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Jonathan Skinner

I am pleased to present five articles in this special issue of Anthropology in Action. They show a lively, challenging and engaged set of interventions that cross social and applied anthropology boundaries, doing so through combined arts health practices. That many of them take place in Northern Ireland and are propelled by anthropology graduates is an additional boon to a challenging and economically deprived part of the U.K. Three – Raw, McCaffery, Zeindlinger – were originally presented at the Arts Care 21st anniversary conference held in Belfast, ‘Sustainable Creativity in Healthcare’, May 2012. They represent work by publicly engaged anthropologists, a number living, working and practising in Northern Ireland. Other presenters from the conference could not join us but were also anthropologists practising anthropo - anthropologically informed community-relations work in Northern Ireland on deprived and segregated estates(Emma Graham) and in creative dance choreography with special needs and third-age performers (Lauren Guyer). Not so ‘half-baked’ applied anthropology, to challenge Lucy Mair’s (1969: 8) original castigation of such intervention work.

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Michael W. Doyle

In a widely cited and controversial speech, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan highlighted the moral character of the boundaries of political sovereignty when he questioned whether respecting national sovereignty everywhere and always precluded the international protection of human rights. He argued that it did not and highlighted the importance of multilateral authorization. In this article, I explore the difference that multilateral authority, as opposed to unilateral national decision, should make in justifying armed intervention. Should the more salient role of the United Nations lead us to a more expansive tolerance of international intervention? And, if multilateralism does make a difference—and many think its impartiality is key—are good intentions enough? Had the international community also discovered how to intervene more effectively, with a better prospect of self-sustaining self-determination, at an acceptable humanitarian cost? I will conclude that multilateralism should widen our acceptance of intervention, even though the intentions at play are not reliably superior to unilateral intentions.

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Osvaldo Croci and Marco Valigi

The uprising against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was part of the “Arab

Spring,” a wave of demonstrations that began at the end of 2010 and

led, in a short space of time, to the fall of regimes in Tunisia and

Egypt; uprisings in Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain; and street protests in a

number of other Arab countries. Following the collapse of the ruling

administrations in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt on 14 January and 11

February, respectively, street protests against Gaddafi began in Libya.

The violent reaction of the Libyan regime led to uprisings throughout

the country. On 27 February, anti-Gaddafi forces established a provisional

government, known as the National Transitional Council (NTC),

in Benghazi. The ensuing civil war resulted in the intervention of a

NATO-led coalition to enforce United Nations (UN) Security Council

Resolution 1973, which provided for the establishment of a no-fly zone

to protect civilians. From their stronghold in eastern Libya, the anti-

Gaddafi forces, aided by NATO air cover and air strikes, slowly took

control of the rest of the country. They captured Tripoli on 28 August

and then moved against the remaining pro-Gaddafi forces in northeastern

Libya. Gaddafi’s last stand in his hometown of Sirte ended on 20

October, when he was captured and killed.

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Investing in Workplace Innovation Pays Off for SMEs

A Regional Innovation Initiative from the Netherlands

Peter Oeij, Ernest de Vroome, Astrid Bolland, Rob Gründemann and Lex van Teeffelen

From 2009 to 2013 the workplace innovation project “My Enterprise 2.0” was carried out in the region of Utrecht in the Netherlands in order to strengthen the workplace innovation capability of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Participating enterprises completed a questionnaire regarding the “workplace innovativeness” of their company. A workplace innovation intervention was then implemented by some of the companies, while other companies chose not to take part. At the end of the project, a second questionnaire indicated that those companies that implemented interventions had a significantly higher score with regard to overall workplace innovativeness. The companies without such interventions reported a small decrease. While the companies in the region had higher workplace innovativeness scores relative to a national reference group both before and after the project, the increase in the “workplace innovativeness” of the regional SMEs that experienced interventions suggests that the project proved beneficial to their continued “workplace innovativeness.” Moreover, these companies also reported positive effects on company performance, achieving company goals and improving labor productivity.

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The ABCs of Autism

Aspects of Maternal Pedagogy in Australia

Rozanna Lilley

The field of autism interventions, as well as advice given to parents on educating children with autism spectrum disorders, is characterized by competing claims and controversy. This article compares two events targeted at parents, both of which were staged on the same weekend in Sydney, Australia, in 2007. One centered on applied behavioral analysis, holding out the promise of potential normalization for children with autism and their families. The other, mobilizing civil rights rhetoric, pushed for the full educational inclusion of all children with disabilities. This article investigates the assumptions underlying these varied positions and assesses some of the ways in which parents, especially mothers, make sense of and situationally negotiate these often emotionally charged claims and counter-claims.

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Critiquing governmentality

The social construction of participation and accountability in the Atlantic zone of Costa Rica

Pieter de Vries

This article sets out to test the Foucauldian concept of governmentality as it has been applied by social theorists working on the topic of neoliberal managerialism. It starts with a critical discussion of the 'good governance' agenda as developed by the World Bank. The question that the article poses is whether such technologies of governance are as successful in shaping new fields of intervention as assumed in the (managerial) governmentality literature. This question is answered negatively by way of a case study of an extensionist, working in an integrated rural development project in the Atlantic zone of Costa Rica, who developed his own 'participatory extension style of operation' for dealing with farmer beneficiaries. At a more theoretical level, the article takes issue with current notions regarding the malleability of the Self and the 'social'. The article concludes that the governmentality approach has perverse consequences for the anthropological project as it leads to an impoverished kind of ethnography.

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Great Expectations

Revisiting Canadian Economic Footprints in Siberia, 1890s–1921

J.L. Black

Canada's interest in Russia's Far East and Siberia has a long history, propelled in the nineteenth century by London's Hudson's Bay Company driving eastward and St. Petersburg's Russian-American Company driving westward. Competition and sometime cooperation led to mutually beneficial projects shaping up in the early 20th century, among them plans to link up the Canadian Pacific Rail and Steamship Line with the Trans-Siberian in a trading complex that would have circumnavigated the world. The Great War, the Russian Revolution, and Civil War, sealed the fate of this grandiose vision. Studies on Western involvement in the Russian Civil War highlight, reasonably, the military dimensions of intervention. Canada sent troops to Siberia as well, but Ottawa's ambition was primarily trade. Using untapped Russian archival material and contemporary Siberian newspaper reports, this article revisits Canada's participation in Russia's postwar conflagration with emphasis on the extent to which expectation of economic gain shaped Canada's official and private presence in Siberia.

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A conceptual safari

Africa and R2P

Yolanda Spies and Patrick Dzimiri

English abstract: The Responsibility to Protect is a new human security paradigm that re-conceptualizes state sovereignty as a responsibility rather than a right. Its seminal endorsement by the 2005 World Summit has however not consolidated the intellectual parameters of the norm. Neither has it succeeded in galvanizing R2P's doctrinal development; hence the January 2009 appeal by the UN secretary-general for the international community to operationalize R2P at the doctrinal level, in addition to at institutional and policy levels. R2P represents a critical stage in the debate on intervention for human protection purposes, but its key concepts require more exploration. Africa is a uniquely placed stakeholder in R2P on account of its disproportionate share of humanitarian crises and because Africans have played key roles in conceptualizing the norm. The continent should therefore not just offer an arena for, but indeed take the lead in, the conceptual journey that R2P's doctrinal development requires.

Spanish abstract: La responsabilidad de proteger es un nuevo paradigma de seguridad humana que reconceptualiza la soberanía del Estado como una responsabilidad en lugar de un derecho. Pese al respaldo inicial que obtuvo en la Cumbre Mundial de 2005, los parámetros intelectuales de esta norma no se han consolidado. En esta cumbre tampoco se logró fortalecer el desarrollo de la doctrina del R2P (Responsibility to Protect), por lo que se produjo un llamado en enero de 2009 por parte del secretario general de la ONU para poner en práctica el nivel de la doctrina del R2P, además de los niveles institucional y político. La R2P representa una etapa crítica en el debate sobre la intervención con fines de protección humana, pero sus conceptos clave requieren más profundización. África tiene una posición única en la R2P dada su parte desproporcionada en las crisis humanitarias y porque los africanos han tenido un papel clave en la conceptualización de la norma. Por ello, el continente debería no sólo ofrecer un espacio, sino de hecho tomar la delantera en el trazado conceptual que requiere el desarrollo de la doctrina de la R2P.

French abstract: Le «devoir de protection» est un nouveau paradigme de la sécurité humaine qui redéfinit la souveraineté de l'État comme une responsabilité plutôt que comme un droit. Cependant, lors du Sommet Mondial de 2005 les paramètres du concept n'ont pas été consolidés. Ce sommet n'a pas non plus réussi à activer le développement doctrinal du devoir de protection (en anglais «Responsibility to Protect» ou «R2P»), d'où l'appel lancé en janvier 2009 par le Secrétaire Général des Nations Unies à la communauté internationale pour qu'elle rende le «devoir de protection» opérationnel à un niveau doctrinal en plus des niveaux institutionnel et politique. Le devoir de protection représente un moment critique du débat sur les interventions ayant pour but la protection humaine, mais ses concepts méritent une analyse encore plus approfondie. En matière de devoir de protection, l'Afrique est une partie prenante incomparable, du fait de sa part disproportionnée de crises humanitaires, mais aussi parce que les Africains ont joué un rôle clé dans la conceptualisation de ce e norme-là. Dans ces conditions, le continent africain ne devrait-il pas, non seulement offrir le terrain d'étude, mais aussi prendre la tête dans le cheminement conceptuel que le développement doctrinal du devoir de protection exige ?

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'Why Do They Talk about Spirits?'

Anthropological Interventions in Classroom Settings with Latin@ Immigrant Students

Alicia Re Cruz

This article describes the author's experiences as a professor in a Bilingual Education Programme at a local university; students are public school teachers in North Texas, teaching in classrooms ranging from 80 to 95 per cent Latin@ students. The author uses multi-sited ethnography and history in order to set the scenario for the political, ideological and economic factors embedded in the understanding of the Latin@ immigrant community presence in the area. The article documents anthropological 'intervention' strategies through papers and research projects. Students (public school teachers) are required to exercise participatory approaches to engage their own Latin@ students in their research papers. Through analysis of the transformative research projects presented by the students, the author documents the power of anthropological intervention and the effects in education policy.

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‘I’m Not that Kind of Doctor’

On Being In-Between in a Global Health Intervention

Erica Nelson

Within multi-disciplinary global health interventions, anthropologists find themselves navigating complex relationships of power. In this article, I offer a critical reflection on this negotiated terrain, drawing on my experience as an embedded ethnographer in a four-year adolescent sexual and reproductive health research intervention in Latin America. I critique the notion that the transformative potential of ethnographic work in global health remains unfulfilled. I then go on to argue that an anthropological practice grounded in iterative, inter-subjective and self-reflexive work has the potential to create ‘disturbances’ in the status quo of day-to-day global health practice, which can in turn destabilise some of the problematic hubristic assumptions of health reforms.