This article examines how anthropology's emphasis on the traditional values of peasants reflected the general precepts of 'modernization theory', the dominant development discourse of the Cold War era. It explores how such ideas lent credibility to the U.S. strategy of 'community development' as a central part of its response to radical rural change. Special attention is paid to the Cornell-Peru Project at Vicos in the Peruvian highlands, which attained legendary status as a case of applied anthropology, but is here examined in relationship to the strategies of the U.S. power elite and Cold War government policies.
Anthropology, Peasants and 'Community Development'
Eric B. Ross
The Motorway as a Space of Neoliberalism
The article surveys a giant infrastructural construction project in Poland: the A2 motorway, connecting Poznan´ and Warsaw with the Polish-German border. It was the first private motorway in Poland, and the biggest European infrastructural project, and was realized in a public-private partnership system. The last section of A2 was opened on 1 December 2011, which can be seen as a key moment in Polish socioeconomic transformation. I examine it on two levels: (1) a discourse between government and private investors in which the motorway was the medium of economic and social development and infrastructural “the end” modernization of Poland; (2) practices and opinions of local communities, living along the new motorway. On the first level, the construction of A2 was seen as an impetus for the economic and social development of the regions where the motorway was built. But on the second level, I observe almost universal disappointment and a deep crisis experienced by local economies.
Precarious Connections: On the Promise and Menace of Railroad Projects
Peter Schweitzer and Olga Povoroznyuk
This introduction attempts to situate railroads, which have rarely been the object of ethnographic attention, within current debates of anthropology and related disciplines. While mobility is certainly one dimension of human-railroad entanglements, the introduction calls to explore political, social, material, and affective lives of railroads in Europe and Asia as well. Often, connections provided by railroads are precarious at best: enveloped in state and local politics, they appear to some as promise and to others as menace. Planning, construction, decay, and reconstruction constitute the temporal and material life cycle of these infrastructures. Attending to particular ethnographic and historical contexts, the introduction aims to demonstrate how railroads, these potent symbols of modernity, continue to be good to think with.
The version of record is December 2020, though the actual publication date is May/June 2021.
Environmental Sociology Meets Science and Technology Studies
Rolf Lidskog and Göran Sundqvist
sociology: the treadmill of production, risk society, and ecological modernization. We conclude that these theories are not clear about either what expertise is or how to balance scientism and powerism. Therefore, we turn to science and technology studies
Project Camelot and the post–World War II operationalization of social science
Philip Y. Kao
. According to Nils Gilman, “Like early anthropological theory, modernization theory transposed temporal categories onto geographic categories” (2003: 27). Project Camelot consisted of several parts: (1) a theoretical design focusing on developing a model of a
This edition of Theoria speaks to the dynamics of globalization, to the nature and scope of democracy and democratic consolidation, and to the challenge of grounding authority, both sacral and ‘secular’. These themes have become especially resonant at a historical moment when religious fundamentalism has, in the context of increasing global interconnectedness, become more ‘present’, and when capitalist modernization has come increasingly to be broadly legitimated in the language of ‘democratic consolidation’.
The year 2000 may have marked the modernization of integration
politics in Italy, but immigration has been central to Italian politics
while integration, a secondary component of general immigration
politics, has received significantly less political and academic attention.
Scholars of racial and ethnic integration in Europe have documented
Italy’s fragmented integration model, as being characterized
by: social programs designed to help people; the separation of public
and voluntary sectors; a paternalistic voluntary sector allowing
little space for immigrant self-representation; a lack of continuity;
and difficulties in obtaining citizenship. Until 2000, immigration
politics focused not on qualitative issues regarding the transformation
of Italian society, but on quantitative questions concerning
Italy’s social and economic capacity to absorb migrants.
Fabrizio Di Mascio and Alessandro Natalini
The modernization of the public administration has been one of the main objectives pursued by the Renzi government. What distinguishes the reform cycle launched in 2015 is the emphasis on centralization, unification, and the reduction of institutional fragmentation in the public sector after a long period in which autonomy and the organizational pluralism of administrations and government levels were enhanced. This reform strategy is consistent with the underlying trends of transformation in the political and institutional systems, in which the power of the prime minister has gradually increased. The actual impact of these reform measures, however, depends on concrete organizational instruments of subsequent implementing legislation in a context characterized by persistent spending cuts, which are necessary to maintain financial stability.
Economics and finance ministries are among the most important
departments of modern governments. Their overall purpose is to
plan, finance, and co-ordinate public expenditure along a sustainable
long-term trajectory. That role has several dimensions: assessing
departmental spending proposals; ensuring that spending delivers
value; delivering financial resources to meet spending; maintaining
a sustainable balance between fiscal revenues, asset disposals, and
borrowing; managing financial flows across a fiscal year; and ensuring
that these processes are compatible with sectoral policies and
with overall economic targets. The authority to do all this depends
on complex factors: the political backing the ministry gets from other
parts of the government from the prime minister down; the status of
the minister in charge; the compliance of the legislature and of subnational
authorities; the effectiveness of the fiscal, forecasting, authorization,
and inspection machinery; and the ministry’s own capacity
to develop, modernize, and improve the planning and management of
public expenditure programs generally.
Educating the First Railroaders in Central Sakha (Yakutiya)
Sigrid Irene Wentzel
In July 2019, the village of Nizhniy Bestyakh in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutiya), the Russian Far East, was finally able to celebrate the opening of an eagerly awaited railroad passenger connection. Through analysis of rich ethnographic data, this article explores the “state of uncertainty” caused by repeated delays in construction of the railroad prior to this and focuses on the effect of these delays on students of a local transportation college. This college prepares young people for railroad jobs and careers, promising a steady income and a place in the Republic’s wider modernization project. The research also reveals how the state of uncertainty led to unforeseen consequences, such as the seeding of doubt among students about their desire to be a part of the Republic’s industrialization drive.