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Marilyn Strathern

Its author ever hopeful of abandoning nature-culture or nature-society, this brief sketch is an attempt to understand some part of the dyad. It fishes among materials on biological relatedness, ideas about reproduction, and configurations of kinship that might amount to a naturalist cosmology, detectable among other things in the problems it generates. There is nothing new in apprehending how much of society was already ‘in’ the nature that came to be distinguished from it. However, the anthropologist’s net has its own gauge, and thus the argument at once depends on historical niceties and disregards them. What gets caught in the mesh flung over this huge area are certain issues concerning identity and individuality. These demand a closer inquiry into the character of the relations being supposed, the matter with which the article opens.

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Articulating 'Home' from 'Away'

Cultural Identities, Belonging and Citizenship

James Oliver

This article is a discussion on cultural identity and belonging, focusing on some examples of people who are articulating or 'doing' identity in the Scottish Hebrides. In particular, it explores a re-articulation of cultural identity and belonging, not as the essential root or representation of social inclusion but as an ongoing production or creation of social relations, processes and practices, including rootedness and connectedness. In doing so, the paper underlines the need to negotiate cultural identity forwards, as open, with practical political consequences for our understanding and articulation of social inclusion, belonging and citizenship.

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‘Atomic Bombs’ in Monrovia, Liberia

The Identity and Stigmatisation of Ebola Survivors

Emilie Venables

Survivors of the Ebola virus have been widely profiled as the success stories of the outbreak, yet they still face challenges relating to their identity and reintegration. A survivor’s body takes on new meanings aft er experiencing Ebola, and the label ‘survivor’ is as problematic as it is celebratory. Using data conducted during fieldwork in Monrovia, Liberia, this article discusses the complex identities of Ebola survivors. In Monrovia, most of the stigma and discrimination relating to survivors was directed towards men, who were considered ‘atomic bombs’ because of concerns that they could transmit Ebola through sexual intercourse. Health promotion messages around sexual transmission were often misunderstood, and communities requested the quarantine of men to reduce what they felt was a threat to the wider community. Understanding the meanings and sources of such stigmatisation is necessary to be able to work with and support survivors through psychosocial care and health promotion activities.

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'Tensile Nationality'

National Identity as an Everyday Way of Being in a Scottish Hospital

Nigel Rapport

This article reports on research undertaken in a Scottish hospital on the theme of national identity, specifically Scottishness. It examines the ways and extents to which Scottishness was expressed in the workplace: as a quotidian aspect of individual and institutional identity, in a situation of high-pro file political change. The research was to situate nationality as a naturally occurring 'language-game': to explore everyday speech-acts which deployed reference to nationality/Scottishness and compare these to other kinds of overt affirmation of identity and other speech-acts when no such identity-affirmations were ostensibly made. In a contemporary Scottish setting where the inauguration of a new Parliament has made national identity a prominent aspect of public debate, the research illuminates the place of nationality amid a complex of workaday language-games and examines the status of national identity as a 'public event'.

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Jane H. Roberts

While Putnam's communitarian conceptualization of social capital has significantly influenced our understanding of community cohesion, the concept of social capital is highly contested. Questions have been raised about the ways in which agency and power operate in a community's sense of connectedness. Within this critique, little attention has been paid to the conceptualization of cultural identity when framed in dominant constructions of social capital. This paper contends that Bourdieu's critical perspective on social capital is better placed to examine the complex relationships between multiple, conflicting and overlapping positions of cultural identity with a sense of belonging. In addition, a Bourdieurian analysis acknowledges that the dynamic relationships of habitus, capital and field produce multiple identities associated with conflicting notions of connectedness which are contextually contingent. The paper argues that ethnography is best placed to offer a different perspective to de-contextualized data, and supports any examination of identity and belonging as best viewed within the context in which such concepts develop and are situated.

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"Wir Sind Das Volk"

Narrative Identity and the Other in the Discourse of the PEGIDA Movement

Adrian Paukstat and Cedric Ellwanger

PEGIDA, the self-proclaimed ‘Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the Occident’ movement is a highly debated topic in Germany. Over the course of the refugee crisis it has become clear that this movement would not perish as quickly as many analysts thought. The authors investigated PEGIDA's narrative identity (Ricoeur 2005) in relation to their conceptions of Self and Other, using Keller's (2008) Sociology of Knowledge Approach to Discourse (SKAD). In this, the authors utilize discourse-related paradigms to reconstruct subject positions and narrative identities, as articulated in public speeches and commentary of PEDGIDA supporters in 2014-5. Beyond the issue of PEGIDA itself, this study aims to introduce new paradigms on collective political identity, which can also shed new light on the issue of populist movements in a time of a legitimacy crisis of the European Union and the growing numbers seeking refuge in Europe.

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'Where Is Your “F”?'

Psychological Testing, Communication and Identity Formation in a Multinational Corporation

Sigrid Damman

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.

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Peter Anton Zoettl

In the north-east of Brazil, the last decades have seen an unfamiliar phenomenon: the rise of 'new' indigenous groups in areas that were long considered as 'acculturated' by both the state and public opinion. In their pursuit to be recognized by the authorities and by fellow non-Indian citizens, these 're-emerging' Indians have continually carried out a peculiar re-construction of their 'image' as Indians, torn between romantic ideas of Indianness and the demand to integrate fully within national society. Drawing on recent fieldwork experience with a group of Pataxó Indians in the state of Bahia, the article discusses how the visual-anthropological method of participatory video can be used as a means of reflecting on the importance of images within identity-formation processes of minority groups. By producing a video about the tourists who visit their Indian village and nature reserve, the Pataxó came to question the stereotypic use of images and the relation between the Other's notion and their own representation of 'Indianness'.

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Muhammad Ayaz Naseem and Georg Stöber

The concept of identity has evolved from an essentialist notion of a dominant group (which largely disregards the existence of plural identities or “patchwork identities” and their contextuality)2 into a notion that recognizes the discursive and fluid constitution of identities that are “constantly in the process of change and transformation.”3 Beyond academic debate about definitions, identity remains a relevant category in politics and society. Identity politics mobilize followers and supporters and may foster nation building. They are seldom unchallenged, for different discourses of identity often struggle for supremacy.

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Undoing Traceable Beginnings

Citizenship and Belonging among Former Burundian Refugees in Tanzania

Patricia Daley, Ng’wanza Kamata and Leiyo Singo

This article examines the sense of insecurity experienced by former Burundian refugees following their acquisition of legal citizenship in Tanzania. Using the concept of ontological security, it explores the strategies devised by the new citizens and their former refugee selves to negotiate a normative and stable identity in Tanzania, a country with a postcolonial history of contested citizenship and depoliticized ethnicity. Our argument is that the fluidity of identity, when associated with mobility, is vilified by policy-makers and given insufficient attention in the literatures on ethnicity and refugees in Africa, yet is important for generating a sense of belonging and a meaningful life away from a troubled and violent past. This fluidity of identity offers a significant mechanism for belonging even after the acquisition of formal citizenship.