The notion of performance has become dominant in health programming, whether being embodied through pay-for-performance schemes or through other incentive-based interventions. In this article, we seek to unpack the idea of performance and performing in a dialogical fashion between field-based evaluation findings and methodological considerations. We draw on episodes where methodological reflections on performing ethnography in the field of global health intersect with findings from the everyday practices of working under performance-based contracts in the Senegalese supply chain for family planning. While process evaluations can be used to understand contextual factors influencing the implementation of an intervention, we as anthropologists in and of contemporary global health have an imperative to explore and challenge categories of knowledge and practice. Making room for new spaces of possibilities to emerge means locating anthropology within qualitative global health research.
Ethnographic Insights from Senegal
Diane Duclos, Sylvain L. Faye, Tidiane Ndoye and Loveday Penn-Kekana
Views from its day-to-day praxis
Since 1994, the Zapatista political autonomy project has been claiming that “another world is possible”. This experience has influenced many intellectuals of contemporary radical social movements who see in the indigenous organization a new political alter-native. I will first explore some of the current theories on Zapatism and the crossing of some of authors into anarchist thought. The second part of the article draws on an ethnography conducted in the municipality of Chenalhó, in the highlands of Chiapas, to emphasize some of the everyday practices inside the self-proclaimed “autonomous municipality” of Polhó. As opposed to irenic theories on Zapatism, this article describes a peculiar process of autonomy and brings out some contradictions between the political discourse and the day-to-day practices of the autonomous power, focusing on three specific points linked to economic and political constraints in a context of political violence: the economic dependency on humanitarian aid and the “bureaucratic habitus”; the new “autonomous” leadership it involved, between “good government” and “good management”; and the internal divisions due to the return of some displaced members and the exit of international aid.
The Politics/People Dichotomy in the Ethnography of Post-Yugoslav Nationalization
Ethnographic work on the post-Yugoslav states has demonstrated the fallacies of the identitarian, exclusively national prism that dominates many nonethnographic understandings of the region. Ethnographers have uncovered the importance of nonnational
Decolonizing the Curriculum
recently declared that race was a social and not biological object ( American Anthropological Association 1998 ), and during my studies I learned about post-colonialism, subaltern studies and the crisis of ethnographic authority. I believed that I was part
Mid-nineteenth-century Russian ethnography used fiction, artistry and education to enlighten the masses. Maksimov’s One Year in the North became one of the first examples of this new style of ethnography. Maksimov constructs ‘cultural masks’ regarding northern people (Samoyeds, Lapps, Karels, Zyrians). His impressions are developed out of long traditions and personal characterisations, such as: ‘little brothers’, blacksmiths, tricksters, ‘friends of deer and dogs’. The most interesting positions on his ‘evolutionary ladder’ are the first and the last, which belong to the Samoyeds and the Zyrians. Samoyeds find themselves partly outside the human space, but they are most diverse in the aspect of artistry. Zyrians, on the other hand, constitute a concern to their well-being. Maksimov’s biases are typical for this period of ethnographic development. Although Maksimov appreciates the spoken word, his colonial discourse replaced it by repulsion for Finno- Ugric languages. Artistry in the text of ‘ethnographic fiction’ enriches scientific discourse.
Solveig Roth and Dagny Stuedahl
themselves performatively to shape future positions. We work with the question of how young girls understand themselves and perform their identities, and how these change in educational transitions. The empirical material comes from a large-scale ethnographic
Joost Beuving and Geert de Vries
language (as opposed to quantitative research, which aims to do so through the medium of mathematics). Qualitative research is a generic social research approach covering a whole gamut of disciplines, including ethnography, anthropological fieldwork
Crafting a ‘Philosophy of Praxis’ into a ‘Community of Resistance’
truths, even the unpleasant ones, and in avoiding the impossible deceptions of the upper class, and even more their own. (Antonio Gramsci, quoted in Peter Thomas 2009: 291 ) My critical ethnography of a governmental health department permitted me to
Cutting and Connecting—'Afrinesian' Perspectives on Networks, Relationality, and Exchange
Knut Christian Myhre
This introduction sketches the history of anthropological network analysis and examines its influence and significance with regard to contemporary conceptual and theoretical concerns in the discipline. It is argued that recent Melanesian ethnography is an effect of, and owes a debt to, certain mid-twentieth-century developments in Africanist anthropology. These debts allow for the elicitation of concepts and concerns from Melanesianist anthropology and their deployment in the analysis of African ethnography. Such deployment may in turn explore the limits of these conceptual constructs and allow for their return in distorted and extended forms. As demonstrated by the contributors to this special issue, the historical relationships between Melanesian ethnography and Africanist anthropology hence enable an exchange of theoretical gifts and traffic in analytics that cut the network and separate the two regions, thus allowing for a new form of anthropological comparison.
Ethnography between the Virtue of Patience and the Anxiety of Belatedness Once Coevalness Is Embraced
In view of this issue's focus on time and temporalities, I want to discuss a distinctive problem concerning the ethnographic representation of fieldwork experiences. Faced with increased time pressure to complete degree work and the present trend that emphasizes efficiency in graduate training, scholars are finding traditional ideals of temporality in research to be challenged as a professional standard of ethnography at the outset of their careers. To me, this compelling development in the current evolution of social and cultural anthropology needs detailed discussion in reassessing the norms of the long-established ethos of anthropological research.