Saavedra Espinosa, Mariana, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on '(Re)producing Successful Succession: Colombia's Family Business Project,' supervised by Dr. Annelise Riles
Preliminary abstract: In the last ten years Colombia has witnessed a trend among business owners and experts which, contrary to economic and business orthodoxy, considers family businesses to have advantages over other kinds of enterprises. Through generalized attention to the subject by a wide array of actors, and most significantly with the appearance of an industry of specialized family-business consultants, family firms seem to have made the transition from problem to solution in the Colombian entrepreneurial imagination. The solutions offered by this new form of expertise provide a means to rationalize the family that sustain bonds between families and firms while not entering into contradiction with broader dominant values of competition. The purpose of this project is to explore the methods, ideas and technologies involved in this shift in the status of family businesses. I ask: How are different actors reconfiguring 'family business' as a viable and successful economic formation thus constituting and legitimating particular forms of social reproduction? Through ethnographic methods I will engage with members of Colombia's entrepreneurial elite who are currently hiring the services of consultants, to inquire into the manner in which they are striving to reinvent themselves to maintain their status in the context of a liberalizing economy. More specifically, the project attends to these processes as reimaginations of family businesses, elites, and corporations and through considering their articulation to ideas of success and functionality, seeks to offer an account of their interrelated and contextual constitution.
Hansford, Frances G., Oxford U., Oxford, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Bias and Discrimination in Intra-Household Food Allocation: Case Study of a Rural Brazilian Population,' supervised by Dr. Barbara Harriss-White
FRANCES G. HANSFORD, then a student at Oxford University, Oxford, England, was awarded a grant in April 2005 to aid research on 'Bias and Discrimination in Intra-Household Food Allocation: Case Study of a Rural Brazilian Population,' supervised by Dr. Barbara Harriss-White. Dissertation fieldwork was undertaken in the municipality of Gameleira, in the state of Pernambuco, northeast Brazil. The work involved collecting anthropometric, dietary recall, and socio-demographic, economic and health survey data in 39 households, situated in two adjacent locations populated by unskilled and semi-skilled seasonal and permanent sugar workers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with women in most households, exploring food-related norms and behaviours, gender roles, and intra-household relations. At a later stage, intensive observation was undertaken in a sub-sample of six households, selected for their intra-household nutritional outcomes. The data reveal the co-existence of under- and over-nutrition within the population and within some households, conditions characteristic of the 'nutrition transition'. It is not clear whether divergences in intra-household nutrition are partly explained by biases in intra-household food allocation; no glaring evidence of biases was uncovered, but more subtle differences in dietary diversity may emerge from the dietary data. Anti-female discrimination, present in many aspects of life in an essentially patriarchal society, does not seem to 'spill over' to food allocation. Food allocation may constitute one of the few arenas of domestic life over which women have control and therefore use to redress perceived gendered injustices in other domestic spheres.
Ansell, Aaron, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Brazil's Zero Hunger Program: Social Justice in Contemporary Latin America,' supervised by Dr. Manuela Carneiro da Cunha
AARON ANSELL, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded a grant in August 2004 to aid research on 'Brazil's Zero Hunger Program: Social Justice in Contemporary Latin America,' supervised by Dr. Manuela Carneiro da Cunha. Ethnographic fieldwork in Piaui, Brazil focused on the underlying objectives of the national Zero Hunger Program. Based on analysis of the Program's design, implementation, and modification, research concluded that the Brazilian government abandoned the goal of eliminating 'hunger' throughout the country due to the enormity of this challenge, the scarcity of federal resources, and the emaciated character of the Brazilian social service bureaucracy. In this context, the thrust of the Zero Hunger Program shifted, and began to revolve around the transformation of political attitudes among the beneficiaries, specifically those within the country's northeastern region. Through a set of three techniques, the research revealed how government actors involved in the Program attempted to disrupt and short-circuit local systems of political exchange that involve the exchange of votes for services and favors -- a system referred to as 'clientelism' in the social science literature as well as by the government actors themselves. The long-term impact of these techniques on this system of political exchange is not assessable through the data acquired. What is clear, however, is that these techniques of political transformation had the unintended consequence of exacerbating -- or at least rendering more salient -- the local distinctions in class, generation, and residence that have emerged during the last ten years.
Ansell, Aaron. 2009. But the Winds Will Turn against You: An Analysis of Wealth Forms and the
Discursive Space of Development in Northeast Brazil. American Ethnologist 36(1):96-109.
Shepard, Jr., Dr. Glenn H., Goeldi Museum, Belem, Brazil - To aid research and writing on 'The Forest of Senses: Explorations of Nature, Culture, and Sensation in the Peruvian Amazon' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
DR. GLENN H. SHEPARD, JR., Goeldi Museum, Belem, Brazil, was awarded a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in April 2009, to aid research and writing on 'The Forest of Senses: Explorations of Nature, Culture, and Sensation in the Peruvian Amazon.' Sorcery of the Senses examines the role of sensory perception in shamanism, traditional medicine and world view among two indigenous groups of the Peruvian Amazon: the Matsigenka and Nahua (Yora). Initial field research focused on the sensory properties of medicinal plants used by these two neighboring but distinctive peoples, mortal enemies until 1985. Explorations of sensory perception in botany, medicine, and shamanism opened doorways of understanding into the two groups' richly patterned and sensuous engagement with the environment and the cosmos, while highlighting differences in culture and ethos. This research distinguishes itself from most work in sensory anthropology by engaging productively with the field of psychophysics (sensory science), approaching sensation as rooted in physiology and environmental experience and yet also constructed through culture and personal history. By comparing sensory vocabulary, traditional medicine, and appropriations of Western medicines by the two groups, the book shows how environment, physiology and culture interact in constructing complex notions about agency. Drawing on the work of sensory and environmental anthropologists as well as on the philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and the writings of environmentalist David Abram, the book reflects on how sensory perception mediates people's relationships with the social, natural, and supernatural worlds.
Jones, Kyle Ellis, Purdue U., West Lafayette, IN - To aid research on ''Uniting All of Peru Isn't Easy': Youth and Transurban Spaces of Hip Hop in Peru,' supervised by Dr. Brian C. Kelly
Preliminary abstract: This project investigates the processes and implications of 'creating spaces' through hip hop for Peru's urban youth, who have experienced firsthand an unprecedented influx of globalized media and promises of social inclusion and political representation, while at the same time having their activities and affiliations subject to extreme public anxiety. First, what are the ways that Peruvian youth envision, pursue, and come to inhabit hip hop-based projects of collectivity, and how are these projects situated among the pressures and possibilities they face? Second, how is hip hop itself elaborated as a medium for both socially intimate and dislocated connections, and what are the processes through which these connections are forged and fractured? And third, what role do Peruvian hip hop's emergent associational spaces play in mediating young people's visibility in public urban life, as well as the broader meanings surrounding youth and urban culture in contemporary Peruvian society? Building on three periods of predoctoral research, these questions will be pursued ethnographically in the cities of Cusco, Huancayo, and Lima among a network of hip hoppers organized through hip hop collectivities. By directing attention to the dynamic ties between various cities negotiated through concerted projects of collectivity, this project expands research on hip hop and urban musics that have predominately focused on individuated metropolises and eschewed the on-the-ground ways specific socio-expressive networks have emerged. Further, while offering insight into emergent spaces of urban popular belonging relevant throughout Latin America, it also contributes to the growing field of the anthropology of youth and scholarship on the formation of public spaces.
Theissen, Anna J., U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'The Location of Madness: Spiritist Psychiatry and the Meaning of Mental Illness in Contemporary Brazil,' supervised by Dr. Nancy Scheper-Hughes
ANNA J. THEISSEN, then a student at University of California, Berkeley, California, was awarded funding in October 2005 to aid research on 'The Location of Madness: Spiritist Psychiatry and the Meaning of Mental Illness in Contemporary Brazil,' supervised by Dr. Nancy Scheper-Hughes. This ethnographic research in two Spiritist psychiatric hospitals in Brazil investigated how belief influences professional medical ethics and choices, i.e. the moral underpinnings and cultural construction of psychiatric diagnosis. Spiritists -- followers of a 'modern spirit possession religion' with Euro-American origins -- administer one third of private psychiatric hospitals in Brazil, in many of which standard neuroscientific practice is integrated with spiritual treatment modalities: information gleaned in Spiritist séances oriented psychiatric treatment and vice versa. Spiritist treatment of mental illness was two-pronged: one dimension concentrated on the obsessing spirits trying to persuade them to leave their victims; the other focused on the moral re-education of patients. Expert and lay concepts of mental illness and its spiritual influences (i.e. the attribution of causes and responsibility) differed widely. Many patients and their caretakers sought out Spiritist psychiatric treatment hoping that it would relief them from the social stigma associated with mental illness by explaining their affliction as spirit possession. In contrast, Spiritist psychiatrists stressed the patient's self-responsibility, and their spiritual diagnosis and de-obsession treatments uncovered the supposed immoral character and criminal past lives of the mentally ill.
Lyons, Kristina, U. of Califorina, Davis, CA - To aid engaged activities on 'Soil Practitioners and Vital Spaces: Agricultural Ethics and Life Processes in the Colombian Amazon,' 2013, Bogota, and Putumayo, Colombia
KRISTINA LYONS, University of California, Davis, California, received an Engaged Anthropology Grant in February 2013 to aid 'Soil Practitioners and Vital Spaces: Agricultural Ethics and Life Processes in the Colombian Amazon,' Bogota and Putumayo, Colombia. Agricultural practices in southwestern Colombia have been a site of contention since the 1980s when illicit coca production soared and provoked state and foreign policy military-led responses aimed at its eradication. Though USAID export-oriented strategies to substitute coca crops prove attractive to many rural families, a growing network of farmers and scientists have begun to counter these 'official solutions' in the pursuit of alternative agricultural-based life projects in the Amazonian region. This project contributed to academic and public debates about the 'agrarian question' and 'peace with social justice' at a moment when a national peace process is underway to end the fifty-year armed conflict in Colombia. Given the 24-day National Agrarian and Popular Strike that occurred during the time of this grant, this project supported the socialization of local alternatives to military-led development paradigms and the emergence of new ecological notions of territoriality and health among over three thousand small farmers, government representatives, and leaders of social organizations in Putumayo. Furthermore, it returned photography and documentation of technical and political proposals to the organizations, individuals, and institutions with which dissertation fieldwork was conducted, and allowed for long-terms collaborative ties to be forged with other researchers accompanying social processes in the Amazon.
Chauca Tapia, Roberto, U. of Florida, Gainesville, FL - To aid research on 'Science in the Jungle: The Missionary Mapping and National Imagining of Western Amazonia,' supervised by Dr. Mark Thurner
ROBERTO CHAUCA TAPIA, then a student at University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, received a grant in October 2011 to aid research on 'Science in the Jungle: The Missionary Mapping and National Imagining of Western Amazonia,' supervised by Dr. Mark Thurner. Funding supported research at several archives and libraries in Colombia and Peru, to collect diverse materials such as maps, travel accounts, and correspondence from Jesuits, Franciscans, civilians, and military officers who participated in the exploration of Maynas, located in western Amazonia, between the late 17th and early 19th centuries. These documents will constitute the foundation of a thesis on the production and circulation of knowledge about western Amazonian peoples and space. While research turned up no map or geographic description left by local indigenous peoples themselves (which could have helped assess their role in crafting a spatial knowledge of Amazonia), several civilian and military records discovered in archival research (rather than the missionary ones) contain information on the indigenous participation in this process. Thus, their participation in the spatial construction of Amazonia can be examined. In sum, the visual and written descriptions collected provide interesting clues about the complex processes that led to the crafting of frontiers and borderlines that demarcated missionary territories, indigenous ethnicities, and imperial and national spaces.