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.
Subject: General Anthropology
The Anti-Social Contract
Injurious Talk and Dangerous Exchanges in Northern Mongolia
Set in a remote district of villagers and nomadic pastoralists in the northernmost part of Mongolia, this book introduces a local world where social relationships are cast in witchcraft-like idioms of mistrust and suspicion. While the apparent social breakdown that followed the collapse of state socialism in Mongolia often implied a chaotic lack of social cohesion, this ethnography reveals an everyday universe where uncertain relations are as much internally cultivated in indigenous Mongolian perceptions of social relatedness, as they are externally confronted in postsocialist surroundings of unemployment and diminished social security.
Subjects: Sociology General Anthropology
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.
Subjects: Religion General Anthropology
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.
Subjects: Political Economy General Anthropology
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 Position, Power, and Plasticity of Chinese Medicine in Singapore
Smith, A. A.
Since the turn of the century Singapore has sustained a reputation for both austere governance and cutting-edge biomedical facilities and research. Seeking to emphasize Singapore’s capacity for “modern medicine” and strengthen their burgeoning biopharmaceutical industry, this image has explicitly excluded Chinese medicine – despite its tremendous popularity amongst Singaporeans from all walks of life, and particularly amongst Singapore’s ethnic Chinese majority. This book examines the use and practice of Chinese medicine in Singapore, especially in everyday life, and contributes to anthropological debates regarding the post-colonial intersection of knowledge, identity, and governmentality, and to transnational studies of Chinese medicine as a permeable, plural, and fluid practice.
Subjects: Medical Anthropology General Anthropology
China in Oceania
Reshaping the Pacific?
Wesley-Smith, T. & Porter, E. (eds)
It is important to see China’s activities in the Pacific Islands, not just in terms of a specific set of interests, but in the context of Beijing’s recent efforts to develop a comprehensive and global foreign policy. China’s policy towards Oceania is part of a much larger outreach to the developing world, a major work in progress that involves similar initiatives in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. This groundbreaking study of China’s “soft power” initiatives in these countries offers, for the first time, the diverse perspectives of scholars and diplomats from Oceania, North American, China, and Japan. It explores such issues as regional competition for diplomatic and economic ties between Taiwan and China, the role of overseas Chinese in developing these relationships, and various analyses of the benefits and drawbacks of China’s growing presence in Oceania. In addition, the reader obtains a rare review of the Japanese response to China’s role in Oceania, presented by Japan’s leading scholar of the Pacific region.
Subject: Political Economy
'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.
Confronting Domicide in Rural China
Chinese citizens make themselves at home despite economic transformation, political rupture, and domestic dislocation in the contemporary countryside. By mobilizing labor and kinship to make claims over homes, people, and things, rural residents withstand devaluation and confront dispossession. As a particular configuration of red capitalism and socialist sovereignty takes root, this process challenges the relationship between the politics of place and the location of class in China and beyond.
Subject: General Anthropology
Communities of Complicity
Everyday Ethics in Rural China
Everyday life in contemporary rural China is characterized by an increased sense of moral challenge and uncertainty. Ordinary people often find themselves caught between the moral frameworks of capitalism, Maoism and the Chinese tradition. This ethnographic study of the village of Zhongba (in Hubei Province, central China) is an attempt to grasp the ethical reflexivity of everyday life in rural China. Drawing on descriptions of village life, interspersed with targeted theoretical analyses, the author examines how ordinary people construct their own senses of their lives and their futures in everyday activities: building houses, working, celebrating marriages and funerals, gambling and dealing with local government. The villagers confront moral uncertainty; they creatively harmonize public discourse and local practice; and sometimes they resolve incoherence and unease through the use of irony. In so doing, they perform everyday ethics and re-create transient moral communities at a time of massive social dislocation.
Subject: General Anthropology
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
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.
Subject: General Anthropology
Elite Malay Polygamy
Wives, Wealth and Woes in Malaysia
Zeitzen, M. K.
Elite Malay women’s polygamy narratives are multiple and varied, and their sentiments regarding the practice are conflicted, as they are often torn between personal and religious convictions. This volume explores the ways in which this increasingly prominent practice impacts Malay gender relations. As Muslims, elite Malay women may be forced to accept polygamy, but they mostly condemn it as women and wives, as it forces them to manage their lives and loves under the “threat” of polygamy from a husband able to marry another woman without their knowledge or consent; a husband that is married but available.
Subjects: General Anthropology Sociology Gender Studies
Engaging the Spirit World
Popular Beliefs and Practices in Modern Southeast Asia
Endres, K. W. & Lauser, A. (eds)
In many parts of the contemporary world, spirit beliefs and practices have taken on a pivotal role in addressing the discontinuities and uncertainties of modern life. The myriad ways in which devotees engage the spirit world show the tremendous creative potential of these practices and their innate adaptability to changing times and circumstances. Through in-depth anthropological case studies from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam, the contributors to this book investigate the role and impact of different social, political, and economic dynamics in the reconfiguration of local spirit worlds in modern Southeast Asia. Their findings contribute to the re-enchantment debate by revealing that the “spirited modernities” that have emerged in the process not only embody a distinct feature of the contemporary moment, but also invite a critical rethinking of the concept of modernity itself.
Subjects: General Anthropology Religion
Fate Calculation Experts
Diviners Seeking Legitimation in Contemporary China
Having long been stigmatized as an immoral and even illegal “superstition”, the popular practice of divination is experiencing a revival in contemporary China. Fate Calculation Experts explores how diviners attempt to achieve legitimation in a society which identifies strongly with modernity, science, and rationality. As well as associating with modern knowledge production systems, diviners build a positive social image for their occupation via claims to moral authority and appeals to “tradition”. Beyond matters of image management, diviners’ efforts towards legitimation also figure in the social relationships and fundamental cultural values they develop in their practice.
Subjects: General Anthropology Religion
Forced from the Forest
Mobile Indigenous Peoples, Gender Equality and the Forest Rights Act
Access to justice remains uneven and sometimes elusive for indigenous peoples displaced from ancestral lands. While the Forest Rights Act of India enhanced land security for forest peoples, justice is subverted by several factors: a legal chronology of land expropriation from colonial occupation, contemporary extractive neoliberal policies, and unjust governance. Gender inequalities and legal violations further marginalize indigenous peoples, compounding their forced migration. Nevertheless, the Forest Rights Act also revolutionized the potential to challenge displacement and support indigenous empowerment. This research establishes a new analytical framework contextualizing control of indigenous forest land rights through access to justice.
Fortune and the Cursed
The Sliding Scale of Time in Mongolian Divination
Innovation-making is a classic theme in anthropology that reveals how people fine-tune their ontologies, live in the world and conceive of it as they do. This ethnographic study is an entrance into the world of Buryat Mongol divination, where a group of cursed shamans undertake the ‘race against time’ to produce innovative remedies that will improve their fallen fortunes at an unconventional pace. Drawing on parallels between social anthropology and chaos theory, the author gives an in-depth account of how Buryat shamans and their notion of fortune operate as ‘strange attractors’ who propagate the ongoing process of innovation-making. With its view into this long-term ‘cursing war’ between two shamanic factions in a rural Mongolian district, and the comparative findings on cursing in rural China, this book is a needed resource for anyone with an interest in the anthropology of religion, shamanism, witchcraft and genealogical change.
Subjects: Medical Anthropology Religion
The Conundrum of Cultural Difference, From Tunisia to Japan
Foucault lived in Tunisia for two years and travelled to Japan and Iran more than once. Yet throughout his critical scholarship, he insisted that the cultures of the “Orient” constitute the “limit” of Western rationality. Using archival research supplemented by interviews with key scholars in Tunisia, Japan and France, this book examines the philosophical sources, evolution as well as contradictions of Foucault’s experience with non-Western cultures. Beyond tracing Foucault’s journey into the world of otherness, the book reveals the personal, political as well as methodological effects of a radical conception of cultural difference that extolled the local over the cosmopolitan.
Globalization in Southeast Asia
Local, National, and Transnational Perspectives
Yamashita, S. & Eades, J.S. (eds)
The rapid postwar economic growth in the Southeast Asia region has led to a transformation of many of the societies there, together with the development of new types of anthropological research in the region. Local societies with originally quite different cultures have been incorporated into multi-ethnic states with their own projects of nation-building based on the creation of "national cultures" using these indigenous elements. At the same time, the expansion of international capitalism has led to increasing flows of money, people, languages and cultures across national boundaries, resulting in new hybrid social structures and cultural forms.
This book examines the nature of these processes in contemporary Southeast Asia with detailed case studies drawn from countries across the region, including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. At the macro-level these include studies of nation-building and the incorporation of minorities. At the micro-level they range from studies of popular cultural forms, such as music and textiles to the impact of new sects and the world religions on local religious practice. Moving between the global and the local are the various streams of migrants within the region, including labor migrants responding to the changing distribution of economic opportunities and ethnic minorities moving in response to natural disaster.
Subjects: General Anthropology Development Studies
Going First Class?
New Approaches to Privileged Travel and Movement
Amit, V. (ed)
People travel as never before. However, anthropological research has tended to focus primarily on either labor migration or on tourism. In contrast, this collection of essays explores a diversity of circumstances and impetuses towards contemporary mobility. It ranges from expatriates to peripatetic professionals to middle class migrants in search of extended educational and career opportunities to people seeking self development through travel, either by moving after retirement or visiting educational retreats. These situations, however, converge in the significant resources, variously of finances, time, credentials or skills, which these voyagers are able to call on in embarking on their respective journeys. Accordingly, this volume seeks to tease out the scope and implications of the relatively privileged circumstances under which these voyages are being undertaken.
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 General Anthropology
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.
Subjects: General Anthropology Gender Studies
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.
Subjects: General Anthropology Sociology
Spaces, Places and Structures
Funck, C. & Cooper, M.
The changing patterns of Japanese tourism and the views of the Japanese tourist since the Meiji Restoration, in 1868, are given an in-depth historical, geographical, economic and social analysis in this book. As well as providing a case study for the purpose of investigating the changing face of global tourism from the 19th to the 21st Century, this account of Japanese tourism explores both domestic social relations and international geographical, political and economic relations, especially in the northeast Asian context. Socio-cultural and geographical analysis form the research framework for the book, in three ways: first, there is an emphasis on scale as tourism phenomena and their implications are discussed both in a global context and at the national, regional and local levels; second, the discussion is informed by primary data sources such as censuses and surveys; and third, the incorporation of fieldwork and case studies adds concreteness to the overall picture of Japanese tourism. This book is a significant addition to an area of study currently under-represented in the literature.
Subjects: Travel & Tourism Sociology
Latin America Facing China
South-South Relations beyond the Washington Consensus
Fernández Jilberto†, A. E. & Hogenboom, B. (eds)
The last quarter of the twentieth century was a period of economic crises, increasing indebtedness as well as financial instability for Latin America and most other developing countries; in contrast, China showed amazingly high growth rates during this time and has since become the third largest economy in the world. Based on several case studies, this volume assesses how China’s rise – one of the most important recent changes in the global economy – is affecting Latin America’s national politics, political economy and regional and international relations. Several Latin American countries benefit from China’s economic growth, and China’s new role in international politics has been helpful to many leftist governments’ efforts in Latin America to end the Washington Consensus. The contributors to this thought provoking volume examine these and the other causes, effects and prospects of Latin America’s experiences with China’s global expansion from a South - South perspective.
Subject: Postwar History
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.
Subjects: Religion Theory & Methodology in Anthropology
Leaving Footprints in the Taiga
Luck, Spirits and Ambivalence among the Siberian Orochen Reindeer Herders and Hunters
Nowhere have recent environmental and social changes been more pronounced than in post-Soviet Siberia. Donatas Brandišauskas probes the strategies that Orochen reindeer herders of southeastern Siberia have developed to navigate these changes. “Catching luck” is one such strategy that plays a central role in Orochen cosmology -- luck implies a vernacular theory of causality based on active interactions of humans, non-humans, material objects, and places. Brandišauskas describes in rich details the skills, knowledge, ritual practices, storytelling, and movements that enable the Orochen to “catch luck” (or not, sometimes), to navigate times of change and upheaval.
Subject: General Anthropology
Legends of People, Myths of State
Violence, Intolerance, and Political Culture in Sri Lanka and Australia
The civil war in Sri Lanka and the part that nationalism seemed to play in it inspired the writing of this book some twenty-three years ago. The argument was developed through a comparative analysis of nationalism in Sri Lanka with the author’s native Australia. At the time this constituted an innovative approach to comparison in anthropology, as well as to nationalism and its possibilities. It was not based on differences but on the way in which perspectives from within the two nationalisms, when seen side-by-side, could present an understanding of their implication in producing the violence of war, racism, and social exclusion. The book has lost none of its importance and urgency as proven by the chapters in the Appendix, written by top scholars working in Sri Lanka and in Australia. These contributions bring together new material and critically explore the book’s themes and their continued relevance to the various trajectories in nationalist processes since the first publication of the book.
Subjects: General Anthropology Peace & Conflict Studies
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: General History
Trade and Urbanization at the Vietnam-China Border
Endres, K. W.
Based on ethnographic research conducted over several years, Market Frictions examines the tensions and frictions that emerge from the interaction of global market forces, urban planning policies, and small-scale trading activities in the Vietnamese border city of Lào Cai. Here, it is revealed how small-scale traders and market vendors experience the marketplace, reflect upon their trading activities, and negotiate current state policies and regulations. It shows how “traditional” Vietnamese marketplaces have continually been reshaped and adapted to meet the changing political-economic circumstances and civilizational ideals of the time.
Subjects: Political Economy General Anthropology Sociology
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.
Subjects: Political Economy General Anthropology Sociology
Medicine Between Science and Religion
Explorations on Tibetan Grounds
Adams, V., Schrempf, M. & Craig, S. R. (ed)
There is a growing interest in studies that document the relationship between science and medicine - as ideas, practices, technologies and outcomes - across cultural, national, geographic terrain. Tibetan medicine is not only known as a scholarly medical tradition among other Asian medical systems, with many centuries of technological, clinical, and pharmacological innovation; it also survives today as a complex medical resource across many Asian nations - from India and Bhutan to Mongolia, Tibet (TAR) and China, Buryatia - as well as in Western Europe and the Americas. The contributions to this volume explore, in equal measure, the impacts of western science and biomedicine on Tibetan grounds - i.e., among Tibetans across China, the Himalaya and exile communities as well as in relation to globalized Tibetan medicine - and the ways that local practices change how such “science” gets done, and how this continually hybridized medical knowledge is transmitted and put into practice. As such, this volume contributes to explorations into the bi-directional flows of medical knowledge and practice.
Subjects: Medical Anthropology Religion
The Mirage of China
Anti-Humanism, Narcissism, and Corporeality of the Contemporary World
Today’s world is one marked by the signs of digital capitalism and global capitalist expansion, and China is increasingly being integrated into this global system of production and consumption. As a result, China’s immediate material impact is now felt almost everywhere in the world; however, the significance and process of this integration is far from understood. This study shows how the a priori categories of statistical reasoning came to be re-born and re-lived in the People’s Republic - as essential conditions for the possibility of a new mode of knowledge and governance. From the ruins of the Maoist revolution China has risen through a mode of quantitative self-objectification.
As the author argues, an epistemological rift has separated the Maoist years from the present age of the People’s Republic, which appears on the global stage as a mirage. This study is an ethnographic investigation of concepts - of the conceptual forces that have produced and been produced by - two forms of knowledge, life, and governance. As the author shows, the world of China, contrary to the common view, is not the Chinese world; it is a symptomatic moment of our world at the present time.
Subject: General Anthropology
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
Modern Crises and Traditional Strategies
Local Ecological Knowledge in Island Southeast Asia
Ellen, R. (ed)
The 1990s have seen a growing interest in the role of local ecological knowledge in the context of sustainable development, and particularly in providing a set of responses to which populations may resort in times of political, economic and environmental instability. The period 1996-2003 in island southeast Asia represents a critical test case for understanding how this might work. The key issues explored in this book are the creation, erosion and transmission of ecological knowledge, and hybridization between traditional and scientifically-based knowledge, amongst populations facing environmental stress (e.g. 1997 El Niño), political conflict and economic hazards. The book will also evaluate positive examples of how traditional knowledge has enabled local populations to cope with these kinds of insecurity.
Monetising the Dividual Self
The Emergence of the Lifestyle Blog and Influencers in Malaysia
Combining theoretical and empirical discussions with shorter “thick description” case studies, this book offers an anthropological exploration of the emergence in Malaysia of lifestyle bloggers – precursors to current social media “microcelebrities” and “influencers.” It tracks the transformation of personal blogs, which attracted readers with spontaneous and authentic accounts of everyday life, into lifestyle blogs that generate income through advertising and foreground consumerist lifestyles. It argues that lifestyle blogs are dialogically constituted between the blogger, the readers, and the blog itself, and challenges the assumption of a unitary self by proposing that lifestyle blogs can best be understood in terms of the “dividual self.”
Subjects: General Anthropology Media Studies
Narrating the Future in Siberia
Childhood, Adolescence and Autobiography among the Eveny
The wider cultural universe of contemporary Eveny is a specific and revealing subset of post-Soviet society. From an anthropological perspective, the author seeks to reveal not only the Eveny cultural universe but also the universe of the children and adolescents within this universe. The first full-length ethnographic study among the adolescence of Siberian indigenous peoples, it presents the young people’s narratives about their own future and shows how they form constructs of time, space, agency and personhood through the process of growing up and experiencing their social world. The study brings a new perspective to the anthropology of childhood and uncovers a quite unexpected dynamic in narrating and foreshadowing the future while relating it to cultural patterns of prediction and fulfillment in nomadic cosmology.
Subject: General Anthropology
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 General Anthropology
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.
Subjects: General Anthropology Medical Anthropology Religion
East Asian Foodways in the Twenty-First Century
Kim, K. O. (ed)
Foods are changed not only by those who produce and supply them, but also by those who consume them. Analyzing food without considering changes over time and across space is less meaningful than analyzing it in a global context where tastes, lifestyles, and imaginations cross boundaries and blend with each other, challenging the idea of authenticity. A dish that originated in Beijing and is recreated in New York is not necessarily the same, because although authenticity is often claimed, the form, ingredients, or taste may have changed. The contributors of this volume have expanded the discussion of food to include its social and cultural meanings and functions, thereby using it as a way to explain a culture and its changes.
Subjects: General Anthropology Food & Nutrition
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.
Subjects: General Anthropology Religion Sociology
Searching for a Better Life
Growing Up in the Slums of Bangkok
Life in Bangkok for young people is marked by profound, interlocking changes and transitions. This book offers an ethnographic account of growing up in the city’s slums, struggling to get by in a rapidly developing and globalizing economy and trying to fulfil one’s dreams. At the same time, it reflects on the issue of agency, exploring its negative potential when exercised by young people living under severe structural constraint. It offers an antidote to neoliberal ideas around personal responsibility, and the assumed potential for individuals to break through structures of constraint in any sustained way.
Soup, Love, and a Helping Hand
Social Relations and Support in Guangzhou, China
Despite growing affluence, a large number of urban Chinese have problems making ends meet. Based on ethnographic research among several different types of communities in Guangzhou, China, Soup, Love and a Helping Hand examines different modes and ideologies of help/support, as well as the related issues of reciprocity, relatedness (kinship), and changing state-society relations in contemporary China. With an emphasis on the subjective experience, Fleischer’s research carefully explores people’s ideas about moral obligations, social expectations, and visions of urban Chinese society.
Subjects: General Anthropology Sociology
Spaces of Solidarity
Karen Activism in the Thailand-Burma Borderlands
Exploring notions of activism and space as narrated by Karen displaced persons and refugees in the Thai-Burma borderlands, this book looks beyond refugees as passive victims or a ‘humanitarian case’. Instead, the book examines the active engagement the Karen have with their persecution and displacement and their subsequent emplacement in the borderlands. A key focus of the book is to look at this engagement in terms of spaces of solidarity – constructed through patterns of activism, paths of connectivity and processes of cultural recovery. The book also studies the spatial configuration of borderlands, examining the impact of cross-border activities and their inter-related nature.
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.
Sugar and Colonialism in Asia and the Americas, 1800-1940
Bosma, U., Giusti-Cordero, J, & Knight, G.K. (eds)
Sugar was the single most valuable bulk commodity traded internationally before oil became the world’s prime resource. From the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, cane sugar production was pre-eminent in the Atlantic Islands, the Caribbean, and Brazil. Subsequently, cane sugar industries in the Americas were transformed by a fusion of new and old forces of production, as the international sugar economy incorporated production areas in Asia, the Pacific, and Africa. Sugar’s global economic importance and its intimate relationship with colonialism offer an important context for probing the nature of colonial societies. This book questions some major assumptions about the nexus between sugar production and colonial societies in the Caribbean and Southeast Asia, especially in the second (post-1800) colonial era.
Tides of Empire
Religion, Development, and Environment in Cambodia
Set at the forested edge of Cambodia’s frontier, this book shares stories and insights from migrants, loggers, and soldiers carving homesteads out of the wilderness. This is where the physical and social infrastructures of global development interact with the local workers. The stories included in this book show the fluid boundaries of social, economic and political classifications in the area, and that the inhabitants’ poverty or wealth reveal the legacy of imperial power.
Subjects: General Anthropology Development Studies Religion
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 & Tourism General Anthropology
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: Colonialism 18th/19th Century History
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.
Subjects: General Anthropology General Geography
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.
Subjects: Medical Anthropology Gender Studies
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.
Subjects: Archaeology Sociology General Cultural Studies