Adopting a qualitative anthropological approach, this report discusses and critiques dominant theoretical currents in the study of poverty and presents a more qualitative analysis of the topic. Through an examination of rural Jordan, new sets of concepts and calculations on poverty - both qualitative and quantitative - have been forged. The research indicates that poverty, as an economic fact, can easily be manipulated and treated as a numerical game. As a social fact, poverty is seen in terms of complex coping strategies that are managed within a framework of social norms.
Assessment and Characterisation
Mohamed Tarawneh and Abdel Hakim Al Husban
Women Workers and the 1906 Finnish Suffrage Victory
This article examines how working-class women helped transform Finland in 1906 into the world’s first nation to grant full women’s suffrage. Activists organized into the League of Working Women fought for full suffrage in the context of an anti-imperial upsurge in Finland and a revolution across the tsarist empire. These women workers simultaneously allied with their male peers and took autonomous action to prevent their exclusion from the vote during the political upheaval of late 1905 and early 1906.In the process they challenged traditional gender norms and articulated a political perspective that tied together the fight against class, gender, and national domination.
Tracing the trajectory of the civic engagement movement
American colleges and universities have historically sought to promote an enlightened citizenry. In the early 1980s many felt that this civic purpose was in danger of being lost. What unfolded was a widespread educational reform movement aimed at reasserting the public and democratic purpose of American higher education. This article traces the trajectory of this movement and notes a significant emergent tension among movement members - the question of whether to seek broad-based legitimacy within the academy by aligning the efforts with disciplinary norms or to challenge the status quo and attempt to transform higher education and align its efforts with the pressing needs of America's democracy.
Autistic Children and the Normativity of Play in Postwar France
In postwar France, the definition of play helped to situate the meaning of childhood in a manner that marginalized disabled children from the common understanding of childhood. Three thinkers—Françoise Dolto, Maud Mannoni, and Fernand Deligny—all advocated more nuanced and open definitions of play that allowed for the recognition of disabled children’s forms of play, which often operated outside of social norms. In their practices, each of these thinkers articulated new interpretations of play that expanded its meaning in social and therapeutic contexts. This recognition was important in questioning the isolation of disabled children, in identifying their belonging among other children, and in revealing the changing boundaries of definitions of childhood.
Some Thoughts on Exile as a Dynamic Condition
Exile is a strong marker of identity for a writer, but to keep it forever as part of one's self-image surely involves a kind of mis-description, or at least over-simplification. Maintaining the position of being in exile also has its dangers: the posture of detachment can turn into a kind of wilful separation. Moreover migration, dislocation, various kinds of nomadism are becoming the norm, but this extreme mobility relativises even the most stable identities. What styles, or stories, or genres will be invented to describe a world which is no longer divided between peripheries and centres?
The Making of Sunni versus Shi'ite Test-Tube Babies
Marcia C. Inhorn
In vitro fertilisation and even newer assisted reproductive technologies are part of everyday life in the contemporary Middle East. There, IVF is practised according to local Islamic norms, which have been reinforced by fatwas from lead- ing religious authorities. As this article will show, ideological differences between dominant Sunni and minority Shi’ite forms of Islam are currently shaping the practices of test-tube baby-making in the Muslim world, particularly regarding the use of third-party gamete donation and new technologies to overcome male infertility. Such divergences have led to gender transformations within infertile marriages in the Muslim Middle East, with potentially profound implications for women’s marital security and family formation.
The words “textbook revision” immediately conjure up certain images. We generally think of conflicts surrounding the contents of textbooks, conflicts which are debated in public and usually have an international dimension. Textbook revision generally refers to books on history, geography and social studies, occasionally also religion or biology. It generally relates to those activities aimed at correcting false or distorted interpretations in school textbooks. In addition, it involves two further aspects: improving the quality of teaching with revised textbooks, and conveying universal norms in addition to knowledge of the subject. History and social studies teaching can thus make an important contribution to peace and human rights education.
Ali Aslam, David McIvor, and Joel Alden Schlosser
Urgent alarms now warn of the erosion of democratic norms and the decline of democratic institutions. These antidemocratic trends have prompted some democratic theorists to reject the seeming inevitability of democratic forms of government and instead to consider democracy as a fugitive phenomenon. Fugitive democracy, as we argue below, is a theory composed of two parts. First, it includes a robust, normative ideal of democracy and, second, a clear-eyed vision of the historical defeats and generic difficulties attendant to that ideal. This article considers how democratic theorists might respond to the challenges posed by fugitive democracy and the implications of such an understanding for future research in democratic theory.
Rhinoplasty and Identity in Tehran
Tehran currently hosts one of the largest rhinoplasty markets in the world, and rhinoplasty is the most sought after cosmetic surgery in the country. This article examines whether the rhinoplasty trend reflects a shift in Iranians' attitudes towards their ethnic and cultural identity. It is argued that fashion and beauty norms in Tehran are certainly informed by globalised images, but these are mediated by Iranian moralities of prestige, image consciousness and class awareness. Thus, while many of the persons interviewed described 'Iranian noses' as aesthetically inferior to 'European noses', their statements were not necessarily coupled with a desire to negate Iranian identity.
Having for nearly a century lived a shadowy existence on the margins of mainstream ethnography, summoned forth only to play bit parts in some exemplary anecdote or illustrative vignette, over the last two decades the individual has emerged to take anthropological center stage. And not just the particular individual (the individual individual, so to speak)—the Nisa or the Tuhami (Crapanzano 1980; Shostak 1981)—but also the generic individual. Of course, the ethnographic foregrounding of individual individuals cannot be decoupled from a theoretical reconsideration of the generic individual, but it is the prominence granted the latter that marks a fairly decisive shift in current explanatory and interpretative paradigms (or at least rhetoric), so that nowadays it is commonplace to remind readers that the individual members of any society discussed are all “agents” actively engaged in “contesting,” “disputing,” “negotiating,” if not “creating” the social or cultural rules and norms to which they remain subject only in so far as those rules and norms may be incorporated into their own strategic pursuits.