Scholarship has frequently struggled with several pairs of dichotomies as it has sought to understand the digital: real vs. virtual, authentic vs. mediated, openness (freedom) vs. closure (control), and community vs. network. In order to make conceptual headway without falling into these traps, we turn in this article to the concept of indexicality. We urge an account of the digital that sees it as a resource for social action, one with the capacity to reduce and abstract as well as to differentiate and proliferate, recognizing both of these as potential projects that social actors may undertake. We offer the operation of money as an instructive analogy for how we may identify both the abstracting and the specifying dimensions of the digital.
Yang Liu, Thomas Malaby, and Daniel Miller
Analyzing the Social-Ecological Impacts of Forest Conservation and Management over the Long Term
Daniel C. Miller, Pushpendra Rana, and Catherine Benson Wahlén
Citizens, governments, and donors are increasingly demanding better evidence on the effectiveness of development policies and programs. Efforts to ensure such accountability in the forest sector confront the challenge that the results may take years, even decades, to materialize, while forest-related interventions usually last only a short period. This article reviews the broad interdisciplinary literature assessing forest conservation and management impacts on biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, and poverty alleviation in developing countries. It emphasizes the importance of indicators and identifies disconnects between a rapidly growing body of research based on quasi-experimental designs and studies taking a more critical, ethnographic approach. The article also highlights a relative lack of attention on longer-term impacts in both of these areas of scholarship. We conclude by exploring research frontiers in the assessment of the impacts of forest-related interventions with long incubation periods, notably the development of predictive proxy indicators (PPIs).
Marc Saperstein, Daniel H. Weiss, Rory Miller, Amanda Golby, Jonathan Romain, and David Janner-Klausner
Levie Bernfeld, Tirtsah, Poverty and Welfare among the Portuguese Jews in Early Modern Amsterdam, Oxford, Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2012, xvii + 590 pp., ISBN 978-1-904113-57-7 (hb).
Batnitsky, Leora, How Judaism Became a Religion: An Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2011, x + 211 pp. (cloth).
Lainer-Vos, Dan, Sinews of the Nation: Constructing Irish and Zionist Bonds in the United States, Cambridge, Polity, 2013, 240 pp., ISBN 13-978-0- 7456-6265-7 (pb).
Ofer, Dalia, Francoise S. Ouzan and Judy Tydor Baumel-Schwartz, Holocaust Survivors: Resettlement, Memories, Identities, New York, Berghahn Books, 2012, 345 pp., ISBN 978-0-85745-247-4 (hb).
Baumel-Schwartz, Judith Tydor, Never Look Back: The Jewish Refugee Children in Great Britain 1938–1945, West Lafayette, IN, Purdue University Press (Shofar Supplements in Jewish Studies), 2012, 286 pp., ISBN 978-1- 55753-612-9 (pb).
Bernard, Philippa, A Beacon of Light: The History of West London Synagogue, West London Synagogue, 2013, 229 pp., ISBN 978-0-9576672-0-4.
Pinto, Diana, Israel Has Moved, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 2013, 215 pp., ISBN 978-0-674-07342-5 (hb).
Cultural Expectations of Pregnant Women in Qatar
Susie Kilshaw, Daniel Miller, Halima Al Tamimi, Faten El-Taher, Mona Mohsen, Nadia Omar, Stella Major, and Kristina Sole
This article explores emerging themes from the first stage of ethnographic research investigating pregnancy and loss in Qatar. Issues around the development of foetal personhood, the medical management of the pregnant body and the social role of the pregnant woman are explored. Findings suggest that Qatari women are expected to be calm vessels for their growing baby and should avoid certain foods and behaviours. These ideas of risk avoidance are linked to indigenous knowledge around a mother’s influence on a child’s health and traits. Motherhood holds a particularly important place in Qatari culture and in Islam, and women are ultimately responsible for protecting and promoting fertility and for producing healthy children.