Matching Items (11)

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The promise of a name: identity, difference, and political movement in Macedonia

Description

Naming and naming practices take place at various sites associated with international politics. These sites include border crossings, migrations, diasporas, town halls, and offices of political parties representing minorities. This

Naming and naming practices take place at various sites associated with international politics. These sites include border crossings, migrations, diasporas, town halls, and offices of political parties representing minorities. This project is an investigation of these and other sites. It takes seriously questions of names and naming practices and particularly asks how people participate in these practices, often doing so with states and state authorities. It not only looks at and discusses how people proceed in these practices but also assesses the implications for people regarding how and when they can be at home as well as how and where they can move. Through an ethnography of Aegean Macedonians involving interviews, participant observation, and archival research, I find that naming practices occur well beyond the sites where they are expected. Names themselves are the result of negotiation and are controlled neither by their bearers nor those who would name. Similarity of demonyms with toponyms, do not ensure that bearers of such demonyms will be at home in the place that shares there name. Changes in names significance of names occur rapidly and these names turn home into abroad and hosts into guests.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Entanglements of "living heritage: ecomuseum development in rural China

Description

Museums are gaining increasing attention throughout the world for their ability to foster social inclusion, intercultural dialogue, and collaboration in practices of heritage management, exhibition, and interpretation. This dissertation aims

Museums are gaining increasing attention throughout the world for their ability to foster social inclusion, intercultural dialogue, and collaboration in practices of heritage management, exhibition, and interpretation. This dissertation aims to contribute a critical perspective on museums as agents of social change through an exploration of new museological practices in contemporary China. Through an ethnography of the ecomuseum, I unravel the assumptions and expectations of implementing a Western concept based on notions of community participation, empowerment, and the democratization of heritage in the context of a transforming China.

In my ethnographic account of the multifaceted politics faced by ecomuseums, I question how power and authority are mediated through these civic institutions and how central aspects of museum and heritage practices are being redressed in Chinese society. This study exposes how ecomuseums in China are a result of global processes and positioned as part of a heritage protection movement and museum development boom to promote cultural nationalism, a "civilized" China, and state edicts of rural development in impoverished ethnic minority regions. Detailing the implications of government-led ecomuseum development in ethnic villages in southwest China, and the specific case of Huaili ecomuseum, in Guangxi, I interrogate the institutionalization of heritage and cultural landscapes through processes of exhibition, museumification, and the revaluing of culture. I explore the ecomuseum as a social space of cross-cultural encounter and friction through which local actors grapple with conditions of cultural governance and the entanglements cultural difference and a national heritage discourse. In my critical analysis of collected ethnographic narratives over 15 months of fieldwork from state-directed interest groups, Chinese technocrats, and villager informants involved in the institutionalization of heritage, I present the complex arrangements and interactions that take place through the ecomuseum context and how subject positionalities shift and claims to heritage, identity, and voice are negotiated, regulated, and contested. This study contributes to the anthropology of China and museum and heritage studies, and aims to push new directions in the study of community heritage and museums, in offering a critical perspective of the political nature of ecomuseums in non-Western contexts, such as China.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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Intra-ethnic conflict and violence: exploring mimetic desire as practice among the Maya Tzotzil Chamula of Chiapas, Mexico

Description

This dissertation examines incidents of conflict and violence amid communities of the Maya Tzotzil Chamula in Chiapas, Mexico. Despite ostensible homogeneity, or more social and cultural resemblances than differences, conflicts

This dissertation examines incidents of conflict and violence amid communities of the Maya Tzotzil Chamula in Chiapas, Mexico. Despite ostensible homogeneity, or more social and cultural resemblances than differences, conflicts arise between many Chamula because of how they acquire desire according to others who mediate what is desirable. These conflicts relate well to Rene Girard's hypothesis that mimetic desire influences identity yet generates conflict as imitation fosters rivalry. Qualitative methods of participant observation, interviews, and document research depict how desire, identity, and conflict interrelate. Ethnographic cases show how conflict emerges "interdividually" as rivals compete to obtain objects imputed desirable. The study begins with how young Tzotzils today appropriate the desires of others, becoming lawyer, spiritual guide, rock and roll singer, or anthropologist. Complex examples exhibit groups struggling for power and privilege within or between members of communities as they vie over "objects of desire" such as status, land, water, or representations of power and pecuniary interests. For some Chamula, mimetic rivalry works to deny resemblances with others despite being alike as neighbor, relative, farmer, carpenter, or member of the same political or religious affiliation. The study also highlights mimetic interactions that have shaped Maya struggles in the past, such as the uprisings of 1712, 1867, and 1911. Interpretive analysis explores how identity formation (structures), imitative desire (motivated interaction), and practice (habitual agency) together galvanize material and psychosocial variables for conflict. Imitative desire is worth observing because of its long-term implications for human adaptation and social change. As a contribution to social conflict theory, this dissertation offers a critical perspective to current research on mimetic desire as a significant force in human relations.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Becoming the medium

Description

The original mediums were not texts or technologies; they were ritual actors performing acts of mediumship. Mediating between determined norms (the status quo) and emergent trends (change), they invoked divine

The original mediums were not texts or technologies; they were ritual actors performing acts of mediumship. Mediating between determined norms (the status quo) and emergent trends (change), they invoked divine authority to conjure meanings that proved adaptive, nonadaptive and/or maladaptive. With the advent of the written word, ritual became formalized and codified. The medium became a communication device, something abstract and external to the human condition. It then became possible to speak of "media effects" imposing influence in a logical deterministic manner. Yet with the advent of new media, we are witnessing a return to modes of cultural discourse that are spontaneous, interactive, communal and unscripted, all hallmarks of ritual action. This "ritual return" centers on the emergence of the "prosumer" (producer/consumer), a figure actively engaged in mediating practices. While resembling the original archaic "medium" in some respects, the prosumer is a "literate ritualist" allied with a multiplicity of cultural tribes. Thus the "new media" has given rise to "the new medium." The pages that follow focus on acts of contemporary mediumship, examining related concepts such as "ecology," "niche," "role," "affordance," and "trope." Each section considers how specific mediating practices afford and constrain modes of ritualized behavior. I call this practice-oriented approach to media studies "praxism."

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Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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Embattled identities: constructions of contemporary American masculinity amongst mixed martial arts cagefighters

Description

Masculinity has been increasingly recognized as a critical and relatively unexplored area of inquiry in anthropological gender studies. This project seeks to expand anthropological research on masculinity to contemporary American

Masculinity has been increasingly recognized as a critical and relatively unexplored area of inquiry in anthropological gender studies. This project seeks to expand anthropological research on masculinity to contemporary American society. Using the case study of a male-centered popular new sport, Mixed Martial Arts (also known as cagefighting) this project integrates theories of embodiment and feminist perspectives to explore how masculinity and masculine hegemony are shaped, contested, and perpetuated in the United States. Using a multi-level framework this project explores: 1) How is masculinity experienced and expressed by Mixed Martial Arts fighters as a form of self-identity? How do their bodies play a role in constructing masculinity? 2) What are the pervasive forms of masculinity associated with Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)? Are they truly representative of the sport? 3) Can these pervasive forms of masculinity be seen as hegemonic? How would hegemony operate in relation to individual experience? Using multiple methods to capture multiple points of view was critical to thoroughly examining the complex notion of masculinity. This study employed participant observation, semi-structured interviews, focus groups, surveys, photo elicitation, and media content analysis, as each presented particular benefits and allowed for the development a more well-rounded understanding of masculinity within the realm of MMA. This study also situates the rise of MMA and its representations of masculinity within the greater perspective of contemporary American society. By doing so reveals how ideologies of prescribed masculinity do not arise out of a vacuum but in relation to particular economic, social and political contexts. An emphasis of this study was to examine the daily lives of MMA fighters to understand how their participation in what may be regarded as a hypermasculine activity affects their own perceptions of masculinity. In looking at how masculinity is embodied, the gaps and often contradictions between representation and individual experiences are revealed. Ultimately, the goal of this research is to contribute to a better understanding of masculinity as both an embodied and relational construct.

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Date Created
  • 2011

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Anti-sexual harassment activism in Egypt:: transnationalism and the cultural politics of community mobilization

Description

Sexual harassment has emerged as a widespread problem facing women in public space in Egypt. Activism to combat sexual harassment began in 2005. However, just prior to and in the

Sexual harassment has emerged as a widespread problem facing women in public space in Egypt. Activism to combat sexual harassment began in 2005. However, just prior to and in the years following the January 25, 2011 Egyptian Revolution, which witnessed an increase in the collective sexual harassment, assault and rape of women, this activism has increased. Subsequently, scholarly attention to sexual harassment and public sexual violence has also expanded. Much of the attention in scholarly analyses has been directed toward politically motivated sexual violence, focused on understanding the state commissioning of sexual violence against female protestors to drive them from protest participation. There is an emerging critique of activist approaches that seems to ignore the politicalized nature of sexual harassment to focus instead on “cultural” targets. The early work of the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights (ECWR) and current work of HarassMap have been criticized for depoliticizing sexual harassment by failing to include an analysis of state-commissioned sexual violence in their work. Similarly, both have been accused of expanding the scope of the security state by calling for increased policing of public space to protect women from “culturally-bad” men.

With data collected through one year of participant observation with HarassMap, interviews with activists from eleven anti-sexual harassment initiatives and advocacy NGOs, and community-level surveys with non-activist individuals, this dissertation argues that “cultural” work undertaken through the community-based approaches by entities like ECWR and HarassMap is, in fact, an inherently political process, in which political engagement represents both an attempt to change political culture and state practice and a negotiative process involving changing patriarchal gender norms that underpin sexual harassment at a society-wide level. New conceptualizations of sexual harassment promoted by anti-sexual harassment initiatives and NGOs in Egypt frame it as a form of violence against women, and attempt to make sexual harassment an offense that may be criminalized. Yet, this dissertation contends there is a tension between activist and widespread public understandings of sexual harassment, predicated on the incomplete framing of sexual harassment as a form of violence.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Generation next: young Muslim Americans narrating self while debating faith, community, and country

Description

"Culture talk" figures prominently in the discussions of and about Muslims, both locally and globally. Culture, in these discussions, is considered to be the underlying cause of gender and generational

"Culture talk" figures prominently in the discussions of and about Muslims, both locally and globally. Culture, in these discussions, is considered to be the underlying cause of gender and generational divides giving rise to an alleged "identity crisis." Culture also presumably conceals and contaminates "pure/true Islam." Culture serves as the scaffold on which all that divides Muslim American immigrants and converts is built; furthermore, the fear of a Muslim cultural takeover underpins the "Islamization of America" narrative. This dissertation engages these generational and "immigrant"-"indigenous" fissures and the current narratives that dominate Muslim and public spheres. It does so through the perspectives of the offspring of converts and immigrants. As the children and grandchildren of immigrants and converts come of age, and distant as they are from historical processes and experiences that shaped the parents' generations while having shared a socialization process as both Muslim and American, what role do they play in the current chapter of Islam in post-9/11 America? Will the younger generation be able to cross the divides, mend the fissures, and play a pivotal role in an "American Muslim community"? Examining how younger generations of both backgrounds view each other and their respective roles in forging an American Muslim belonging, agenda and discourse is a timely and much needed inquiry. This project aims to contribute by shedding more light on the identities, perspectives and roles of these younger generations through the four dominant narratives of identity crisis, pure/true Islam vs. Cultural Islam, the Islamization of America, and creation of an American Muslim community/identity/culture. These narratives are both part of public discourse and themes generated from interviews, a questionnaire\survey, and personal observation. This ethnographic study examines how American born and/or raised offspring of both converts to Islam and immigrant Muslims in the Phoenix and Chicago metropolitan areas define self and community, how they negotiate fissures and fault lines (ethnicity, race, class, gender, and religious interpretation) within their communities, and how their faith informs daily life and envisions a future. I utilize participant observation, interviews, and surveys and examine digital, visual and published media to answer these questions.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Games of Thrones: board games and social complexity in Bronze Age Cyprus

Description

This study frames research on board games within a body of anthropological theory and method to examine the long-term social changes that effect play and mechanisms through which play may

This study frames research on board games within a body of anthropological theory and method to examine the long-term social changes that effect play and mechanisms through which play may influence societal change. Drawing from ethnographic literature focusing on the performative nature of games and their effectiveness at providing a method for strengthening social bonds through grounding, I examine changes in the places in which people engaged in play over the course of the Bronze Age on Cyprus (circa 2500¬–1050 BCE), a period of increasing social complexity. The purpose of this research is to examine how the changes in social boundaries concomitant with emergent complexity were counteracted or strengthened through the use of games as tools of interaction.

Bronze Age sites on Cyprus have produced the largest dataset of game boards belonging to any ancient culture. Weight and morphological data were gathered from these artifacts to determine the likelihood of their portability and to identify what type of game was present. The presence of fixed and likely immobile games, as well as the presence of clusters of portable games, was used to identify spaces in which games were played. Counts of other types of artifacts found in the same spaces as games were tabulated, and Correspondence Analysis (CA) was performed in order to determine differences in the types of activities present in the same spaces as play.

The results of the CA showed that during the Prehistoric Bronze Age, which has fewer indicators of social complexity, gaming spaces were associated with artifacts related to consumption or specialty, heirloom and imported ceramics, and rarely played in public spaces. During the Protohistoric Bronze Age, when Cyprus was more socially complex, games were more commonly played in public spaces and associated with

artifacts related to consumption. These changes suggest a changing emphasis through time, where the initiation and strengthening of social bonds through the grounding process afforded by play is more highly valued in small-scale society, whereas the social mobility that is enabled by performance during play is exploited more commonly during periods of complexity.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Girls should come up: gender and schooling in contemporary Bhutan

Description

The dissertation is based on 15 months of ethnographically-informed qualitative research at a liberal arts college in the Himalayan nation of Bhutan. It seeks to provide a sense of daily

The dissertation is based on 15 months of ethnographically-informed qualitative research at a liberal arts college in the Himalayan nation of Bhutan. It seeks to provide a sense of daily life and experience of schooling in general and for female students in particular. Access to literacy and the opportunities that formal education can provide are comparatively recent for most Bhutanese women. This dissertation will look at how state-sponsored schooling has shaped gender relations and experiences in Bhutan where non-monastic, co-educational institutions were unknown before the 1960s. While Bhutanese women continue to be under-represented in politics, upper level government positions and public life in general, it is frequently claimed at a variety of different levels (for instance in local media and government reports), that Bhutan, unlike it South Asian neighbors, has a high degree of gender equity. It is argued that any under-representation does not reflect access or opportunity but is instead the result of women's decision not to "come up" and participate. However this dissertation will dispute the claim that female students could choose to be more visible, vocal and mobile in classrooms and on campus without being challenged or discouraged. I will show that school is a gendered context, in which female students are consistently reminded of their "limitations" and their "appropriate place" through the use of familiar social practices such as teasing, gossip, and harassment. Schooling, particularly in developing nations like Bhutan, is usually implicitly and uncritically understood to be a neutral resource, often evaluated in relation to development aims such as creating a more educated and skilled workforce. While Bhutanese schools do seem to promote new kind of opportunity and new understandings of success, they also continue to recognize, maintain and reproduce conventional values around hierarchy, knowledge transmission, cooperation (or group identity) and gender norms. This dissertation will also show how emergent disparities in wealth and opportunity in the nation at large are beginning to be reflected and reproduced in both the experience of schooling and the job market in ways that Bhutanese development policy is not yet able to adequately address.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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The Belly Dancer Project: a phenomenological study of gendered identity through documentary filmmaking

Description

In this study, the researcher develops a documentary-driven methodology to understand the ways four women in the United States use their involvement in the belly dance phenomenon to shape their

In this study, the researcher develops a documentary-driven methodology to understand the ways four women in the United States use their involvement in the belly dance phenomenon to shape their ongoing individual identity development. The filmmaking process itself and its efficacy as a process to promote self-understanding and identity growth among the participating belly dancers, are also investigated phenomenologically. Methodological steps taken in the documentary-driven methodology include: initial filmed interviews, co-produced filmed dance performances, editorial interviews to review footage with each dancer, documentary film production, dancer-led focus groups to screen the film, and exit interviews with each dancer. The project generates new understandings about the ways women use belly dance to shape their individual identities to include: finding community with other women in private women's spaces, embodying the music through the dance movements, and finding liberation from their everyday "selves" through costume and performance.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012