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Soft skills, hard rocks

Making diamonds ethical in Canada’s Northwest Territories

Lindsay A. Bell

miners. In line with general transformations of job training programs for the poor and unemployed across North America, Ready for the Job focused on “soft skills” over and above technical industrial know-how ( Peck and Theodore 2000 ; Purser and Hennigan

Open access

Andrew Sanchez

waste from a nearby pile of rubbish: an empty water bottle, a broken CD case, a child's toy boat, and a carrier bag. Over the course of our lunch break, Dipesh provided me with a careful tuition in the manual and entrepreneurial skills of the scrap

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Diplomat, Landlord, Con-artist, Thief

Housing Brokers and the Mediation of Risk in Migrant Moscow

Madeleine Reeves

show ethnographically, part of the skill of the broker lies in the capacity to move between different affective registers: now intimate, now distant; now ironic, now deadly serious; now cajoling, now threatening. As Rothman (2010: 75) has illuminated

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The men who knew too much

Sardines, skills, and the labor process in Jaffa, Israel, 1948–1979

Naor Ben-Yehoyada

This historical anthropology of the rise and fall of Israel's post-1948 sardine purse-seining development project shows what happens when marginalized groups, who are initially excluded as “backward” or “primitive”, enter modernization projects that are based on politics of skillfulness and experts' control over the labor process. By focusing on the role that skills play in the struggle between experts and artisans over the labor process, I show how the dynamics within state-run production apparatuses can make workers and experts face dilemmas about productivity, profit, and effectiveness, leading to such projects' implosion. This mode of analysis exposes the contradictions within projects of governance as well as in their relational intersection with the people they subjugate and exclude.

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Mike Keating, Cathal O'Siochru, and Sal Watt

This article describes a C-SAP-funded project evaluating the introduction of a new tutorial programme for first year Sociology students, which sought to integrate a 'skills framework' to enable students to develop a range of academic skills alongside their study of the subject.

The pegagogical and institutional background to the decision to adopt this 'integrated' approach is summarised and the staff and student experiences are then evaluated using both quantitative and qualitative methods. Primarily concerned with evaluating staff and student responses to the new programme, this paper also raises some issues with regard to the methodologies of evaluation.

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Nathan Hughes, Sue Wainwright, and Caroline Cresswell

Whilst approaches to the development of undergraduate academic writing skills vary between disciplines and institutions, academic tutors are consistently presented as playing an important role. One aspect of this role is supporting students to engage effectively with feedback in order to develop consciousness and competence regarding academic writing. This article reports on the use of a form, which was designed to encourage students to use feedback in a structured and consistent manner and to support subsequent tutor-tutee dialogue. Students and tutors who used the form suggest it encouraged students to reflect on their learning needs and identify priority issues for discussion with the tutor. However, barriers to its effective use remain. In particular, there was resistance amongst students to accessing academic support, due to anxieties that staff would look negatively upon those who seek help. Students expressed concern that tutors would perceive those seeking support as failing to cope with the demands of independent study, a set of skills they perceive that they were required to have on arrival at university, rather than to acquire during the course of their studies with the help and guidance of their academic tutor.

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Rachel Gooberman-Hill, Isabel de Salis, and Jonina Einarsdottir

This issue of Anthropology in Action examines the relationship between conventional anthropological methods and those used by anthropologists working in applied health research. Three of the articles were originally presented at a workshop at the 2006 conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists, while a fourth (Poehlman) addresses related themes and sits well alongside those from the workshop.

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Apprenticeship and Learning by Doing

The Role of Privileged Enclaves in Early Modern French Cities

Jeff Horn

In France, formal guild training was not as ubiquitous a means of socializing young people into a trade as it has been portrayed by scholars. Guilds were limited geographically, and in many French cities privileged enclaves controlled by clerical or noble seigneurs curbed the sway of corporate structures, or even created their own. Eighteenth-century Bordeaux provides an extreme example of how limited guild training was in France’s fastest-growing city. The clerical reserves of Saint-Seurin and Saint-André that housed much of the region’s industrial production had quasi-corporate structures with far more open access and fewer training requirements. In Bordeaux, journeymen contested masters’ control over labor and masters trained almost no apprentices themselves. Formal apprenticeship mattered exceptionally little when it came to training people to perform a trade in Bordeaux.

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Regina F. Bendix

– science and scholarship have developed divergent formats to write, speak and silence, internalised during disciplinary training so as to succeed on the path into research positions. As we acquire these skills, we become hotly proficient disciplinarians

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Paula Booke and Todd J. Wiebe

, communicate their message and mobilise their bases, the technological tools and skill sets that students must use to analyse elections become more complicated. Increasingly these core goals cannot be achieved without the integration of information