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Developing a culture of marginality

Nepal's current classificatory moment

Sara Shneiderman

This article examines the complex relationships between marginalized communities, the state, and nonstate actors such as development agencies and social scientists in crafting the classificatory regimes that undergird affirmative action policies. Focusing on the current dynamics of “ethnic restructuring“ amid the broader political process of postconflict “state restructuring“ in Nepal, I suggest that international actors often unwittingly encourage the hardening of ethnic boundaries through development projects that target “marginalized“ populations defined in cultural terms. However, such interventions can also yield unexpected transformations in agentive ethnic consciousness. This ethnographic exploration of current classificatory processes in non-postcolonial Nepal provides an important counterpoint to material from the Indian context, where histories of colonial classification have debatably influenced contemporary categories-and their critique-to a significant extent.

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Katalin Solymosi

Using the concept that landscapes are ideas formed by viewers about their physical surroundings, this article examines visitors' landscape perceptions of two peripheral regions of Europe: Gyimes in the Romanian Eastern Carpathians, and Las Hurdes in the Northern Extremadura of Spain. Both are characterized by exceptional, historically-evolved cultural landscapes and a population that culturally or ethnically differs from the national mainstream surrounding them. Based on literature review, expert consultations, and a questionnaire survey conducted in the research areas, I conclude that due to historical developments, socio-economic settings, and ethnic differences, the outsiders' view of these landscapes can be strongly distorted. In the tourist, misinformation and wishful thinking create a “mental map” that does not represent reality. I also note that along with having a possible impact on inhabitants' landscape perception and their strong regional identity, the outsiders' view might influence policy decisions and therefore the general development of a region.

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Penny Harvey

• What is the status of anthropology in Britain? • What does the general non-academic public know about anthropology? • What is the ‘stereotype’ of the anthropologist? • Does anthropological knowledge travel beyond academia to broader publics? • What is the status of anthropology within the University?

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Marja Spierenburg, Conrad Steenkamp and Harry Wels

The Great Limpopo is one of the largest Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs) in the world, encompassing vast areas in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. The TFCA concept is embraced by practically all (international) conservation agencies. The rationale for the support is that the boundaries of ecosystems generally do not overlap with those of the nation-state. Their protection requires transnational cooperation. By arguing that local communities living in or close to TFCAs will participate and benefit economically, TFCA proponents claim social legitimacy for the project. However, analysis shows that communities first have to live up to rigid standards and requirements set by the international conservation authorities, before they are considered ‘fit’ to participate. Communities attempt to resist this type of marginalization by forming alliances with (inter)national development and human rights NGOs, with mixed results.

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Marjorie Harness Goodwin

Making use of videotaped interactions of lunchtime conversations among multi-ethnic preadolescent peers (based on three years of fieldwork in LA) this ethnographically based study investigates the embodied language practices through which girls construct friendship alliances as well as relationships of power and exclusion. Girls display “best friend” relations not only through roles they select in dramatic play, such as twins married to twins in “house,” but also through embraces and celebratory handclaps that affirm alliances. Older (sixth grade) girls assert their power with respect to younger fourth grade girls through intrusive activities such as grabbing food from lunchboxes, insults, and instigating gossip; younger girls boldly resist such actions through fully embodied stances. Relations of exclusion are visible not only in seating arrangements of a marginalized “tagalong” girl with respect to the friendship clique, but also highlighted in the ways she is differentially treated when an implicit social norm is violated.

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Silvia-Maria Chireac and Anna Devis Arbona

[Full article is in English]

English: Estimated at 12 million, the Roma population constitutes one of the largest and most disadvantaged ethnic minority groups in Europe and the most socially marginalized and stigmatized group in the European Union (Council of Europe, 2009, 2010). In recent years, following the two waves of EU expansion in 2004 and 2007, the problem of Roma integration into educational systems generated great attention among EU member states. The European Commission’s policy of promoting multilingualism and cultural diversity to foster European citizenship has led to promising results. However, the current economic crisis and lack of effective political integration within EU member states have promoted policies of protectionism. This article provides an analysis of the current situation of Roma children from Eastern Europe, highlighting the opportunities for improving instruction and protecting human rights for this highly vulnerable school-age population. We propose specific measures based on a bilingual and cross-culturally inclusive educational model.

Spanish: Estimada en doce millones, la población romaní es uno de los grupos étnicos minoritarios más numeroso, desfavorecido, marginalizado y socialmente estigmatizado de la Unión Europea (Consejo de Europa, 2009, 2010). Después de las dos olas de ampliación de la UE en 2004 y 2007, el problema de la integración de los romaníes en los sistemas de educación generó gran atención entre los estados miembros. La política de la CE para promover el multilingüismo y la diversidad cultural a fin de fortalecer la ciudadanía europea ha llevado a resultados prometedores. Sin embargo, ante la crisis económica actual y la falta de una política efectiva de integración en la UE, predominan políticas de proteccionismo. Este artículo analiza la situación actual de los niños romaní en Europa del Este, subrayando las oportunidades para mejorar la instrucción y protección de los derechos humanos de esta sumamente vulnerable población en edad escolar. Proponemos medidas específi cas basadas en un modelo escolar bilingüe y transculturalmente inclusivo.

French Estimée en 12 millions, la population rom constitue un des plus grands groupes ethniques défavorisés minoritaires en Europe et le groupe le plus marginalisé socialement et stigmatisé de l’Union Européenne (Council of Europe, 2009, 2010). Au cours des années récentes, suite à deux vagues d’expansion de l’EU en 2004 et 2007, le problème de l’intégration des Roms dans les systèmes éducatifs a provoqué une att ention soutenue dans les États membres de l’UE. La politique de la Commission Européenne en matière de promotion du multilinguisme et de la diversité culturelle destinée á favoriser la citoyenneté européenne a abouti à des résultats promett eurs. Cependant, la crise économique actuelle et l’absence d’une intégration politique réelle entre les États membres de l’UE ont favorisé des politiques protectionnistes. Cet article présente une analyse de la situation actuelle des enfants roms d’Europe de l’Est et met en lumière les opportunités d’améliorer l’instruction et de protéger les droits humains pour cett e population scolaire très vulnérable. Nous proposons des mesures spécifi ques fondées sur un modèle éducatif bilingue et ouvert à l’interculturel.