National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest
April 27, 2007
Tesar, Catalina Constantina, National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania - To aid training in social anthropology at U. College London, United Kingdom, Supervised by Michael Sinclair Stewart
Smith, Alexander T.T., U. of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Apprehending the (Scottish) State: Devolution, Nationalism and the Politics of Rural Development,' supervised by Dr. Anthony P. Cohen
ALEXANDER T. T. SMITH, while a student at the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland, received funding in May 2001 to aid research on devolution, nationalism, and the politics of rural development in Scotland, under the supervision of Dr. Anthony P. Cohen. Contemporary Scotland presents a unique opportunity for anthropologists and other social scientists to explore, in a Western setting, the processes by which a new parliament is created and its effects on other state agencies. Smith investigated the processes by which the authority of the Scottish Parliament was being negotiated and established through a nexus of institutions concerned with 'rural development' in Dumfries and Galloway. On the basis of ethnographic research conducted between the devastating outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the region in 2001 and elections to the local council and Scottish Parliament in May 2003, Smith addressed the following questions: How is authority and legitimacy constructed by governing institutions in Scotland? What legitimating role will discourses relating to rural development and the land play in constructing political authority in postdevolution Scotland? And how do these discourses contribute to the formation of national identity?
Smith, Alexander. 2011. Devolution and the Scottish Conservatives: Banal Activism, Electioneering and the Politics of Irrelevance. Manchester University Press: Manchester and New York.
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.
Firat, Bilge, State U. of New York, Binghamton, NY - To aid research on 'The Negotiation of Turkish Europeanization in Brussels,' supervised by Dr. Thomas M. Wilson
BILGE FIRAT, then a student at State University of New York, Binghamton, New York, received funding in April 2008 to aid research on 'The Negotiation of Turkish Europeanization in Brussels,' supervised by Dr. Thomas M. Wilson. European enlargement is considered to be the most successful policy of the European Union (E.U.), and the one that perhaps has the greatest direct impact on lives of peoples, societies, and states in the region at large. Lobbying is a central practice in EU politicking and policymaking. Located in Brussels for twelve months, the objective of this study was to understand how lobbying as a politico-cultural communicative practice works in facilitating the enlargement dynamic of the E.U. towards Turkey wih the help of non-participant and participant observation, interviewing political cultural actors, and analysis of textual policy advice. European politics is an area in which students and scholars of anthropology of European integration and anthropology of policy-making are very well equipped to explain emerging realities of today's advanced European integration.
Berglund, Dr. Eeva, Goldsmiths College, London, UK - To aid research on 'Natural Resources and Expertise in Rural Finland : An Ethnographic Study of Biotechnology'
DR. EEVA BERGLUND, of Goldsmiths College in London, England, was awarded a grant in July 2002 to aid ethnographic research on biotechnology in rural Finland, where modernization has been both relatively recent and successful. Berglund focused on capital-intensive biotechnology as part of regional development under conditions of globalization, asking what local experiences of the 'new economy' and the 'information society' might have been. The research, carried out in Kainuu Province and in Helsinki, was based on documentary sources, ethnography in a small food-biotechnology laboratory, and interviews with regional elites. The results indicated a mismatch between provincial discourses of forced adaptation and hegemonic discourses of inevitable technological dynamism and continuing national progress. Alongside this disjuncture were salient continuities in the ways local landscapes were conceptualized, which may be leading to an underemphasis on the gravity of Kainuu's economic problems. Berglund found a complex and multilayered understanding of nature; both sacredness and the capacity to create artificial environments were highly valued in the Kainuu region. Indeed, it was economic risk and lack of commercial know-how rather than technological fear with which people struggled, a situation characteristic of Finland as an economic unit. Regional, community, and local action was highly valued in Kainuu, and even the most capital-intensive practices were appropriated for local ends. A historical survey of Finnish science and technology policy suggests that this ideology has been built into the modernization of the country from independence, with implications for the way people think about nature, technology, and the state.
Casas-Cortes, Dr. Maria Isabel, U. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC - To aid research and writing on 'Cultures of Precarity: Reinventing Politics, Work and Everyday Lives in Spain' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
Preliminary abstract: Through everyday practices of collective organizing, social movements are engaged in the development of concepts capable of bringing analytical insight and reinvigorating political agency on issues of public concern in specific contexts. 'Cultures of Precarity: Reinventing Politics, Work and Everyday Lives in Spain' analyzes grassroots efforts at politicizing controversial social transformations afoot in contemporary Spain. I focus on social struggles engaging two interrelated issues: changing cultures of labor; and changing dynamics of migration. Right before the austerity crisis in Southern Europe, and in advance of scholarly debates about this notion, social movements were pointing towards 'precarity' as an analytical as well as political tool to deal with current labor flexibilization policies and changing patterns of mobility. Based on a careful engagement with the textual production of these movements as well as ethnographic participation in several collectives in Spain and European precarity networks, I argue that these political forms of self-organization have produced a whole lexicon around precarity, able to re-signify previous understandings and practices of production, reproduction and citizenship. The book 'Cultures of Precarity' and my two articles 'Relational Ethnographies' and 'Precarious and Migrants Unite!' challenge conventional theories of collective action as limited to discontent and resistance, contributing to a new understanding of collective agency as a site of knowledge production and its relevance to the burgeoning field of anthropology of social movements as well as political anthropology. My research also suggests a rethinking of methodological approaches to social movements contributing to ethnographic theory and practice.
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.
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.
Willson, Dr. Margaret Elizabeth, U. of Washington, Seattle, WA - To aid research on 'Turning the Tide: Gender, Seafaring, and Notions of Risk in Iceland'
DR. MARGARET E. WILLSON, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, was awarded funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'Turning the Tide: Gender, Seafaring, and Notions of Risk in Iceland.' This project explored male and female notions of risk in Iceland, particularly as related to fishing practice. One aim was to learn how these notions of risk might have contributed to Iceland's economic collapse. The investigator found that although Icelandic notions of risk vary between men and women as regards concepts of investment, they do not vary dramatically as regards their relationship to hazards of the land, sea and weather. An emergent focus of the research was on sea women. The traditional way Iceland gendered work is described as that women worked on land while the men worked at sea. However, this research found that a small but significant number of women have worked at sea from the earliest times to the present. These women also hold, and have held, positions at all levels of the fishing industry and, it appears, in all areas of the country. Thus, these women represent a thin slice of experience and knowledge that runs through the entire industry. This research will change the literature regarding women and fishing in Iceland. It also gained insight into how notions of risk are gendered and explored new ways of considering gendered models of development and access to power.
Thompson, Dr. Niobe S., U. of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'The Nativeness of Settlers: Constructing Belonging and Contesting Indigeneity in Northeast Siberia'
DR. NIOBE S. THOMPSON, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England, was awarded funding in July 2005, to aid research on 'The Nativeness of Settlers: Constructing Belonging and Contesting Indigeneity in Northeast Siberia.' Five months of ethnographic fieldwork in Chukotka, Northeast Russia and ten weeks of archival research in St. Petersburg and Moscow was carried out over the course of 18 months in 2005 and 2006. This project examined the process of settling among a transplanted industrial population of labor migrants in the Russian far north. In particular, it tackled the question, 'How do emerging forms of local rootedness in a settler community impact on our practical and theoretical understandings of 'indigeneity'?' The self-perceptions of belonging among erstwhile migrant populations in the Russian north is of both theoretical interest and of applied relevance, as new programs of northern restructuring intended to depopulate these regions are initiated. The results of this research reveal a vibrant and growing sense of northern identity among many Soviet-era migrants to Chukotka, and thereby explain in some ethnographic richness not only popular resistance to state resettlement programs, but also the prospects for sustainable populations of non-aboriginal settlers in Russia's arctic.