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Explicating Ecoculture

Tracing a Transdisciplinary Focal Concept

Melissa M. Parks

Ecoculture is an emerging focal concept reflecting the inextricability of nature and culture. It is applicable to and employed in many disciplines, yet it is rarely defined, cited, or interrogated, causing potential inconsistencies in scholarly operationalization. In the present analysis, I use Steven H. Chaffee’s method of explication to develop an analytical review of ecoculture. I explore the primitive terms—ecology and culture—before assessing the scholarly use of the derived, compound term. I trace ecoculture across multiple disciplines, synthesizing operationalizations into one transdisciplinary theoretical framework. I find that ecoculture connotes interconnectedness and place relations, and has been critically operationalized in ways that problematize dominant human-centered ideologies, making it a productive scholarly frame that emphasizes the relationships between humans, their cultures, and their ecologies.

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Hollis Moore

This article – based on fieldwork conducted in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil – examines how those people most affected by carceral expansion pursue safety in an everyday marked by existential threat. Through a focus on a neglected sector of this population, namely adult women, I show how carceral encounters specifically – and informal, illegal and not-yet-(il)legal exchanges more generally – intersect with familial logics and imperatives to engender a capacity for action that I call ‘extralegal agency’. Extralegal agency is central to a practice of safety that represents an alternative to the dominant model of carceral security. An extralegal agency approach to analysing interconnected prison/urban fields, which decentres masculinized criminal organizations and resists romanticizing the rule of law, enables a disruption of dominant discourses of and about the carceral state.

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"Farmers Don't Dance"

The Construction of Gender in a Rural Scottish School

Fiona G. Menzies and Ninetta Santoro

In this article we examine the influence of rurality on the construction of masculinity and femininity for, and by, pupils in a rural secondary school in Scotland. Using data from semi-structured interviews with male and female pupils and a teacher, as well as observations of classroom interactions over a period of 12 months, we highlight how girls take up multiple and complex gendered identities in a rural context and we emphasize the tensions they experience as they negotiate a feminine identity in a rural space constructed and described as masculine. Findings suggest that this construction is, at times, supported by teachers’ practices and their interactions with pupils. We conclude by discussing the implications for teachers in rural schools and point to the need to support girls to ensure that their educational opportunities are not limited by the deep-rooted associations that exist between rurality and masculinity.

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Fieldwork at sunset

Visual representations of anthropology online

Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins and Hannah Gould

Most institutional anthropology departments have a website, to tout credentials, attract students, and offer information. These websites also take up the visual task of disciplinary representation, but their images have skipped the scrutiny that is necessary and overdue. This article analyzes online images of sociocultural anthropology across one hundred high-ranking universities worldwide. We show how, online, a discipline defined by diversity becomes readily reducible to “exotic” geographies and objectified “others.” While the urban serves as an unattractive foil, frequent images of children recall charity campaigns. Such visual tropes—which comprise a significant, public interface for anthropology—are not just awkwardly dated but also do disservice to ambitions for public anthropology. Change, we suggest, must begin at (the) home(page).

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Financialization from the margins

Notes on the incorporation of Argentina's subproletariat into consumer credit (2009–2015)

Hadrien Saiag

This article investigates how the Argentine subproletariat perceives the recent consumer credit boom, based on several field visits carried out in one of Argentina’s industrial hubs between 2007 and 2016. It analyzes the credit boom in relation to the wider social transformations induced by the leftist Peronist governments during 2003–2015 (especially the incorporation of informal workers into the social protection system). It argues the rise of consumer credit is perceived by those who use it with ambivalence. While it has allowed the subproletariat to access a form of consumption that was previously restricted to upper classes, it also exposes this population to a new form of exploitation based on the discrepancy between the (monthly based) time of finance and the (erratic) time of work.

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Julienne Weegels

Drawing on extensive prisons research and sustained contact with (former) prisoners in Nicaragua, this article explores three former prisoners’ post-release trajectories. In the face of a hybrid state that manifests as both a legal penal state and an extralegal system of powers, colloquially referred to as el Sistema (the System), and to the backdrop of a (d)evolving political context, I argue for an understanding of the ‘tightness’ of post-release life by conceptualizing the Sistema’s transcarceral grip. Former prisoners deal with this grip in different ways, ranging from self-censorship to the taking of ‘delinquent freedoms’. A detailed understanding of this grip can help pinpoint how carceral logics are mobilized outside prison in Nicaragua and how its carceral state expands through not only legal but also extralegal means.

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From behind stall doors

Farming the Eastern German countryside in the animal welfare era

Amy Leigh Field

Animal husbandry, a major part of the contemporary German economy, is the subject of politically and morally charged discourses about the effects of the industry on the nation’s landscape and its role in economic globalization. German politicians and activists oft en discuss industrialized animal husbandry practices as abusive and polluting. This article analyzes how these debates are imbricated in forms of concern about nonhuman animals that tend to be differentiated geographically by urban-rural boundaries. I argue the privileging of animals as moral entities causes interpersonal friction between those who rely on animals for a living and those who do not, and expresses fundamental tensions about the rural landscape as a space of industrialized agricultural production, as opposed to a space dedicated to the conservation of the natural environment.

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Fredy B.L. Tobing and Asra Virgianita

English abstract: This article analyzes the causes of low trade relations between Indonesia and Latin American states, arguing that dynamics of international political economy have opened opportunities to increase trade relations between those countries. Having good diplomatic and political relations with similar emerging economies, like Peru and Chile, should drive closer economic relations among them. A qualitative study was conducted using literature reviews, archival analysis, and in-depth interviews. Political will and lack of knowledge pertaining to the business character of each country hamper external relations. Thus, a functional multi-track diplomacy that incorporates state and non-state actors from various fields is crucial for enhancing economic relations among these countries. Trade relations can be particularly strengthened by maximizing cooperation among actors at various levels.

Spanish abstract: Este artículo analiza las débiles relaciones comerciales entre Indonesia y América Latina, argumentando que la dinámica de la economía política abre oportunidades para mejorar estas relaciones. Las buenas relaciones diplomáticas y políticas entre Perú y Chile, debería estrechar sus relaciones económicas. Pero la escasa voluntad política y falta de conocimiento del carácter empresarial de cada país, obstaculizan sus relaciones externas. La investigación incluyó revisión de literatura, análisis de archivos y entrevistas en profundidad. Los resultados subrayan la necesidad de una diplomacia funcional de múltiples rutas que incorpore instituciones estatales y no estatales de diversos campos para mejorar las relaciones económicas. Las relaciones comerciales particularmente pueden fortalecerse entre países maximizando su recíproca cooperación en cada nivel (diplomacia multinivel).

French abstract: Cet article analyse les causes de la faiblesse des relations commerciales entre l’Indonésie et les pays d’Amérique latine en faisant valoir que la dynamique de l’économie politique internationale a ouvert des opportunités pour stimuler les relations commerciales entre ces pays. Cette étude qualitative a été menée sur la base d’une étude de la littérature existante, d’analyses archivistiques et d’entretiens approfondis. Le manque de volonté politique et surtout de connaissances réciproques des atouts commerciaux de ces pays entravent leurs relations extérieures. Ainsi, une diplomatie fonctionnelle à plusieurs voies qui intègre des diplomaties étatiques et non-étatiques dans divers domaines est-elle cruciale pour améliorer leurs relations économiques. Les relations commerciales peuvent notamment être renforcées en maximisant la coopération entre ces pays à chaque niveau (diplomatie multi-niveaux).

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Gender and Empire

The Imprisonment of Women in Eighteenth-Century Siberia

Gwyn Bourlakov

The article focuses on the imprisonment of elite women from the Russian metropole and women of mixed ethnic backgrounds on the Siberian frontier in the mid-eighteenth-century. Female prisoners and their monastic jailors responded to ascribed identities, positions, and circumstances dictated by imperial policies within the walls of the Dalmatov Vvedenskii Convent, which complicates our understanding of imperial interaction, gender, and empire in Siberia.

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Geographical Imagination, Anthropology, and Political Exiles

Photographers of Siberia in Late Imperial Russia

Tatiana Saburova

This article is focused on several themes connected with the history of photography, political exile in Imperial Russia, exploration and representations of Siberia in the late 19th–early 20th centuries. Photography became an essential tool in numerous geographic, topographic and ethnographic expeditions to Siberia in the late 19th century; well-known scientists started to master photography or were accompanied by professional photographers in their expeditions, including ones organized by the Russian Imperial Geographic Society, which resulted in the photographic records, reports, publications and exhibitions. Photography was rapidly spreading across Asian Russia and by the end of the 19th century there was a photo studio (or several ones) in almost every Siberian town. Political exiles were often among Siberian photographers, making photography their new profession, business, a way of getting a social status in the local society, and a means of surviving financially as well as intellectually and emotionally. They contributed significantly to the museum’s collections by photographing indigenous people in Siberia and even traveling to Mongolia and China, displaying “types” as a part of anthropological research in Asia and presenting “views” of the Russian empire’s borderlands. The visual representation of Siberia corresponded with general perceptions of an exotic East, populated by “primitive” peoples devoid of civilization, a trope reinforced by numerous photographs and depictions of Siberia as an untamed natural world, later transformed and modernized by the railroads construction.