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Made in Manchester?

Methods and Myths in Disciplinary History

David Mills

In this article, I demonstrate how Max Gluckman used his forceful and charismatic leadership to build the reputation of the Manchester School through collective research and writing practices. He created a distinctly anthropological genealogy for the case-study method that elided its earlier development within American sociology. He also championed a balanced use of ethnographic and quantitative research methods and a team-based approach to carrying out social research. While the case-study method has received much attention, both of these latter aspects of the work carried out within the Manchester Department are a neglected part of its intellectual legacy.

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Humans, Plants, and Networks

A Critical Review

Laura Calvet-Mir and Matthieu Salpeteur

In recent years, Social Network Analysis (SNA) has increasingly been applied to the study of complex human-plant relations. This quantitative approach has ennabled a better understanding of (1) how social networks help explain agrobiodiversity management, and (2) how social relations influence the transmission of local ecological knowledge (LEK) related to plants. In this paper, we critically review the most recent works pertaining to these two lines of research. First, our results show that this fast-developing literature proposes new insights on local agrobiodiversity management mechanisms, as well as on the ways seed exchange systems are articulated around other social relationships, such as kinship. Second, current works show that inter-individual connections affect LEK transmission, the position of individuals in networks being related to the LEK they hold. We conclude by stressing the importance of combining this method with comprehensive approaches and longitudinal data collection to develop deeper insights into human-plant relations.

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A “Steady Eye” in “A Moving World”

Comparative Perspectives on Travel Writing and Ethnography

Jörg Lehmann and Thomas Stodulka

How can travel books and narrative ethnography be compared? This article systematically examines the works of an eminent travel writer and an anthropologist with respect to paratexts, themes, lexis, named entities, and narrative positions. It combines quantitative methods with a close reading of three books. The article discusses whether a mixed-methods approach of close reading and quantitative analysis can be applied to comparing larger corpora of travel writing and ethnography.

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Practising in the Field

A Narrative of Public Health Research

Lindsay Sprague

The following is a narrative of a medical researcher and her experiences in the field. Una Lynch, a resident of Northern Ireland and currently a lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the Queen’s University Belfast, has engaged in extensive public health research using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Though historically, as anthropologists, we have valued the contributions fieldwork has offered to our understanding of culture, personality, lifestyles and behaviours, we seldom encounter fieldwork within other facets of academia. How is ethnography used, therefore, within other disciplines? What contributions has ethnography brought to knowledge outside the borders of anthropology?

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Sam Roggen

This article examines the stylistic mechanics behind the notion of gradation of emphasis in the CinemaScope westerns directed by Anthony Mann. It confronts the general assumptions with regard to CinemaScope with fresh empirical data. Building on Barry Salt’s quantitative methods, it studies the cutting rates and shot scale in Mann’s 1950s films and situates these within the broader context of film style in CinemaScope. This article furthermore analyzes the particular stylistic strategies Mann employed in order to create gradation of emphasis in his westerns, examining if the CinemaScope frame was particularly suitable for them, while also exploring the general relevance of the notion.

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Silke Schwandt

The article deals with the semantic career of virtus as a political concept in the Middle Ages. It traces the different aspects of meaning assigned to this word in four medieval texts, namely St. Augustine's City of God, the Regula Pastoralis of Gregory the Great, the Via Regia of Smaragdus of St. Mihiel, and the Policraticus of John of Salisbury. Using quantitative methods, I analyze the employment of virtus with a focus on its relevance in the political discourse, and I also address the shift in meaning and argumentative capacity that the term undergoes over time. In the end, virtus can be shown to be a highly flexible yet strongly functional term that plays an important role in the conceptions of medieval societies.

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Editorial

Imperial crisis and the millennium goals

Monique Nuijten

Poverty is ‘big business’. Donor funds are set to increase substantially as the UN millennium targets—to eradicate extreme poverty and halve the number of people suffering from hunger by 2015—seem ever more out of reach. Small wonder that social science methods to assess levels of poverty and the results of development projects have become a hot issue, too. As much of the research on poverty directly feeds into policy making and donor strategies, people are rightly concerned about its quality. Anthropology has a stake in this debate: despite the hegemony of quantitative methods in development research, participatory rural appraisals and poverty assessments have always drawn upon anthropological methods. One might wonder what happens to these qualitative methods in research that aims to establish quantitative levels of poverty.

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John R. Campbell

This article explores the relation between theory and method in three methodologically innovative studies of rural poverty. The issue is pertinent because the nature of research on poverty has shifted from small-scale qualitative studies to large surveys, and to national-scale studies that combine qualitative and quantitative methods in an effort to inform policy makers on appropriate poverty reduction strategies. The interest in combined methods holds considerable promise for poverty research because it links a search for 'objective' economic concerns to the analysis of 'subjective' and context-specific issues. It is instructive to examine recent studies of poverty that have pursued different theoretical and methodological choices with a view to understand how 'theory' influenced methodological choices, and whether and how such choices influenced their understanding of poverty.

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The Origins and Subjects of Fear for Siberians

Sociological Research in the Regions of Eastern and Western Siberia

Valentin G. Nemirovskiy and Anna V. Nemirovskaya

This paper analyzes feelings of insecurity and fear amongst the population of Siberian regions in the face of various perceived dangers, based on research conducted in the Krasnoiarsk and Altai Territories, Novosibirsk and Omsk Regions, and the Republics of Khakassiia and Buriatiia, in the context of the general Russian situation. Quantitative methods—frequency, correlation, and factor analysis on survey data obtained from formalized face-to-face interviews—are used to gain an understanding of what factors respondents feel are “ugrozhaiushchie zhiznedeiatel'nosti” (activities threatening to social life). Siberians feel especially vulnerable to gender- and age-related discrimination, as well as governmental abuse of power and the threats inherent in economic development: chronic poverty, environmental threats, officials' arbitrariness, and crime and law enforcement authorities themselves. They also feel threatened by the presence of migrant groups and social minorities. However, an internal locus of control reduces their fears of threats to social life activities.

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Anat First and Eli Avraham

American values, symbols, landscapes, and lifestyles have been widely used in Israeli advertisements to market a vast array of consumer goods. An analysis of advertisements that appeared in Israeli newspapers during the 1990s reveals that American symbols were invoked to promote products produced in the United States, Israel, or even a third country. By examining the relationship between advertising and culture, along with the changes that have occurred in Israeli society during this period, this analysis focuses on two interlocking spheres: capitalist-economic (labor and production, consumption, and technology) and cultural (cultural heroes and symbols, language, and lifestyle). Using both qualitative and quantitative methods, it is the authors' goal to show how social values have changed over time, losing their Israeliness and taking on an American flavor. This article seeks to present the manifestation of the American image in Israeli advertisements and thereby fuel a discussion on the Americanization of Israeli society.