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Documenting Impact

An Impact Case Study of Anthropological Collaboration in Tobacco Control

Andrew Russell and Sue Lewis

In this article we consider the 'impact case study' (ICS) as a specific kind of document, one which, as part of the U.K.'s Research Excellence Framework (REF), enforces a common template for the description and measurement of the social and economic effects of research in U.K. higher education. We track the development of an ICS describing anthropological research in tobacco control which, after many iterations, was not submitted as part of the REF. We ask 'what is impact?' in cases where anthropological research is based on principles of collaboration and serendipity rather than the mechanistic 'research > translation > impact > measurement' model which an ICS is expected to follow. What is included and what excluded by the strictures of such a model? We are generally supportive of the impact agenda, feeling that university resources and activities have a vital role to play in progressive social change. However, the way 'impact' is recorded, appraised and measured in an ICS only captures a small proportion of the effects of anthropological research, and encourages particular forms of public engagement while discounting others.

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Susan Wright

This article focuses on the site where much anthropological work is conducted—universities—and anthropological approaches to studying their current transformations. Although I work comparatively on the imagining and enactment of universities in Denmark and Britain, here I focus on the recent changes to universities in England, which have taken many by surprise, as if they exceeded anyone's wildest imagination and were even beyond belief. I will trace how the “conditions of possibility” for the current changes came about—the tripling of student fees, removal of government funding for teaching in arts and social sciences, and transfer of public resources to commercial, for-profit higher education companies. I will briefly outline the problems that opponents to these moves are having in imagining an alternative future, let alone organizing themselves to contest current developments. In conclusion, I will point to the changes in anthropology itself that are incurred when engaging in an ethnography of such a large policy field and when attempting to capture “what the present is producing” (Moore 1987: 727).

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Alejandro Lugo

Following Ann Stoler's analysis of 'imperial debris' and Gastón Gordillo's notion of the 'void', this article examines how, in the context of the Mexican-American War of 1846–1848, imperial and religious impulses have endured from the mid-nineteenth century to the present at the US-Mexico border. Using photographs taken at different 'sites of memory' located along the 60-mile corridor that connects Las Cruces, New Mexico, with El Paso, Texas, this analysis demonstrates that the continuing American occupation of Mexican lands has contributed to the oblique inclusion and parallel exclusion or erasure of the historical presence of the Mexican community, as well as its political, cultural, and historical legitimacy in the region. However, the essay argues that ultimately the 'voidable' status of the American presence in the US-Mexico border region continues to reproduce itself. The article closes with a series of photographs of churches that capture religious landscapes that manifest, challenge, and transcend the occupied borderlands through the materiality of their presence.

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Mohammed A. Bamyeh

The globalization of modernity obviously exceeds in its profundity the signifiers of open pathways and commodity circulation—clothing, music, food, and so on—tend to capture much of our immediate attention. In the first place, among tales of cultural dissemination modernity has the unique feature that it made its epoch without a heroic duel with any opposing force. The effort expended today to magnify the scale of supposedly ‘anti-modern’ fanaticism, or to force the world into the logic of a clash of ‘civilizations’ notwithstanding, the globalization of modernity owes much to the fact that, in its broadest outlines, it has never been truly rejected by any significant force in any society. Hardly any commentator on modernity, after all, defines the term in ways, which, upon closer inspection, reveal anything in modernity that should be anathema to social processes and longings everywhere. If we define modernity in terms of material outcomes—prosperity, longevity, lack of scarcity, leisure time, better communication systems, better housing, education, a wider range of consumer commodities—it is hard to see how any of this could be opposed by anybody, although these outcomes may be rejected by ascetic monks in any society, modern or not. If we define modernity in terms of social structure, such as predominantly urban life and within it a strong bourgeois class, it is easy to see that this outcome has been the conscious goal of policies in most of the world even before the termination of the alternative path of East bloc socialism.

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Eve Rachele Sanders

The letter was the single most widely used property in Tudor-Stuart plays. In that memorable stage direction from The Spanish Tragedy, the letter is an instrumental device in the plot. It provides Hieronimo, the central protagonist of the revenge tragedy, with targets for revenge by identifying his son’s killers by name. However, the letter also is a sign for the interior state of mind of its writer, the beautiful Bel-imperia, in issuing a call for reprisal. It is a materialisation of what immaterial passions ultimately drive the action: desire, loss, and rage. Red ink. Blood signifies the authenticity of the words on the page. They come, literally, from Bel-imperia’s heart. And yet, the macabre medium of the message brings Hieronimo to see in it fatal implications for himself. ‘Hieronimo, beware’, he says to himself, ‘thou art betrayed, / And to entrap thy life this train is laid’. (Indeed, in another revenge tragedy, Bussy D’Ambois, an adulterous wife is forced at knifepoint to lay a snare for her lover with that very deception of a letter inscribed in her blood). This single moment in Thomas Kyd’s tragedy, Hieronimo’s reception of Bel-imperia’s ‘bloody writ’, captures the complex of attitudes that governed the circulation of letters as stage properties.

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Andreas Herberg-Rothe

In an attempt to capture the unexpected forms taken by excessive violence since the epochal years of 1989-91, Robert Kaplan has argued that these developments indicate a coming anarchy, which has to be prevented (Kaplan 1994). This statement is based on the assumption that the level at which wars are being fought has shifted from the level of the state to a 'lower' level. It is argued that in most of these conflicts, non-state actors are involved on at least one side. The motivation and goals of these non-state actors seem not to follow political or ideological imperatives but have other sources, which may be ethnic, economic, or the fact that violence has become an autonomous force. Things would look different, however, if this diffusion were no more than a transitional phase after the breakdown of the polar order of the Cold War. The paradigm of the wars to come would then be determined not by the order/anarchy antithesis, but by the conflict between different conceptions of order. Finally, I argue that there will be a re-politicization of war and violence in the long run.

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We open this issue with a translation of a scenario which Sartre wrote during the winter of 1943-44 entitled “Resistance.” It is not unlike several of Sartre’s plays in that it focuses on a weak hero who feels finally compelled to act in a difficult situation. It also displays some striking similarities with the outline provided by Simone de Beauvoir in The Force of Circumstance of “La derniére Chance” [“The Last Chance”]. It is set in occupied France and deals initially with captured soldiers in a POW camp, several of whom are eager to get back to Rouen in order to join the resistance. The conflict between collaborators—those who preached active participation or passive acquiescence in the Nazi power game—and the various forms of resistance— from printing clandestine papers to acts of sabotage—is subtly analyzed in the scenario. The multiple reversals of fortune and the ultimate peripeteia—so typical of Sartre’s plays and stories as well as of the nineteenth century tradition of the “well-made play and story,” do not seem out of place in the WWII setting of occupied France where one’s attitudes and actions could be fatal at any time.

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Sarah Waters

The Confédération paysanne can be described as a marginal farmers' union that represents the vested interests of a tiny minority and that seems to swim against a tide of socio-economic change. At a time when France is increasingly integrated into a global economy, it calls for greater protectionism, a massive increase in state subsidies, and a closure of borders to trade. Yet, far from being dismissed as marginal or anachronistic, the Confédération, at the height of its influence, was hailed as a symbol of the “general interest” and gained the enthusiastic support of a majority of French citizens. In this essay, the author suggests that the success of the Confédération had little to do with conventional political or institutional patterns but was derived instead from its “symbolic power” and its capacity to transform its own cause into a metaphor for opposition to globalization. At a time of profound crisis, the Confédération was able to capture one of the nation's most enduring myths, laying claim to a whole symbolic universe linked to peasant farming. Whilst such symbolism is hardly new in the French context, the Confédération's particular skill was to counterpose this against a dominant image of neo-liberal globalization. It posited peasant farming as an antidote to all the evils of a globalizing world, one in which identity is reaffirmed, tradition is preserved and social bonds are restored.

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Vincent Della Sala

The areas of policy and politics that captured the notion that Italy was

“saved by Europe” and “condemned to success” were budgetary politics

and the state of Italy’s public finances. During the dark days of the currency

crisis of September 1992, few would have expected that by the

end of the decade Italy’s public finances would have managed to correct

themselves to settle below the ceilings set by the Maastricht convergence

criteria. Justifiably, political, economic, and social leaders trumpeted

Italy’s entry into the euro economy as a great policy achievement

and as a sign that its commitment to fiscal discipline could never be

questioned again. Moreover, the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) would

guarantee that any relapse would be corrected by a healthy dose of EU

medicine. This narrative of Italy’s spendthrift ways being reformed by

the discipline of Europe was seriously questioned in 2005 when the

European Commission and Council initiated the excessive deficit procedure

in response to Italy’s violation of the terms of the SGP. Had the vincolo

esterno (external constraint) that shaped Italian macro-economic

policy in the 1990s lost its grip? Were Italian policy-makers breaking

free of European constraints, or were they simply adjusting to a more

elastic framework for the control of public finances in the EU?

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Volunteering as Protest

Against State Failure or the State Itself?

Jan Křeček

Although the Czech Republic (CR) is not a favorite destination nor even a transit country for migrants through Europe, the refugee crisis has materialized into a strict state policy of rejection. The CR rejects proposals for European solutions and detains and imprisons immigrants, most of whom are inadvertently arrived there. This preliminary refusal strategy is peculiar to both the political and media spheres (and public opinion) and is described in the opening sections of this work. However, the CR, is also a country in which the tally of immigrants is less than the number of Czechs citizens traveling beyond their national borders to help refugees congregating along the “Balkan Route”, where they frequently outnumber volunteers from other countries. This paper goes on to describe the development of these grassroots Czech volunteer organizations and activities in 2015. From the beginning it was characterized by spontaneity and a lack of hierarchy, with the Internet and social media playing a vital role during mobilization and organization. The methodological section defines how this sample was analyzed and the manner in which it was dealt. Section five summarizes the most important findings of the case study: (1) the results of a questionnaire survey among volunteers, (2) the results of a qualitative content analysis of their communication in social networks. Besides basic mapping steps (features of volunteer’s participation), the analysis attempts to capture motivations for volunteer’s participation. Comparison with selected motivation typologies emphasizes the protective (later the normative) motivation, on which the hypotheses are based regarding the dispute about the national identity of volunteering as an ideological, and therefore foreseeable, dispute.