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What does it mean to become a man in the Arctic today? Becoming Inummarik focuses on the lives of the first generation of men born and raised primarily in permanent settlements. Forced to balance the difficulties of schooling, jobs, and money that are a part of village life with the conflicting demands of older generations and subsistence hunting, these men struggle to chart their life course and become inummariit - genuine people. Peter Collings presents an accessible, intelligent, humorous, and sensitive account of Inuit men who are no longer youths, but not yet elders. Based on over twenty years of research conducted in Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories, Becoming Inummarik is a profound and nuanced look at contemporary Inuit life that shows not just what Inuit men do, but who they are. Collings recounts experiences from his immersion in the daily lives of Ulukhaktok's men - from hunting and sharing meals to playing cards and grocery shopping - to demonstrate how seemingly mundane activities provide revelations about complex issues such as social relationships, status, and maturity. He also reflects on the ethics of immersive anthropological research, the difficulties of balancing professional and personal relationships with informants, and the nature of knowledge in Inuit culture. Becoming Inummarik shows that while Inuit born into a modern society see themselves as different from their parents' generation, their adherence to traditional ideas about life ensures that they remain fully Inuit even as their community has witnessed drastic upheaval.
The myth of Bigfoot has captured the popular imagination since the creature's first public debut in 1958--numerous citations of "evidence," newspaper articles, books, hysterical personal accounts, and even Hollywood movies illustrate the American public's enduring romance with the Sasquatch. The scientific community on the whole, however, has stubbornly refused to comment on what it views as a very tall tale, though Bigfoot's existence continues to be hotly argued between proponents of the beast and its skeptics. Now, biological anthropologist and primate physiology specialist David J. Daegling enters the fray to offer both sides of the dispute benefit of objective scientific study. A well-crafted read, Bigfoot Exposed will prove to be as much a model of scientific method for anthropologists and researchers as it is an engaging and persuasive debunking of the myth of Bigfoot.
The Caribbean before Columbus is a new synthesis of the region's insular history. It combines the results of the authors' 55 years of archaeological research on almost every island in the three archipelagoes with that of their numerous colleagues and collaborators. The presentation operates onmultiple scales: temporal, spatial, local, regional, environmental, social, and political. In addition, individual sites are used to highlight specific issues. For the first time, the complete histories of the major islands and island groups are elucidated, and new insights are gained throughinter-island comparisons. The book takes a step back from current debates regarding nomenclature to offer a common foundation and the opportunity for a fresh beginning. In this regard the original concepts of series and ages provide structure, and the diversity of expressions subsumed by theseconcepts is embraced. Historical names, such as Taino and Lucayan, are avoided. The authors challenge the long-held conventional wisdom concerning island colonization, societal organization, interaction and transculturation, inter- and intra-regional transactions (exchange), and other basic elementsof cultural development and change. The emphasis is on those elements that unite the Bahamas, Lesser Antilles, and Greater Antilles as a culture area, and also on their divergent pathways.Colonization is presented as a multifaceted wave-like process. Continuing ties to the surrounding mainland are highlighted. Interactions between residents and new colonists are recognized, with individual histories contingent on these historical interactions. New solutions are offered to the"Huecoid problem" the "Carib problem," the "Taino problem," and the evolution of social complexity, especially in Puerto Rico.These solutions required a rethinking of social organization and its expression on the landscape. There comes a time when the old foundation can no longer support thestructure that was built upon it; this is that time.
In a valley in the eastern foothills of the central Peruvian Andes, a wealth of cocaine once flowed. From the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, this valley experienced abrupt rises in fortune, reckless corruption, and the brutality of those who sought to impress their own brand of order. When this era of cocaine came to a close, the legacy of its violence continued to mold people's perceptions of time through local storytelling practices.Coca's Gone examines the tense, depressed social terrain of Peru's Upper Huallaga Valley in the wake of a twenty-year cocaine boom. This compelling book conveys stories of the lived reality of jolted social worlds and weaves a fascinating meditation on the complex interrelationships between violence, law, and time.
In 1884 a community of Brazilians was "discovered" by the Western world. The Ecology of Power examines these indigenous people from the Upper Xingu region, a group who even today are one of the strongest examples of long-term cultural continuity. Drawing upon written and oral history, ethnography, and archaeology, Heckenberger addresses the difficult issues facing anthropologists today as they "uncover" the muted voices of indigenous peoples and provides a fascinating portrait of a unique community of people who have in a way become living cultural artifacts.
Plants play a central role in human existence. Medicinal plants, in particular, have allowed for the continued survival of the human species. This book, based on over a decade of research in Southern Mexico with the Highland Maya, explores the relationship between medicinal plants, traditional ecological knowledge and the environment. The biodiversity of the region remains among the highest in the world, comprising more than 9000 plant species. Over 1600 employed for medicinal uses and knowledge for approximately 600 species is widespread. Medicinal plants play an overwhelmingly primary role in the daily health care of the Highland Maya. Three principal objectives are addressed: 1) identifying which medicinal plants are used; 2) determining the role of environmental variation on use and selection of medicinal plants; and 3) identifying which habitats are preferred for medicinal plant procurement. Findings demonstrate the overwhelming importance of human modified environments for medicinal plants. Explanations are presented from human ecology and biochemical ecology. Implications for conservation, health and the environment are discussed.
The Handbook of Methods in Cultural Anthropology, now in its second edition, maintains a strong benchmark for understanding the scope of contemporary anthropological field methods. Avoiding divisive debates over science and humanism, the contributors draw upon both traditions to explore fieldwork in practice. The second edition also reflects major developments of the past decade, including: the rising prominence of mixed methods, the emergence of new technologies, and evolving views on ethnographic writing. Spanning the chain of research, from designing a project through methods of data collection and interpretive analysis, the Handbook features new chapters on ethnography of online communities, social survey research, and network and geospatial analysis. Considered discussion of ethics, epistemology, and the presentation of research results to diverse audiences round out the volume. The result is an essential guide for all scholars, professionals, and advanced students who employ fieldwork.
This book is about the complicated and provocative ways nature, science, and religion intersect in real settings where people attempt to live in harmony with the physical environment. Scholars of philosophy, religious studies, and science and technology have been at the forefront of critiquing the roles of religion and science in human interactions with the natural world. Meanwhile, researchers in the environmental sciences have encountered disciplinary barriers to examining the possibility that religious beliefs influence social-ecological behaviors and processes simply because the issue resists quantitative assessment. The contributors to this book explore how scientific knowledge and spiritual beliefs are engaged to shape natural resource management, environmental activism, and political processes.
In Neoliberal Frontiers, Brenda Chalfin presents an ethnographic examination of the day-to-day practices of the officials of Ghana's Customs Service, exploring the impact of neoliberal restructuring and integration into the global economy on Ghanaian sovereignty. From the revealing vantage point of the Customs office, Chalfin discovers a fascinating inversion of our assumptions about neoliberal transformation: bureaucrats and local functionaries, government offices, checkpoints, and registries are typically held to be the targets of reform, but Chalfin finds that these figures and sites of authority act as the engine for changes in state sovereignty. Ghana has served as a model of reform for the neoliberal establishment, making it an ideal site for Chalfin to explore why the restructuring of a state on the global periphery portends shifts that occur in all corners of the world. At once a foray into international political economy, politics, and political anthropology, Neoliberal Frontiers is an innovative interdisciplinary leap forward for ethnographic writing, as well as an eloquent addition to the literature on postcolonial Africa.
In this long-awaited ethnography, Chuan-kang Shih details the traditional social and cultural conditions of the Moso, a matrilineal group living on the border of Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces in southwest China. Among the Moso, a majority of the adult population practice a visiting system called tisese instead of marriage as the normal sexual and reproductive institution. Until recently, tisese was noncontractual, nonobligatory, and nonexclusive. Partners lived and worked in separate households. The only prerequisite for a tisese relationship was a mutual agreement between the man and the woman to allow sexual access to each other. In a comprehensive account, Quest for Harmony explores this unique practice specifically, and offers thorough documentation, fine-grained analysis, and an engaging discussion of the people, history, and structure of Moso society. Drawing on the author's extensive fieldwork, conducted from 1987 to 2006, this is the first ethnography of the Moso written in English.
A unique dataset for studying past social interactions comes from Swift Creek Complicated Stamped pottery that linked sites throughout much of the Eastern Woodlands but that was primarily distributed over the lower Southeast. Although connections have been demonstrated, their significance has remained enigmatic. How and why were apparently utilitarian vessels, or the wooden tools used to make them, distributed widely across the landscape? This book assesses Woodland Period interactions using technofunctional, mineralogical, and chemical data derived from Swift Creek Complicated Stamped sherds whose provenience is fully documented from both mortuary mounds and village middens along the Atlantic coast. Together, these data demonstrate formal and functional differences between mortuary and village assemblages along with the nearly exclusive occurrence of foreign-made cooking pots in mortuary contexts. The Swift Creek Gift provides insight into the unique workings of gift exchanges to transform seemingly mundane materials like cooking pots into powerful tools of commemoration, affiliation, and ownership.
A free open access ebook is available upon publication. Learn more atwww.luminosoa.org. Documenting Death is a gripping ethnographic account of the deaths of pregnant women in a hospital in a low-resource setting in Tanzania. Through an exploration of everyday ethics and care practices on a local maternity ward, anthropologist Adrienne E. Strong untangles the reasons Tanzania has achieved so little sustainable success in reducing maternal mortality rates, despite global development support. Growing administrative pressures to document good care serve to preclude good care in practice while placing frontline healthcare workers in moral and ethical peril. Maternal health emergencies expose the precarity of hospital social relations and accountability systems, which, together, continue to lead to the deaths of pregnant women.
In 2001, Ethiopian Television aired a documentary about a small, rural village called Awra Amba, where women ploughed, men worked in the kitchen, and so-called harmful traditional practices did not exist. The documentary radically challenged prevailing images of Ethiopia as a gender-conservative and aid-dependent place, and Awra Amba became a symbol of gender equality and sustainable development in Ethiopia and beyond.
Village Gone Viral uses the example of Awra Amba to consider the widespread circulation and use of modeling practices in an increasingly transnational and digital policy world. With a particular focus on traveling models―policy models that become "viral" through various vectors, ranging from NGOs and multilateral organizations to the Internet―Marit Tolo Østebø critically examines the hidden dimensions of models and model making. While a policy model may be presented as a "best practice," one that can be scaled up and successfully applied to other places, the local impacts of the model paradigm are far more ambivalent―potentially increasing social inequalities, reinforcing social stratification, and concealing injustice. With this book, Østebø ultimately calls for a reflexive critical anthropology of the production, circulation, and use of models as instruments for social change.