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Stephen M. Lyon

Since independence in 1947, highly politicised kinship practices have shaped the country from rural agricultural villages to the highest legislative and executive branches of government and the military. Ideal models of patrilineal affiliation have defined and guided patterns of factional loyalties. Although my earlier work has principally focused on village networks and politics, the same patterns of factional alliances can be seen at national levels to shed light on the activities of party politics. The mechanisms adopted by the traditional landed elite, far from being challenged, are integral to the strategic success of non-landed elites in securing the top, public, elected positions of power. So, rather than suggesting landed elites have become irrelevant, I argue the source of wealth is ultimately less relevant than the broader socio-economic shard class and familial interests of a minority elite bound together through marriage.

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Anthropology and Displacement

Culture, Communication and Computers Applied to a Real World Problem

Stephen M. Lyon and Michael Fischer

Displacement following natural disasters brings about both short- and long-term issues that urban planners must address. While we recognize that many (though not all) aspects of the short-term plans may not require extensive anthropological insights, the long-term plans, on the contrary, do. We suggest in this article that one of the most important contributions anthropologists can make is producing formal models of indigenous knowledge systems (which are derived from underlying cultural systems) and identifying the ways in which such systems are communicated. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach which borrows from developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and multi-agent modelling (MAM), we argue that many of the tools that such disciplines have produced can serve an important role in long-range planning for the coexistence of disparate communities if they are adequately informed by anthropological understandings of the communities involved. We briefly outline the anthropology of communication and the culture concept before turning our attention to something that AI and MAM researchers have dubbed ontologies to suggest that it is possible to model cultural systems in dynamic ways that enable sociocultural models of communities which are simultaneously resilient and robust. We give a concrete example of such a cultural system (izzat or 'honour' in South Asia) and demonstrate what an ontology of such a system might look like.

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Stephen M. Lyon, Yasar Abu Ghosh, Pavel Himl, Tereza Stöckelová, Lucie Storchová, Robert Gibb, Jakob Krause-Jensen and Veerendra P. Lele

The choice of interdisciplinarities

Stephen M. Lyon

Multidisciplinarity as a necessity and challenge: the Department of General Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities, Charles University in Prague (FHS UK)

Yasar Abu Ghosh, Pavel Himl, Tereza Stöckelová and Lucie Storchová

Response to Sluis and Edwards, 'Rethinking combined departments'

Robert Gibb

Response to Sluis and Edwards, 'Rethinking combined departments'

Jakob Krause-Jensen

Response to Sluis and Edwards, 'Rethinking combined departments'

Veerendra P. Lele

Response from the authors, Ageeth Sluis and Elise Edwards