Ongoing discussions about feminist anthropology as an active and relevant sub-discipline largely rely on historical comparisons that pit the political fervour of the past against what is deemed to be the less defined and increasingly disengaged feminist anthropology of today. In this paper, I argue that the prevailing tone of pessimism surrounding feminist anthropology should be met with a critical response that: (1) situates the current characterization of the sub-discipline within broader debates between second- and third-wave feminism; and (2) considers the ways in which the supposed incongruity between theories of deconstruction and political engagement undermines the sub-discipline's strengths. Throughout this discussion, I consider what an ethnographic study of motherhood in the context of HIV/AIDS can offer as we take stock of feminist anthropology's current potential and future possibility.
Motherhood and HIV/AIDS as Sites of Action
Pamela J. Downe
Recent discussions by Martha Nussbaum and Steven Wall shed new light on the concept of reasonableness in political liberalism and whether the inclusion of epistemic elements in the concept necessarily makes political liberalism lose its antiperfectionist appeal. This article argues that Nussbaum’s radical solution to eliminate the epistemic component of reasonableness is neither helpful nor necessary. Instead, adopting a revised understanding of epistemic reasonableness in terms of a weak view of rationality that is procedural, external and second-order rather than a strong view that is substantial, internal and first-order can help political liberalism maintain an epistemic dimension in the idea of reasonableness without becoming perfectionist. In addition, political liberalism can defend a stronger account of respect for persons against liberal perfectionism on the basis of the revised understanding of epistemic reasonableness. Both arguments serve to demonstrate the strength of the political liberal project.
A Case Study from the Cook County Forest Preserves
Nicole M. Evans and William P. Stewart
While ecological restoration may help bridge the nature-culture gap, restoration still holds relevant meanings for naturalness, as demonstrated in this case study of staff and volunteers in the Cook County Forest Preserves (CCFP) in Illinois, United States. Translating naturalness as an agency policy into restoration goals for sites, CCFP integrated historical evidence, ecological science, and human values. Naturalness was constructed as historical fidelity, a scientific designation to be objectively discovered, while the scales at which people interpreted historical fidelity, namely, species, communities, processes, and practices, were sites of value deliberation. The multiple renderings of naturalness can be a strength that provides flexibility to restore what is locally valued, constructing restoration projects that acknowledge, rather than attempt to overcome, the constructed nature of naturalness.
A Symptom of Gender Inequality for Girls Living with Poverty
Zainul Sajan Virgi
Abject female intergenerational poverty is a systemic issue which denies girls the opportunity to access a higher quality of life because of poor health that results in under-development. The article focuses on the root cause-gender inequality-that is responsible for their inability to access adequate nutrition, particularly during their critical period of physical and intellectual growth and development. Their resulting sub-standard health has a bad impact on their school attendance. This article follows the lives of a group of ten girls between the ages of ten and fourteen years living in a peri-urban community outside Maputo. It outlines the importance of engaging girls, through participatory methodologies, and giving them the opportunity to express themselves, their challenges, strengths and ideas for possible resolution of the problem.
Convergent or divergent approaches and understandings of poverty? An introduction
John R. Campbell and Jeremy Holland
Is it possible or indeed desirable to combine qualitative, participatory and quantitative research methods and approaches to better understand poverty? This special section of Focaal seeks to explore a number of contentious, inter-related issues that arise from multimethod research that is driven by growing international policy concerns to reduce global poverty. We seek to initiate an interdisciplinary dialog about the limits of methodological integration by examining existing research practice to better understand the strengths and limitations of combining methods which derive from different epistemological premises. We ask how methods might be combined to better address issues of causality, and whether the concept of triangulation offers a possible way forward. In examining existing research we find little in the way of shared understanding about poverty and, due to the dominance of econometrics and its insistence on using household surveys, very little middle ground where other disciplines might collaborate to rethink key conceptual and methodological issues.
What can Transnational Studies offer the analysis of localized conflict and protest?
Nina Glick Schiller
After reviewing the strengths and limitations of Transnational Studies, including its methodological nationalism, this article calls for the field to develop a theory of power. A transnational theory of power allows us to set aside binaries such as internal/external, global/local, or structure/agency, when analyzing historical and contemporary social processes and conflicts. Previous and current scholarship on imperialism can contribute to this project by facilitating the examination of the role of finance capitalists and of states of unequal financial and military power. However, Transnational Studies also must assess the contestatory possibilities of transnational social movements. The articles in this special section contribute to the development of Transnational Studies by examining past and present transnational constructions of locality, identity, authenticity, and voice, within social fields of uneven power. The articles also illuminate the types of transnational practices, conflict, and struggle that emerge. v
Matthew J. Sherman
Ideations of corporeality are situated at the crux of "muscular Judaism" in early twentieth- century Europe. The sporting event was viewed as a battlefield for equalization. In the ideological context of Muskeljudentum, the apathy of Talmudjudentum (Talmudic Judaism) was replaced by exercise, in which the strengthening of the corporeal would rejuvenate the psychical. Jewish strongman Siegmund Breitbart capitalized on his masculine feats of strength and aesthetic appeal by creating public performances, which displayed not only militarized corporeality, but also provided a stage for the promotion of "muscular Judaism," through both symbolic and literal representations of Zionist ideology. Breitbart reappropriated masculine Jewish corporeality, embodied corporeal notions of reciprocity at the core of Muskeljudentum, and found individual agency through the militarized aesthetic and motion of his body.
Critical Theory of the Police in a Neoliberal Age
In Discipline and Punish the police is a state institution isomorphic with the prison. In his Collège de France lectures, Foucault unearths a 'secret history of the police' where greater attention is paid to public health, social welfare and regulating the marketplace than investigating and arresting criminals. This broad overview of Foucault's writings on the police exhibits a 'splintering-effect' in his modalities of power. To resolve this apparent contradiction, a nominalist reading that conflates Foucault's divergent paradigms of power results in a more multifaceted history and a ubiquitous mode of power with diverse and precise techniques. There are strengths and weaknesses in Foucault's theory when applied to modern neoliberal police. Foucault should not be employed for one-dimensional criticisms of modern police or as an analytical cure-all.
This article examines the complex interplay between the American military governor and German political leaders through an analysis of two crises that occurred over the making of the Basic Law. Why did a trial of strength between General Lucius Clay and the Social Democratic Party leadership in March and April 1949 come about? Understanding Clay's intervention in the politics of constitution-making in occupied Germany requires a more probing investigation than references to the temperament of a “proconsul” or a bias against a left-wing party. The analysis of Clay's intervention in this account shows how the Social Democrats evaded and challenged directives from the occupation authorities, and illuminates the limits of his influence over German framers of the Basic Law.
Hume, Smith and the Justification of European Exploitation of Non-Europeans
Elias L. Khalil
Civil society consists of members obligated to respect each other's rights and, hence, trade with each other as equals. What determines the boundary, rather than the nature, of civil society? For Adam Smith, the boundary consists of humanity itself because it is determined by identification: humans identify with other humans because of common humanness. While Smith's theory can explain the emotions associated with justice (jubilance) and injustice (resentment), it provides a mushy ground for the boundary question: Why not extend the common identity to nonhuman animals? Or why not restrict the boundary to one's own dialect, ethnicity or race? For David Hume, the boundary need not consist of humanity itself because it is determined by self-interest: a European need not respect the property of outsiders such as Native Americans, if the European benefits more by exploiting them than including them in the European society. While Hume's theory can provide a solid ground for the boundary question, it cannot explain the emotions associated with justice. This paper suggests a framework that combines the strengths, and avoids the shortcomings, of Smith's and Hume's theories.