Lofink, Hayley Elizabeth, U. of Oxford, Oxford, UK - To aid research on 'Underweight, Overweight, and Obesity in British Bangladeshi Adolescents, in East London,' supervised by Dr. Stanley J. Ulijaszek
HAYLEY ELIZABETH LOFINK, then a student at University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, was awarded funding in October 2006 to aid research on 'Underweight, Overweight, and Obesity in British Bangladeshi Adolescents in East London,' supervised by Dr. Stanley J. Ulijaszek. Research on the health behavior of low-income, ethnic minorities has assumed that the poor are uneducated, and that if delivered the necessary knowledge, behavior will change. If poor nutrition and low levels of activity are attributed solely to individual-level decision making, it is unlikely that broader social and structural influences will be acknowledged. This research employed a biocultural framework to examine socio-cultural and political-economic factors influencing dietary and activity patterns and resulting underweight, overweight and obesity among British Bangladeshi adolescents (aged 11-14 years old) from low-income families in East London. Quantitative (anthropometry and survey data) and qualitative (semi-structured interviews and participant observation) methods were integrated to develop a nuanced understanding of adolescent weight, dietary and activity patterns, and the local level and larger scale processes influencing those patterns. Quantitative analysis will include multinomial logistic regression and other techniques to test the relative importance of a range of factors affecting weight status. Narrative analysis will be used to explain statistical results in order to move beyond a mere documentation of a relationship between poverty and obesity, and offer explanations of how local and broader level factors influence health inequalities in this context.
Cherkaev, Xenia Andrej, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'I Don't Know Why, but that One Wants Me: The Saturation of Use and the Agency of Things in Russia,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth A. Povinelli
XENIA A. CHERKAEV, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received a grant in May 2010 to aid research on 'I Don't Know Why, but that One Wants Me: The Saturation of Use and the Agency of Things in Russia,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth A. Povinelli. In 2011, Putin warned that the American-funded political opposition would falsify the election results' falsification, and might kill someone off, to blame the government. Attempting to write a history of this present, where universal corruption accusations blend easily into conspiracy theory, this project examines changing regimes of circulation, and the correlating changes in regimes of truth. It begins in late-Soviet Leningrad, asking how people made and obtained everyday things by using their positions in the centralized distribution system, their access to surplus material hoarded by enterprises, and the reified norms of State institutions - and how State Secrecy, permeating everyday life as another monolithic norm, guaranteed a truth, just out of reach: 'It irritated! There were certain things some idiot didn't want me to know!' It then asks how regimes of both truth and circulation changed with the post-Soviet transition, in which the sudden disclosure of previously unavailable materials correlated with widespread political discussion, extrasensory and religious activity, sharp commodity deficit, and new economic policies, which allowed people to make cash on State surplus and informal deals that 'took the country apart by the screws … swiped everything from precious metals to Arab horses... fantastic times!'
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.
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.
Pettit, Matthew David, U. of Toronto, Toronto, Canada - To aid research on 'The Free Life: Healing the Alcoholic Self in Paris,' supervised by Dr. Michael Lambek
Preliminary abstract: A research project investigating Vie Libre, a mutual-aid association for alcoholics in Paris, France. Over 10 months, I will use participant observation to examine how the group's understanding of healing ('guérison') and the healed alcoholic ('buveur guéri') is changing through their increasing subjection to new social and material conditions. These include various forms of precariousness and isolation, the perceived decline of the public ethos of solidarity, as well as new patterns of alcohol consumption (e.g. binge drinking among the young, co-morbid dependencies). My focus is on concrete instances of self-definition and relation, particularly in their weekly 'talking groups,' but including outreach efforts at hospitals and schools and their participation in public events. This perspective will include the ways in which medical and psychological treatments and strategies enter into my informants' lives as core tools in their self-making. The research centres on the two Parisian chapters of the group, and combines person-centred approaches, namely, long-form interviews and participant-observation of the daily lives and organizational initiatives of the group members, with an analysis of broader social phenomena. These include the history and shifting role of 'associations' in French civic society, increasing material precariousness due to short-term contracts and unemployment, and the rhetorics that shape, sustain and limit demands on the state and its citizens.
Grill, Jan, U. of St. Andrews, Fife, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'On the Margins of the States: Contesting Roma Identifications and Belonging in the Slovak Borderlands,' supervised by Dr. Paloma Gay y Blasco
JAN GRILL, while a student at the University of St Andrews, Fife, United Kingdom, received a funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'On the Margins of the States: Contesting Roma Identifications and Belonging in the Slovak Borderlands,' supervised by Dr. Paloma Gay y Blasco. This project examined the making of Roma situated subjectivities at the margins of two states through ethnographic study of one village in eastern Slovakian borderlands and Roma labor migrants' networks in the industrial cities of Great Britain. By exploring Roma groups who find themselves largely excluded from the formal labor market and marginalized by the dominant societies, the research shows their migration mobility as a strategy enabling them to circumvent variously constraining social and symbolic orders, and to contest hegemonic racial and social categories historically placing them at the bottom of power hierarchies in the world defined by the dominant others. The research investigated how and to what extent various Roma actors and groupings embrace or resist the dominant public mis-representations of Gypsies and discourses of work ethic and morality interwoven within the imageries of 'proper' citizenship and sociality. The findings indicate how migrants reinvent the self's position through carving out a social space of their own by skilful maneuvering in between the two states' structures. The project ethnographically documents social conditions of migration and highlights the centrality of historically accumulated forms of capitals entrenched within the system of asymmetrical social differentiation both between the Roma and non-Roma, but also among the Roma themselves.
Roy, Arpita, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Particle Physics and the Anthropology of Right and Left,' supervised by Dr. Paul Rabinow
ARPITA ROY, then a student at University of California, Berkeley, California, received funding in November 2007 to aid research on 'Particle Physics and the Anthropology of Right and Left,' supervised by Dr. Paul Rabinow. In November 2009, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, Switzerland, is slated to start high-energy proton collisions as a probe into the structure of matter and forces of nature. The research project inquires into modern cosmology through a specific and concrete concept -- chirality or handedness -- with the underlying question, 'What does physics admit of orientation?' If physics presupposes a separation of mind and matter, or subject and object, then how can it base a physical universe with a preferred orientation? If it does not, then what is the relevance of handedness in its discourse? As an object of study in symbolic classification, handedness has a rich genealogy in anthropological thought. The project draws upon and integrates classical anthropological themes with ongoing fieldwork experience at CERN to establish how the concept acquires its present rationality in the framework of relativistic quantum mechanics and symmetries of space-time. Not only are particular concepts (of physics) like momentum, velocity or spin implicated in the study of chirality, but also other abstract ones of space, substance, relation, and form. It is to this discussion that the research makes a contribution. The research is timely both for what it says about the substantive nature of physics and about collaborative practices more generally.
Howard, Maureen Penelope, U. of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK - To aid research on 'Seascapes: Voyaging Through the Movements of Experience, Histories, and Ecology,' supervised by Dr. Arnar Arnason
MAUREEN MCCALL, then a student at University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom, received funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Seascapes: Voyaging through the Movements of Experience, Histories, and Ecology,' supervised by Dr. Arnar Amason. The research project set out to address the question of whether existing theories of landscape could be applied to the sea, and what contributions an understanding of seascape could bring to anthropological landscape research. Fieldwork took place while living on a boat located in the northwest of Scotland between 2006 and 2008, and involved long-term participant observation on several boats as well as in five coastal communities. The research found that the seascape is a place of human habitation, filled with significant places and histories created through processes of work and social interactions at sea. The dissertation will emphasize how working processes bring people, places, and machines into intimate relation with one another -- relations that are always tensioned, have histories, and are constantly unfolding as new places and new techniques. The primary contribution of this research to existing landscape research will be to bring to the fore processes that may be active in all landscapes, specifically, the role of working interactions in forming significant places and experiences of place, the role of technologies in mediating interactions with sea/landscape, and the significant tensions that people must contend with in this process.
Sokol, Grzegorz Stanislaw, New School for Social Research, New York, NY - To aid research on 'The Medicalization of Affect in Post-Socialist Poland,' supervised by Dr. Anne L. Stoler
GRZEGORZ S. SOKOL, then a student at New School for Social Research, New York, New York, received funding in October 2008 to aid research on 'The Medicalization of Affect in Post-Socialist Poland,' supervised by Dr. Anne L. Stoler. This project is situated in the context of the increase in, and greater attention given to, mood disorders following the transformation from real socialism to market democracy in Poland. Broadening diagnostic definitions, raised awareness, as well as psychopharmaceuticals and forms of therapy unevenly available to people diagnosed with afflictions of affect are here situated in relationship to the larger process, in which new models of personhood are brought into social practice. This ethnographic research and archival study charts the different forms of medicalization of affect and follows 'depression' across different settings: from an in-patient psychiatric ward, to an outpatient clinic and psychotherapy center, to the meetings of a twelve-step program. The analytic focus is on how treatments of mood disorders are sites where one acquires a new understanding of one's self, relationships, body, history, and relation to society. Especially the psychotherapeutic and twelve-step conception of emotionality enables redefinitions of personhood and gender models. Further, learning a different way of being a person often centers on questions of agency that appear as problems of possibility vs. necessity, expectations, immaturity, demanding attitude, and helplessness. In the process, the individual is put in relation to the broader narrative of postsocialist transformation.