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In many parts of the world the “white man” is perceived to be an instigator of globalization and an embodiment of modernity. However, so far anthropologists have paid little attention to the actual heterogeneity and complexity of “whiteness” in specific ethnographic contexts. This study examines cultural perceptions of other and self as expressed in cargo cults and masked dances in Papua New Guinea. Indigenous terms, images, and concepts are being contrasted with their western counterparts, the latter partly deriving from the publications and field notes of Charles Valentine. After having done his first fieldwork more than fifty years ago, this “anthropological ancestor” has now become part of the local tradition and has thus turned into a kind of mythical figure. Based on anthropological fieldwork as well as on archival studies, this book addresses the relation between western and indigenous perceptions of self and other, between “tradition” and “modernity,” and between anthropological “ancestors” and “descendants.” In this way the work contributes to the study of “whiteness,” “cargo cults” and masked dances in Papua New Guinea.
Two of the most destructive moments of state violence in the twentieth century occurred in Europe between 1933 and 1945 and in China between 1959 and 1961 (the Great Leap famine). This is the first book to bring the two histories together in order to examine their differences and to understand if there are any similar processes of transmission at work. The author expertly ties in the Taiwanese civil war between Nationalists and Communists, which included the White Terror from 1947 to 1987, a less well-known but equally revealing part of twentieth-century history. Personal and family stories are told, often in the individual’s own words, and then compared with the public accounts of the same events as found in official histories, commemorations, school textbooks and other forms of public memory. The author presents innovative and constructive criticisms of social memory theories in order to make sense both of what happened and how what happened is transmitted.
Appalachian legend describes a mysterious, multiethnic population of exotic, dark-skinned rogues called Melungeons who rejected the outside world and lived in the remote, rugged mountains in the farthest corner of northeast Tennessee. The allegedly unknown origins of these Melungeons are part of what drove this legend and generated myriad exotic origin theories. Though nobody self-identified as Melungeon before the 1960s, by the 1990s “Melungeonness” had become a full-fledged cultural phenomenon, resulting in a zealous online community and annual meetings where self-identified Melungeons gathered to discuss shared genealogy and history. Although today Melungeons are commonly identified as the descendants of underclass whites, freed African Americans, and Native Americans, this ethnic identity is still largely a social construction based on local tradition, myth, and media.
In Becoming Melungeon, Melissa Schrift examines the ways in which the Melungeon ethnic identity has been socially constructed over time by various regional and national media, plays, and other forms of popular culture. Schrift explores how the social construction of this legend evolved into a fervent movement of a self-identified ethnicity in the 1990s. This illuminating and insightful work examines the shifting social constructions of race, ethnicity, and identity both in the local context of the Melungeons and more broadly in an attempt to understand the formation of ethnic groups and identity in the modern world.
This is an exceptional personal testimony and story of achievement – Ahmed Othmani tells of his own appalling treatment when in detention and how it informed and inspired a lifetime vocation to struggle for the rights of all prisoners everywhere. As the story demonstrates, Othmani is one of those rare individuals who moved from passion and conviction to effective action – he was responsible for the establishment of one of the world’s most reliable and mature human rights organizations, in the field of penal reform, Penal Reform International (PRI). His untimely death in Morocco in 2004 deprived the cause of a passionate advocate, but the work goes on.
In the course of hostilities between Greek and Turkish Cypriots between 1963 and 1974, over 2000 persons, both Greek and Turkish Cypriots, went “missing” in Cyprus, an island in the Mediterranean with a population distribution of 80% Greeks and 18% Turks. This represents a significant number for a population of only 600,000. Few bodies have been recovered; most will probably not be. All are still mourned by their surviving friends and relatives. The conflict has still not been resolved and the memories are still alive.
In Israel, as in numerous countries of the global North, Filipina women have been recruited in large numbers for domestic work, typically as live-in caregivers for the elderly. The case of Israel is unique in that the country has a special significance as the ‘Holy Land’ for the predominantly devout Christian Filipina women and is at the center of an often violent conflict, which affects Filipinos in many ways. In the literature, migrant domestic workers are often described as being subject to racial discrimination, labor exploitation and exclusion from mainstream society. Here, the author provides a more nuanced account and shows how Filipina caregivers in Israel have succeeded in creating their own collective spaces, as well as negotiating rights and belonging. While maintaining transnational ties and engaging in border-crossing journeys, these women seek to fulfill their dreams of a better life. During this process, new socialites and subjectivities emerge that point to a form of global citizenship in the making, consisting of greater social, economic and political rights within a highly gendered and racialized global economy.
For several years now, the concepts of ‘civil culture’ and ‘civil society’ have been widely discussed in the social sciences. Theoretically innovative and empirically rich, this volume is one of few studies that offer solid and focused ethnographic research on how the tenets and assumptions of civil culture are inculcated in schools. The authors examined school curricula, texts and pedagogical practices, observed daily interaction within the schools and outside, and conducted numerous interviews and discussion groups. The experience of students from Turkish backgrounds in the four countries was given special attention, thus offering valuable insights into the changing dynamics of nation-state civil cultures in multicultural societies.
Conceiving Kinship is an in-depth journey, the first of its kind, into how heterosexual, lesbian and gay couples using programmes of gamete donation conceptualize and make Italian kinship. It explores the provision of treatment in clinical and non-clinical settings at a time when Italy was considered the ‘Wild-West’ of assisted conception. This compelling study provides a new perspective on hotly debated issues in kinship studies and the modern medical technologies; it offers fresh insights into longstanding questions of cultural continuities and discontinuities in European kinship.
The contributors in this volume, which is inspired and dedicated to Charles Tilly, deal with the manner in which particular Mediterranean spaces (at regional, state, and neighbourhood levels) are being reconfigured in the light of struggles over rights, resources and identities. Political processes driven from the ‘top’ (of state and municipal political hierarchies, for example) and processes of resistance from the ‘bottom’ (in the shape of environmental movements, popular artistic and decorative events and expressions, for example) are described in such a way that challenge any simple assumption about the nature and constitution of political power in the region. Our authors have approached their field sites from the viewpoint of an intellectual tradition generated by Charles Tilly and others: a tradition that we might term in shorthand the political economy of cultural geography. From this viewpoint the contested reworking and renegotiation of Mediterranean spaces and political landscapes becomes a matter not only of the activities and rhetorical/bureaucratic announcements from state or EU authorities, but also of the increasingly potent agency of a variety of other actors and institutions. These include environmental activists in Malta, cultural entrepreneurs in Crete, producers of posters and graffiti in Beirut, as well as globally affiliated cross border social and political interest groups mobilising in the streets and communities of Ciutat de Mallorca, Bethlehem, Ferrara, and Istanbul and, from there across the region and beyond.
In Europe, Indian hobbyism, or Indianism, has developed out of a strong fascination with Native American life in the 18th and 19th centuries. “Indian hobbyists” dress in homemade replicas of clothing, craft museum-quality replicas of artifacts, meet in fields dotted with tepees and reenact aspects of North American Indian lifeworlds, using ethnographies, travel diaries, and museum collections as resources. Grounded in fieldwork set among networks of Indian hobbyists in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and the Czech Republic, this ethnography analyzes this contemporary practice of serious leisure with respect to the general human desire for play, metaphor, and allusion. It provides insights into the increasing popularity of reenactment practices as they relate to a deeper understanding of human perception, imagination, and creativity.
Conflicts between different racial, ethnic, national and other social groups are becoming more and more salient. One of the main sources of these internal conflicts is social and economic inequality, in particular the increasing disparities between majority and minority groups. Even societies that had been successful in dealing with external conflicts and making the transition from war to peace have realized that this does not automatically resolve internal conflicts. On the contrary, the resolution of external conflicts may even sharpen the internal ones. This volume, a joint publication of the University of Haifa and the International Center for Graduate Studies (ICGS) at the University of Hamburg, addresses questions of how to deal with internal issues of social inequality and cultural diversity and, at the same time, how to build a shared civility among their different national, ethnic, religious and social groups.
Cultural diversity ― the multitude of different lifestyles that are not necessarily based on ethnic culture ― is a catchphrase increasingly used in place of multiculturalism and in conjunction with globalization. Even though it is often used as a slogan it does capture a widespread phenomenon that cities must contend with in dealing with their increasingly diverse populations. The contributors examine how Russian cities are responding and through case studies from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, and Sochi explore the ways in which different cultures are inscribed into urban spaces, when and where they are present in public space, and where and how they carve out their private spaces. Through its unique exploration of the Russian example, this volume addresses the implications of the fragmented urban landscape on cultural practices and discourses, ethnicity, lifestyles and subcultures, and economic practices, and in doing so provides important insights applicable to a global context.
The Sahrawi and Afghan refugee youth in the Middle East have been stereotyped regionally and internationally: some have been objectified as passive victims; others have become the beneficiaries of numerous humanitarian aid packages which presume the primacy of the Western model of child development. This book compares and contrasts both the stereotypes and Western-based models of humanitarian assistance among Sahrawi youth with the lack of programming and near total self-sufficiency of Afghan refugee youth in Iran. Both extremes offer an important opportunity to further explore the impact which forced migration and prolonged conflict have had, and continue to have, on the lives of these refugee youth and their families. This study examines refugee communities closely linked with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and a host of other UN agencies in the case of the Sahrawi and near total lack of humanitarian aid in the case of Afghan refugees in Iran.
Many people feel that the impact of technology and the pressure of the market economy on alpine communities leads to a loss of biodiversity, authenticity and cultural diversity, affecting animal husbandry, local food production, social networks and traditions. It is undeniable that “progress,” “development” and “integration” are transforming working routines, recipes for dairy production and patterns of communication in rural communities. This book explores the many tensions at the core of present local practices and debates in the Italian Alps, highlighting the many transformations undergone within skilled practice and cultural heritage as a result of commoditization, professionalization and technification, with a special focus on the ways in which this also means, quite literally, changing one’s vision of locality: of the landscape, of local products and of local animals.
Bringing together key historical and innovative ethnographic materials on the peoples of the South-West Province of Cameroon and the Nigerian borderlands, this volume presents critical and analytical approaches to the production of ethnic, political, religious, and gendered identities in the region. The contributors examine a range of issues relating to identity, including first encounters and conflict as well as global networking, trans-national families, enculturation, gender, resistance, and death. In addition to a number of very striking illustrations of ethnographic and material culture, this volume contains key maps from early German sources and other original cartographical materials.
As tourism service standards become more homogeneous, travel destinations worldwide are conforming yet still trying to maintain, or even increase, their distinctiveness. Based on more than two years of fieldwork in Yogyakarta, Indonesia and Arusha, Tanzania, this book offers an in-depth investigation of the local-to-global dynamics of contemporary tourism. Each destination offers examples that illustrate how tour guide narratives and practices are informed by widely circulating imaginaries of the past as well as personal imaginings of the future.
The many different localities of the Pacific region have a long history of transformation, under both pre- and post-colonial conditions. More recently, rates of local transformation have increased tremendously under post-colonial regimes. The forces of globalization, which rapidly distribute commodities, images, and political and moral concepts across the region, have presented Pacific populations with an unprecedented need and opportunity to fashion new and expanded understandings of their cultural and individual identities.
This volume, the first in a new series, examines the forces of globalization at different levels, as they manifest themselves and operate across cultural, cognitive and biographical dimensions of human life in the Pacific. While posing familiar questions, it offers new answers through the integration of cultural and psychological methods. The contributors draw on practice theory, cognitive science and the anthropology of space and place while exploring the key analytical rubrics of human agency, memory and landscape.
The pursuit and practice of discipline have become near ubiquitous elements of contemporary social life and parlance, as discipline has become a commonplace and ever sought-after social technology. From the celebrated “discipline of the market” proclaimed by neo-liberal politicians, to self-actualizing experiences of embodied discipline proffered by martial arts instructors, this volume showcases highly varied and complex disciplinary practices and relationships in a set of ethnographic studies. Interrogating the respective fields of work, religion, governance, leisure, education and child rearing, together the essays in this volume explore and offer new ways of thinking about discipline in everyday life.
Obesity is a rising global health problem. On the one hand a clearly defined medical condition, it is at the same time a corporeal state embedded in the social and cultural perception of fatness, body shape and size. Focusing specifically on the maternal body, contributors to the volume examine how the language and notions of obesity connect with, or stand apart from, wider societal values and moralities to do with the body, fatness, reproduction and what is considered ‘natural’. A focus on fatness in the context of human reproduction and motherhood offers instructive insights into the global circulation and authority of biomedical facts on fatness (as ‘risky’ anti-fit, for example). As with other social and cultural studies critical of health policy discourse, this volume challenges the spontaneous connection being made in scientific and popular understanding between fatness and ill health.
Innovation-making is a classic theme in anthropology that reveals how people fine-tune their ontologies, live in the world and conceive of it as they do. This ethnographic study is an entrance into the world of Buryat Mongol divination, where a group of cursed shamans undertake the ‘race against time’ to produce innovative remedies that will improve their fallen fortunes at an unconventional pace. Drawing on parallels between social anthropology and chaos theory, the author gives an in-depth account of how Buryat shamans and their notion of fortune operate as ‘strange attractors’ who propagate the ongoing process of innovation-making. With its view into this long-term ‘cursing war’ between two shamanic factions in a rural Mongolian district, and the comparative findings on cursing in rural China, this book is a needed resource for anyone with an interest in the anthropology of religion, shamanism, witchcraft and genealogical change.
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