Canedo Rodriguez, Dr. Montserrat, National U. of Distance Education, Madrid, Spain - To aid research on 'Nourishing Madrid: Food Market and Urban Networks'
DR. MONTSERRAT CANEDO RODRIGUEZ, National University of Distance Education, Madrid, Spain, was awarded a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Nourishing Madrid: Food Markets and Urban Networks.' The project investigated how the fresh food wholesale market in Madrid works as a node of redistribution for food flows, creating effects of space-time structuring ('local,' 'global,' 'urban,' etc.). By following 'Poma de Girona' (an apple produced in Catalonia that has a Protected Geographic Indication) from its production to its urban consumption, the grantee analyzes the way these process-oriented and multi-localized food flows unfold through a 'chain of value.' Research questions included: What different space-time structuring effects do food flows produce when tracked from different ethnographic loci? How can we think about the enactment of urban social space through food flows? How does the circulation of food blend 'nature,' 'market,' and 'science-technology,' and what can be said about these kinds of embeddedness in a cultural and political reading? The study will advance theory on time-space frames understood as the products (and figures) of a dynamic simultaneous multiplicity, or articulations of heterogeneous practices that are always in progress. From this perspective, the research proposes an ethnographic approach to the question of 'globalization.' As an 'ethnography of apples,' it also contributes to thinking about the problem of the nature-culture co-implication and the politics of contemporary food chains.
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.
Mattioli, Fabio, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Productive Debts: The Financialization of Urban Life and the Magic of Debts in Skopje, Macedonia,' supervised by Dr. Katherine Verdery
FABIO MATTIOLI, then a student at City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York, received funding in April 2013 to aid research on 'Productive Debts: The Financialization of Urban Life and the Magic of Debts in Kopje, Macedonia,' supervised by Dr. Katherine Verdery. The research describes the emergence of a new political economy in Macedonia, focusing on the power hierarchies that shape the construction sector of the country's capital, Skopje. While official data show that the country has good levels of liquidity, most of the building companies contacted faced a disconcerting and chronic lack of money. Forced to build without cash, they had to revolutionize their building cycles, as well their internal relations; despite their efforts, the value of their work seemed to always 'magically' dissipate into thin air. But not every enterprise experiences precarity and economic losses; in recent years a conservative right wing party has colonized the state, syphoning Macedonian and international monetary investments towards the central government. Companies that are close to this new political formation get paid in cash. Enterprises that are not, have to rely on forms of in-kind transactions that leave them with unwanted goods that they cannot sell on the market. Getting to money becomes a real struggle that restructures labor and gender relations on the work sites. Through the case study of a small building company (which will be called 'Construx'), the research analyzes the precarity that results from Macedonia's arising political economy.
Guell, Cornelia, U. of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Chronic Illness at the Margins: Turkish Immigrant Experiences of Type 2 Diabetes in Berlin,' supervised by Dr. Stefan Mathias Ecks
CORNELIA GUELL, then a student at the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, was awarded a grant in May 2007, to aid research on 'Chronic Illness at the Margins: Turkish Immigrant Experiences of Type 2 Diabetes in Berlin,' supervised by Dr. Stefan M. Ecks. This research explored Turkish migrants’ experience with diabetes in Germany. Health statistics frequently identify minority groups as vulnerable to chronic illness, and ethnographic studies, accordingly, explore conflictual lay beliefs and medical encounters, and experiences of suffering and inequality. Interviews with healthcare professionals alluded to a Turkish migrant patient group disadvantaged and immobilized by high illiteracy rates, lacking language and health knowledge. Further ethnographic exploration, however, revealed an active engagement with diabetes within the Turkish migrant population of Berlin. Informal diabetes care, for example a Turkish-language self-help group, was individually and communally negotiated where formal care was inadequate. 'Diabetes among Turkish-origin Berliners' can therefore be understood as a form of political activism and economic enterprise that involves a whole community, not only patients and their healthcare professionals, in order to fill a provision gap. On an individual level, migrant diabetes patients who have access to such care support manage their self-care actively, for example negotiating between clinical German dietary recommendations and their Turkish home cooking. Rather than representing the common image of the inert, disadvantaged migrant patient, these Turkish migrants engage in deliberate 'tactics of diabetes control' in order to make their chronic illness experience habitable.
Guell, Cornelia. 2011. Candie(e)d Actions: Biosocialities of Turkish Berliners Living with Diabetes. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 25(3):377-394.
Guell, Cornelia. 2012. Self-Care at the Margins: Meals and Meters in Migrants' Diabetes Tactics. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 26(4):518-533.
Timura, Christopher T., U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Negotiating Expertise: The Globalizing Cultures of British and American Peace Negotiators,' supervised by Dr. Conrad P. Kottak
CHRISTOPHER T. TIMURA, while a student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding to aid research on the globalizing cultures of British and American peace negotiators, under the supervision of Dr. Conrad P. Kottak. Timura conducted eleven months of fieldwork with a representative sample of university and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) involved in the globalizing field of conflict resolution. He obtained more than 140 interviews with students, trainers, and practitioners, collected oral histories from key informants, and acted as a participant observer in seminars and training workshops. In addition, he used information about practitioners' professional networks and their referrals to arrange interviews with key individuals involved in the conflict management activities of the U.S. and British governments. The data showed that conflict management theories could be traced back to a small but diverse group of North American and European founding figures who used their institutional affiliations to promulgate their understanding of how violent conflict could be prevented, managed, and resolved. Despite considerable demographic diversity in the field today, a common set of concepts and value orientations enabled this transnational group to coalesce around a conflict resolution epistemology and practice. Conflict resolution specialists have used their roles in government, NGOs, and academe to advocate for changes in the ways governments manage and resolve violent conflict, while arguing for the existence of their own specific form of expertise. 'Local' cultural, socioeconomic, religious, and political factors have played varying roles in the globalization of this expertise beyond North America and Europe, offering opportunities for considering how anthropology might constructively analyze and otherwise engage with this and similar phenomena having significant effects on international governance.
Sabate, Dr. Irene, U. of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain - To aid research on 'The Spanish Home Repossessions Crisis as a Case for the Study of Debt and Credit'
Preliminary abstract: The object of this research proposal is the (over-)indebtedness of households derived from mortgage borrowing in Spain, focusing on the strategies used by households and ordinary people in order to cope with their difficulties to repay, and the relationship between the perception of their condition as debtors and their life projects. Credit and debt relations are examined in this context, paying special attention to the articulation of moral economies with hegemonic understandings of financial market dynamics. The current wave of repossessions is interpreted here as a breach of the obligation to repay on a societal scale, which provides it with the potential to contest the usual dynamics of debt and credit relations under 'conventional' capitalist circumstances. A vigourous, grassroots social movement, the Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH), that has emerged in the aim of representing debtor's interests, is playing a crucial role in trying to reverse commonly accepted moral judgements about lenders and borrowers, and about the practice of lending and borrowing, while contesting the penetration of household economies by finance capital.
Horne, Brian Arthur, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on ''Save Our Souls': Russian Bards and the Sound of State Transformation,' supervised by Dr. Susan Gal
BRIAN A. HORNE, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received funding in April 2008 to aid research on ''Save Our Souls:' Russian Bards and the Sound of State Transformation,' supervised by Dr. Susan Gal. This research project examines how Russian bardic song (bardovskaia pesnia), a formerly censored and unofficial cultural phenomenon of the late Soviet period, figures in the expression and contestation of different political histories and anxieties about changing sociopolitical conditions in Moscow. By examining the private commoditization, public memorialization and official valorization of bardic music today in public and private institutional sites of bardic music performance and commemoration, this research illuminates the often subtle ways in which personal and institutional positions about generational, social and political change are negotiated, experienced and reinscribed at the level of music, aesthetics, and affect. As formerly contraband music that circulated through underground exchange networks during the Soviet era, this genre now serves as a touchstone for interpersonal and national political understandings and arguments about the nature of the relationship between the Russian present, past and future, and broader discourses about the state and fate of Russia.
Thompson, Niobe S., Cambridge U., Cambridge, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Belonging in the North: Migrant Experiences and Identity in Northeast Siberia,' supervised by Dr. Piers G. Vitebsky
NIOBE S. THOMPSON, while a student at Cambridge University in Cambridge, England, received funding in August 2002 to aid research on migrant experiences and identity in northeastern Siberia, under the supervision of Dr. Piers G. Vitebsky. In the Chukchi Autonomous Okrug (Chukotka) of northeastern Russia and in regions of central Russia, Thompson conducted fourteen months of ethnographic fieldwork on non-native senses of belonging. The research was intended to explore the negotiation of identity in a traditionally migrant, transient population, an issue with implications for the future of communities in the Russian Far North and the success of planned programs of northern depopulation and resettlement. The coincidence between Thompson's project and a major program of modernization initiated in 2001 by a new administration under the leadership of wealthy governor-oligarch Roman Abramovich was intentional, because the challenge of an outsider-led program of change was expected to galvanize local identity in unexpected ways. Research findings revealed that a strongly localist sense of belonging and a rejection of mainstream Soviet and Russian life had characterized the settler community since its emergence, and that authority and entitlement through 'northern experience' were key features of local discourse. The challenges of outsider-led modernization to the established population met discourses of resistance long cultivated in Chukotka and endangered its long-term sustainability.