By Area: Asia
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Abortion in Asia
Local Dilemmas, Global Politics
Whittaker, A. (ed)
The issue of abortion forces a confrontation with the effects of poverty and economic inequalities, local moral worlds, and the cultural and social perceptions of the female body, gender, and reproduction. Based on extensive original field research, this provocative collection presents case studies from Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and India. It includes powerful insight into the conditions and hard choices faced by women and the circumstances surrounding unplanned pregnancies. It explores the connections among poverty, violence, barriers to access, and the politics and strategies involved in abortion law reform. The contributors analyze these issues within the broader conflicts surrounding women's status, gender roles, religion, nationalism and modernity, as well as the global politics of reproductive health.
Subjects: Anthropology (General) Medical Anthropology
Aspirations of Young Adults in Urban Asia
Values, Family, and Identity
Westendorp, M., Remmert, D. & Finis, K. (eds)
Comparing first-person ethnographic accounts of young people living, working, and creating relationships in cities across Asia, this volume explores their contemporary lives, pressures, ideals, and aspirations. Delving into topical issues such as education, social inequality, family pressures, changing values, precarious employment, and political discontent, the book explores how young people are pushing boundaries and imagining their future. In this way, they explore and create the identities of their local and global surroundings.
Subjects: Anthropology (General) Urban Studies
Contestations, Circumventions, and the Blurring of Therapeutic Boundaries
Naraindas, H., Quack, J., & Sax, W. S. (eds)
Ideas about health are reinforced by institutions and their corresponding practices, such as donning a patient's gown in a hospital or prostrating before a healing shrine. Even though we are socialized into regarding such ideologies as "natural" and unproblematic, we sometimes seek to bypass, circumvent, or even transcend the dominant ideologies of our cultures as they are manifested in the institutions of health care. The contributors to this volume describe such contestations and circumventions of health ideologies, and the blurring of therapeutic boundaries, on the basis of case studies from India, the South Asian Diaspora, and Europe, focusing on relations between body, mind, and spirit in a variety of situations. The result is not always the "live and let live" medical pluralism that is described in the literature.
Subjects: Medical Anthropology Anthropology of Religion
Life Cycle, Gender, and Status among Himalayan Pastoralists
The question of individuality in non-European, and especially South Asian societies is a controversial one. Studies in anthropology and psychology undertaken in recent years on concepts of person and self approach the problem by concentrating on ideologies; the question of practice remains largely neglected. This is the first study to examine the individual-dividual debate empirically from the - emic - perspective of decision making, observed over a two-year period among the Bakkarwal, Himalayan Muslim pastoralists. Of particular significance is the fact that the author bases her approach on the life cycle and on gender and status differences.
Bali and Beyond
Case Studies in the Anthropology of Tourism
Based on field research carried out over two decades, the author surveys the development of the anthropology of tourism and its significance, using case studies drawn from Indonesia, New Guinea and Japan. He argues that tourism, once seen as rather peripheral by anthropologists, has to be treated as a phenomenon of major importance, both because the size of the flows of people and capital involved, and because it is one of the major sites in which the meeting and hybridization of culture takes place. Tourism, he suggests, leads not to the destruction of local cultures, as many critics have implied, but rather to the emergence of new cultural forms.
The central part of the book presents a detailed case-study of the island of Bali in Indonesia. It traces the development of tourism there during the colonial period, and the ways in which "Balinese traditional culture" was developed first by western artists and scholars in the colonial period, and more recently by Balinese government officials in the guise of "cultural tourism." The general theme of the "presentation of tradition" is also discussed in relation to Toraja funerals in the Indonesian province of Sulawesi, western visitors to the Sepik River in Papua-New-Guinea, and the small city of Tono in northern Japan which has become a center for the study of folk-lore.
Becoming Vaishnava in an Ideal Vedic City
Becoming Vaishnava in an Ideal Vedic City centers on a growing multinational community of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) devotees in Mayapur, West Bengal. While ISKCON’s history is often presented in terms of an Indian guru ‘transplanting’ Indian spirituality to the West, this book focusses on the efforts to bring ISKCON back to India. Paying particular attention to devotees’ failure to consistently live up to ISKCON’s ideals and the ongoing struggle to realize the utopian vision of an ‘ideal Vedic city’, this book argues that the anthropology of ethics must account for how moral systems accommodate the problem of moral failure.
Big Capital in an Unequal World
The Micropolitics of Wealth in Pakistan
Following the hidden lives of the global “1%”, this book examines the networks, social practices, marriages, and machinations of the elite in Pakistan. In doing so, it reveals the daily, even mundane, ways in which elites contribute to and shape the inequality that characterizes the modern world. Operating in a rapidly developing economic environment, the experience of Pakistan’s wealthiest and most powerful members contradicts widely held assumptions that economic growth is leading to increasingly impersonalized and globally standardized economic and political structures.
Neighbourhood Youth and Urban Change in Kyrgyzstan’s Capital
In this pioneering ethnographic study of identity and integration, author Philipp Schröder explores urban change in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek from the vantage point of the male youth living in one neighbourhood. Touching on topics including authority, violence, social and imaginary geographies, interethnic relations, friendship, and competing notions of belonging to the city, Bishkek Boys offers unique insights into how post-Socialist economic liberalization, rural-urban migration and ethnic nationalism have reshaped social relations among young males who come of age in this Central Asian urban environment.
The Body in Asia
Turner, B. & Yangwen, Z. (Eds.)
The past few decades have seen growing interest in the study of the body. However, the increasing number of exciting and influential publications has primarily, if not exclusively, focused on the body in Western cultures. The various works produced by Asian scholars remain largely unknown to Western academic debates even though Asia is home to a host of rich body cultures and religions. The peoples of Asia have experienced colonization, decolonization, and now globalization, all of which make the ‘body in Asia’ a rewarding field of research. This unique volume brings together a number of scholars who work on East, Southeast and South Asia and presents original and cutting edge research on the body in various Asian cultures.
Analysis, History, Cases
Williams, K., Haslam, C., Johal, S. & Williams, J.
Through developing an original analytical framework that, for the first time, systematically relates productive, market and financial variables, the authors are able to rewrite the history of the car business since Henry Ford.
Subject: History (General)
Categories of Self
Louis Dumont's Theory of the Individual
Drawing on anthropological, socio-psychological, religious, and philosophical material, this book engages in a discussion of what it means to be an ‘individual’ in relation to notions of selfhood, personality, and social role. This theme is explored with reference to the investigations of Louis Dumont into Hindu and other Indian ideologies, and with regard to the dominant threads of Western individualism. Clarifying and at times building upon his analyses, the author follows Dumont in a consideration of Indian ideology (Hindu non-individualism, the ‘dividual’, social personhood); French ideology (sociopolitical individualism); German ideology (subjective individualism); and Western ideology (the Christian beginnings of individualism, political and economic individualism, the philosophical ‘categorisation’ of self).
While most commentators have tended to focus primarily on one aspect of Dumont's work – either his views on Indian hierarchy or writings on modern individualism – the author reveals considerable continuity throughout Dumont’s entire oeuvre based around the notion of 'categories' and the concept of the 'individual’. Dumont’s intellectual background is explored with reference to the Durkheimian tradition, with Marcel Mauss being highlighted as the principal architect in his thinking. In particular, Dumont’s interest in the ‘category of the individual’ is shown to be an extension of Mauss’s concern with the ‘category of the person’. The distinctiveness of Dumont’s structuralist approach is thrown into full relief through comparison with that of others acknowledging an intellectual dept to Mauss, namely, Claude Lévi-Strauss and Fernand Braudel.
The book covers an assessment of general approaches to the study of individualism, with the relevant perspectives of other thinkers discussed and related to Dumont’s approach as appropriate.
Subjects: Theory and Methodology Sociology
'City of the Future'
Built Space, Modernity and Urban Change in Astana
Astana, the capital city of the post-Soviet Kazakhstan, has often been admired for the design and planning of its futuristic cityscape. This anthropological study of the development of the city focuses on every-day practices, official ideologies and representations alongside the memories and dreams of the city’s longstanding residents and recent migrants. Critically examining a range of approaches to place and space in anthropology, geography and other disciplines, the book argues for an understanding of space as inextricably material-and-imaginary, and unceasingly dynamic – allowing for a plurality of incompatible pasts and futures materialized in spatial form.
Subjects: Urban Studies Anthropology (General)
Colonial Collecting and Display
Encounters with Material Culture from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
In the late-nineteenth century, British travelers to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands compiled wide-ranging collections of material culture for scientific instruction and personal satisfaction. Colonial Collecting and Display follows the compelling history of a particular set of such objects, tracing their physical and conceptual transformation from objects of indigenous use to accessioned objects in a museum collection in the south of England. This first study dedicated to the historical collecting and display of the Islands' material cultures develops a new analysis of colonial discourse, using a material culture-led approach to reconceptualize imperial relationships between Andamanese, Nicobarese, and British communities, both in the Bay of Bengal and on British soil. It critiques established conceptions of the act of collecting, arguing for recognition of how indigenous makers and consumers impacted upon "British" collection practices, and querying the notion of a homogenous British approach to material culture from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Infertility and Procreative Technologies in India
Infertility and assisted reproductive technologies in India lie at the confluence of multiple cultural conceptions. These ‘conceptions’ are key to understanding the burgeoning spread of assisted reproductive technologies and the social implications of infertility and childlessness in India. This longitudinal study is situated in a number of diverse locales which, when taken together, unravel the complex nature of infertility and assisted conception in contemporary India.
Subject: Medical Anthropology
Conservation and Mobile Indigenous Peoples
Displacement, Forced Settlement and Sustainable Development
Chatty, D. & Colchester, M. (eds)
Wildlife conservation and other environmental protection projects can have tremendous impact on the lives and livelihoods of the often mobile, difficult-to-reach, and marginal peoples who inhabit the same territory. The contributors to this collection of case studies, social scientists as well as natural scientists, are concerned with this human element in biodiversity. They examine the interface between conservation and indigenous communities forced to move or to settle elsewhere in order to accommodate environmental policies and biodiversity concerns. The case studies investigate successful and not so successful community-managed, as well as local participatory, conservation projects in Africa, the Middle East, South and South Eastern Asia, Australia and Latin America. There are lessons to be learned from recent efforts in community managed conservation and this volume significantly contributes to that discussion.
Conversations on the Beach
Fishermen's Knowledge, Metaphor and Environmental Change in South India
Already on the margins of an agrarian society, the marine fisherfolk of the South Indian state of Kerala are faced with a severe environmental problem: overfishing. The actions of trawlers and industrial fishing ships, it seems, have caused the resources on which they depend to dwindle rapidly. Yet what may appear to be a clear-cut case of cause, effect and responsibility turns out to be a complex issue. Local perceptions of the environment are deeply enmeshed with notions of morality, the self and people's understanding of their place in society. Overfishing is one of several environmental issues that bring into focus parallel knowledges, giving rise to contradictory views on what the problems are, whether changes are good or bad, and how they are to be remedied. As the fisherfolk confront the state, a discourse develops on what is innate to the environment, or "natural", and on what its malleability entails.
Based on ethnographic fieldwork among Hindus and Muslims in a coastal village, this book explores the fisherfolk's environmental knowledge, its transformation in a period of rapid socio-economic and political change as well as its role in dealing with the state and the science - putatively universal and objective - upon which the state's policies are claimed to be based. The book emphasises conversation as a cultural process, metaphors and figurative speech in the investigation of knowledge, as well as the use and limits of memory in conceptualising environmental change.
A Cognitive Anthropology Through Chinese Divination
Humans are unique in their ability to create systematic accounts of the world – theories based on guiding cosmological principles. This book is about the role of cognition in creating cosmologies, and explores this through the ethnography and history of Yijing divination in China. Diviners explain the cosmos in terms of a single substance, qi, unfolding across scales of increasing complexity to create natural phenomena and human experience. Combined with an understanding of human cognition, it shows how this conception of scale offers a new way for anthropologists and other social scientists to think about cosmology, comparison and cultural difference.
Crafting Chinese Memories
The Art and Materiality of Storytelling
Swancutt, K. (ed)
Through an interdisciplinary conversation with contributors from social anthropology, religious studies, film studies, literary studies, cultural studies, and history, Crafting Chinese Memories is a novel book which addresses how works of art shape memories, and offers new ways of conceptualising storytelling, memory-making, art, and materiality. It explores the memories of artists, filmmakers, novelists, storytellers, and persons who come to terms with their own histories even as they reveal the social memories of watershed events in modern China.
Creole Identity in Postcolonial Indonesia
Contributing to identity formation in ethnically and religiously diverse postcolonial societies, this book examines the role played by creole identity in Indonesia, and in particular its capital, Jakarta. While, on the one hand, it facilitates transethnic integration and promotes a specifically postcolonial sense of common nationhood due to its heterogeneous origins, creole groups of people are often perceived ambivalently in the wake of colonialism and its demise, on the other. In this book, Jacqueline Knörr analyzes the social, historical, and political contexts of creoleness both at the grassroots and the State level, showing how different sections of society engage with creole identity in order to promote collective identification transcending ethnic and religious boundaries, as well as for reasons of self-interest and ideological projects.
Subjects: Anthropology (General) Colonial History
Culture, Creation, and Procreation
Concepts of Kinship in South Asian Practice
Böck, M. & Rao, A. (eds)
As reproduction is seen as central to kinship and the biological link as the primary bond between parents and their offspring, Western perceptions of kin relations are primarily determined by ideas about "consanguinity," "genealogical relations," and "genetic connections." Advocates of cultural constructivism have taken issue with a concept that puts so much stress on heredity as being severely biased by western ideas of kinship. Ethnosociologists in particular developed alternative systems using indigenous categories. This symbolic approach has, however, been rejected by some scholars as plagued by the problems of the analytical separation of ideology from practice, of largely overlooking relations of domination, and of ignoring the questions of shared knowledge and choice. This volume offers a corrective by discussing the constitution of kinship among different communities in South Asia and addressing the relationship between ideology and practice, cultural models, and individiual strategies.
Demography and National Security
Weiner, M. & Stanton Russell, S. (eds)
Political scientists, demographers, legal scholars, and historians have come together in this volume, under the direction of the late Myron Weiner, one of the leading scholars in this field, to address three of the major sets of questions in the field of political demography: How changes in demographic variables - population size, growth, distribution, and composition - influence threats (real or perceived) to a country's political stability and security; how governments respond to demographic trends; and how governments attempt to change demographic variables in order to enhance national security.
Discerning Palates of the Past
An Ethnoarchaeological Study of Crop Cultivation and Plant Usage in India
Reddy, S. N.
This book analyzes the agricultural and pastoral infrastructure of the Mature and Late Harappan cultures (ca. 2500-1700 BC) of northwest India. The economic role of drought-resistant millet crops is reconstructed using ethnographic studies of crop processing, palaeoethnobotany, and carbon isotope analysis. Reddy reveals that simply recovering crop seeds from archaeological contexts does not confirm local crop cultivation, and she suggests that agricultural production of millet crops for human food and for animal fodder may have been economically interwoven in the Harappan civilization. New directions are provided for discerning archaeologically how pastoralism and agriculture may be integrated in complex economic systems.
Subjects: Archaeology Anthropology (General)
The Domain of Constant Excess
Plural Worship at the Munnesvaram Temples in Sri Lanka
The Sri Lankan ethnic conflict that has occurred largely between Sinhala Buddhists and Tamil Hindus is marked by a degree of religious tolerance that sees both communities worshiping together. This study describes one important site of such worship, the ancient Hindu temple complex of Munnesvaram. Standing adjacent to one of Sri Lanka's historical western ports, the fortunes of the Munnesvaram temples have waxed and waned through the years of turbulence, violence and social change that have been the country's lot since the advent of European colonialism in the Indian Ocean. Bastin recounts the story of these temples and analyses how the Hindu temple is reproduced as a center of worship amidst conflict and competition.
Youth Bulges and their Socio-political Implications in Tajikistan
Most of the Muslim societies of the world have entered a demographic transition from high to low fertility, and this process is accompanied by an increase in youth vis-à-vis other age groups. Political scientists and historians have debated whether such a “youth bulge” increases the potential for conflict or whether it represents a chance to accumulate wealth and push forward social and technological developments. This book introduces the discussion about youth bulge into social anthropology using Tajikistan, a post-Soviet country that experienced civil war in the 1990s, which is in the middle of such a demographic transition. Sophie Roche develops a social anthropological approach to analyze demographic and political dynamics, and suggests a new way of thinking about social change in youth bulge societies.
Subjects: Anthropology (General) Sociology
Living with Reindeer and Hunting among Spirits in South Siberia
Examining human-animal relations among the reindeer hunting and herding Dukha community in northern Mongolia, this book focuses on concepts such as domestication and wildness from an indigenous perspective. By looking into hunting rituals and herding techniques, the ethnography questions the dynamics between people, domesticated reindeer, and wild animals. It focuses on the role of the spirited landscape which embraces all living creatures and acts as a unifying concept at the center of the human and non-human relations.
Empathy and Healing
Essays in Medical and Narrative Anthropology
For more than three decades the author has been concerned with issues to do with emotion, suffering and healing. This volume presents ethnographic studies of South Wales, Maharashtra and post-Soviet Latvia connected by a theoretical interest in healing, emotion and subjectivity. Exploring the uses of narrative in the shaping of memory, autobiography and illness and its connections with the master narratives of history and culture, it focuses on the post-Soviet clinic as an arena in which the contradictions of a liberal economy are translated into a medical language.
Subject: Medical Anthropology
The Cultural Ecology of the Dal Lake in Kashmir, India
Casimir, M. J.
In the Himalayas of the Indian part of Kashmir three communities depend on the ecology of the Dal lake: market gardeners, houseboat owners and fishers. Floating Economies describes for the first time the complex intermeshing economy, social structure and ecology of the area against the background of history and the present volatile socio-political situation. Using a holistic and multidisciplinary approach, the author deals with the socioeconomic strategies of the communities whose livelihoods are embedded here and analyses the ecological condition of the Dal, and the reasons for its progressive degradation.
The Gaddi Beyond Pastoralism
Making Place in the Indian Himalayas
The Gaddi of North India are agro-pastoralists who rear sheep and goats following a seasonal migration around the first Himalayan range. While studies on pastoralists have focused either on the pastoralists’ adaptation to their physical environment or treated the environment from a symbolic perspective, this book offers a new, holistic perspective that analyzes the ways in which people “make” place. Based on extensive fieldwork, this book not only describes a contemporary understanding of the Gaddi’s engagement with the environment but also analyzes religious practices and performances of social relations, as well as media practices and notions of aesthetics. Thereby, the landscape in which the Gaddi live is understood as a network of places that is constantly being built and rebuilt through these local practices. The book contributes to the growing interest in approaches of practice within environmental anthropology.
God-botherers and Other True-believers
Gandhi, Hitler, and the Religious Right
Bailey, F. G.
When reason fails to guide us in our everyday lives, we turn to faith, to religion; we close our minds; we reject austere reasoning. This rejection, which is a faith-based social and intellectual malignancy, has two unfortunate consequences: it blocks the way to knowledge that might enhance the quality of life and it opens the way to charlatans who exploit the faith of others. Examining two unquestionable malignancies of “the Christian Right” in present-day politics in the United States and the “secular religion” of Hitler’s National Socialism, as well as the third, more complex case of Gandhi, the author asserts that we need religion, but we also need to make sure it does no harm.
Grace after Genocide
Cambodians in the United States
Mortland, C. A.
Grace after Genocide is the first comprehensive ethnography of Cambodian refugees, charting their struggle to transition from life in agrarian Cambodia to survival in post-industrial America, while maintaining their identities as Cambodians. The ethnography contrasts the lives of refugees who arrived in America after 1975, with their focus on Khmer traditions, values, and relations, with those of their children who, as descendants of the Khmer Rouge catastrophe, have struggled to become Americans in a society that defines them as different. The ethnography explores America’s mid-twentieth-century involvement in Southeast Asia and its enormous consequences on multiple generations of Khmer refugees.
The Hadrami Diaspora
Community-Building on the Indian Ocean Rim
The Hadramis of South Yemen and the emergence of their diasporic communities throughout the Indian Ocean region are an intriguing facet of the history of this region’s migratory patterns. In the early centuries of migration, the Yemeni, or Hadrami, traveler was both a trader and a religious missionary, making the migrant community both a “trade diaspora” and a “religious diaspora.” This tradition has continued as Hadramis around the world have been linked to networks of extremist, Islamic-inspired movements—Osama bin Laden, leader of Al Qaeda and descendant of a prominent Hadrami family, as the most infamous example. However, communities of Hadramis living outside Yemen are not homogenous. The author expertly elucidates the complexity of the diasporic process, showing how it contrasts with the conventional understanding of the Hadrami diaspora as an unchanging society with predefined cultural characteristics originating in the homeland. Exploring ethnic, social, and religious aspects, the author offers a deepened understanding of links between Yemen and Indian Ocean regions (including India, Southeast Asia, and the Horn of Africa) and the emerging international community of Muslims.
Heritage Movements in Asia
Cultural Heritage Activism, Politics, and Identity
Mozaffari, A. & Jones, T. (eds)
Heritage processes vary according to cultural, national, geographical, and historical contexts. This volume is unique in that it is dedicated to approaching the analysis of heritage through the concepts of social movements. Adapting the latest developments in the field of social movements, the chapters examine the formation, use and contestation of heritage by various official, non-official and activist players and the spaces where such ongoing negotiations and contestation take place. By bringing social movements into heritage studies, the book advocates a shift of perspective in understanding heritage, one that is no longer bound by (at times arbitrary) divisions such as those assumed between the state and people or between experts and non-experts.
Hindi Is Our Ground, English Is Our Sky
Education, Language, and Social Class in Contemporary India
A sea change has occurred in the Indian economy in the last three decades, spurring the desire to learn English. Most scholars and media venues have focused on English exclusively for its ties to processes of globalization and the rise of new employment opportunities. The pursuit of class mobility, however, involves Hindi as much as English in the vast Hindi-Belt of northern India. Schools are institutions on which class mobility depends, and they are divided by Hindi and English in the rubric of “medium,” the primary language of pedagogy. This book demonstrates that the school division allows for different visions of what it means to belong to the nation and what is central and peripheral in the nation. It also shows how the language-medium division reverberates unevenly and unequally through the nation, and that schools illustrate the tensions brought on by economic liberalization and middle-class status.
Subjects: Educational Studies Anthropology (General)
Towards a Global Ethnography of Afghanistan
Afghan society has been marked in a lasting way by war and the exodus of part of its population. While many have emigrated to countries across the world, they have been matched by the flow of experts who arrive in Afghanistan after having been in other war-torn countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Palestine or East Timor. This book builds on more than two decades of ethnographic travels in some twenty countries, bringing the readers from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran to Europe, North America and Australia. It describes the everyday life and transnational circulations of Afghan refugees and expatriates.
Honour and Violence
Gender, Power and Law in Southern Pakistan
The practice of karo kari allows family, especially fathers, brothers and sons, to take the lives of their daughters, sisters and mothers if they are accused of adultery. This volume examines the central position of karo kari in the social, political and juridical structures in Upper Sindh, Pakistan. Drawing connections between local contests over marriage and resources, Nafisa Shah unearths deep historical processes and power relations. In particular, she explores how the state justice system and informal mediations inform each other in state responses to karo kari, and how modern law is implicated in this seemingly ancient cultural practice.
Identifying with Freedom
Indonesia after Suharto
Day, T (ed)
Indonesia, a huge secular, archipelagic nation-state in Southeast Asia, is one of the world's newest democracies. Yet little is known to outsiders about this complex and fascinating country, the home of the world's largest Muslim community and the scene of recent natural disasters and violent communal struggles. Eleven scholars provide incisive critical appraisals of the leading issues and controversies facing Indonesians as they seek to build a democratic nation that is tolerant of multicultural diversity and free from imperial domination.
Subject: Theory and Methodology
Identity, Gender and Poverty
New Perspectives on Caste and Tribe in Rajasthan
Most studies of the so-called tribal communities in India stress their social, economic, and political differences from communities that are organized on the basis of caste. It was this apparent contrast between tribal and caste lifestyle and, moreover, the paucity of material on tribal groups, that motivated the author to undertake this study of a poor "tribal" community, the Girasia, in northwestern India.
While carrying out her fieldwork, the author soon became aware that the traditional tribe-caste categories needed to be revised; in fact, she found them more often than not to be constructs by outsiders, mostly academic. Of greater importance for an understanding of the Girasia was the wider and more complex issue of self-perception and identification by others that must be seen in the context of their poverty as well as in the strategic and shifting use of kinship, gender and class relations in the region.
Confronting Electoral Communism and Precarious Livelihoods in Post-Reform Kerala
In Kerala, political activists with a background in Communism are now instead asserting political demands on the basis of indigenous identity. Why did a notion of indigenous belonging come to replace the discourse of class in subaltern struggles? Indigenist Mobilization answers this question through a detailed ethnographic study of the dynamics between the Communist party and indigenist activists, and the subtle ways in which global capitalist restructuring leads to a resonance of indigenist visions in the changing everyday working lives of subaltern groups in Kerala.
Languid Bodies, Grounded Stances
The Curving Pathway of Neoclassical Odissi Dance
Widely believed to be the oldest Indian dance tradition, odissi has transformed over the centuries from a sacred temple ritual to a transnational genre performed—and consumed—throughout the world. Building on ethnographic research in multiple locations, this book charts the evolution of odissi dance and reveals the richness, rigor, and complexity of the form as it is practiced today. As author and dancer-choreographer Nandini Sikand shows, the story of odissi is ultimately a story of postcolonial India, one in which identity, nationalism, tradition, and neoliberal politics dramatically come together.
Subjects: Performance Studies Anthropology (General)
Berliner, D. & Sarró, R. (eds)
As we enter the 21st century, it becomes increasingly difficult to envisage a world detached from religion or an anthropology blind to its study. Yet, how people become religious is still poorly studied. This volume gathers some of the most distinguished scholars in the field to offer a new perspective for the study of religion, one that examines the works of transmission and innovation through the prism of learning. They argue that religious culture is socially and dynamically constructed by agents who are not mere passive recipients but engaged in active learning processes. Finding a middle way between the social and the cognitive, they see learning religions not as a mechanism of “downloading” but also as a social process with its relational dimension.
The Link with Nature and Divine Meditations in Asia
Formoso, B. (ed)
Peasant societies in many parts of the world regulate their relationship with the natural environment through earth gods who anchor a group of families not in genealogical terms, as in the case of ancestors, but in ecological terms. The articles in this volume illustrate the role of, and the cultural activities surrounding, the earth gods in rural communities in Asian societies. More specifically, they show that, within the Asian context, it is possible to differentiate between two modes representing the earth gods and the relationship with nature, i.e., one that corresponds to state societies and the other to tribal ones.
Local Science Vs Global Science
Approaches to Indigenous Knowledge in International Development
Sillitoe, P. (ed)
While science has achieved a remarkable understanding of nature, affording humans an astonishing technological capability, it has led, through Euro-American global domination, to the muting of other cultural views and values, even threatening their continued existence. There is a growing realization that the diversity of knowledge systems demand respect, some refer to them in a conservation idiom as alternative information banks. The scientific perspective is only one. We now have many examples of the soundness of local science and practices, some previously considered “primitive” and in need of change, but this book goes beyond demonstrating the soundness of local science and arguing for the incorporation of others’ knowledge in development, to argue that we need to look quizzically at the foundations of science itself and further challenge its hegemony, not only over local communities in Africa, Asia, the Pacific or wherever, but also the global community. The issues are large and the challenges are exciting, as addressed in this book, in a range of ethnographic and institutional contexts.
Louis Dumont and Hierarchical Opposition
The work of Louis Dumont, who died in 1998, on India and modern individualism represented certain theoretical advances on the earlier structuralism of Claude Lévi-Strauss. One such advance is Dumont's idea of hierarchical opposition, which he proposed as a truer representation of indigenous ideologies than Lévi-Strauss's binary opposition. In this book the author argues that, although structuralism is often thought to have gone out of fashion, Dumont's greater concern with praxis and agency makes his own version of structuralism more contemporary. The work of his followers and fellow travelers, as well as his own, indicates that hierarchical opposition is capable of taking structuralism in new and more realistic directions, reminding us that it has never been the preserve of Lévi-Strauss alone.
Subjects: Theory and Methodology Sociology
A Lover's Quarrel with the Past
Romance, Representation, Reading
Although not a professional historian, the author raises several issues pertinent to the state of history today. Qualifying the ‘non-historian’ as an ‘able’ interventionist in historical studies, the author explores the relationship between history and theory within the current epistemological configurations and refigurations. He asks how history transcends the obsessive ‘linguistic’ turn, which has been hegemonizing literary/discourse analysis, and focuses greater attention on historical experience and where history stands in relation to our understanding of ethics, religion and the current state of global politics that underlines the manipulation and abuse of history.
Subject: History (General)
Making Things Happen
Community Participation and Disaster Reconstruction in Pakistan
Murphy Thomas, J.
Drawing on the Pakistan Earthquake Reconstruction and Recovery Project (PERRP), this volume explores the sociocultural side of post-disaster infrastructure reconstruction. As the latter is often fraught with delays and even abandonment—one cause being ineffective interactions between construction and local people—PERRP used anthropological and participatory approaches. Along with strong construction management, such approaches led to the rebuilding being completed on time. As disasters are increasing in number and intensity, so too will be the need for reconstruction, for which PERRP has lessons to offer.
Subjects: Applied Anthropology Development Studies
Get-Rich-Quick Schemes in Siberia
Multilevel marketing and pyramid schemes promote the idea that participants can easily become rich. These popular economies turn ordinary people into advocates of their interests and missionaries of the American Dream. Marketing Hope looks at how different types of get-rich-quick schemes manifest themselves in a Siberian town. By focusing on their social dynamics, Leonie Schiffauer provides insights into how capitalist logic is learned and negotiated, and how it affects local realities in a post-Soviet environment.
A Matter of Belief
Christian Conversion and Healing in North-East India
‘Nagaland for Christ’ and ‘Jesus Saves’ are familiar slogans prominently displayed on public transport and celebratory banners in Nagaland, north-east India. They express an idealization of Christian homogeneity that belies the underlying tensions and negotiations between Christian and non-Christian Naga. This religious division is intertwined with that of healing beliefs and practices, both animistic and biomedical. This study focuses on the particular experiences of the Angami Naga, one of the many Naga peoples. Like other Naga, they are citizens of the state of India but extend ethnolinguistically into Tibeto-Burman south-east Asia. This ambiguity and how it affects their Christianity, global involvement, indigenous cultural assertiveness and nationalist struggle is explored. Not simply describing continuity through change, this study reveals the alternating Christian and non-Christian streams of discourse, one masking the other but at different times and in different guises.
Everyday Machines in Colonial Sri Lanka
Everyday life in the Crown colony of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) was characterized by a direct encounter of people with modernity through the consumption and use of foreign machines – in particular, the Singer sewing machine, but also the gramophone, tramway, bicycle and varieties of industrial equipment. The ‘metallic modern’ of the 19th and early 20th century Ceylon encompassed multiple worlds of belonging and imagination; and enabled diverse conceptions of time to coexist through encounters with Siam, the United States and Japan as well as a new conception of urban space in Colombo. Metallic Modern describes the modern as it was lived and experienced by non-elite groups – tailors, seamstresses, shopkeepers, workers – and suggests that their idea of the modern was nurtured by a changing material world.
Prostituting Children in Thailand
Child prostitution became one of the key concerns of the international community in the 1990s. World congresses were held, international and national laws were changed and concern over "cemmercially sexually exploited children" rose dramatically. Rarely, however, were the children who worked as prostitutes consulted of questioned in this process, and the voices of these children brought into focus. This book is the first to address the children directly, to examine their daily lives, their motivations and their perceptions of what they do. Based on 15 months of fieldwork in a Thai tourist community that survived through child prostitution, this book draws on anthropological theories on childhood and kinship to contextualize the experiences of this group of Thai child prostitutes and to contrast these with the stereotypes held of them by those outside their community.
Subject: Medical Anthropology
Natufian Foragers in the Levant
Terminal Pleistocene Social Changes in Western Asia
Bar-Yosef, O. & Calla, F. R.
This large volume presents virtually all aspects of the Epipalaeolithic Natufian culture in a series of chapters that cover recent results of field work, analyses of materials and sites, and synthetic or interpretive overviews of various aspects of this important prehistoric culture.
News as Culture
Journalistic Practices and the Remaking of Indian Leadership Traditions
At the turn of the millennium, Indian journalism has undergone significant changes. The rapid commercialization of the press, together with an increase in literacy and political consciousness, has led to swift growth in the newspaper market but also changed the way news makers mediate politics. Positioned at a historical junction where India is clearly feeling the effects of market liberalization, this study demonstrates how journalists and informants interactively create new forms of political action and consciousness. The book explores English and Hindi newsmaking and investigates the creation of news relations during the production process and how they affect political images and leadership traditions. It moves beyond the news-room to outline the role of journalists in urban society, the social lives of news texts and the way citizens bring their ideas and desires to bear on the news discourse.
This important volume contributes to an emerging debate about the impact of the media on Indian society. Furthermore, it convincingly demonstrates the inseparable link between media related practices and dynamic cultural repertoires.
Subjects: Media Studies Anthropology (General)
Orientpolitik, Value, and Civilization
Adler, J. & Fardon, R. (eds) (Steiner, F.)
This is the first collection of Franz Steiner's keynote papers on comparative economics and the classification of labor,complemented by major unpublished texts on politics, civilization, and cultural criticism. This enables a complete re-evaluation of Steiner's thought. His ideas on truth, value, and civilization are highly critical of Western culture and offer perhaps the earliest critique of Orientalism in British anthropology. Equally significant is the inclusion of Steiner's unpublished lectures on Aristotle and Simmel, the latter probably being the first lecture series devoted to Simmel's ideas by a British-based anthropologist, as well as hitherto unedited political writings.
Another side to Steiner's thought is shown by his aphorisms, often caustic texts and newly translated from the German, as well as by verse translations of his poems relevant to his scholarship. These include an extract from his autobiographical poem, "Conquest", that places his anthropological writings into a personal and ultimately religious framework.A detailed introduction, based on new research, provides a thorough study of Steiner's ideas and establishes the wider intellectual context, thus rounding off a most remarkable collection of texts by one of the most remarkable anthropologists of this century.
Subjects: Theory and Methodology
Memories of Migration to and from North Korea
In this unique and insightful book, Markus Bell explores the hidden histories of the men, women, and children who traveled from Japan to the world’s most secretive state—North Korea. Through vivid ethnographic details and interviews with North Korean escapees, Outsiders: Memories of Migration to and from North Korea reveals the driving forces that propelled thousands of ordinary people to risk it all in Kim Il-Sung’s “Worker’s Paradise”, only to escape back to Japan half a century later.
The Partial Revolution
Labour, Social Movements and the Invisible Hand of Mao in Western Nepal
Located in the far-western Tarai region of Nepal, Kailali has been the site of dynamic social and political change in recent history. The Partial Revolution examines Kailali in the aftermath of Nepal’s Maoist insurgency, critically examining the ways in which revolutionary political mobilization changes social relations—often unexpectedly clashing with the movement’s ideological goals. Focusing primarily on the end of Kailali’s feudal system of bonded labor, Hoffmann explores the connection between politics, labor, and Mao’s legacy, documenting the impact of changing political contexts on labor relations among former debt-bonded laborers.
The Patient Multiple
An Ethnography of Healthcare and Decision-Making in Bhutan
In the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, medical patients engage a variety of healing practices to seek cures for their ailments. Patients use the expanding biomedical network and a growing number of traditional healthcare units, while also seeking alternative practices, such as shamanism and other religious healing, or even more provocative practices. The Patient Multiple delves into this healthcare complexity in the context of patients’ daily lives and decision-making processes, showing how these unique mountain cultures are finding new paths to good health among a changing and multifaceted medical topography.
Patients and Agents
Mental Illness, Modernity and Islam in Sylhet, Bangladesh
Sylhet, the area of Bangladesh most closely associated with overseas migration, has seen an increase in remittances sent home from abroad, introducing new inequalities. Social change has also been mediated by the global forces of Western biomedicine and orthodox Islam. This book examines the effects of these modernizing trends on mental health and on local, traditional healing as the new inequalities have exacerbated existing social tensions and led to increased vulnerability to mental illness. It is the young women of Sylhet who are most affected. The global economy has increased competition for resources and led to marriage being seen as a route to economic advancement. Parents prefer to give their daughters in marriage to families that will widen their social contacts and enhance their economic and social standing. Accordingly, the young wife’s outsider status (and hence vulnerability to mental illness) has increased as it is no longer customary to give daughters in marriage to local kin. Yet, patients and their families do not work out tensions passively. They are active agents in the construction of their own diagnosis. The extent to which patients act or are acted upon is an investigation that runs throughout the book.
Patrons of Women
Literacy Projects and Gender Development in Rural Nepal
Assuming that women’s empowerment would accelerate the pace of social change in rural Nepal, the World Bank urged the Nepali government to undertake a “Gender Activities Project” within an ongoing long-term water-engineering scheme. The author, an anthropologist specializing in bureaucratic organizations and gender studies, was hired to monitor the project. Analyzing her own experience as a practicing “development expert,” she demonstrates that the professed goal of “women’s empowerment” is a pretext for promoting economic organizational goals and the interests of local elites. She shows how a project intended to benefit women, through teaching them literary and agricultural skills, fails to provide them with any of the promised resources. Going beyond the conventional analysis that positions aid givers vis-à-vis powerless victimized recipients, she draws attention to the complexity of the process and the active role played by the Nepalese rural women who pursue their own interests and aspirations within this unequal world. The book makes an important contribution to the growing critique of “development” projects and of women’s development projects in particular.
Medicine and Social Change among Tibetan Refugees in India
Through an ethnography of the social and medical worlds of a community of Tibetan refugees in India, this book addresses two main questions: first, how has the prolonged displacement of Tibetan refugees affected concepts of health in the exile community? Second, how has exile changed traditional Tibetan medical practices? It explores how social changes linked to exile have influenced concepts of health and illness in the Tibetan refugee community of Dharamsala and by looking at recent changes in the theory and practice of traditional Tibetan medicine investigates the role of traditional Tibetan medicine in sustaining public health in the exile community.
Resistance and the State
There has been growing concern about "failed states" around the world, and since the massacre of the Royal family in Nepal in 2001 increasing media attention has focused on the decline of the state and the rise of the Maoist rebels in this Himalayan kingdom where so many Westerners have taken trekking vacations. Development was always going to be a problem in Nepal, but few predicted the precipitous collapse of the state in rural areas in the face of the Maoist insurgency beginning in 1996 due, to a large extent, to the failure of the state to deliver promised development and benefits; instead, it became more and more authoritarian, even oppressive. Exploring the complex relationship between a modernizing, developmentalist state and the people it professes to represent, these fascinating and readable accounts of ordinary people's lives depict the various contexts out of which the Maoist insurgency grew.
Subjects: Anthropology (General)
The Return of Polyandry
Kinship and Marriage in Central Tibet
Fjeld, H. E.
Tibet is known for its broad range of marriage practices, particularly polyandry, where two or more brothers share one wife. With economic development and massive Chinese social and political reforms, including new marriage laws prohibiting plural marriages, polyandry was expected to disappear from Tibetan social lives. This book describes the surprising increase in polyandry in Panam valley during the 1980s. It explores married lives in polyandrous houses and develops a theory of a flexible kinship of potentiality through the lens of a farming village in Tibet Autonomous Region. It is the first book-length ethnography to explore kinship and marriage in Tibet under Chinese rule.
Sacred Places, Emerging Spaces
Religious Pluralism in the Post-Soviet Caucasus
Darieva, T., Mühlfried, F., & Tuite, K. (eds)
Though long-associated with violence, the Caucasus is a region rich with religious conviviality. Based on fresh ethnographies in Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the Russian Federation, Sacred Places, Emerging Spaces discusses vanishing and emerging sacred places in the multi-ethnic and multi-religious post-Soviet Caucasus. In exploring the effects of de-secularization, growing institutional control over hybrid sacred sites, and attempts to review social boundaries between the religious and the secular, these essays give way to an emergent Caucasus viewed from the ground up: dynamic, continually remaking itself, within shifting and indefinite frontiers.
The Silk Roads
Highways of Culture and Commerce
Towards the middle of the 20th century, scholarly research revealed that the fabled Silk Roads, far from being mere trade routes, were cultural highways that played a pivotal role in linking east and west, intermittently bringing together nomads and city dwellers, pastoral peoples and farmers, merchants and monks, and soldiers and pilgrims. The notion of movement is therefore central to an understanding of the relations between peoples; it is also the factor of which specialists have, for various reasons, not taken sufficient account. It is in this context that the Silk Roads Project, initiated by UNESCO, assumes its significance. It has proved very fruitful and led to a large variety of projects of which this volume presents a selection. Although the papers collected here are wide-ranging, they reveal the emergence of the concept of a common heritage and plural identity. The studies carried out under the Project have shown that identity, seen from a long-term perspective, cannot be viewed as a ghetto or an enclosure, but as the result of a whole process of synthesis and encounter between peoples and cultures. (from the Introduction)
Subject: History (General)
Staying at Home
Identities, Memories and Social Networks of Kazakhstani Germans
Despite economic growth in Kazakhstan, more than 80 per cent of Kazakhstan’s ethnic Germans have emigrated to Germany to date. Disappointing experiences of the migrants, along with other aspects of life in Germany, have been transmitted through transnational networks to ethnic Germans still living in Kazakhstan. Consequently, Germans in Kazakhstan today feel more alienated than ever from their ‘historic homeland’. This book explores the interplay of those memories, social networks and state policies, which play a role in the ‘construction’ of a Kazakhstani German identity.
Taboo, Truth and Religion
Adler, J. & Fardon, R. (eds) (Steiner, F.)
Franz Steiner's study of Taboo is internationally recognized as a classic in its field. In a newly researched introductory chapter, based on a thorough study of Steiner's unpublished papers, this edition for the first time places the book in its context and offers a new reading of the text. More than just a critique of existing taboo theories, as it has often been seen, this study offers a profound analysis of danger behavior and pollution in "non-civilized" societies. This provided an important starting-point for Mary Douglas' Purity and Danger. A key aspect of Steiner's achievement lies in his attempt to reconcile detailed, faithful ethnographic analysis with anthropological comparison. His analysis of taboo thus provides a case study with wide-ranging ramifications.
This new edition makes a classic text available once again to students and general readers. A major new introduction based on archival research offers, for the first time, a biography and critical study of Franz Steiner; it not only places him in the context of British and European thought but also shows his importance for contemporary debates, among them deconstruction and Orientalism.
A Tamil Asylum Diaspora
Sri Lankan Migration, Settlement and Politics in Switzerland
During twelve years of ethno-nationalist secessionist violence in the north and east of Sri Lanka, insurrection in the south, and island-wide state repression, many Tamils were forced to seek political asylum overseas. At least 200,000 Tamils, primarily from the Jaffna Peninsula, have escaped to Europe of whom ca. 25,000 (the largest group relative to the population) have settled in Switzerland, the focus of this study. The author examines the conditions in Sri Lanka that led to the flight, the phases and technicalities of the emigration and resettlement in Switzerland. Based on anthropological fieldwork and on completely new archival material, the author not only looks at the development of the Tamil community in all its diversity but also at the impact of federal and cantonal policy and practice, at the economic situation and broader changes in Switzerland which led to demands for reforms to the country's asylum and immigration rules. In this respect, Switzerland set an example that other governments were soon to follow.
Thai in Vitro
Gender, Culture and Assisted Reproduction
In Thailand, infertility remains a source of stigma for those couples that combine a range of religious, traditional and high-tech interventions in their quest for a child. This book explores this experience of infertility and the pursuit and use of assisted reproductive technologies by Thai couples. Though using assisted reproductive technologies is becoming more acceptable in Thai society, access to and choices about such technologies are mediated by differences in class position. These stories of women and men in private and public infertility clinics reveal how local social and moral sensitivities influence the practices and meanings of treatment.
Tibetans in Nepal
The Dynamics of International Assistance among a Community in Exile
Based on eighteen months of field research conducted in exile carpet factories, settlement camps, monasteries, and schools in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, as well as in Dharamsala, India and Lhasa, Tibet, this book offers an important contribution to the debate on the impact of international assistance on migrant communities. The author explores the ways in which Tibetan exiles in Nepal negotiate their norms and values as they interact with the many international organizations that assist them, and comes to the conclusion that, as beneficial as aid agency assistance often is, it also complicates the Tibetans' efforts to define themselves as a community.
Time and History
The Variety of Cultures
Rüsen, J. (ed)
This series aims at bridging the gap between historical theory and the study of historical memory as well as western and non-western concepts, for which this volume offers a particularly good example. It explores cultural differences in conceptualizing time and history in countries such as China, Japan, and India as well as pre-modern societies.
Secular Activism and the Politics of Difference in South India
Exploring lived atheism in the South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, this book offers a unique insight into India’s rapidly transforming multi-religious society. It explores the social, cultural, and aesthetic challenges faced by a movement of secular activists in their endeavors to establish atheism as a practical and comprehensive way of life. On the basis of original ethnographic material and engaged conceptual analysis, Total Atheism develops an alternative to Eurocentric accounts of secularity and critically revisits central themes of South Asian scholarship from the hitherto marginalized vantage point of radically secular and explicitly irreligious atheists in India.
Tourism, Magic and Modernity
Cultivating the Human Garden
Drawing from extended fieldwork in La Réunion, in the Indian Ocean, the author suggests an innovative re-reading of different concepts of magic that emerge in the global cultural economics of tourism. Following the making and unmaking of the tropical island tourism destination of La Réunion, he demonstrates how destinations are transformed into magical pleasure gardens in which human life is cultivated for tourist consumption. Like a gardener would cultivate flowers, local development policy, nature conservation, and museum initiatives dramatise local social life so as to evoke modernist paradigms of time, beauty and nature. Islanders who live in this 'human garden' are thus placed in the ambivalent role of 'human flowers', embodying ideas of authenticity and biblical innocence, but also of history and social life in perpetual creolisation.
Subjects: Travel and Tourism Anthropology (General)
Traumatic Pasts in Asia
History, Psychiatry, and Trauma from the 1930s to the Present
Micale, M. S. & Pols, H. (eds)
In the early twenty-first century, trauma is seemingly everywhere, whether as experience, diagnosis, concept, or buzzword. Yet even as many scholars consider trauma to be constitutive of psychological modernity or the post-Enlightenment human condition, historical research on the topic has overwhelmingly focused on cases, such as World War I or the Holocaust, in which Western experiences and actors are foregrounded. There remains an urgent need to incorporate the methods and insights of recent historical trauma research into a truly global perspective. The chapters in Traumatic Pasts in Asia make just such an intervention, extending Euro-American paradigms of traumatic experience to new sites of world-historical suffering and, in the process, exploring how these new domains of research inform and enrich earlier scholarship.
Unearthing the Past to Forge the Future
Colin Mackenzie, the Early Colonial State, and the Comprehensive Survey of India
For much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the British East India Company consolidated its rule over India, evolving from a trading venture to a colonial administrative force. Yet its territorial gains far outpaced its understanding of the region and the people who lived there, and its desperate efforts to gain knowledge of the area led to the 1815 appointment of army officer Colin Mackenzie as the first Surveyor General of India. This volume carefully reconstructs the life and career of Mackenzie, showing how the massive survey of India that he undertook became one of the most spectacular and wide-ranging knowledge production initiatives in British colonial history.
Subjects: Colonial History History: 18th/19th Century
Love and the Culture of Dementia Care in India
As life expectancy increases in India, the number of people living with dementia will also rise. Yet little is known about how people in India cope with dementia, how relationships and identities change through illness and loss. In addressing this question, this book offers a rich ethnographic account of how middle-class families in urban India care for their relatives with dementia. From the husband who wakes up at 3 am to feed his wife ice-cream to the daughters who gave up employment for seven years to care for their mother with dementia, this book illuminates the local idioms on dementia and aging, the personal experience of care-giving, the functioning of stigma in daily life, and the social and cultural barriers in accessing support.
Subject: Medical Anthropology
A Political Ecology of India's Northeast
Karlsson, B. G.
The questions that inspired this study are central to contemporary research within environmental anthropology, political ecology, and environmental history: How does the introduction of a modern, capitalist, resource regime affect the livelihood of indigenous peoples? Can sustainable resource management be achieved in a situation of radical commodification> of land and other aspects of nature? Focusing on conflicts relating to forest management, mining, and land rights, the author offers an insightful account of present-day challenges for indigenous people to accommodate aspirations for ethnic sovereignty and development.
Variations on Uzbek Identity
Strategic Choices, Cognitive Schemas and Political Constraints in Identification Processes
Throughout its history the concept of “Uzbekness,” or more generally of a Turkic-speaking sedentary population, has continuously attracted members of other groups to join, as being Uzbek promises opportunities to enlarge ones social network. Accession is comparatively easy, as Uzbekness is grounded in a cultural model of territoriality, rather than genealogy, as the basis for social attachments. It acknowledges regional variation and the possibility of membership by voluntary decision. Therefore, the boundaries of being Uzbek vary almost by definition, incorporating elements of local languages, cultural patterns and social organization. This book combines an historical analysis with thorough ethnographic field research, looking at differences in the conceptualization of group boundaries and the social practices they entail. It does so by analysing decision-making processes by Uzbeks on the individual as well as cognitive level and the political configurations that surround them.
Subjects: Anthropology (General) History (General) Sociology
'Gurkhas' in the Western Imagination
Of late, there has been a growing interest in how non-Western peoples have been and continue to be depicted in the literatures of the West. In anthropology, attention has focused on the range of literary devices employed in ethnographic texts to distance and exoticize the subjects of discourse, and ultimately contribute to their subordination. This study eschews the tendency to regard virtually all depictions of non-Western "others" as amenable to the same kinds of "orientalist" analysis, and argues that the portrayals found in such writings must be examined in their particular historical and political settings.
These themes are explored by analyzing the voluminous literature by military authors who have written and continue to write about the "Gurkhas", those legendary soldiers from Nepal who have served in Britain's Imperial and post-Imperial armies for more than two centuries. The author discovers that, instead of exoticizing them, the military writers find in their subjects the quintessential virtues of the European officers themselves: the Gurkhas appear as warriors and gentlemen. However, the author does not rest here: utilizing a wealth of literary, historical, ethnographic sources and the results of his own fieldwork, he investigates the wider social and cultural contexts in which the European chroniclers of the Gurkhas have been nurtured.
Subject: Anthropology (General)
Weathering the World
Recovery in the Wake of the Tsunami in a Tamil Fishing Village
The Asian tsunami in December 2004 severely affected people in coastal regions all around the Indian Ocean. This book provides the first in-depth ethnography of the disaster and its effects on a fishing village in Tamil Nadu, India. The author explores how the villagers have lived with the tsunami in the years succeeding it and actively worked to gradually regain a sense of certainty and confidence in their environment in the face of disempowering disaster. What appears is a remarkable local recovery process in which the survivors have interwoven the tsunami and the everyday in a series of subtle practices and theorisations, resulting in a complex and continuous recreation of village life. By showing the composite nature of the tsunami as an event, the book adds new theoretical insight into the anthropology of natural disaster and recovery.
When Things Become Property
Land Reform, Authority and Value in Postsocialist Europe and Asia
Sikor, T., Dorondel, S., Stahl, J. & Xuan To, P.
Governments have conferred ownership titles to many citizens throughout the world in an effort to turn things into property. Almost all elements of nature have become the target of property laws, from the classic preoccupation with land to more ephemeral material, such as air and genetic resources. When Things Become Property interrogates the mixed outcomes of conferring ownership by examining postsocialist land and forest reforms in Albania, Romania and Vietnam, and finds that property reforms are no longer, if they ever were, miracle tools available to governments for refashioning economies, politics or environments.
Where Are All Our Sheep?
Kyrgyzstan, A Global Political Arena
After the collapse of the USSR, Kyrgyzstan chose a path of economic and political liberalization. Only a few years later, however, the country ceased producing anything of worth and developed a dependence on the outside world, particularly on international aid. Its principal industry, sheep breeding, was decimated by reforms suggested by international institutions providing assistance. Virtually annihilated by privatization of the economy and deserted by Moscow, the Kyrgyz have turned this economic “opening up” into a subtle strategy to capture all manner of resources from abroad. In this study, the author describes the encounters, sometimes comical and tinged with incomprehension, between the local population and the well-meaning foreigners who came to reform them.
Subjects: Anthropology (General) Development Studies
Where There Is No Midwife
Birth and Loss in Rural India
In the Sitapurdistrict of Uttar Pradesh, an agricultural region with high rates of infant mortality, maternal health services are poor while family planning efforts are intensive. By following the daily lives of women in this setting, the author considers the women’s own experiences of birth and infant death, their ways of making-do, and the hierarchies they create and contend with. This book develops an approach to the care that focuses on emotion, domestic spaces, illicit and extra-institutional biomedicine, and household and neighborly relations that these women are able to access. It shows that, as part of the concatenation of affect and access, globalized moralities about reproduction are dependent on ambiguous ideas about caste. Through the unfolding of birth and death, a new vision of "untouchability" emerges that is integral to visions of progress.
Who Owns the Stock?
Collective and Multiple Property Rights in Animals
Khazanov, A. M. & Schlee, G. (eds)
The issue of collective and multiple property rights in animals, such as cattle, camels or reindeers, among pastoralists has never been a subject of special cross-cultural and comparative study. Focusing on pastoralist societies in East and West Africa, the Far North and Siberia, and the Eurasian steppes, this volume addresses the issue of property rights and the changes these societies have undergone due to the direct or indirect influence of modernization and globalization processes. The contributors also investigate the interplay of older sets of rights and modern marketing policies; political, ecological and economic effects of collectivization and de-collectivization; the existence of collective and private property in the Soviet Union and its successor states; state taxation and destocking measures in African dry lands; and the effects of quarantine, as well as import and export regulations. The rich and well-researched ethnographic, historical, and economic data in these chapters provides new theoretical insights into the matter of property rights in animals.
Wind Over Water
Migration in an East Asian Context
Haines, D. W., Yamanaka, K. & Yamashita, S. (eds)
Providing a comprehensive treatment of a full range of migrant destinies in East Asia by scholars from both Asia and North America, this volume captures the way migrants are changing the face of Asia, especially in cities, such as Beijing, Hong Kong, Hamamatsu, Osaka, Tokyo, and Singapore. It investigates how the crossing of geographical boundaries should also be recognized as a crossing of cultural and social categories that reveals the extraordinary variation in the migrants’ origins and trajectories. These migrants span the spectrum: from Korean bar hostesses in Osaka to African entrepreneurs in Hong Kong, from Vietnamese women seeking husbands across the Chinese border to Pakistani Muslim men marrying women in Japan, from short-term business travelers in China to long-term tourists from Japan who ultimately decide to retire overseas. Illuminating the ways in which an Asian-based analysis of migration can yield new data on global migration patterns, the contributors provide important new theoretical insights for a broader understanding of global migration, and innovative methodological approaches to the spatial and temporal complexity of human migration.
World Heritage Craze in China
Universal Discourse, National Culture, and Local Memory
There is a World Heritage Craze in China. China claims to have the longest continuous civilization in the world and is seeking recognition from UNESCO. This book explores three dimensions of the UNESCO World Heritage initiative with particular relevance for China: the universal agenda, the national practices, and the local responses. With a sociological lens, this book offers comprehensive insights into World Heritage, as well as China’s deep social, cultural, and political structures.