Academic social and cultural anthropology concerned with tourism has provided thick descriptions of the tourist exchange in a number of contexts, with exegeses devoted to illustrate the sexualized Other, the appropriation of landscape, the uses of the past in the present, and the detrimental effects of tourism structures on the ‘host’ communities. It has shown us how pilgrimages, beaches and museums become iconic and fetishized in the tourist’s gaze, how the landscape is appropriated and a geographical space is turned into a cultural place. Yet, for applied anthropologists concerned with the impacts of the world’s largest industry on local ‘toured’ populations and how the (unequal) tourism exchange is (unequally) constituted through material and symbolic historical processes, do the theories generated in the academic tradition provide a use-value? Do those anthropologists engaged in community-centred methods such as participatory action research, and working in theoretical traditions through praxis, approach their subject in the same ways as their nonapplied anthropological counterparts? Indeed, what can applied anthropologists, as such, and the consideration of applied projects, contribute to theory in anthropological research on tourism more generally?
Kevin A. Yelvington
Participating in and Witnessing Fair Trade and Women’s Empowerment in Transnational Communities of Practice
The popularity of fair trade products has engendered new possibilities for consumer citizens in the global North to demonstrate solidarity with producers in the global South. Fair trade enthusiasts not only buy labelled products as an act of solidarity with producers in Darjeeling’s tea plantations; but also extend their affective solidarity by voluntarily visiting certified production sites to witness how fair trade affects workers’ livelihoods. Fair trade as transnational praxis has inadvertently pushed justice seeking and delivery to a non-state sphere that is not accountable to the workers in terms of citizenship rights; however, it must address the bargaining power of producers since wages and benefits are baseline determinants of quality of life. Fair trade-engendered solidarity practices erase the complex history of workers’ struggle with the state and established systems of power through collective bargaining. These acts in turn produce new kinds of transnational praxis affecting the plantation public sphere.
My latest project examines how small-scale, rural village-level sustainability both depends on and at the same time acts against simple household reproduction.That is, I am interested in how “making a community” and “making a family” come to find themselves in opposition, such that “successful” communities continue to shed significant numbers of people, even during economically and politically “good times”. The research for this project takes place in Labrador, Canada, in predominantly Inuit coastal villages and neighboring, not-predominantly-Aboriginal cities. Since the 1960s, coastal villages have seen considerable numbers of residents leave. At the conclusion of the most recent land settlement, one-third of Labrador’s Inuit population was living in Goose Bay, site of a large NATO air base created during World War II, where they make up more than one-fifth of the total population. If other nearby cities are included—St. John’s in Newfoundland, Halifax in Nova Scotia, or Quebec City and Montreal in Quebec Province—more than half of the Labrador Inuit now live somewhere other than the villages with which they most closely identify.
Young People's Influence on Policymaking in Northern Ireland
This article discusses young people's influence on a recent policy initiative conducted among Catholic and Protestant school leavers in Northern Ireland's second largest urban area, Derry/Londonderry. The programme, the Toward Reconciliation and Inclusion Project or TRIPROJECT, was Northern Ireland's first dedicated attempt to target young school leavers in a survey project and sought to involve the young people in the selection of questions used within the survey. The article opens with a brief discussion on the predicament of anthropology's situation of 'informants' and the criticism that often follows post-field discussions. The article then moves to discuss TRIPROJECT as a case example of applied anthropology actively involving 'informants' in the process of knowledge gathering and analysis presentation, emphasising how informants had control over the process of scholarship. The article ends by addressing this experience within the context of anthropology and the interpretation of questions and answers between 'informants' and those who study them.
The Ethnographic Praxis of the Theory of Practice
T. M. S. Evens and Don Handelman
The ethnographic extended-case method, also known as situational analysis, was a diagnostic of the Manchester School of Social Anthropology—and today it remains an ethnographic practice of remarkable relevance and promise. Originated by Max Gluckman, the method was intended to use case material in a highly original way. Instead of citing examples from ethnography in apt illustration of general ethnographic and analytical statements, as was common in the discipline, Gluckman proposed to turn this relationship between case and statement on its head: the idea was to arrive at the general through the dynamic particularity of the case. Rather than a prop, the case became in effect the first step of ethnographic analysis. Underlying this methodological reversal, though, was a theoretical pursuit pertaining to an enveloping, indeed a suffocating, problem endemic to structural functionalism and implicating a social ontology radically different from this dominant paradigm.
Adam Drazin and Simon Roberts
Ethnographic work conducted by the Digital Health Group, Intel Ireland, explores the questions of how concepts of health and independence relate to peoples' lives in later life. This paper serves to present artistic approaches to the design of the material culture in elderly homes in Ireland, and aims to highlight and discuss the merits and problems of such approaches. Through writing 'in miniature' about specific experiences and homes, we propose that it is possible to develop explorations of material objects in the home which, rather than presenting material contexts as terminal 'conclusions' to the research process, use them as provoking and questioning resources for engaged dialogical encounters with informants.
Anthropological Sensibilities in Praxis at an FASD Workshop
This article reports on a workshop that was held with frontline workers in Canada and discusses the role of anthropological sensibilities as they inform research, community engagement and policy outcomes. The workshop brought together frontline workers to discuss foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, a complex and lifelong disability – one that often raises social-justice concerns. The goal was to facilitate a space in which participants could share their experiences and potentially bring about better outcomes for people living with this disability. The article focuses on the workshop in relationship to anthropological sensibilities, anchored in lateral research practices, with attention to poly-vocality and relational ways of understanding, all of which inform our practice and potential impacts. This article critically analyses the role of applied research as it is informed by other disciplines and concurrently constrained by different forces.
Crafting a ‘Philosophy of Praxis’ into a ‘Community of Resistance’
This article details how a community of practice came crashing down on the iron rocks of bureaucracy. I apply Brown and Duguid’s theorisation of the dialectics of ‘working, learning and innovating’ illustrating how these three aspects came to conflict with one another, and how I worked to resolve them. As an anthropologist leading an environmental health project in a mid-Michigan public health agency, I formed a ‘community of practice’ and proceeded as a researcher, ethnographer and community activist for nearly three years, gathering findings to change the agency’s organisational structure, as a form of ‘disruptive innovation’. The community ‘roundtable’ of external project advisors highly supported the penultimate reports on water pollution, air pollution and restaurant health. The interdisciplinary strategies pursued resulted in valuable integrations of new knowledge in public anthropology across several thematic areas: critical public pedagogy, sustainability, citizen science, radical journalism and anthropologies of violence, trauma and transformation.
The first issue of volume three of Sartre Studies International continues the journal’s primary aim of reassessing the relevance and validity of Sartrean ideals and aspirations to a contemporary world. The initial article by Andrew Dobson examines Sartre’s account of Stalin and Stalinism in the second volume of Critique de la raison dialectique, focusing in particular on the balance between historical judgement and historical explanation within a textual dynamics associated with praxis-process. Dobson’s contention that Sartre’s analysis of Stalinism lacks moral judgement is challenged in no uncertain manner by Ronald Aronson who asserts that Dobson has ‘removed Sartre’s ideas from their own complex problematic’, subjecting them without reflection and justification to his own common-sense view of moral behaviour.
Medical Design Anthropology, Improvisational Practices and Future Imaginings
Jonathan Ventura and Wendy Gunn
The body as an anthropological nexus of sociocultural norms and conventions has been discussed at length in the humanities and social sciences. However, within the worlds of industrial design, an important player infl uencing an understanding of the body within a design process has been neglected and that is the industrial designer. Our main thesis considers designing as an anthropological, sociocultural and physical praxis, in the midst of which stand person(s) engaging within their material environments. We argue that, as an interdisciplinary dialogue with anthropologists and designers alike, the industrial designer could pursue a broader perspective than the classic techno-practice perspective, which deliberately detaches the social qualities of human action with the aim of changing user behaviour through the use of medical products. Instead, we propose an understanding of industrial design practice(s) that considers the improvisational and interwovenness of peoples and practices and what this means for att uning industrial design practices accordingly.