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Technologies of the Afterlife

The Agency of the Dead at Spanish Mass Grave Exhumations

Jonah S. Rubin

In August 2011, I attended the exhumation of Severiano Clemente González, conducted by the Forum for Memory in the Castilian town of La Toba, Guadalajara. Mr González was one of the over 130,000 civilian victims of the 1936–1939 Spanish Civil War and ensuing Franco dictatorship (1939–1975). Even after Spain’s democratic constitution in 1978, most families could not recover their loved ones, owing to an unofficial ‘Pact of Silence’ whereby major political actors agreed not to legislate, litigate or discuss the still controversial past in the public sphere (Encarnación 2014). Since 2000, however, civil society organisations such as the Forum for Memory and the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory (ARMH) have been leading a series of forensic exhumations – modelled after similar state-led interventions in Latin America, Southern and Eastern Europe (Ferrándiz 2010; Rubin 2014).

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Didier Gazagnadou

In this article, the author investigates, from an anthropological point of view, why many Iranian women (and even some men) resort to rhinoplasty – that is, surgery to alter the appearance of the nose – for cosmetic purposes. When did this phenomenon begin in Iran? Which social classes and ages are concerned? What is the relationship between this practice and Iranian society in general? Is it the result of foreign cultural influences? What comparisons can be made with other cultures? Born of a micro-sociological case, these interrogations address the anthropology of Iranian society, which, like many others, has been engaged for several decades in an ‘exchange process’ that today is commonly known as globalisation.

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Vladimir Shkerin

This article examines the beginning and development of the shipbuilding industry in the Urals in the nineteenth century. It studies in detail the process of technology transfer from Britain to the Urals and highlights the important role that engineers and mechanics from Britain played in the development of the Russian shipbuilding industry, particularly the technology of shipbuilding.

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Bringing Indigenous Kamchatka to Google Earth

Collaborative Digital Mapping with the Itelmen Peoples

Brian Thom, Benedict J. Colombi, and Tatiana Degai

; Moore and Tlen 2007 ). In spite of living in fly-in communities, many with no running water, limited communications infrastructure, and modest living conditions, many young people are enthusiastic about mobile and computing technologies, with community

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'0 Feet Away'

The Queer Cartography of French Gay Men's Geo-social Media Use

Dominique Pierre Batiste

Why do gay men utilise geo-social media applications such as Grindr and Scruff? Social media scholarship describes technological mediations and changes to social space and communities; however, there are theoretical gaps concerning what geo-social technology means for gay men. I suggest that gay men's ability to see other gay men, via geo-social media, reveals the queer cartography of any geographical location. This re-mapping of social space proves the public sphere less heteronormative than purported, cultivates community between gay men who may initiate face-to-face contact utilising geo-locative technology, and allows gay men to interact with one another outside of specifically gay spaces. This research is based in Toulouse, France, and adds to scholarship concerning French gay men's resistance to heteronormativity. This research also holds global significance concerning subjugated communities' uses of geo-social technology in their resistance against dominant cultures.

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Morgan Clarke

Anthropological debates on kinship in the Middle East have centred on the 'problems' of patriparallel cousin marriage and milk kinship. A focus on Middle Eastern reactions to assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilisation allows a fresh perspective on the study of kinship in the region. My own research has investigated Islamic legal reactions to assisted reproductive technologies and the practice of assisted reproduction in Lebanon. Islamic legal reaction is diverse, as are the uses made of these techniques by non-specialist Muslims. Considerations of propriety and public reputation remain uppermost, although matters of kinship are debated and new patterns and ideologies of relatedness are potentially emerging.

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Childless Women in Georgia

Between Religious Restrictions and Medical Opportunities

Elene Gavashelishvili

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is gradually becoming available in Georgia, but while the medical technologies are being developed, the Georgian Orthodox Church opposes the idea of having a child through what it declares to be unnatural ways. Despite the authority of the Church, the Orthodox discourse about IVF is not directly incorporated into the everyday lives of people. Ethnographical observation has allowed an exploration of how childless women in Georgia reconcile modern reproductive technologies with their religion. In order to explain the hybridity in women’s attempts to make official religiosity better adapted to everyday life, I use the concept of bricolage as applied to the social practices of women who assemble different, seemingly disjointed, resources in coping with problematic situations.

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Frank Hole

In the past decade there has been a shift of focus from individual archaeological sites to an approach that incorporates the dynamic interplay of land, climate, society, economy, ritual and technical innovation. A growing understanding of past climates and environments, coupled with the use of satellite technology and other means of remote sensing, has opened new avenues of interpretation. Classic problems, such as the origins and spread of agrarian societies, have benefited from an array of new scientific methods, and there is increasing attention to social and ritual aspects of society.

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Sergey V. Sokolovskiy

This article is a case study of the emergence and construction of politically salient social classifications that underpin such phenomena as ethnicity and nationalism in contemporary Russia. Official recognition of ethnic group in Russia often entails political visibility and special status with an associated set of legal provisions. In addition to 'titular peoples' of the republics, the Russian legal system has several legal categories based on ethnicity, such as indigenous peoples and national minorities, whose members claim and attain special status and associated rights. In order to ensure these rights, the state administration needs reliable information on the numbers of people in such categories.

The article analyzes ethnic and languages categorization in the population census of 2002, describes the related census technology, comments on legal definitions of indigenous peoples in Russia, and within this framework elaborates on the topic of indigeneity construction. It also provides an interpretation of the numerical threshold employed in federal laws on indigenous peoples.

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Jean-Pierre Digard

Floor, Willem (2003), Agriculture in Qajar Iran (Washington, DC: Mage Publishers). 692 pp.

Scholz, Fred (2002), Nomadism and Colonialism: A Hundred Years of Baluchistan 1872–1972, trans. Hugh Van Skyhawk (Oxford: Oxford University Press). xviii–328 pages, bibliography, figures, index.

Tapper, Richard and McLachlan, Keith (2003) (eds.), Technology, Tradition and Survival: Aspects of Material Culture in the Middle East and Central Asia (London and Portland, OR: Frank Cass) (History and Society in the Islamic World Series). 256 pages, 49 pl. h.-t., illustrations, maps, index. Published with the assistance of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), the British Institute for Persian Studies (BIPS) and the Centre of Near and Middle Eastern Studies (CNMES) at the London School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).