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Community-based Approaches to Reforming Female Genital Operations in Africa

A Case Study from the Oromia Regional State of Ethiopia

Aneesa Kassam and Alemayehu Diro Lalise

In the past, numerous attempts by colonial governments and international agencies to abolish the practice of female genital cutting in Africa failed to make any significant impact on behaviour. In this article, we describe how, since 1996, an indigenous NGO has been attempting to reform the practice in the rural communities of Oromia (Ethiopia). We show that it has brought about enduring change by creating awareness about the health consequences of the practice, facilitating collective debate on the topic using participatory methods, and involving local elders in the decision to abandon it. We compare this approach to other successful African initiatives undertaken during the same period based on similar strategies. We argue that these programmes have been able to amend the practice by empowering the communities to direct their own process of change, based on their own traditions. We caution, however, that such interventions should not be made without a full understanding of the cultural meaning(s) of the practice, which should be seen in a holistic manner.

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Dow Chemical's Knowledge Factories

Action Anthropology against Michigan's Company Town Culture

Brian McKenna

The article describes my efforts as a public anthropologist/journalist in addressing the official culture of silence in Michigan's colleges, universities and towns regarding Dow Chemical's extensive environmental health pollution and corruption. These sites include Midland, Michigan, home of Dow's international headquarters, and my own residence of East Lansing, site of Michigan State University, the state's largest higher education institution. Both are beneficiaries of Dow largess or philanthropy. This relative silence - which extends to nearly all state media and universities - is remarkable considering the fact that, unlike turn of the century company towns, Dow Chemical operates in a civic culture where thousands of highly educated professionals work in education, government and communications. Democracy is degraded by processes of accumulation, ideology, fear, suppression, conformity, specialization and, importantly, the self-censorship of professionals and academics. With Eriksen (2006) and Hale (2008) I argue for an engaged anthropology where anthropologists step out of their academic cocoons to embrace the local public. This is 'not just a matter of … reaching broader publics with a message from social science … it is a way of doing social science' (Hale 2008: xvii). This case study illustrates how an anthropologist engaged contradictions in order to show how Michigan universities are becoming veritable knowledge factories in service to Eisenhower's feared military-industrial-academic complex.

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Making (a) Difference

Paperwork and the Political Machine

Alexander Thomas T. Smith

Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in Dumfries and Galloway, this article describes how Conservative Party activists put a variety of discursive artefacts to work as they sought to mass produce and distribute leaflets during the 2003 local Government and Scottish Parliament elections. The leaflet, called In Touch, rendered explicit the need to demonstrate that a political candidate and political party are connected (in touch) with a wider community. This leaflet was therefore designed to invoke a set of connections between person (the candidate), place (the Council Ward/community) and political party (the Conservatives) that might register with even the most disinterested elector. At the same time, the production of these leaflets facilitated the generation of an activist network amongst the party's volunteer base, which exhausted itself by the time Polling Day passed. I argue that addressing logistical and organizational questions - that is, activist methodology - in the production of the In Touch leaflet focused the attention of political activists more than the 'issues' on which they intended to campaign, which were 'found' or 'produced' as artefacts or contrivances of activist labour. In addressing such questions, Tory strategists hoped to 'make (a) difference' given that they tended to view previous campaigns to have been executed in an amateur and disorganized fashion. Through the sheer scale of their production and distribution throughout Dumfries and Galloway, it was hoped that the In Touch leaflets would produce social as well as electoral effects.

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Lucy D. Curzon

BOOK REVIEW

Ann Travers. 2018. The Trans Generation: How Trans Kids (and Their Parents) Are Creating a Gender Revolution. New York: New York University Press.

Ann Travers’s new book, The Trans Generation: How Trans Kids (and Their Parents) Are Creating a Gender Revolution (hereafter The Trans Generation) is a highly persuasive investigation that sheds much-needed scholarly light on a grossly marginalized, precarious community. Travers interviewed 36 transgender children, and many of their parents, to reveal the challenges they face in everyday use of bathrooms, locker rooms, and other rigidly gendered spaces, as well as in interactions with friends, parents, and siblings, as well as schools, and local and state or provincial governments. Apart from the scope of this study, what is remarkable about The Trans Generation is its accessibility. Instead of presenting a quantitative analysis, which can be alienating to readers outside academia, Travers offers an exhaustive qualitative study parsed in highly thoughtful, eloquent, and open terms—one that prizes the individuality, indeed the knowableness, of each child interviewed. And, although The Trans Generation is not explicitly dedicated to discussions of girlhood, the focus of this journal, it nonetheless offers, I argue, valuable new paradigms or strategies for thinking about girls’ lives and identities.

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Turtle 1

The First System D Car

Melle Smets

Th e majority of the world’s population lives, moves about, studies, and works in System D – the ultimate Do-It-Yourself world, where government is largely absent, the living situation is often problematic, and people have to fend for themselves. In our search for System D examples, we stumbled upon Suame Magazine. Suame Magazine (Kumasi/Ghana) is the largest automobile district of Western Africa: 200,000 people work in 12,000 workshops and small factories. Th ey repair, convert, and adapt discarded cars from the rich countries. In this immense open-air automobile factory, cars are transformed into African cars. Simple, strong and cheap adjustments make them suitable for the African road. It is a place where craftsmanship, knowledge of recycling, ingenuity, and self-suffi ciency rule the daily life. Th is is where we decided to research System D, in close collaboration with the local community. In twelve weeks we designed and built the Turtle, a prototype of the African car, in collaboration with SMIDO (Suame Magazine Industrial Development Organization).

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Anne-Christine Trémon

This article examines the process of neoliberalization in the Shenzhen special economic zone in Guangdong Province, China. Building on the case study of a former peasant and almost single-lineage village that has become a part of the city of Shenzhen, I show how neoliberal principles aimed at advancing the transition to capitalism are combined with and countered by other ethical traditions. Owing to the long-standing conception of the lineage as an enterprise, the maintenance of the lineage structure in the transformation of the rural collectives has offered fertile ground for the emergence of a local capitalist coalition. Yet the current discourses on the necessity of obliterating the remains of the collective economy and introducing individual ownership run counter to the collectivist values of the lineage village community and the embeddedness of its economy in kinship and territorial ties. I further illustrate this discordance by the way in which the villagers managed to save their founding ancestor's grave site following government requests to clear the land by removing tombs. These policies form a complex blend of state interventions in the economy, neoliberal governance, and Confucian principles.

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Designing a Green Belt for Xalapa City

Veracruz under current Mexican policies

Griselda Benítez, Gerardo Alvarado-Castillo, René A. Palestina, Mara Cortés, Kari Williams and Israel Acosta

English Abstract:

Green Belts are often proposed as an alternative for containing urban sprawl, restoring ecological processes, recovering connectivity, and maintaining the multi-functionality that cities need. This article analyzes a proposed Green Belt for Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. It is spatially examined through GIS analysis and designed on the notion of Garden City as a strip to circumvent the city. Existing conditions are also discussed. Two existing conservation initiatives are compared to the proposed Green Belt strategy. Its establishment requires agreements between Xalapa and surrounding municipalities. The proposed strategy brings local government and citizens together to preserve the remaining vegetation and thus promote the well-being of local inhabitants.

Spanish Abstract:

Los cinturones verdes frecuentemente se han propuesto como una alternativa para contener la expansión urbana desordenada, restaurar los procesos ecológicos y recuperar la conectividad, y mantener la multifuncionalidad que las ciudades necesitan. Este artículo analiza un esquema de Cinturón Verde para Xalapa, Veracruz, México. Es espacialmente examinado, diseñado bajo el concepto de Ciudad Jardín, como una franja que rodea a la ciudad, el análisis se elaboró con un SIG. Las condiciones existentes también se discuten. Se comparan dos iniciativas de conservación existentes con la estrategia propuesta de Cinturón Verde. Su establecimiento requiere acuerdos entre Xalapa y los municipios aledaños. La estrategia propuesta requiere reunir a los gobiernos locales y ciudadanos para preservar la vegetación remanente y así promover el bienestar de los habitantes locales.

French Abstract

Les ceintures vertes sont fréquemment proposées comme une alternative pour limiter l’expansion urbaine désordonnée, restaurer les processus écologiques, récupérer la connectivité et maintenir la multifonctionnalité que les villes requièrent. Cet article analyse une proposition de ceinture verte pour Xalapa dans l’état du Veracruz au Mexique. Celle-ci est examinée et élaborée en particulier à partir du concept de cité-jardin, formée par une trame qui entoure la ville et son analyse a été élaborée par un Système d’information géographique (SIG). Les conditions existantes sont également discutées. Deux initiatives de conservation qui suivent la stratégie de la ceinture verte sont comparées. Leur mise en oeuvre implique des accords entre Xalapa et les municipes des alentours. La stratégie proposée impose la réunion des gouvernements locaux et des citoyens pour préserver la végétation restante et faciliter la promotion du bien-être des habitants.

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Social cohesion beyond borders

Does management of mining resources promote social cohesion and regional integration? Lessons from Canada and Mexico

Angeles Mendoza Sammet

This contribution analyzes whether the transboundary use of mineral resources by Canadian companies contributes to local and regional cohesion. The analysis is based on documental reviews, a field visit, and conversations with stakeholders of Canadian mining projects in Mexico. The results strongly suggest that, despite the bene fits that are advertised in the discourses of the Canadian and Mexican governments, this economic relationship is not fostering social cohesion as would be expected. Rather than helping dispossessed sectors of Mexican society satisfy their basic needs, the lack of social responsibility on the part of national governments and some transnational mining companies is generating numerous environmental and social impacts and is resulting in violations of human and indigenous people's rights. This situation, however, is fostering social cohesion through shared values among dispossessed communities in Mexico, and between them and various civic, human rights, and environmental organizations in Canada.

Spanish Esta contribución analiza de qué forma el desarrollo de recursos mineros en México por empresas canadienses influye en la cohesión social local y regionalmente. El análisis se basa en revisión documental, visitas de campo y conversaciones con informantes clave. Los resultados fuertemente sugieren que esta relación comercial no está contribuyendo a mejorar la cohesión social como sería de esperarse si la minería contribuyera al desarrollo sustentable según lo promocionan los gobiernos de México y Canadá. En vez de contribuir a reducir la pobreza, se han generado diversos impactos sociales y ambientales debido a la falta de responsabilidad social que prevalece en el sector minero. Estos incluyen violaciones de derechos humanos y gentes indígenas. Sin embargo, estas consecuencias negativas están favoreciendo la cohesión social entre las comunidades afectadas por la minería en México y las organizaciones civiles en Canadá que están ejerciendo presión en Canadá para que haya cambios en el sistema político y legal para asegurar que las empresas canadienses operen de manera social y ambientalmente responsable.

French Ce e contribution entend voir de quelle manière l'utilisation transfrontalière des ressources minérales par des entreprises canadiennes contribuent à la cohésion locale et régionale. L'analyse se fonde sur l'examen des documents, une visite sur le terrain, et les interviews menées avec les parties prenantes des projets miniers canadiens au Mexique. Les résultats suggèrent fortement que, malgré les avantages formulés dans le discours des gouvernements canadien et mexicain, ce e relation économique ne conduit pas à la cohésion sociale comme on pourrait s'y attendre. Plutôt que d'aider les secteurs déshérités de la société mexicaine à satisfaire leurs besoins de base, le manque de responsabilité sociale de la part des deux gouvernements nationaux et certaines entreprises minières transnationales produit de nombreux impacts environnementaux et sociaux qui se traduisent par des violations des droits de l'homme des peuples indigènes. Ce e situation, cependant, favorise la cohésion sociale à travers des valeurs partagées entre les communautés dépossédées au Mexique, et entre eux et diff érentes organisations civiles défenseurs des droits de l'homme et environnementaux au Canada.

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The Uncanniness of Missionary Others

A Discursive Analysis of a Century of Anthropological Writings on Missionary Ethnographers

Travis Warren Cooper

denominations and/or universities, colleges, and research organizations). Both choose to live in target regions for extended periods of time in order to become acquainted with local peoples through intensive, long-term, first-hand experience. And both take part

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Kim Knibbe, Brenda Bartelink, Jelle Wiering, Karin B. Neutel, Marian Burchardt and Joan Wallach Scott

, this leads to Pentecostal leaders expressing frustrations with the (local) government as well as holding the position that Islam in Europe is ‘privileged’ because of the funds invested in programs to counter violent extremism and promote more tolerant