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Aimar Ventsel

This field report summarizes an international interdisciplinary research project in Saidy, Republic of Sakha, in the Russian Far East. The aim of the research was to study ecological adaptations of communities in northern Sakha, combining methods of anthropology, archaeology, and ecology. Most indigenous communities in this region demonstrate a high level of self-organization—for example, forbidding sales of alcohol and transforming drinking to a hidden activity. These communities are actively engaged in the informal economy where officially unemployed people run informal grocery stores, hunting, and transport enterprises. Local practices are a mixture of Evenki and Sakha culture with emphasis on individualism. People in these communities are not nostalgic about Sovietera collective farms—something that is unusual in Siberia—and see current life as better than that in the Soviet era.

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Résistance Oblige?

Historiography, Memory, and the Evolution of Le Silence de la mer, 1942-2012

Brett Bowles

Among the best-selling French literary works of the twentieth century, Vercors' novella has enjoyed an exceptionally rich afterlife thanks to numerous print editions as well as several influential stage and screen adaptations: Jean-Pierre Melville's 1947 feature film, Jean Mercure's 1949 play, Vercors' own 1978 theatrical rendering, and a 2004 television movie written by Anne Giafferi and directed by Pierre Boutron. Taking a comparative approach that weighs the aesthetic and ideological priorities of these authors and directors alongside shifts in historiography and French political culture, this article traces the evolution of Le Silence de la mer as a contested site of national memory and a means of negotiating the ethically-charged concepts of collaboration and resistance.

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Michèle Lamont and Nicolas Duvoux

This essay considers changes in the symbolic boundaries of French society under the influence of neo-liberalism. As compared to the early nineties, stronger boundaries toward the poor and blacks are now being drawn, while North-African immigrants and their offsprings continue to be largely perceived as outside the community of those who deserve recognition and protection. Moreover, while the social reproduction of upper-middle-class privileges has largely remained unchanged, there is a blurring of the symbolic boundaries separating the middle and working class as the latter has undergone strong individualization. Also, youth are now bearing the brunt of France's non-adaptation to changes in the economy and are increasingly marginalized. The result is a dramatic change in the overall contours of the French symbolic community, with a narrowed definition of cultural membership, and this, against a background of growing inequality, unemployment, and intolerance in a more open and deregulated labor market.

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Introduction

Lenience in Systems of Religious Meaning and Practice

Maya Mayblin and Diego Malara

Questions of discipline are, today, no less ubiquitous than when under Foucault’s renowned scrutiny, but what does ‘discipline’ in diverse religious systems actually entail? In this article, we take ‘lenience’ rather than discipline as a starting point and compare its potential, both structural and ideological, in religious contexts where disciplinary flexibility shores up greater encompassing projects of moral perfectionism as opposed to those contexts in which disciplinary flexibility is a defining feature in its own right. We argue that lenience provides religious systems with a vital flexibility that is necessary to their reproduction and adaptation to the world. By taking a ‘systems’ perspective on ethnographic discussions of religious worlds, we proffer fresh observations on recent debates within the anthropology of religion on ‘ethics’, ‘failure’, and the nature of religious subjects.

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Educating the Eyes

Biocultural Anthropology and Physical Education

Greg Downey

Diverse forms of physical education form in their participants' skills, perceptual abilities and physiological adaptations that distinguish them from practitioners of other activities. These traits, many unconscious, are little studied in sociocultural anthropology in spite of their widespread prevalence. This article specifically explores how practitioners of capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian dance and martial art, learn to do a bananeira, a form of handstand. Its form, practical demands and training techniques make the bananeira a radically different exercise than other forms of handstand, such as that done by gymnasts. Capoeira practitioners develop a distinctive sense of balance—a dynamic assembly of perceptual skills and motor responses—that they use to keep upright while inverted. Across all cultures, forms of physical education and apprenticeship assemble distinctive physical skills, forms of cultural difference that should be defended as ardently as other forms of distinctiveness.

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Eric S. Rabkin

Frankenstein and Dracula represent two different genres in print but only one in film. The emergence of science fiction from the Gothic exemplifies normal public genre development. The translation of the written Frankenstein and Dracula into film exemplifies genre development as an adaptation both to historical moment and to medium. In both the print and film cases, we can see the same mechanisms by which a genre is not only established in the public sphere but in the mind of a reader or viewer, a dialectic process in which the genre forms and informs reading and viewing and potentially, as a genre, is reformed by reading and viewing. Consideration of cognitive mechanisms involved in verbal and visual cognition shows both the interaction and the typical dominance of the visual, although genre, and hence individual works, can be modified by increasing our focus on the verbal.

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Michael Alpert

Among the descendants of the Jews who had been exiled from Spain in 1492 and had reached the Ottoman Empire, the tradition of writing and reading serious religious material in their spoken language, often known as Ladino, began in the eighteenth century with the massive scriptural commentary Me'am Lo'ez. In the later nineteenth century there was a surge in the publication of newspapers in Ladino, accompanied by the serialization of novels in the press or their weekly publication in parts. The Ladino novel and novelette, mostly of adventure or family conflict, reached its peak in the first decade of the twentieth century and again in the 1920s, after which it began to decline. The estimated 300 to 500 novels were translations and adaptations of foreign, largely French, originals, but there were also many original works, of which the two best known authors were Elia Karmona and Alexandre Ben-Ghiat.

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Bruno Schulz's Literary Adoptees

Jewishness and Literary Father-Child Relationships in Cynthia Ozick's and David Grossmann's Fiction

Bruno Arich-Gerz

In a speculatively intertextual way, Bruno Schulz's disappeared manuscript The Messiah re-appears in Cynthia Ozick's The Messiah of Stockholm (1987) and See Under: Love by David Grossmann (1989). Deeply concerned with the late effects of the Holocaust on survivors and their (grand) children, the two books either feature Schulz as the alleged father of Ozick's protagonist or refer to him and his oeuvre as crucial for Grossmann's hero Momik's project of writing the life and Holocaust survival story of 'Grandfather Anshel'. Models from literary theory which allow for a framing of Schulz's imaginary paternity and his adaptation by and through fictional adoptees range from trauma theory in Grossmann's case to discussions of 'original' works as opposed to plagiarism and forgery in that of Ozick's.

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Odette Lobato-Calleros, Humberto Rivera, Hugo Serrato, María Elena Gómez and Ignacio Méndez Ramírez

This article reports on the methodology for setting the Mexican User Satisfaction Index for Social Programs (MUSI-SP) as tested in seven national social programs. The evaluation is based on Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). How satisfaction takes the central place of the SEM, which postulates its causes and effects, contributes to the increased validity and reliability of satisfaction indicators that allow benchmarking between social programs. The MUSI model is an adaptation of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) model. The MUSI methodology includes qualitative and quantitative techniques. The estimation model is by the Partial Least Squares (PLS). In each of the seven social programs, no statistical evidence was found to reject the main relationships postulated by the ACSI’s model: that Perceived Quality impacts Satisfaction, and Satisfaction impacts Trust. The improvement opportunity areas were also identified for each program. These results give valid and reliable feedback to public policies.

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Ka Lin

Social theories are heavily context-embedded, and their creation is naturally interwoven with particular contexts. Once they are disseminated within a new societal landscape, adjustments and adaptation should be made. This paper investigates the entangled contexts of the social quality theory and its applicability to Asian societies. rough a comparative analysis of the key questions that this theory purports to answer, as well as its proposed answers and solutions, the study evaluates the purpose, features and functions of the theory. Moreover, in relation to four sorts of 'conditional factors', this article also proposes extending social quality studies into four approaches that should lead the studies beyond the level of description into new forms of theory. The article also explores the theory's power to explain the Asian social quality systems and their implications for global social development.