The last ASA Network of Applied Anthropologists (APPLY & Anthropology in Action) meeting was held at the IUAES Conference (2013) at the University of Manchester. This meeting was and is, to my mind, an important one for a couple of reasons. Hosted by Dr Jonathan Skinner (Roehampton), it involved looking at the ways in which anthropological knowledge may be used in a corporate environment as well as produced in fieldwork on alternative tourism and migrant leisure.
Methods and Forms of Collaboration in the Anthropology of Public Policy
Tara Schwegler and Michael G. Powell
We never seek out frustration, but it almost always finds us. Seasoned field researchers, anthropologists pride themselves on their ability to handle life’s curve balls, from visa problems to cultural misunderstandings to difficulties in gaining access to informants. These curve balls go hand in hand with the home runs: all are moments in fieldwork, wherever, however, and among whomever conducted, and each moment has a story.
This paper draws on twelve months of ethnographic fieldwork in Higher Blackley, North Manchester, England, to explore the ways in which individuals and groups who identify themselves and are identified as 'white', 'working class' and 'English' resist what they perceive as dominant ideas and discourses, deeply unsettling of their 'Englishness'. Perceptions and expectations of 'fairness' underpin social relations in Higher Blackley and this paper will explore perceptions of dominance through the local idiom of fairness. I explore how sentiments of belonging in this area are then imaginatively transposed onto national and international levels.
Monitoring and Stewarding Demonstrations in Northern Ireland
Rioting in Northern Ireland sometimes appears endemic. The control of public space, through the utilisation of rituals and symbols, has played a significant part in the violent conflict and has remained a central issue since the 1998 Multi-Party Agreement institutionalised the peace process. This article draws upon ethnographic research and anthropological models of ritual to explore policy interventions in conflict resolution over potential public disorders. In particular, it looks at the use of monitors, mediators and marshals at parades and demonstrations and describes how anthropological fieldwork has played a role in developing projects and policies that offer solutions to a cycle of intercommunal street violence.
A migrant academic’s experiences of the visa regime in the Global North
This article examines (im)obility in the global visa regime through the experiences of a Global South academic working in the Global North. Drawing on an autoethnographic account of a visa application, this article outlines the ways in which the global visa regime negatively affects a Global South academic’s life. Visa regulations constitute a particular Global South academic subject in the Global North, one whose academic career is characterised by uncertainty and anxiety, as visas can limit access to promotions and to fieldwork and research opportunities. Visa experiences can thus contribute to alienation and non-belonging of Global South scholars in academia, while impacting knowledge production and teaching.
Jeffrey A. Sluka
. Sluka It is widely recognised that successful ethnographic fieldwork requires not only training and pre-planning but also the in-the-field skill of adaptability in order to deal with unexpected problems and issues which invariably arise. This book
Psychological Testing, Communication and Identity Formation in a Multinational Corporation
The article is based on multi-sited fieldwork in a multinational corporation, where psychological tests were used extensively to facilitate communication and human resource development. The analysis indicates that the test effects were more complex than intended. Their application may be considered as a form of audit that was both individualizing and totalizing. While socio-cultural negotiations reached a level with new common reference points, attention was diverted away from important aspects of the socio-cultural context. Individuals were quick to struggle and assert themselves through the categories of the tests, but at the same time the room for diverse, independent articulations of identity at work seemed to be diminishing. In other words, the application of the tests may have opened some discursive fields, but narrowed others, thus contributing to a form of generification (Errington and Gewertz 2001) and entification (Zubiri 1984) of work identities. These observations give reason to question and continue exploring the effects of psychological typologies in corporate settings.
Dilemmas in Rural Mexico
Julia E. Murphy
Feminist promotion of gender equity in development began in the 1970s, challenging development policy and practice and producing a rich body of debate and scholarship. Feminist anthropologists, through scholarship and activism, made important contributions to the project of reforming development. A recent anthropological critique of development, however, referred to as the anthropology of 'development', has raised important questions about anthropology's relationship to development, presenting new challenges to feminist anthropologists who would engage with development. This new approach, despite its attention to power, has not had questions about gender at its centre. Drawing on fieldwork in southeastern Campeche, Mexico, this paper explores challenges of a feminist anthropology of 'development', including pressures for engagement and disengagement, and the apparent contradiction between reflexive critiques of, and feminist engagements with, development.
The Value of Being a Canadian Student Athlete in the U.S.A.
Each year, young, elite Canadian athletes travel south to attend American colleges and universities, funded in part by athletic scholarships. These 'student athletes' leave their home country to pursue opportunities they believe are only available in the U.S. The demands made on their time, finances, and personal wellbeing can be staggering. Yet for those who become student athletes, the value of the experience tends to be unquestionably identified as being 'worth it'. In this paper, I explore how this exhortation, repeated so readily by the individuals I interviewed during fieldwork in the U.S., reflects a complicated set of beliefs. This deceptively simple statement provides an entry point for understanding what Canadian student athletes find valuable about their experience and how they believe it affords them a degree of personal distinction that would have been impossible had they stayed in Canada.
Communicating the Impact of a Family Music Project to Wider Audiences
There has been increasing pressure for anthropologists to communicate their ideas and thinking to new publics and so actively engage in national and international debates relating to their field. However, this is not an unproblematic practice and the politics of representation requires anthropologists to consider the sometimes conflicting dimensions of the moral, ethical, political, social, personal and academic. My fieldwork with families linked to In Harmony Liverpool, a children's music project in England, involved inviting participants variously to take part in interviews, draw maps of musical sites in their homes, construct playlists of favourite songs and take photographs of sites in their homes where music 'happens'. As my aim is to produce a visual and audio display to communicate with wider audiences, I consider the issues of representation, authenticity, potential damage and 'othering' in the planning of the research and how this shaped data collection and the plans for dissemination.