Pine, Jason A., U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'La Sceneggiata: A Neapolitan Popular Song Genre, the Melodramatic Aesthetic and Its Moral/Political Economy,' supervised by Dr. Kathleen C. Stewart
JASON A. PINE, while a student at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, received funding in November 2002 to aid research on the moral and political economy of Naples, Italy, as seen through a popular song genre called the sceneggiata, under the supervision of Dr. Kathleen C. Stewart. The objective was to understand the role of emotion and aesthetics in a shadow economy dominated by organized crime. This melodramatic genre was found to be linked to organized crime in three ways: its lyrical content treated themes associated with organized crime, the circuit in which it was produced and performed was crosscut with organized criminal activities, and its primary consumers were crime families. The protagonists of the sceneggiata industry participated, to varying degrees, in organized crime, negotiating the moral valence of their choices according to context. Pine's goal was to understand the role emotions and aesthetics played in such negotiations. The guiding research questions were: In what practices did Neapolitans engage on the sceneggiata music scene and in other sectors of the shadow economy? What could individual life stories reveal about peoples' decisions to engage in the sceneggiata music industry and, by extension, in organized crime? How did singers and fans evaluate sceneggiata performances, and what made the melodramatic aesthetic significant for Neapolitans? Preliminary analysis revealed that in Naples, emotions and aesthetics dominated communication, social, musical, and economic practices because they enabled people to simultaneously respect and circumvent prohibitive expectations of secrecy in an environment of limited resources, volatile power balances, and fear of violence.
Roudakova, Natalia, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Property, Professionalism, Practice: 'Brownian Motion' in Post-Soviet Journalism,' supervised by Dr. Sylvia J. Yanagisako
NATALIA ROUDAKOVA, while a student at Stanford University in Stanford, California, was awarded funding in July 2001 to aid ethnographic research on media ownership and journalistic practice in post-Soviet Russia, under the supervision of Dr. Sylvia J. Yanagisako. Roudakova studied the transformation of Russian journalism during the country's highly contested shift toward capitalism. In particular, she explored whether and how new configurations of media ownership had created new editorial priorities and practices of news gathering, and whether and how these practices encouraged new professional identities among journalists. Data collected at three news outlets representing the major configurations of media ownership in postsocialist Russia demonstrated that journalists' identities varied significantly, depending on the routines of news gathering encouraged by the media outlet's property structure. Journalists for advertisement-driven publications saw themselves not as mediators in a democratic public forum but as business and consumer analysts servicing the needs of emerging financial, managerial, and other high-income groups. In news outlets sponsored by covert subsidies from political and financial elites, journalists focused on the accurate delivery of political messages to other members of the elite, developing castelike solidarity with their sponsors. Journalists for government-held newspapers viewed themselves as public mediators and educators for whom state subsidies enabled an absence of market pressures on their civic and intellectual expression. Focusing on the link between media ownership and journalists' subjectivities, Roudakova viewed property structures not as external constraints on journalists' intellectual production but as elements constitutive of the practice and understanding of modern journalism.
Jasarevic, Dr. Larisa, Independent Scholar, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Post-War Natures and Contemplative Apicultures: Beekeeping in Bosnia'
Preliminary abstract: This is a project proposal for an ethnographic investigation of local apicultures that are subtly repurposing former battle zones of Bosnia and Herzegovina and connecting with beekeepers across former Yugoslavia in vibrant communities of research and practice. In distinction to many context of industrial agriculture, local beekeeping is massively oriented towards production of honey and medicinal bee products and the beekeepers mostly avoid the use of synthetic pesticides and veterinary medicine. Furthermore, beekeepers across the region combine traditional knowledge, homebrewed inventions, and cosmopolitan apicultural science and share advice and independent research findings to effectively counter global epidemiological problems, from Varroa destructor mites to Colony Collapse Disorder. Finally, apiculture in Bosnia is further interesting to study given its popularity among imams, Sufis, and devout Muslims who approach bees with insights drawn from the Islamic traditional sources, from Islamic metaphysics, and from observations and contemplations of nature as recommended by Koran. I propose a study of local beekeeping that is attentive to the interdependencies within the apiaries and their vital outwardly connections. My project asks how the local apiculture threads together commitments to technological currency with reverence for and contemplation of the bees? What are the wider achievements of trans-regional beekeepers' associations bent on research and sharing, especially since the formal politics still prescribe exclusively ethno-national affiliations and distinctions? What peace-making tactics come to the fore if the focus shifts from the issues of refugee return and institutionally-led reconciliation to ecological relations and piecemeal negotiations on the peripheries of the new Bosnian state, where apian interests cross ethnic entity borders and mediate between beekeepers, absentee land owners, and returnees? Whereas much of the research on contemporary Bosnia is focused on urban settings, ethno-national interests, and the precarious economy, this project promises to explore socialities that are otherwise grounded: emerging around popular science and practical passions of beekeeping and involved with the vast zones of the new wilderness, abandoned, relatively inaccessible, historically complicated but abounding in socio-ecological opportunities. Moreover, the project will contribute to scholarship on Islam and Sufism which, in the region as elsewhere, is rarely concerned with the issues of quotidian ecological relations and will add a stock of different cultural and philosophical considerations to the emergent multispecies ethnography.
Alyanak, Oguz, Washington U., St. Louis, MO - To aid research on 'Fear of the Ordinary: Muslim Turks Negotiate Men's Moral Worth in the Franco-German Borderland,' supervised by Dr. John Bowen
Preliminary abstract: In the Franco-German bordertown of Strasbourg, members of the Turkish community speak of a growing anxiety over where their men go and what kinds of activities they engage in. Nightclubs, brothels and casinos in Strasbourg's German neighbor, Kehl, are blamed for stealing husbands and luring young Muslim men into an immoral life. Preliminary research shows, however, that the anxiety is not only contained in Kehl's leisure sites but expands into Strasbourg. As the fear of moral transgression bleeds into more mundane contexts of ethical thinking, negotiations over purity and danger envelop ordinary spaces and practices in Strasbourg. Unlike nightclubs, brothels or casinos, which are considered to be places that expose Muslims to practices that are 'haram' (Islamically impermissible) and 'ayıp' (shameful), the moral quality of an ordinary venue, such as a restaurant, grocery store, butcher, coffeeshop, or a street or neighborhood is harder to deduce. What if there is alcohol served or non-halal meat sold? What if, despite the halal label, the owner of the place is not trustworthy, or even a Kurd or an Alevi? What if there are drunkards or sex workers present on a particular street? How could such transgressions be justified? Through a yearlong fieldwork in the Franco-German borderland, my dissertation project will investigate how moral frames come to shape one's exploration of the urban landscape. By conducting semi-structured interviews, administering cartographic surveys and engaging in participant observation, I will explore how Muslim men in Strasbourg struggle to live a moral life amidst uncertainty.
Konvalinka, Dr. Nancy Anne, U. Nacional de Educacion a Distancia, Madrid, Spain - To aid research on 'Late-Forming Families. The Organization of Care-Giving and the Concept of Generation'
DR. NANCY A. KONVALINKA, National University of Distance Education, Madrid, Spain, received a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Late-Forming Families: The Organization of Care-Giving and the Concept of Generation.' Research on the organization of care-giving and the concept of generation in the growing group of late-forming families in Madrid, Spain, has found that late family formation (at the age of 35 or later) changes the dynamics of intergenerational care-giving present in families formed earlier. Whereas people who form families earlier often count on their parents for help with childcare, people who do so later, and whose parents are, therefore, older, find themselves simultaneously responsible for elder-care and childcare. While people feel that elder-care is an inescapable responsibility, having children is considered a personal choice, only to be undertaken if or when people have the capacity for providing childcare. The combination of a rigid order of culturally patterned life-course stages during difficult circumstances -- in the context of a welfare state that places the main responsibility for childcare and for care for the elderly and other dependents on the family -- helps explain people's tardiness in family formation. If kinship is considered to be both structure and process, late family formation, seemingly inevitable due to current life courses, places these families under a great intergenerational care-giving strain and will require them to negotiate some kind of solution.
Konvalinka, Nancy. 2014. Timing and Order Conflicts in the Life Course: Schooling, Job Precariousness, and Care-Giving in Late-Forming Families in Spain. In Die mentale Seite der Ökonomie. Gefühl und Empathie im Arbeitsleben. (M. Seifert, ed.,parte de la serie Bausteine aus dem Institut für sächsische Geschichte und Volkskunde, vol. 31). Dresden: Thelem. 221-234.
Konvalinka, Nancy. 2013. Caring for Young and Old: The Care-giving Bind in Late-forming Families. In Pathways to Empathy: New Studies on Commodification, Emotional Labor, and Time Binds. G. Koch and S. Everke, eds. Campus Verlag: Frankfurt, New York
Konvalinka, Nancy. 2012. Methods and Concepts at Work: Generation and Caregiving in 'Late-Forming Families'. Anthropology News 53(5):10.
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.