Merlan, Dr. Francesca C., Australian National U., Canberra, Australia - To aid research on 'Community and Society in Southern Germany'
DR. FRANCESCA C. MERLAN, of the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, received a grant in August 2001 to aid research on community and society in southern Germany. As part of a larger, continuing project, Merlan conducted field research and analysis on (1) Einheimischenmodelle, or Gemeinde-level legislative schemes that restrict and direct the development and sale of land to people able to claim 'indigenous' (einheimisch) status; (2) tensions and contestation over the inheritance of farming properties, given changes in land use and the exiting of some families from dairying in the region; and (3) Dorferneuerung, or 'village renewal' programs, as implemented with the intention of preserving village integrity and community life. In her overall project, Merlan was concerned with vernacular and (other) regulatory concepts of land, land use, work, and occupation in this part of southern Germany and with (generally conservative as well as 'illiberal' or communitarian) development practices. Her research was intended to inform a book placing the south German case in a broader, comparative framework, showing it to be one instance of the growth of 'indigenist' claims to land and belonging in a global context, a context in which land occupies a changing place among the productive factors in contemporary political economies of the developed world.
Diaz de Rada, Dr. Angel, U. Nacional de Educacion a Distancia, Madrid, Spain - To aid research on 'The Construction of Belonging: Expressive Practices and Identity Appropriations among 'Saami' and 'Norwegians' in Kautokeino'
DR. ANGEL DIAZ DE RADA, of the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia in Madrid, Spain, received funding in May 2002 to aid research on expressive practices and identity appropriations among 'Saami' and 'Norwegians' in Kautokeino, Norway. Diaz de Rada's main contention was that construction of the multiple meanings of belonging in Guovdageaidnu-a small but central place in the Saami-Norwegian world-might be best understood as a fight for continuity. He proposed redefining belonging as continuity transferred to the spatial realm of a territory or to the social realm of a collectivity. Belonging is, in this context, a manageable category for the institutional rhetorics and processing of links and for ethnopolitical representation, because working for a place and working for a people are valued instrumental objectives (in contrast to working for the past or working for time continuities). Nevertheless, Diaz de Rada found a clear contrast between discourses and practices of identification in the sphere of the personal and presentative subjects, on one hand, and those in the sphere of the institutional and representative subjects, on the other. In the first case, identification was clearly stated as a set of time-binding operations; in the second, it was stated as a set of territorial, spatial, and demographic images. Place, territory, and people operated as concrete signifiers of time continuities, as tangible units for institutional mobilization and bureaucratic management. The ethnopolitical process itself arose as a special (and partial) dimension of the tension between fragmentation and continuity in this contemporary piece of society. This tension was not, as in the classic gesellschaft-gemeinschaft dichotomy, a matter of opposite modes of social linkage but a tensional processing of every social link.
Díaz de Rada, Ángel. 2004. El Sujeto en la Corriente. Reflexiones Sobre el Sujeto Social en Condiciones de Globalización. In El Nuevo Orden de Caos: Consecuencias Socioculturales de la 75 Globalización. Luis Díaz G. Viana, ed. Consejo Superior de investigaciones Científicas: Madrid.
Diaz de Rada, Angel. 2007. School Bureaucracy, Ethnography and Culture: Conceptual Obstacles to Doing Ethnography in Schools. Social Anthropology 15(2): 205-222
Diaz de Rada, Angel. 2007. Valer y Valor. Una Exhumacion de la Teoría del Valor para Reflexionar sobre la Desigualdad y Diferencia en Relación con la Escuela. Revista de Anthropología Social (16): 117-158
Petruccio, Claudia L., U. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA - To aid research on 'Amniocentesis, Cultural Mediation, and the Construction of Difference in Italy,' supervised by Dr. Joseph S. Alter
CLAUDIA L. PETRUCCIO, then a student at University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was awarded a grant in January 2005 to aid research on 'Amniocentesis, Cultural Mediation, and the Construction of Difference in Italy,' supervised by Dr. Joseph S. Alter. This project examined a program in which native speakers of thirty languages facilitate the delivery of culturally competent healthcare to recent immigrants in Florence, Italy. Research was designed to reveal the ways in which culture is defined, represented, and enacted throughout the various administrative and clinical registers of the program, and was focused primarily on a prenatal clinic for Chinese immigrants housed in a center for the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The researcher attended trainings for cultural mediators, participated in the daily life of prenatal clinics where Arab, Romanian, and Chinese mediators assisted patients, and shadowed a Chinese mediator as she conducted rounds in the prenatal and maternity wards of a large suburban hospital. Interviews were conducted with administrators, doctors, midwives, mediators, and patients to elicit opinions about the meanings of culture and how it relates to the needs of expectant and new immigrant mothers. Particular attention was paid to points of disjuncture in clinical practice, where ideal theories or romanticized versions of culture came into conflict with the legal, material and structural reality of immigrant patients. The women who frequented the clinics described their needs primarily in legal, structural, and economic terms: long working hours and poor conditions, greater need for translation services, and difficulty navigating the bureaucracy of medical and government offices. All of these needs were addressed in daily interactions in the clinic, yet the clinic staff expressed a frustrating incongruity between an idealized Chinese culture, associated with healthful living and a balanced lifestyle, and the often unhealthy circumstances of their immigrant patients.
Giusto, Salvatore, U. of Toronto, Toronto, Canada - To aid research on 'Neomelodic Notes: Commodified Aesthetics and Illicit Political Economy in Naples, Italy,' supervised by Dr. Andrea Muehlebach
Preliminary abstract:'The term 'neomelodic singing' defines a pop-music genre dominating the musical scene of Naples, Italy, since the 1990s. Neomelodic songs hinge on narratives seeking to depict the experiences of Neapolitan lower class subjects, with a remarkable preference for those engaging with organized crime. In spite of the structural poverty illustrating the life conditions of the Neapolitan underclass, the neomelodic musical industry brings in millions of euros per year in that city. Most of this money eventually flows into the pockets of local crime. This invests impressive amounts of capital into the neomelodic industry, and thus influences this musical genre's aesthetic forms, economic value, and socio-cultural meaning. In so doing, it transforms the illicit cultural landscapes that neomelodic music iconizes into licit performance,socially shared aesthetics, and collective identity. My research focuses on the coalescence between neomelodic aesthetics,Neapolitan political economy, and the local cultural sphere to offer insight into the articulation of licit and illicit political economies in neoliberal Italy. It does so by exploring the commodified aesthetics leading to the entrenchment of organized crime in Naples.'
Rogers, Juliette R., Brown U., Providence, RI - To aid research on 'The Politics and Power of Food: Norman Cheese, French Identity, and the Creation of 'Europeans',' supervised by Dr. David I. Kertzer
JULIETTE R. ROGERS, then a student at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, received funding in May 2004 to aid research on 'The Politics and Power of Food: Norman Cheese, French Identity, and the Creation of 'Europeans',' supervised by Dr. David I. Kertzer. Research was conducted between September 2004 and August 2005, based in Normandy, France. The objectives were to understand the functioning of political influence of a nationally recognized regional industry in the evolving European context, and to assess the extent to which European Union policy bore on the regional, national, or European self-identification of actors in that industry. Fieldwork consisted of participant observation and interviews with people active in the cheese industry of the region (which produces name-controlled AOC Livarot, Camembert de Normandie, and Pont-l'Eveque cheeses) including dairy farmers, cheesemakers, agricultural consultants, government inspectors and functionaries, elected officials, agricultural and cheese unions, and personally invested private citizens. Extending the enquiry to ascertain French and European levels of influence, officials and dairy industry employees in Paris and Brussels contributed new perspectives on motives for policy and regulatory change and how they are translated from one level to the next. Unsurprisingly, the concerns, stakes, goals, and restraints changed at each step of policy (and cheese) production, revealing the complexity of agricultural, health, and cultural policy as it passes from the local to regional, national, European, and international scales. Important issues to emerge from fieldwork include the politics and economics of name-controlled foods at all levels, internal French conflicts between widely cited cultural habits and 'mentalities' and their decline in actual practice, access to political and regulatory information and how that relates to the exercise of power, and the tension between cultural ideals and commercial realities.
Ketchum, Frederick Benjamin, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Redesigning Human Nature: An Anthropology of Enhancement Drugs in Germany,' supervised by Dr. Judith Farquar
Preliminary abstract: This research ethnographically examines the phenomena of 'enhancement' in Germany, or the use of medications to improve performance by individuals who are not sick. These medications give individuals the power to redesign themselves and their capacities, raising important ethical questions about whether using enhancements is unnatural, if this use threatens individuals' identity, if everyone should have access to these medications, and what the consequences for broader society are. I argue that enhancements need to be understood as technologies of everyday life that enable multiple ideals and desires to be realized, and are linked to hopes about human perfectibility and anxieties about the proper relationship between nature, humans, and technology. Drawing on anthropological scholarship on medicine, pharmaceuticals, biopolitics, and ethics, I will ethnographically explore the practices and motivations for using these drugs, and describe the ideals of perfection and achievement that power them. Enhancements are intimately linked to medicine and medical advances, as well as discourses of health and illness that are used to distinguish legitimate from illegitimate uses of drugs. Because much of what has been written about enhancements is oriented towards a future in which enhancement use is widespread, this work will also place enhancement technologies in the larger context of utopic (or dystopic) visions of a re-engineered humanity, in an attempt to discern what enhancements might mean for broader social and political life.
Van Deusen Phillips, Sarah B., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Cultural Bodies: Language, Enactment and Performance of Value in Linguistically Isolated Deaf Children,' supervised by Dr. Susan Goldin-Meadow
SARAH B. VAN DEUSEN PHILLIPS, while a student at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, received a grant in December 2001 to aid research on language, enactment, and performance of value in linguistically isolated deaf children, under the supervision of Dr. Susan Goldin-Meadow. It is widely accepted that engagement in narrative activities plays a key role in the socialization and maintenance of beliefs, values, and morality from one generation to the next. Therefore, telling stories is an important means by which children enter local meaning systems and encounter local versions of personhood. But an unspoken assumption in language socialization research is that children must share a language with their community in order to engage in and benefit from the socializing influence of narrative. Phillips's research represented one side of a comparative study focusing on populations of orally educated deaf children of hearing parents in the United States and Spain. Five Spanish deaf children, ages two to four years, and their families were the focus of ten months of interaction and observation using both ethnographic and experimental research methods. Phillips explore the ways in which these children learned to construct their contributions to local narrative discourse despite sharing no language in common with the hearing members of their communities. These profoundly deaf children had not been exposed to conventional sign language and instead communicated with the hearing members of their families using home sign, an idiosyncratic system of regularly ordered spontaneous gestures.