With this article I develop a set of propositions for an anthropology of ‘belonging’. In developing these propositions, I take my point of departure in ethnographic as well as theoretical observations. It is partly fieldwork experiences in Vietnam
Comprehending Subjectivity in Vietnam and Beyond
Tine M. Gammeltoft
Michael R. M. Ward and Thomas Thurnell-Read
How young people negotiate a sense of belonging in their everyday lives is an increasingly emerging area of scholarship. In the field of youth studies over the past decade, we have seen a growing emphasis on how young people respond to social
Hayek, Pluralism, Democracy
provided by belonging, whether to a pension plan or to a citizenry; only familialism … remains an acceptable social harbor” (ibid.: 37). As I understand it, Brown's argument suggests that neoliberalism's assault on belonging helps to explain why “more than
Identity, Law, and Gender in the Anthropology of Contemporary Buddhism
practices construct religious, ethnic, national, and gender identity in order to formulate contemporary visions of belonging to a new Myanmar. Taking Foxeus’s (2016) observations about Buddhist formations in their encounters with modernity and print
navigate these narratives, as well as different gendered ideals they encounter through migration processes, as they forge feelings of belonging on one Thai island. Masculinities, Labor, and Migration This research understands masculinities as multiple
Beyond the Ordinary Obviousness of Tween Girls' Everyday Practices
Tween is a commonly used consumer-media label for girls aged anywhere between 9 and 14 years. The girls' desire to belong in friendship and peer groups has been considered by feminist and cultural studies scholars through their consumption activities and their negotiations of young, feminine girlness. Yet there is limited scholarship that explores the significance of their everyday practices in their own local, social worlds. Drawing on the findings from my year-long ethnographic study in a Melbourne Primary School, I consider the meaning behind the ordinary obviousness of the girls' everyday practices. I reflect on the often complex meanings of the girls' practices as they pursue their desire to belong. As I discovered, there is significant knowledge to be gained from exploring the girls' everyday considerations and negotiations of belonging. This article draws on two key examples of my ethnographic study to highlight the significance in understanding the girls' everyday practices.
The Politics of Carnival in the Dutch Province of Limburg
Leonie Cornips and Vincent De Rooij
In this article, we will present two case studies of language and cultural practices that are part of or strongly related to carnival, in the Dutch peripheral province of Limburg, and more precisely in the southern Limburgian city of Heerlen, which in turn is considered peripheral vis-à-vis the provincial capital Maastricht. We will consider carnival as a political force field in which opposing language and cultural practices are involved in the production of belonging as an official, public-oriented 'formal structure' of membership, and belonging as a personal, intimate feeling of being 'at home' in a place (place-belongingness) (Antonsich 2010; Yuval-Davis 2006). In the case studies presented here, we take seriously the idea that ideology, linguistic form and the situated use of language are dialectically related (Silverstein 1985). In doing so, we wish to transcend disciplinary boundaries between anthropology and (socio)linguistics in Europe.
Assisted Reproduction, Law, and Practices in Norway
This article explores the interface between law, technology, and practices. More specifically, it addresses how biotechnologies—in particular, reproductive technologies—move people in different ways. Taking as its point of departure certain restrictions in the Norwegian biotechnology law, it explores changes in procreative practices and their implications for understandings of notions of belonging. This is tied to a gradual shift in meaning of the concepts of paternity and maternity, which in turn has ramifications for kinship and hence fundamental ideas of relatedness. Two premises underpin the arguments: first, that law is a cultural artifact productive of meaning, and, second, that as a social phenomenon, biotechnologies bring to the fore fundamental moral dilemmas.
A Study from Northern Ontario, Canada
Jane H. Roberts
While Putnam's communitarian conceptualization of social capital has significantly influenced our understanding of community cohesion, the concept of social capital is highly contested. Questions have been raised about the ways in which agency and power operate in a community's sense of connectedness. Within this critique, little attention has been paid to the conceptualization of cultural identity when framed in dominant constructions of social capital. This paper contends that Bourdieu's critical perspective on social capital is better placed to examine the complex relationships between multiple, conflicting and overlapping positions of cultural identity with a sense of belonging. In addition, a Bourdieurian analysis acknowledges that the dynamic relationships of habitus, capital and field produce multiple identities associated with conflicting notions of connectedness which are contextually contingent. The paper argues that ethnography is best placed to offer a different perspective to de-contextualized data, and supports any examination of identity and belonging as best viewed within the context in which such concepts develop and are situated.
In this article, I examine how second generation South Asian Canadian girls negotiate their racialized position in peer culture, through various strategies of accommodation, denial and resistance. I use feminist post-structuralist theories of discourse and positioning with feminist and narrative methods to analyze my interviews with ten subjects about their racialized adolescence. I argue that girls use certain strategies of accommodation—'passing', wannabe-ism, and strategic Otherness—to fit in without abandoning their ethnicized identities. Strategies of denial surface through girls' internalizing of dominant discourses of racism; this leads them to rationalize racism or invoke assimilationist narratives that hold minorities responsible for their own experiences of exclusion. Girls also use strategies of resistance in which they identify hegemonic discourses of belonging, speak openly about racism or criticize aspects of white culture in the context of South Asian community and family norms.