Franquesa, Dr. Jaume, U. of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY - To aid research and writing on 'Dignity and Power: Energy, Nature and the State in Rural Spain' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
Preliminary abstract: My book 'Dignity and Power: Energy, Nature, and the State in Rural Spain' aims to contribute to the anthropological comprehension of energy transitions through a historically informed, socially situated study of the development of renewable energy in Spain. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Southern Catalonia, the book analyzes the institutional arrangements, cultural mediations and social relations of production through which the energy from wind is harnessed. My research shows that energy transitions are complex, multilayered processes that open possibilities for new social arrangements, while also highlighting the ways that such new social arrangements rework inherited relationships of power. I analyze the contradictory tensions pervading this process, patent in the fact that wind energy development has created new ecological imbalances between producing and consuming regions, despite marking a clear step forward in environmental terms. The book explores local resistance to wind farm installation, and analyzes the cultural categories that frame these movements, placing special emphasis on the notion of dignity. Deeply rooted in historical peasant struggles, a range of local actors mobilizes the notion of dignity to express criticism against the increasing centralization of the country's energy model, thus providing crucial insights into the relationship between renewables and democratic decision-making.
Rakopoulos, Dr. Theodoros, U. of Bergen, Bergen, Norway - To aid research on 'The Vicissitudes of Solidarity: Anti-Middleman Food Cooperatives in Greece'
Preliminary abstract: This project is premised on three main research pillars: solidarity economy cooperatives and the crisis in Greece. It examines the ways some (mainly young unemployed) people organize the distribution of agricultural products in their communities directly from producers, without the mediation of market middlemen, and gaining no profit. These actors argue that their organization contests the recession that the debt crisis brought about. They aspire that their cooperatives might contribute to change for their livelihoods and their communities, but also express critiques to austerity politics. Addressing the socially arranged, novel ways people respond to austerity, my project will analyze a key feature of ideological contestation in contemporary Greece: solidarity. The term has taken many vicissitudes and its use is proliferated in the country since the crisis. The project, focusing on the development of informal networks of anti-middleman cooperatives that arrange for the distribution of foodstuff directly from agrarian producers, will show that the springing of such initiatives and the formulation of a 'solidarity economy' is a correlative of the current crisis. The project aims to show the broader ideas and allegiances that anti-middleman cooperatives' participants are entangled with and understand their activity in. It will show that organizing such movements does not simply address the immediate livelihoods hardship for contemporary Greeks, but is in fact enmeshed in a wider project of political radicalization, that tackles austerity policies (rather than 'recession'). In terms of conceptualizing solidarity, the project hypothesizes, a correlation between solidarity economy and cooperatives, in that participants aim for the resilience of their project, striving for the reproduction of themselves and their activities through the officialization of their informal networks in cooperatives.
Harmansah, Rabia, U. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA - To aid research on 'Social Forgetting in Post-Conflict Landscapes in Cyprus,' supervised by Dr. Robert M. Hayden
RABIA HARMANSAH, then a student at University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, received a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Social Forgetting in Post-Conflict Landscapes in Cyprus,' supervised by Dr. Robert Hayden. The research investigated the practice of social forgetting by relating it to the selective construction of history and to the human interactions with the commemorative and religious landscape. Social forgetting was taken as practices of disremembering, misremembering, omitting, distorting, or silencing past events/experiences and their traces, in order to shape the collective memory. The research, conducted in Republic of Cyprus and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in 2011-12, entailed multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork, semi-structured and unstructured interviews with Greek/Turkish Cypriots and immigrant Turks, participant observation, archival research, and examination of patterns of transformations in built landscape. The research demonstrated that the local perceptions of the past have been shaped not simply by the official discourses, but by various complex cultural processes, personal experiences and active engagement of ordinary people with landscape in the process of memory and history. The research addressed theoretical and analytical issues of understanding social forgetting not only as a negation, neglect, failure of remembering, or unintended social amnesia, but as a positive process through which a certain kind of knowledge of the past is produced deliberately and actively by obscuring material evidence of what others wish to have remembered.
Scheffel, Dr. David Z., U. College of the Cariboo, Kamloops, B.C., Canada - To aid research on 'Patterns of Relations Between Rural Roma and Ethnic Slovaks'
DR. DAVID Z. SCHEFFEL, University College of the Cariboo, Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, received funding in December 2003 to aid research on 'Patterns of Relations Between Rural Roma and Ethnic Slovaks.' The research carried out as part of this grant sought to assess variation in the quality of relations between rural Roma and ethnic Slovaks in the Presov district of eastern Slovakia. Five ethnically mixed villages were visited between January and June 2004, and informants representing both groups were interviewed in order to obtain insight into emic methods employed in the determination of the quality of local relations. The methods themselves were found to be highly asymmetrical since they favor the (Slovak) majority community. Although Romani commentators are well aware and often critical of this asymmetry, they nevertheless accept the standards imposed on them and use them to evaluate their own standing as well as that of neighboring groups. The most important standards are those of cultural refinement and deviance. Roma who score well on these, that is, those who are 'cultured' and law-abiding, become known as 'good gypsies', and their communities may become quite well integrated into the local majority society. On the other hand, Roma who exhibit a marked deficit in both realms are branded as 'bad gypsies' and barred from other than fleeting intercourse with ethnic Slovaks. Since the examined settings differ little in terms of socioeconomic variables, it appears that the roots of the observed distinctions go back to the era of early socialism when higher-order integrationist efforts in the realms of housing and education were received and implemented with varying degrees of enthusiasm and cooperation by municipal authorities.
Scheffel, David Z.. 2005. Svinia in Black and White: Slovak Roma and their Neighbours. Broadview Ethnographies & Case Studies. Broadview Press: Toronto
Scheffel, David. 2008. Ethnic Micropolotics in Eastern Europe: A Case Study from Slovakia’s Gypsy Archipelago. Anthropology Today 24(4):23-25.
Kampriani, Eirini, U. College London, London, UK - To aid research on 'Embodied Biographies and the Cultural Management of Genetics in the Case of Female Cancer,' supervised by Dr. Roland Littlewood
EIRINI KAMPRIANI, then a student at University College London, London, England, was awarded a grant in November 2005 to aid research on 'Embodied Biographies and the Cultural Management of Genetics in the Case of Female Cancer,' supervised by Dr. Roland Littlewood. The research examined the cultural implications and social challenges of hereditary breast cancer among women, focusing on the ways in which preventive and genetic medicine are interpreted in the religious and social domains and how they impact on women's experiences and perceptions of the disease and inherited risk. The project was based on 16 months of fieldwork, situated mainly in a rural area around a Religious Prevention Center for female cancer. A shorter part of fieldwork research took place in the capital of the country to explore other manifestations of the subject-matter of this study and contextualize findings with broader developments. Participant observation and interviews with women with family history of breast cancer provided evidence to analyze the underlying tensions and concerns that shape individual and collective experiences and inform institutional articulations of biotechnology. Overall, findings of this research indicate how efforts to the management of female breast cancer implicate different trends of the modernization and secularization processes in Greek society. Although the demand for prevention and prediction of the disease creates new possibilities for redistribution of power in the medical, religious, social domains, it renders the female body a contested ground in the biopolitics of protection and suffering.
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest
July 24, 2008
Tesar, Catalina Constantina, National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania - To aid training in social-cultural anthropology at U. College London, United Kingdom, supervised by Prof. Michael Sinclair Stewart
Larchanche, Stephanie, Southern Methodist U., Dallas, TX - To aid research on 'The Cultural Politics of Immigrant Health: The Experience of West African Women in Paris, France,' supervised by Dr. Carolyn Sargent
STEPHANIE LARCHANCHE, then a student at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, received funding in October 2006 to aid research on 'The Cultural Politics of Immigrant health: The Experience of West African Women in Paris, France,' supervised by Dr. Carolyn Sargent. This research sought to critically evaluate the reciprocal interaction between France's immigration politics and the strategies employed by West African immigrant households in Paris, France, to negotiate state institutions, in particular, the social welfare and public health systems. The researcher studied grassroots social and healthcare services, as well as three 'specialized' mental healthcare centers that cater specifically to West African immigrants. Research findings establish that the incapacity of the French public health system and/or of social services to take care of immigrants -- thereby resulting in referrals to 'specialized' mental healthcare institutions -- generally stems from institutional resistance in accommodating the multilayered needs that immigrants have, and which are often hastily reduced as resulting from mental disorder or cultural misunderstanding. In the mental healthcare context, immigrants themselves question the limits of the public health system and of social services, precisely because their demands are rarely exclusively related to a mental disorder, but intricately linked to negotiations between immigrants and the referring institutions themselves, for additional social benefits such as State welfare and housing. This project thus questions the French institutional reframing of immigrants' socio-economic vulnerability as psychological and cultural in origin.
Buier, Natalia Cornelia, Central European U., Budapest, Hungary - To aid research on 'Past Remembered, Present Opposed: Historical Memory and Labor Contention in the Spanish Railway Sector,' supervised by Dr. Don Kalb
NATALIA C. BUIER, then a student at Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, received a grant in April 2013 to aid research on 'Past Remembered, Present Opposed: Historical Memory and Labor Contention in the Spanish Railway Sector,' supervised by Dr. Don Kalb. The anthropology of memory has made essential contributions to the study of the plural experiences of the past and their cultural articulation. It has, however, encountered a limit in its focus on representation and discursive formations. This project contributes to the emerging field of anthropology of labor and memory through an investigation of the way in which historical representation enables and conditions collective organization in the railway sector and is a structuring force in debates over the public utility model. Using the strategic lens of the post-Francoist history of labor mobilization in the largest public company of Spain, the project argues that alternative development models are shaped by uneven access to instruments of historical representation. The ethnographic investigation follows three main topics: the making of narratives of progress and decline of the national railways; an account of the transformation of the field of organized labor and the role played by plural representations of the past in the process; and, finally, the relationship between historical memory, the moral economy of indebtedness and the unmaking of the labor force as a collective political subject.
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.
Mateescu, Oana M., U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Memory, Proof, and Persuasion: Re-Creating Communal Ownership in Postsocialist Romania,' supervised by Dr. Katherine Verdery
OANA M. MATEESCU, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, was awarded a grant in May 2005 to aid research on 'Memory, Proof, and Persuasion: Re-Creating Communal Ownership in Postsocialist Romania,' supervised by Dr. Katherine Verdery. Through archival research, interviews, and participant observation, this project studied four key historical events for the repertoire of knowledge practices they provide to current villagers of Vrancea region (Romania) involved in the reconstitution of communal ownership over forests. These are the successful reclaiming of forests in an 1816 lawsuit, the 1910 organization of forests according to the Forestry Code, the emergence of anthropology as a discipline in Romania through the study of Vrancea's communal ownership in the late 1920's and the failed uprising of hundreds of villagers upon the nationalization of forests in 1950. These events shape disputes over the present meaning of communal ownership and they inform the particular forms of claim making (lawsuits, complaints, humble appeals, the accumulation of evidence, and insurgency) villagers have at their disposal. Last, but not least, they serve as unique confirmations of the possibility for critique and effective intervention. Since 1816, proof-oriented actions such as the quest for documents, their secret keeping, forgery, loss, sale or destruction become inseparable from what it means to own the forests in Vrancea. The complex histories of such evidentiary objects as they shape ownership conflicts throughout the 20th century and come to haunt the current desires and strategies of villagers are central to this inquiry into the problematic of ownership, time, evidence and credibility.