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Ebola and Accusation

Gender Dimensions of Stigma in Sierra Leone’s Ebola Response

Olive Melissa Minor

As Response and Resilience Team Anthropologist for Oxfam GB, my role was to support an inclusive, community-led Ebola response through a better understanding of gender dynamics in the context of the outbreak. This case study identified stigma and blame of affected people as key factors in the ongoing epidemic. Despite social mobilisation efforts to address these attitudes, they remained ingrained in the Ebola response at multiple levels: in Government of Sierra Leone quarantine policies, in community by-laws and in everyday social interactions. Negative attitudes put pressure on the roles of men and women in ways that produced barriers to acting on Ebola prevention and treatment advice or creating an inclusive Ebola response. Our findings prompted several improvements in Ebola response activities that Oxfam Sierra Leone carried forward in their work, demonstrating the key role applied anthropology can play in creating a reflexive process to improve the effectiveness of humanitarian aid.

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Speaking Back, Striking Back

Calls for Local Agency and Good Fieldwork in Development Encounters

Eugenie Reidy

This article explores local agency in development anthropology, a prominent form of applied anthropology that has encouraged refl ection on the practice of anthropology itself (Mosse 2013). Drawing on specifi c fieldwork experiences from time the author spent working for the United Nations and international NGOs in East Africa, it discusses several complexities and moral questions that arose. In particular, it focuses on the challenges for local perspectives to be represented, given the subjective interests in which development encounters are embedded. It also looks at instances where ‘speaking back’ does occur, and where it arguably becomes ‘striking back’. In light of this, the article discusses what can be mutually exchanged between development and anthropology, with a particular focus on the accommodation of local agency and participation, and the need for fieldwork approaches based on suffi cient time, trust and positionality.

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David Orr

Anthropology in Action is always happy to hear from potential reviewers at all stages in their academic careers. We currently have a number of books awaiting review. If you are interested in reviewing any of the books on the list below, please contact the reviews editor David Orr (d.orr@sussex.ac.uk). We welcome reviews of around 600 words for a single book, but we are also keen to include review articles comparing two or more works, for which the word length is negotiable. Please also be aware that we can request recent publications (within the last year) from publishers, so do feel free to let us know of any books that you would like to review within the field of applied anthropology, and we will do our best to get them for you. Also note that publishers routinely send pdf or e-copies of publications rather than hard copies.

Open access

Anthropology in Action is always happy to hear from potential reviewers at all stages in their academic careers. We currently have a number of books awaiting review. If you are interested in reviewing any of the books on the list below, please contact the reviews editor David Orr (d.orr@sussex.ac.uk). We welcome reviews of around 600 words for a single book, but we are also keen to include review articles comparing two or more works, for which the word length is negotiable. Please also be aware that we can request recent publications (within the last year) from publishers, so do feel free to let us know of any books that you would like to review within the field of applied anthropology, and we will do our best to get them for you. Also note that publishers routinely send pdf or e-copies of publications rather than hard copies.

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Charlotte Faircloth, Carolyn Heitmeyer, Mari Korpela, Cheryl White and Paul Gilbert

Unsafe Motherhood: Mayan Maternal Morality and Subjectivity in Post-war Guatemala. Nicole S. Berry, 2010, New York and London: Berghahn Books (Fertility, Reproduction and Sexuality series), ISBN: 9781845457525, 250 pp., Hb. £50.00.

Bipolar Expeditions: Mania and Depression in American Culture. Emily Martin, 2009, Princeton: Princeton University Press, ISBN: 9780691141060, 370 pp., Pb. £16.95.

Caste, Occupation and Politics on the Ganges: Passages of Resistance. Assa Doron, 2008, Farnham: Ashgate (Anthropology and Cultural History in Asia and the Indo-Pacific) ISBN: 978-0-7546-7550-1, 198 pp., Hb. £55.

Rainforest Warriors: Human Rights on Trial. Richard Price, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011, ISBN: 9780812243000, 288 pp., Hb. £36.00.

Adventures in Aidland: The Anthropology of Professionals in International Development. David Mosse (ed.), 2011, New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books (Studies in Public and Applied Anthropology: Volume 6), ISBN: 978-0-85745-110-1, 238 pp., Hb. £55.00

Collateral Knowledge: Legal Reasoning in the Global Financial Markets. Annelise Riles, 2011, Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press (The Chicago Series in Law and Society), ISBN: 978-0-22671-933-7, 310 pp., Pb. £18.00

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Surviving Dehumanizing Times

Life Journeys across Borderlands of Memory and Deception; Michal Giedroyc and Ryszard Kapuscinski

Ignacy-Marek Kaminski

This article combines an auto-ethnographic approach with literary criticism and applied anthropology. It is about the lives of two men whose journeys through the major events of the twentieth century via different routes and moral choices suggest that literary ends do not always justify the means. Ryszard Kapuscinski (1932-2007), a world-renowned Polish journalist-turned-bestselling author, personally witnessed twenty-seven revolutions and military coups. His travel accounts stretch over five continents and have been widely recognized for their poignant dissection of the human condition. However, recent biographical details and examination of Kapuscinski's reporting methods by social researchers and field anthropologists have raised questions about the credibility and ethics of his works. By comparing his lifework and that of the lesser known Polish cross-cultural traveler exiled to Britain, author Michal Giedroyc (b. 1929), this article contextualizes political and personal dilemmas of both writers. They were born 150 kilometers apart in the multi-ethnic eastern Polish borderlands (now in Lithuania and Belarus). Their childhoods were similarly traumatized by the Nazi-Soviet division of Poland in September 1939. Both of their life journeys brought them into a united Europe in 2005 as Polish and British citizens, respectively.

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Feminism and Development

Building the Discipline or Politicising It?

David Lempert

Although initial contributions of Women's Studies to the field of Development Studies were to question existing concepts and assumptions and to offer new models and inclusive approaches, it appears that contemporary scholarship has shifted entirely (and even unapologetically) into political advocacy with little further in the way of social science or fresh critique and modelling. In Development Studies, Applied Anthropology and possibly in other subfields where gender concerns are presented in 'single-variable' or 'interest-group' perspectives, it may now be time to return to earlier goals through a depoliticisation of 'Feminist' and 'Women's' Studies, appropriately integrating 'Gender Studies' and concerns into subfields in ways that promote holistic advance of those fields. The essay uses two recent books with alternative examinations of feminism in developing societies – one on the area of 'development' and one on relations of two 'developed' countries, the U.S. and Russia – as springboards for a discussion of what has gone wrong and what can be changed in the sub-field of gender and Development Studies.

Open access

Anthropologists and Designers Co-Designing the Future

Report on the Sixth International Applied Anthropology Symposium in Lisbon

Laura Korčulanin and Verónica Reyero Meal

During the last weekend of October 2018, specialists from around the world met in Lisbon for the sixth ‘Why the World Needs Anthropologists’ symposium (WWNA). This yearly conference – which provides a space for sharing information, experiences and discussions regarding applied anthropology – has gone from a one-afternoon symposium to a three-day event with lectures, panel discussions, speed-talks, workshops, guided tours, social events and ‘Hot-Spots’ – stands where a range of institutions, sponsors and partners can present what they do. This year’s conference gathered more than 300 people from 33 countries (and more than a thousand online visitors via live-streaming) to reflect on the possibilities that the emergent discipline of design anthropology brings to anthropologists and designers and for cross-disciplinary collaborations. Significantly named, Designing the Future was a response to what many in the field feel is a time when the world needs more engaged anthropologists to spark ideas and bring out informed and well-thought-out research-based solutions.