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Between Afropolitans and new Sankaras

Class mobility and the reproduction of academics in Burkina Faso

Michelle Engeler

Using the notion of Afropolitanism, which refers to highly mobile and well-connected “Africans of the world,” this article examines the relative privileges of university graduates within Burkina Faso across generational divides. Comparisons emerge between cohorts graduating in the 1970s and the 2010s. While graduates of the 1970s enjoyed access to a privileged status through their local university education and a related network of global cosmopolitan qualifications and credentials, contemporary students have only limited access to this route of class mobility. The frustration engendered by this helps to explain the shape of the uprising that ousted the president of Burkina Faso in 2014, as the diminishing access to Afropolitan identities pitches the younger generation of students into different emerging constellations of political mobilization.

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Between Labor Migration and Forced Displacement

Wartime Mobilities in the Burkina Faso–Côte d’Ivoire Transnational Space

Jesper Bjarnesen

The significant number of involuntary returns of labor migrants to Burkina Faso is a relatively neglected aspect of the armed conflict in Côte d’Ivoire. Between 500,000 and 1 million Burkinabe migrants were forced to leave Côte d’Ivoire between 2000 and 2007, placing tremendous pressure on local communities in Burkina Faso to receive and integrate these mass arrivals, and causing those returning labor migrants an acute sense of displacement. Th is article analyzes the experiences of displacement and resettlement in the context of the Ivorian crisis and explores the dialectics of displacement and emplacement in the lives of involuntary labor migrant returnees; their young adult children; and Burkinabe recruits returning aft er their service in the Forces Nouvelles rebel forces in Côte d’Ivoire.

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The Outburst

Climate Change, Gender Relations, and Situational Analysis

Jonas Østergaard Nielsen

Since the major Sahelian droughts and famines of the early 1970s and 1980s, international development and aid organizations have played a large role in the small village of Biidi 2, located in northern Burkina Faso. This article explores how a visit by a development 'expert' to the village can be analyzed as a social situation in which normal social control is suspended and negotiated. Focusing on gender relations, the analysis shows how the women of Biidi 2 involved in the event were relatively free to construct alternative definitions of their identity and social position vis-à-vis the men.

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Anthropological Insights about a Tool for Improving Quality of Obstetric Care

The Experience of Case Review Audits in Burkina Faso

Marc-Eric Gruénais, Fatoumata Ouattara, Fabienne Richard and Vincent De Brouwere

The ratio of maternal morbidity and mortality in developing countries is high. The World Health Organization (WHO) and public health specialists promote case review audits as a means of improving quality of obstetric care. This reflects the need for high reactivity in health personnel's management of obstetric complications. Within an action-research programme in Burkina Faso, a trial of case review audits was implemented in a maternity ward. This was designed to help health personnel better align their practice with clinical standards and to enable more consideration of pregnant women's needs. Social anthropologists were involved in these case review audits in order to collect data about pregnant women's lifestyles and circumstances. They also worked to train health personnel to conduct interviews. Although it is important to take account of women's circumstances within audit sessions, conducting interviews in 'anthropological ways' (at women's homes, with observations) is time consuming and may sometimes be better replaced with interviews in hospital contexts. Anthropologically informed interviews may pinpoint socio-economic situations as key reasons for problems in healthcare, but health personnel are usually powerless to address these. However, anthropology contributes an awareness of the relevance of these issues for broader healthcare planning.

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Elisabetta Gualmini

On 3 March 2008, four workmen lost their lives, asphyxiated by sulfur

fumes, going one after another into a tanker at the Truck Center in

Molfetta in the province of Bari, a company specializing in the maintenance

and cleaning of heavy vehicles. Those involved were the owner

of the company, aged 64, and three workmen, respectively, 44, 37, and

24 years old. The following morning, a fifth workman, who was barely

20 and had tried to save his companions, died at the hospital in Monopoli.

“Deaths Caused by Solidarity,” headlined some newspapers, but the

truth is that these deaths were foreseeable because none of the victims

were in possession of protective equipment. Little more than a month

later, on 16 April 2008, at Cornate d’Adda in the province of Milan, an

explosion in the chemical factory Masterplast caused the deaths of two

workmen, the company foreman, aged 47, and a 28-year-old employee

from Burkina Faso. And the list of deaths continues.

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The Death Throes of Sacrificed Chicken

Triggering Critical Reflexive Stances on Ritual Action in Togo

Marie Daugey

among the Gurmanche of Burkina Faso, the words uttered in some sacrificial rite categories also play a crucial role in the divinity’s decision to accept the animal. The sacrificer has to read from an engraved piece of calabash the distinctive features