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Trading Up

Reflections on Power, Collaboration, and Ethnography in the Anthropology of Policy

Tara Schwegler

This article constitutes a pragmatic consideration of how to orchestrate access to 'powerful' individuals and a theoretical reflection on what efforts to negotiate access reveal about the anthropologist's subterranean assumptions about power, collaboration and ethnographic data. Too frequently, powerful actors and the contemporary settings they inhabit appear to be obstacles to ethnographic research. In contrast, I propose that we explore the ways in which working with powerful actors can enhance, rather than inhibit, the possibilities of anthropological data collection. In this article, I present several examples from my field research in the Mexican government to show how the ethnographic encounter can be constructive of the political process, not jut an appendage to it. By directing attention to the ways in which our actual research practices (and not just our findings) intervene in the political space, we can re-orient our expectations about data and the ontology of anthropological expertise.

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Bongani Nyoka

This article attempts a preliminary discussion of the three clusters of Archie Mafeje’s work. While Mafeje called for ‘non-disciplinarity’, as against ‘interdisciplinarity’ or ‘disciplinarity’, this article makes a case for why he should be read as a revolutionary sociologist. In so doing, the article pieces together some of the key elements of his oeuvre. The article consists of four main parts. The first part provides some background and contextualises this article. The second part deals with Mafeje’s programmatic critique of the discipline of anthropology and other social sciences. The third part discusses his work on land and agrarian issues in sub-Saharan Africa. The last section focuses on his work on revolutionary theory and politics, with specific reference to his assessment of the responsibility of the African intellectual.

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Dustin William Louie

In this article, based on research I conducted in Western Canada, I discuss the significance of the emerging influence of social media on the overrepresentation of Indigenous girls in sexually exploitative situations. In interviews I conducted with Indigenous sexual exploitation survivors and intervention staff I found that social media is being used to recruit Indigenous girls and keep them exploited in three distinct ways: targeting girls in reserve communities and luring them to the city; setting up so-called dates to keep them off the streets; and facilitating constant communication between the victim and victimizer, thus ensuring that girls are perpetually active and reachable. I respond to these by outlining educational possibilities in order to combat the exposure of these girls to predators on social media sites.

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Entanglements

Art-making, Becoming Girl and Collective Biography

Marnina Gonick

This article analyses a set of stories and artworks that were produced in the context of a collective biography workshop. A Deleuzian framework is used to explore the entanglements that are produced through a cross-reading of different kinds of texts, each taking up the question of girlhood subjectivities. The analysis focuses on the contradiction and indeterminacy of meaning-making in the research process. The aim is to investigate how different kind of knowing and a different kind of knowledge(s) are produced in the movements between texts, sensation and affect.

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Death Camps and Designer Dresses

The Liberal Agenda and the Appeal to 'Real Existing Socialism'

Lorna Finlayson

Political philosophers tend to notice their differences more than their similarities. I suggest that contemporary analytic political philosophy in fact exhibits a 'dominant paradigm', the main features of which are a commitment to liberal capitalism and a preference for the designing of 'just institutions.' To subscribe to this paradigm involves making a decision about how to manage the philosophical 'agenda.' In order to focus on certain issues within this paradigm, alternatives, most notably socialism, have to be excluded from prolonged consideration. A popular way of supporting this policy is by reference to the perceived failure of 'real existing socialism.' Taking the late political philosopher Brian Barry, among others, as an example, I argue that this argumentative strategy is unconvincing, and furthermore that its deployment tells a worrying story about the practice of political philosophy.

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Representing the Sensory Home

Ethnographic Experience and Anthropological Hypermedia

Sarah Pink

In this article I draw from my research about gender, identity, and the home, to discuss the visual and the other senses in ethnographic experience and anthropological representation. First, I discuss how visual ethnographic research might appreciate the sensory nature of experience. Seeing the home as both the context and subject of field- work, I shall introduce the idea of the ‘sensory home’. This refers to the home as a domain composed of different sensory elements (smell, touch, taste, vision, sound) that is simultaneously understood and created through the sensory experience and manipulation of these elements. I then explore how such visual and sensory research might best be represented as text that is conversant with mainstream anthropology. I shall suggest that while film and writing have both tackled this theme, hypermedia offers new possibilities that might bridge the gap between written and visual anthropology.

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Sally Falk Moore

Gluckman's approach to case studies is seen as a pivotal moment in the history of social anthropology. The shift was from normative accounts of structure to the tracking of sequences of events. An example from the author's study of happenings on Kilimanjaro illustrates the complex factors that enter a processual approach. Some dimensions of a century of social history can be seen to surround the struggle over a piece of property.

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W(h)ither New Age Studies?

The Uses of Ethnography in a Contested Field of Scholarship

Matthew Wood

Since the 1980s, there has existed a field of scholarly inquiry into a range of phenomena termed New Age. The relative lack of ethnographic studies in this field was identified several years ago, in response to research that focused merely on the discourses within alleged key writings. However, the employment of ethnographic methods does not by itself resolve the problems inherent in other modes of research; attention also has to be paid to how ethnography is used in practice. This article examines ethnographies of the New Age in terms of the extent to which they contextualize data within their immediate social frames, by paying attention to actors' practices and interactions, and to the ways in which beliefs and discourses are constructed and contested. The article demonstrates the strong tendency among New Age ethnographic studies to veer from 'the social' and to rest instead on analytically problematic conceptualizations of agency. It argues that epistemological revision is required to form the basis of a more sociologically adequate understanding of the phenomena addressed.

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Dutch Economic Textbooks in the 1970s

Raising the Status of a New Secondary School Type by Means of Mathematical Abstraction

Gerrit F. Gorter, Hilda T. A. Amsing and Jeroen J. H. Dekker

Essential Economics, the influential economics education textbook written by Arnold Heertje for use in Dutch secondary schools in the 1970s, was characterized by a previously unknown and internationally exceptional degree of abstraction. Its users justified this degree of abstraction by arguing that it fulfilled the needs of mental schooling (in line with the formal education argument upheld by defenders of humanism) and that it would enhance the rigorous status of the new type of school known as athenaeum A. In the 1970s, this economics education design was criticized by Herman Hartkamp, who strove to ground economics education on pupil-centered and social meliorist principles. By explaining this struggle and its outcome, this article exposes the various educational ideologies found in textbooks in the segmented Dutch school system.

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Michael G. Powell

By considering multiple perspectives on the problem of networking and networks in public policy circles, as well as the wider professional world, this article aims to both draw out and blur boundaries and definitions among multiple levels of networking as an analytic concept, a fieldwork method and a practice observed among policymakers. In making this distinction and explaining it in relation to theorisations of fieldwork rapport and 'complicity,' the article attempts to show that the distance and collegiality that defines professional networking is a viable and potentially quite insightful mode, means and method for conducting fieldwork, particularly for multisited anthropology of public policy projects. To that end, this article offers both conceptual ideas, as well as practical advice for conceiving and conducting fieldwork for an anthropology of public policy project.