervised by Dr. Steven C. Caton. This thesis was an historical and ethnographic investigation of the professionalization of Iraqi doctors in Britain. Through this multi-disciplinary approach, it explored the journey and mobility of the Iraqi medical doctor through the historical, political and institutional terrains of the medical profession. The historical component of the thesis explored the role of British doctors and British medicine under the British mandate (1919-1932) in the formation of the medical profession and education in Iraq. It revealed how British medicine became an extension of the Iraqi medical institutions and continued to shape the Iraqi medical profession during post-colonial nation building in Iraq. The ethnographic component examined the diasporic population of Iraqi doctors who currently reside and work in Britain in the face of on-going war in Iraq as well as the re-shaping of the British National Health Services (NHS). In examining the historical and ethnographic facets of the relationship between Iraqi doctors and Britain, the thesis aimed at demonstrating the larger transnational landscape of the medical profession and its embeddedness in empire building and the imagination of the modern Iraqi nation-state.
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.
Borodina, Svetlana, Rice U., Houston, TX - To aid research on 'Governing Productive (Dis)Abilities: The Inkluzivnyi Work Regime and Moral Citizenship in Russia,' supervised by Dr. James D. Faubion
Preliminary abstract: The focus of this research is the ongoing attempts by Russian policy makers and corporate managers to institute an inkluzivnyi (inclusive, singular) work regime. In contrast to the previous policies of disability marginalization and isolation (McCagg and Siegelbaum 1989; Phillips 2010), this initiative has been construed as a way of building an integrative, more just and moral society. The inkluzivnyi work regime recruits disabled and nondisabled employees to labor together in shared environments. A growing number of entrepreneurially-minded people with disabilities and disability NGOs have expressed support for this initiative. Yet it remains unclear if this work regime indeed produces better rehabilitated disabled subjects and more moral citizens, in general. Through participant observation and interviews in the regional Ministry of Social Policy and disability inclusive firms, I will investigate what this regime is actually productive of. Particularly, I will examine (1) what kinds of persons inkluzivnyie (inclusive, plural) workplaces invite and exclude, (2) how this initiative changes and challenges work cultures, and finally, (3) what possibilities and shortcomings it offers to the governors. In order to generate an ethnographic understanding of how the crafting and implementation of this initiative affects disabled and nondisabled subjects, I will conduct twelve months of fieldwork in Yekaterinburg, Russia, a regional administration center with a vibrant disability scene. In bringing this context into dialogue with anthropological scholarship on governance, disability, care, ethics, and work, I will ultimately generate insights about how a neoliberalizing state governs the productive (dis)ability as a technique to produce moral citizens.
Tishkov, Dr. Valery A., Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia - To aid research on 'Anthropology of Complaint: Changing Life Perceptions, Identities and Outside World Images in Transforming Russia'
DR. VALERY TISHKOV, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia, was awarded a grant in January 2001, to aid research on 'Anthropology of Complaint:Changing Life Perceptions, Identities and Outside World Images in Transforming Russia.' This research is a basic revision of the crisis paradigm in Russia based on a study of complaints, fears, and concerns demonstrated through surveys and participant observations by different strata, regional and cultural groups of the country. Research disclosed disparities between 'real life' improvements for the majority of Russian people and its negative perceptions dominant in public and academic discourses. The reasons for disparities and miscalculations lie in inadequate expert analysis of a rapidly changing society, in political instrumentalism, in mental inertia of producers alld consumers of elitist prescriptions. Several basic conclusions are meaningful for anthropological analysis of social change. The society overloaded with changes can perceive in negative terms even changes to the good. The growing complexity and uncertainties represent a challenge that is difficult to meet for post-Soviet populace accustomed to one-dimtnsional thinking, state protection, and a strictly controlled social life. At the same time, highly educated populace in Russia demonstrated innovative strategies and reached unprecedented level of consumption, often through extra-legal entrepreneurial activities. Complaint became a part of collective and individual strategjes to get more sympathy and material rewards. But the structureof complaints shows that Russia is a normal country where people are more concerned with basic needs in socia! conditions and individual success then in collective aspirations, such as a country status or ethnic group sovereignty. People in Russia are muddling through transformations as people do in other societies. This research helps to overcome a real crisis of understanding on how societies change and how people perceive and use these changes.
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.
Deleporte, Sarah F., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'The Musee du quai Branly: Anthropology, Art and the Cultural Politics of Alterity in France,' supervised by Dr. Michael D. Dietler
SARAH F. DELEPORTE, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received a grant in November 2003 to aid research on 'The Musee du quai Branly: Anthropology, Art, and the Cultural Politics of Alterity in France,' supervised by Dr. Michael D. Dietler. The dissertation research supported by this grant consisted of an ethnographic study of the creation of the Musee du quai Branly, France's newest national museum devoted to extra-European arts and civilizations, opening in Paris in 2006. Designed as both a museum of fine arts and of human sciences, the museum is officially slated to foster admiration, respect, and curiosity for cultural diversity in French society. Since the 18th century, the French state has consistently invested in museums as part of a matrix of citizen-forming tools (including public schools, universities, and ministerial training schools) meant to educate and cohere the nation's diverse populations. In the 21st century, the creation of the Quai Branly Museum has created a domino effect in French cultural policy, most notably spurring mandates to create two additional national museums, the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations in Marseilles and the National Center for the History of Immigration in Paris. In the midst of extensive administrative reform and structural change, the French national museums are confronting their institutional legacy and providing new possibilities for the practice of anthropology in museums as well as for an anthropological understanding of the role museums play in the nation-building efforts of contemporary, multicultural societies.