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The Agendas of Tibetan Refugees
Survival Strategies of a Government-in-Exile in a World of International Organizations
Since the arrival of the first Tibetans in exile in 1959, a vast and continuous wave of international – especially Western – support has permitted these refugees to survive and even to flourish in their temporary places of residence. Today, these Tibetan refugees continue to attract assistance from Western governments, organizations and individuals, while other refugee populations are largely forgotten in the international agenda. This book shows and discusses how Tibetan refugees continue to attract resources, due, notably, to the dissemination of their political and religious agendas, as well as how a movement of Western supporters, born in very different conditions, guaranteed a unique relationship with these refugees.
Subject: Refugee & Migration Studies
The Anti-Social Contract
Injurious Talk and Dangerous Exchanges in Northern Mongolia
Set in a remote district of villagers and nomadic pastoralists in the northernmost part of Mongolia, Højer introduces a local world, where social relationships are cast in witchcraft-like idioms of mistrust and suspicion. While the apparent social breakdown that followed the collapse of state socialism in Mongolia often implied a chaotic lack of social cohesion, this ethnography reveals an everyday universe where uncertain relations are as much internally cultivated in indigenous Mongolian perceptions of social relatedness, as it is externally confronted in postsocialist surroundings of unemployment and diminished social security.
Subjects: Sociology General Anthropology
Contestations, Circumventions, and the Blurring of Therapeutic Boundaries
Naraindas, H., Quack, J., & Sax, W. S. (eds)
Ideas about health are reinforced by institutions and their corresponding practices, such as donning a patient's gown in a hospital or prostrating before a healing shrine. Even though we are socialized into regarding such ideologies as "natural" and unproblematic, we sometimes seek to bypass, circumvent, or even transcend the dominant ideologies of our cultures as they are manifested in the institutions of health care. The contributors to this volume describe such contestations and circumventions of health ideologies, and the blurring of therapeutic boundaries, on the basis of case studies from India, the South Asian Diaspora, and Europe, focusing on relations between body, mind, and spirit in a variety of situations. The result is not always the "live and let live" medical pluralism that is described in the literature.
Subjects: Medical Anthropology Religion
Neighbourhood Youth and Urban Change in Kyrgyzstan’s Capital
In this pioneering ethnographic study of identity and integration, author Philipp Schröder explores urban change in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek from the vantage point of the male youth living in one neighbourhood. Touching on topics including authority, violence, social and imaginary geographies, interethnic relations, friendship, and competing notions of belonging to the city, Bishkek Boys offers unique insights into how post-Socialist economic liberalization, rural-urban migration and ethnic nationalism have reshaped social relations among young males who come of age in this Central Asian urban environment.
The Position, Power, and Plasticity of Chinese Medicine in Singapore
Smith, A. A.
Since the turn of the century Singapore has sustained a reputation for both austere governance and cutting-edge biomedical facilities and research. Seeking to emphasize Singapore’s capacity for “modern medicine” and strengthen their burgeoning biopharmaceutical industry, this image has explicitly excluded Chinese medicine – despite its tremendous popularity amongst Singaporeans from all walks of life, and particularly amongst Singapore’s ethnic Chinese majority. This book examines the use and practice of Chinese medicine in Singapore, especially in everyday life, and contributes to anthropological debates regarding the post-colonial intersection of knowledge, identity, and governmentality, and to transnational studies of Chinese medicine as a permeable, plural, and fluid practice.
Subjects: Medical Anthropology General Anthropology
'City of the Future'
Built Space, Modernity and Urban Change in Astana
Astana, the capital city of the post-Soviet Kazakhstan, has often been admired for the design and planning of its futuristic cityscape. This anthropological study of the development of the city focuses on every-day practices, official ideologies and representations alongside the memories and dreams of the city’s longstanding residents and recent migrants. Critically examining a range of approaches to place and space in anthropology, geography and other disciplines, the book argues for an understanding of space as inextricably material-and-imaginary, and unceasingly dynamic – allowing for a plurality of incompatible pasts and futures materialized in spatial form.
Infertility and Procreative Technologies in India
Infertility and assisted reproductive technologies in India lie at the confluence of multiple cultural conceptions. These ‘conceptions’ are key to understanding the burgeoning spread of assisted reproductive technologies and the social implications of infertility and childlessness in India. This longitudinal study is situated in a number of diverse locales which, when taken together, unravel the complex nature of infertility and assisted conception in contemporary India.
Subject: Medical Anthropology
Creole Identity in Postcolonial Indonesia
Contributing to identity formation in ethnically and religiously diverse postcolonial societies, this book examines the role played by creole identity in Indonesia, and in particular its capital, Jakarta. While, on the one hand, it facilitates transethnic integration and promotes a specifically postcolonial sense of common nationhood due to its heterogeneous origins, creole groups of people are often perceived ambivalently in the wake of colonialism and its demise, on the other. In this book, Jacqueline Knörr analyzes the social, historical, and political contexts of creoleness both at the grassroots and the State level, showing how different sections of society engage with creole identity in order to promote collective identification transcending ethnic and religious boundaries, as well as for reasons of self-interest and ideological projects.
Subjects: General Anthropology Colonialism
Youth Bulges and their Socio-political Implications in Tajikistan
Most of the Muslim societies of the world have entered a demographic transition from high to low fertility, and this process is accompanied by an increase in youth vis-à-vis other age groups. Political scientists and historians have debated whether such a “youth bulge” increases the potential for conflict or whether it represents a chance to accumulate wealth and push forward social and technological developments. This book introduces the discussion about youth bulge into social anthropology using Tajikistan, a post-Soviet country that experienced civil war in the 1990s, which is in the middle of such a demographic transition. Sophie Roche develops a social anthropological approach to analyze demographic and political dynamics, and suggests a new way of thinking about social change in youth bulge societies.
Subject: General Anthropology
The Relocation of China's Ewenki Reindeer Herders
Reindeer-herding Ewenki hunters have lived in the forests of China’s Greater Khingan Range for over three hundred years. They have sustained their livelihoods by collecting plants and herbs, hunting animals and herding reindeer. This ethnography details changing Ewenki ways of life brought first by China’s modernization and development policies and more recently by ecological policies that aim to preserve and restore the badly damaged ecologies of western China. Xie reflects on modernization and urbanization in China through this study of ecological migration policies and their effects on relocated Aoluguya Ewenki hunters.
Subjects: General Anthropology Environmental Studies
Elite Malay Polygamy
Wives, Wealth and Woes in Malaysia
Zeitzen, M. K.
Elite Malay women’s polygamy narratives are multiple and varied, and their sentiments regarding the practice are conflicted, as they are often torn between personal and religious convictions. This volume explores the ways in which this increasingly prominent practice impacts Malay gender relations. As Muslims, elite Malay women may be forced to accept polygamy, but they mostly condemn it as women and wives, as it forces them to manage their lives and loves under the “threat” of polygamy from a husband able to marry another woman without their knowledge or consent; a husband that is married but available.
Subjects: General Anthropology Sociology Gender Studies
Emptiness and Fullness
Ethnographies of Lack and Desire in Contemporary China
Bregnbæk, S. & Bunkenborg, M. (eds)
As critical voices question the quality, authenticity, and value of people, goods, and words in post-Mao China, accusations of emptiness render things open to new investments of meaning, substance, and value. Exploring the production of lack and desire through fine-grained ethnography, this volume examines how diagnoses of emptiness operate in a range of very different domains in contemporary China: In the ostensibly meritocratic exam system and the rhetoric of officials, in underground churches, housing bubbles, and nationalist fantasies, in bodies possessed by spirits and evaluations of jade, there is a pervasive concern with states of lack and emptiness and the contributions suggest that this play of emptiness and fullness is crucial to ongoing constructions of quality, value, and subjectivity in China.
Fate Calculation Experts
Diviners Seeking Legitimation in Contemporary China
Having long been stigmatized as an immoral and even illegal “superstition”, the popular practice of divination is experiencing a revival in contemporary China. Fate Calculation Experts explores how diviners attempt to achieve legitimation in a society which identifies strongly with modernity, science, and rationality. As well as associating with modern knowledge production systems, diviners build a positive social image for their occupation via claims to moral authority and appeals to “tradition”. Beyond matters of image management, diviners’ efforts towards legitimation also figure in the social relationships and fundamental cultural values they develop in their practice.
Subjects: General Anthropology Religion
The Conundrum of Cultural Difference, From Tunisia to Japan
Foucault lived in Tunisia for two years and travelled to Japan and Iran more than once. Yet throughout his critical scholarship, he insisted that the cultures of the “Orient” constitute the “limit” of Western rationality. Using archival research supplemented by interviews with key scholars in Tunisia, Japan and France, this book examines the philosophical sources, evolution as well as contradictions of Foucault’s experience with non-Western cultures. Beyond tracing Foucault’s journey into the world of otherness, the book reveals the personal, political as well as methodological effects of a radical conception of cultural difference that extolled the local over the cosmopolitan.
Grace after Genocide
Cambodians in the United States
Mortland, C. A.
Grace after Genocide is the first comprehensive ethnography of Cambodian refugees, charting their struggle to transition from life in agrarian Cambodia to survival in post-industrial America, while maintaining their identities as Cambodians. The ethnography contrasts the lives of refugees who arrived in America after 1975, with their focus on Khmer traditions, values, and relations, with those of their children who, as descendants of the Khmer Rouge catastrophe, have struggled to become Americans in a society that defines them as different. The ethnography explores America’s mid-twentieth-century involvement in Southeast Asia and its enormous consequences on multiple generations of Khmer refugees.
Areas: North America Asia
Hindi Is Our Ground, English Is Our Sky
Education, Language, and Social Class in Contemporary India
A sea change has occurred in the Indian economy in the last three decades, spurring the desire to learn English. Most scholars and media venues have focused on English exclusively for its ties to processes of globalization and the rise of new employment opportunities. The pursuit of class mobility, however, involves Hindi as much as English in the vast Hindi-Belt of northern India. Schools are institutions on which class mobility depends, and they are divided by Hindi and English in the rubric of “medium,” the primary language of pedagogy. This book demonstrates that the school division allows for different visions of what it means to belong to the nation and what is central and peripheral in the nation. It also shows how the language-medium division reverberates unevenly and unequally through the nation, and that schools illustrate the tensions brought on by economic liberalization and middle-class status.
Subjects: Educational Studies General Anthropology
Honour and Violence
Gender, Power and Law in Southern Pakistan
The practice of karo kari allows family, especially fathers, brothers and sons, to take the lives of their daughters, sisters and mothers if they are accused of adultery. This volume examines the central position of karo kari in the social, political and juridical structures in Upper Sindh, Pakistan. Drawing connections between local contests over marriage and resources, Nafisa Shah unearths deep historical processes and power relations. In particular, she explores how the state justice system and informal mediations inform each other in state responses to karo kari, and how modern law is implicated in this seemingly ancient cultural practice.
Subjects: General Anthropology Gender Studies
Confronting Electoral Communism and Precarious Livelihoods in Post-Reform Kerala
In Kerala, political activists with a background in Communism are now instead asserting political demands on the basis of indigenous identity. Why did a notion of indigenous belonging come to replace the discourse of class in subaltern struggles? Indigenist Mobilization answers this question through a detailed ethnographic study of the dynamics between the Communist party and indigenist activists, and the subtle ways in which global capitalist restructuring leads to a resonance of indigenist visions in the changing everyday working lives of subaltern groups in Kerala.
Subjects: General Anthropology Sociology
Leaving Footprints in the Taiga
Luck, Spirits and Ambivalence among the Siberian Orochen Reindeer Herders and Hunters
Nowhere have recent environmental and social changes been more pronounced than in post-Soviet Siberia. Donatas Brandišauskas probes the strategies that Orochen reindeer herders of southeastern Siberia have developed to navigate these changes. “Catching luck” is one such strategy that plays a central role in Orochen cosmology -- luck implies a vernacular theory of causality based on active interactions of humans, non-humans, material objects, and places. Brandišauskas describes in rich details the skills, knowledge, ritual practices, storytelling, and movements that enable the Orochen to “catch luck” (or not, sometimes), to navigate times of change and upheaval.
Subject: General Anthropology
Language and the Search for Resonance in U.S. Chinese Medicine
Pritzker, S. E.
Integrating theoretical perspectives with carefully grounded ethnographic analyses of everyday interaction and experience, Living Translation examines the worlds of international translators as well as U.S. teachers and students of Chinese medicine, focusing on the transformations that occur as participants engage in a “search for resonance” with foreign terms and concepts. Based on a close examination of heated international debates as well as specific texts, classroom discussions, and interviews with publishers, authors, teachers, and students, Sonya Pritzker demonstrates the “living translation” of Chinese medicine as a process unfolding through interaction, inscription, embodied experience, and clinical practice. By documenting the stream of conversations that together constitute this process, the book thus traces the translation of Chinese medicine from text to practice with an eye towards the social, political, historical, moral, and even personal dimensions involved in the transnational production of knowledge about health, illness, and the body.
Subject: Medical Anthropology
Areas: Asia North America
Making a Difference?
Social Assessment Policy and Praxis and its Emergence in China
Price, S. & Robinson, K. (eds)
Social assessment for projects in China is an important emerging field. This collection of essays — from authors whose formative work has influenced the policies that shape practice in development-affected communities — locates recent Chinese experience of the development of social assessment practices (including in displacement and resettlement) in a historical and comparative perspective. Contributors — social scientists employed by international development banks, national government agencies, and sub-contracting groups — examine projects from a practitioner’s perspective. Real-life experiences are presented as case-specific praxis, theoretically informed insight, and pragmatic lessons-learned, grounded in the history of this field of development practice. They reflect on work where economic determinism reigns supreme, yet project failure or success often hinges upon sociopolitical and cultural factors.
Subjects: Development Studies General Anthropology
Trade and Urbanization at the Vietnam-China Border
Endres, K. W.
Based on ethnographic research conducted during several years, Market Frictions examines the tensions and frictions that emerge from the interaction of global market forces, urban planning policies, and small-scale trading activities in the Vietnamese border city of Lào Cai. Here, it is revealed how small-scale traders and market vendors experience the marketplace, reflect upon their trading activities, and negotiate current state policies and regulations. It shows how “traditional” Vietnamese marketplaces have continually been reshaped and adapted to meet the changing political-economic circumstances and civilizational ideals of the time.
Subjects: Political Economy General Anthropology Sociology
Monetising the Dividual Self
The Emergence of the Lifestyle Blog and Influencers in Malaysia
Combining theoretical and empirical discussions with shorter “thick description” case studies, this book offers an anthropological exploration of the emergence in Malaysia of lifestyle bloggers – precursors to current social media “microcelebrities” and “influencers.” It tracks the transformation of personal blogs, which attracted readers with spontaneous and authentic accounts of everyday life, into lifestyle blogs that generate income through advertising and foreground consumerist lifestyles. It argues that lifestyle blogs are dialogically constituted between the blogger, the readers, and the blog itself, and challenges the assumption of a unitary self by proposing that lifestyle blogs can best be understood in terms of the “dividual self.”
Subjects: General Anthropology Media Studies
The Partial Revolution
Labour, Social Movements and the Invisible Hand of Mao in Western Nepal
Located in the far-western Tarai region of Nepal, Kailali has been the site of dynamic social and political change in recent history. The Partial Revolution examines Kailali in the aftermath of Nepal’s Maoist insurgency, critically examining the ways in which revolutionary political mobilization changes social relations—often unexpectedly clashing with the movement’s ideological goals. Focusing primarily on the end of Kailali’s feudal system of bonded labor, Hoffmann explores the connection between politics, labor, and Mao’s legacy, documenting the impact of changing political contexts on labor relations among former debt-bonded laborers.
The Patient Multiple
An Ethnography of Healthcare and Decision-Making in Bhutan
In the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, medical patients engage a variety of healing practices to seek cures for their ailments. Patients use the expanding biomedical network and a growing number of traditional healthcare units, while also seeking alternative practices, such as shamanism and other religious healing, or even more provocative practices. The Patient Multiple delves into this healthcare complexity in the context of patients’ daily lives and decision-making processes, showing how these unique mountain cultures are finding new paths to good health among a changing and multifaceted medical topography.
Subjects: General Anthropology Medical Anthropology Religion
East Asian Foodways in the Twenty-First Century
Kim, K. O. (ed)
Foods are changed not only by those who produce and supply them, but also by those who consume them. Analyzing food without considering changes over time and across space is less meaningful than analyzing it in a global context where tastes, lifestyles, and imaginations cross boundaries and blend with each other, challenging the idea of authenticity. A dish that originated in Beijing and is recreated in New York is not necessarily the same, because although authenticity is often claimed, the form, ingredients, or taste may have changed. The contributors of this volume have expanded the discussion of food to include its social and cultural meanings and functions, thereby using it as a way to explain a culture and its changes.
Subjects: General Anthropology Food & Nutrition
Reclaiming the Forest
The Ewenki Reindeer Herders of Aoluguya
Kolås, Å. & Xie, Y. (eds)
The reindeer herders of Aoluguya, China, are a group of former hunters who today see themselves as “keepers of reindeer” as they engage in ethnic tourism and exchange experiences with their Ewenki neighbors in Russian Siberia. Though to some their future seems problematic, this book focuses on the present, challenging the pessimistic outlook, reviewing current issues, and describing the efforts of the Ewenki to reclaim their forest lifestyle and develop new forest livelihoods. Both academic and literary contributions balance the volume written by authors who are either indigenous to the region or have carried out fieldwork among the Aoluguya Ewenki since the late 1990s.
Subjects: General Anthropology Environmental Studies
Japanese Eldercare in Indonesian Hands
Based on seventeen months of ethnographic research among Indonesian eldercare workers in Japan and Indonesia, this book is the first ethnography to research Indonesian care workers’ relationships with the cared-for elderly, their Japanese colleagues, and their employers. Through the notion of intimacy, the book brings together sociological and anthropological scholarship on the body, migration, demographic change, and eldercare in a vivid account of societal transformation. Placed against the background of mass media representations, the Indonesian workers’ experiences serve as a basis for discussion of the role of bodily experience in shaping the image of a national “other” in Japan.
Subject: Medical Anthropology
Sacred Places, Emerging Spaces
Religious Pluralism in the Post-Soviet Caucasus
Darieva, T., Mühlfried, F., & Tuite, K. (eds)
Though long-associated with violence, the Caucasus is a region rich with religious conviviality. Based on fresh ethnographies in Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the Russian Federation, Sacred Places, Emerging Spaces discusses vanishing and emerging sacred places in the multi-ethnic and multi-religious post-Soviet Caucasus. In exploring the effects of de-secularization, growing institutional control over hybrid sacred sites, and attempts to review social boundaries between the religious and the secular, these essays give way to an emergent Caucasus viewed from the ground up: dynamic, continually remaking itself, within shifting and indefinite frontiers.
Subjects: General Anthropology Religion Sociology
Areas: Asia Central/Eastern Europe
Searching for a Better Life
Growing Up in the Slums of Bangkok
Life in Bangkok for young people is marked by profound, interlocking changes and transitions. This book offers an ethnographic account of growing up in the city’s slums, struggling to get by in a rapidly developing and globalizing economy and trying to fulfil one’s dreams. At the same time, it reflects on the issue of agency, exploring its negative potential when exercised by young people living under severe structural constraint. It offers an antidote to neoliberal ideas around personal responsibility, and the assumed potential for individuals to break through structures of constraint in any sustained way.
Soup, Love, and a Helping Hand
Social Relations and Support in Guangzhou, China
Despite growing affluence, a large number of urban Chinese have problems making ends meet. Based on ethnographic research among several different types of communities in Guangzhou, China, Soup, Love and a Helping Hand examines different modes and ideologies of help/support, as well as the related issues of reciprocity, relatedness (kinship), and changing state-society relations in contemporary China. With an emphasis on the subjective experience, Fleischer’s research carefully explores people’s ideas about moral obligations, social expectations, and visions of urban Chinese society.
Subjects: General Anthropology Sociology
Staying at Home
Identities, Memories and Social Networks of Kazakhstani Germans
Despite economic growth in Kazakhstan, more than 80 per cent of Kazakhstan’s ethnic Germans have emigrated to Germany to date. Disappointing experiences of the migrants, along with other aspects of life in Germany, have been transmitted through transnational networks to ethnic Germans still living in Kazakhstan. Consequently, Germans in Kazakhstan today feel more alienated than ever from their ‘historic homeland’. This book explores the interplay of those memories, social networks and state policies, which play a role in the ‘construction’ of a Kazakhstani German identity.
Thai in Vitro
Gender, Culture and Assisted Reproduction
In Thailand, infertility remains a source of stigma for those couples that combine a range of religious, traditional and high-tech interventions in their quest for a child. This book explores this experience of infertility and the pursuit and use of assisted reproductive technologies by Thai couples. Though using assisted reproductive technologies is becoming more acceptable in Thai society, access to and choices about such technologies are mediated by differences in class position. These stories of women and men in private and public infertility clinics reveal how local social and moral sensitivities influence the practices and meanings of treatment.
Subjects: Medical Anthropology Gender Studies
Love and the Culture of Dementia Care in India
As life expectancy increases in India, the number of people living with dementia will also rise. Yet little is known about how people in India cope with dementia, how relationships and identities change through illness and loss. In addressing this question, this book offers a rich ethnographic account of how middle-class families in urban India care for their relatives with dementia. From the husband who wakes up at 3 am to feed his wife ice-cream to the daughters who gave up employment for seven years to care for their mother with dementia, this book illuminates the local idioms on dementia and aging, the personal experience of care-giving, the functioning of stigma in daily life, and the social and cultural barriers in accessing support.
Subject: Medical Anthropology
Variations on Uzbek Identity
Strategic Choices, Cognitive Schemas and Political Constraints in Identification Processes
Throughout its history the concept of “Uzbekness,” or more generally of a Turkic-speaking sedentary population, has continuously attracted members of other groups to join, as being Uzbek promises opportunities to enlarge ones social network. Accession is comparatively easy, as Uzbekness is grounded in a cultural model of territoriality, rather than genealogy, as the basis for social attachments. It acknowledges regional variation and the possibility of membership by voluntary decision. Therefore, the boundaries of being Uzbek vary almost by definition, incorporating elements of local languages, cultural patterns and social organization. This book combines an historical analysis with thorough ethnographic field research, looking at differences in the conceptualization of group boundaries and the social practices they entail. It does so by analysing decision-making processes by Uzbeks on the individual as well as cognitive level and the political configurations that surround them.
Subjects: General Anthropology General History
When Things Become Property
Land Reform, Authority and Value in Postsocialist Europe and Asia
Sikor, T., Dorondel, S., Stahl, J. & Xuan To, P.
Governments have conferred ownership titles to many citizens throughout the world in an effort to turn things into property. Almost all elements of nature have become the target of property laws, from the classic preoccupation with land to more ephemeral material, such as air and genetic resources. When Things Become Property interrogates the mixed outcomes of conferring ownership by examining postsocialist land and forest reforms in Albania, Romania and Vietnam, and finds that property reforms are no longer, if they ever were, miracle tools available to governments for refashioning economies, politics or environments.
Subjects: General Anthropology General Geography
Where Are All Our Sheep?
Kyrgyzstan, A Global Political Arena
After the collapse of the USSR, Kyrgyzstan chose a path of economic and political liberalization. Only a few years later, however, the country ceased producing anything of worth and developed a dependence on the outside world, particularly on international aid. Its principal industry, sheep breeding, was decimated by reforms suggested by international institutions providing assistance. Virtually annihilated by privatization of the economy and deserted by Moscow, the Kyrgyz have turned this economic “opening up” into a subtle strategy to capture all manner of resources from abroad. In this study, the author describes the encounters, sometimes comical and tinged with incomprehension, between the local population and the well-meaning foreigners who came to reform them.
Subjects: General Anthropology Development Studies
World Heritage Craze in China
Universal Discourse, National Culture, and Local Memory
There is a World Heritage Craze in China. China claims to have the longest continuous civilization in the world and is seeking recognition from UNESCO. This book explores three dimensions of the UNESCO World Heritage initiative with particular relevance for China: the universal agenda, the national practices, and the local responses. With a sociological lens, this book offers comprehensive insights into World Heritage, as well as China’s deep social, cultural, and political structures.
Subjects: Archaeology Sociology General Cultural Studies
Areas: Asia Asia-Pacific